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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.

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.

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

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

25 - Concert: Band & Orchestra, Southwest, Feb. 25, 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 

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

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

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

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

April 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

16 - Concert: Spring Swing, Southeast, May 16

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

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

School Listing

Lincoln East High School

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lincoln High School

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

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

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

Lincoln North Star High School

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

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

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

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

Lincoln Northeast High School

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lincoln Southeast High School

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Concert: Spring Swing, Southeast, May 16

Lincoln Southwest High School

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on January 28, 2015


Board of Education approves 2015-16 contract agreement < Updated

Highlights of Jan. 27 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular Board meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 27 at LPS District Office, 5905 O St. The next Board meeting is set for Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015.

Board of Education approves 2015-16 contract agreement

Lincoln Public Schools educators will benefit from a total negotiated package increase of 3.25 percent for the 2015-16 school year, according to a one-year agreement reached with the Lincoln Education Association and approved by the Lincoln Board of Education Tuesday.

That percentage includes salary increases; increased health insurance costs; and increases in Social Security and retirement costs. (The average total salary will increase 2.88 percent.) Full-time LPS teachers will get a $1,588 raise in 2015-16, and the base pay for new teachers will increase by $1,088, to $41,731 a year.

The vote on the contract was: six Board members voted in favor of the agreement, and Board President Richard Meginnis voted against the agreement.

Comments included:

·      Katie McLeese Stephenson: “I appreciate all the work that has gone into this negotiated agreement. I appreciate all that goes into that…blood, sweat and tears.”

·      Kathy Danek: “I think this is reflective of the value we place on educators.”

·      Don Mayhew: “I am grateful for the excellent negotiation process.”

  • Meginnis: “I believe our students are surrounded by effective and talented educators…and this contract, money-wise, is very fair...I just have a problem with the way the contract regulates every move, every working condition…It locks down minutes and hours….Some time in the future this agreement needs to be reworked…It’s starting to get cumbersome. It needs to be more agile.”

Meginnis also made a motion to amend the agreement to remove any reference to a specific health care provider: “I do not believe this should be in a contract…I think it is in our best interest to leave that open.”

The motion did not pass: Six Board members voted no, Meginnis voted for the motion.

Human Resources policy

The Board approved revisions in several policies related to Human Resources: selection and assignment of employees, retirement benefits, travel reimbursement, civility of employees, and professional boundaries between employees and students – and a new policy, related to work made for hire.

Celebration of Success

The Board of Education recognized:

  • Mark Armstrong, athletic director for Lincoln Southwest High School, elected president of the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association.
  • Toni Heimes, Lincoln Southwest High School English teacher and debate coach, honored with the John Thurber Distinguished Teacher Award by the Nebraska Speech, Communication and Theater Association

Public Remarks

Four people made public remarks to the Board of Education.

 

 

Posted on January 27, 2015


LHS to celebrate 100 years on J St. on March 29 < New

Lincoln High School will celebrate 100 years on J street - with an Open House 2-4 p.m. Sunday, March 29
Details to come!

Posted on January 27, 2015


Welch honored for wellness efforts < Updated

Michelle Welch of Lincoln Public Schools been chosen as one of WELCOA's Top 100 Health Promotion Professionals. Welch is the district's wellness coordinator. This award is unique to the field in that scoring is based not only on votes from your peers, but also by the empirical review of a distinguished judging panel.

Posted on January 27, 2015


North Star trainers earn top honors for student-athlete safety < Updated

Lincoln North Star High School was awarded the Safe Sports School Award by the National Athletic Trainers' Association. Justin Eggleston and Shelly White are the Gators' athletic trainers.

Schools may earn a 1st Team or 2nd Team Safe Sports School award. 1st Team awards, which North Star received, are given to schools that have acted on all recommended and required elements of the Safe Sports School checklist.

All of the schools listed below are Safe Sports Schools that gone above and beyond to help ensure the safety of their student athletes. 

The National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) is the professional membership association for certified athletic trainers and others who support the athletic training profession. Founded in 1950, the NATA has grown to more than 35,000 members worldwide today. The majority of certified athletic trainers choose to be members of the NATA – to support their profession, and to receive a broad array of membership benefits.

Bios for Eggleston and White:

Justin has been the head athletic trainer at North Star since the doors opened in 2003.
Justin attended the University of Nebraska at Kearney, graduating in 1996.  While at UNK, received the Athletic Training "Rookie Trainer of the Year" Award. Following graduation, Justing worked briefly in his hometown of Broken Bow initializing an outreach program to provide athletic training services to 6 small communities. From 1997 to the fall of 2003, Justin worked for an orthopedic physicians clinic providing athletic training services to communities outside of Lincoln.  Since beginning at North Star Justin has served on the Nebraska State Athletic Training Association executive board as Secretary/Treasurer and Vice President.  In 2004 Justin was awarded the George Sullivan Athletic Trainer of the Year Award.

Shelly began her position as assistant athletic trainer at North Star in 2011.  A native of Omaha, NE, Shelly attended Doane College for two years on a softball scholarship before transferring to the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Shelly graduated in 2011 from UNO with Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education with emphasis in Athletic Training. Throughout her college career, Shelly gained experience working with NCAA Division II football and women's soccer, NCAA Division I softball, and out patient physical therapy. While working at North Star, Shelly has completed a Master of Science degree in Kinesiology from the University of Texas at Tyler, and became a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. 

Posted on January 26, 2015


Morrill Hall offering free events in February

Morrill Hall has free events in February for the community. The museum invites visitors to pose with the plesiosaur and mingle with the mammoths in Morrill Hall for free on Thursday nights throughout February. The University of Nebraska State Museum in Morrill Hall will offer visitors free admission February 5, 12, 19 and 26 from 4 to 8 p.m.

Mueller Planetarium, located inside the museum, will present the fulldome show, “A Starry Tale” Thursdays at 7 p.m. in February.  The planetarium will also present a special laser showing of “Black History Laser Tribute” on February 12. Regular admission to Mueller Planetarium fulldome and laser shows will apply. Tickets can be purchased at the front desk of the museum the day of the show. The complete planetarium schedule can be found at www.spacelaser.com.

Also, on Thursday, Feb. 19 we will be hosting a hands-on event for families: Visitors can create a colorful beaded bracelet inspired by the First Peoples of the Plains exhibit, watch a beading demonstration by Rebekka Schlichting, and talk with Naomi Szpot, the Museum's anthropology collection assistant. This event is part of Lincoln's PhotoFest in partnership with the Sheldon Museum of Art. It is held in connection with the exhibition Children of St. Augustine Indian Mission, Winnebago, Nebraska, portraits by Don Doll currently on view at the State Museum of Natural History.

Posted on January 23, 2015


Northeast earns national recognition for student achievement in financial literacy

Lincoln Northeast High School has earned status as a 2013-14 Blue Star School for its work with students in the Personal Finance course.

The honor is given by the organization, Working In Support of Education, or w!se, which in the case of Northeast, bases the honor on having all 12 students achieve an 80 percent grade on the Financial Literacy Certification Test. The course was taught by Deb Wolken.

Northeast Principal Kurt Glathar said, “Deb Wolken has done and outstanding job as our Business Department Chair. Her leadership is evident within the department, as well as with her students.”

Lincoln North Star High School, Lincoln Southwest High School and the Entrepreneurship Focus Program reached a passing rate, but didn’t have enough students taking the test to receive official recognition.

The W!SE test is taken as part of our new College Personal Finance class in its second year of offering. Student receive dual credit (Southeast Community College) with this course and it has recently been granted Weighted status.

Now that Take Charge is in its second year, 2014-15 students who are taking College Personal Finance can build on their Take Charge personal finance foundation.

In the award announcement letter, David Anderson, executive vice president of w!se, said, “Because of your dedicated and tireless commitment, you have given them vital knowledge about their personal finances. You have also provided them with the tools they need to become financially capable young adults.”

This type of course provides excellent foundational knowledge which, in turn, helps students perform at high levels within subsequent courses such as the Personal Finance course.  Lincoln Public Schools is grateful for strong community partners that continue to help our student achieve at high levels.

Posted on January 23, 2015


Morley students take the lead in tracking, reducing tardies

Teachers at Morley Elementary School have the students keep track of the tardies during the week. On Friday, one student writes the name of the teacher and the number of tardies for the week on a sticky note. The sticky note gets hung on a window in the front hall. Then two fifth-graders total everything and fill in the chart. Each class with no tardies for the week hangs a sign on their door.

Posted on January 23, 2015


Looking beyond labels to student learning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what would a sound educational accountability system look like? 

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

No Child Left Behind:  A few facts

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

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

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

Posted on January 23, 2015


Student volunteers needed for Bright Lights

Bright Lights is looking for student volunteers who are lookign to experience a summer of teaching and learning. This experience is valuable to high school students and provides countless opportunities to be engaged with wonderful role models. Students can also earn their GOPO hours for graduation requirements by helping with one class, either morning or afternoon or both.

They will earn 20 hrs by helping one week half a day.

For more information, contact Barb Highstreet at 402-420-1115, ext. 49.

Bright Lights is a non-profit organization that takes learning beyond the classroom by providing youth with unique, motivating, hands-on learning opportunities.

Summer 2015  Randolph Elementary (37th&D)Lincoln,NE
Dates:  June 8-12, June 22-26, and July 6-11

Registration begins April 1Visit website www.brightlights.org for latest updates.

Posted on January 23, 2015


Pathfinder focuses on education for detained youth

Randall Farmer didn’t plan to go to college.

He thought he wanted to be a small engine mechanic, then decided to go to college on a whim, spent six years doing archeology with the National Park Service, then thought to try teaching because, after all, they get summers off.

He ended up helping at a psychiatric hospital his first ‘summer’ and began working with Lincoln Public Schools, specifically with the Behavioral Skills Program. After a decade of work in Pennsylvania working with primarily inner city youth, he began working at the Juvenile Detention Center in Lancaster County, and was totally unprepared.

“One, these were the most challenging kids I have ever seen, and two, they were the most amazing and brilliant kids I have ever seen,” Farmer said. “So how do you get the kids excited about learning?”

Today Farmer is the supervisor of the Pathfinder Education Program in LPS. He acknowledged that the Pathfinder program needed outside help, and it came in the form of a national collaboration of National Partnership for Juvenile Services. There were very few places to go for help eight years ago, he said, but that has changed.

Students at Pathfinder typically have a law violation, or violation of probation or parole. They attend Pathfinder for their own safety, the community’s safety and to limit flight risk. The program is housed at 1200 Radcliff St. When the building was designed, LPS had a key role. The building itself, is designed around the classrooms.

The goals are credit recovery, filling gaps in knowledge and skills, and inspiring students to learn. 

He says the ones we hear about in the news, are the kids he knows. And, he says, “Yes, they are still kids.”

Later he added, “Remember this, juveniles are not adults.”

They do not think like adults, they still lack impulse control, logical reasoning, and predictive skills. And this is due to a brain that is still developing, Farmer said. 

The Pathfinder program had 639 student enrollments last year – though average daily attendance is in the 50s - and every one of the student stories is different. 

“The key is helping them understand that the struggles they are going through have an explanation,” Farmer said.

Helping youth understand how they reached this point in their life is critical for their maturation.

“That’s the way it is …” is a common statement, he said. They aren’t just justifications. “What we have to do is show them there is a different way.”

Most students have lived life one way for 14 years, and that’s what they know. It takes time and repetition and caring to understand the same social contract that makes most people follow traffic signals.

It can come down to the right moment, the right phrase from a guest speaker or just the right person.

One young man had been struggling at the program multiple times, Farmer said. One day he approached Farmer to say, “I have a baby I need to take care of, I have to graduate and today is the day it starts.”

Some students are former student-athletes with bright futures, others are kids who have lived through horrendous situations.

When students are at Pathfinder, they:

  • get three meals a day and a snack;
  • are sleeping safely;
  • are not using any substances;
  • are 10- to 19-years-old, with an average of 15.8;
  • come from various schools across the city;
  • are males and females, two-to-one;
  • stay on average 26 days, though most come in for a few days or a few months;
  • attend based on security needs, not academic level, thus there is one general classroom for all ages;
  • attend school 92 percent of the time.

Students in special education and youth of color are over-represented in attendees (which Farmer said is a national issue).

Farmer said it’s state law that students cannot be punished academically for their problems with the law. The program is not treatment, and is just one available path for students. 

A life of incarceration costs $3-$5 million for one person, Farmer said, so every positive outcome for Pathfinder saves taxpayer money.

The program is funded by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, and coordinated with Lancaster County. Staff are certified, and the program earns approval by the Nebraska Department of Education.

Kids take math, science, English, social studies and the same core classes - including P.E., which is new this year - for six periods a day. Life skills classes are taught in the evenings and weekends. 

Kids are resilient. Teachers are too, Farmer said. One student told an LPS administrator that they just needed a chance. Then two other kids admitted on the spot that it will also take more than one chance, because they will likely make more mistakes.

“They don’t need to be punished anymore,” Farmer said. “They are amazing, amazing intelligent - I would argue genius - if you see their creativity.”

“This is my passion; this is what I love to do.”

Posted on January 20, 2015


McDermott to retire as Southwest principal

Hugh McDermott, who has been serving as Interim Principal at Southwest High School for these last two years has announced his retirement effective at the end of this school year (2014-15). 

Mr. McDermott came to Southwest from Irving Middle School, where he was principal for 9 years.  Previous to that, Mr. McDermott served as principal at Lefler Middle School for 14 years.  Mr. McDermott is finishing his 40th year in the education business; 33 of those years with LPS, 4 years as assistant principal for Papillion-La Vista Schools, and three years at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as an audiovisuals instructor.

McDermott always stated that as long as he could stay ahead of the students mentally and physically he would continue this type of work but that when the students would begin to “catch up” with him, it would be time to step down from this position of responsibility. 

He is pleased with the work he has contributed to at LPS.  He informed his leadership team late last week and his faculty on Tuesday, Jan. 20th at the end of the day.  Mr. McDermott is unclear about his future plans other than he knows he will have to stay busy at something and that he will greatly miss the outstanding LPS teachers, administrators, students, and parents he has worked with over these many years.  

1975-1981---Teacher at Goodrich Junior High (6 years)

1981-1984----Instructor at UNL, teaching Audiovisuals 359, working on doctorate (3 years)

1984-1988---Assistant Principal, Papillion-La Vista (4 years)

1988-1990---Assistant Principal, Irving Junior High (2 years)

1990-2004---Principal, Lefler Middle School (14 years)

2004-2013---Principal, Irving Middle School (9 years)

2013-2015---Interim Principal, Southwest High School (2 years) 

Posted on January 20, 2015


Lux 6th grader gets artwork signed by author who inspired it

Drew Huscher, a sixth grader at Lux Middle School, met author Jennifer A. Nielsen at a book-signing event in Omaha on November 13th.   An avid reader, Drew is a fan of Nielsen’s Ascendance Trilogy books, the 2014-2015 Golden Sower nominee The False Prince, The Runaway King, and The Shadow Throne.

Drew met and spoke with Ms. Nielsen, and showed her his coat of arms project that he created after reading the trilogy.  Drew’s coat of arms depicts the main character’s attributes using heraldry symbols. Ms. Nielsen told Drew that the only other person she had discussed a coat of arms with was the screenwriter for The False Prince movie, which is still in talks, and that Drew had incorporated many of the same elements and symbols in his coat of arms.

How did you become interested in The Ascendance Trilogy?

I became interested in the Ascendance Trilogy when my friend took The False Prince off the shelf in our classroom and said I should read it.  I read the book twice and then told my friend that I loved the book.  Then he told me that he hadn’t even read the book and that he had just given me a random book. 

What was the biggest challenge creating the coat of arms for the character of Jaron?

The greatest challenge was probably finding the measurements of the shield, because I wanted everything to be symmetrical. 

What do you enjoy most about Jennifer A. Nielsen’s writing?

I enjoy how she tells the story in first person, because then you know why Sage does what he does.  Also, how she uses troubles that could happen to anyone in Sage’s time to bring adventure to her story and really make Sage think.

Who are your favorite characters in The False Prince and why?

Sage (Jaron), because you just get to know him so well and feel for him.  In The Runaway King and The Shadow Throne, I like Roden the best for reasons that, if I told you, would give away too much.

What was the best part about meeting Jennifer A. Nielsen?

The best part about meeting Jennifer A. Nielsen was when she recognized that I was the one who had made the coat of arms.  My mentor had sent her an email with a picture of the crest prior to me meeting her. 

Posted on January 16, 2015


Board of Education considers tentative 2015-16 contract agreement

Highlights of Jan. 13 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular Board meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 13 at LPS District Office, 5905 O St. The next Board meeting is set for Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015.

Board of Education considers tentative 2015-16 contract agreement

The Lincoln Board of Education Tuesday discussed a tentative contract with teachers on a one-year agreement for the 2015-16 school year – reached by the Lincoln Education Association and Lincoln Public Schools.

The proposed agreement represents both judicious stewardship and providing fair compensation for excellent educators – with the goal of maintaining a fine school district, according to Steve Joel, superintendent of LPS, Jenni Benson, president of the LEA, and Kathy Danek, chair of the Board of Education’s Finance Committee.

The contract – approved by 94 percent of LEA membership last week and approved by the LEA Board of Directors on Monday, Jan. 12 – provides a total package increase of 3.25 percent for the 2015-16 school year. That percentage includes salary increases; increased health insurance costs; and increases in Social Security and retirement costs. (The average total salary will increase 2.88 percent.)

That means full-time LPS teachers would get a $1,588 raise in 2015-16, and the base pay for new teachers would increase by $1,088, to $41,731 a year.

Board of Education member Lanny Boswell noted: “We’ll never be able to pay teachers what they really deserve…but this contract enables us to hire and retain the best and brightest teachers.”

Board member Barb Baier said: “I want to express my thanks to our teachers and our administration for creating such a good sense of teamwork…and an atmosphere of sharing and discussion. I think the tough work ahead of us to achieve a 90 percent on-time graduation rate requires that we have that ethic of teamwork….I am really happy with this agreement.”

The Lincoln Board of Education conducted the first reading of the contract at the Jan. 13 meeting and will take action on the tentative agreement at the Board meeting set for 6 p.m. Jan. 27 at LPS District Offices, 5905 O St.

Additional comments:

Joel: "We have a fine school district in Lincoln that improves the climate and quality of life for our entire community – and our teachers are the foundation for that excellence.  Our educators are to be commended for their sense of mission in bringing success to every single student."

Benson: “The proposed salary and benefits package passed by our Association members acknowledges the importance of Lincoln's outstanding teacher work force and the efforts that they make day-in and day-out for their students and our community. I believe this tentative agreement recognizes that teachers, on a regular basis, do not work the hours of an ordinary job; spending countless hours in the evening, on weekends, and during unpaid breaks. For teachers, working with students is not a conventional profession, either. It is a passion filled with dedication like no other career to provide the best education possible for children and their futures. The proposed contract also helps to address, in a minimal way, some workload issues for both teachers and administrators and makes a renewed commitment to ensure that staff and students are in the best learning environment possible.”

Danek: "Our school district has long been a solid steward of the community's precious tax dollars – and we believe this agreement represents a good balance between prudent budgeting and maintaining a talented staff of educators at Lincoln Public Schools."

Board approves school calendar for 2016-17

A calendar for the 2016-17 school year was approved by the Board of Education Tuesday.

Highlights of the calendar:

  • First day of school is Monday, August 15.
  • Last day is Wednesday, May 24.
  • Fall break is Oct. 17-18.
  • Winter break is Dec. 23-Jan. 3.
  • Spring break is March 13-17.

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

Technology

The Board approved a Technology Resolution that directed LPS staff to develop a comprehensive technology plan within existing funding parameters, providing for appropriate staffing, proposing sufficient professional development and providing greatly expanded access to technology district-wide all in support of student learning. The initial plan will be presented to the Board no later than March 1, 2015 – and will be reviewed annually.

Board member Kathy Danek stressed: “Technology does not drive curriculum – curriculum will drive the use of technology.

Human Resources policy

The Board discussed limited revisions in several policies related to Human Resources: selection and assignment of employees, retirement benefits, travel reimbursement, civility of employees, and professional boundaries between employees and students – and a new policy, related to work made for hire.

Celebration of success

The Board of Education recognized Brett Schuster – head Track & Field coach, an assistant football coach and social studies teacher at Lincoln Southwest High School – as Nebraska Girls Track Coach of the Year, an honored bestowed by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

Public Remarks

Four people made public remarks to the Board of Education.

 

 

Posted on January 13, 2015


Teacher's Perspective with Jason Rushing, Humann Elementary

Jason Rushing, computer science teacher, Humann Elementary School.

Posted on January 08, 2015


UNLs College of Journalism and Mass Communications to Host Discussion on Cyberbulling

The College of Journalism and Mass Communications will host a discussion about the growing national problem of cyberbullying on Jan. 28 at the Nebraska Union. The college is partnering with the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) as sponsors of this event. 

“We look forward to a vigorous discussion about how cyberbullying particularly affects diverse students,” said journalism professor Gary Kebbel, who is organizing the panel.

The discussion will be led by expert panelists: Sue Burzynski Bullard, associate professor of journalism at UNL; Zach Meyers, doctoral candidate whose research specialty is cyberbullying; Abi Beatty, counselor at Scott Middle School in Lincoln, and Jason Lucht, former staff member at the LGBTQ Resource Center at UNL. Journalist Bobby Caina Calvan will moderate.

The public discussion is part of the Heartland Project, a joint initiative of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications, the AAJA and the NLGJA to increase media coverage of minorities and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities in Nebraska. Bobby Caina Calvan, a former national political writer in the Boston Globe’s Washington bureau, is the lead reporter for the Heartland Project. The project is funded by the Ford Foundation. Kebbel is the UNL partner in the grant.

The panel discussion will be at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015, in the auditorium of the Nebraska Union. The discussion is open to the UNL and local communities. A reception will follow the event. 

For more information, please visit the college website, http://journalism.unl.edu/news.

Posted on January 08, 2015


Community organizations hosting suicide prevention conversation

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

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

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

Cam McDaniel - c.mcdaniel@sheridanlutheran.org

Mitch Connely - mitch@firstplymouth.org

Michelle Chesnut - mchesnut@newvisionsumc.org

Jen Strickland - jen@westminsterlincoln.org

Jason Obermeier - jobermeier4@gmail.com

Chris Hansen - yaya@fpclincoln.org 

Posted on December 18, 2014


'Portraits' highlight student artwork

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on December 18, 2014


Morehouse elected VP of national organization for office pros

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on December 18, 2014


Pyrtle Elementary to celebrate 50 years

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

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

Posted on December 16, 2014


Help is here for you: Suicide prevention information

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



Information from LPS

Local/National Resources

National Suicide Prevention Helpline

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

National Institute of Mental Health/National Institutes of Health

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

Bryan Health

http://www.bryanhealth.com/suicideeducationandprevention

Crisis Line (located in Lincoln - provided by CenterPointe)

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

Nebraska Family Helpline

1-888-866-8660

Nebraska State Suicide Prevention Coalition

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

National Institute of Mental Health/National Institutes of Health

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

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

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


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

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

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


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


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


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


Posted on December 16, 2014


Highlights of Dec. 9 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

Highlights of Dec. 9 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

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

Proposed school calendar for 2016-17

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

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

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

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

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

Primary variables for considering the calendar are:

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

Additional variables:

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

Technology Resolution

The Board discussed a Technology Resolution that dictates that the Board will direct LPS staff to develop a technology plan within existing funding parameters, providing for appropriate staffing, proposing sufficient professional development and providing greatly expanded access to technology district-wide all in support of student learning. The initial plan will be presented to the Board no later than March 1, 2015 – and will be reviewed annually.

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

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

Annual Financial Audit

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

Superintendent Update

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

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

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

Celebrations of success

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

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

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

Public Remarks

Eleven people made public remarks to the Board of Education.

 

 

 

Posted on December 11, 2014


Honoring staff with 25 years of service

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

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

Posted on December 10, 2014


Letter from Supt. Joel to families regarding student safety

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Steve Joel 

Lincoln Public Schools Superintendent

Posted on December 03, 2014


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on December 02, 2014


Cervantes, Seck honored by local group for community work

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

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

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

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

Posted on November 26, 2014


Lincoln Public Schools contributes to community

Highlights of Nov. 25 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

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

Lincoln Public Schools contributes to community

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News from the Career Academy

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

Public Remarks

Six people made remarks to the Board of Education.

 

Posted on November 25, 2014


Carr joins distinguished list of Scottish Rite winners

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on November 24, 2014


Gators use pilot project to help students apply for college

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But the actual act of applying?

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on November 21, 2014


LPS Teachers Ringing Bells

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

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

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

Posted on November 21, 2014


B&N collecting books for Lighthouse

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

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

Posted on November 14, 2014


Judges buzz about student's business pitch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on November 14, 2014


Hour of Code returns Dec. 8-14

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

What is the Hour of Code?

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

No experience needed from teachers and students

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

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

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

Posted on November 14, 2014


Learning Lunches 2014-15: Untold stories of LPS

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

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

This year’s schedule:

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

Posted on November 12, 2014


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

Highlights of Nov. 11 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

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

Board of Education regular meeting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other School Board members also commented.

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

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

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

The full Policy Review Committee summary follows.

Policy 8002: Purpose and Role of the Board

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

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

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

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

Policy 6400: Curriculum Decisions

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

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

Policy 6450: Controversial Issues

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

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

Policy 6443: Parental Involvement

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

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

Policy 4850: Personal Freedom

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

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

Policy 6620 and 6621 – District and External Research

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

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

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

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

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

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

Board of Education work session

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

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

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

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

  • Emphasizing student achievement:

o   Instruction drives technology

o   Teaching and learning fit, devices last

o   Curriculum supported by technology

  • Sustainability

o   Parameters: budget

o   Plan for people: coaches, tech support

o   Plan for professional development

  • Flexibility

o   Technology

o   Curriculum

o   BYOD: Guaranteed Access

  • Priorities: How fast will we go?

o   Technology commitment

o   Professional development

  • Facilities

o   Building schools for the 21st Century

o   Factor into future building projects

  • Implementation of Multi-Year Plan

o   Board Approval

o   Annual Review

 

  • Staff development

o   Prioritized

o   Built-in provision for competency

 

Posted on November 11, 2014


Free paper shredding event at three high schools

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

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

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

 

 

Posted on November 07, 2014


Stars hockey interested in school partnerships

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

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

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

2. Group Nights 

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

3. National Anthem Singing Groups

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

4. Skate Days

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

5. Teacher Appreciation Night

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

Posted on November 07, 2014


Windstream offering money for high schools through idea contest

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on November 07, 2014


Southwest teacher earns status as Certified Journalism Educator

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on November 06, 2014


LHS senior honored by state art group

Repulished from Nebraskans for the Arts

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

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

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

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

About Nebraskans for the Arts:

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

Posted on November 06, 2014


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