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.

Community organizations hosting suicide prevention conversation < New

A group of community organizations will hold a community conversation about suicide prevention and postvention at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 14 at Sheridan Lutheran Church at 70th and Old Cheney streets.

Staff from the Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program will lead the discussion, with separate sessions for youth (middle and high school) and adults (parents, grandparents, first responders, educators, faith leaders and other adults).

If you need more information on this event please email any of the coordinating team members:

Cam McDaniel - c.mcdaniel@sheridanlutheran.org

Mitch Connely - mitch@firstplymouth.org

Michelle Chesnut - mchesnut@newvisionsumc.org

Jen Strickland - jen@westminsterlincoln.org

Jason Obermeier - jobermeier4@gmail.com

Chris Hansen - yaya@fpclincoln.org 

Posted on December 18, 2014


'Portraits' highlight student artwork < Updated

"Portraits of a Movement" were revealed at a special celebration at Schoo Middle School.

The event, in conjunction with the upcoming Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Youth Rally, showcased the artwork of more than 20 students.

The project facilitated by Schoo and LPS Art Specialist Adam Schwaniger highlights a diverse collection of social and civil rights leaders who impacted a movement.

Beginning in January photo's will be displayed at the LPSDO district office, at the January 19, 2015 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Youth Rally and March, area business's, and libraries.

Pieces will be auctioned Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015.

For additional information contact Pete Ferguson at pfergus@lps.org or 402-436-1974.

Posted on December 18, 2014


Morehouse elected VP of national organization for office pros < New

Lisa Morehouse has been elected to be vice president of the National Association of Educational Office Professionals.

Morehouse, a secretary for the human resources department of Lincoln Public Schools, has been a active in the Educational Office Professional associations at the local, state and national levels since 1994. She served on multiple committees and boards in both appointed and elected offices including President of both the local and state associations.

On the national level, she served two years as Administrative Council Chair (appointed) and three years as Central Area Director (elected).   The Educational Office Professionals Associations are active at the local, state and national levels.

Local:         LPSAOP      Lincoln Public Schools Association of Educational Office Professionals (Established 1964)

State:         NEOPA         Nebraska Educational Office Professionals Association  (Established 1964)

National:    NAEOP        National Association of Educational Office Professionals    (Established 1934)

The premise behind all three associations is to promote the continuing education of educational office professionals. This education is essential for office professionals to adapt and cope with rapidly changing conditions in their profession. The National Association of Educational Office Professionals (NAEOP) provides the opportunity for members to enhance their professional competencies through academic programs, conferences, and institutes. These incentive activities enable the members to take progressive steps in their desired professional growth.

Posted on December 18, 2014


Pyrtle Elementary to celebrate 50 years

Pyrtle Elementary School will host a 50th anniversary celebration event from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sat., Jan. 24 2015 at the school, 721 Cottonwood Dr.

Staff will be offering tours; have a classroom open at each grade level with videos of how school looks and sounds now; scrapbooks and memorabilia displayed; and refreshments. There will be opportunities to share and collect memories, and reconnect with Pyrtle friends.

Posted on December 16, 2014


Help is here for you: Suicide prevention information

Lincoln Public Schools is committed to the safety of all students. We are encouraging families, students, staff members and the larger community to talk about the issues related to suicide or other unhealthy actions. Below is information on who to call, or how to have this tough yet important conversation, as well as additional information.



Information from LPS

Local/National Resources

National Suicide Prevention Helpline

http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
1-800-273-TALK extension 8255
By calling you’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.

National Institute of Mental Health/National Institutes of Health

www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/suicide-prevention/index.shtml

Bryan Health

http://www.bryanhealth.com/suicideeducationandprevention

Crisis Line (located in Lincoln - provided by CenterPointe)

http://www.centerpointe.org/crisistalk/crisistalk.html
402-475-6695 - anytime 24/7

Nebraska Family Helpline

1-888-866-8660

Nebraska State Suicide Prevention Coalition

http://www.suicideprevention.nebraska.edu/

National Institute of Mental Health/National Institutes of Health

www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/suicide-prevention/index.shtml

Responses from in-class conversations, as given by LPS teachers and staff:

"I felt like it went really well. I think that sometimes as teachers we get caught up in all that we have to do in terms of academics and we forget that even though they are high schoolers...we still teach young people who get their feelings hurt. Some of them even have major issues going on at home.  It think it was a good reminder as to why we're here, to offer support, understanding, and guidance."


"I spoke with my 5th period class yesterday about this issue and we had a very heartfelt conversation about caring for one another and who they can speak to if they need to. As for my 3rd period class today, they listened intently, were very respectful and took the information to heart.

"I think the most telling part about how it went today was immediately after 3rd period ended, I had a student, who is not on my roster for classes but is a cheerleader, come to me and share concerns that they have about another student. Based on the information that she gave me, we immediately went and spoke to someone in the counseling office about it.

"I believe the message is a good one, one that we all needed to be reminded of. I'm incredibly thankful to the district for addressing this issue with our young people. Not only that, but we need to remember our adults as well. I'm glad I work for a district that isn't afraid to tackle the tough issues and puts the well being of all our students first."


Reading the script seemed to get everyone's attention. Kids were attentive and said very little about it, which I took as a sense respect and maturity. In a gym environment, where students are eager to get moving, this was something they appeared to take seriously and respectfully. It didn't take much instructional time. I think it was a good message to send.


I did this with my freshmen. Actually, I read the sheet and then talked to them about treating others with respect. We talked about how everyone has their hidden stories and that they should think before they say things. I shared with them an experience from my childhood and they seemed to connect with that. They were all very responsive and attentive.


"Thanks for the common message that was composed that we shared with students. In talking with some staff members before lunch, they indicated that students listened and took the message to heart.  I even was able to give the message to one student who was waiting in the commons during the 10:30 time.  He expressed his appreciation to me for doing this.  Staff were very supportive at our faculty meeting Wednesday night and we had a few teachers that needed some extra support from us or counselors in delivering the message to their classes but folks really pulled together.  Let's hope we turn some of these very sad situations around---very quickly. Thanks again."


Posted on December 16, 2014


Highlights of Dec. 9 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

Highlights of Dec. 9 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular Board meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 9 at LPS District Office, 5905 O St. The next Board meeting is set for Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015.

Proposed school calendar for 2016-17

A joint committee of Lincoln Public Schools and the Lincoln Education Association – along with the Board of Education’s Learning Committee – recommended a school calendar for 2016-17 that sets: the first day of school for Monday, August 15, the last day on Wednesday, May 24, fall break Oct. 17-18, winter break Dec. 23-Jan. 3, and spring break, March 13-17.

Board member Lanny Boswell said he supported the proposed calendar, noting: “We want our calendar to be led by sound instructional practices.”

The calendar was developed with input from an LPS staff survey and the Community Curriculum Council, a school district parent group with representatives from each school. The Board will take a final vote on the calendar at the Jan. 13 Board meeting.

It is the practice of the School Board to adopt calendars more than a full calendar year – before it is put in place.

Calendar purpose: The school calendar demonstrates the district’s commitment to learning. It is based on sound instructional considerations and priorities insuring the continuity, efficiency and effectiveness of teaching and learning. LPS established the following calendar variables to be considered by the LPS Calendar Committee in devising the school calendar.

Primary variables for considering the calendar are:

  • Semester and quarter breaks typically the same for elementary and secondary schools.
  • The four quarters will typically include at least the minimum number of days necessary for students to reasonably learn the curriculum (42 days).
  • Student vacation days typically will not interrupt instruction just prior to major LPS< stat or national assessments.

Additional variables:

  • Each student week typically will be at least three days long.
  • Non-student days typically will be scheduled between quarters.
  • The last day of school typically will fall after the completion of NSAA and similarly sanctioned local and state competition.
  • Whenever possible, non-student days typically will occur on “common holidays,” including days such as federal and state recognized holidays.

Technology Resolution

The Board discussed a Technology Resolution that dictates that the Board will direct LPS staff to develop a 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 initial plan will be presented to the Board no later than March 1, 2015 – and will be reviewed annually.

The community has embraced our movement toward a more digital environment, said Board Vice President Kathy Danek. “This gives us a pathway…What this says is, we’re looking at instruction first…It is a great starting place for where we need to go as a school district.”

The Board will take a final vote on the resolution at the Jan. 13 Board meeting.

Annual Financial Audit

The 2013-14 financial audits for the school district have been completed, and a representative from Orizon CPAs spoke to compliment the school district on a clean slate. “This is one of the best governmental agencies we work with…You do outstanding work.”

Superintendent Update

Superintendent Steve Joel noted the additional of a Parent Involvement FAQ to the LPS website that “tries to capture those concerns that have been raised.”

The webpage includes information about Curriculum, Parent Involvement and Discrimination. Go to:

http://home.lps.org/instruction/parent-involvement-faq/

Celebrations of success

The Board of Education recognized Edith Zumwalt, director of Nutrition Services at LPS, and her team, for winning the Golden Carrot Award – an honor bestowed by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

The Board also recognized the following LPS employees who have achieved the goal of 25 years of professional service to the youth of Lincoln and LPS:

  • Maria Almazan
  • Cynthia Anderson
  • Christine Barnett
  • Julie Becker
  • Laura Biehl
  • Polly Bowhay
  • Thomas Brogan
  • Kathleen Bubb
  • Debra Buttermore
  • Rosalie Claussen
  • Shelley Clayburn
  • Sally Connell
  • Richard Conradt
  • Mary Davenport
  • Alexander Deabler
  • Trudi Domeier
  • Toni Dutton
  • Bobbie Ehrlich
  • Diane Essink
  • Coleen Finkhouse
  • Kathryn Fleming
  • Amy Francis
  • Penny Hansen
  • Helen Hassebroek
  • Janice Hastreiter
  • Connie Hawkins
  • Alice Hillhouse
  • Heidi Hoffman
  • Jane Holt
  • Denyse Hunsaker
  • Sheryl Johnson
  • Robert jones
  • Gregory Keller
  • Dorothy Ladman
  • Janet Leick
  • Shelley Mattson
  • Karla Miles
  • Scott Nelson
  • Kristi Nelson-Hitz
  • Pamela Olsen
  • Rhonda Parker
  • Amy Peterson
  • Chelley Peterson
  • Lori Pope
  • James Rehm
  • Darla Reinwald
  • Jean Roberts
  • Suzan Schoening
  • Katherine Sechrest
  • Rochelle Senkbeil
  • Gay Sohl-Wahlstrom
  • Catherine Sphon
  • Mary Stelmach
  • Elizabeth Sulllivan Scott
  • Steven Swartz
  • Pamela Thorfinnson
  • Timothy Tidball
  • Debra Vidlock
  • Douglas Wahlstrom
  • Chris Watkiins
  • Kathi Wieskamp
  • Shari Wiles
  • Shelley Wilson
  • Amanda Wright
  • Diana Wright
  • Kent Wurster
  • Margaret Zabel
  • Kristi Zechmann
  • Kimberly Zetterman

Public Remarks

Eleven people made public remarks to the Board of Education.

 

 

 

Posted on December 11, 2014


Honoring staff with 25 years of service

The Lincoln Board of Education congratulated and recognized the following Lincoln Public Schools employees who have achieved the goal of 25 years of professional service to the youth of Lincoln and LPS:

  • Maria Almazan
  • Cynthia Anderson
  • Christine Barnett
  • Julie Becker
  • Laura Biehl
  • Polly Bowhay
  • Thomas Brogan
  • Kathleen Bubb
  • Debra Buttermore
  • Rosalie Claussen
  • Shelley Clayburn
  • Sally Connell
  • Richard Conradt
  • Mary Davenport
  • Alexander Deabler
  • Trudi Domeier
  • Toni Dutton
  • Bobbie Ehrlich
  • Diane Essink
  • Coleen Finkhouse
  • Kathryn Fleming
  • Amy Francis
  • Penny Hansen
  • Helen Hassebroek
  • Janice Hastreiter
  • Connie Hawkins
  • Alice Hillhouse
  • Heidi Hoffman
  • Jane Holt
  • Denyse Hunsaker
  • Sheryl Johnson
  • Robert Jones
  • Gregory Keller
  • Dorothy Ladman
  • Janet Leick
  • Shelley Mattson
  • Karla Miles
  • Scott Nelson
  • Kristi Nelson-Hitz
  • Pamela Olsen
  • Rhonda Parker
  • Amy Peterson
  • Chelley Peterson
  • Lori Pope
  • James Rehm
  • Darla Reinwald
  • Jean Roberts
  • Suzan Schoening
  • Katherine Sechrest
  • Rochelle Senkbeil
  • Gay Sohl-Wahlstrom
  • Catherine Sphon
  • Mary Stelmach
  • Elizabeth Sulllivan Scott
  • Steven Swartz
  • Pamela Thorfinnson
  • Timothy Tidball
  • Debra Vidlock
  • Douglas Wahlstrom
  • Chris Watkiins
  • Kathi Wieskamp
  • Shari Wiles
  • Shelley Wilson
  • Amanda Wright
  • Diana Wright
  • Kent Wurster
  • Margaret Zabel
  • Kristi Zechmann
  • Kimberly Zetterman

Posted on December 10, 2014


Letter from Supt. Joel to families regarding student safety

A letter to families in Lincoln Public Schools, from Supt. Steve Joel

We are sending this message to share information with you about a somber topic related to our young people.  During the past year, our city has experienced teenage suicide attempts, and the deaths of several students by suicide.  For this reason, we are concerned for the safety of our youth.

Every year, our secondary students receive suicide prevention education via the Signs of Suicide prevention program.  This resource instructs students to ACT--  Acknowledge,Care, and Tell a trusted adult if they or peers are experiencing signs or risk factors of suicide.  

  • ACKNOWLEDGE the signs of distress that you or someone you know is experiencing.
  • CARE enough to help yourself or others.
  • TELL a trusted adult so that help can be found.

This week in our middle and high school classrooms, teachers will be reminding students of this information and to ACT when they know of any situation that threatens the safety of any student.

We have reached out to our community and will quickly come together with mental health leaders, law enforcement officials, educators from the public and private sector and our families to utilize the expertise in our community - to talk about this issue.

As always, we remind you to keep those lines of communication open with your student, which could include interactions on social media. Encourage them to share the things they are experiencing, and to seek assistance if they need help - or if they know someone else who needs help.

We need to make sure our young people know we are here for them.

Steve Joel 

Lincoln Public Schools Superintendent

Posted on December 03, 2014


LPS high school graduation rate continues gradual climb while school district keeps more students in school

The high school graduation rate at Lincoln Public Schools held steady with a gradual increase for the class of 2014 – while setting new records for a declining dropout rate that keeps more students in school.

“Our school district believes we must increase the number of LPS students earning a diploma – we know it's challenging work, and it's only going to get more challenging,” said LPS Superintendent Steve Joel. “We also know that in order to reach even higher graduation rates in 2020 and beyond, it starts now – meeting kids where they are now, inspiring them now, and helping them find their unique path toward that graduation stage."

Jane Stavem, associate superintendent for Instruction at LPS, said school district progress has happened due to intentional and systemic strategies: research, evidence-based solutions and individualized student support. “You have to dig deeper to be effective – you must look at one student at a time – and you must start this work in preschool and elementary school, and continue through high school. Graduation rates reflect the entire K-12 education, not just high school.”

LPS uses two sets of data for evaluating and assessing the high school graduation rate in the school district – using formulas that are slightly different.

For more than 20 years, LPS has followed the general rule of calculating graduation rates for students who start as ninth graders in the school district and graduate in four years on time. That means 87.2 percent of the students who started at LPS as ninth graders in 2010-11 – and did not move away – graduated on time in four years, compared to 87.1 percent the previous year. The dropout rate for 2014 was 5.1 percent, down from 6 percent the previous year – and down from 8.8 percent just three years ago.

Graduation numbers for school districts across the state were released Friday by the Nebraska State Department of Education – using a slightly different calculation formula. The state includes students who transfer into high school after ninth grade begins: a formula that gives LPS an 83.9 percent graduation rate, up from 83.7 percent the previous year. Stavem explained that the difference is easy to understand: Students who arrive and transfer into LPS later in their school experience – tend to have a greater number of challenges and therefore may graduate at a lower rate.

Stavem said the school district would look closely at all the data for graduation rates – school by school – as well as analyzing rates for subgroups. The LPS graduation rates for the major ethnic minority groups showed slight movement up and down for 2014, but mostly stayed steady.

“We are very serious at LPS in making sure we continue to work toward increasing graduation rates, decreasing dropout rates, knowing students have to be in school to succeed,” Stavem stressed

Joel continued:   “This is hard work, but it is essential work. We must make sure our students – all our students – graduate with the knowledge and skills they need to meet the demands of 21st century jobs and continued education.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on December 02, 2014


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.

December 2014

3 - Winter Expressions Instrumental Concert, Northeast, Dec. 3, 7 p.m., LNE Auditorium

4 - Theater: These Shining Lives, Lincoln High School, Dec. 4, 7 p.m., Ted Sorensen Theatre, LHS

4-5 - Theater: One Act Plays, East HS, Dec. 4-5, 7 p.m., auditorium

4-13 - Theater: Irving Berlin's White Christmas, Lincoln Southwest High School, Dec. 4, 5, and 11, 12, 13 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 6 at 2 p.m., Tickets go on sale November 4, call 402-436-1335

5 - Theater: One Acts, Shakespeare's The Tempest, Southeast, Dec. 5, 7:30 p.m., auditorium

9 - Concert: Winter Choral, East HS, Dec. 9, 7 p.m., auditorium

9 - Concert: Jazz Band, Southeast, Dec. 9, 7 p.m., auditorium

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

10 - Candlelight Gala Vocal Concert, Northeast, Dec. 10, 7 p.m., LNE Auditorium

15 - Concert: Southeast, Dec. 15, 6:30 p.m. orchestra, and 7:30 p.m., Wind ensemble and Symponic band, auditorium

15 - Concert: Winter Band, East, Dec. 15, 7 p.m., auditorium

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

January 2015

16 - Theater: Southeast, Thespian Showcase, Jan. 16, 7:30 p.m., auditorium

February 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

26-28 - 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

March 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 2015

3-11 - Theater: Spring Play, East HS, April 3-5 and 9-11, 7 p.m., auditorium

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

9-11 - Theater: Arsenic and Old Lace, 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 Media Center

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

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

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: 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: 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

Theater: Fall Play, East HS, Sept. 25-27, 7 p.m., auditorium

Concert: Jazz Band, Singers, Orchestras, East HS, Sept. 29, 7 p.m., auditorium

Theater: Fiddler on the Roof Musical, East HS, Nov. 6-8, 7 p.m., auditorium

Theater: One Act Plays, East HS, Dec. 4-5, 7 p.m., auditorium

Concert: Winter Choral, East HS, Dec. 9, 7 p.m., auditorium

Concert: Winter Band, East HS, Dec. 15, 7 p.m., auditorium

Concert: Show Choirs Showcase, East HS, Jan. 15, 7 p.m., auditorium

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: Spring Play, East HS, April 3-5 and 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

Theater: Cinderella, Lincoln High School, Oct. 2-3 at 7 p.m., Oct. 4 at 2 p.m., Ted Sorensen Theatre

Theater: Day of the Dead, Lincoln High School, Nov. 2, time TBA, Sheldon Art Gallery

Theater: These Shining Lives, Lincoln High School, Dec. 4, 7 p.m., Ted Sorensen Theatre, LHS

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

“Grease”, The Musical, Northeast, November 4, 6, 6 p.m., LNE Auditorium (Tickets, $10, $8, $6)

“Grease”, The Musical, Northeast, November 7, 8 7 p.m., LNE Auditorium (Tickets, $10, $8, $6)

Showstoppers Vocal Concert, Northeast, November 13, 7 p.m., LNE Auditorium

Music Booster Meeting, Northeast, Nov. 17, 6:30 p.m., LNE Media Center

Drumline Performs at the Strutter Show, Northeast, Nov. 25, 7:30 p.m., LNE North Gym

Winter Expressions Instrumental Concert, Northeast, Dec. 3, 7 p.m., LNE Auditorium

Candlelight Gala Vocal Concert, Northeast, Dec. 10, 7 p.m., LNE Auditorium

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

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 Media Center

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

Marching Band: Southeast at Capitol City Marching Band Championships, Oct. 4, Time TBA, Seacrest Field

Theater: Fall Play, Southeast HS, Oct. 9-12, 7:30 p.m., Auditorium

Concert: Choir, Southeast's Singing Knights Concert, Oct. 16, 7 p.m., auditorium

Marching Band: Southeast at LPS Marching Band Contest, Oct. 18, afternoon, Seacrest Field

Concert: Jazz, Southeast, Oct. 20, 7 p.m.

Concert: Orchesta, Southeast, Oct. 21, 7 p.m.

Concert: Choirs, Southeast's Knight Sounds, Oct. 22, 7 p.m.  

Marching Band: Southeast at NSBA State Marching Band Contest, Oct. 25, Time TBA, Seacrest Field

Theater: One Acts, Southeast, Dec. 5, 7:30 p.m., auditorium

Concert: Jazz Band, Southeast, Dec. 9, 7 p.m., auditorium

Concert: Southeast, Dec. 15, 6:30 p.m. orchestra, and 7:30 p.m., Wind ensemble and Symponic band, auditorium

Theater: Southeast, Thespian Showcase, Jan. 16, 7:30 p.m., auditorium

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

Theater: A Chorus Line - Silver Hawk Theatre’s 50th Production, Aug. 21, 22, 23, 2014 at 7 p.m. and Aug. 23 at 2 p.m. Tickets on sale now, call 402-436-1335. Mild Language & subject matter - may not be suitable for young children

Theater: Irving Berlin’s WHITE CHRISTMAS, Dec. 4, 5, 6 and 11, 12, 13 at 7 p.m., Tickets go on sale November 4, call 402-436-1335

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

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

 

Posted on December 01, 2014


Cervantes, Seck honored by local group for community work

Pablo Cervantes and Bryan Seck in Federal Programs have received Certificates of Recognition from the Homeless Coalition of Lincoln. 

Cervantes was honored for work with migrant students and their families, including work to provide affordable housing to immigrants.

Seck was honored for work with homeless students and their families and work in the community.

The Mission of the Homeless Coalition is to heighten awareness and develop a community-wide commitment to the needs and issues surrounding individuals and families who are near or experiencing homelessness.

Posted on November 26, 2014


Lincoln Public Schools contributes to community

Highlights of Nov. 25 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular Board meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 25 at LPS District Office, 5905 O St.  The next Board meeting is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 9. 

Lincoln Public Schools contributes to community

Lincoln Public Schools conducted the 2014 Combined Community Campaign this fall and raised $156,938.32 with 47 percent of school employees contributing: both all-time records for LPS employees.

“The results of the campaign demonstrate the commitment that our staff has made to the community beyond their chosen profession,” said John Neal, assistant to the Superintendent for Governmental Relations and General Administration.

“Since 2003, LPS staff has donated over $1.4 million to the Combined Campaign. In fact, in just the last seven months LPS staff has donated almost a third of a million dollars when you add their contributions to the BackPack Extra Mile Walk to the results of the Combined Community Campaign. This is a fact of which we should all feel proud.”

In addition, Neal pointed out, the results of the campaign fund programs that directly support many LPS students and families and make it possible for students to access the incredible education that is offered at LPS.  “It is why it makes so much sense the United Way has identified the LPS graduation rates as one of its organizational goals. The LPS graduation rate can be a great measure of the current strength of the community and a predictor of its future strength.”

The following high school, middle school and elementary schools had the greatest percentage of staff participate in the Combined Community Campaign this fall:

  • Lincoln Southeast High School - Principal, Brent Toalson – 55.05 percent
  • Schoo Middle School - Principal, Bill Schulenberg – 100 percent
  • Fredstrom Elementary School – Principal, Vicki Schulenberg, Hill Elementary School – Principal, Michelle Phillips, and Kloefkorn Elementary School – Principal, Sue Braun – 100 percent

In addition, the following schools and departments met the district goal of 50 percent or greater donor participation:  LPS District Accounting, Adams Elementary, LPS District Athletics and Activities, Beattie Elementary, Bryan Community Focus Program, LPS District Business Affairs, Campbell Elementary, Clinton Elementary, LPS District Communications, Community Learning Centers, LPS District Computing Services, LPS District Curriculum, Dawes Middle, Eastridge Elementary, LPS District Educational Service Unit 18, Entrepreneurship Focus Program, LPS District Federal Programs, Fredstrom Elementary, LPS District Governmental Relations, Hill Elementary, LPS District Human Resources, Huntington Elementary, LPS District Instruction Division, Irving Middle, Kloefkorn Elementary, Kooser Elementary, Lakeview Elementary, Lefler Middle, LPS District Custodial Department, Maxey Elementary, McPhee Elementary, Meadow Lane Elementary, LPS District Media Services, Morley Elementary, LPS District Multicultural Office, LPS District Nutrition Services, Park Middle, Pound Middle, Prescott Elementary, Purchasing, Pyrtle Elementary, Randolph Elementary, Saratoga Elementary, Schoo Middle, Sheridan Elementary, Sherrill Center, Southeast High School, LPS District Superintendent’s Office, TeamMates Mentoring Program, The Career Academy and Zeman Elementary.

News from the Career Academy

The Career Academy is hosting a Partnership Summit 10 a.m.-noon  Thursday, Dec. 4, at Innovation Campus.  The event will include updates on: construction of the new high school program located at Southeast Community campus, partnerships, curriculum summaries and progress on student enrollment.

Public Remarks

Six people made remarks to the Board of Education.

 

Posted on November 25, 2014


Carr joins distinguished list of Scottish Rite winners

Steve Carr, an educator at the Information Technology Focus Program in Lincoln Public Schools, was officially honored this month as the 2013-14 Scottish Rite Distinguished Teacher of the Year - in a presentation at LPS District Office.

LPS Superintendent Steve Joel called Carr the consummate teacher and professional - and thanked the Lincoln Scottish Rite "for their ongoing support of LPS. They join us in the belief that there is no job more important to our community than teaching." 

Richard Meginnis, president of the Lincoln Board of Education, continued: "I believe Steve Carr and all recipients of this award are more than Scottish Rite winners.  They serve as symbols - representing the many outstanding educators in our school district - and continuing the tradition handed down by many teachers before them." 

Carr also thanked the Scottish Rite, as well as family, friends and colleagues.  "I've always felt extremely honored to be an employee of LPS, and I think - I really, truly believe - that I hold the best teaching position in this school district."

The award is considered one of the more prestigious awards in the school district, recognizing an outstanding classroom teacher at LPS. 

Posted on November 24, 2014


Gators use pilot project to help students apply for college

One simple question summed up the reason behind Nebraska College Application Day.

“Do you know how to do this? Because I don't.”

For Diana Denysyuk, a Senior at Lincoln North Star High School, and dozens of other students, this day was important because they didn’t know enough to apply confidently, on their own, for college, a hugely monumental moment and task.

“It's very nice to have an event like this,” she said. “It helps a lot. I wouldn’t do it at home by myself. I would probably start to do it.”

The day was repeated at five other high schools in Nebraska as part of a joint effort among college admissions offices, high school counseling offices, and EducationQuest.

"Our whole counseling team felt great!," said Rick Boyle, counselor at North Star. "We had 118 students complete a college application in one day which was quite an accomplishment."

Typically, those offices and colleges and universities have different agendas, but on this day, they worked together. An admissions counselor from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln helped a student with a question on an application for Southeast Community College, whose own representatives might be helping someone apply for an out-of-state college.

High school counselors and teachers help students use the school’s computer grading system to find the necessary information.

“The goal is not a selfish one,” said Joel Dickinson from SCC. “Naturally, there are students applying to Southeast Community College, and that's a benefit, but we will readily help someone that wants to go to (Nebraska) Western or (Nebraska) Central (community colleges) or wherever they want to go.

“The whole bottom line is to increase the number of students complete their applications.”

Caleb Greenrod, a senior at North Star, has talked about his college future with his military recruiter, his ‘special other,’ and his parents.

But the actual act of applying?

“I think it's pretty nice that they set this up to get this done,” Greenrod said. “So far it's not really that bad. It's just like filling out a job application, and I’ve done that many times.’

RJ Vega, a college planning coordinator with EducationQuest, recalls when he was a high school senior.

“I knew what I had to do, but it was more so of getting me to sit down and do it,” Vega said. “I did need a little prodding and encouragement. I would have benefitted from a day like today where everybody sits down and applies for college.”

Boyle said sometimes the trouble submitted an application comes down to using 2015 instead of '15 for the graduation year, or leaving one box unchecked.

"There can be a lot of little stumbling blocks in the application process," he said. "If you are at home and run across those stumbling blocks, a student might just give up and then forget to go find some help or follow through with the application process. The on-line applications can be tricky for adults, too."

Posted on November 21, 2014


LPS Teachers Ringing Bells

Phil Wolfe, retired Lincoln Public Schools teacher, organizes the LPS team for ringing Salvation Army bells.  Active teachers and retired teachers as well are encouraged to help out. 

You are asked to commit for two hours at the location of your choice.  Your children can be with you while bell ringing. If you have been a bell ringer in the past or would like to become a bell ringer, here's all you need to do: 

Go to the following web site: www.ringbells.org. On the registration form indicate “LPS Teachers” as your organization.

Posted on November 21, 2014


B&N collecting books for Lighthouse

Barnes & Noble is hosting a book driver for Lighthouse, a local nonprofit for teens and young adults. The book drive runs at the O Street location through Dec. 31.

A display of books that customers can put in their cart and purchase can be found in the store. These will then be donated to the students who attend the Lighthouse. There are also books behind the counter for customers to purchase as they are checking out. Barnes and Noble is working with Lighthouse students to continue updating the books on display to meet the needs and interests of all students. There are classics, fiction, non-fiction and more. There are books available in a variety of price points.

Posted on November 14, 2014


Judges buzz about student's business pitch

A student with a family bees business has won an award at a entrepreneur comptition.

The Entrepreneurship Focus Program (EFP) of Lincoln Public Schools participated in the 5th Annual 3-2-1 Quick Pitch Competition hosted by the UNL Center for Entrepreneurship in November. The 3-2-1 Competition included seven rooms of competitors including a remarkable twenty high school students from across the state competing for a $1,000 prize. 

Trevor Jensen was one of three students from EFP to make a pitch, and he won for his pitch for Jensen Brothers' Bees.

"With the $1,000 (cash prize) I will be able to purchase ten hives and expand my production to meet increased demand," said Jensen, a student at Lincoln North Star High School.

 The projected profit from this expansion could be as much as $10,000 in the next year. Trevor and his brothers are backyard beekeepers and have been in business for four years. The brothers have survived colony collapses, learned to harvest and package their honey, and are investigating queen breeding.

Two other EFP students pitched their small businesses: Moses Sorilla from Lincoln Southeast and his MoBros Lawn Care Company, and Maddie Whitehead from Lincoln Southeast and her U-Paws Self Service Dog Wash

Judges found value in the the other two pitches as well. As Moses and Maddie sought out judge feedback, they were both given valuable tips and information. Judges appreciated Maddie's self service business that is currently open and operating at 71st and Pioneers. They suggested that Moses consider a few other marketing options to expand his business before pursuing additional funding. All three EFP students were commended by judges as being very knowledgeable and well-prepared to present their businesses.

The 3-2-1 Quick Pitch competition began in 2010 as a collaboration between the LPS Entrepreneurship Focus Program, the SCC Entrepreneurship Center, and the UNL Center for Entrepreneurship. Of six high school prizes awarded in the past five years, EFP students have received five of them. Past EFP winners include DeVante King from Lincoln Northeast, Tanner O'Dell from Lincoln East, Maddie Gifford of Lincoln East, Avni Srivastav of Lincoln Southeast and, now, Jensen from Lincoln North Star.

All three EFP students are juniors right now and would be eligible to pitch again in next year's competition. Any high school student with a business idea or venture in progress is encouraged to submit an application to the UNL 3-2-1 Quick Pitch next November and seek the $1,000 prize intended as investment or expansion capital.

Posted on November 14, 2014


Hour of Code returns Dec. 8-14

Lincoln Public Schools is participating in the Hour of Code, a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries during Computer Science Education Week (December 8-14, 2014).

What is the Hour of Code?

A self-guided activity for students of all ages, kindergarten and up. Tutorials will work on a browser, tablet, smartphone, or even with no computer at all.

No experience needed from teachers and students

Tutorials will feature lectures from Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, and artwork from popular games Angry Birds and Plants vs Zombies.

An effort to demystify code, and change the conversation around computer science.

Learn more at http://www.lps.org/hourofcode/.

Posted on November 14, 2014


Learning Lunches 2014-15: Untold stories of LPS

Come hear a few of the “Untold Stories” of Lincoln Public Schools in the second annual series of bring-your-own-lunch presentations, Learning Lunches, open to the community – continuing with a program at noon on Tuesday, Nov. 18.

For all lunches: Lunches will be held in the Board Room at LPS District Office, 5905 O St. Doors to the Board Room will open at noon, the program will begin at 12:15 p.m., questions-and-answers will happen at 12:45 p.m. Please bring your own lunch. Community members are welcome to stay after lunch for a tour of the LPS District Office building.

This year’s schedule:

  • Tuesday, Nov. 18. My Immigrant Experience – Dreams, Challenges and the Reality of Living in an Adopted Country: Oscar Rios Pohirieth, cultural specialist and coordinator for Bilingual Liaison Program at LPS.
  • Tuesday, Jan 20. Educating Youth in Detention: Randy Farmer, supervisor of the Pathfinder Education Program at LPS.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 17. Managing Traumatic Brain Injury/Concussions in Our Schools: Cindy Brunken, supervisor of the Speech-Language Pathology Program at LPS.
  • Tuesday, March 17: Educational Based Athletics: Kathi Wieskamp, director of Athletics and Activities at LPS.
  • Tuesday, April 21. The Rhythm of Music in our Schools.

Posted on November 12, 2014


School Board members, superintendent affirm professional development, inclusiveness in schools

Highlights of Nov. 11 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a work session on the Technology Plan and a regular Board meeting – both on Tuesday, Nov. 11 at LPS District Office, 5905 O St. The next Board meeting is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 25. Highlights follow.

Board of Education regular meeting

School Board members, superintendent affirm professional development, inclusiveness in schools

Lincoln Board of Education members and Lincoln Public Schools Superintendent Steve Joel Tuesday evening addressed recent questions and concerns about professional development related to transgender issues – and affirmed the Lincoln Public Schools philosophy of providing inclusiveness in our schools.

Board member Ed Zimmer noted that “as we talk about cultural competency we start by looking inward about who we are…So I will mention that I’m male, I’m white and I’m a heterosexual. I didn’t choose any of those characteristics, but they have proven to be advantages for me…Perhaps even more advantageous were my parents, who were people of deeply religious faith….with a belief that their creator didn’t make any second class souls or second class humans…As I translate this into my Board work and in the challenges we face, I believe in respecting all the children who come to us…And that compels us – for all the reasons of good – that we prepare our staff, to the best of their ability, to understand all the children in their classrooms. I feel fortunate to work in a school district that shares these beliefs. It’s not just a good idea, it is the law.”

Zimmer noted that previous staff development materials about transgender issues had been withdrawn because they did not meet the clarity of purpose and needs of LPS. “But I hope we will prepare our own materials, by our own skilled staff.”

Superintendent Steve Joel said LPS would move ahead to do just that. “We are in the process of inventorying existing materials…and have a standing committee in place to review materials. We are under a legal obligation to provide information to educators about transgender students. We’re not going to back away from that. We can’t back away from making sure our teachers and educators gain a beneficial understanding about all students.

“Our educators are doing things for the right reasons and they should be applauded for that…I want them to hear my words…We have to continue the work.”

Joel said LPS officials would be transparent as they move ahead in reviewing and selecting staff development materials “making sure they are appropriate, and that we are compliant with state and federal obligations.”

Other School Board members also commented.

  • Kathy Danek: “There are so many issues and so much diversity in the world…We try and give our teachers a plethora of information…to make sure they are trained to deal with each and every student in their classroom…That changes with every student who walks into the door…Our policies state that we take care of everyone, show admiration and respect for everyone in our classrooms.”
  • Don Mayhew: “The major point here is equal access, making sure every child has equal access to the classroom and equal opportunities.”
  • Lanny Boswell: “I would like to thank all community members who came forward on this issue…The conversation has been civil and respectful…and this has been a good opportunity to describe our principles: Our primary mission is to educate our children, all our children – and all still means all.”

Katie McLeese Stephenson, the Board member who chairs the Policy Review and Revision Committee, specifically addressed policy issues related to this topic – policies recently reviewed by the Committee.

The Committee – in summary – affirmed that recent professional development about transgender issues were in compliance with LPS policies. The Committee determined that the policies “support student success, parental involvement and comply with state and federal laws. There were no recommended changes made to the policies that we reviewed.”

The full Policy Review Committee summary follows.

Policy 8002: Purpose and Role of the Board

Public speakers expressed that the Board is responsible for all actions of the administration and staff. The public speakers expressed the belief that several points of policy and state and federal law were violated. The speakers expressed that the Board is responsible for making any required changes to bring the district in compliance with its own policies and state/federal law, including the addition of new policy and regulation language.

As a district we are guided by our mission, policies and state and federal law. It is important to note that on April 29, 2014 the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights issued a memo that states “Title IX’s sex discrimination prohibition extends to claims of discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity and the OCR (Office of Civil Rights) accepts such complaints for investigation. Similarly, the actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity of the parties does not change a school’s obligations.” There is a clear legal obligation for district administration to prepare teachers to meet the needs of all students.

After careful review of the concerns, the Policy Revision and Review Committee of the Board did not find that use of the discussed handouts at Irving in a staff conversation violated any district policy or regulation, and the district’s existing policies and regulations are in alignment with existing state and federal laws. The district administration and leadership are taking reasonable action to ensure that LPS is in compliance with Title IX, avoids any undue sanctions from the Office of Civil Rights, and most importantly, best serves all of our students.

The materials that were used in staff discussion at Irving Middle School have been removed as it has been determined that they do not stand on their own. Preparing staff, however, to meet the needs of all students in a safe, respectful and welcoming environment remains a priority for LPS.

Policy 6400: Curriculum Decisions

Public speakers expressed that anything a teacher considers impacts the delivery of curriculum to students, so parents have a right to be aware of these considerations or materials and have the right to review any teacher training materials.

The Board’s interpretation of Policy 6400 and the definition of curriculum based on the entirety of the policy is that curricula are those things that happen inside the classroom with students. Professional development and dialogue occurs outside of the classroom and is not interpreted to be curriculum and would not be a part of content made available to parents as curriculum. Based on this interpretation the committee did not feel that this policy was violated nor does it apply.

Policy 6450: Controversial Issues

Public speakers expressed that the handouts that were used at Irving fit the definition of “controversial materials” and LPS should provide advanced notification to parents about controversial issues to allow parents to opt their children out of exposure to these materials.

Policy 6450 covers controversial issues that will be addressed by students in class, so students can develop their critical thinking skills. Since the handouts in question and professional conversations were not intended to be used in the classroom the policy was neither violated nor does it apply. We know that this is an important policy for content in the classroom that is considered to be controversial and one that parents utilize, but the committee did not feel it applied to the materials in question as they were intended for professional development purposes.

Policy 6443: Parental Involvement

Public speakers expressed that parent involvement is critical for the success of children in public schools, and the Lincoln Public Schools is not sufficiently nurturing parental involvement in schools nor following the language on parental involvement contained in state statute. There should be greater transparency, so parents can be involved in opting their children out of assignments and discussions when they feel it is appropriate.

We welcome parent involvement and agree that it is a key to student success. There are many ways that parents are involved in the schools and we recognize that this partnership improves our schools. As we do annually, a public hearing on our Parental Involvement policy was held at the Board meeting on September 23rd and the policy was approved during second reading on October 14th. All elements of this policy align with state and federal law. The existing policy allows parents access to all student curriculum and provides avenues for parents to object to curriculum, suggest changes to curriculum, have their child use alternate curriculum, and completely opt out of curriculum. We agree that these are important ways for parents to be involved and believe that our current policy addresses and encourages parental involvement.

Policy 4850: Personal Freedom

Public speakers expressed that teachers were forced to adopt beliefs or act in a way that was contrary to their personal beliefs.

The policy expresses the right of individuals to hold their own personal beliefs, but also expresses the responsibility of district employees to act in a way that serves the mission of the district.   The professional development was meant to further the mission of the district in meeting the needs of a wide range of students. To date, no staff, either named or anonymous, have expressed any concerns regarding the violation of this policy through either LPS or the Lincoln Education Association (LEA) processes. Additionally, since meeting the needs of transgender students is a legal requirement, the discussion of that topic is not a presentation of one political viewpoint, but following through on a Title IX requirement. If staff have concerns we would encourage them to bring these forward so they may be addressed. Open communication is a necessary first step in resolving concerns.

Policy 6620 and 6621 – District and External Research

Public speakers expressed that outside researchers are doing research on students without parental consent and that researchers are doing research that is motivated to indoctrinate or change the mindset of children without the parents’ knowledge or consent.

For participation in any research practiced in the Lincoln Public Schools, all research requests must, at a minimum, have been approved by the Director of Assessment and Evaluation at LPS and parents must provide their consent and students their assent.

In the particular question of Dr. Swearer’s research, the research protocol received LPS approval, approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at the University of Nebraska, and all students and parents gave consent and assent to participate. In Dr. Swearer’s research BOTH parents and students were active participants in the research, not just students.

In reviewing the application, implementation and data collection processes, all met the requirements set aside in state and federal law and were properly approved by the University’s IRB and LPS Director of Research. No complaints have been filed by any of the participants in Dr. Swearer’s research. The committee determined that the policy had not been violated.

In conclusion the Policy Review and Revision committee met and reviewed policies where a concern had been raised at recent board meetings. In our review we reaffirmed that these policies support student success, parental involvement and comply with state and federal laws. There were no recommended changes made to the policies that we reviewed. We clarified the intention of the policies in question.

Thanks to my colleagues Ms. Baier and Mrs. Danek for their work on the committee and to various LPS staff for their time and attention devoted to the review of these policies.

Board of Education work session

The Lincoln Board of Education also held a Work Session Tuesday to continue discussion of the Lincoln Public Schools Technology/Instruction plan – called CLASS (Connected Learning Achievement Students Staff). This plan embraces a five-year initiative that includes both the equipment and hardware necessary for instructional technology as well as the necessary staff training and professional development, and connected classrooms and digital curriculum for students.

Don Mayhew, chair of the Board’s Technology Committee, said the Board aims to develop a road map to guide them in developing a general course of action and timeline – beginning with a Board resolution providing affirmation for the Technology Plan.

Jane Stavem, associate superintendent for Instruction, talked about the necessity of community feedback and advice.

A few of the major broad issues Board members began to consider:

  • Emphasizing student achievement:

o   Instruction drives technology

o   Teaching and learning fit, devices last

o   Curriculum supported by technology

  • Sustainability

o   Parameters: budget

o   Plan for people: coaches, tech support

o   Plan for professional development

  • Flexibility

o   Technology

o   Curriculum

o   BYOD: Guaranteed Access

  • Priorities: How fast will we go?

o   Technology commitment

o   Professional development

  • Facilities

o   Building schools for the 21st Century

o   Factor into future building projects

  • Implementation of Multi-Year Plan

o   Board Approval

o   Annual Review

 

  • Staff development

o   Prioritized

o   Built-in provision for competency

 

Posted on November 11, 2014


Event to raise funds for LPS Waiver Program Fundraiser

The Capital Jazz Society will host a fundraiser tribute to late Lincoln trumpet icon Mac McCune on TuesdayNovember 11, 2014, 7:30 pm at Vega, 350 Canopy St., #220 in the Historic Haymarket.

Mac’s son, Dr. Bryan McCune on trumpet, will lead the extravaganza. This installment of the Capital Jazz Series will also feature performances by a host of Lincoln musicians drawing from favorite songs of McCune's extensive repertoire, including an homage to the legendary Aku Tiki years.  

Suggested donation is $10. Proceeds will go to the Lincoln Public Schools Instrument Fee Waiver program.  Details at http://www.artsincorporated.org/cjs/

Posted on November 07, 2014


LSW wrestling hosting 'Takedown for the Troops' event

The Lincoln Southwest High School wrestling program will host its second 'Takedowns for the Troops' event.

The wrestling dual on Dec. 16 between Southwest and Lincoln Northeast will help raise funds for the Raising money for Disabled American Veterans. The match begins at 6 p.m.

Last year, LSW Wrestling was able to raise more than $3,000 for the Disabled American Veterans. The school's booster club made the initial pledge of $15 per takedown, and will continue to support the team this season.

Posted on November 07, 2014


Free paper shredding event at three high schools

A free paper shredding event will be held this Saturday, Nov. 8, from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. at three locations.

Drop off up to two boxes of documents to be shredded for free at the following locations:

  • Lincoln High School Parking Lot -- 2229 J St.
  • North Star High School Parking Lot -- 5801 N 33rd St.
  • Southwest High School Parking Lot -- 7001 S. 14th St.

 

 

Posted on November 07, 2014


Stars hockey interested in school partnerships

The Lincoln Stars Hockey organization is looking to promote partnerships with schools and school-supporting organizations (PTOs, for example). Currently, some schools in Lincoln Public Schools have had hockey players visit classrooms for various curriculum purposes. For more information on the opportunities below, contact Alanna Morse with the Lincoln Stars at 402-474-7827 ext. 11.

1. Fundraisers for schools, clubs, athletics, etc. 

  • Tickets are sold for $16.50 and you get back $6.50 for every ticket sold
  • Minimum amount of tickets that can be taken is 100 which means you will make at least $650 for your fundraiser
  • You can earn .50 cents more for every ticket sold over 150
  • There are no fundraisers available for the Omaha games

2. Group Nights 

  • Depending on the group size, you can get lower rates for tickets. 
  • Anything above 20 people is considered a group
  • We can get groups together and have an entire night for a certain school as a fun activity for students, teachers, and their families

3. National Anthem Singing Groups

- Music groups have started singing the National Anthem at the beginning of the games and then stay to watch and have a good time.  Group rates would be given on tickets to the music group and any of their families.

4. Skate Days

- You can come down to the ice box and have a skate hour for a certain grade level or as a incentive for kids that get a high enough grade point average or award for Students of the month. Cost would depend on length of time for ice and amount of skate rentals but there is no limit on amount of children that can skate. We do have a limit on rental skate though at around 275.  

5. Teacher Appreciation Night

- Teacher and their families can have a fun night out in a group and even take part in the intermission games if available during that game.

Posted on November 07, 2014


Windstream offering money for high schools through idea contest

Windstream challenges you to create one clear and concise vision for the connected way of life in 2025 through a short video. Deadline is Nov. 15, 2014.

Winning students will receive $20,000 split evenly among the team and $20,000 for their school’s parent organization. As an added bonus, the winners will receive a personal virtual session, sponsored by NYC startup, MobileROI, with at least one venture capitalist that will give feedback on the video and offer advice to the winning students. 

The highest scoring video submissions will be posted on Windstream’s YouTube and social media channel. The winning submission may also be used by media. If they so choose, winners may participate in interviews with journalists to describe the vision.

As you’re thinking about how technology will develop and evolve, try to focus on one key theme, ie. the family dynamic, education, health care, etc. Too many topics may prove difficult in developing a clear vision. 

The only request is that you be as imaginative and creative as possible. As you’re developing your theme, try not to limit yourself to what is being developed today as you think about how people will use technology tomorrow. 

For more detailed information on rules, judging criteria and submission guidelines, please read the contest rules included in the entry pamphlet or visit our website www.Windstream.com/SmartTomorrow or see their contest PDF file.

Posted on November 07, 2014


Southwest teacher earns status as Certified Journalism Educator

Brandi Benson, teacher at Lincoln Southwest High School, has completed the requirements and been awarded Certified Journalism Educator status.

Journalism certification requirements for educators include earning college credit in news reporting and writing, communications, law, and publications advising, or passing an examination that demonstrates the educator's proficiency in those areas.

The business/commercial enterprises recognizes professionals who have achieved national scholastic journalism standards to work with journalism educators and their students at the highest levels within and outside of the classroom by passing an examination that demonstrates the same journalism standards that educators are proficiency in.

By becoming a Certified Journalism Educator, Benson has achieved national recognition and joins a group of 526 Certified Journalism Educators who regard journalism as an academic subject and recognizes the importance of having a qualified instructor and representative involved in journalism education.

Brandi will be awarded a certificate at a Fall high school journalism convention in Washington, D.C.

Posted on November 06, 2014


LHS senior honored by state art group

Repulished from Nebraskans for the Arts

James Yeu is a person who gives his artwork away to fellow students and teachers as a way to connect with others. Nebraskans for the Arts is giving back to Yeu by awarding him with the Student Spotlight in the Arts award for November.

Yeu, a Lincoln High School senior, is an extremely talented student in art. He excels in visual arts and makes incredible sketches of other students and teachers. What is unique about James is that he gives most of his artwork away to the people who sit as he sketches their likeness on paper. “I can’t remember a time when art was not a part of my life,” says Yeu. “It is a way for me to connect with others.”

His nominating teacher, Sam Russel, said: “James is an incredible artist. His artwork can be seen throughout Lincoln High, because he shares his passion for sketching with everyone.” “James has begun to explore sketching landscapes and is also an up-and- coming musician, playing the guitar,” Russel added.

Nebraskans for the Arts regularly recognizes “Student Spotlight” recipients in their communities and shares their successes with state legislators, principals and school boards. In its desire to underscore the importance of arts education across the state, Nebraskans for the Arts sincerely thanks each of these students’ arts educators for helping young adults develop their talents. Nominations for “Spotlight on Student Achievement in the Arts” are received through a survey found on the Nebraskans for the Arts website, www.nebraskansforthearts.org.

About Nebraskans for the Arts:

Nebraskans for the Arts is a non-profit membership organization. NFTA advocates for high- quality arts education, promotes arts-related policies, and supports adequate funding for the arts. NFTA is a member of the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network and is an Americans for the Arts state affiliate. 

Posted on November 06, 2014


Larson elected president of national math teachers group

Matt Larson, curriculum specialist for Math in Lincoln Public Schools, has been elected president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. He will serve one year as president-elect (2015–2016), before assuming the full duties of president for a two-year term beginning in the spring of 2016.

The NCTM Board sets the direction, establishes policy, and oversees the activities of the Council.

In his candidacy information, Larson listed three goals:

1. Increase and improve the quality, diversity, and delivery platforms of NCTM professional development offerings to enhance members’ access to mathematics content and effective instructional practices.

2. Increase NCTM’s engagement in public and political advocacy for high-quality teaching and learning of mathematics.

3. Increase and sustain the membership of NCTM.

Posted on November 06, 2014


Park MS hosting College to career night

College fairs aren't unusual, but how about one for middle school students?

Park Middle School is hosting College to Career Night in its gym from 4 to 6 p.m. on Nov. 18.

Topics include:

  • Career Exploration
  • Admission Process and Requirements
  • College Selection
  • Application Process
  • Understanding Costs – Cost of Attendance
  • Scholarships

Posted on October 31, 2014


LYS hosting Nov. 9 concert

The Lincoln Youth Symphony, under the direction of Clark Potter, conductor, will host a free concert SundayNovember 9, at 3 p.m. at Southwest High School Auditorium. 
 
The concert is titled 'A Russian Festival of Song!' with Music by Russian nationalist composers, all taken from operas or derived from songs. 
 
Pieces include: 
  • Kabalevsky: Overture to Colas Bruegnon
  • Liadov: Eight Russian Folks Songs
  • Rachmaninoff:  Vocalise
  • Borodin: Polovetsian  Dances from Prince Igor
The Borodin piece is the highlight of the program, as a chorus of 200 from five local high schools will lend their voices to the piece.

Posted on October 31, 2014


Student Vote 2014: LPS students elect Ricketts and approve minimum wage

Results Available Here

Republican candidate Pete Ricketts would be governor – the minimum wage would pass – and Republican Ben Sasse would be Nebraska’s next new U.S. Senator – if Lincoln Public Schools students ruled the world.

Student Vote 2014 happened at LPS Thursday with more than 20,000 students casting votes on their own version of Election Day: LPS students along with students from Lincoln Christian schools and Elmwood-Murdock schools.

"Student Vote gives our students a chance to exercise one of the more fundamental American rights: the right to vote," said Randy Ernst, curriculum specialist for Social Studies. "And while the tendency for some will be to focus on who won, we at LPS focus on the process of what it takes to be an informed and active participant in the democratic process. Student Vote is good citizenship in action."

Students in the higher elementary grades, middle and high school students voted – some on computers, others using paper ballots – sharing their views on everything from governor and attorney general to whether Nebraska should boost the minimum wage.

Student Vote 2014 totals

Governor

Pete Ricketts, Republican: 10, 478

Chuck Hassebrook, Democratic: 5,690

Mark Elworth Jr. Libertarian: 3,253

Nebraska Minimum Wage Increase (incrementally increase the state’s hourly minimum wage to $9 by Jan. 1, 2016)

For: 13,684

Against: 5,039

Nebraska Senator

Ben Sasse, Republican: 11,079

Dave Domina, Democratic: 4,369

Jim Jenkins, Independent: 1,163

Todd Watson, Independent: 2,858

Nebraska District 1 Representative/House of Representatives

Jeff Fortenberry, Republican: 11,908

Dennis Crawford, Democratic: 7,112

Secretary of State

John Gale, Republican: 10,052

Ben Backus, Democratic: 8,447

State Treasurer

Don Stenberg, Republican: 8,547

Michael J. O’hara, Democratic: 5,194

Michael Knebel, Libertarian: 5,139

Attorney General

Janet Stewart, Democratic: 10,829

Doug Peterson, Republican: 8,150

 

 

 

 

Posted on October 31, 2014


Highlights of Oct. 28 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

Highlights of Oct. 28 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular Board meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 28 at LPS District Office, 5905 O St. The next Board meeting is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 11.

New LPS school names honor early childhood advocate, educator, judge

The Lincoln Board of Education Tuesday approved three names: for a new elementary and middle school, and a soon-to-be renovated facility at 1801 S. 40th St. – recommendations passed on by the Lincoln Public Schools Community Naming Committee.

The names are:

  • Sally G. Wysong Elementary School, named after a long-time early childhood advocate who ran the Meadowlane daycare/preschool, and later served on the Lincoln Board of Education.
  • Marilyn Moore Middle School, named after the former Associate Superintendent for Instruction at LPS, a life-long educator who gave her career to the students of LPS.
  • Bill Nuernberger Education Center, named after the first separate juvenile judge for Lancaster County, a man who advocated that children and young people needed a separate court.

The new elementary and middle school will both be located in southeast Lincoln: The elementary school will open in the fall of 2016; the middle school will open in the fall of 2017. The renovated facility – at 1801 S. 40th St. and previous home to the Bryan Focus Program – will soon provide a home for middle school students who need additional behavior, emotional and social support.

School libraries

Librarians today play a critical role in what’s happening in our schools, LPS Superintendent Steve Joel said, introducing Mary Reiman, director of Library Media Services.

Reiman gave an update of the role of “the 21st century librarians…We really don’t look much like the librarians of your childhood.

Library media specialists focus on developing four major 21st century skills in students:

  • Collaboration.
  • Communication.
  • Creativity: Building, designing, inventing.
  • Critical thinking and problem solving.

Why is digital conversion so important?

Reiman: “We have the opportunity to open up a world of learning that we have never had the capacity to do before…Our job is to help our students find the best information possible…It is extremely exciting – and, it seems to me, to be very, very magical.”

Board recognition

The Board of Education recognized Melissa Pilney, a French teacher at Lefler Middle School and Lincoln North Star High School, honored by the Nebraska International Languages Association as the recipient of the 2014 Outstanding New World Language Award.

Public comments and Superintendent update

Community citizens testified about professional development at LPS related to transgender, gender nonconforming and gender conforming students.

LPS Superintendent Steve Joel took a moment to comment on the issue.

Joel’s complete statement follows:

“Our School District has gone through a valuable learning experience over the past month. I appreciate all those who have offered input, and I would like to say a few words of perspective and reflection.

First, I’d like to underline something that I know for sure. At Lincoln Public Schools we are committed to all students – and all means all. That’s something I knew long before a month ago, but I’m proud of how our staff and our Board of Education have united over the last few weeks to reinforce that core mission.

Lincoln Public Schools welcomes every student who walks through our doors and is committed to providing them with the very best education we can.

Something else I know for sure: Our school district is committed to cultural proficiency – work to gain a better understanding of children and adults from diverse backgrounds so we can establish positive relationships with all. In fact, much of what we do in teaching and learning must be seen through the lens of cultural proficiency. This isn’t new, it has been a part of LPS for a number of years.

We are educationally stronger when we provide information and guidance through professional development to help staff tune in to the needs of all students. These materials are not shared with students nor are they shared in a classroom setting. These are materials that help our educators do a better job of teaching. In fact, every young person has the right to have informed, educated, and compassionate teachers.

We also know that some topics in cultural proficiency are very sensitive and make us uncomfortable. While we would never expect any member of our staff to alter their personal beliefs or values, we do expect that they will create welcoming classrooms – always.

Over the past month, we have had powerful conversations with citizens, staff and administrators who took valuable time to talk with us – to tell us they care about these issues – parents with varied opinions – parents who are all clearly committed to all children. I appreciate everyone who sent letters, emails, text messages, and spoke to us with civility. We are all stronger because of these healthy discussions.

We value your words. We listened. And, I believe we learned from the various perspectives.

As we move forward in our continuing journey of cultural proficiency, we need to be very cognizant of the materials we are using. We need to make sure our resources are appropriate, purposeful, and clear. These documents were not, and I have directed that they be removed from our schools.

I trust our educators and value their professional judgment. We must do our very best to make sure the materials we use in professional development are aligned with our policies and best practices.

We are reinforcing important guidance with all our administrators, principals, teachers, and staff.

First…we must all be increasingly aware it’s a new world out there – where materials can be posted on the web – in social media – sometimes without explanation or context. Our handouts and resources must be able to stand alone with clarity.

Second…It is appropriate to utilize experts when we are learning about a topic that is new to us. However, before we further distribute information from guest speakers, we need to ensure all those materials are consistent with district policies and best practices.

Finally…in the event a subject matter or resource materials may cause questions or concerns among staff or community – I am asking our staff to seek a review from school and district leadership. In the event that questions continue to persist, I am asking our LPS Cultural Proficiency Implementation Advisory Steering Committee to appraise the materials and lend guidance.

LPS has an over-arching policy of equity and non-discrimination. LPS does not and will not discourage the terminology “boys and girls” when referring to students, but LPS does and will promote a safe environment that recognizes individual differences so that 39,000 students can feel included, welcomed and successful. That is what makes me proud of our staff, our district and ultimately our results.”

 

 

Posted on October 28, 2014


Foundation for LPS accepting nominees for educator awards

The Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools would like to recognize teachers who go above and beyond and use creative and innovative ways to better classroom learning.

The public can nominate a teacher, principal or other education professional for the 2015 Educator Awards.

  • Florence J. Clark Middle School Award - Two $3,000 awards to recognize outstanding middle school teachers
  • Helen Krieger Outstanding Healthcare Provider Award - $1,000 to a healthcare provider
  • John Prasch Health and Physical Fitness Award -$1,000 to an educator who promotes health and physical fitness
  • Leola Bullock Multicultural Award - LPS employee who fosters understanding of our multicultural society
  • Marian Battey Andersen and Charles Wheaton Battey Outstanding Teacher Award - $1,200 award to recognize leadership at Sheridan Elementary, Irving Middle School, or Lincoln High School
  • Marie Bourke Leadership Award - $1,000 to an LPS principal
  • Mike Troester Educator Award - $300 to a Southeast High School educator
  • Myrtle Clark Educator Award - $1,000 to a mathematics teacher
  • Nancy Muehlhausen Counseling Award - $1,000 to an educator accepted into a Master’s level school counseling program, or a current counselor in need of funds for professional development
  • R.L. Fredstrom Award - $1,000 to a teacher or coordinator who has shown outstanding leadership qualities
  • Ruth Eickman Award - $250 to an early childhood educator
  • Union Bank & Trust Award - $750 to educators who find creative ways to incorporate financial literacy into the classroom setting
  • Victor Vaughan Memorial Award - $3,200 to support a teacher project dedicated to special education students

Nominations & Applications are due by November 26.

To nominate and see a description of each educator award, visit foundationforlps.org/EducatorAwards.

Posted on October 28, 2014


Event to raise funds for LPS instrument fee waiver program

The Capital Jazz Society will host a fundraiser tribute to late Lincoln trumpet icon Mac McCune on TuesdayNovember 11, 2014, 7:30 pm at Vega, 350 Canopy St., #220 in the Historic Haymarket. Mac’s son, Dr. Bryan McCune on trumpet, will lead the extravaganza. This installment of the Capital Jazz Series will also feature performances by a host of Lincoln musicians drawing from favorite songs of McCune's extensive repertoire, including an homage to the legendary Aku Tiki years.  Suggested donation is $10. Proceeds will go to the Lincoln Public Schools Instrument Fee Waiver program.  Details at http://www.artsincorporated.org/cjs/

Posted on October 28, 2014


Career Academy announces information sessions for students, families

View the new website to learn more about TCA

The first public information session for The Career Academy will be held on Oct. 27, 2014 at Lincoln East High School - followed by similar sessions at each Lincoln Public Schools high school.  The new Career Academy program, of Lincoln Public Schools and Southeast Community College, will open in August 2015 at a site under construction near SCC at 86th Street and College Park Road.

Families and students in middle and high school interested in learning about high school, college and career opportunities through The Career Academy are invited to attend.

Each hour-long session begins at 7 p.m., with a short presentation opening the event, followed by an open Q&A session:

  • Monday, Oct. 27 - Lincoln East cafeteria
  • Tuesday, Oct. 28 - Lincoln Southwest auditorium
  • Thursday, Oct. 30 - Lincoln High theater
  • Monday, Nov. 10 - Lincoln North Star auditorium
  • Tuesday, Nov. 11 - Lincoln Northeast commons
  • Tuesday, Nov. 18 - Lincoln Southeast commons 

The Career Academy will feature 16 career pathways, engaging instruction, hands-on experiences and real-life opportunities in and outside the classroom. Juniors and seniors will attend TCA for two hours a day, earn high school and SCC credits through dual credit courses, and will have a distinct advantage on applications for jobs, internships, scholarships and/or college.

For more information, call director Dan Hohensee at 402-436-1787 or visit www.thecareer.academy.

Posted on October 27, 2014


Artist's rendering of LHS (time-lapse video), celebrating 100 years at 2229 J St.

Lincoln High School is in its 100th year at 2229 J Street. LPS graphic artist Julie Lemons drew a rendering of the front of the school.

Posted on October 24, 2014


Looking beyond labels to student learning

LPS has high standards for students: Looks beyond latest federal ‘labels’ to improve student learning 

Lincoln Public Schools continues to set high standards while aiming to ensure every child succeeds and flourishes in school, despite what most local and national education officials consider an outdated and ineffective No Child Left Behind (NCLB) system that continues to label schools, according to Steve Joel superintendent of LPS.

“Regardless of federal and state accountability standards calling for 100 percent proficiency for all students, LPS staff members continue to focus on helping students achieve,” Joel said.  “We want every child to succeed and will continue to make this our absolute highest priority.”

Like almost all school districts in Nebraska, LPS did not meet what are called the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) goals for 2014 as required by NCLB. These reports measure the school district’s performance in terms of the percentage of students who are at or above state-defined academic standard goals in major academic areas.

For schools to meet AYP this year, 100 percent of all students – regardless of special needs, English language mastery, or other life-impacting circumstances – must have met proficiency standards, explained Jane Stavem, associate superintendent of Instruction at LPS.

In fact, nearly every school in Nebraska will fail to meet these highly unrealistic standards for 2014 – and as a result many LPS schools may now be labeled “Not Met” or “Needs Improvement,” Stavem continued.

“The labels mask what is really important here,” Jadi Miller, director of Curriculum at LPS, said in response to the State of the Schools Report issued Friday.  “We look and focus on growth over time, improvement over time. Are we making a difference for kids?”

Miller stressed LPS strives to make sure that students, schools and the school district are generally trending in the right direction and showing continuous improvement – and that is exactly what is happening: ”Our teachers, administrators and staff members at LPS are doing excellent work – reflected in the achievement and accomplishments of our students.”

Stavem said that LPS pays great attention to valuable data – though little attention to federal labels that have become almost meaningless. “We look at trend lines, we look for improvement on a student by student basis.  LPS continues to find new ways to apply what the data can teach the school district.” 

“This year we are adding an internal layer of additional supports.  We study the data and look at the places we might need improvement and ask:  Where do we need to be more specific with curriculum support?  Instructional support?  We continue to add supports and interventions that are very intentional and specific.”

In addition, LPS continues to focus on its mission to ensure every child succeed and flourish in school, according to Bess Scott, director of Continuous Improvement and Professional Learning. “As educators we are fully committed to all students reaching their full potential and we are proud of the significant academic progress our students are making – as evidenced in increasing achievement scores district-wide, and our high school graduation rate.”

The State of the Schools Report publishes information – an overwhelming amount of numbers, labels and statistics – for all school districts across Nebraska. The Report includes achievement from the Nebraska State Accountability (NeSA) tests, federal accountability decisions and more. NeSA scores were released earlier this school year with results indicating LPS showed consistent increases over the previous year and were above state averages in most grade levels and subject areas. Graduation rates and state accountability rankings by graduation rates will be released in November.

Only schools receiving federal Title 1 funds are subject to the ramifications of the NCLB Act, and therefore some LPS students are eligible for free tutoring or possible transfer to another school. 

So what would a sound educational accountability system look like? 

Stavem said: “We would want a system that recognizes growth, improvement over time, a system reflective of achievement and adequate progress…A system that helps us understand where we need to focus our work.”

No Child Left Behind:  A few facts

The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act was signed into law in 2002 – and focused on an annual measure of student participation and achievement on statewide assessments and other indicators. 

Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) is the term No Child Left Behind uses to measure whether your child’s school has met a state’s reading, math and writing goals.  BY 2014, 100 percent  OF ALL STUDENTS ARE REQUIRED TO PASS STATE ASSESSMENTS.

The No Child Left Behind Act was signed into law on January 8, 2002.  This legislation expired on September 30, 2007, without new educational legislation approved by Congress to replace it.  

Posted on October 24, 2014


Reports that U.S. public education is failing are not true, and here's why

Rob McEntarffer has been involved in public education in some form his entire life: as a student, son of two parents involved in public education, a teacher himself, an assessment specialist and a parent of, currently, a Lefler Lion and a Randolph Roadrunner.

He's offended when people give broad generalizations about how public education in the United States is failing.

McEntarffer laid out his arguments - based on research - at a Learning Lunch at Lincoln Public Schools.

The first myth McEntarffer discussed was that the United States is lagging behind other countries in education.

He cited David Berliner, a statistician and writer, uncovered oddities in data in international test score comparison, where the U.S. is typically in the middle of the rankings.

The history of the international test ranks since the beginning has placed the United States in the middle of the pack. Berliner looked at test scores broken down by poverty, and found the U.S. ranks very well when poverty levels are near equal with other countries.

Also, not all countries include all students in testing.

Another myth McEntarffer tackled was "Our kids can't read or do math." These broad generalizations, he said, irritate him because they rely on broad statistitcs.

Education leaders in China, according to researcher Yong Zhao, aren't pleased with their own education system, even though they consistently rank near the top of international test scores. China's education leaders, Zhao says, worry about a lack of creativity, and the United States should not merely aim to replicate China's success on international tests.

Furthermore, McEntarffer said, National Assessment of Education Progress - a nationwide achievement test - shows that today's students have been getting better or at least holding its own since 1971.

The third myth McEntarffer discussed was that public education is getting worse, "The sky is falling," approach, he said.

Dozens and dozens of initiatives have been added to the mission of the public schools since 1900. Items like school lunch, school-mandated transportation, sex education, adult education, career education, safety education and more. And, McEntarffer said, public schools have taken them on, adding them to the basics: math, reading, science and social studies.

Research David Labaree noted, McEntarffer said, that the public expects schools to emphasize all students abilities and individual student success at the same time.

McEntarffer said to find the area of calm, below the storm of the 'sky is falling,' teachers and schools emphasize creativity and experiences for students.

LPS honors those places of calm, McEntarffer said, and he urged the audience to point out myths other people claim. Look for the details behind the big general number or test score, he said.

McEntarffer also gave this metaphor: If you enjoyed someone's soup, you would comment on the flavor and ingredients and so forth. But a student who writes an essay with many parts to consider, ends up with a single grade letter or number. That, he said, just doesn't make sense.

 

Posted on October 24, 2014


Local Foods Day includes lettuce grown in water

LPS Nutrition Services has partnered with several Nebraska growers to provide students with fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables. Today, Oct. 24, our school lunch menu is celebrating Local Food Day, and offering Smart Chicken drumsticks and Bibb lettuce grown right here in Nebraska. The Bibb lettuce will be used for salads, and is grown by Oak Ridge Farms in Ord. The greenhouse uses a method called hydroponics, where the lettuce grows in water and the plants receive the nutrients they need to grow without the use of soil.

 

Posted on October 24, 2014


Project Search puts students in job situations, then jobs

LPS students with disabilities are actively learning skills through Project Search, three 10-week rotations working for employers in Lincoln. Many have gone on to obtain employment, a key goal at the end of the student’s time in the program.

A Project Search Information Night will be from 6 to 7:30 tomorrow night at the Embassy Suites, 1040 P St. For more information, contact Mary Phillips at 402-436-1905 or Kim Hovendick at khovend@lps.org

The Lincoln Public Schools Project Search program is a yearlong internship providing opportunities for students who are 18-21 years of age with disabilities to learn and gain competitive job skills.  Along with Lincoln Public Schools; Embassy Suites – Lincoln, Nebraska VR, DHHS, Assistive Technology Partnership and Nebraska Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired have partnered together to teach and encourage these selected students.

In addition to skill development in the work environment, Project Search students participate in dedicated classroom time.  This time is spent following the Project Search curriculum, which includes refining soft skills, problem solving and teamwork.

Posted on October 20, 2014


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