News

EdNotes Express

Lincoln Public Schools Communication Services continues to look for the most effective way to provide you with information.  EdNotes is written and published specifically for the faculty and staff of Lincoln Public Schools.

If you have information you would like to include, please email Mary Kay Roth at mkroth@lps.org.

2015 Graduation Dates < New

Thursday, May 21

7:00 PM - Bryan Community (At Lincoln East High School Auditorium)

Sunday, May 24, 2015

PBA: Pinnacle Bank Arena (Map)
BDSC: Bob Devaney Sports Center (Map)

12:00 PM - North Star (PBA)
1:30 PM - Southeast (BDSC)
3:00 PM - Lincoln High (PBA)
4:30 PM - Northeast (BDSC)
6:00 PM - Southwest (PBA)
7:30 PM - East (BDSC)

Posted on March 26, 2015


How one school flipped 100% trash into 90% compost < Updated

Watch the video below

Sheridan Elementary School started composting the food waste in their cafeteria after Spring Break. So far, they are composting an average of 90% of the waste leftover from their lunches.

This means, a measly 10% is now being sent to the landfill instead of the 100% from before. The daily total of compost is approximately 158 lbs, and the trash is less than 20lbs. Sheridan is the fifth school in the district to implement the food waste compost program in their cafeteria. Saratoga and Beattie Elementary, and Irving Middle School and Lincoln Southwest High School are the others. Rousseau Elementary School will being on April 22 (Earth Day).

Sheridan Principal De Ann Currin has encouraged students to be problem solvers and figure out ways to eliminate trash from their lunch. While straws are available, students are encouraged to ask themselves, “Do I really need to take a plastic straw that will just end up in the landfill?”

More and more students are electing to drink their milk out of the carton instead of using a straw. Students are also taking the initiative to make other envi-ronmentally responsible choices as they go through the lunch line. When presented with the choice of compostable or noncompostable packaging, they are choosing as many compostable items as possible. Many of the students are excited to declare that everything on their tray can go into the compost container.

There are many students at Sheridan who bring a lunch from home, and they have also found ways to reduce their waste. They are making easy changes like reusing their empty bags instead of throwing them away after one use, or taking leftover food home instead of throwing it away.

The compost program is a team effort, said LPS Sustainability Coordinator Brittney Albin, and it takes the work of the principal, kitchen and custodial staff, and teachers and students to make it work.

The expansion of the composting program is possible thanks to a grant from the Solid Waste Department of the City of Lincoln. LPS is hoping to work with new vendors coming to Lincoln.

 

Posted on March 26, 2015


Eastridge Elementary celebrating 60 years < New

Eastridge Elementary School will be hosting a special celebration on Sunday, April 19, from 2-4 p.m. in honor of their 60th Anniversary.

Alumni are asked to share their favorite Eagle membories by sending them to 6245 L Street, Lincoln, NE 68510; or by emailing them to breeker@lps.org.

Posted on March 26, 2015


LPS Technology Implementation Plan approved < Updated

Highlights of March 24 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular Board meeting on Tuesday, March 24 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The next Board meeting is set for Tuesday, April 14, 2015.

Technology Implementation Plan approved

Students at Lincoln Public Schools – grades 3-12 – will receive individual Chromebooks over the next three years, the school district will provide effective staff development for technology, and quality teaching and learning will serve as the focus of technology: all according to the Technology Implementation Plan approved by the Lincoln Board of Education Tuesday.“This is the stuff of legacy,” said Board member Don Mayhew, who also serves as the chair of the Board’s Technology Committee.

“This plan is good only if instruction is first,” said Kathy Danek, vice president of the Board, “and my colleagues have been very astute in making that a priority.”

The plan calls for phasing in a comprehensive technology plan at LPS over the next three years, and highlights include:

Devices

2015: Devices for all sixth graders; pilot for high school students at the new Career Academy

2016: Devices for third, fourth and fifth graders, seventh graders and students at two high schools

2017: Devices for eighth graders, and for students at four remaining high schools; tablets in K-2 classrooms

2018: Begin a rotation of refreshing devices every three years

Computer labs
When students have access to devices, there will be a significant reduction in the need for computer labs in elementary, middle and high schools (consequently the number of labs will decrease from a current 440 labs to 223 labs) – resulting in budget savings.

Background

In January, the Board approved a Technology Resolution that directed LPS staff to develop a comprehensive technology plan within existing funding parameters, providing for appropriate staffing, proposing sufficient professional development and providing greatly expanded access to technology district-wide all in support of student learning. The plan will be reviewed annually.

Update on Community Suicide Coalition

LPS encouraged the development of a community-wide coalition to work toward the prevention of youth suicide – and an update on the group was provided to the Board Tuesday by Bryan Seck, Homeless Outreach Specialist at LPS and one of the co-chairs for the Coalition.

“The major take-away for our youth is that it’s ok to feel down, what’s important is to ask for help,” Seck said. “Suicide is preventable. There is hope and help in Lincoln.”

Seck explained that the coalition – with representatives from the public and private sectors, and from all facets of the community – has been meeting monthly to discuss goals, timeline and mission. “Our goal is to focus and develop a coordinated response plan for youth, age 10-24, and get all community individuals and organizations working in the same direction when it comes to suicide prevention and post-vention.”

Update on Summer School 2015

Lincoln Public Schools will again hold summer school in 2015 – highlighted by a six-week high school program housed at Lincoln North Star High School and available to students in general education, English Language Learning and special education. The session will run from May 28 through July 9.

The cost will be: $65 for 2.5 credit hours, $130 for 5 credit hours and $60 for each additional 5 credit course hour.

In addition LPS will offer:

  • Special Education Summer Programs focusing on meeting the individual needs of students through Extended School Year (ESY) services will be offered. These services will be available to all students who receive special education services who demonstrate regression in critical skills without timely recoupment.  Preschool classroom-based programs will take place at three elementary school sites from June 15-18, 22-25 and July 13-16, 20-23. Elementary schools have the option to apply for a mini grant to offer summer services in reading, math, or transitional programs in their buildings; ESY services can be provided during these sessions, if appropriate. Donald D. Sherrill Education Center and Yankee Hill will be offering summer services for students in their programs in grades K-8 from June 15-18, 22-25 and July 13-16, 20-23. Middle schools will offer ESY services for students who qualify. In addition to ESY services, high schools will offer individualized studies, integrated curriculum, VOICE ESY, and participation in regular high school summer courses with consultation. Continuous services for children birth through age 3 will continue to be delivered by homebase teams over summer.

  • Summer elementary literacy/numeracy programs funded by a Nebraska Department of Education Flexible Funding Grant will be offered at multiple sites in the school district.   

  • Middle school instrumental and vocal music camps for middle school students and an elementary vocal music camp for fifth grade students.

  • A limited summer technology program for upper elementary and middle school students.      

Change of policy

The Board approved policy changes in the middle level instructional program that will more effectively deliver its non-core curriculum and that will aim to give students an opportunity for the best quality in exploratory courses.

The Board also approved a variety of policies related to updating Human Resources issues.

Celebrations of success

The Board of Education recognized John Heineman, coordinator for the International Baccalaureate program at Lincoln High School, honored as Administrator of the Year by the Nebraska State Thespians.

Open House on Attendance Areas

The Lincoln Board of Education hosted a second Open House late Tuesday afternoon to hear community members comments and questions related to upcoming changes in attendance areas for elementary, middle and high schools. The community is welcome to continue to comment and ask questions about attendance area options through an online version of the Open House. The Board is not expected to make the final selection until April. The online Open House is located at: http://www.lps.org/2014bond/attendanceareas/

 

Posted on March 25, 2015


Teacher's Perspective with Amy Holloman, itinerant strings teacher

One side controls the expression, the other the motor skills, and the whole brain controls the concerted effort for a beautiful piece of music. Check out our latest Teacher's Perspective video with Amy Holloman, an itinerant strings teacher for Lincoln Public Schools. She teaches at Belmont, Campbell, and West Lincoln elementary schools, and Goodrich Middle School.

Posted on March 20, 2015


Clinton honors students with 'O-FISH-al' recognition wall

Teachers at Clinton Elementary have been recognizing exemplary academic achievement by presenting students with fish shaped, colored card stock including the student's name and academic achievement. Then, the student adds their fish to our O – “FISH” – ally Outstanding Achievement! wall. Fish are symbolic of this year's theme of "Dive Into Learning."

Posted on March 20, 2015


Foundation's Inspire event to honor staff. students

The Inspire awards are the Foundation's updated version of our traditional Gold Star Banquet and Gold Star School Award. The new name and format speak to the inspirational educators and students we honor at this event.

On April 9, 2015 at North Star High School, students and educators from across the district will be honored. One school will be chosen for the INSPIRE 2015 School award and will receive a cash prize of $6,500 generously donated by Wells Fargo Bank and Allstate.

The dynamic Tim Miles, head men's basketball coach for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will give the keynote address. The celebration will end with an ice cream social. 

Posted on March 20, 2015


Mickle goes 'college' to talk post-secondary futures

All students and staff at Mickle Middle School were encouraged to wear college apparel representing their Alma Mater or favorite college. Teachers were also asked to share personal experience about college and how attending college shaped their futures with each of their classes. 

School counselors coordinated the event, emphasizing their focus for students to consider their post-secondary future.

Teachers and staff posted signs outside their classroom/office displaying where they went to school. Students and teachers really got into the day as one teacher said he spent the entire class period answering excellent questions students asked.

Pictured in the photo gallery are Dr. Charf and Mr. Schafer who wore graduation clothes and some students in their college apparel. Also pictured are a few signs teachers posted. One teacher even decorated her door.

Posted on March 20, 2015


How a former baseball coach and current PE teacher uses his art talent

Jerome Ehrlich, PE teacher at Belmont Elementary School, and former baseball coach at Lincoln Northeast High School, loves his three families: the one at home, the one at Belmont, and the one at Northeast! Check out this video on his passion for art.

Posted on March 20, 2015


Alternative Program coordinator surprised with Fredstrom Leadership Award

Watch the surprise unfold in our video below (jump to 2:43)

Joseph Rousseau, Student Services Coordinator for the Alternative Program, was awarded the R.L. Fredstrom Leadership Award Thursday morning at a surprise presentation during a district coordinator’s meeting.

The R. L. Fredstrom Leadership Award recognizes Lincoln Public Schools teachers and coordinators who have shown outstanding educational leadership specifically exhibiting qualities of: Commitment, Learner, Relationship, Leadership, Service and Approval.

Rousseau is currently involved in three LPS Professional Learning Communities, serves as the secretary for the LPS Indian Parent Advisory Committee, and Board Chairman for the Lincoln Indian Center. He is the Coordinator for LPS High School Summer School program. HE plans to continue his education, ultimately receiving a PhD or EdD.

“Thank you. I promise to continue working hard to do what is best for the kids, and keep serving kids,” added Rousseau after accepting the award in front of his peers.

The award is presented in honor of Rudy Fedstrom, a long-time Nebraska teacher and administrator who served as an assistant superintendent at LPS from 1951-1975, and was a life-long leader in education.

The award is administered by the Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools and the Fredstrom family. A $1,000 award will be given to Rousseau for use in future professional growth and development.

Posted on March 20, 2015


Student's concern leads to police investigation, arrest

Threat Assessment brochure | Parent letter | Press conference video (below) | Community Resources

Officials at Lincoln Public Schools held a press conference Thursday morning to address the issue of an Irving Middle School teacher arrested on charges related to an alleged incident with an Irving student that occurred off school grounds.

Dr. Steve Joel, LPS Superintendent, opened the conference by saying: “We need to talk about a very disturbing situation that has happened at Lincoln Public Schools. Early this week, one of our students contacted an LPS social worker and expressed concern that a teacher at Irving Middle School was having inappropriate communications with another student. LPS administrators, Human Resources and LPS Security were immediately notified. The teacher was sent home and placed on administrative leave, and we promptly contacted the Lincoln Police Department with these concerns. An investigation has been ongoing. Tuesday afternoon the LPS teacher was arrested on charges of enticement and first degree sexual assault.”

Joe Wright, director of Security at LPS, added, “On Monday, when the student first came to our employee, that employee knew enough to contact us and we contacted the Lincoln Police Department immediately. There was an hour to an hour and a half between the time of the student/employee conversation and our first phone call to LPD. And that is how we want it, we want it to flow quickly.”

The Lincoln Police Department is continuing the investigation - with LPS help - to make sure no other students were involved. Parents are encouraged to speak with their children about what to do if they or someone they know is uncomfortable in any way with an adult - either at or away from school. The school district also encourages students and their families to report any concerning behavior that raises suspicion or concern.

Thursday at Irving, students who needed support and assistance could meet with a counselor, social worker or members of the LPS crisis team. LPS is also working with and reaching out to the family of the specific student involved, offering help and support.

Joel said: “We have crisis team counselors at the buildings. We want students to know that school is a safe place. This is something that is tragic, and when this occurs we take the steps needed to make sure students are safe.”

Joel asked that the privacy of those involved, along with all Irving Middle School staff and students be honored and respected. “The Irving staff are doing the best they can to have a ‘normal’ day with the students. Doing daily work, preparing for statewide assessments - let them focus on that.”

 

Posted on March 19, 2015


More than just a game, but rosters full of stories

See our Athletes Edition of Community News | See the full talk below

This classroom looks vastly different, but the students are learning and the ‘teachers’ are teaching. In this ‘classroom,’ the students are very engaged, while teacher-coaches are building relationships, directing students and correcting mistakes in an area where it’s ok to fail. 

Kathi Wieskamp, athletics director for Lincoln Public Schools, talked about how athletics are ‘More Than Just a Game,’ at a recent Learning Lunch held monthly at LPS District Office.

“On the outside, it looks like a game, but there is much more to it,” Wieskamp said.

One big difference from the athletics classroom and the traditional classroom is the public performance aspect that student-athletes experience. The four pillars LPS Athletics Department strives for are: academic achievement, skill development, life skills and citizenship. 

Wieskamp said that athletics fit within the education environment, providing educationally-based opportunities to extend the learning experience outside the classroom. 

The term student-athlete is well known, but the teacher-coach role is less well defined. “The teaching piece is a critical part of that,” she said. 

More than 3,300 students participated in athletics for Lincoln Public Schools in 2013-14, nearly one-third of all high school students. High school seniors involved in athletics at LPS have a graduation rate of 98.7 percent, and 46 percent have a grade-point-average of 3.5 or higher (27 percent of non-athletes achieve the same benchmark), whereas only 6.8 percent of athletes have lower than a 2.0 GPA. 

All six LPS high schools have an academic support program in place to help student-athletes stay accountable, and help them find tutoring, study time or simply walking with a student-athlete to talk with a teacher. This is an important pro-active measure, Wieskamp said, to help students stay eligible to compete in an athletics event, rather than waiting for a student-athlete to lose their eligibility status.

Coaches play a key role because they often see a student-athlete as much as a mom or dad, Wieskamp said, so coaches build relationships to ensure students know they are partnering with them.

The skill development aspect of athletics includes actual sports skills but also skills that push their teammates to get better in practice or training. 

All that said, achieving success on the court or field or pool is important, she said.

“We want a state champion in each sport,” Wieskamp said. “We have teams getting close and we have individuals achieving great things.”

LPS Athletics have worked to create professional learning opportunities specifically for coaches, focusing on body, mind and spirit:

  • Body: physical skills
  • Mind: motivation, confidence and focus
  • Spirit: the soul and spirit of the athlete

This summer the professional learning opportunity for LPS coaches will focus on why we play, why we coach, and other similar questions.

Life skills don’t just happen, Wieskamp stressed, because it takes intentional teaching. Just being involved is key, but developing leaders takes time and effort on the part of student-athletes and coaches.

“We are going to end our athletics career at some point,” she said. But the impact of discipline, healthy living and relationship building last far beyond a ball game.

Today’s high school student athletes are developing skills to pass on to elementary and middle school students through presentations and camps. They are also active in community service.

Some of the challenges for high school athletics today include getting kids involved, societal pressures for proper behavior, finding ways to attract all potential student-athletes to compete for their high school, and re-engaging the community to attend sporting events.

“If you knew all the stories of our student-athletes, and what they are doing, you would be proud,” Wieskamp said.

Posted on March 18, 2015


LHS student artists on display at Bennett Martin

In honor of Youth Art Month, Lincoln High School students are exhibiting a variety of work. The show will hang through the rest of the month of March. As part of Youth Art Month, the public is invited to view a free exhibit featuring paintings, drawings, photography, mixed media and pottery from LHS art students.

Posted on March 17, 2015


Second LPS Community Open House encourages continued feedback from public on proposed new attendance areas

The Lincoln Board of Education will host a second open house for members of the public who wish to discuss, make suggestions and ask questions about the revised proposal for drawing new Lincoln Public Schools attendance areas in the southeast part of the community.

The Open House is set for 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 24 at LPS District Office, 5905 O St. – prior to the 6 p.m. Board meeting that evening.

In February 2014, the community of Lincoln approved a $153 million bond issue that includes construction of a new elementary and new middle school. When new schools open in our community, it is necessary to make adjustments in boundaries to create an attendance area for the new school, as well as to provide relief to nearby schools that are serving at or over capacity. The new Sally G. Wysong Elementary School will open in the fall of 2016, and the new Marilyn Moore Middle School will open in the fall of 2017.

** For more information about boundaries go to the LPS website and click on “Attendance Area Changes” – or go to http://www.lps.org/2014bond/attendanceareas/

Posted on March 13, 2015


LPS High School Music/Theater Calendar

High schools in Lincoln Public Schools perform various music and theater performances throughout the year. For more information about a specific event, call the school. To add a music or theater performance to this list, email zbaehr@lps.org.

March 

19 - All-city instrumental festival, Southeast, March 19, 7 p.m., Prasch at Southeast HS

21 - Spring Swing Dance, Hosted by LNE Honors Jazz Band, Northeast, March 21, 6 p.m., LNE Center Gym

24 - Wind Ensemble performs at the District Middle School Honors Event, Northeast, March 24, 6:30 p.m., LNE North Gym

26 - Concert: Choir, Southwest, March 26, 7 p.m., auditorium

28 - Competition: Jazz Spring Swing Dance at Lincoln Northeast HS, March 28, 7 p.m.

April 2015

8 - Spring Vocal Concert, Northeast, April 8, 7 p.m., LNE Auditorium

9-11 - Theater: Fools by Neil Simon, East, April 9-11, 7 p.m., auditorium

9-11 - Theater: Arsenic and Old Lace, Southwest, April 9, 10, 11, 2015 at 7 p.m., Tickets go on sale March 9, call 402-436-1335

13 - Concert: Bands and Orchestras, East, April 13, 7 p.m., auditorium

15 - Spring Instrumental Concert, Northeast, April 15, 7 p.m., LNE Auditorium

15 - Concert: Choirs, Southeast, April 15, 7 p.m., Commons

16 - Concert: Spring Choir, East, April 16, 7 p.m., auditorium

23-24 - Theater: Evening of One-Acts, April 23-24, 7:30 p.m., LNE Black Box

25 - Competition: Lincoln East Jazz Festival at EHS, April 25, all day, auditorium

27 - Concert: Jazz Band Concert Cafe, East HS, April 27, 7 p.m., auditorium

30 - Musical: Southeast, April 30-May 3, 7:30 p.m. with 2 p.m. Sunday matinee, auditorium

30 - Theater: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Lincoln High School, April 30-May 1 at 7 p.m., May 2 at 2 p.m., Ted Sorensen Theatre, LHS

May 2015

1-2 - Theater: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Lincoln High School, April 30-May 1 at 7 p.m., May 2 at 2 p.m., Ted Sorensen Theatre, LHS

1-3 - Musical: Southeast, April 30-May 3, 7:30 p.m. with 2 p.m. Sunday matinee, auditorium

1, 2 - Rock Show, Northeast, May 1-2, 7 p.m., LNE Auditorium, ($5)

7 - Concert: Jazz Band, Southeast, May 7, 7 p.m., auditorium

8-9 - Concert: Expressions, East HS, May 8-9, 8 p.m.

11 - Concert: Band & Orchestra, Southwest, May 11, 7 p.m., auditorium

11 - Concert: Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble, Southeast, May 11, 7 p.m., auditorium

12 - Concert: A Little Knight Music, Southeast, May 12, 7 p.m., auditorium

12 - Concert: Bands, East HS, May 12, 6 p.m., auditorium

13 - Concert: Choir, Southwest, May 13, 7 p.m., auditorium

13 - Concert: Orchestra, Southeast, May 13, 7 p.m., auditorium

13 - Finale Concert and Awards Ceremony, Northeast, May 13, 6 p.m., LNE Auditorium

16 - Concert: Spring Swing, Southeast, May 16

18-19 - Theater: Nunsense - LSW Faculty Production, May 18-19, 7 p.m., Tickets go on sale April 18, call 402-436-1335

24 - Concert Choir@ LNE Graduation, Northeast, May 24, 4:30 p.m., Devaney Center 

School Listing

Lincoln East High School

Competition: Show Choir Showdown at Lincoln Southwest HS, Feb. 8, all day

Concert: Bands, East HS, Feb. 9, 7 p.m., auditorium

Competition: Vocal/Instrumental Solo & Ensemble at Lincoln High, Feb. 21, 8 p.m.

Concert: Orchestra Finale, East HS, March 3, 7 p.m., auditorium

Competition: Jazz Spring Swing Dance at Lincoln Northeast HS, March 28, 7 p.m.

Theater: Fools by Neil Simon, East, April 9-11, 7 p.m., auditorium

Concert: Bands and Orchestras, East HS, April 13, 7 p.m., auditorium

Concert: Spring Choir, East HS, April 16, 7 p.m., auditorium

Competition: Lincoln East Jazz Festival at EHS, April 25, all day, auditorium

Concert: Jazz Band Concert Cafe, East HS, April 27, 7 p.m., auditorium

Concert: Expressions, East HS, May 8-9, 8 p.m.

Concert: Bands, East HS, May 12, 6 p.m., auditorium

Lincoln High School

Musical: Once On This Island JR, Lincoln High School, Feb. 26-27 at 7 p.m., Feb. 28 at 2 p.m., Ted Sorensen Theatre, LHS

Theater: International Baccalaureate Student Directed Productions: Melancholy Play, The Mousetrap, Gruseome Playground Injuries, Lincoln High School, March 5-6, Time TBA

Theater: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Lincoln High School, April 30-May 1 at 7 p.m., May 2 at 2 p.m., Ted Sorensen Theatre, LHS

Lincoln North Star High School

Concert: Choral, North Star, Dec. 7, 7 p.m., Auditorium

Concert: Instrumental, North Star, Dec. 7, 7 p.m., Auditorium

Concert: Choral, North Star, Dec. 9, 7 p.m., auditorium 

Concert: Instrumental, North Star, Dec. 16, 7 p.m., auditorium

Lincoln Northeast High School

Performance: Jazzy Strings Soup Supper, Northeast, Oct. 28, 6 p.m., LNE Commons Area

Recital Night, Northeast, February 17, 6 p.m., LNE Room 170 and 006

Theater: The Treason and Death of Benedict Arnold, March 3-6, 7:30 p.m., LNE Black Box

The Rock Show Choir Competition, Northeast, March 7, 8 a.m. - TBA, LNE Auditorium

Spring Swing Dance, Hosted by LNE Honors Jazz Band, Northeast, March 21, 6 p.m., LNE Center Gym

Wind Ensemble performs at the District Middle School Honors Event, Northeast, March 24, 6:30 p.m., LNE North Gym

Spring Vocal Concert, Northeast, April 8, 7 p.m., LNE Auditorium

Spring Instrumental Concert, Northeast, April 15, 7 p.m., LNE Auditorium

Theater: Evening of One-Acts, April 23-24, 7:30 p.m., LNE Black Box

Rock Show, Northeast, May 1-2, 7 p.m., LNE Auditorium, ($5)

Finale Concert and Awards Ceremony, Northeast, May 13, 6 p.m., LNE Auditorium

Concert Choir@ LNE Graduation, Northeast, May 24, 4:30 p.m., Devaney Center

Lincoln Southeast High School

Night of Knights, Southeast, Feb. 5-7, 7 p.m., auditorium

Concert: Orchestra and Wind Ensemble, Feb. 16, 7 p.m., auditorium

Choir: Queen's Ct, Southeast, Feb. 19, 7 p.m., auditorium

Concert: Jazz Band, Southeast, Feb. 23, 7 p.m., auditorium

Concert: Choirs, Southeast, March 4, 7 p.m., auditorium

All-city instrumental festival, Southeast, March 19, 7 p.m., Prasch

Concert: Choirs, Southeast, April 15, 7 p.m., Commons

Musical: Southeast, April 30-May 3, 7:30 p.m. with 2 p.m. Sunday matinee, auditorium

Concert: Jazz Band, Southeast, May 7, 7 p.m., auditorium

Concert: Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble, Southeast, May 11, 7 p.m., auditorium

Concert: A Little Knight Music, Southeast, May 12, 7 p.m., auditorium

Concert: Orchestra, Southeast, May 13, 7 p.m., auditorium

Concert: Spring Swing, Southeast, May 16

Lincoln Southwest High School

Competition: Show Choir Showdown at Southwest HS, Feb. 7, all day

Concert: Jazz Band, Southwest, Feb. 23, 7 p.m., auditorium

Concert: Band & Orchestra, Southwest, Feb. 25, 7 p.m., auditorium

Concert: Choir, Southwest, March 26, 7 p.m., auditorium

Theater: Arsenic and Old Lace, April 9, 10, 11, 2015 at 7 p.m., Tickets go on sale March 9, call 402-436-1335

Concert: Band & Orchestra, Southwest, May 11, 7 p.m., auditorium

Concert: Choir, Southwest, May 13, 7 p.m., auditorium

Theater: Nunsense - LSW Faculty Production, May 18-19, 7 p.m., Tickets go on sale April 18, call 402-436-1335

Posted on March 13, 2015


Photos from 2015 Science Fair

The 2015 Zoetis-LPS-Novartis Science Fair was held March 5 at the Lancaster County Event Center. The annual event drew record numbers of entries and student participants.

Posted on March 12, 2015


Multiplication challenge requires quick math skills

A one-on-one, win-to-advance multiplication challenge, from Morley Elementary School.

Posted on March 12, 2015


Concordia hosting Lincoln open house for Master's degree programs

Concordia University will be having an Open House at its College of Graduate Studies Campus in Lincoln on March 24th from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Any potential students who are present will get their application fee waived (a $50 value). Food and refreshments will be served, and program directors from the college's Master’s of Education and MBA degrees will be available to answer questions.

Campus address is 570 Fallbrook Blvd., Suite 203. Questions?  Email or call David O’Neill.  David.oneill@cune.edu 402-327-6503

Posted on March 10, 2015


Scott students complete research, writing project with annual Make A Difference fair

On Thursday, March 5, students from the 6A team at Scott Middle School hosted a “Make a Difference” fair in the school’s Multipurpose Room. This event was open to the public, and approximately 220 students from the 6A team presented information to help educate visitors about problems that occur in our community and around the world. 

Students had multiple booths set up (in a science fair format) and shared information about an organization that helps others in need.The students hoped that visitors would make a small donation to the organization of their choice that was represented at the fair. Nearly 1,000 people attended. 

Several members of the Lincoln Elks Lodge No. 80 attended the Fair for the second year in a row. The organization made substantial donations to five of the charities that students represented. Stephen Wirth (Public Relations Chairman of Elks Lodge No. 80) said, “The booths (story boards) and youngsters we able to visit with were so excited to tell us about the organizations they were representing. Each one of them had a personal connection and a story they could share.  It may have been about a family member, a good neighbor or a friend. Some were very touching stories as well.”

Students raised over $12,000 during the event for local and national charities.  In 2011, the first Make a Difference Fair raised around $2,500. The money raised will go directly to the charities students represented. A few of these organizations include: The American Cancer Society, American Red Cross, Alzheimer’s Association of Lincoln, Autism Speaks, We Stop Hate, Capital Humane Society, Child Advocacy Center, American Lung Association, Down Syndrome Association for Families, The Food Bank of Lincoln, The Hope Venture, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Lincoln Literacy, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Make a Wish Foundation, Susan G. Komen, Team Jack, and Wounded Warriors Family Support.  Students represented more than 40 organizations.

Ava Spinar said, “(The Fair) taught me that not everything for school is just for a grade.  We actually made a difference in our community.  I think that is amazing!” Ava’s organization was Hearts United for Animals.

Emma Wood reflected, “The Make a Difference Fair was a chance for sixth graders to think more about people around the world than just themselves.  People just need to be a little more compassionate.” 

Brock Merkel who raised awareness for WaterAid stated, “The Make a Difference Fair” was a lot of fun.  I realize we take a lot for granted.  People in Africa have to work really hard for water and we don’t even think about it (fresh water).  Right now people are thinking about building the Pipe Line and it can contaminate our water right here at home.”

Kalli Kroeker who raised money and awareness for the March of Dimes said, “It feels good to make a difference about something that matters to you.  With this project, I finally got to learn about something that I actually wanted to learn about.”

Anna Johnson shared, “It was really eye opening.  It really taught me some people skills.  There are all these people that are coming up to talk to you.  It was cool to reach out to people to teach them about Special Olympics.”

“The Make a Difference Fair really reminded me to care about other people beside myself.   I also liked how so many people are willing to help,” said Garret Osborn who raised awareness for the Make a Wish Foundation.

Leigha Moore said, “(The Fair) is like giving an animal or person a light in the darkness.  When they donated, though, it was like a big, warm, and welcoming hug!”  Leigha raised awareness for Hearts United for the Animals.

The “Make a Difference” fair was a continuation of the 6A team’s yearlong effort to focus on individuals and groups who help others and make a difference.   

For more information please contact Debbie Beran (dberan@lps.org) or Suzie Olberding (solberd@lps.org) or visit  https://sites.google.com/site/1415mad/

Posted on March 10, 2015


Riley Elementary to celebrate 50 years

Riley Elementary School, 5021 Orchard St., is having a 50th birthday party open house on Sunday, March 22 from 2 to 4 p.m. 

Posted on March 09, 2015


Favorite Fictional Educator Bracket - Winner!

Our Winner: Professor McGonagall
Harry Potter series

It’s the third year of the bracket series for Lincoln Public Schools. We started with lunches, then childhood books, and now - Favorite Fictional Educator! Over the last couple of weeks, we whittled our list of 64 fictional educators down until we arrived at your favorite teacher from books, television and the movies.

The Schedule

  • February 12-18: Round of 64, 32 matches
  • February 19-22: Round of 32, 16 matches
  • February 23-25: Round of 16, 8 matches
  • February 26 - March 2: Quarterfinals, 4 matches
  • March 2-3: Semifinals, 2 matches
  • March 4-5: Finals, 1 match
  • March 6: Winner

Professor McGonagall!!



Posted on March 06, 2015


Q&A with Sue Dutton, school social worker, Lincoln High

As a student at Lincoln High School, Sue Dutton admits she didn't know much about the challenges teens faced. As a professional school social worker, she can't help but see it. And she wants to help. This is National Social Work Month (the theme is 'Social Work Paves the Way for Change'), and Dutton answered questions about her profession as a school social worker.

What is the value of having a social worker at a school instead of just available as a referral?

Schools are often the hub for students, not just their academic needs; but social, emotional, economic, mental health, and familial.  A social worker in each school brings a positive strength-based perspective to students in their academic environment to overcome obstacles to their education.  In a building, social workers provide direct and immediate services to students in crisis. Social workers are team members, working collaboratively with the academic team to address student needs.  We bring mental health expertise to support struggling students, questioning parents, staff consultation, and our extensive knowledge of community resources.  Social workers strive to work effectively with diverse school populations. 

When you were in high school, or earlier in your career, could you have imagined the great works a school social worker does on a daily basis?

Myself, upon graduating from Lincoln High in the 70’s, I had little awareness of the barriers fellow students faced each day.  Unaware of poverty, suicide warning signs, anxiety stressors, abuse and neglect, mental and physical health issues.  Today, social workers – more than any other profession – recognize more must be done to address persistent social problems such as homelessness, lack of mental health and physical care access, dating violence, bullying, and discrimination.    

What kind of trends have you noticed in recent years in the school social worker profession?

School social workers are focusing more on mental health issues, academic achievement, minority issues, homelessness, and family instabilities.  We must be culturally aware as our students come from across the world, speaking 80 different languages.   School social worker make a difference in the day-to -day-lives of students and their families by helping to build, support and empower student, family, school and community relationships.    

What would you love to see, or see more of, in terms of resources or opportunities for students?

LPS school social workers envision every student will discover their own strengths and unique path to success.  Positive social change is never finished, but a work in progress.   Social workers are advocates for increased mental health access and greater collaboration between schools, families and community resources.  Our motto – we pave the way for change.   

From the National Association for Social Workers

The theme “Social Work Paves the Way for Change” was selected to convey what NASW and the social work profession have done over the past six decades to bring about positive changes in society and for individuals.Social workers have worked to improve the rights of women, African Americans and other ethnic minorities, and the LGBT community.

They have also pushed to strengthen the social safety net through programs such as Medicaid, Medicare, and the Affordable Care Act, and advocated for social justice initiatives such as the Voting Rights Act and the Community Mental Health Act.

Social workers also make a difference in the day-to-day lives of millions of Americans by helping to build, support and empower positive family and community relationships. For example, they work in schools helping students overcome obstacles to their education; they work in hospitals helping patients navigate their paths to recovery; and they work in agencies and organizations helping protect vulnerable children and adults from abuse and neglect.

Social workers—more than any other profession—recognize that more must be done to address persistent social problems such as poverty, lack of education and health care access, and discrimination based on gender, race, sexuality, or income. And they know that all people, no matter their circumstance, at some time in their lives may need the expertise of a skilled social worker. 

Posted on March 05, 2015


NARSP offering scholarships to active educators advancing education

The Nebraska Association of Retired School Personnel (NARSP) will be awarding two scholarships of $1000 each for the 2015-2016 academic year.  These scholarships will be awarded to active educators working toward an advanced degree/endorsement in a related field of education.

The Lincoln Area Retired School Personnel group will accept applications for the NARSP scholarships.  After applications are reviewed, two semi-finalists will be selected by the LARSP committee, and those applications will be sent to NARSP.  Those applications will be reviewed with other semi-finalists from Nebraska for the awarding of the scholarships.  

Deadline for the receipt of completed applications is April 30, 2015.  

Applications may be requested by contacting:

Viki Kugler

LARSP President

7137 Shamrock Rd.

Lincoln, NE 68506

402-483-5862

Posted on March 05, 2015


Thank You Teacher letter: Jan Erickson, formerly Kahoa Elementary School

Jan Erickson, a retired teacher formerly at Kahoan Elementary School, was honored as one of five honorees at a 2015 Thank You Teacher event. Below is the nomination letter sent by a former student, Rachel Sweeney.

Jan Erickson, formally Ms. Jacobsen, was my 3rd and 4th grade teacher at Kahoa Elementary from 1998-2000. Ms. Jacobsen was my favorite teacher because of her extreme kind hearted and support. Going into 3rd grade my parents were worried because I wasn't a strong reader, but they say after Ms. Jacobsen's guidance I became a very efficient reader and writer.  She also made the terrifying task of learning multiplication and division a walk in the park.  

Ms. Jacobsen was the kindest and most patient women I have ever had the privilege of knowing.  I never wanted 3rd grade to end.  I was so happy when my parents announced that Ms. Jacobsen would be teaching 4th grade and that all my classmates would be able to stay in her classroom and have another wonderful year with our extraordinary teacher. Few people impact you so much that after not seeing them for 15 years you are still able to say they molded you the person you are today.

 I enjoyed Kahoa so very much, but my favorite part was seeing Ms. Jacobsen everyday. She was always ready with a big hug, bright smile and a Jolly Rancher.  We went to Heritage School, Camp Kitaki and many field trips together.  She would always graciously accept dandelions picked on the school playground during recess. Ms. Jacobsen taught me how to be a good friend and member of society.  Many of her teachings I still use in my daily life.  

I always do my best to be as compassionate and as caring as she was to me, because I know it honors her that her kindness is being carried on through all the students impacted by her.  I hope this great teacher is awarded the recognition she deserves for all the greatness she has shared.

Thank you Ms. Jacobsen.

Posted on March 04, 2015


Thank You Teacher letter: Deb Coyle, Sheridan Elementary School

Deb Coyle, a teacher at Sheridan Elementary School, was honored as one of five honorees at a 2015 Thank You Teacher event. Below is the nomination letter sent by Jenna Beecham, a student at Sheridan.

I like having Mrs. Coyle for a teacher because she encourages me to be creative and puts together fun games with our lessons.  On Fridays during writing, we have Free Choice Friday where we can choose to work on creating different types of writing like personal narrative, a descriptive paragraph, or poetry.  I like to write poetry the best because I can make up my own rules.  I also like to write acrostic or haiku poems.  If I am feeling extra creative, Mrs. Coyle encourages to make a picture to go with my poem.  Then I can share my work with her and, if we have time, she lets me share it with the whole class.  

Mrs. Coyle also brings artwork into our classroom that her husband paints so that we can be inspired by it.  I saw one of his pictures a couple of months ago that looked like lots of shapes with toothpaste and then wrote a story called, "The Magical Toothpaste." It is about toothpaste that squirts all over a museum makes everything comes to life when kids look at it but it all just looks normal for the adults. If we ever get stuck with our writing, Mrs. Coyle asks us questions to help us find inspiration.  

Mrs. Coyle has been teaching for so long that nothing surprises her.  She has a good way of calming everything down when there is a disagreement.  When two of my friends got in an argument, Mrs. Coyle got them to settle down and gave some consequences but not so many that they got more upset.  If something is funny she laughs with us then has us get back to work.  

When my slip came over the summer telling me that Mrs. Coyle was going to be my teacher, I told my big sister who had her a few years ago.  She said, "You're lucky.  She's awesome."  I think so too.

 

Posted on March 04, 2015


Thank You Teacher letter: Nate Miller, Dawes Middle School

Nate Miller, a teacher at Dawes Middle School, was honored as one of five honorees at a 2015 Thank You Teacher event. Below is the nomination letter sent by Angelina Nahorny, a student at Dawes.

Mr. Nate Miller is arguably the most favored teacher at Dawes Middle school, and this is why I nominate him. Not just for myself but for our whole school. The students he has all look up to and respect him. They look up and respect him because he understands us and cares for us, helps us grow as better people and teaches us important life lessons.

Everyday in his class, at some point in time, you hear a story about an old (or current) student, a life experience he had or a story about someone else, and at the end of this story he always gives us a life lesson or a piece of advice that relates to the story. These stories are inspiring to (almost) all who hear them. Those students who care, take the advice or lesson he tells us to heart and applies it to make their life, our school, or the community better. With these fables Mr. Miller tells people, he makes the world and students better by introducing young minds to important things we might not hear elsewhere. As well as his stories being inspiring they are entertaining. In most classes teachers don't captivate their students. I know I have a few classes where it is hard to stay focused, but in Mr. Miller's class you want to listen. His stories that relate to the subject we learn always make us laugh and give us insight on ways science happens in real life.

Mr. Miller teaches and shows me that no matter how bad something is, you still have to try and work your hardest. Even in hard circumstances where you want to give up, you can't. Mr. Miller has had bad things happen this past year that would be hard for anyone, yet while it was going on he always had a smile, still taught his lessons well and put up with students that weren't the best. For anyone if something bad happens to you our instinct is to shut down, but Mr. Miller kept going. And when he kept going it showed me that I need to keep going to and be strong, because the stronger you are the most success you will have.

Mr. Miller makes his classes as fun as possible for students. Some teachers do book work, some do activities and some do projects. Mr. Miller's class is a mix of all three. He has us do vocab words, yes. But he does them in a way that gets us active and engaged. He has us do homework, but not normal, boring homework. We recently did a catapult project that was a lot of fun. We had time in class to do it but if you wanted to do really well you should have went home and worked on it. That is the best type of homework, the kind that is engaging. He makes class enjoyable and interesting. This year when I saw I had Mr. Miller on my class schedule, I was animated.  

Stories Mr. Miller shares about students he has had make me want to work hard. I want to become the type of person Mr. Miller tells amazing stories of success about to his future students. I work hard in school and try to be the best I can be because I want to succeed in life. Everyday I think and apply one of the stories Mr. Miller has shared with me and use it to push myself to become someone better. In 10 or more years I want to come back to Lincoln from wherever I am and I want to run into Mr. Miller on the street and have him say, "Angelina Nahorny!! I remember when I had you in class and you almost didn't dissect a sheep's eye. I am so proud of how well you have done for yourself and it was an honor to have gotten to know you." Mr. Miller tells us that he remembers people by an attribute they had. Lazy, trustworthy, respectful, sloppy. I want him to remember me by all the best ones.

Mr. Miller makes a difference in my life not because of his awesome class nor his funny stories (although those are extremely enjoyable) he makes a difference in my life because he pushes me to be better. Everyday I look forward to his class. If I have had a bad day, I know Mr. Miller's class will make me feel better. He inspires me everyday and makes me realize in order for me to succeed I need to work hard, be respectful, take chances and experience new things. He helps me be a better student and person, even if he doesn't realize it.
          
          

 

 

Posted on March 04, 2015


Thank You Teacher letter: Bruce Chapman, Lincoln Northeast High School

Bruce Chapman, a English and theater teacher at Lincoln Northeast High School, was honored as one of five honorees at a 2015 Thank You Teacher event. Below is the nomination letter sent by Anthony Anderson, a student at Northeast.

Bruce Chapman, an English, Oral Communications, and Theatre teacher, is an outstanding instructor and an even better person. I first met Mr. Chapman my freshman year. He was my teacher for Theatre where two weeks into the school year he encouraged his students to audition for the all-school play. I tried out for the play and was cast. Since then, as a student and actor under Bruce Chapman's direction my life has completely changed. 

In the classroom Mr. Chapman provides individual assistance to any student in need, goes out of his way to help students achieve goals in whatever class he may be teaching, tells relatable stories as examples to make topics clear, encourages individual thought and expression, and much more. I have had Mr. Chapman for all three subjects he teaches, and for all three, AP Literature, Oral Communications, and Theatre, Mr. Chapman shows an expertise and experience, which is second to none. Whereas, some teachers show struggle with having multiple different classes, Bruce Chapman shows none.

As a theatre director, Mr. Chapman is fair, shows no favoritism, and works to help actors with their struggles. Personally, Mr. Chapman has helped me improve my skills and work towards excellent performances, consistently throughout my time in high school. He has done the same to hundreds of students who have acted under his direction. Bruce Chapman challenges his casts with difficult plays and encourages students to work up to the challenge.

Bruce Chapman has been teaching for 30 years this year in the same position at Lincoln Northeast High School. If asked, Mr. Chapman will share his plan of teaching and directing for another twenty-seven years; his goal is to make it to Northeast's centennial. He has touched thousands of lives both in the classroom and as a director, and with these plans he is going to touch many more lives. With an average of six plays a year and a 25 year stint of one musical per year, which ended in 2009, Mr. Chapman has directed around 180 plays and twenty-five musicals in his career and if all goes as planned he will have directed 367 shows at his retirement.

For me, Mr. Chapman has shaped what my future is going to be. Originally, I wanted to be a meteorologist, but working closely with Bruce Chapman, I have found a passion in teaching. He has encouraged me to pursue this goal, and assisted me with preparation for a college theatre audition and a college leadership program interview.  I don't know what type of person I would be without Mr. Chapman. He has become like a second father to me, and I look up to him as a role model for how I want my life to go. I am not the only student who has been affected by him in this way. I know of several actors from my time in high school who's lives have changed because of Bruce Chapman. That's not even mentioning the student's from the 27 years before me.

Join me in celebrating an amazing teacher who has dedicated his life to the education of this nation's future. It truly is teachers like Bruce Chapman who make a difference in young lives. For 30 years Mr. Chapman has been instructing and directing in English, Oral Communications, and Theatre, and he shows no signs of stopping. It is only logical to recognize this man for his outstanding contribution to this city.

Posted on March 04, 2015


Thank You Teacher letter: Tiffany Reynolds, Kooser Elementary School

Tiffany Reynolds, a kindergarten teacher at Kooser Elementary, was honored as one of five honorees at a 2015 Thank You Teacher event. Below is the nomination letter sent by Jennifer Kramer, mother of kindergartener Taylor Kramer.

I am the mother of Taylor Kramer, a kindergarten student at Kooser Elementary.  I am nominating Mrs. Tiffany Reynolds for teacher recognition day for the following reasons:

I am a full-time Soldier in the Nebraska Army National Guard.  My job requires me to be gone from home quite a bit.  I recently had to be away for a Military School for four weeks.  This is the longest period of time I've had to be away from Taylor for two years.  Taylor took this transition pretty rough the entire four weeks.  I was able to call home almost every night and video chat with her as well.  Not having mom home is just not the same though when you are five years old.  

I informed Mrs. Reynolds about my absence about two weeks prior to departing for school.  She graciously offered her help and made sure I understood if there was anything she could do to help she sure would.  She also let me know she would make sure Taylor got an extra hug at school.  Hearing these words from my daughters teacher made myself as the parent feel more at ease.  I knew she would make it through the school day that much easier.

There was one particular day while I was away that Taylor wasn't acting herself and Mrs. Reynolds asked her if she was ok.  Taylor broke out in tears.  Crying stating she was lonely.  Mrs. Reynolds was able to get Taylor to open up to her that day.  Mrs. Reynolds proved to me she truly cares about her students and their well-being.  She easily identified that one of her students was having troubles.  She acted on it and she cared.  

About a week later Taylor came down with pneumonia and had to miss school.  Mrs. Reynolds called my husband to find out if Taylor was doing ok.  She also wanted Taylor to know that all of her friends in school really missed her that day.  She made this phone call in the evening on her own time.  Mrs. Reynolds has a family of her own, she didn't need to take time away from her family to care about mine, but she did.  Again she placed my mind at ease by doing this extra act of concern.  

Military children are more resilient than most other children.  I definitely agree with this, however they are that way because of the care and compassion of others that surround our children.  I am very grateful to have such a caring and understanding kindergarten teacher for my daughter.  Our community is very lucky to have her and she truly deserves to be recognized.  

Sincerely,

Jennifer Kramer    

Posted on March 04, 2015


'Thank You Teacher' honorees have impact in, out of class

Five teachers in Lincoln Public Schools were honored Tuesday as part of a Thank You Teacher contest held annually by Lincoln Public Schools.

Rachel Sweeney remembers her teacher Jan Erickson (then Ms. Jacobsen) at Kahoa Elementary School as kind-hearted and supportive:

“Going into third grade my parents were worried because I wasn't a strong reader, but they say after Ms. Jacobsen's guidance I became a very efficient reader and writer.”

Taylor Kramer is a kindergarten student at Kooser Elementary School. Her mother said Taylor’s teacher, Tiffany Reynolds, went out of her way to check in on the student while mom was away for military school.

“There was one particular day while I was away that Taylor wasn't acting herself and Mrs. Reynolds asked her if she was ok,” Taylor’s mom wrote. “Taylor broke out in tears.  Crying, stating she was lonely.  Mrs. Reynolds was able to get Taylor to open up to her that day. Mrs. Reynolds proved to me she truly cares about her students and their well-being. She easily identified that one of her students was having troubles. She acted on it and she cared."

Jenna Beecham knew before school even started this year that Deb Coyle would be a great teacher for her third-grade year at Sheridan Elementary.

“When my slip came over the summer telling me that Mrs. Coyle was going to be my teacher, I told my big sister who had her a few years ago.  She said, ‘You're lucky.  She's awesome.’ I think so too.”

Angelina Nahorny, an eighth-grade student at Dawes Middle School, stated in her nomination letter that Mr. Nate Miller was “arguably the most favored teacher” at the school thanks in part to the stories he tells.

“With these fables Mr. Miller tells people, he makes the world and students better by introducing young minds to important things we might not hear elsewhere,” Nahorny said. “As well as his stories being inspiring, they are entertaining.”

Bruce Chapman is clear that he hopes to be at Lincoln Northeast High School until the school’s centennial … in 27 years! That’d be fine with Anthony Anderson, the Rocket student who nominated Chapman, and other future Rockets.

“I don't know what type of person I would be without Mr. Chapman,” Anderson wrote. “He has become like a second father to me, and I look up to him as a role model for how I want my life to go. I am not the only student who has been affected by him in this way. I know of several actors from my time in high school whose lives have changed because of Bruce Chapman.”

The recipients were honored at a breakfast at the Nebraska Governor’s Mansion.

This year’s Thank You Teacher awards went to:

Preschool-Grade 2: Tiffany Reynolds, Kooser Elementary School, nominated by Taylor Kramer and Taylor’s mother

Grades 3-5:  Deb Coyle, Sheridan Elementary School, nominated by Jenna Beecham

Middle School: Nate Miller, Dawes Middle School, nominated by Angelina Nahorny

High School: Bruce Chapman, Lincoln Northeast High School, nominated by Anthony Anderson

Retired: Jan Ericson, retired teacher at Kahoa Elementary School, nominated by Rachel Sweeney

Posted on March 03, 2015


Distance-learning sharing success stories

The Nebraska Distance Learning Association (NDLA) is hosting a conference Thursday and Friday at the Holiday Inn Downtown. Learn how educators are connecting from all parts of the state, and how field trips have gone virtual to better aid students, teachers and schools. LPS typically offers over 40 course sections available to students outside LPS each school year, and typically serves about 50 remote students each school year, with that number increasing.

The best time to visit would be around 9 a.m. Thursday, or 8:30 a.m. Friday.

For more information, call LPS's Linda Dickeson at 402 429 5404.

Posted on March 02, 2015


Q&A with John Heineman, State Thespian award

John Heineman, teacher at Lincoln High School, has been honored as administrator of the year by the State Thespian society.

Where did you grow up, attend high school, and college? How long have you taught, and how long at LHS?

Pawnee City High School. Undergrad UN-L, MA Un of Northern Iowa, M.Ed. Doane.  2 years at Culler...30 years at LHS.

Describe when you first became interested in theater, and what it was that drew you to the activity.

I was very involved in both high school and college.  I had great teachers and role-models throughout my life who shared their love for theatre and performance.

What types of skills do theater students have and develop to be successful, whether in a competition or a real-world situation?

Successful theatre students develop strong risk taking skills and master performance skills either on stage or back stage.  They must also develop a keen eye of observation of others and the world around them.  Learning to be reflective about oneself and one's talents is also important as you develop your acting and theatre skills.

How has theater changed over the year in terms of student performances and awareness?

The level of technology students are able to use is remarkable. Lights, sound, make-up, sets and costuming have all grown in their use of technology.   LPS has done an outstanding job to ensure students get first hand experience with the latest technologies.

How does theater intertwine itself with the 'normal' curriculum we see at the high school level?

Theatre greatly enhances a students understanding of English and Literature.  The kind of analysis needed to participate in theatre match the thinking and communication skills taught elsewhere in the curriculum.

Posted on March 02, 2015


Favorite Fictional Educator Bracket - Semifinals

It’s the third year of the bracket series for Lincoln Public Schools. We started with lunches, then childhood books, and now - Favorite Fictional Educator! Over the next couple of weeks, we will whittle our list of 64 fictional educators down until we arrive at your favorite teacher from books, television and the movies.

The Schedule

The Field

Ms. Frizzle, Magic Schoolbus
vs.
Professor Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter

Dr. Henry Jones, Jr., Indiana Jones
vs. 
Professor McGonagall, Harry Potter



Posted on March 02, 2015


Favorite Fictional Educator Bracket - Quarterfinals

The Field

Bracket A
Ms. Frizzle, Magic Schoolbus
Mr. Strickland, Back To The Future

Bracket B
Professor Severus Snape, Harry Potter
Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter

Bracket C
Principal McGee, Grease
Dr. Henry Jones, Jr., Indiana Jones

Bracket D
Professor McGonagall, Harry Potter
Dr. Ross Geller, Friends

Posted on March 02, 2015


Transfer workshop set for March 18

Lincoln Public Schools will host a Transfer workdshop on March 18 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the Lincoln Education Association office, 4920 Normal Blvd. This workshop is for any LPS teacher considering or wishing to transfer to another teaching position in the district. No sign-up is necessary. Information will be provided regarding the transfer process, timeline and interviewing information.

Posted on February 27, 2015


LHS Wind Ensemble gets chance to perform at Holland

Students in the Lincoln High School Wind Ensemble visited the The Holland Center in Omaha through the Omaha Symphony's "Music Mentors" program. The students had an opportunity to work with one of their conductors, David Barg, and also share stands with the professional musicians of the symphony. The video is a clip of the students performing Persichetti's "Symphony for Band - IV. Vivace".

Posted on February 27, 2015


Favorite Fictional Educator Bracket - Round 3

 

The Field

Bracket A
John Keating, Dead Poets Society
Ms. Frizzle, Magic Schoolbus
Dr. Curtis Connors, Spider-Man
Miss Halverson, Peanuts

Bracket B
Master Shifu, Kung Fu Panda
Professor Severus Snape, Harry Potter
Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter
Dewey Finn, School of Rock

Bracket C
Sean Maguire, Good Will Hunting
Principal McGee, Grease
Mr. George Feeny, Boy Meets World
Dr. Henry Jones, Jr., Indiana Jones

Bracket D
Professor Robert Langdon, The Da Vinci Code
Professor McGonagall, Harry Potter
Dr. Ross Geller, Friends
Miss Honey, Matilda

Posted on February 27, 2015



Board of Education holds Work Session and Open House on Attendance Areas

Highlights of Feb. 24 Lincoln Board of Education work session, meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a Work Session on Attendance Areas and for a regular Board meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 24 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The next Board meeting is set for Tuesday, March 24, 2015.

Work Session and Open House on Attendance Areas

The Lincoln Board of Education hosted an Open House and held a Work Session Tuesday to continue a study and discussion on upcoming changes in attendance areas for elementary, middle and high schools.

The community is welcome to comment and ask questions about attendance area options through an online version of the Open House, as Board of Education members are only just beginning the process of selecting new boundaries. The Board is not expected to make the final selection until April. The online Open House is located at: http://www.lps.org/2014bond/attendanceareas/

“The turn-out to our Open House was encouraging – we are getting the feedback we need to make a final decision,” said Ed Zimmer, chair of the Board’s Planning Committee. “We will work on this through March and are not expected to take action until April.”

The background: In February 2014, the community of Lincoln approved a $153 million bond issue that includes construction of a new elementary and new middle school. The new Sally G. Wysong Elementary School will open in the fall of 2016, and the new Marilyn Moore Middle School will open in the fall of 2017.

When new schools open in our community, it is necessary to make adjustments in boundaries to create an attendance area for the new school, as well as to provide relief to nearby schools that are serving at or over capacity. These changes naturally impact attendance areas of existing schools located in the vicinity of the new construction.  

The Lincoln Board of Education is responsible for establishing attendance areas and strives to make changes in attendance areas with thoughtful, prudent analysis and consideration. The Board has conducted extensive research and looks forward to community input. Input and discussion will occur throughout March and April.

The website version of the “Open House” – open through April – has maps that outline the options discussed, as well as the attendance area boundaries tentatively proposed by the Board of Education’s Planning Committee as the first consideration from which to begin the discussion for each of the following categories: elementary, middle and high schools in LPS.

** Again, please know this is a place from which to begin the conversation.   The Board of Education will continue discussion for coming weeks and months – and anticipates further discussion and action at the two April Board meetings.  

Regular Board Meeting

Proposed Technology Implementation Plan

The Board discussed an implementation and fiscal program for phasing in a comprehensive technology plan at Lincoln Public Schools – quality teaching and learning supported by technology.

“We have been on quite a journey,” said Jane Stavem, associate superintendent of Instruction at LPS. “We’ll soon begin to dream about teaching and learning and innovation…as we bring more devices to our students.”

The Board is expected to take a final vote on the Technology Implementation Plan at the March 24 Board meeting.

A few highlights of the plan include:

Devices

2015: Devices for all sixth graders; pilot for high school students at the new Career Academy

2016: Devices for third, fourth and fifth graders, seventh graders and students at two high schools

2017: Devices for eighth graders, and for students at four remaining high schools; tablets in K-2 classrooms

2018: Begin a rotation of refreshing devices every three years.

Computer labs
When students have access to devices, there will be a significant reduction in the need for computer labs in elementary, middle and high schools (consequently the number of labs will decrease from a current 440 labs to 223 labs) – resulting in budget savings.

Background

In January, the Board approved a Technology Resolution that directed LPS staff to develop a comprehensive technology plan within existing funding parameters, providing for appropriate staffing, proposing sufficient professional development and providing greatly expanded access to technology district-wide all in support of student learning. The plan will be reviewed annually.

Lancaster County Juvenile Truancy Diversion Project

The Board heard a report about the Lancaster County Juvenile Truancy Diversion Project – a pilot launched in January, 2011 at Park Middle School and has been expanded to three middle schools and three high schools.

The project, a collaborative effort between the Juvenile Court and LPS, was created for students and their families as an alternative to traditional court proceedings. The short-term goals of the voluntary program are to improve school attendance, grades and attitude toward school. The long-term goals are for the student to maintain consistent school attendance after completion of the diversion program – followed by graduation from high school.

Students can expect:

  • Supportive services to help with attendance and grades.
  • Rewards for good attendance and good grades.
  • Upon successful completion, dismissal of truancy petition and records sealed immediately.

The program has resulted in an 80 percent reduction in total absences.

Proposed changes in middle school course of study

The Board discussed possible policy changes in the middle level instructional program to more effectively deliver its non-core curriculum and aim to give students an opportunity for the best quality in exploratory courses. The Board will take a final vote on this issue at the March 24 meeting.

Celebrations of success

The Board of Education recognized Matt Larson, math curriculum specialist for Lincoln Public Schools, elected president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

Public Remarks

Public remarks were made by 28 people.

Lincoln Board of Education members criticize McPherson comments

Three members of the Lincoln Board of Education – the three members of the Board’s Student Learning Committee – added their voices Tuesday in criticism of Nebraska Board of Education Board Member Patrick McPherson, who has come under attack for racist comments related to President Obama posted on his now-defunct blog.

Board members Barb Baier, Katie McLeese-Stephenson and Ed Zimmer all wrote what they characterized as open letters to the State Board of Education. McPherson, who was elected in November, has disassociated himself from the blog posts and said he does not intend to resign.

McLeese-Stephenson said she would add an agenda item on the Student Learning Committee to propose creating outreach on nondiscrimination to community groups to create sessions to listen and find ways to enhance student learning.

A few excerpts:

Baier: “I…wonder how Mr. McPherson can advocate for diverse children, if he cannot even respect the office of the President of the United States without reaching for racial slurs to bolster his arguments. I am fully supportive of free speech. I believe that a robust dialogue regarding the policies of our government on all levels is the cornerstone of a healthy democracy. But that dialogue needs to be based on facts and points of view, not name calling or worse.

So unlike many others, I am not calling for Mr. McPherson’s resignation…

…I’m making a request of Mr. McPherson, of the Nebraska State Board of Education, and of ourselves, the Lincoln Board of Education: Could we embrace the challenge to learn more about the real needs of our biracial, minority, new American and low-income students? Could Mr. McPherson and the State Board of Education visit the schools in Nebraska’s Indian reservations, in North Omaha, in Lexington and elsewhere? Could they purposefully have a dialogue with the students and their families that so many would rather cast aside and forget? Could we here in Lincoln sponsor dialogues with the same students and families at places like the Lincoln Indian Center, the Malone Community Center, the Center for People in Need, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, and the Mental Health Association of Nebraska? Could we go, listen and learn?

In closing, my challenge to all of us adults is: Could we stop the ‘us versus them’ politics and start engaging in dialogue? Our children are watching us and learning. I think it’s time we set a better example.

Zimmer: As a board member, I particularly think about the tone we set and the example we give as we go about our work of governing the district.  All of the work of this district, from our board room to the yellow buses and their drivers to the carpenters and electricians and secretaries and custodians, focuses on what goes on in our classrooms between students and their educators. So all of our work must be in support of those precious learning encounters in the best possible learning environment, always supporting and never distracting from that work.  As the elected representatives of the community that owns and provides for our schools, we have accepted special responsibility not only to give our best efforts, but also to bring our best selves to the work.  The State Board is a step further removed from the schools, but represents the whole endeavor of public education in Nebraska—an awesome responsibility.  I wish all my colleagues at both local and state levels well in shouldering the burdens of making wise decisions, in a civil, respectful, exemplary manner and of being accountable for all of our actions.

Finally, I want to express my admiration for my board colleagues, our administrators, our teachers, our students, and our community.  In recent months our commitment to welcoming and serving all of our students has been challenged.  We cannot welcome and serve students if we do not prepare ourselves and our teachers to recognize and understand the challenges they face.  All of my colleagues, and many in our community, have spoken clearly that we should not and will not waiver in our commitment to all of our students. And all means all. For that you have my gratitude and admiration.

McLeese-Stephenson: What I know I can do as an individual, a mother, a social worker and a proud member of the Lincoln Board of Education is share with you my beliefs and be resolute in my actions. I believe that love triumphs over hate and that goodness will prevail over fear and ignorance. I believe in the Native American saying that “words have a spirit”. I know that we carry words with us in our minds and hearts long after they are spoken, be it a sincere and positive compliment or a caustic, hurtful remark. I know that I am sorry for the hurt that Mr. McPherson’s words or those on his blog have caused you and those that you care about. I know that our 3,200 professional educators and 8,000 staff within LPS care about you as students and as individuals. Collectively we each desire to see you achieve, succeed and become the truest form of yourself.

I believe that our board, like so many boards of education across our country believes in the worth and dignity of all, which is at the heart and soul of public education. We embrace every student that comes through our doors and work with your unique gifts and talents. I know that we share the sincere belief that our differences make our world more interesting, more vibrant and indeed expand our world, rather that detract from it. We as a board know and understand that while we can and should have opinions that differ from one another, we chose to articulate them with carefully chosen words that reflect the respect that we have for one another and the value we place on student achievement and success that is best accomplished by a collaborative team effort, not one of hatred, divisiveness or rancor.

We have been in the midst of a conversation over the last several months that has highlighted varied viewpoints in our community. At times my colleagues and I have shared the phrase “all means all”. The tenor of the remarks on Mr. McPherson’s blog immediately evoked the phrase “all means all” for me. I want to share with you that I am recommitting myself to safe, respectful and welcoming environments for all of our students each and every day. As a member of the board and our community I am inspired to learn more and to do more to help all of our students to achieve and be successful each and every day.

 

Posted on February 24, 2015


Favorite Fictional Educator Bracket - Round 2

The Field

Bracket A
John Keating, Dead Poets Society
Mr. Belding, Saved By The Bell
Chiron Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Ms. Frizzle, Magic Schoolbus
Mack Thackeray, To Sir With Love
Dr. Curtis Connors, Spider-Man
Miss Halverson, Peanuts
Mr. Strickland, Back To The Future

Bracket B
Coach Calhoun, Grease
Master Shifu, Kung Fu Panda
Professor Severus Snape, Harry Potter
Miss Riley, October Sky
Mr. Miyagi (Sensei), The Karate Kid
Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter
Dewey Finn, School of Rock
Professor X, X-Men

Bracket C
Sean Maguire, Good Will Hunting
Richard Vernon, The Breakfast Club
Principal McGee, Grease
Cory Matthews, Girl Meets World
Mr. George Feeny, Boy Meets World
Mr. Charlie Moore, Head of the Class
Dr. Henry Jones, Jr., Indiana Jones
Mrs. Puff, Spongebob

Bracket D
Louanne Johnson, Dangerous Minds
Professor Robert Langdon, The Da Vinci Code
Sue Sylvester, Glee
Professor McGonagall, Harry Potter
Dr. Ross Geller, Friends
Professor Turgeson, Back to School
Mr. Cooper, Hangin' With Mr. Cooper
Miss Honey, Matilda

Posted on February 23, 2015


Save the dates: LPS sets three groundbreaking ceremonies for spring

Lincoln Public Schools will host three groundbreaking ceremonies this spring for:

a new elementary school, a new middle school and a renovated facility providing services to middle school students who need behavior skills.

The groundbreakings will all be held at 11 a.m. on Fridays:

  • April 24: The Marilyn Moore Middle School/and YMCA near 84th Street and Yankee Hill Road.
  • May 1: The new Nuernberger Education Center, a renovation of the former Bryan facility at 1801 S. 40th St.
  • May 8: The new Sally G. Wysong Elementary School near 63rd and Yankee Hill

The facilities are funded through the Lincoln Public Schools bond issue approved by the community in February, 20

Posted on February 23, 2015


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