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.

Bubba's Closet donations accepted at Hanger's locations < New

Bubba’s Closet, a goodwill effort by the elementary principals of Lincoln Public Schools, is accepting elementary-age clothing that your children have outgrown.

Your donations will be cleaned by Hanger’s, sorted by LPS principals and then shared with families in need at an event in November.

When cleaning out your closets, sort out donations for kids that need warm jackets, pants and shirts, and bring them to Hangers locations on Pine Lake Road near 25th street, Van Dorn and 70th streets, 21 and G streets and 1550 S. Coddington.

Those families who have clothing needs for their child can visit McPhee Elementary School, just south of the state capital at 820 Goodhue Blvd., from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 15. You will be given a bag for winter coats, jackets, sweaters, sweatshirts or jeans, and more.

Any elementary student, accompanied by an adult, may choose appropriate items of clothing to adopt and use.

Posted on September 19, 2014


Promote your school through Senior Q&A < Updated

Wanting to promote your club or activity or sport? Or just want your students to get recognition?

Encourage seniors to complete the Senior Q&A

Questions are based on how their experiences make them better students, their favorite classes and moments, and advice for others, so we anticipate positive responses. Staff members are encouraged to share this opportunity with seniors.

The goal is to create more content about the great things our students are doing, with a hook for 'extracurricular activities.' These Q&A responses will be promoted on the LPS website, sometimes through LPS social media, but more importantly, they will be great content for high school Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, even your school web site. 

The students' answers will remain private until we re-read them, proof them, and eventually publish them once we receive a photo from the student. Any questionable wording or stories will be removed or edited. 

For more information, contact Zachary Baehr at zbaehr@lps.org.

Posted on September 18, 2014


Arts in Education Week in LPS < Updated

This week is designated Arts in Education Week by the United States Congress.
 
Lincoln Public Schools Art Department goals are that students will be able to:
 
  • Acquire skills to be able to analyze, reflect, understand and communicate ideas prevalent in today’s Visual Age of media rich culture.
  • Understand that art is a form of literacy and can convey meaning through content (subject matter, themes, metaphors, irony), context (personal, cultural, historical, artistic), and Form (elements and principles of design, techniques, genres and styles).
  • Create ideas that are meaning-laden. Conveying concepts, feelings, values and qualities.
  • Identify and understand cross-cultural understanding that happen within art. As global interdependence between people and societies continue to develop, art helps students understand the diversity of cultures as well as commonalities.
  • Develop cognitive skills of observation, creativity, reflection, critical thinking (problem finding), problem solving, recognizing multiple and diverse interpretations and confront ambiguity.

Schools are encouraged to share photos of their student artwork by emailing the images to zbaehr@lps.org.

Students can also participate in our monthly Art Challenge in Community News.

Posted on September 18, 2014


LPS High School Music/Theater Calendar < Updated

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.

September 2014

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

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

October 2014

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

2-4 - Theater: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, North Star, Oct. 2-3 at 7 p.m. and Oct. 4 at 2:30 and 7 p.m.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 2014

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

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

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

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

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, Dec. 4, 5, 6 and 11, 12, 13 at 7 p.m., Tickets go on sale November 4, call 402-436-1335

5 - Theater: One Acts, 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 September 18, 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 – beginning with a program at noon on Tuesday, Sept. 16.

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, Sept. 16. Glass Plate Photos of Early Lincoln/More treasures from the LPS Archives: Ed Zimmer, Lincoln’s historic preservation planner and a member of the Lincoln Board of Education.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 21. Mythbusters, Education Edition: We're not failing: Rob McEntarffer, Assessment and Evaluation specialist at LPS.
  • 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 September 15, 2014


CSM offering tech workshop as professional development opportunity

College of St. Mary's here in Omaha is offering a technology workshop as a professional development opportunity for area K-12 teachers. The workshop is Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m. on CSM's campus. The workshop is free of charg. The link for registration is below.

https://csmweb.csm.edu/Event_Registration/register.asp?EventID=942

Posted on September 12, 2014


Return shipping boxes, tubes to LPS Graphics

If LPS Graphics has sent you a poster or banner, it was probably inside a shipping box or a tube. Please follow the directions on the yellow stickers and return the empty boxes/tubes to Graphics. We re-used these to make sure your posters and banners arrive unharmed. So please return them. Thanks!

 

Posted on September 12, 2014


'Celebrate My Drive' offering grants

Celebrate My Drive encourages teens to make positive choices as they start driving, and State Farm is proud to help them stay safe as they explore the road ahead. High schools registered on celebratemydrive.com by Oct. 7th will compete to earn $3.25 million in grants. Community members and students age 14 and over will generate support for their high schools by making safe driving commitments online during U.S. National Teen Driver Safety Week, Oct. 18-26. Top prize includes a $100,000 grant and a private concert performed by GRAMMY® nominatedThe Band Perry. The 100 high schools generating the most safe driving commitments from Oct. 15 – 24 will win! 

Visit www.celebratemydrive.com for more information.

Posted on September 12, 2014


Lunch at the Library series

The Fall 2014 Lunch at the Library series at Bennett Martin Public Library begins Oct. 1. Bring your lunch and enjoy coffee provided by The Mill.

Programs begin at 12:10pm in the 4th Floor Auditorium
Bennett Martin Public Library
136 S. 14th Street, Lincoln, NE
Sponsored by the Nebraska Literary Heritage Association, support group for the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors

www.foundationforlcl.org
For more information, call 402.441.8516; email:  heritage@lincolnlibraries.org

 Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Jamison Wyatt
, Historian:
“The Tall White Tower: Mari’s Beacon of Light”

Wednesday, October 22, 2014
One Book – One Lincoln – Bonus!

Library Staff leads a discussion of
One Book – One Lincoln title, M. L. Stedman’s The Light between Oceans: A Novel

Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Laura Madeline Wiseman
, Author:
“Delightful Duos: Collaborating with Artists to Create Books, Broadsides, Digital Media, and More”

Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Vicki Wood
, Youth Services Librarian, Lincoln City Libraries:
“Great Books for Giving”

Posted on September 12, 2014


Maxey creates 'human' flag on Patriot Day

Posted on September 11, 2014


Durham hosting open house for teachers

The Durham Museum, 801 South 10th St. in Omaha, is hosting Teachers' Night 2014 from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 10, 2014.

At the event, teachers and educational professionals can:

  • Meet representatives and pick up free classroom resources from more than 50 area cultural and educational institutions
  • Network with other education professionals
  • Enjoy special performances from UNL'S Bathtub Dogs and UNO's Moving Company
  • Experience the latest in Durham Museum educational programming, including our featured exhibition, Identity an Exhibition of You from Philadelphia's Franklin Institute
  • Enjoy an Omaha history tour aboard Ollie the Trolley
  • Complimentary door prizes, raffle drawings, and cocktail and hors d'oeuvres reception will make this an evening you will not want to miss!

Registration for the free event can be done here - http://www.durhammuseum.org/teacherreservation/.

Posted on September 11, 2014


Baehr named to '35 under 35' group by NSPRA

Zachary Baehr, communications specialist for Lincoln Public Schools, has been honored with selection to the annual Class of 35 under 35 Young Professionals by the National School Public Relations Association.

Rich Bagin, NSPRA executive director, explained that the honor recognizes “our younger members who may not have been recognized yet for their achievements in their blossoming careers…Congratulations on this accomplishment and keep up the great work for your school communities and our profession.”

Posted on September 10, 2014


Culler digital pilot already bringing positive moments

Highlights of Sept. 9 Lincoln Board of Education work session, meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a work session and a regular Board meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 9 at LPS District Office, 5905 O St. The next Board meeting is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 23.

Board of Education meeting highlights

Update on Digital Learning Pilot project at Culler Middle School

Members of the Lincoln Board of Education Tuesday were provided with an update on the Digital Learning project at Culler Middle School – where staff members are instructing students through digital curriculum delivered online, and providing a tablet for each student.

Technology is a tool to facilitate excellent instruction, Board member Don Mayhew stressed. “I am very excited about this pilot and what education is going to look like at Lincoln Public Schools.”

Culler Principal Gary Czapla said it “is pretty amazing that only four weeks ago we handed out 650 digital devices to students…and saw the smiles on their faces and the smiles on their parents’ faces.

Czapla noted some wonderful early observations:

  • Staff rallying around each other with collaborative efforts.
  • Good instruction was happening at Culler prior to this year – but the digital devices are enhancing instruction: “The level of engagement is amazing.”
  • There are fewer behavioral issues among students, and much cooperation among students: students helping students.
  • Connectivity in the building is excellent – when there might be 600-plus student devices and teacher devices operating pretty seamlessly.
  • Staff has had amazing support and professional development.

“There are glitches…students not remembering passwords,” Czapla noted. “But students have taken this very seriously…are caring for their devices…Parents have been great about backing the school and saying this is a great way for kids to advance their education.”

Board member Kathy Danek said she was impressed with “seeing what is happening at Culler…I saw kids always engaged…I look forward to hearing how this really impacts how students have learned.”

Policy changes

Board members approved policy changes about: the Safe Pupil Transportation Plan, Student Transfers, Return to Learn/after concussions, and Public Notification.

Board of Education recognition

The Board of Education recognized Chris Johnson, pole vault coach for Lincoln Public Schools, for earning the Jeff Truman Memorial honor.

Board of Education Work Session highlights

The Lincoln Board of Education also held a Work Session Tuesday evening to discuss the vision and operational plan for technology-aided instruction in the school district – especially in light of two pilot programs this year at Culler Middle School and Riley Elementary School exploring the use of digital instruction.

The Lincoln Public Schools Technology/Instruction plan – called CLASS (Connected Learning Achievement Students Staff) – embraces a five-year initiative that includes both the equipment and hardware necessary for the plan as well as the necessary staff training and professional development, and connected classrooms and digital curriculum for students

LPS staff members are discussing how to gather additional input and feedback for possible resolutions that would guide the work of the technology plan.

Board member Richard Meginnis is looking forward to seeing a more specific operational plan with additional details and specifics. “I think we need to figure out how to roll this out and fund this.”

Kirk Langer, director of Technology at LPS, explained that the technology plan is beginning with the necessary infrastructure added to schools throughout the district, funded by the recent bond issue.

Langer urged the Board to consider a plan for fiscal sustainability for this plan. He noted additional proposed equipment necessary for effective digital learning:

  • Projectors and LED displays for digital content
  • Tablets and stands
  • Audio enhancement
  • Mounting cameras in the classroom with the Ability to videotape instruction

Jane Stavem, associate superintendent for Instruction at LPS, noted that videotaping best practices in a classroom could “show what great instruction looks like.”

Board members had questions.

“We as a community need to talk these things out,” Board member Barb Baier said. “Do we want videotape of a student fumbling with a geometry problem….videotape that can be accessed.”

Board member Lannie Boswell continued: “There is the concept of demonstrating masterful teaching – recorded and kept for decades…Yet at the same time, we have to consider the possible picture of that student fumbling with a geometry problem, or a student giving an oral presentation, becoming anxious. That becomes part of a permanent record. We need to be very thoughtful in putting policy together.”

Board member Don Mayhew, who chairs the Board’s Technology Committee, said more time would be scheduled for additional discussion of the technology plan. “This is part of a broader ongoing conversation with lots of issues and ramifications…There’s a lot more to talk about.”

Mayhew said there would be more discussion in the Board’s Technology Committee as well as outreach to the community.

 

Posted on September 10, 2014


Seacrest family funding video scoreboard

James and Kent Seacrest on behalf of the Joe and Ruth Seacrest Fund at the Lincoln Community Foundation presented a contribution of $110,000 to the Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools to fund a new video scoreboard going up at Seacrest Field.

Wendy Van, President of the Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools, accepted the contribution on behalf of the Foundation. “Lincoln is so fortunate to have generous families like the Seacrests supporting our students,” Van says, “We have one of the best school systems in the country and the support in our community plays a critical role in its success.”

Lincoln Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Steve Joel was also present to accept the contribution. “We cannot wait to start next fall with a renovated Seacrest Field. This is a huge boost to our athletic programs all across the city.”

James and Gary Seacrest presented the contribution. Accepting the gift were Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools President Wendy Van, Lincoln Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Steve Joel, Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools trustee and former President Sharon Wherry and Lincoln Board of Education President Richard Meginnis.

The Seacrest Family has a long history of making donations to help Lincoln athletics. In 1961, Lincoln Public Schools and the City of Lincoln collaborated on Seacrest Field, funded in part by a $50,000 gift from the J.C. Seacrest Trust.

“My grandfather J.C. Seacrest had a tremendous vision for our community, including seeing the importance of a high quality athletic field that all students could have access to,” says James Seacrest, “My nephew Kent and I are thrilled to see this legacy continue in new improvements to Seacrest Field in honor of my parents Joe and Ruth.”

Full renovations to Seacrest Field will begin after the final football game of the season and are expected to be completed by Fall 2015. In addition to the new scoreboard, improvements will include new bleachers, stadium and press box renovations and improved communications infrastructure. The Seacrests’ $110,000 contribution will act as a lead gift for the $250,000 video scoreboard.

Seacrest field is located near Lincoln East High School at 7400 A Street. It hosts all home field games for the six Lincoln high school athletics teams. 

Posted on September 10, 2014


Jeans on Fridays September?!

Staff can wear jeans on Friday in September with a $10 donation to TeamMates. A button will be sent to you to once online donation is made or check is received. (Note: If your button hasn’t arrived by Friday, it is still okay to wear your jeans.) This an excellent opportunity to embrace a more active workday in your jeans and sneakers while supporting TeamMates with pride.

To make your donation online click this link: http://www.razoo.com/story/Teammates-Mentoring-Program-50.

You are also welcome to pay via sending a check. Make the check payable to Lincoln TeamMates and send via interoffice mail to Walter Powell, TeamMates.Donations will go to support the TeamMates program and our students.

For more information, contact TeamMates at 402.436.1990. 

 

Posted on September 09, 2014


LPSAOP hosting craft fair, bake sale

The Lincoln Public Schools Association of Office Professionals are hosting a craft fair and bake sale from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 4, at Lincoln North Star High School, 5801 N. 33rd St. Entry is $1. For more information, see their flier.

Posted on September 08, 2014


Discounted Disney show tickets available

Discounted tickets for Disney's Junior Live performance on Sunday, Oct. 12 are available online from the show's producer.

For more information, view the flier.

Posted on September 04, 2014


VFW accepting nominations for Teacher of the Year

The VFW Teacher of the Year award contest recognizes three exceptional teachers for their outstanding commitment to teaching Americanism and patriotism to their students. Each year, a classroom elementary, junior high and high school teacher whose curriculum focuses on citizenship education topics—for at least half of the school day in a classroom environment—can be nominated for the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award. Winners receive:

    • A $1,000 award for professional development expenses.
    • A $1,000 award for his/her school.
    • Two award plaques: one for the teacher, the other for his/her school.
    • An all-expenses-paid trip to attend a VFW conference to receive their award.

WHO SHOULD BE NOMINATED:

Teachers who promote civic responsibility, flag etiquette and patriotism are prime candidates for the award.

If you know a teacher who plans field trips to city hall, organizes community volunteer projects or invites local veterans to speak in class, anything to help students develop a better understanding of democratic values and beliefs, this award is for them

HOW TO SUBMIT A NOMINATION:

Step 1: In 350 words or less, describe why you feel your nominee is deserving of the award. Be sure to describe the teacher's innovative teaching and resource development methods, as well as his or her dedication to education.

Step 2: Complete the VFW Smart/Maher National Citizenship Education Teacher Award nomination form.

Step 3: Submit the nomination form along with your explanation to your local VFW Post by November 1st.

Note: Nominations can be submitted by fellow teachers, supervisors or other interested individuals. Nominations submitted by relatives or self are not eligible.

HOW THE CONTEST WORKS:

Based on the nominees submitted, VFW's local chapters - called Posts - will recognize one outstanding teacher in grades K-5, 6-8 and 9-12. Posts then submit their winning names to their District-level judging.

From there, the selected winners are forwarded to the Department-level (state-level). Once they are judged on a state level, the winners are passed along to VFW National Headquarters for consideration in the national awards contest.

ACCESS COMPLETE RULES AND INFORMATION

Learn more about the 2014 winners.

LOCAL VFW POSTS

FIND A POST to contact VFW members near you or visit a VFW STATE DEPARTMENT website.

ATTENTION TEACHERS!

Want to receive updated information and materials on VFW's Voice of Democracy, Patriot's Pen and Teacher Award programs? Simply sign up using the Scholarship Programs Teacher Request Form.

Posted on September 04, 2014


With week of dress up, Scott MS teacher keeps it real

On Tuesday, she was an athlete, then Wednesday, an artist, and Thursday a doctor. Friday she dressed as a rockstar.

And also each day during the first week of school, Robin Jones was a teacher, like a real teacher, the part she plays when she teaches seventh-grade math at Scott Middle School, 2200 Pine Lake Road.

She doesn’t always make the connection between the profession and math, preferring her students see it for themselves.

Her energy level is as keen as her fashion sense.

“They come in pretty quiet on the first day of school, so if I’m jumping around, they feel like this is going to be an energetic class,” Jones said.

The dressing up is her normal first week of school routine, and eighth-graders are trying to get glimpses of her before and after school, remember how their seventh-grade math teacher made them laugh - and learn.

And, oh, the connections that come about from her dressing up:

- One year, when dressed as a physician, she caught the sad eyes of a sick student in the hallway, and he started telling her his ailments.

“I can't tell him, ‘wait, I'm the math teacher,’” Jones said. So she gets him to the nurse, the real health care professional in the school.

“That's exactly what Supt. (Steve) Joel has told us; if we look professional, the kids will approach us because we know they are an adult they could trust.”

- Another year, a student is in the classroom for one day before she announces, “I’ve already decided you are going to be my most favorite math teacher … ever!”

“At seventh grade, if they like the teacher, they like the concept,” Jones said.

- Some connections are more real. Jones describes it this way, from a day she dressed as a professional artist:

“I have this one little girl in my math class, real quiet, and she came up to me in the hall and said, ‘I noticed that you like art, and I want to show you something.”

The student had drawn a piece of art, a work she had spent two years on, and gave the teacher a copy.

“Here's a little quiet girl, to tell me that and give me that, I think it really has helped,” Jones said.

Some days are quieter than others. Some lesson plans require some more focused energy. Some students need a little quiet, or teaching time after school, or high-energy fashion.

Jones relies on her zest to keep students on their toes and learning at the same time.

“I want to keep it alive inside of me, so whatever it takes to keep that zest inside of me, that's what I'm going to keep doing,” she said.

Posted on August 29, 2014


With summer CLC, the lessons, and data, are positive

It’s not school, though the similarities are there.

At Dawes Middle School’s summer Community Learning Center, it’s a set schedule that includes free time to explore.

"We come at 8 o'clock, have breakfast and go to assigned groups, then the possibilities of what we could do are endless," said Ryan Secord, and eighth-grader at Dawes Middle School.  

Because students choose the possibilities, it’s even more engaging for the students, said Karen Bell-Dancy, Dawes’s CLC coordinator. The summer options include art, athletics, computers and more.

"We see growth in the literacy, we've seen a reduction of referrals, we've seen a change in tardies, absences, and attendance rate for students that participate," said Bell-Dancy. "It's a huge difference between others."

Secord is happy, and his parents are too, that he gets to continue to work with computers and be with classmates.

"It keeps me coding, which will help me later," Secord said. "It keeps my parents happy because I'm happy and ready for another school year. It helps me have a stronger relationship with my friends."

"I don't see it as an extension of school, but we are having fun and learning about stuff that we could go do further in life, like filmmaking," said Skye Kawalski, a Dawes seventh-grader.

That glimpse into the future by students is part of the goal, too. It doesn’t have to mean anything, but through these activities, off-site visits and in-school speakers, students are exposed to lots of possibilities in their own community.

The program emphasizes youth development, self-esteem, leadership, and various academic opportunities. Students are involved in a walkability projects that have them examine their own neighborhoods, then present on what they saw. It might be concerning areas, or fixable issues like bad lighting and broken sidewalks.

"One of the things we try to do is highlight service learning since some of our outcomes are built around them having a better understanding of their community and their role, even at this age of their life," Bell-Dancy said. 

Posted on August 29, 2014


How PLCs and student motivation impacted our NeSA scores

There are a myriad of reasons why assessment scores can go up (Read: LPS continues to monitor improving state assessment scores). In Lincoln Public Schools, three of the highlights include Lincoln North Star High School, Goodrich Middle School and reading scores at all high schools.

To figure out specific reasons for improvement, two principals and one curriculum specialist break down some of the strategies.

PLCs, or Professional Learning Communities, were a frequent response. This is time dedicated for teams of teachers to look at data, adjust strategies and target areas for growth.

Vann Price, now in her third year as principal at Lincoln North Star High School, talks PLCs:

“PLCs definitely provide a structured, focused opportunity for teachers to talk about what students know, need to know, and learned.  It also provides an opportunity for teachers to examine their own strengths as a teacher and share ideas that work for students.”

From Goodrich Middle School, where Principal Kelly Schrad is in her second year, where the focus is on learning for students and adults:

“We saw improvements in several areas and are proud of the hard work put forth by students and teachers.  

“Our most powerful strategies came through collaboration and focus on individual student needs. Teachers worked together to implement strategies that would have the greatest impact on learning based on student data.

“In addition, teachers collaborated on reteaching strategies for students who did not initially master a concept.  A diligent focus on individual students further strengthened the impact of reteaching and strategy development.  

“We work on building an academic culture for both students and adults, and see adult learning to be a critical element in the success of our students.”

So, what lies ahead for Goodrich? From Schrad:

“Positive gains build confidence in both students and teachers.  Students who see themselves and their school as successful, will put forth more effort and will continue to grow in skills, knowledge and abilities.

“With the addition of English Language Learners (students) this year, our focus on as individual learners will be especially important.”

And how do these assessments fit into future plans at North Star?, From Price:

“It’s great to see us progressing in a positive direction but this is just the beginning of what I hope is steady progress each year.  The NeSA scores do not tell the whole story but they tell a part.”

High School reading scores took a jump across LPS. LPS juniors equaled the state average for the first time in reading scores – and all high schools showed growth in reading scores. This from David Smith, the LPS curriculum specialist for English:

“Changes in some junior level course offerings have contributed to this, as well as PLC (Professional Learning Communities) time focused on developing interventions for students not yet proficient with NeSA-R skills and concepts.”

Another aspect, according to Smith, is motivating students to perform their best on a state assessment test:

“In their regular classes, students see the direct value in completing assignments, learning more about what interests them and ultimately earning credits toward graduation. If they can apply that same knowledge level on the NeSA tests, where it might be hard to see direct student benefit, the scores will better show their progress.”

More on motivating students, from Price:

“Last year the American Lit teachers - and many of the other classes as well -talked about how scoring well on the test shows school pride and encouraged them for the betterment of the LNS community to give the test their best effort. The students seemed to buy in more. Often times student motivation comes into play with these tests. Last year the students seemed to be more motivated to do well.”

The impact positive scores have on students and staff at North Star, according to price:

“Positive gains validate the work that teachers are doing and help assure them that teaching makes a difference.  For our students it’s confirmation that they have the skills and abilities to make positive growth happen.  For both, it affirms that students can learn regardless of their circumstances.”

Posted on August 28, 2014


Gabe has friends. Gabe has talents. Gabe has autism.

See how the first day of Gabe Truesdale's eighth-grade year went at Mickle Middle School.

(Or check out '56 seconds with Gabe' on the LPS Facebook page)

Posted on August 28, 2014


LHS first in nation to offer letter in Slam Poetry

Lincoln High School is the first school in the nation to offer a letter in Slam Poetry. 

A letter is an honor given to an athletic or activity participant based on participation, meeting team expectation and character.

Lincoln High and Lincoln East High School had been holding slam poetry events twice a year for many years with cooperation between Deborah McGinn at LHS and Sarah Thomas at EHS. Then an Omaha group, Omaha Writer’s Collective, started Louder Than a Bomb, Omaha as an Omaha-metro area competition, but later renamed, LTaB Great Plains, and other schools were invited to compete.

Lincoln North Star High School also participates at the state level with LHS, and the two teams finished in the top two spots this past season, with LHS winning its second straight title. 

“As sponsor of LHS I believe that if sport teams, speech, drama, and debate could letter for excellence in athletic, academic and dramatic performances, so should the slam poets who are also extraordinary at producing original polished writing on a stage,” McGinn said. “After winning the State Championship in 2013 and 2014, I knew it was the perfect time to rationalize lettering in this valuable activity.” 

In the spring of 2014, Lincoln High was first to award a letter in slam poetry. McGinn hopes to see the movement spread. 

Below are the qualifications: 

Lettering

  1. Participate in community readings:
  • Tuesdays With Writers event the first Tuesday in April.
  • Barnes and Noble event. (TBA)
  • When middle schools or organizations request us. (TBA)
  • Lincoln High events:  fund raiser/slam performance for school. (TBA) 
  1. Louder Than a Bomb Great Plains offers two performances in preliminary qualifying rounds.  A letter winner will have performed in at least one of the two preliminary rounds. 

3.  Should we qualify for round 3 semi-finals or round 4, finals, a letter winner will have participated in at least one of those rounds. 

 Additional Lettering and Team Expectations:

  • All slam poets must be passing classes.  School comes before Slam Poetry.
  • Students on the slam team and alternates must understand the responsibility and the honor of representing the school and community with friendliness, good character and respect.
  • Cooperate with slam poetry school sponsor who is legally responsible for the team.
  • Cooperate with coach assigned to LHS and make sure sponsor and coach are on the same page in terms of mutual communication.
  • Attend practices and be on time.  No more than two absences— and you must communicate with sponsor if you are ill or have a conflict that keeps you from a practice.
  • Support and cheer good performances of other writers in competition.  Congratulate other poets sincerely.  You can make lifelong friends with people who share your interest and passion for writing.
  • A positive attitude toward team, sponsor and coach is a requirement.  No bullying on any level to anyone.

Character: 

  • Be kind.  Everyone you know is carrying a burden of some kind.  (Dr. Charles Jones)
  • Ask permission before you hug.
  • Think team more than individual success.
  • Rather than arrogance, show humility.   A respectful tone of voice is required.
  • Think before you act and consider the consequences.
  • Be an honest trustworthy person.
  • Be reliable.  Carry through with what you say you will/what is expected of you.
  • Be tolerant to opinions and topics even if they are different from your own.  Be open-minded and listen to others.
  • Be considerate to the feelings/emotions of others.
  • No gossip!  No posting anything hurtful or negative on Facebook or any social media.
  • Learn, write, revise, and keep striving to produce your best.  Workshop with team members in and out of practice.
  • Take turns with verbal critique at practices.  This is a team so please remain aware that others deserve equal time with coach, sponsor and team feedback.
  • Express gratitude.
  • Forgive and let go.
  • Have fun

Posted on August 27, 2014


Approval of 2014-15 budget

Highlights of August 26 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular Board on Tuesday, August 26 at LPS District Office, 5905 O St. The next Board meeting is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9.

Board of Education highlights

Approval of 2014-15 budget

The Lincoln Board of Education Tuesday approved the final 2014-15 $363.6 million budget – a budget that strengthens teaching in the classroom and keeps the tax levy rate flat.

“It’s a good budget and it makes sense for our district to move forward with it,” said Kathy Danek, chair of the Board’s Finance Committee.

Board member Lanny Boswell noted: “On a per student basis, accounting for inflation, LPS is spending the same today that it was a decade ago, achieving better outcomes for students, meeting the increasing challenges of poverty, and doing so while lowering the levy rate for local taxpayers.”

And Board member Barb Baier continued: “I also want everybody to understand there are a lot of student needs out there left unmet.”

Overall highlights for 2014-15 LPS budget:

The $363.6 million Lincoln Public Schools budget for 2014-15 addresses a variety of factors in the LPS school district:

o   Significant growth in the number of students attending school at LPS. (This school year, LPS estimates an increase of 1,000 more students – the largest increase in half a century since the Baby Boomer years of Lincoln. Such an increase would mean LPS is teaching 39,000 students this year.)

o   Growing complexity of the demographics and needs of LPS students.

o   The changing landscape of how we provide quality education.

  • Taking into consideration Lincoln’s taxpayers and the current economics of the community, the school district will keep the total tax levy flat. That means the school district portion of property tax rates will not increase.
  • The budget continues to focus on providing continued quality education. A quality education system is a long-term investment, not simply an expenditure – and our community, our businesses, our families, our students deserve a great school system.
  • Due to slight increases in assessed property valuation for the community, and increases in state aid to education, the school district is paying for additional educators to meet growing classroom needs. That means this year LPS is providing direct help to classrooms such as teachers and staffing for: regular education, special education, early childhood, English Language Learners (refugees and immigrants).
  • In addition, LPS is budgeting smart for 2014-15 by building capacity necessary to best support and serve students.

A few numbers: The 2014-15 budget for LPS totals $363,569,935 – a 5.20 percent increase over last year. The school district currently ranks 234th out of 249 school districts in Nebraska for per pupil spending (only 15 districts spend less per pupil than us).

Summer School 2014

LPS continues to enhance summer school programs in order to provide multiple opportunities for success across the school district – including course credit acquisition and continued skills reinforcement for students at all levels. 

The ending enrollment for high school summer school 2014 totaled 1,154 students – up from 804 students completing courses in 2007.

A few highlights of the high school program:

  • Summer school is open to high school students in grades 9-12 who may sign up for two courses.
  • Two sessions are offered: 8 and 10 a.m.
  • Students may also finish an on-line eLearning course they were working on second semester.
  • This year 53 courses were offered – curriculum specialists recommend courses.
  • Students on free and reduced lunch – can attend summer school for free.
  • Students completing graduation requirements at the end of summer school: 110 students.

A few survey results:

  • 26 percent: Enrolled to get ahead in credits or to open up their schedule.
  • 64 percent: Retaking a class they had failed.
  • 45 percent: On track to graduate in four years.
  • 92 percent: Felt safe at summer school.
  • 70 percent: Agreed North Star is a good location.

Policy changes

Board members discussed proposed policy changes about: the Safe Pupil Transportation Plan, Student Transfers, Return to Learn/after concussions, Board Committees and Public Notification. The policy changes will be finalized at the Sept. 9 Board meeting.

Superintendent Update

LPS Superintendent Steve Joel noted that NeSA results were released Tuesday: “And our achievement scores are really very good….while there are areas we must focus on.”

 

Posted on August 26, 2014


What our staff did this summer

Each year during the late summer, we ask our staff to tell their stories of summer activities. They include conferences, further education, seminars, reading, teaching, summer jobs, trips and more, much of which can have a direct impact on the students in their classroom this school year. Below are just some of their activities:

Heather Smutny, School Psychologist, Maxey/Calvert elementaries

This summer I spent some of my time reading some research based information about how trauma affects our brains and how the brain develops. The research was very interesting and intriguing to me in my profession because many times our students endure trauma and we may never consider how this is physically affecting their brains. The neuropsychiatrist that wrote the book stressed the importance of noticing these warning signs and finding ways to teach the skills to the students who may have missed them due to trauma. I believe in my career as a school psychologist I need to be very observant and well informed about trauma and the resources that we can give our students and parents. One important thing to remember about trauma is that everyone experiences it differently because of their own perspective. Not only did I spend some time reading I also spent time with my family. The best part of the summer was spending time with my nieces and nephews and watching them develop and grow. I find child development very important and necessary in a profession like mine because we need to understand the development before we can truly identify students who are at risk very early in life. Thank you and I look forward to working for the LPS district

Kristin Micek, School Psychologist, Lincoln Public Schools

I started the summer by moving back to Nebraska after completing my internship in the Des Moines area. I absolutely loved living in Des Moines, but I'm excited to be back in "the good life!" I attended the PBIS trainings in June, as well as other staff professional development opportunities at Lefler Middle School. I also spent time playing sand volleyball, golfing, going to the pool, and attending SEVERAL weddings! I look forward to see what this year brings!

Jill Timmons, Special Education Supervisor, LPS

This summer I spent time focusing on many different aspects of our district work:

  • Planning, organizing and facilitating new teacher orientation for special education staff,
  • Planning, organizing and consulting on professional development for special education staff,
  • Collaborating with other special education administrators on SYNERGY implementation,
  • Planning and preparing monthly professional development and other materials for school psychologists,
  • Working with the State School Psych organization (NSPA) on a state professional development plan,
  • Working with the school psychologist advocacy committee on strategic steps to follow as the LPS School Psychology Department moves towards a more expanded role for all district school psychologists,
  • Collaborating with colleagues on best practices for problem solving on students who are English Language Learners,
  • Attending the Safe & Civil Schools Conference learning more about multi-tiered systems of support for students with behavioral needs.
  • Presented research on poverty at NCPEA.
  • Completing the coursework for one of the classes at UNL as I work on my Ph.D.
  • Spending intentional, focused time with my children and husband.
  • Enjoying the amazing summer weather we had this year and watching my children enjoy their activities.

Kristin Foreman, School Psychologist, Pershing Elementary and Hill Elementary

This summer, I provided staff trainings on the district's Synergy system and trainings on Critical Incident Reporting.  I also attended PBiS (Positive Behavior Intervention Supports) training and planned with my buildings to implement PBiS this school year.  In my free time, I camped with my family and enjoyed precious time off with my own children.

Ralph Schnell, Counselor, Northeast High School

I spent July in Nepal visiting my daughter Kylie who teaches English to primary grades a a Christian mission school in Kathmandu.  She was a Reading and Math Interventionist for a year at Calvert Elementary before she left to work for Tiny Hands International.  We worked with children in several orphanages, schools and also traveled through much of the Country enjoying seeing incredible sights and learning more about their culture, economy, lifestyle, and religious practices. (predominately Hindu and Buddhist).

The experiences I had have challenged me in multiple ways and I believe will impact how I interact with the students I see on a daily basis.

Brett D. Epperson, Vocal Music Director, East High School

My summer started with canoeing the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota with a college classmate and fellow music educator from Des Moines. I then earned my first few graduate credits at the University of South Dakota, bought my first home here in Lincoln, and travelled to New York City to visit friends and see a broadway show. I attended a Choral Conducting Institute at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey before coming back to Lincoln for the first of three summer show choir camps at East. I had the chance to meet a number of my choral colleagues at Nebraska Choral Directors Association summer conference in late July before hearing Sara Bareilles in concert at Pinewood Bowl... and now we're at the start of another school year!

It was a whirlwind, to say the least!

Scott Eckman, PBiS/Vision Supervisor, Lincoln Public Schools

Wow this has been an eventful summer! We hired all of our PBiS Coaches from a variety of backgrounds. Experts in the fields of School Psychology, Behavior, Autism, Life Skills, Early Childhood, Instructional Coaching, Administration, Research, and Occupational Therapy have all come together to build and support our PBiS implementation district wide!  Stay tuned for more on what your PBiS Coach can do for you, but know that We are a team that guides and supports others to create safe, successful, and positive learning environments. We believe that systems of prevention will build a positive culture for everyone. 

We also started our summer with trainings on Tier 1 and Tier 2 from two national experts, Susan Barrett and Lucille Eber.  District teams took so much information from these trainings to help with their implementation, and our coaches will be able to better support their schools as we continue to bring Lucille and Susan to LPS throughout the year! PBiS Coaches were also fortunate to attend a one day training on coaching from Jim Knight this summer.  This will be a focus for our team throughout the school year.

School Tier 1 and Tier 2 teams all met this summer to prepare for the school year. Elementary schools developed their universal systems creating expectations, acknowledgement systems, and teaching calendars to name a few.  Secondary schools continued to strengthen their Tier 1 supports, and also met as Tier 2 teams to determine secondary interventions such as Check In Check Out.

We spent the rest of the summer spreading the word of Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports.  The PBiS team was able to present to a wide variety of groups this summer.

Larisa Roth, ELL teacher, Belmont Elementary
This summer I took time to recharge and prepare for a great first year. I attended BIST training and New Teacher Orientation to help me prepare for my first year of students. I am very excited to get started!
 

Megan Schapmann, Kindergarten Teacher (first year), Belmont Elementary

For fun during the summer months I went to St. Louis for a family reunion, complete with group t-shirts and all!  I also enjoyed spending time with family and friends, and finding treasures for my classroom!  This summer to prepare for my first year of teaching, I attended a week long BIST training in June.  I loved getting to know some of the teachers in my building, while diving into the BIST philosophy.  I also took my first of many graudate endorsement classes.  The one I took was about literacy in the primary grades.  I think this was great for me to be able to have my mind focused on the success in my instruction of teaching literacy components in my classroom.  During the last week of June my Kindergarten team welcomed our new Kindergartners with participating in Jump Start.  I am anticipating the start of the school year!  Good luck to everyone!  I know that I can't wait for August 12th to be here! 

Molly Kuhl, School Psychologist, Arnold Elementary School

I spent the summer as a nanny for 3 awesome boys. Together, we completed the Lincoln Public Libraries Summer Reading Program, explored several Lincoln Parks and Bike Paths, and beat the heat at the Pool and Movie Theater. In addition, I traveled to Nevada to visit family, sailed at Branched Oak Lake and attended the National Association of School Psychologist Summer Conference in Las Vegas which was amazing! I learned a great deal about mental health services and supports for kids and am eager to put my knew knowledge into action.

Delia Michalski, Special Education Teacher, West Lincoln Elementary

Summer began with attending The Leadership in Educational Administration Academy at UNO. We explored the challenges of school-community relationships. This class culminated in a project where a colleague and I were able to utilize community support in order to spread the word about our school’s summer reading days. Attendance doubled, and then increased even more!

The professional highlight of my summer was attending the High Impact Instruction Conference in Lawrence, Kansas-Jim Knight, with my amazing co-workers. In addition to the conference, I attended Data Teams and Adaptive Schools Training. Our PLC team is already benefiting from the training. I attended Introduction to Verbal Behavior and ABLLS, Close Reading of Complex Text, and a New SpEd Teachers Conference at the Cornhusker Hotel.

My family managed to get away to California to check out Berkeley and Davis campuses for my daughter. Our favorite areas were the Pacific Ocean Beach and Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The cities of Berkeley and Davis are both lovely in completely different ways. On the way home, we spent a day at Lake Tahoe!

I read several books this summer. My favorites are, Engaging Students with Poverty in Mind, by Eric Jensen, and The 100/0 Principalby Al Ritter.

Megan Colbeth, School Psychologist, Hartley Elementary School

This summer I moved from Colorado, attended Positive Behavior Intervention Support training in June and planned with our PBIS team in July for the upcoming year!

Nicki Hanseling, School Counselor, Mickle Middle School

I was very busy this summer, both professionally and personally. I completed two graduate courses at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln during the first 5 week session, took a trip over the 4th of July weekend to Branson, MO and visited the Walt library with my 3-year-old and 1-year-old many, many times!!

Kati J. Backer, Kindergarten, Zeman Elementary

I received 12 credits towards my Master's Degree! I was able to create valuable resources I will be able to use in my classroom this year to provide effective instruction and meet the needs of my students.

Kandace Garwood, Special Education Coordinator, Mickle Middle

This summer I completed my practicum for my administrative certificate.  I was able to be a part of summer school at Don Sherrill, North Star, and to shadow Dr. Fundus.  All of my learning will be put to great use this school year and I'm so anxious for it to start! Shaylah Stephens, seventh/eighth grade teacher, Dawes Middle School During June and July, I completed twelve hours of graduate classes towards my Master's Degree from Doane College after graduating from there this previous May 2014. These classes had me look to my future classroom and really begin thinking about how am I going to assess my students, what is my discipline procedure, management procedure, what will I be teaching for the year and much more. This really helped me to dig in deep to my philosophy of teaching and find ways of putting the students and their needs first and how am I going to build those relationships with students. Each class made me reflect on my student-teaching experience and the classrooms I have been in and what do I want my room to look like and how I want it to operate. I also just recently got married in July and getting married is a whole new ballgame where you learn to care and put someone else and their needs before your own. Each of these experiences will help to propel me into my first year of teaching and feel ready to make connections with the students and get them excited about learning.

Rosanne Entzminger, fourth-grade teacher, Arnold Elementary School

I spent the majority of my summer in a classroom on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus. I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in a fantastic program called Math in the Middle. The program was very challenging and informative. The purpose of the program is to educate and strengthen the participants in two areas: to increase knowledge about mathematics and to develop a deeper understanding about best practices for teaching mathematics. 

Kristin Bunde, School Librarian, Campbell Elementary

I attended Eric Jensen's Teaching Students in Poverty Conference in San Antonio with a number of colleagues. This is the best professional development I have ever attended--we learned how the brain can be changed and that with specific techniques we can help students "state of mind" so they are best prepared to learn. I can't wait to use the strategies we learned at this amazing motivating conference!!

Bailey Feit, Math teacher, North Star High School

I traveled to Europe this summer with my husband and his parents. We visited London for two days then drove around Scotland for five days. My husband and his father are scotch connoisseurs so we visited many distilleries. We loved the weather and scenery during our trip! When I returned I started a four week summer graduate class called the Nebraska writing project. I learned how to be a better writer and how to implement more writing into my math classroom. This was the last graduate course for my second masters degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I am excited to implement my research and start an action plan this year in hopes to improve math understanding for all of my students.

Michelle Welch, District Wellness Facilitator, LPS

I attended the National Fuel Up to Play 60 Summit to connect with other school wellness leaders from across the nation. Many great Midwest connections were made.  

Alisa High, C.P.M., Buyer / Purchasing, LPS

The following are just a few of the many things we accomplished and continue to work on here in Purchasing toward this goal:

1) Negotiated and coordinated the purchase of the GO Math! curriculum and computers for the Culler Middle School pilot which, if successful, will result in a much larger purchase for all middle schools. Also included in Curriculum areas were new textbooks for AP Social Studies to meet the state requirements to offer the course, and updated textbooks and digital content for Computer Applications courses.

2) Consolidated, bid, purchased and delivered all equipment, classroom supplies, furniture and services to meet 2014-2015 needs at the schools.

3) Implemented a paperless purchasing order system that will save the district the costs of printing, distributing and storing paper copies while allowing all district locations access to this information which drives the system that tracks the things they order.

4) Bid and coordinated the purchase of food, custodial supplies, and materials and services needed by Facilities and Maintenance to repair, remodel, and renovate district buildings.

5) Coordinate the gathering, analysis and organization of the specifications and other information needed to furnish the Career Academy before it opens next year.

And on it goes.... very worthwhile and rewarding work that houses, transports, feeds, and provides for our students and teachers who with this support do great things such as raising the graduation rate, supporting families, and building leaders for our community.

Shayla Sylvester, Physical Education Teacher, Kloefkorn Elementary

I am a first-year teacher this year and I have reviewed the curriculum many times to get an understanding of what I should and will be teaching. I have attended many different training sessions such as the technology training, and BIST training. I moved here from Colorado so I will try to bring many outdoor activities to the classroom.

Rita Bennett, eLearning Coordinator for LPS and Business & Entrepreneurship Teacher at the Entrepreneurship Focus Program

This summer, I:
  • helped coordinate the summer eLearning program (which was offered at all six high schools during summer school)
  • was an elected delegate representing Association members at the National Education Association Representative Assembly in Denver, CO
  • assisted with a presentation to community/business leaders regarding the new Career Academy
  • researched and updated curriculum lessons

Randy Ernst, K-12 Social Studies Curriculum Specialist, LPS

The biggest news from social studies is that we have revamped the sixth- and seventh-grade curriculum. LPS sixth- and seventh-grade social studies teachers will field-test new curriculum in 2014-2015. The new curriculum aligns with the Nebraska State Social Studies Standards, is responsive to teacher and community concerns, and focuses on teaching students to read, think, and write about world history while addressing the areas of geography, civics, and economics. Teachers will provide feedback on the new lessons throughout the year which will likely result in adjustments to the curriculum in 2015-2016.  Questions about the new curriculum should be directed to Randy Ernst, our LPS Social Studies Curriculum Specialist.

We now have 100+ lessons in grades K-8 (and for world history and U.S. history in high school) posted in docushare that use close reading to promote critical thinking.

Laura Bartels, Instructional Technology Coach, Federal Programs, Lincoln Public Schools

My husband graduated from dental school and is not the first Spanish/Portuguese speaking dentist in Lincoln... I graduated with my MA in instruction...I had a baby...my mother in-law visited from Brazil from the first time. My parents visited from Paraguay.

Ko Inamura, Teacher for the Blind (K-12 Special Education Teacher), Itinerant Position

I have attended the EPIQ Computer Programming workshop on QUORUM programming language and IDE (Integrated Developing Environment) "Sodbeans" that is fully adaptable for the blind students/programers to program computer software with the use of integrated screen reader. The workshop was one and half weeks long and held at Washington School for the Blind (WSSB) at Vancouver, WA in late July. It was a great opportunity for me to learn commercial grade computer programing and to meet many successful computer programers who are blind. I hope to teach what I have learned in this workshop to my blind students so that they can develop the skills to become a professional programer themselves.

Sarah Smith, counselor, Lincoln Southeast High School

Skyler Reising and I attended SCiP (School Community Intervention & Prevention) Training July 8-11 in Lincoln.

Hollis Alexander-Ramsay, RN, Calvert and Holmes Elementary School Nurse

I was able to travel to New Orleans, Louisiana where I was able to tour the lower 9th Ward and its surroundings which were immensely impacted by Hurricane Katrina; the aftermath is still profound as I witnessed many homes, neighborhood and communities that were destroyed and the economic toll that it took on those neighborhoods and communities. Businesses are gone and many people have relocated causing that area to become more impoverished. Yet, there are many glimpses of recovery and rebuilding, which is encouraging, since certain areas also have newly built homes and neighborhoods.

The strength of its people, the support and relationships that evolved in the rebuilding efforts can teach us that we should never give up on a student, a class, a neighborhood or a community. In numbers there is strength. When we set goals, when we plan and work together great things happen. If New Orleans can rebuild after such devastation, we can continue to build and rebuild our already great LPS school system making it even better. Collaboration and resources are key components in such efforts!

Posted on August 18, 2014


Career Academy Night at Saltdog games

The Career Academy and Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools are hosting a Night at the Ballpark on Thursday, Aug. 21 at Haymarket Park.

The Lincoln Saltdogs will play a doubleheader, with one ticket to get into either or both games. Cost is $11 per ticket, with $3 benefitting The Career Academy's student activities. The games begin at 5 and 7:30 p.m.
 
LPS Superintendent Steve Joel will throw the first pitch to new Southeast Community College President Paul Illich before the second game of the doubleheader.
 
Patrons must purchase tickets online or mention "LPS" at the ticket office to receive special pricing and special seating in sections 106 and 108. To purchase tickets online, visit www.Saltdogs.com/thecareeracademy.

Posted on August 15, 2014


Living History event at Homestead National Monument

A Living History and Arts Extravaganza will be held Labor Day Weekend - Aug. 30 through Sept.  - at the Homestead National Monument of America in Beatrice Nebraska. The vent includes music, making butter, button toys, quilting, painting, corn shucking and more. For more information, call 402-223-3154 or visit www.nps.gov/home.

Posted on August 15, 2014


Goals for Board of Education: Aiming at 90 percent graduation rate

Highlights of August 12 Lincoln Board of Education meeting, public hearing

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular Board meeting and a public hearing on the proposed 2014-15 budget on Tuesday, August 12, both at LPS District Office, 5905 O St. The next Board meeting is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, August 26.

Board of Education highlights

Goals for Board of Education: Aiming at 90 percent graduation rate

Lincoln Public Schools will aspire to graduate 90 percent of high school students on-time by the year 2019 – according to a list of annual goals and priorities approved by the Lincoln Board of Education Tuesday.

“We’re really excited about that, we think we can do it – but we know it will be the hardest work we’ve ever done,” LPS Superintendent Steve Joel said. “We intend to keep our eyes on student learning, which should be the priority of any school district.”

Don Mayhew said he recognizes that setting a 90 percent graduation rate is an incredibly aggressive goal, “especially with a school district with our demographics….and I love it.”

Here is the official list of goals:

  • Sustain and continually increase our graduation rate and work towards graduating every student on time. While we strive to assist all students to graduate on time, we value student success whenever achieved.

o   By 2019, 90 percent graduation rate as measured by LPS indicators.

  • Fulfill the promises of the bond, including the opening of The Career Academy by 2015, using the 10-year Facilities and Infrastructure Plan as our guide.
  • By May 1, 2015, adopt a Board Resolution for district-wide implementation of the Technology Plan.

Ongoing priorities are:

  • Keep our focus on learning to meet the unique needs of all students.
  • Legislative advocacy.
  • Effective alignment of fiscal resources.
  • Effective stakeholder engagement.

Transportation plan

The Board of Education approved a change in the 2014-15 transportation plan that will switch using cabs for transporting homeless students to LPS schools – and instead purchase four smaller-sized buses and two vans for these transportation needs.

The proposal is what is called “budget neutral” and does not require additional funding.  

Discussion, public hearing on 2014-15 budget

The Lincoln Board of Education held a public hearing on Tuesday inviting community comments about the proposed 2014-15 proposed $363.3 million budget – and held a budget discussion. The budget will receive final approval at the August 26 Board meeting.

Kathy Danek, chair of the Board’s Finance Committee, said the proposed budget focuses on student learning and student success, specifically allocating money for new staffing, special education, technology, English Language Learners, and more.

Only one community person made remarks at the public hearing: Wanda Caffrey, representing the Lincoln Independent Business Association, praised LPS for working well with LIBA over past years – and applauded the school district for adding teachers to the classroom. She urged the Board to consider lowering the tax levy, as well as funding Community Learning Centers through the Foundation for LPS.

Overall highlights for 2014-15 proposed LPS budget:

  • The proposed $363.3 million Lincoln Public Schools budget for 2014-15 addresses a variety of factors in the LPS school district:

o   Significant growth in the number of students attending school at LPS. (Next school year, LPS estimates an increase of 1,000 more students – the largest increase in half a century since the Baby Boomer years of Lincoln. Such an increase would mean LPS would welcome be almost 39,000 students.)

o   Growing complexity of the demographics and needs of LPS students.

o   The changing landscape of how we provide quality education.

  • Taking into consideration Lincoln’s taxpayers and the current economics of the community, the school district will keep the total tax levy flat. That means the school district portion of property tax rates will not increase.
  • The budget continues to focus on providing continued quality education. A quality education system is a long-term investment, not simply an expenditure – and our community, our businesses, our families, our students deserve a great school system.
  • Due to anticipated slight increases in assessed property valuation for the community, and increases in state aid to education, the school district plans to pay for additional educators to meet growing classroom needs. That means proposed expenses include direct help to classrooms such as teachers and staffing for: regular education, special education, early childhood, English Language Learners (refugees and immigrants).
  • In addition, LPS is budgeting smart for 2014-15 by building capacity necessary to best support and serve students.
  • A few numbers: The proposed 2014-15 budget for LPS will total about $363,301,980 – a 5.13 percent increase over last year. The school district currently ranks 234th out of 249 school districts in Nebraska for per pupil spending (only 15 districts spend less per pupil than us).

 

Posted on August 12, 2014


LARSP hosting annual book sale, new location

The Lincoln Area Retired School Personnel is hosting its 2014 Back To School Book Sale at Clocktower business area on the southwest corner of 70th and A streets in Lincoln.

Time are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., except for Sundays, which are noon to 6 p.m. Dates are Aug. 9-12, 14-19 and 21-23.

The items include books, music, tapes, CDs, videos, records and puzzles, includign teaching materials like bulletin board items and more. For more information, call 402-483-1649.

Posted on August 11, 2014


Active lifestyle fuels Maxey teacher, GOTR coach

For Maxey Elementary School teacher Ann Hagaman, a 600-yard dash in P.E. as a sixth-grader was all it took to foster a lifelong love of running and fitness. 

“I was hooked,” she said. “Running provided me with the needed self-esteem, fitness benefits, and time to reflect. I know the timing was crucial, too. So many girls go through an awkward adolescence and running can make it less awkward.”

Eager to share her love of running and a healthy living with others, Hagaman first began coaching Girls on the Run at Maxey in 2007.  Thirteen seasons later, has seen firsthand the “power that running can provide in girls’ lives.”

For Hagaman, coaching Girls on the Run was a no-brainer. 

“The program is a great vehicle to strengthen girls’ self-esteem as they enter puberty, and I love that girls make friendships across grade levels,” she said. “It really is amazing to watch them outside the program interacting. Older girls become mentors for younger girls.”

Social interaction and character education are important building blocks in schools, too, and Girls on the Run has been included as an option in student individual learning programs at Maxey, she says.

“Girls on the Run is part of the fabric here and can be a tool to unlock some children’s potential,” said Hagaman. “If a child is having social issues or a self-esteem issue, staff members suggest the program as a way to address the challenges.”

Hagaman, who is also a member of Girls on the Run of Nebraska, is pleased to see the program expand to serve areas across the state and hopes that running will make a difference in the lives of even more girls. 

“I’m so happy that the program has spread to western Nebraska where I grew up,” she says. “Finding running was life-changing for me. … I’m hopeful that more girls will be supported and strengthened as they are exposed to Girls on the Run.”

Posted on August 08, 2014


Adoptive or foster parents needed

The Department of Health and Human Services is in need of adoptive or foster parents. If you or someone you know is interested in additional information, contact Kelli Wendelin at 402-471-5190 or kelli.wendelin@nebraska.gov. 

Types of Foster Care:

  • Respite Care
    Providing care for a child so that the foster parent(s) can take a vacation or break.

  •  Emergency Foster Care
    Providing care for children in crisis.  You would be available for a child on a 24-hour basis with no prior notice.  The care can last a few hours to a maximum of 30 days

  • Foster Care
    Providing temporary care for a child until the child is placed back with their parent or another permanent living situation is located.

  • Fos-Adopt
    Providing a foster home to a child that you would adopt if the child became legally free for adoption.

Posted on August 08, 2014


TedYouth@Lincoln is Saturday, Aug. 16

TEDxYouth@Lincoln will be Saturday, Aug. 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Lincoln High School, 2229 J St. See the list of speakers or see information about tickets at www.tedxlincoln.com. There is also a live web stream. http://netnebraska.org/stream/tedxyouth

This event strives to re-create the unique experience found at TED, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers congregate to share what they are most passionate about. At its core, the fundamental goal of TED and TEDxYouth@Lincoln is to foster and spread great ideas.

Posted on August 08, 2014


Students, local company team up for summer coding

As Natalie, a third-grader at Beattie Elementary School, works on a prince and princess maze, she picks her characters, checks her code, and tests it out. When it doesn't work perfectly, she asks a question and gets an answer. But she must do the work herself.

"I don't want to do it for you," said Amanda Garner from Nebraska Global. "You know what to do."

And she did. When she got to the point where she didn't know, she received a one-on-one personal tutorial from a professional coding expert.

"I learned that it's tough, but it's fun," Natalie said.

Natalie is part of the Boys and Girls Club Summer Program at Park Middle School in partnership with the Community Learning Center. The Coding Club, supported by Nebraska Global as part of the Community Learning Center activities at Park Middle School, is open to kids from around the community.

"We're just trying to get them exposed to something else, have them think about problem solving in different ways, and they don't really know they are doing it," said Garner, Nebraska Global's director of community outreach. "Provide that experience, and still have fun because it is summer."

The projects are varying and endless. 

One student was working on an anti-bullying animation scene, and then explained his code in Scratch to an adult volunteer, explaining what would happen and why.

Another student wants a game to be harder, and when the volunteer does so, the student says it's too hard.

The solution? The student can 'remix' it, taking a version of the game and adding his own code. When he tests it, he finds a mistake, and now has to fix it.

But it isn't and doesn't have to be about developing specific career skills. It's about developing a variety of skills, like teamwork, explaining an idea, and problem-solving. Nebraska Global started the project last year during the school year.

"It forces the kids to look at things in a very linear perspective and then introduce more logical thinking," Garner said. "It helps them from language comprehension, being able to boost what they are learning or creating.

"They are creating a story, so it's not all about STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), but it helps them connect those two sides of things."

SCRATCH is a curriculum that was designed at MIT for use with children ages 8-16. Using SCRATCH, students learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively as they learn and apply programming skills to design interactive stories, games, and animations. Children who learn to code using SCRATCH develop important strategies for solving problems, designing projects, and communicating ideas.

That means students like Natalie can boost their reading level and learn code, while still creating their own story.

Posted on August 05, 2014


New graduation requirements fully implemented for Senior class

New graduation requirements will be fully implemented this year in Lincoln Public Schools. 

This year's incoming senior class began as ninth graders, knowing the number of hours required to graduate would increase from 230 to 245.

These changes are specific to LPS but are driven by Rule 10 recommendations, which are Nebraska Department of Education state guidelines for curriculum.

Changes include: 
- English / Language Arts, P.E., Science and Math have more credit hour requirements
- a required personal finance course, Take Charge, was added and offered for the first time last school year 
- requiring more coursework in Career and Technical education in Fine Arts
- eliminated graduation demonstration assessment in Math because it is fulfilled through the extra courses

"Requiring all students to take Algebra and Geometry is an important change that has been made," said Jadi Miller, director of Curriculum for LPS. "I think the Science changes are very positive, so while we have more science classes, we still ask that they take them from a wide variety of areas in Science."

Miller said these courses better prepare students for more challenging college coursework, or professional workforce use.

"Industries say they know they will have to train, but they would like to see more preparedness in certain areas," Miller said.

LPS specifically defines 182.5 of the credits required to graduate, but a quarter of the required hours remaining are up to students. High school students can obtain at least 70 credits per school year, not counting credits earned during middle school.

Posted on August 04, 2014


'Stuff the Bus' drive hosted by Raising Cane's

Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers is partnering with KLKN's Channel 8 and Latsch's for its 6th Annual "Stuff the Bus" promotion. The promotion runs through August 6.

Lincolnites are asked to bring new and packaged school supplies to any of the three Lincoln Raising Cane’s locations. People can also support the cause by adding any dollar amount to your check when placing your orders at the register.

Raising Cane’s in Lincoln are located at 48th and R streets, 14th and P streets, and 28th Street and Cornhusker Highway

 

Posted on July 31, 2014


Superintendent says LPS now in ‘sweet spot’

Lincoln Public Schools Superintendent Steve Joel told LPS leaders Monday morning that our school district is in what he called a “sweet spot,” a time when our public schools are doing great work in the community.

Joel said the “sweet spot” involves a wide variety of events and factors coming together:

  • The move into LPS District Office is complete.
  • The school district added 960 additional students last year.
  • The community is growing, attracting jobs from all over United States
  • Our community supported the bond issue with 68 percent approval: “It happened because our community trusts our work.”
  • The LPS graduation rate has increased to 87.1 percent, exceeding the original goal – so, Joel said, the school district will likely consider creating a new goal. 
  • LPS continues to attract top talent.
  • State funding increased by $13 million.
  • The Career Academy already has many vibrant partnerships and supporters – a national model coming to Lincoln.
  • A new Foundation president is bringing high energy and creativity to help support our work.

Joel stressed – speaking at the annual Leadership Conference, a two-day event for all LPS administrators – that last school year was highlighted by great work. But he also warned that the community continues to have high expectations in the coming year:

  • This fall LPS is expecting more than 1,000 new students.
  • LPS hired more than 360 new teachers for this new school year.
  • Poverty and homeless rates continue to rise in our community and school district.
  • Mental health of students is increasingly a large concern. (LPS has added counselors and social workers, and continues to work on community partnerships.)
  • Lincoln’s refugee re-locations are picking up.
  • As a revered state leader, there is gentle pressure on LPS to continue to produce in all areas.

Joel defined the work ahead as a time to “Refine and Align” – as opposed to creating lots of new programs: “We have to bring projects to fruition and completion:”

  • Success Schools, a new approach to handling students with serious behavior issues.
  • Several technology pilot projects, including the digital learning pilots at Culler Middle School and Riley Elementary School.
  • Data teams.
  • Adaptive schools/leadership development.
  • Great instruction in every classroom and compassionate care for each student.

Finally, Joel stressed, it is essential to keep feeding our leadership souls:

  • Have firm definition of what we believe in and for what we are willing to “die on the hill.”
  • Display passion for what we do at all times.
  • Develop personal understanding of our cultural differences – seek to understand others before expecting to be understood.
  • Take roads less traveled to move the needle – same old gets same old.
  • Build genuine relationships with staff by caring and listening.
  • Follow through on what we say we will do.
  • Identify others who you have influenced and tap them for leadership opportunities.
  • Have fun, we are in a great place.

Posted on July 29, 2014


'Run to Overcome' set for Sept. 28

The fourth annual Bryan Health Run to Overcome will be Sunday, Sept. 28 at 12:15 p.m. at Lincoln Southwest High School Track.

The event honors the late son of former LPS principal and current principal John Zetterman and gifted facilitator at Irving Middle School, Cindy Zetterman. The day features a 1-mile kids Fun Run, a 5K run/walk and a 10K run. View event flyer

Enter OVERCOME14 for a $5 discount off your registration fee. Learn more at http://bryanhealth.cvent.com/2014run.

Posted on July 28, 2014


Students mix summer and science at Elliott

In one classroom, students were learning about solids, liquids and gases by actually mixing ingredients to create solids and liquids.

Later this month, students will get a hands-on view on more science projects.

And in yet another room at Elliott Elementary School, 225 S. 25th St., students were learning about careers in science.

And that’s the point of this summer school program hosted by the YMCA.

“Specifically, we see that kids are getting really excited about science and seeing science as a career,” said Kristi Chambers of the YMCA.

The morning portion of this summer program involves similar approaches of hands-on learning, though with an extra emphasis on reading.

About two-thirds of these 90 students come recommended by a teacher. These students could benefit most from a month of learning key concepts in reading, math and science.

Three people - who teach at Elliott Elementary School during the year - team up with eight YMCA staff members, mostly college students.

This instructional approach is more instruction based than people might realize, Chambers said.

“I think when people hear project- or problem-based learning they have a picture in their head, and it's probably not as intensive as what we are doing,” she said.

Project- or problem-based learning involves students using multiple steps or thoughts to solve real-world problems. It allows students to explore possible solutions on their own, sometimes through trial and error, and lets them learn about how things work.

The staff members receive specific training in the method, allowing them to share extra opportunities for students. Each project has a driving question, designed to ensure students understand the key take-aways for the lesson.

There are also social components to this program, Chamber said. Swimming lessons for the students provide a chance for these students to learn something new. If students attend school three out of four days each week, they get to go on the Friday field trip in Lincoln. At the end of the month-long program, the entire group can go to Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo.

For students to reinforce their learning to other staff at Elliott, the young learners give presentations on what they have learned, and how they want to improve their community.

A waiting list of students who want to attend remains lenghty. But current funds only allow for so many students, which is why attendance is stressed for those already in the program.

Posted on July 24, 2014


Silver Hawks claim two top honors for activities, athletics

Lincoln Southwest High School has won two top prizes awarded by the Nebraska Schools Activities Association.

The U.S. Cellular Cup is given based on a points system where schools earn points based on its team finishes at NSAA hosted events. This includes athletic and some extra-curricular activities.

Southwest was honored with the Class A overall school award and the award in the girls competition. The Silver Hawks won team state titles in girls cross country, boys tennis, girls swimming, boys soccer and girls track and field.

Mark Armstrong, LSW Athletic Director, said, "As you know, all activities associated with the NSAA contribute to this award, which in my mind, makes this a very special honor as it demonstrates excellence across the board and not just in one or two activities. I am very proud of our staff and school and feel honored to be a part of this great organization."

Other team finishes at state:
Boys Cross Country - ninth overall at state
Football - state qualifier
Girls Golf - runner-up finish at state
Softball - state qualifier
Volleyball - state qualifier
Boys Swimming - runner-up finish at state
Wrestling - seventh at state duals
Boys Golf - fourth at state
Girls Soccer - state qualifier
Girls Tennis - seventh at state
Speech - runner-up finish at state
Journalism - eighth at state

Posted on July 24, 2014


To teach better, this cohort returns to math class

This math class sounds a lot like an elementary math class.

A chorus of students says, "Every square is a rhombus. There are rhombuses that are not squares."

“Why is that?” the instructor asks.

Where it turns a bit different is that after the instructor gets an answer to her question, a discussion follows on the proper use of rhombus in the plural form. (Latin version is rhombi, but the Americanized English version tends to be rhombuses.)

Students then repeat similar statements for trapezoids and rectangles.

But instead of these being first- or fourth-grade students, they are first- and fourth-grade teachers, and kindergarten, second- and third-grade teachers, too, 40 of them in all, at Burnett Hall on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

In the building just to the west of Burnett, there are 40 teachers of fourth through eighth grades in Avery Hall, all teachers from Title I schools in Lincoln Public Schools. (Title I funds are part of the Elementary Secondary Education Act (ESEA) authorization. Funding provides extensive supplemental services to high poverty schools which support programs that improve and meet high performance and content standards.)

Kati Stauffer is a fourth-grade teacher at Saratoga Elementary School, 2215 S. 13th St. She's one of three Saratoga teachers in two groups, and one of two in the Math in the Middle class.

She and the others are learning math at a deeper level as part of their work toward master’s degrees.

"I wouldn't go into this detail, but being able to understand it better myself, I can then make it simpler for them to understand," Stauffer said.

The classes themselves require quick absorption of materials. Students might stay until the late evening hours to complete homework before returning home to their families.

As a first-year LPS teacher, Lisa Bohaty agrees that learning the math in more complex situations helps her simplify some things for her students and helps her get to know teachers who are her new co-workers.

"It's been a good opportunity to meet and collaborate with grade levels, some SPED (special education) teachers, I've worked with fourth-grade teachers and kindergarten teachers,” said Bohaty, who will be a first-grade teacher at Campbell Elementary School, 2200 Dodge St. “So I'm learning the spectrum of what's being taught elsewhere."

The classes, for both Primarily Math and Math in the Middle, would not be taught if it weren’t for this cohort of 80 teachers, chosen from a list of applicants numbering about twice that many. (Read more about the history and coursework.)  

 

Both consist of day-long, two-week courses where group work across grade levels is emphasized. The Math in the Middle cohort will meet for more coursework in July.

While these are teachers, they become math students in order to understand ways to teach math better.

"I've learned a lot more about in-depth thinking," Bohaty said. "I wouldn't teach all that but the learning process has been eye-opening."

In the Math in the Middle classroom - a crowded room with multiple teachers constantly observing and instructing - the current topic is fractions.

“My students struggle with fractions,” said Jacob Cathey, a teacher at Lefler Middle School, 1100 S. 48th St. “They are often handcuffed by the rules and procedures of fractions, and so one of the things this class has provided me is a deeper understanding of fractions, and ways to teach them.”

The teachers in the class teach many different levels of math. They also work with students with different learning strategies. By having fourth-grade teachers at his table, Cathey said, it allows him to see how younger students are being taught.

He can use the same strategies and common language and concepts with his seventh-graders.

“It gives me so much more insight into what level they are learning things: the changes that are coming, how it's being taught, what to expect when those kids reach me,” he said.

Most teachers in the two cohorts have at least one other teacher from their school in the class. That will matter most when school is back in session, where feedback can be nearly instant.

"The other part is to the other person from my school can keep me accountable, and I can keep her accountable," said Stauffer.

Like the difference between learning the piano and playing the piano, math requires a deeper set of skills just to teach.

Joann Herrington, a first-grade teacher at Belmont, 3425 N. 14th St., used that metaphor to describe why she’s making a sacrifice to commit time to learning math and how to teach math.

She herself did not enjoy math as a middle or high school student.

“It's so worth it because I’m determined that my students are not going to go through what I went through,” Herrington said. “They aren't going to sit in class and say, ‘I don't get it.’ I want them to have a deep understanding of it. I want them to play with ideas.”

Posted on July 24, 2014


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