News

EdNotes Express

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

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

Graduation a sign of endurance

For over 1,300 Lincoln Public School students, summer school provides them an opportunity to get one step closer to their goals. Approximately 95 of those students were able to obtain their high school diploma at the end of the six weeks.

Lincoln North Star Principal Vann Price told students during the ceremony when she thinks about summer school graduation, the word endurance comes to mind.

“Endurance in this instance might be defined as the ability of an individual to exert him or her self and remain active for a long period of time, as well as their ability to resist, withstand, recover from, and have immunity to fatigue,” said Price.

She told them that success in any venture lies in holding on even when others let go. Price then remarked that some of the students have watched others let go, and as a result of that they are not at the summer graduation ceremony.

“Endurance is the price tag of achievement. There is always a process you must go through to enjoy the satisfaction that achievement brings. There can be no short cuts. You’ve got to pay full price. Endurance never really goes on sale. I applaud you today for your endurance.”

After Price’s address, 35 graduates walked across the stage to receive their diploma in front of friends and family.

Graduate Kelly Allsman from Lincoln High said: “It means a lot, just getting through the fight. I had to fight and getting through this day. I can move forward and do what I need to do. I want to be a vet and go into the military.”

Natalia Lewis, a graduate from Lincoln East High School said: “It means so much. I can start my future. It took a lot of hard work and focus to get here.”

Posted on July 20, 2016


Huston to perform with Lincoln Symphony Orchestra

Arnold Elementary Preschool Teacher Hannah Huston will be performing two special concerts with Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra at the Lied Center for Performing Arts on September 18

Tickets for the event will go on sale to the public Thursday, July 14, but LPS employees have an opportunity to participate in a special one day presale. On Wednesday, July 13, all LPS employees can go to http://www.liedcenter.org and type in the special pre-sale code sent via email. (Please email Mindy Burbach at mburbach@lps.org if you need the code again.)

Tickets cost $21 for adults and $11 for students, with a small section of prime seating available for $36.

During the concert, Huston is encouraging attendees to consider making a contribution to the LPS Early Childhood Fund for Excellence at the Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools. The fund provides special support for families in need. “I am looking forward to sharing this evening with you all and encourage you to join me in making a donation to the Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools." For more information on making a donation, visit www.foundationforlps.org

Posted on July 11, 2016


‘Every person is fighting their own battle’

For sixth grade language arts teacher Kristen Mercier, her daughter helped her see the importance for creating a safe space for all students in her Irving Middle School classroom.

“I know how hard that road can be. I’ve seen it both as an educator and as a parent. I see it watching my own daughter struggle making friends at school,” Mercier said. ”I think it just takes that compassion you have and really ups it even more to make sure your own classroom is a safe space for kids and really inclusive. We see that we all have something to learn from each other.”

Mercier has taught at Irving for ten years - during a time she became the mother of her now seven-year-old daughter, Emery, who has Down syndrome and has undergone, two major heart surgeries, a spinal cord operation and multiple procedures for her ears.

“Emery has taught me that every person is fighting their own battle, you just might not see it. She wears her’s on her face, you can see her disability, but that doesn’t mean we all don’t have our own battles that we are fighting.”

With her co-teacher, Mercier said she has had an incredible experience with students from all abilities in their language arts class coming together to learn not only reading and writing, but empathy and patience with each other.

“They start to see the world as less of them at the center of the universe, and they start to spread out. They want to donate or volunteer somewhere, and those are the biggest lessons I could teach. Reading is important, and writing is important, but teaching them about being good people is the ultimate goal,” added Mercier.

Mercier was able to spread her message of advocating for others to a different audience when she headed to Washington, D.C. in June.

Mercier and her daughter Emery were invited by the Children's Hospital Association to participate in Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Day. During the event, they spoke to the Nebraska representatives and senators about the importance of the Advancing Care for Exceptional (ACE) Kids Act of 2015. The ACE Kids Act would create pediatric-focused networks to coordinate and manage the highly specialized care children like Emery need in order to thrive.

During the breakfast with Nebraska representatives, Emery did something her mother never expected.

“I don’t remember exactly how it came about, but they asked Emery what she liked to do. She said she liked to sing. So, they asked her if she would like to sing for them.”

Mercier said Emery walked right up to the front of the room, grabbed the microphone from Congressman Fortenberry while he and Senator Sasse helped Emery up onto a chair.

“She stood right up there and sang ‘Let’s go fly a kite’. For a kiddo with anxiety issues, it was really nice to see her shine and leave an impression on those individuals.”

Posted on July 07, 2016


Highlights of 6/30 Lincoln Board of Education budget work session

Lincoln Public Schools:

Highlights of 6/30 Lincoln Board of Education budget work session

The Lincoln Board of Education held a work session Thursday, June 30, to discuss the proposed 2016-17 Lincoln Public Schools budget. The Board will hold its next regular meeting on Tuesday, July 26, 2016.

 

Highlights of Board Meeting work session

The Lincoln Board of Education is working through the process of considering and finalizing the proposed 2016-17 budget, gathering feedback and input from the community over the next months, further discussing the budget and planning to approve the final LPS budget in August.

 

The Board held a work session Thursday to continue the conversation about the proposed budget.

 

Early Childhood

Board member Barb Baier said she was overall very supportive of the proposed budget, “that aligns resources to our strategic plan and our various goals.”

 

But she questioned the district proposal to change resources for early childhood – and retain the half-day program at LPS – due to new regulations that mandate Head Start money only fund all-day early childhood services. “I looked at the research that is pushing for full-day school care, and I believe that research shows half day early childhood care does not provide very many gains for a student. Half day is not enough time for staff to engage with little ones…to make sure they come prepared for kindergarten…I think we need to make our budget decisions evidence based…I would prefer to serve a smaller number of children effectively.”

 

Liz Standish, associate superintendent for Business Affairs, explained that the new regulations for Head Start, mandating full-day early childhood, create a tough choice for LPS. “If we move to full day…with similar classrooms with similar funding sources…we would significantly lose the number of our early childhood seats.”

 

Board member Lanny Boswell agreed with the assessment that full day is preferred, but explained LPS is faced with the choice of serving 1,200 students in half day or 600 students with full day. “We don’t have the capacity to serve all of those students for a full day…If we went to a full day, we would be telling 600 students you are not going to have early childhood services with us.”  

 

Annie Mumgaard, another Board member, pointed out that as LPS releases Head Start funds to other community groups, they are able to offer additional early childhood care.

 

Standish suggested that LPS staff create a snapshot document for LPS early childhood: Number of students served, services provided, facility capacity, and more – “to create a baseline of knowledge for the continued conversation.”

 

Student support for technology

Baier supported proposed funding for extended support technology services for students at three high schools – and some middle schools – but said she would prefer such support at all six high schools.

 

Proposed tax levy

Board member Matt Schulte suggested that the school district use this language when describing the proposal for the tax levy: Lowering the General Fund tax levy, and putting money into the Building Fund to deal with growth.

 

Increased investment in fruit and vegetable program

Mumgaard said she supports this proposal, noting research indicates that better nutrition generally translates to better academics: “If we are looking to the whole child, and we are…with physical health and physical education…this is another small step in investing from a nutritional aspect.”

 

The proposed LPS budget addresses a variety of factors:

  • Providing appropriate staffing, services, supplies and resources to address significant growth in LPS student enrollment. LPS estimates an increase of 950 more students for 2016-17 – following a growth of 7,500 students in the past ten years – growth that means LPS will teach almost 41,000 students in the coming school year.
  • Addressing the growing complexity of the demographics and needs of LPS students.
  • Serving our students in a changing landscape of providing the highest quality education, for instance, planning for specific increases in areas such as regular education, technology and special education.

Highlights of the proposed budget include:

  • Taking into consideration Lincoln’s taxpayers and the current economics of the community, the school district is estimating a very slight decrease in the total LPS tax levy.  That means the estimated property tax rate will remain almost flat – moving half a cent levy from the General Fund to the Building Fund.  The result is there will be almost no change in your property taxes if your house valuation remains the same.  (Building Fund money can be used for site acquisition and improvements, purchasing existing facilities for district use, and some modification and updating of existing facilities.)
  • The budget continues to focus on providing continued quality education – recognizing that a quality education system is a long-term investment, not simply an expenditure – and our community, our businesses, our families, our students deserve a great school system.
  • A few highlights of possible additional funding provided under the proposed budget:
  • Providing help to classrooms and schools with: added teachers and staffing for regular education, special education, early childhood, English Language Learners (refugees and immigrants); added counselors and school social workers, healthcare workers and high school security; added staffing for middle school math and reading intervention; added staff for intervention assistance for after-school hours.
  • Resources allocated for opening the new Sally G. Wysong Elementary School and the Bill Nuernberger Education Center, and early start-up costs for Marilyn Moore Middle School (which opens in the fall of 2017).
  • Resources for technology including continuation of phasing in the LPS instructional technology plan, funding for instructional technology coaches, digital access for students during extended hours and replacing an aging online system for Business Affairs and Human Resources.
  • Funding to accommodate increases related to more schools and more students – for instance, increases in utilities, facilities and maintenance, custodial services and more.
The 2016-17 expenditures for LPS will total about $402 million – a 5.95 percent increase over the previous year.
 
The 2016-17 proposed budget is funded by several revenue streams including these two major sources: property taxes (LPS estimates property tax valuation will increase about 2.3 percent this year), and state aid to education (anticipated at $126.4 million this coming year, $1.45 million less than last year).  The 2016-17 budget predicts a revenue of about $397 million and, in addition, LPS will use $5.4 million from cash flow funds.
 
According to the most recent statistics, LPS ranked 227th out of 245 school districts in Nebraska in per pupil spending – LPS spent $10,576 per pupil compared to the state average of $11,619.
 

** Anyone interested in having information about the LPS budget presented to their community group is encouraged to contact LPS by calling (402) 436-1635, or emailing Liz Standish at lstandis@lps.org.

 

A public hearing for the 2016-17 LPS budget is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, August 9, at LPS District Office.

Posted on June 30, 2016


LHS senior honored by state art group

Republished 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 June 30, 2016


Highlights of 6/28 Lincoln Board of Education meeting, budget forum

Lincoln Public Schools:

Highlights of 6/28 Lincoln Board of Education meeting, budget forum

The Lincoln Board of Education held a regular meeting and a community budget forum on Tuesday, June 28 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The Board will hold its next work session at 5 p.m. Thursday, June 30, at District Office. The Board will hold its next regular meeting on Tuesday, July 26, 2016.

 

Highlights of Board Meeting

Additional funding for LPS projects

As the planning and substantial bidding draws to a close on the 15 priority Lincoln Public Schools construction projects financed through the 2014 LPS bond issue, as well as extensive infrastructure additions throughout the school district, LPS estimates $14.5 million in funding is still available for additional construction projects.

 

“Getting to where we are today took a lot of work,” said Scott Wieskamp, director of Operations for LPS. “To get these major projects done, and still have money left, that’s a major accomplishment.”

 

The Lincoln Board of Education Tuesday reviewed a list of the next tier of recommended projects – a list from the Board’s Planning Committee – that prioritizes these initiatives as:

  • Belmont Elementary School, $10.8 million – extensive indoor air quality renovation project.
  • Lincoln High School and Lincoln Northeast High School, $1 million – repurposing under-utilized high school spaces, such as machine and auto shop, due to the opening of The Career Academy.
  • LPS Science Focus Program (Zoo School), $3 million – permanent facilities at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo to accommodate more Zoo School students (up to a total of 200-250 students).
  • Site acquisitions for potential new elementary, middle and high schools.

The Board will take a final vote on this proposal at the July 26 meeting.

 

New boundaries approved

The Lincoln Board of Education Tuesday approved an attendance area change that will move students at Clinton Elementary School from the Lincoln North Star High School to the Lincoln Northeast High School attendance area. This change will also move the majority of Culler Middle School into the Northeast district (except for a portion that would remain in the Lincoln East High School attendance area).  

 

The Board reviews attendance areas to make sure Lincoln Public Schools is best utilizing school district facilities, and often to determine if it is prudent to make adjustments in boundaries that would provide relief to schools that are serving at or over capacity. Currently North Star student enrollment totals almost 2,200 students, and is expected to continue increasing in coming years.  LPS officials believe this attendance area change will help maintain a more level enrollment over time.   

 

The change will become effective for the 2017-18 school year. Please note LPS would continue the practice of allowing ninth graders to attend the high school of their choice, provided they fill out the necessary paperwork by the mandatory deadline.

 

Contract to coordinate travel for Lincoln Southwest High School music program

The Board approved a contract with Explor to provide services in coordinating travel for approximately 250 Lincoln Southwest High School music students traveling to Hawaii as part of a performance opportunity in December 2017. Students and boosters will participate in fundraising to pay for the cost of the trip.

 

Annexed property

The Board of Education Tuesday considered proposed school attendance assignments to land newly annexed to the city of Lincoln:

  • Highland View, Annexation Ordinance #20324, for 2016-17 school year:  Kooser Elementary School, Schoo Middle School and Lincoln North Star High School

The Board will take a final vote on the issue at the July 26 meeting.

 

Contract proposed for nutrition services, substitute, misc. employees

The Board considered proposed 2016-17 pay rates for nutrition services workers, as well as for substitute teachers and what are called miscellaneous employees (mentors in the gifted program, interpreters and others).

 

For Nutrition Services, the proposal for 2016-17 includes a salary increase of 2.88 percent with a total package increase of 3.62 percent; and for 2017-18, a salary increase of 2.89 percent and a total package increase of 3.63 percent. The proposal for this group would eliminate emergency leave and replace it with additional special leave.

 

The recommended salary increases for substitute teachers and miscellaneous employees range from no increase to a 7.7 percent increase, depending on the employee group.  The determination of what salary to recommend is made in conjunction with the supervisor of that employee group and an assessment of the availability of candidates for the positions.

 

The Board will take a final vote on these contracts at the July 26 meeting.

 

Celebration of Success

The Lincoln Board of Education recognized a student celebration of the Lincoln Public Schools Summer Technology Program, featuring presentations from:

  • Brent Jarosz, a business teacher at the Bryan Community Focus Program – and during the summer, coordinator for the LPS Summer Technology Program
  • Conner Anderson and Alex Oltman, eighth graders, Scott Middle School
  • Jacob Wyant, fifth grader, Lakeview Elementary School
Highlights of Community Budget Forum
The Lincoln Board of Education held its first Community Budget Forum Tuesday, inviting community members to make comments and ask questions about the preliminary 2016-17 budget. A second Forum will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 30, in the Media Center, Goodrich Middle School, 4600 Lewis Ave.
One Lincoln citizen made comments at the Forum.
 
The Board is working through the process of considering and finalizing the preliminary budget, gathering feedback and input from the community over the next months, further discussing the budget and planning to approve the final LPS budget in August.
 
The budget addresses a variety of factors:
  • Providing appropriate staffing, services, supplies and resources to address significant growth in LPS student enrollment. LPS estimates an increase of 950 more students for 2016-17 – following a growth of 7,500 students in the past ten years – growth that means LPS will teach almost 41,000 students in the coming school year.
  • Addressing the growing complexity of the demographics and needs of LPS students.
  • Serving our students in a changing landscape of providing the highest quality education, for instance, planning for specific increases in areas such as regular education, technology and special education.
Highlights of the preliminary budget include:
  • Taking into consideration Lincoln’s taxpayers and the current economics of the community, the school district is estimating a very slight decrease in the total LPS tax levy.  That means the estimated property tax rate will remain almost flat – moving half a cent levy from the General Fund to the Building Fund.  The result is there will be almost no change in your property taxes if your house valuation remains the same.  (Building Fund money can be used for site acquisition and improvements, purchasing existing facilities for district use, and some modification and updating of existing facilities.)
  • The budget continues to focus on providing continued quality education – recognizing that a quality education system is a long-term investment, not simply an expenditure – and our community, our businesses, our families, our students deserve a great school system.
  • A few highlights of possible additional funding provided under the preliminary budget:
  • Providing help to classrooms and schools with: added teachers and staffing for regular education, special education, early childhood, English Language Learners (refugees and immigrants); added counselors and school social workers, healthcare workers and high school security; added staffing for middle school math and reading intervention; added staff for intervention assistance for after-school hours.
  • Resources allocated for opening the new Sally G. Wysong Elementary School and the Bill Nuernberger Education Center, and early start-up costs for Marilyn Moore Middle School (which opens in the fall of 2017).
  • Resources for technology including continuation of phasing in the LPS instructional technology plan, funding for instructional technology coaches, digital access for students during extended hours and replacing an aging online system for Business Affairs and Human Resources.
  • Funding to accommodate increases related to more schools and more students – for instance, increases in utilities, facilities and maintenance, custodial services and more.
  • The 2016-17 preliminary expenditures for Lincoln Public Schools total $402 million – a 5.95 percent increase over the previous year.
  • The 2016-17 preliminary budget is funded by several revenue streams including these two major sources: property taxes (LPS estimates property tax valuation will increase about 2.3 percent this year), and state aid to education (anticipated at $126.4 million this coming year, $1.45 million less than last year).  The 2016-17 budget predicts a revenue of about $397 million and, in addition, LPS will use $5.4 million from cash flow funds.
  • According to the most recent statistics, LPS ranked 227th out of 245 school districts in Nebraska in per pupil spending – LPS spent $10,576 per pupil compared to the state average of $11,619.
  • Anyone interested in having information about the LPS budget presented to their community group is encouraged to contact Lincoln Public Schools by calling (402) 436-1635, or emailing Liz Standish at lstandis@lps.org.
  • The Lincoln Board of Education has one additional work session set for Board discussion about the budget at: 5 p.m. Thursday, June 30, LPS District Office. In addition, a public hearing for the 2016-17 LPS budget is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, August 9, at LPS District Office.
 

Posted on June 28, 2016


6 stories of summer school students, staff and support

Summer School for high school students at Lincoln Public Schools will culminate with a graduation celebration on July 7 at Lincoln North Star High School, 5801 N. 33rd St.

About 100 students are on track to meet their graduation requirements by completing a class or two this summer. Eight have already finished their requirements this summer, including one who officially completed his high school requirements a day before leaving for basic training in the Army.

In all, about 1,450 high school students are currently enrolled throughout LPS, with most at North Star.

Juggling time, projects and budding talent

Summer school art teacher Jen Deets talks about the self portrait with one student, and the student’s early interest in art.

Then, with another student, she talks about another project, and different inspiration. Some students are spray painting designs, others sketching out ideas after researching shapes on their phones.

“We need the phones,” Deets said. “We need the kids to be able to look up those images, and research artists.”

The classroom, with high ceilings and large windows for natural light, provides space and inspiration.

The music in the classroom is upbeat, with a flair. Some students find their own beat, with their own headphones, matching their own art and personality with their own musical choice.

Deets can instantly shift gears, from project to project and student to student.

She mixes in student art and a famous artist, giving them a research task where they can use their phones for independent learning. She appears to carry on multiple conversations about different topics with different students, giving a student a chance to think about the teacher’s words - before she returns to get their reflection.

And each student comes to class in a different place, with a different background and interest.

“Some kids take the class because they need the credit but then there is a stencil or something else that inspires them, and they discover a talent,” Deets said.

What they also discover is how much they can grow as artists in a short time. Students will create and connect with art, respond to their own work with artist statements, then present their work at a show during the last week of summer school.

Teaching government, with emphasis on making a connection

The music is recognizable by many students. It’s a spin on ‘It’s Too Late To Apologize” by OneRepublic. So what is it doing in a Government and Politics Class at LPS summer school?

The actors in this music video are dressed as Founding Fathers debating aspects of independence.

Teacher Falla Halsey adds context.

“So in this letter to the King (of England), they are saying, ‘No, there have been too many transgressions against us, that we have to break away.’”

She loves to make the connections, though often times students see it for themselves.

“I think it’s fun to see that people are taking a really difficult concept and manipulating it in a way that becomes more accessible,” she said.

Falsey loves to teach and knows her subject area, so advancing her own professional knowledge through summer school fits her well. She’s a social studies teacher during the fall and spring semesters at North Star High School, also home to summer school for LPS.

She sees kids from across the school district in her classroom, which appeals to her as well. And some of those students just finished their senior year, but need to pass this required course in order to graduate in two weeks.

“It’s the same content, standards and objectives so that part isn’t different,” Halsey said. “But I can delve into current events each day because of the increased time. The pace is certainly faster, so some of those aspects are sometimes more difficult, and some of it is easier because it’s faster. It depends on the individual learner.”

From golf to summer school, teacher loves time with students

Jim Danson’s girls and boys golf teams at Lincoln Southwest High School both won the team state titles. He was recently named golf coach of the year by the state coaching association.

And with the spring semester wrapped up, he could have spent most of his days golfing, or at least some time off from the classroom.

But as he has for the past 19 years, Danson is teaching summer school.

“I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t like teaching summer school,” he said. “I get to help kids, most of them really want to pass or get ahead, and most of them are willing to put in the time and dedicate themselves to the subject matter, and that really is refreshing.”

Danson teaches two sessions of U.S. History, both 110-minute periods. This block scheduling is similar to the period schedule at Southwest, so that part is similar.

But what Danson has enjoyed about summer school is seeing kids from all over Lincoln.

“I love teaching summer schools because I get to teach in a very diverse classroom,” he said. “Kids are from all over, and I get to teach the subject that i love, which is U.S. History.”

Five students, five individual pathways that lead through summer school

“Last year I came so I had a feel for it to get ahead this year,” said Teijah, a junior-to-be this fall at Lincoln North Star High School. She’s taking Advanced Algebra and an English course. She’s working to raise her grade-point-average to get prepared for college, where she hopes to compete in track and field and study to become a veterinarian.

“We see all different people from different schools, and the time is different. It’s hard to learn with everything going so fast and there are tests every week, but it stays in your brain.”

Carmen, a senior to be at Lincoln High School, wanted to clear up her schedule for her senior year, so she is taking Chemistry and American Government and Politics.

She hopes to study early education and special education in college.

Marquiha, a junior-to-be at North Star, is taking Biology and Geometry to improve her GPA. She enjoys the short time commitment over the summer even if the classes themselves are longer than classes in the fall and spring semesters.

Sterling, a senior-to-be at Lincoln Southeast High School, wants to play football in college, participate in ROTC and study criminal justice. To stay on that path, he’s taking Biology and Geometry this summer.

“It’s a lot faster,” he said of the course schedule, but he said teachers have different approaches to make it interesting.

LHS senior Sinai is taking Oral Communication and Pop Culture, two classes he needs to stay on track to graduate.

“I thought summer school was going to be easier because it’s only part of the summer,” Sinei said. And so far, he feels he’s right.

Partnership, emphasis on students builds uplifting support

Just getting the students to summer school is a huge battle. Once there, the structure of support from staff members of Lincoln Public Schools and community partners is impactful.

Savannah Hobbs has seen the impact.

“The reward is seeing the student get to class and getting the grades they are capable of,” said Hobbs, the educational program manager at Cedars. “These are some of the smartest and most capable kids I’ve worked with, and there just other things that get in the way.”

Those obstacles include problems they may have brought on themselves, such as making poor choices, or problems related to other people’s poor choices.

Hobbs works with students who might be in the foster care program, or in the homeless shelter, or on probation with tracker, a person assigned to a youth to ensure they meet certain goals.

Michael Hunter is new to Lincoln Public Schools as a transition specialist. It’s his job to help students adjust to their new school from out of town, detention centers or other places.

Victories are small, such as kids showing up, turning in assignments. But having this collaboration of community support actually at summer school, interacting with kids whether they need immediate help or not, is valuable.

“It’s important that they see us, and that they see we are trying for them,” Hunter said.

Counselors meet the needs of summer school students, too

Being a counselor at summer school has a different feel to it, counselor Susan Townsend said. Perhaps, because of the intense curriculum over a shorter period of time, it’s a bit more academic in nature.

But the key, she added, is still about developing a connection.

“You just have to meet the kid where they are,,” Townsend said. “Credit recovery or credit advancement, at either end of the spectrum, they are still motivated to get it done.”

There are also many aspects to summer school, including the traditional teacher-student-classroom structure. E-learning, where students learn through a variety of online activities and coursework - and at their own pace - is popular and available at five high schools in LPS.

There’s also a group of about 80 students who have yet to start their freshman year attending summer school at Lincoln North Star and Lincoln High School. They are taking an oral communication class and a fitness class.

Townsend said those are two areas where some kids struggle early or delay too long because not all kids enjoy public speaking, as one example.

“I love summer school,” Townsend said. “It has a whole different vibe. People say, ‘Oh, aren’t you tired?’ No, it is energetic.”

Posted on June 27, 2016


Assessing the assessments, teachers evaluate social studies questions

The classroom work of students from the past school year could be factored into future grading standards in years to come.

The work is really just beginning for a group of high school U.S. History teachers volunteering to review student work. They meet on this particular afternoon to review anonymous student work to identify exemplar work that show critical thinking skills from students.

From there, they can determine if the assessment properly captured student growth in critical thinking. In social studies, that means showcasing knowledge and historical thinking skills acquired from analyzing primary source documents, said Rob McEntarffer, assessment specialist for Lincoln Public Schools.

“Teachers discussing student work on these assessments helps us all define what we mean by historical thinking skills.” McEntarffer said. “It’s possible this work will lead to a district-wide scoring assessment for this subject area.”

During the last school year, social studies teachers created their own assessments for various time periods or documents in U.S. History. Now they are reviewing those assessments based on how well students responded.

In one particular unit on the Cold War, teachers agree the assessment does a good job of requiring close reading by the student, but could do a better job of requiring the student to explain how the evidence supports their answer.

If students weren’t familiar with one of these answers through previous classroom learning, they couldn’t be expected to know the answer with certainty. But the goal is to teach students historical thinking skills to use when examining primary documents so that they can think through these answers themselves, rather than having to only rely on memorized facts.

Also, the group talks about how to get students to provide evidence to support an answer without just repeating what they have read.

“I think there is value for a kid to be able to restate what they have read but in their own words,” said Leland Jacobs, social studies teacher at Lincoln Northeast High School.

Another question reviewed leads teachers to this concept: first think of the answer, the information students should know through classroom work, and develop a question that draws out that answer.

In creating a path toward a district-wide scoring guide, the group discusses how limiting or freeing lesson plans should be.

They agree a pacing guide that keeps all teachers on the same lesson plan on the same day is too rigid.

“You strike a balance between rigid, teaching this on this day, or on the flip side, I can teach whatever I want,” said LNE teacher Joel Cornwell.

In not dictating how the lesson is taught, but sticking with the information that is important to get across to students, each teacher has freedom to decide how they teacher a lesson.

For the moment, the group thinks having time markers - teach this lesson sometime during the first quarter, for example - provides teacher flexibility and common assessment opportunities.

And what to do with the information from assessments? Teachers, the social studies curriculum specialist, and McEntarffer will have to meet more to discuss how to best use these assessment data to support teaching and learning historical thinking skills.

Posted on June 24, 2016


LHS, Venable recognized nationally for strength training program

Lincoln High School has been awarded the 2016 Strength of America Award by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.

This award recognizes the Lincoln High initiative - led by Lincoln High coach Stewart Venable - that represents the gold standard in strength and conditioning programs.

Matt Avey, LPS curriculum specialist for health and physical education, noted: “Stewart Venable has been instrumental in moving our Lincoln Public Schools Strength Training curriculum forward.  Over the past school year, he has worked tirelessly and collaboratively with all of our teachers to implement the most recent research-based programs and integrate curriculum concepts and instructional frameworks into the district’s strength and conditioning program.”

The Strength of America Award measures four major categories: supervision, education, program and facilities. Selected from hundreds of eligible schools, Lincoln High will receive the award during the NSCA’s National Conference Awards Banquet in July  in New Orleans, Louisiana.

“From day one at Lincoln High, Stewart has shown initiative to improve the program so that our students will benefit from the instruction that our teachers provide,” Avey said.  “His dedication to Lincoln High and our Physical Education program in the Lincoln Public Schools is very much appreciated, and our students will only continue to improve because of his passion for teaching.”

When the award was announced, Venable said: “I'd like to especially thank Coach Matt Bertsch for his hard work and dedication in working with me throughout this entire comprehensive process.  Matt, I couldn't have done it without you man. Also, a huge thank you to all of our LPS administrators - Mr. Gatzemeyer, Dr. Avey and Ms. Wieskamp - for your guidance and leadership regarding Strength and Conditioning in LPS.  It would not have been possible for us as a district to achieve as much as we have in such a short period of time had it not been for the vision of our administrators.”

With the increasing number of inconsistent gym conditions and strength programs across the country, the NSCA and the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition are working together to provide all high schools concise guidelines.

“I am proud to have Lincoln High be part of our ongoing mission to improve the education and programs for all our youth,” says Coach Scott Caulfield, the NSCA’s Head Strength and Conditioning Coach.

Posted on June 22, 2016


LPS wins national awards for communication

The National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) has announced the 2016 Publications and Electronic Media awards. These awards recognize outstanding education publications and materials (print and electronic), video/TV/radio programs, social media and websites.

Lincoln Public Schools received six awards, and the LPS Podcast created by Zachary Baehr was the only one in the nation to receive an award in that category.

The top award in each category is the Award of ExcellenceAwards of Merit and Honorable Mentions are also given in each category. 

Annual Report
Honorable Mention
LPS - The Power of Public Education, Inspiring Excellence
Mary Kay Roth, Communications Director

Excellence in Writing
Excellence
Courage and Resilience: Standing up for Public Education
Steve Joel, Superintendent

Podcasting/Audio
Merit
LPS Podcast
Zachary Baehr, Communications Technician

Social Media
Merit
Social Media – Facebook – Twitter – Instagram
Zachary Baehr, Communications Technician

Video (Produced In-house)
Honorable Mention
Glimpses: Students Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
Mindy Burbach, Communication Specialist

Print Newsletter (External Audience)
Merit
Community News
Zachary Baehr, Communications Technician

Here is a list of all the award winners on the NSPRA website.

Posted on June 21, 2016


Spartan speakers reach nation's top 20

How do you celebrate winning your fifteenth consecutive state championship? How about having 17 students qualifying for national speech and debate competition? Or why not try placing in the nation’s top 20 teams?

The East High School speech and debate team did just that.  They received the School of Excellence Award at the National Speech and Debate Tournament held in Salt Lake City. The award, given to the top 20 schools in the nation, is based on the school’s performance at the tournament. This year there were 1,374 schools competing.

Helping the school win the distinction were seniors Michael Mason and Carla Seravalli. Mason placed twelfth out of 351 students in Original Oratory. Seravalli landed in the finals, placing fifth out of 482 students in Expository Speaking.

“These kids got an invaluable practicum in public speaking, research skills, argumentation, and literary analysis,” said EHS speech coach Nick Herink. “They brought prestige to the school and district and we can't begin to describe how proud we are of them.”

The National Speech and Debate Association is divided into regional districts, and Nebraska has three of these regional districts - one that is shared with parts of Wyoming. Each regional district has a qualifying tournament hosted in the late winter or early spring, and the top two medal-winners in each event at the regional district tournament qualify for the national tournament.

EHS qualified 10 of 16 speech entries and three of six debate entries in the Nebraska South Region. Additionally, each district fields one world schools debate team which is made of students from different schools across the district. This team then competes against other American teams and teams from around the world.

Students that qualified and competed in the national speech and debate competition in Salt Lake City included:

Speech
Madeline Dumler – Program Oral Interpretation
Nebraska Grayson – United State Extemporaneous Speaking
Emma Jewell – Program Oral Interpretation
Michael Mason – Original Oratory
Katrina Schleich – Humorous Interpretation
Jacob Schoening – Duo Interpretation
Carla Seravalli – Original Oratory
Turner Thompson – Humorous Interpretation
Jenna Tuckerman – Humorous Interpretation
Miles Wilkins – Dramatic Interpretation

Debate
Ina Bhoopalam – World Schools Debate
Felix Cui – Lincoln-Douglas Debate
Nathan Dombrowski – Lincoln-Douglas Debate
Ojus Jain – Policy Debate
Annie Jia – Policy Debate
Samuel Wismer – World Schools Debate
Andy Zhu – World Schools Debate

Posted on June 20, 2016


LSW grad shares the gift of reading

At 15, Ally Norris knew she wanted to do something to give back to the community. She saw an opportunity when thinking about her own school experience.

“When I was in kindergarten I was diagnosed with a reading disability,” Norris said. “Teachers and parents had to help me read all my books.”

Norris said she hadn’t really read a chapter book until her mom had a Kindle and found out it could read out loud. Not only could it read entire books to her while she followed along, but she could highlight words to help her learn spelling.

“It has helped tremendously with my spelling. I can pick out words, and I can write words better because I can see them and hear them.”

So Norris began planning. Her goal: to raise $1,600 by her sixteenth birthday, enough for six Kindles for other Lincoln Public School students who also struggle with reading.

“I met my goal halfway through the school year. My goal was six kindles...I have 30, and we still have money for cases and books.”

By selling crafts, t-shirts, and donations, Norris superseded her goal, raising over $8,000 for the A.N. Kindle Project. With those funds, the LPS Assistive Technology Department purchased 30 Kindle Fires for students to use.

“Ally has become more confident in her reading because of the Kindles,” commented Jessi Sandberg, special education teacher at Lincoln Southwest High School. “Ally currently uses her Kindle to help her excel in her coursework, as well as for personal reading. She would like to see students with reading difficulties benefit from the Kindle, just as she did.”

Norris graduated from LSW in May, but she plans to continue with the A.N. Kindle Project as she heads to the University of Nebraska - Lincoln in the fall majoring in elementary education and special education or assistive technology.

“I just want kids to have the opportunities as everyone else to be able to read, because that’s something I’ve struggled with and I’ve always wanted to read at a level that other people have. I think it’s great for others to be able to do that,” Norris added.

Students in elementary, middle school, and high school have benefited from the A.N. Kindle Project. Norris says that each student is excited when they receive their Kindle, and she gets to meet with each of them to share her success story.

“I tell them to keep trying, because it gets better. Continue to find ways to help, because if you find tricks that other people don’t use, but they help you, use them. It doesn’t matter if you stand out or be different because it’s helping you succeed.”

Posted on June 20, 2016


Highlights from the 6/15 Board of Education budget work session and regular meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education held a budget work session and a regular meeting on Wednesday, June 15, at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The Board will hold a public budget forum and its next regular meeting on Tuesday, June 28, 2016.

Highlights of Board Meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education Wednesday began working through the process of considering and finalizing the 2016-17 preliminary budget for Lincoln Public Schools.

The Board of Education will gather feedback and input from the community over the next months, further discuss the budget and plan to approve the final LPS budget in August.

The budget addresses a variety of factors:

  • Providing appropriate staffing, services, supplies and resources to address significant growth in LPS student enrollment. LPS estimates an increase of 950 more students for 2016-17 – following a growth of 7,500 students in the past ten years – growth that means LPS will teach almost 41,000 students in the coming school year.
  • Addressing the growing complexity of the demographics and needs of LPS students.
  • Serving our students in a changing landscape of providing the highest quality education, for instance, planning for specific increases in areas such as regular education, technology and special education.

Highlights of the preliminary budget include:

  • Taking into consideration Lincoln’s taxpayers and the current economics of the community, the school district is estimating a very slight decrease in the total LPS tax levy.  That means the estimated property tax rate will remain almost flat – moving half a cent levy from the General Fund to the Building Fund.  The result is there will be almost no change in your property taxes if your house valuation remains the same.  (Building Fund money can be used for site acquisition and improvements, purchasing existing facilities for district use, and some modification and updating of existing facilities.)
  • The budget continues to focus on providing continued quality education – recognizing that a quality education system is a long-term investment, not simply an expenditure – and our community, our businesses, our families, our students deserve a great school system.
  • A few highlights of possible additional funding provided under the preliminary budget:
    • Providing help to classrooms and schools with: added teachers and staffing for regular education, special education, early childhood, English Language Learners (refugees and immigrants); added counselors and school social workers, healthcare workers and high school security; added staffing for middle school math and reading intervention; added staff for intervention assistance for after-school hours.
    • Resources allocated for opening the new Sally G. Wysong Elementary School and the Bill Nuernberger Education Center, and early start-up costs for Marilyn Moore Middle School (which opens in the fall of 2017).
    • Resources for technology including continuation of phasing in the LPS instructional technology plan, funding for instructional technology coaches, digital access for students during extended hours and replacing an aging online system for Business Affairs and Human Resources.
    • Funding to accommodate increases related to more schools and more students – for instance, increases in utilities, facilities and maintenance, custodial services and more.
  • The 2016-17 preliminary expenditures for Lincoln Public Schools total $402 million – a 5.95 percent increase over the previous year.
  • The 2016-17 preliminary budget is funded by several revenue streams including these two major sources: property taxes (LPS estimates property tax valuation will increase about 2.3 percent this year), and state aid to education (anticipated at $126.4 million this coming year, $1.45 million less than last year).  The 2016-17 budget predicts a revenue of about $397 million and, in addition, LPS will use $5.4 million from cash flow funds.
  • According to the most recent statistics, LPS ranked 227th out of 245 school districts in Nebraska in per pupil spending – LPS spent $10,576 per pupil compared to the state average of $11,619.
  • Your input is valued:  Two Community Budget Forums are scheduled in June, which will both include a budget presentation as well as opportunities for comments and questions:
    • Tuesday, June 28, 5 p.m., Board Room, LPS District Office, 5905 O St.
    • Thursday, June 30, 7 p.m., Media Center, Goodrich Middle School, 4600 Lewis Ave.
  • Anyone interested in having information about the LPS budget presented to their community group is encouraged to contact Lincoln Public Schools by calling (402)436-1635, or emailing Liz Standish at lstandis@lps.org.

The Lincoln Board of Education has one additional work session set for Board discussion about the budget at: 5 p.m. Thursday, June 30, LPS District Office. In addition, a public hearing for the 2016-17 LPS budget is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, August 9, at LPS District Office.

******************

Highlights of Regular Board Meeting

First reading - boundary changes

The Lincoln Board of Education Wednesday discussed a proposed attendance area change that would move students at Clinton Elementary School from the Lincoln North Star High School to the Lincoln Northeast High School attendance area.

This proposal would also move the majority of Culler Middle School into the Northeast district (except for a portion that would remain in the Lincoln East High School attendance area).  The change would become effective for the 2017-18 school year.

The Board reviews attendance areas to make sure Lincoln Public Schools is best utilizing school district facilities, and often to determine if it is prudent to make adjustments in boundaries that would provide relief to schools that are serving at or over capacity.

Community members can go to an LPS online webpage – live through June 28 – offering a place to share comments, or ask questions.  Go to:  http://lps.org/go/boundaries16.  You can also access the webpage by going to the top of the LPS home page (www.lps.com) – and use “Boundaries 16” as the keyword.

Currently North Star student enrollment totals almost 2,200 students, and is expected to continue increasing in coming years.  LPS officials believe this attendance area change would help maintain a more level enrollment over time.   Please note LPS would continue the practice of allowing ninth graders to attend the high school of their choice, provided they fill out the necessary paperwork by the mandatory deadline.

The Board is responsible for establishing attendance areas and strives to make changes in attendance areas with thoughtful, prudent analysis and consideration. The Board will take a final vote on the issue at the June 28 meeting.

First Reading -  contract to coordinate travel for  Lincoln Southwest High School music program

The Board discussed a contract with Explor to provide services in coordinating travel for approximately 250 Lincoln Southwest High School music students traveling to Hawaii as part of a performance opportunity in December 2017. Students and boosters will participate in fundraising to pay for the cost of the trip. The proposal will be on the agenda for approval during the June 28 meeting.

Contract for superintendent

The Board approved the proposed evaluation and contract for Joel in the 2016-17 school year that was presented at the May 24 board meeting. Joel’s contract has a base salary of $313,239, a 1.56 percent increase over the previous year. His total package – including health insurance, retirement, Medicare and Social Security – will be $362,410.

Other LPS contracts

The Board also approved salary increases of 2.88 percent in 2016-17 and 2.89 percent in 2017-18 for additional employee groups at LPS presented at the May 24 board meeting: administrators, custodians, maintenance, office professionals, technicians and transportation.

In addition, the Board approved salary increases for the members of the superintendent’s Executive Committee at 2.85 percent, and an overall package increase of 2.9 percent for 2016-17.

The base salaries for the executive team will be:

  • Jane Stavem, associate superintendent for Instruction, $218,274.
  • Eric Weber, associate superintendent for Human Resources; and Liz Standish, associate superintendent for Business Affairs, $205,359.
  • John Neal, assistant to the superintendent for General Administration and Government Affairs, $179,525.

Contract with First Student Inc. for transportation services

The Board approved a contract with First Student Inc. for transportation services and bus drivers, due to a shortage of local bus drivers. The contract presented at the May 24 board meeting provides for up to 15 drivers and 6 route buses.

Approved -  annual contracts with shelf-stable, refrigerated and frozen food vendors for 2016-17

Each year the Board approves contracts with vendors to provide shelf-stable, refrigerated, and frozen food products for use by Nutrition Services for all locations.  The contracts were awarded to the lowest responsible vendors meeting specifications, based on estimated expenditures:

Thompson Foods (Grand Island, Nebraska): $1,410,174.72
Sysco (Lincoln, Nebraska): 1,131,326.17
US Foods (Lenexa, Kansas): 258,499.76
Reinhart Foodservice (Omaha, Nebraska): 207,569.50
Cash-Wa Distributing (Kearney, Nebraska): 33,638.65
Tecumseh Poultry (Waverly, Nebraska): 21,780.00
Mrs. Clark’s Foods (Ankeny, Iowa): 19,409.20
American Bean Company (Edison, New Jersey): 6,740.25
Total: $3,089,138.25

The Career Academy Update

Board Member Lanny Boswell updated the Board from the TCA board meeting earlier in the day. He reported that 125 seniors graduated from TCA in the first year. There will be 112 students returning in the fall, and close to 315 new students already registered. TCA currently has 130 business partners and over 200 individuals that are involved as mentors or serving on the advisory committee for internships and curriculum development.

Celebration of Success

The Lincoln Board of Education recognized Lisa Morehouse, the Human Resources Office Manager for Lincoln Public Schools. She has been chosen as president-elect of the National Association of Educational Office Professionals (NAEOP). Morehouse has been a member of the organization since 1996, has previously served on the board of directors as administrative council chairman and area director, and is currently serving as vice president. She will be installed as president-elect this July and as president in July of 2017.

The Lincoln Board of Education also recognized David Beatty, the eLearning Instructor/Career and Technical Teacher at the Pathfinder Education Program in Lincoln Public Schools. He was recently honored as the Distinguished Educator of the Year by the National Partnership for Juvenile Services.

Posted on June 15, 2016


ARCHIBUS for facility use

ARCHIBUS is the Facility Use scheduling program for Lincoln Public Schools.

Currently staff members from all schools are entering reservations for their own school activities.  Please make sure you don’t enter any requests for outside users.  Outside users require a different process to ensure we have all of their personal data and insurance information necessary for using our facilities. 

If there is any usage in your buildings outside of the regular school day, a request must be made through ARCHIBUS.  This also includes itinerants who must schedule before and after school band, orchestra and chorus, as well as any staff meetings you may schedule. 

For LPS employees, your ARCHIBUS user name and password are the same as your email.

Once the requests are filed, the assigned approvers at each school will approve, edit or reject requests – and acknowledgement of the reservation will be emailed.  Those who make requests will be able to check your specific request online to see the status.

ARCHIBUS was made available to outside users on Sept. 1, 2012.  We contacted all known outside user groups, asking them to go through this same process (even if they have already submitted a paper request to the schools).  Please make sure you send all outside user facility requests to Jodi Cale so we can contact everyone. 

Instructions are available on the Facilities and Maintenance website regarding how to create an account and make a reservation with ARCHIBUS. 

If you have any questions contact Jodi Cale at jcale@lps.org or 436-1072 x 82036.

Posted on June 09, 2016


PE curriculum could be on the move with more emphasis in movement education

The movements that are important in lifetime sports and weightlifting at the high school level start in kindergarten.

But how do PE teachers in Lincoln Public Schools ensure that it happens at appropriate grade levels?

“Live-skill movement may transfer over not only to be better physically fit for athletics but for everyday purposes,” said Brad Rettig, PE teacher at Lincoln High School.

The movements his students are using - whether it’s on a climbing wall or weight training - can be applied in elementary school. Simply doing pushups and curl-ups in proper form helps the body learn that basic skill.

And like riding a bike, said Kahoa Elementary teacher Eric Vacek, once your body learns through correct repetition, it is far more likely to remember.

“Their body should be aligned and balanced, and that should be good for anything, not just sports,” he said. “It will help you sit at your computer properly, or work in your garden, and keep you out of a physical therapist's office.”

The approach at elementary level already emphasizes a whole-body approach, something that can run counter to students who specialize in one sport.

“Movement patterns and movement education is getting bigger now, because kids are getting sport-specific training are getting repetitive injuries,” said Matt Avey, LPS curriculum specialist. “So these movements benefit everybody by preventing injuries from overuse.”

The changes - which are still being developed and still could require a rollout through piloted schools - might be new to PE teachers, but they incorporate various philosophies. It also focuses on the variety of kids’ futures in healthy living.

“This would give them that knowledge and background to be able to do certain movements throughout their whole life, in addition to how to swing or throw a strike, for example,” said Alissa Cookston, a PE teacher at Riley Elementary School.

A big part of the challenge is finding activities to collect data so that teachers and schools can track progress over time to ensure skill development is balanced across socio-economic and lifestyle areas.

But not all movements are tracked at all grade levels. For example, only fourth- and fifth-grade students run pacers - a fitness test designed to capture a student’s aerobic progress.

Finding common and measurable skills will help a student see their own progress, and help the district identify which teachers have uncovered the most effective ways of teaching specific lessons.

Through Professional Learning Communities and work by the PE steering committee - like this group of educators - knowledge can be shared in a way that benefits all schools in LPS.

Vacek has taught various movement education already, even to the point where his school’s PTO group wanted to partake in an out-of-school learning session.

“So I had 20 parents that were there learning what the kids learn,” he said. “Now I have a student’s dad, who is a drywaller, who now goes through some of these activities every morning to get his body ready to work.”

Posted on June 01, 2016


Without words, but lots of heart

Northeast duo inspire each other, fellow classmates through friendship

Through the kindness of his own heart, Logan Kirk found his way into the heart of senior classmate Kaileb Webber.

Logan also discovered a passion, a future career, a friend and a unique ability to communicate with his new friend at Lincoln Northeast High School.

Who could never talk back to him.

Kaileb has a condition called complete agenesis of the corpus callosum, a congenital defect, which basically means a relay is missing between the two halves of his brain.

He can’t sit, walk or talk, but that’s not to say Kaileb cannot communicate back to Logan.

Teachers and paras have seen it.

Kaileb’s mom, Jodi Milligan, has witnessed it.

“As soon as he sees Logan, he lights up, you can read it all over him,” she said.

Logan started to see it, too.

“I wasn’t sure at first but then there were days when I would go to class and see him and then he would let out some laughs,” Logan said.

A key factor in all of this is the sincerity of Logan’s classmates in his American Government and Politics class, which has a required service learning project. Logan also has lots of friends, and if Logan is friends with Kaileb, then so is everyone else.

So every day second period, Logan and Kaileb started hanging out. But came seventh period, when Logan didn’t have class and was free to go hang with friends, he headed back to Kaileb’s classroom.

Kathryn Lloyd, special education coordinator at Northeast, said Logan and Addy Sellon approached the school about making this a permanent endeavor.

“This student initiated program was so successful at creating natural supports for students with disabilities, that Logan and Addy approached us to advocate for the program and to make ‘Friday Friends’ an ongoing project at Northeast High School.

Addy said her classmates thought about a one-time event, but quickly realized a bigger movement would further unite Northeast students and staff.

The classroom itself was an experience that Addy enjoyed.

“First of all, all the staff in the special education department was awesome,” she said. “It’s a different environment than a normal classroom. They really work on relationships and there is more talking.”

That means more students will get to make new friends, like Kaileb and Logan. When they meet, it’s laughter, Logan said, “and some big smiles.”

Now, take that smile, and multiply it by the hundreds of smiles from kids at Northeast’s prom: Logan and Kaileb’s senior prom.

“It was awesome!” Logan said. “That was probably one of the best moments this year, the highlight of my year. We wanted all these kids to go to prom, and I wanted Kaileb to go because he wouldn’t get the opportunity otherwise. I got him on the floor and danced.”

Being on the dance floor “opened a lot of other people’s eyes, seeing me there with him, and a lot of people came over to get to know him,” Logan said.

Logan’s mom and dad, Renee and Steve, are proud, biased and proud some more.

“He’s a great kid,” his mom, Renee said. “I’ve said it forever, and not just because he’s my kid, but him helping out in that class is just something that he absolutely loves.”

Now take all those hundreds of dancing smiles from prom - and multiply them once again, this time by thousands at Northeast’s graduation ceremony.

Kaileb’s mom, Jodi, had asked Logan if he would like to walk Kaileb across the stage to receive his diploma.

People cheered, clapped and teared up. Kaileb shook hands, got his diploma, and Logan wheeled him back to his seat.

“Never did I ever think I would see something like that," Jodi said. “Instant tears, of course.”

Then Logan had to get back in line. His diploma, his own applause, was still waiting.

“That was great to see there were so many people clapping for Kaileb,” Logan’s mom said. “Because they know Kaileb from Logan, Logan knows a lot of kids and has a lot of friends. It was really great.”

Addy really wanted her friend Matthew to enjoy the true once-in-a-lifetime moment, as well.

“I wanted to make sure he had a good experience, and I think he did,” she said. “He got on stage, jumping around and he was into the audience watching him.”

So now, high school graduates, different paths going forward, but criss-crossing paths with planned get-togethers this summer and beyond.

It’s a good thing Kaileb found a friend in Logan. Worked out well for Logan, too.

Last fall, entering his senior year, Logan wasn’t sure what he wanted to do after high school. Now, he’s found the college (University of Nebraska-Lincoln), the dual-major (elementary education and special education) and the passion.

“It was kind of a ‘Boom!;’ this is what I want to do,” Logan said “I was maybe thinking engineering, but wasn’t sure until this year. I got into this and then automatically it became a huge passion of mine.”

“I have said thank you to this young man I don’t know how many times, but I don’t think he truly realized how much it really meant, and how much it changed our lives,” Jodi said.

She admits it helps her keep faith in the compassion of young people, and she wants to make sure Logan’s parents understand what a terrific son they have raised.

“Logan never even looked at Kaileb’s disability, and the disability did not define him,” Milligan said.


“That was his friend Kaileb.”

Posted on May 27, 2016


Review of proposed attendance area changes at LPS

The Lincoln Board of Education periodically reviews attendance areas to make sure Lincoln Public Schools is best utilizing school district facilities, and often to determine if it is prudent to make adjustments in boundaries that would provide relief to schools that are serving at or over capacity.

LPS is proposing that the attendance area for Clinton Elementary School be moved from the Lincoln North Star High School to the Lincoln Northeast High School attendance area. That area is roughly bounded by 33rd Street to the east, X Street to the south and running along Salt Creek to Adams to the north. This proposal would also move the majority of Culler Middle School into the Northeast district (except for a portion that would remain in the Lincoln East High School attendance area). The change would become effective for the 2017-18 school year.

The Board is hosting an open house to present detailed information and maps about this proposed change, as well as to allow community members a chance to talk with LPS officials. The open house is set for 6-7 p.m. Tuesday, June 7, in the library media center at Culler Middle School, 5201 Vine St.

Community members can also go to an LPS online webpage – that will go live June 7 and be available through June 28 – offering a place to share comments, or ask questions. Go to: http://lps.org/go/boundaries16. You can also access the webpage by going to the top of the LPS home page (www.lps) – and use “Boundaries 16” as the keyword.

Currently North Star student enrollment totals almost 2,200 students, and is expected to continue increasing in coming years. LPS officials believe this attendance area change would help maintain a more level enrollment over time.   Please note LPS would continue the practice of allowing ninth graders to attend the high school of their choice, provided they fill out the necessary paperwork by the mandatory deadline.

The Lincoln Board of Education is responsible for establishing attendance areas and strives to make changes in attendance areas with thoughtful, prudent analysis and consideration. The Board will consider this proposed attendance area change at the Board meeting scheduled June 15, and will vote on the issue at the June 28 meeting.

For more information: Liz Standish, lstandis@lps.org



Posted on May 27, 2016


2015/16 State Sports Update

SPRING SPORTS


Baseball

State Qualifiers: Northeast, Southeast, Southwest

Boys Golf

State Champions: Southwest
Team State Qualifiers: Southwest, East
Individual State Qualifiers
  • Rourke Jensen, North Star
  • Tyler Crandon, Southeast
  • Bradley McClintick, Southeast
Team Finishes:

1. Southwest

4. East

Individual Finishes

3. Nathan Vontz, Southwest

6. Patrick Clare, East

7. Steven Strasheim, East

9. Kean Kontor, Southwest


Girls Tennis

State Champion - Southeast
Team Finishes

1. Southeast

3. East

T-7. North Star

Individual Finishes

No. 1 Singles - 1. Fidan Ibrahimova, Southeast; 3. Madison Kiani, East

No. 2 Singles - 1. Demi Tinnerstet, North Star; 3. Justine Linscott, East; 4. Sophie Miller, Southeast

No. 1 Doubles - 3. Alexandra Jensen / Elizabeth Rentfro, East; 4. Olivia Miller / Kate Dean, Southeast

No. 2 Doubles - 3. Abigail Peterson / Katherine Whitehead, Southeast; 4. Mikayla Dorff / Sydney Rau, East


Girls Soccer

State Qualifiers: Southwest, Southeast

Track & Field

Team State Finishes - 6. Lincoln North Star, 8. Lincoln Southwest, T-9. Lincoln East, T-9. Lincoln Southeast
Individual Champions

3,200-meter relay - 1. Southwest: Katie Hastings, Carson Fischer, Alexandra Schwartz, Taylor Els

Girls Medalists

Discus - 3. Emilee Shostrom, East

Pole Vault - T-4 Madeleine Tolly, East; T-6. Alicia Jessen, East; 8. Katelyn Nimic, Southeast

Triple Jumpe - 2. Nyabuony Gatluak, Lincoln High; 7. Nyajock Kong, Lincoln High; 9. Hailey Bartz, Southwest

High Jump - 2. Bailey Cowling, Southeast; 5. Sydney McAlister, Lincoln High, T-6. Caitlin Dirks, Southwest

3,200-meter relay - 1. Southwest: Katie Hastings, Carson Fischer, Alexandra Schwartz, Taylor Els; 3. North Star: Dina Lado Andrea, Tasneem Ali, Champayne Archie, Diana Lado Andrea; 4. East: Alana Sesow, Sophia Becker, Jadyn Agee, Rachel Dweikat

3,200-meter run - 2. Elsa Forsberg, Southeast; 3. Alana Sesow, East

800-meter run - 6. Elsa Forsberg, Southeast; 7. Taylor Els, Southwest; 8. Katie Hastings, Southwest

400-meter relay - 7. Lincoln Southwest: Amanda Christiansen, Olivia Badami, Hailey Bartz, Caelyn Christiancy,

100-meter hurdles - 2. Olivia Berks, North Star; 7. Caelyn Christiancy, Southwest

100-meter run - 8. Sydney McAlister, Lincoln High

400-meter run - 4. Katie Hastings, Lincoln Southwest; 5. Dina Lado Andrea, North Star; 8. Olivia Badami, Southwest

1,600-meter run - 2. Elsa Forsberg, Lincoln Southeast; 5. Alana Sesow, East

300-meter hurdles - 2 Olivia Berks, North Star; 8. Caelyn Christiancy, Southwest

200-meter run - 8. Sydney McAlister, Lincoln High

1,600-meter relay - 2. Southwest - Olivia Badami, Taylor Els, Carson Fischer, Katie Hastings; 5. North Star - Champayne Archie, Diana Lado Andrea, Tasneem Ali, Dina Lado Andrea

Boys Medalists

Shot put - 5. Nick Lenners, Southwest

High Jump - 6. Amiah Jackson, Lincoln High; 8. Chase Dederman, Southeast

Pole Vault - T-5. Rockdale Cauble, Southeast

Discus - 4. Terry Jones, Lincoln High

3,200-meter relay - 3. Lincoln Northeast: Brian Bentzinger, Leeaaron Berks, Adin Connatser, Wyatt McLeod

3,200-meter run - 6. Wyatt McLeod, Northeast

800-meter run - 5. Nathan Pierce, North Star

400-meter relay - 4. Lincoln High: Farrakhan Muhammad, Dauntavis Lawrence, Zion Perry, Elijah Mfinanga; 6. Southwest: Pierce Reinhardt, Noah Symonsbergen, Bo Els, Braeden Hartwig

110-meter hurdles - 2. Darius Luff, Lincoln High

100-meter run - 5. Braeden Hartwig, Southwest

1,600-meter run - 5. Nathan Pierce, Lincoln North Star; 6. Wyatt McLeod, Northeast

300-meter run - 4. Darius Luff, Lincoln High; 6. Trevin Ball, North Star

200-meter run - 5. Pierce Reinhardt, Southwest

1,600-meter relay - 5. Southwest: Noah Symonsbergen, Bo Els, Masen Louviere, Pierce Reinhardt; 8. Northeast: Brian Bentzinger, Leeaaron Berks, Adin Connatser, Wyatt McLeod


 WINTER SPORTS


Boys Basketball

State Qualifier: Lincoln Northeast

Girls Basketball

State Champion - Lincoln East

Swimming & Diving

Team State Champion - Southwest Girls
Champions

200 Freestyle - Alana Palmer, Southwest

200 IM - Dannie Dilsaver, Southwest

50 Free - Olivia Calegan, Southwest

100 Freetyle - Olivia Calegan, Southwest

500 Freestyle - Alana Palmer, Southwest

200 Free Relay - Southwest (Clara Walstad, Dannie Dilsaver, Kaitlyn Witt, Olivia Calegan) 

100 Breaststroke - Dannie Dilsaver, Southwest

400 Freestyle Relay - Southwest (Olivia Calegan, Alana Palmer, Shelby Mullendore, Dannie Dilsaver)

Medalists - Girls

Diving - 5. Abbi Rouse, East; 7. Katie Haeffner, Northeast; 7. Payton Prall, Lincoln High

200 Freestyle - 4. Anna Heinrich, Southwest

200 IM - 2. Emma Vertin, Southwest

50 Free - 2. Clara Walstad, Southwest

100 Butterfly - 4. Kaitlyn Witt, Southwest; 7. Sydney Schneider, Southwest; 8. Alexa Goldenstein, Southeast

100 Freetyle - 2. Shelby Mullendore, Southwest

500 Freestyle - 3. Emma Vertin, Southwest; 7. Anna Heinrich, Southwest

200 Free Relay - 6. Southeast

100 Backstroke - 2. Clara Walstad, Southwest; 3. Shelby Mullendore, Southwest; 5. Sydney Schneider, Southwest; 6. Alexa Goldenstein, Southeast; 7. Josie Ford, Southwest

100 Breaststroke - 3. Kaitlyn Witt, Southwest; 8. Madison Beal, Southeast

Medalists - Boys

Diving - 2. Austin Alexander, Northeast; 4. Aaron Haeffner, Northeast

200 Free - 3. Joshua Roh, East

200 IM - 5. Chase Larson, Northeast

50 Free - 6. Braly Keller, Northeast

100 Butterfly - 2. Nolan Reid, Southwest

500 Freestyle - 3. Joshua Roh, East; 8. Jackson Pope, Southwest

100 Backstroke - 6. Nolan Reid, Southwest

400 Freestyle Relay - 4. Southeast (Cody McNeese, Trevor Holland, Chase Searcy, Alex Sokolov); 5. East (Brandon LaPointe, Alex Chmelka, Jared Murrary, Joshua Roh); 7. Southwest (Jackson Pope, Michael Ayars, Chas Nolte, Nolan Reid)


Wrestling

Champions

120 - Wesley Dawkins, Lincoln High

Medalists

138 - 2. Jonathan Killingsworth, Southeast

170 - 2. Isaac Odell, East

106 - 3. Adam Kinnman, Southeast

195 - 3. Kyson Schnell, Southwest

220 - 3. Connor Clanton, Southwest

113 - 4. Chance Fry, Southeast

132 - 4. Aidan Arnold, Lincoln High

138 - 4. Jake Oltman, Southwest

152 - 5. Nathan Hunt, Southeast

170 - 5. Justin Shaw, Southwest

220 - 6. Terry Jones, Lincoln High  


FALL SPORTS


State Cross Country

Girls State Medalists

2. Diana Lado Andrea, Lincoln North Star High School

4. Elsa Forsberg, Lincoln Southeast High School

Girls Team Finishes

12. Lincoln East High School

Boys State Medalists

4. Wyatt McLeod, Lincoln Northeast High School

9. Abram Turner, Southeast

10. Evan Johnson, Southeast

Boys Team Finishes

5. Southeast

10. North Star

11. Lincoln Southwest High School

Girls State Qualifiers
  • East: Alana Sesow, Alexis Rouse,
  • Southeast: Elsa Forsberg, Laura Ebers
  • Northeast: Jocelyn Towers
  • Lincoln High: Johanna Schubert, Nancy Flores
  • North Star: Diana Lado Andrea, Tasneem Ali, Miriam Kluck
  • Southwest: Marissa Czapla, Alexandra Schwartz
Girls Team Qualifiers
  • East
Boys Individual Qualifiers
  • Northeast: McLeod
  • East: Corbin Hubbell
  • Southeast: Turner, Johnson, Tyler Labudda
  • Southwest: Masen Louviere, Luke Nolley
  • North Star: Nathan Pierce, Andru Hansen
Boys Team Qualifiers
  • Southeast
  • Southwest
  • North Star

State Girls Golf

State Medalists

2. Lidia Jons, Southwest

T-9. Tess Meyer, Northeast

T-9. Shelby Glenn, East

15. Gillian Dean, Southwest

Team Results

Champion: Southwest (Team members include Jons, Dean, Alexis Thomas, Anne Wiltfong, Adrian Pilkington; Coach Jim Danson)

Individual State Qualifiers
  • East: Caroline Startzer, Glenn
  • Northeast: Meyer
  • Southeast: Madeline Whitehead, Brooke Romjue
  • Southwest: Jons, Dean, Alexis Thomas
Team State Qualifiers
  • East
  • Southwest

Softball

State Qualifiers
  • North Star
  • Southwest

Boys Tennis

Boys Individual Results

#1 Singles: 1. Will Gleason, Southwest

#2 Singles: 1. Mason Williams, East

#2 Singles: 4. William Everett, Southeast

#1 Doubles: 2. Lucas Dionisopoulos / Duncan Works, Southwest

#2 Doubles: 3. Ethan Reid / Christopher Stoehr, East

#2 Doubles: 4: Caleb Martin / Alexander Hamann, Lincoln High

Boys Team Results

2. Southwest

4. East

6. Southeast

10. Lincoln High

11. North Star


Football

State Qualifiers
  • Northeast
  • North Star

Volleyball

State Qualifiers
  • Southeast
  • Southwest

 

Posted on May 26, 2016


LPS teacher to appear as contestant on Ninja Warrior TV show

There’s another goal out there for people who are finished with high school or even college sports, says Fred Thorne.

The Industrial Tech/STS teacher and football coach at Lincoln Southeast High School will serve as a great role model by appearing on a future episode of American Ninja Warrior on the Esquire a channel, a part of the NBC network of channels.

“After you are done with your sports, in high school or college, you can still find a goal and do something,” Thorne said. “ It doesn’t have to be something on TV. There are hundreds of teachers in Lincoln Public Schools who ran in the marathon, and there are a lot of teachers who stay active.”

Thorne competed in the competition in Indianapolis, Ind., and that episode is scheduled to air on June 13.

The show’s website describes the experience like this:

The action-packed series follows competitors as they tackle a series of challenging obstacle courses in both city qualifying and city finals rounds across the country. Those that successfully complete the finals course in their designated region move on to the national finals round in Las Vegas, where they face a stunning four-stage course modeled after the famed Mt. Midoriyama course in Japan. The winner will take home a grand prize of $1,000,000. Although many have come close, no competitor has yet to achieve total victory and claim the prize.

“I have young kids, and a lot of the obstacles and training is stuff that is pretty conducive to playing around on the playground,” he said. “It’s a good mix of parkour, or free running, which is a more alternative style of urban play, and you have to have good upper body strength, and I still have that going for me, and I can still run. I am not that old yet.”

Thorne said he wants to stress that finding time each day to be active for 30 to 60 minutes leads to a healthy lifestyle, but it takes a commitment. 

Posted on May 25, 2016


Highlights of 5/24 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

Lincoln Public Schools:

Highlights of 5/24 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education held a regular meeting on Tuesday May 24 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The Board will hold its next regular meeting on Tuesday, June 14, 2016.

 

Highlights of Board Meeting

Evaluation, contract for superintendent

LPS Superintendent Steve Joel received high marks from the Lincoln Board of Education in his annual evaluation and contract presented and proposed Tuesday.

 

Kathy Danek, a member of the Board and former president, explained that the “superintendent’s evaluation is some of the most important work the School Board does.”

 

Highlights of the evaluation:

“Dr. Joel received several positive comments from board members acknowledging his leadership in major initiatives. The Career Academy has completed its first year of operation and it is widely regarded as having made ‘impressive progress.’ Several Board members commented on the positive, collaborative aspects of the program as well as how it responds to the needs of our students and the community. Board members also noted the ‘consistent, effective and ongoing implementation’ of our Technology Plan and appreciated that the ‘comprehensive approach, including staff development, effective curriculum, policy updates and infrastructure, ensures the Technology Plan is about more than just devices.’

 

“Board members were pleased with Dr. Joel’s work as a strong leader and public face for the district. Observations included that we have received ‘good comments from the public’ regarding Dr. Joel’s positive image, and acknowledged that he is ‘well respected across the community and has many leadership opportunities within a variety of groups.’

 

“Board members also spoke to Dr. Joel’s ability to build strong relationships with the Board and with his staff. This year was the first year of service for three new Board members and Dr. Joel put in a great deal of effort to make information available and to provide Board access to staff, especially the Executive Committee. Regarding the Executive Committee, it is clear that Dr. Joel trusts his staff and empowers them to do their jobs. Dr. Joel ‘fosters a team spirit’ and embraces the team philosophy of Board and staff working together as a cohesive unit. This strength helps the district to establish goals, prioritize them, and help them come to fruition. Timelines are sometimes aggressive, but he never stops working towards achieving. Of particular note is Dr. Joel’s belief in providing ‘an education that allows every child to be successful’ and his embodiment of the idea that “all means all.”

 

The proposed contract for Joel in the 2016-17 school year calls for a base salary of $313,239, a 1.56 percent increase over the previous year. His total package – including health insurance, retirement, Medicare and Social Security – would be $362,410.

 

The Board will take a final vote on the contract June 15.

 

Other LPS contracts proposed

The Board also considered proposed salary increases of 2.88 percent in 2016-17 and 2.89 percent in 2017-18 for additional employee groups at LPS: administrators, custodians, maintenance, office professionals, technicians and transportation.

 

In addition, proposed salary increases for the members of the superintendent’s Executive Committee are 2.85 percent, and an overall package increase of 2.9 percent for 2016-17.

 

The proposed base salaries for the executive team are:

  • Jane Stavem, associate superintendent for Instruction, $218,274.
  • Eric Weber, associate superintendent for Human Resources; and Liz Standish, associate superintendent for Business Affairs, $205,359.
  • John Neal, assistant to the superintendent for General Administration and Government Affairs, $179,525.

The Board will take a final vote on the contract June 15.

 

Transportation Plan approved

The Lincoln Board of Education Tuesday gave free transportation to students attending the LPS Science Focus Program (Zoo School) and the Arts and Humanities Focus Program – from high school to the focus programs and back – in approving the LPS transportation plan for 2016-17.

 

The vote was 6 to 1 with Board member Matt Schulte voting no.

 

Board member Connie Duncan was in favor of providing transportation to Focus Program students: “I think we need to stick with our saying, ‘All means all…’ Not everyone has Connie Duncan as a mother…I picked up my kids, packed a lunch, ate the lunch in the car.”

 

She said: “Our numbers tell us that the kids from farther away have a hard time getting to the Focus Programs. This tells me if we open it up we might get more kids to attend.”

 

Board member Annie Mumgaard agreed: “This is about accessibility…I believe it is our responsibility to make sure all our kids have access to all our programs….and this is making these programs accessible for all students.”

 

Board member Kathy Danek noted that “if we don’t give kids the opportunity, we might limit their potential success.”

 

Lanny Boswell, Board member, agreed this vote was about “access and equity…In addition to the benefit of opening access….we have crowding in our high schools…and everything we can do to increase enrollment at Focus Programs helps alleviate numbers at high schools.”

 

Board member Barb Baier called the free transportation an important investment. “This is something I have advocated for a long time…I don’t see enough diversity at Focus Programs…and I think that this is one piece of that puzzle… It is important that we allow kids in all areas of our town to benefit from these programs.”

 

She urged the Board to make sure they provide free transportation beyond one year, because “we need to give this some time to prove itself.”

 

Board President Don Mayhew said: “We like these programs, they speak to our graduation rate, they are very valuable, I think the transportation part is something integral to the programs and I think is overdue…As we are looking for relief in our existing high schools…bus routes are much cheaper than portables….This is part of a well thought-out, deliberate budgeting process…It will be money well spent.”

Schulte said he was concerned about the increased cost in the transportation plan with what he said came with no assurance it would increase student numbers at the Focus Programs. He asked for more research about how many students and families would use this kind of possible transportation.

 

Contract with First Student Inc. for transportation services

The Board considered a contract with First Student Inc. for transportation services and bus drivers, due to a shortage of local bus drivers. The contract provides for up to 15 drivers and 6 route buses.

 

The Board will vote on this contract June 15.

 

Grant applications approved

The Board approved submission of the required application for two grants:

  • LPS would add automated external defibrillators (AED) to 20 additional elementary schools with the submission of a Phase I proposal to the Community Health Endowment for up to $32,500 for the one-time purchase of AED equipment. Several years ago, LPS worked with the Lancaster County Medical Society and Community Health Endowment to purchase AEDs for all secondary schools. LPS will request Community Health Endowment support to help purchase AEDs for all elementary schools in the district, and the Endowment has agreed to consider support for the purchase in the 20 elementary schools that serve the highest proportion of low-income students – a cost of about $32,500. (Of this amount, $20,000 may be awarded to LPS without a match requirement.)   The remaining $12,500 must be matched dollar for dollar.  LPS and the Foundation for LPS are working to secure this match, as well as funding for an additional $32,500 to purchase AEDs for the remaining elementary schools and the new Marilyn Moore Middle School.
  • A Community Health Endowment Grant – for up to $100,000 per year for up to three years – would pilot a new service by contracting with a licensed therapist to become part of the Transition classroom team at Lincoln High School. LPS students returning to home and school from acute care or residential mental health programs receive little of the formal support or follow-up necessary to help them continue with recovery, which often results in lost school time, recidivism and, ultimately, dropping out of school. This will allow the district to pilot a broader scope of transition for students returning from acute or long-term mental health placements back into the school environment with mental health support. 

Annexed property

The Board of Education Tuesday assigned school attendance areas to two parcels of land newly annexed to the city of Lincoln:

  • Prairie Village North, Annexation Ordinance #20312, for 2015-16 school year:  Pershing Elementary School, Mickle Middle School and Lincoln Northeast High School.
  • Grandview Estates 1st Addition, Annexation Ordinance #20308, for 2015-16 school year:  Maxey Elementary School, Pound Middle School and Lincoln Southeast High School.

Policy change approved

The Board approved revisions to Policy 5520 – Student Fees – that reflect changes to fees and the fee waiver eligibility fees that address changes in cost while remaining in compliance with all applicable laws.

 

Celebration of Success

The Lincoln Board of Education recognized a student celebration of high school graduation, welcoming two high school seniors who shared part of their graduation speeches:

  • Hunter Sieckmeyer, a senior at Lincoln Southeast High School.
  • Haley Martin, a senior at Lincoln North Star High School.

The Board recognized members of Leadership LPS, a group that helps aspiring LPS administrators further develop their leadership potential and prepare for principalship through a variety of quality leadership experiences. The following LPS administrators have completed the 18-month course:

  • Kelly Apel
  • Fairouz Bishara-Rantisi
  • Jeff Brehm
  • Amy Carnie
  • Kristin Finley
  • Mike Gillotti
  • John Gloe
  • Betsy Gomez
  • Michaela Hahn
  • Tonya Jolley
  • Mark Larson
  • Gena Licata
  • Angee Luedtke
  • Liz Miller
  • Terri Nelson
  • Takako Olson
  • Cheryl Richter
  • Daniele Schulzkump
  • Erik Witt
 


Posted on May 24, 2016


Composing music with words, art, tech and voice

This story had rhythm, and Drake could feel it. 

Listening to each story with his hand around the storyteller’s shoulders or locked arm-in-arm with the narrator, this Fredstrom Elementary School second-grader took it all in.

“I liked the artwork, and I liked the music,” said Drake. Then he added, “I can hear the beat in the rhythm of it.”

Diana, a classmate of Drake’s, said: “I liked that all of the stories are fiction, and you could believe in them in your dreams.” 

But, she added, the artwork added another element. 

“Instead of just making you wonder, ‘OK, what does this look like or that look like?’ It just says ‘OK, this is what is happening.”

This feedback had to be a confidence builder for the storytellers who composed the music, wrote the story, created the artwork and published the entire piece in Keynote, a digital presentation tool.

The storytellers … were also students themselves, students in a music technology class at Lincoln North Star High School.

“I just hope that they will see themselves in my little character, and realize if they are different,  they don’t have to hate themselves for it,” said North Star sophomore Trinity Cox. “When I was younger, I was different and all, and I was never told it was OK to be different, so I think it’s important.”

Another book’s key message, delivered by a bird: Don’t talk to strangers.

“I figure that is one of the biggest rules in the books for children,” said senior Dylon George. “I know that was big for my parents when I was little.”

While George worried a bit about drawing, he does appreciate this experience could impact a career interest in computer science, perhaps in design games and having to “come up with ideas on the spot.”

This approach encourages use of all areas of the brain, and better shows how music can be one part of an entire story.

“This whole experience is to help kids become creative with music, composition or production,” said Brian Moore, an associate professor at Glenn Korff School of Music at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and also a North Star teacher this semester.

“One aspect of sharing music is tying it with visual and stories and films. Sometimes you write a piece of music and it’s on its own. There is also a place for writing music to accompany a story.”

The project also helps students better understand the potential impact of music on people, such as changing one’s mood.

“The creative aspects are boundless, and they have really embraced the whole idea of telling their own story, and then being able to actually present it to real children,” said Joni Osborn, music teacher at North Star. “So we are making it real for them.”

Osborn has a knack for working with North Star’s so-called feeder schools, elementary buildings that have students most likely to attend North Star based on their attendance areas. Her choir students recently sang in a concert with Fredstrom students.

“I like to collaborate with feeder schools, for sure, just to let kids know what is going to be available to them,” she said. “Get them excited about continuing musically, but also, getting them familiar with what is going on academically, and presenting them with really good role models.”

Those role models developed their own confidence, from creating their own art, using technology to show movement and transitions, and eventually reading the story in front of younger students.

And these students, the second-graders in music class on this day at Fredstrom, were locked in on this project, too.

“The kids are so engaged, and they are asking great questions,” said Judy Bush, Fredstrom Elementary music teacher.

Posted on May 20, 2016


VOICE interns grow skills for both work and finding work

Taking the knowledge he has learned about himself and the skills he has gained, Jake Reffert thought about his future plans.  He is interested in finding a hands on job where he can move around a lot. 

With school coming to an end, the interns (students) are gearing up to find jobs.  It began in January with the writing of resumes and collecting names for references.  The interns learned that finding a job is not easy.  In fact, “this is really hard”, according to Whitney Gropp.

With resumes polished and references gathered, the interns traveled to LaVista in April to attend the Transition Job Fair.  The Embassy Suites LaVista-Project SEARCH Program hosted the Job Fair.   

All Project SEARCH Programs in the state of Nebraska were invited to attend as well as schools from the LaVista area.  The interns had an opportunity to take part in skills assessments, mock interviews, training sessions, and stopping at over 30 booths to inquire about job opportunities.  During the skills assessments and mock interviews, interns were provided feedback on how to improve on their skills and interviewing style. 

When the interns returned with their new information from the Job Fair, they began to get more excited about finding a job.  With the assistance of Nebraska VR, the interns began their quest to find the “perfect Job”.  

The interns began job hunting with Nebraska VR, checking business web sites and keeping a watchful eye for the “help wanted” sign.  It soon became apparent to them that job-hunting takes time to fill out applications and go to interviews.

This year eight interns will be completing the Project SEARCH Program.  The interns worked with associates of the Embassy Suites to learn skills in Banquets, Kitchen, Restaurant, and Housekeeping.  As the third rotation draws to an end, the interns’ look back at the experience they gained while working at the Embassy Suites.  Zach Kriz discovered that he enjoys working in Housekeeping.  Many friendships were made and it is hard to say good-bye. 

This month, the internships came to a close. The interns worked in their departments in the morning, but the afternoon was reserved for the Project SEARCH Celebration program.  Invitations were sent out to families, partners, and associates inviting them to come and celebrate our year of hard work.  Interns greeted guests and introduced various parts of the program. 

When school begins in August, 10 new interns will begin the 5th year of the Project SEARCH Program at Embassy Suites.

Posted on May 20, 2016


Hop SCIP Jump & Run

Hop SCIP Jump & Run is an event benefiting School Community Intervention and Prevention.  SCIP works with schools by providing tools and resources to address behavioral and emotional health issues that impact children, adolescents and their families.  The event is Saturday morning, May 28 at Haymarket Park in Lincoln.  The event includes a 1-mile fun and a 5k.  Runners and walkers are welcome! Before and after the race participants will have an opportunity to participate in games and activities sponsored by local community agencies and a chance to win some great prizes.  Tickets are $15 for the fun run and $25 for the 5k and may be purchased at www.scipnebraska.com   Register by May 18 to receive an event t-shirt!

Posted on May 18, 2016


Homestead Days Talent Show

Homestead Days Talent Show is a fun musical/talent contest to showcase local talent. A panel of judges will evaluate each contestant on the following criteria: poise, stage presence, appearance, pitch, and overall Performance on it’s own merit.

The Rules:

  • Register Early-Due to limited time, we will only be able to accommodate 10 performances so it will be on a first come-first served basis. Early Registration is encouraged.
  • Check-in from 12:45-1:45 pm on June 18th Each contestant must check-in by 1:45 pm or they will not be able to compete.
  • Performance line-up will begin 15 minutes prior to your performance–There will be no late calls, so if you miss your performance time, you will not be able to perform.
  • Performance-each contestant will be allowed 5 minutes to set up and perform
  • Warm-ups-will be on a ‘first-come, first-serve’ basis from 12:45–1:45pm.
  • Equipment-there will be a microphone and a sound system that can accept CD’s or iPods/ MP3’s, any additional equipment is your responsibility and needs to be listed in your entry form.
  • Music-live or pre-taped accompaniment is welcome.

For more information, contact the Beatrice Chamber  aschademann@visitbeatrice.com or 402-223-2338.

Posted on May 18, 2016


LPS to host community budget forums

Lincoln Public Schools invites the public into the discussion about the preliminary 2016-17 budget for the school district.

Two Community Budget Forums are scheduled in June, which will both include a budget presentation as well as opportunities for comments and questions:

  • Tuesday, June 28, 5 p.m., Board Room, LPS District Office, 5905 O St.
  • Thursday, June 30, 7 p.m., Media Center, Goodrich Middle School, 4600 Lewis Ave.

Work Sessions

The Lincoln Board of Education has two work sessions set for Board discussion about the budget:

  • 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 15, LPS District Office, 5905 O St.
  • 5 p.m. Thursday, June 30, LPS District Office, 5905 O St.

Public Hearing

6 p.m. Tuesday, August 9, LPS District Office, 5905 O St.

 

 

For more information contact Liz Standish, 402-436-1635.



Posted on May 18, 2016


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 May 17, 2016


Beefy brownies? LHS culinary students say 'YES!'

May is beef month, and culinary classes at Lincoln High School prepared three beef dishes to share with other students during lunch. Beef and black bean salsa, beef gyros, and beefy brownies were available for students to sample as they waited in the lunch line. The beef brownies surprised the students.

“I was a little surprised, to say the least, I was confused. We were a little shocked, but when she said it’s your standard brownie mix with a little bit of ground beef added. When we tried it, it turned out pretty good,” said Hunter, LHS sophomore culinary student.

“Can I have another one,” interrupted another LHS student.

Culinary instructor Sheri Wiedan wanted students to see there are many different ways to use beef.

“We went through the Nebraska Cattle Women’s recipes and found these three to serve to the students. I want to bring awareness to Nebraska’s number one commodity,” added Wiedan.

LHS senior Alliah said it was a fun experience.

“I love cooking. There’s different ways of cooking meat, like I’ve never thought of making meat into a brownie, and it was actually pretty tasty. A weird texture, but it was pretty good. I would definitely find different ways to use meat, even try to find a different way to use duck.”

Posted on May 17, 2016


Highlights of 5/16 Lincoln Board of Education organizational meeting

Lincoln Public Schools:

Highlights of 5/16 Lincoln Board of Education organizational meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education held its annual organizational meeting on Monday May 16 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The Board will hold its next regular meeting on Tuesday, May 24, 2016.

 

Highlights of Board Meeting

New officers for LPS

Don Mayhew will be the new president of the Lincoln Board of Education serving from May 2016 until May 2017, elected at the annual organizational meeting of the Board held Monday. Connie Duncan was elected as vice president.

 

New officers for ESU No. 18

Lanny Boswell will be the new president of the Board for Educational Service Unit (ESU) No. 18, and Matt Schulte will be vice president.

 


Posted on May 16, 2016


ACS needs volunteers for fall event

The American Cancer Society is hosting a kickoff event for awareness of its fall event, Making Strides of Lincoln. The event will be on Sunday, October 23, 2016 at 1 p.m., but a kickoff event will be held on Thursday, August 25, 2016 at the Wilderness Ridge, 1800 Wilderness Woods Pl, Lincoln, NE 68512 to learn more about the event.

Last year nearly 1.2 million Making Strides walkers nationwide turned awareness into action and helped to raise more than $60 million to help the Society save more lives from breast cancer.

To receive an invitation just call 866-227-9474.

Posted on May 16, 2016


Penrod named new principal for Bryan Community FP

Pat Hunter-Pirtle, director of Secondary Education at Lincoln Public Schools:  "Tanner has a passion for all students, but particularly for students who are struggling or don't fit into a large comprehensive high school. Tanner builds deep connections and relationships with students and staff, and because of his prior experience, he knows what has worked well at Bryan Community, and he has ideas to lead the school forward. He wants to make sure Bryan students graduate with a high school diploma and are ready for careers or post secondary study."  
 
Penrod has been the associate principal at Lincoln High School for three years.  Prior to that he served as instructional coordinator at Bryan during the 2012-13 school year. He also taught and coached at Lincoln Southwest High School from 2005 to 2012.  
 
Penrod earned his master's degree in Educational Leadership from Doane College.
 
Mindy Roberts, the current principal at Bryan, will serve in a supervisor position in Special Education at LPS.

Posted on May 13, 2016


For students and staff at Meadow Lane, Prabulos is fabulous as Scottish Rite honoree

Cheers, tears and a whole lot of school pride were on display Friday at a special teacher recognition event at Meadow Lane Elementary School, 7200 Vine St.

Computer Science teacher Susan Prabulos won the 2016 Scottish Rite Honor given annually to a teacher in Lincoln Public Schools. Scottish Rite is one of the most prestigious awards given to an LPS teacher and comes with a cash prize of $3,000.

“I am so overwhelmed and so humbled,” Prabulos said to a gym full of students and staff. Her parents were also surprise visitors.

She noted that she also teared up the day before when witnessing first-graders accomplish great things in her classroom.

Prabulos said her classroom continues to astound, “when my students learn, and take something that I’ve given them and turn it into something amazing that I didn’t expect, and when they persevere, and keep trying until they reach a goal...It’s so amazing to see how excited they get when they realize they have accomplished their goals.”

Prabulos has taught at Sheridan, Brownell and Meadow Lane elementary schools for 20 years. She serves on various school improvement committees, helps with teachers and curriculum across the LPS district, and is recognized as a state and national leader in sharing professional development strategies and classroom instruction.

“She is a servant leader,” said Daniele Schulzkamp, Meadow Lane principal. “She is there to serve kids and their passion in technology, and problem solving. She sees how everything she does in the classroom connects to things outside the classroom.”

Students and staff were told they were going to celebrate their morning routine with special guests. Prabulos wondered if that was the case, and eventually figured out the routine would be extra special, as well.

“This teacher is passionate about technology, but more importantly, she is passionate about providing learning experiences for her students,” said Eric Weber, associate superintendent for Human Resources at LPS, during the surprise announcement.

Prabulos said she was honored to be chosen out of a group of highly qualified teachers throughout LPS. She said she is driven by the work she sees from students in her classroom.

Schulzkamp said students are not the only ones to benefit from the teacher’s conviction for educating everyone.

“She’s on-call all the time, she is willing to drop what she is doing, she gives up plan times, she’s in before school and after school,” Schulzkamp said. “She’s always there to help staff be able to use technology to enhance their instruction. But not just that, she helps with Community Connections after school, so it’s not just technology, but the big picture of all of that.

Posted on May 13, 2016


Middle School ELL students experience college

Over 240 English Language Learner (ELL) students from Culler, Goodrich, and Park Middle Schools participated in a Digital Festival Day on the University of Nebraska - Lincoln Campus.

Developed by UNL education students, the event started in the Student Union Auditorium with opening remarks from the Dean of the Education College, and students were also treated to performances by a few UNL students of diverse backgrounds.

The middle school students then broke into small groups with their UNL student leaders to work on video projects.

All of the students were able to experience college dining as they ate in the Selleck Dining Hall. This was the highlight for many of the ELL students.

The day concluded with a showcase of the video stories in the auditorium. Afterwards, each ELL student received a UNL bag with a few special gifts to remember their special day.

The Digital Festival is a partnership between UNL and LPS. The LPS ELL coaches wrote a Fund-a-Need grant through the Foundation at Lincoln Public Schools, and seven donors contributed to pay for all of the transportation and the lunches for all of the LPS teachers. UNL paid for the lunches of all the ELL students.

“This has been a wonderful partnership for everyone,” ELL Coach Anne Hubbell. “ The advantages for the UNL students to prepare lessons and work with students of diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and the opportunity for ELL students to see themselves as college students if very beneficial.”

Posted on May 12, 2016


LPS graduation ceremonies for class of 2016

The Lincoln Public Schools class of 2016 will celebrate graduation ceremonies on Sunday, May 22 – for all six high schools.

LPS high school graduation ceremonies for 2016 are scheduled as follows:

  • Lincoln East High School, noon, Pinnacle Bank Arena
  • Lincoln North Star High School, 1:30 p.m., Bob Devaney Sports Center
  • Lincoln Southeast High School, 3 p.m. Pinnacle
  • Lincoln High School, 4:30 p.m., Devaney
  • Lincoln Northeast High School, 6 p.m., Pinnacle
  • Lincoln Southwest High School, 7:30 p.m., Devaney

The Bryan Community Focus Program will hold graduation ceremonies at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 19, at Lincoln Southwest High School.

Posted on May 11, 2016


Highlights of 5/10 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

Lincoln Public Schools:

Highlights of 5/10 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education held a regular meeting on Tuesday May 10 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The Board will hold its next regular meeting on Tuesday, May 24, 2016. The Board will hold its annual organizational meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, May 16, when they elect new officers.

 

Highlights of Board Meeting

Grant application for defibrillators

Lincoln Public Schools would add automated external defibrillators (AED) to 20 additional elementary schools if they move forward with submission of a Phase I proposal to the Community Health Endowment for up to $32,500 for the one-time purchase of AED equipment.

 

Several years ago, LPS worked with the Lancaster County Medical Society and Community Health Endowment to purchase AEDs for all secondary schools. LPS proposes to request Community Health Endowment support to help purchase AEDs for all elementary schools in the district, and the Endowment has agreed to consider support for the purchase in the 20 elementary schools that serve the highest proportion of low-income students – a cost of about $32,500. (Of this amount, $20,000 may be awarded to LPS without a match requirement.)

 

The remaining $12,500 must be matched dollar for dollar.  LPS and the Foundation for LPS are working to secure this match, as well as funding for an additional $32,500 to purchase AEDs for the remaining elementary schools and the new Marilyn Moore Middle School.

 

According to Student Services, 596 students within LPS have a known cardiac condition, a statistic that continues to rise with the incidence of childhood obesity, as does the likelihood of undiagnosed cardiac conditions. In an emergency situation, AEDs are easy to use and save lives. This equipment has been proven valuable each year, as one or two incidents due to sudden cardiac arrest happen per school year somewhere in the school district. Last year, for the first time, one such incident occurred at an elementary school involving a student with an undiagnosed heart condition who almost died as a result of sudden cardiac arrest. Thankfully, school staff performed CPR on the student until an ambulance arrived and treated the student successfully.

 

The Community Health Endowment (CHE) of Lincoln is a municipal endowment dedicated to making Lincoln the healthiest community in the nation. The Lincoln Board of Education will vote final approval for submission at their May 24 meeting.

 

Annexed property

The Board of Education assigns school attendance areas to property newly annexed to the city of Lincoln or newly platted.  This action establishes school attendance areas prior to the sale of residential lots, allowing purchasers to know what schools their children will attend.

 

The city has annexed two parcels of land, and proposed attendance areas are:

  • Prairie Village North, Annexation Ordinance #20312, for 2015-16 school year:  Pershing Elementary School, Mickle Middle School and Lincoln Northeast High School.
  • Grandview Estates 1st Addition, Annexation Ordinance #20308, for 2015-16 school year:  Maxey Elementary School, Pound Middle School and Lincoln Southeast High School.

The Board will vote final approval at the May 24 meeting.

 

Woods Park Tennis

The Board of Education voted a resolution of intent to pre-pay $10,000 per year to the city – for a maximum of 10 years – for use of the Woods Tennis Center to assist with financing of a current renovation project for the Woods tennis facility. The Center is intending to undergo a renovation project to replace the indoor air structures along with other site improvements. The city of Lincoln and program operators are currently in the process of determining final contract arrangements and design and costs for the project.

 

Lincoln Public Schools (LPS) has been asked to contribute as a result of its use of the facilities. The Center is an important part of LPS programming and is used by many LPS schools and students for tennis practices, events, tournaments and related activities.

 

Grant applications

The Board approved submission of the required application for year three of the Indian Education grant to the U.S. Department of Education for $146,179. The original four-year grant was approved by the Board of Education in May 2014. No district-funding match is required.

 

The Board discussed submission of a Community Health Endowment Grant – for up to $100,000 per year for up to three years – to pilot a new service by contracting with a licensed therapist to become part of the Transition classroom team at Lincoln High School. LPS students returning to home and school from acute care or residential mental health programs receive little of the formal support or follow-up necessary to help them continue with recovery, which often results in lost school time, recidivism and, ultimately, dropping out of school. This will allow the district to pilot a broader scope of transition for students returning from acute or long-term mental health placements back into the school environment with mental health support.  Based on attendance, behavior and academic outcomes of students involved in the pilot, the school district may expand the program to include Lincoln Southeast High School’s Transition classroom at the end of the grant. No matching funds are required for this proposal.   The Board will determine final approval at the May 24 meeting.

 

Dual language program

During the public comment section of the agenda, 18 people spoke in favor of LPS establishing a dual language program.

 

Celebration of Success

The Lincoln Board of Education recognized the successful LPS BackPack Extra Mile Walk that raises money for the Food Bank of Lincoln’s BackPack program. So far this year the event has raised more than $152,000 – and in over nine years the event has raised more than $1.3 million.

 

Schools raising the most money:

  • Maxey Elementary School, elementary category
  • Lux Middle School, middle school category
  • Lincoln East High School, high school category


Posted on May 10, 2016


LSW theater honored for recent performance

One high school's theater production has won various awards.

Lincoln Southwest High School's production of SINGIN' IN THE RAIN has won the following awards from Omaha Performing Arts:

  • Outstanding High School Musical Theatre Production
  • Outstanding Ensemble
  • Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Lead Role: Matthew Hakel
  • Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Lead Role: Abi Stine
  • National Finalist: Matthew Hakel

The school will be honored at the Nebraska High School Theatre Awards Showcase at the Holland Center in Omaha on June 9.

As an Outstanding Production winner, Southwest will be performing one of our production numbers at the ceremony and the Best Actor/Actress/National Finalists will also be performing songs from the show, as well as an opening and closing number with an ensemble made up of students from all 51 schools who participated.

The "Tony Award" style ceremony is at the Holland Center and has a red-carpet entrance. The Awards Showcase tickets are now on sale for $10 on line at http://TicketOmaha.com.

Posted on May 10, 2016


Prescott, Irving have results to back up national honor

Podcast: Learn about LPS's partnership, the Green Schools Alliance

Prescott Elementary is celebrating their Green Ribbon Award.

Prescott and Irving Middle School earned the distinction from the U.S. Department of Education. The honor recognizes the schools' efforts on health, wellness and environmental education and living.

In the nomination form, Prescott staff had to submit a wide array of information (see more below). For example, Prescott noted it uses 608,200 kilowatt hours in electric energy consumption, down from 787,640 kwh from 2011-12.

In just the past year, Prescott alone has saved more than $11,000 in total utility costs, including electric and natural gas. At Irving, water consumption is down to 1,200 gallons per year, down from 1,573 in 2011-12, a 20 percent reduction.

Green efforts have been a focus of of schools across Lincoln Public Schools.

Today, more than 85 percent of school square footage in LPS uses geothermal to heat and cool the buildings. It is now possible to heat and cool a school building for the same price that it used to cost to just to heat a building.

LPS also focuses on:

- construction waste management in an effort to eliminate 90 percent of construction waste,
- an energy management system for facilities so lights and HVAC systems are used efficiently and only when necessary,
- recycling a growing number of electronics,
- a high participation rate in its recycling program,
- environmental assessment to ensure students and staff have fresh air in classrooms, for example.

LPS has six schools composting after school means, with plans to add more in the fall of 2015. One school turned food and food product waste into 90 percent compost materials in just a few weeks, with the help of students, nutrition staff and school staff.

Here is what Prescott submitted in its nomination for the award:

"The highlight of Prescott’s efforts to connect students with the environment is their outdoor classroom. Prescott families, staff and community have collaborated to build and provide a Nature Explore Certified Outdoor Classroom on Prescott Park, our playground. A walking path was installed in the spring of 2010 along with a rain garden, followed by a bridge, park benches, plantings, raised vegetable beds, designated learning areas and an arbor throughout the 2011-12 school year. Summer of 2012 the school added a stage built as an Eagle Scout project and a gazebo that provides shade and a learning space in May, 2013, built by Chad Johnson. Spring of 2015, Prescott built a Fossil Dig area with a large saber cat buried in the pit. This school year, teachers will be providing Prescott students opportunities each quarter to experience learning in our outdoor space. This outdoor space has served as an avenue for students to engage in nature and develop skills and knowledge associated with a variety of topics including gardening, nutrition, and environmental stewardship. In addition to classroom use, this space is available for the community."

"Prescott was one of the first schools to participate in the LPS pilot recycling program in 1998, and has continued
recycling mixed office paper, cardboard, plastic & aluminum, newspaper & magazines, and tin cans. To-date, Prescott
has diverted over 261,000 pounds of recyclables from the landfill since initiating the recycling program in 1998.
Prescott has been very successful in the LPS Wellness program through their efforts. For the 2013-14 school year,
Prescott won the LPS Wellness Award dollars, which is a $5,000 award related to their wellness approach focusing on
students, families and community, staff wellness and establishment of school based policy and guidelines, combined
with their high participation in district-wide challenges. Resources are invested in items to support further wellness for
the school. Dollars will support indoor and outdoor active space resources."

And from Irving Middle School:

Irving Middle School has consistently demonstrated their ability to be a leader in the district for school waste management and reducing their environmental impact. They were one of the first schools to participate in the LPS pilot recycling program in 1998, and have continued recycling mixed office paper, cardboard, plastic & aluminum, newspaper & magazines, and tin cans. To-date, Irving has diverted over 258,000 pounds of recyclables from the landfill since initiating the recycling program in 1998. 

They were also one of the original three schools to pilot a compost program in the cafeteria. This program engaged students and was supported by a group of student leaders deemed the “FWCP Team” (Food Waste Composting Pilot). The peer support and encouragement was critical to the outstanding success of the program. Since implementing the compost program, 93,920 pounds of cafeteria waste has been diverted from the landfill, and building diversion has increased to 67%. 

Irving is in the midst of an Indoor Air Quality and Renovation project, which focuses on a new energy efficiency heating and air conditioning system. The project will significantly improve energy efficiency as well as provide a better learning environment for students. The scope of the project includes a geothermal ground source heat pump system, LED lighting and new exterior windows. For construction waste management, the project has maintained an 80% or higher diversion rate. 

Many innovative practices and partnerships ensure LPS students experience environmental and sustainability education at Irving Middle School. In grades 6-8, students experience environmental science and living organisms units. Irving teachers also receive district support for professional development in environmental and sustainability education. In addition, the Lower Platte South Natural Resource District has lead a field trip to teach environmental science in context to Irving students. 

A culture of wellness persists throughout the school year for Irving, with involvement in quarterly district wellness challenges, school based Aardvark Activity Challenges, support for the mental health Run to Overcome, Backpack Walk and the Marathon Cheerfest, just to name a few activities. Each year the school donates barrels of food to the Lincoln Food Bank. The school has a walking club and intramurals for students and holds several fitness focused activities for staff engagement. 

Posted on May 06, 2016


Blue Angels visit LSW

The Navy's Blue Angels met with Lincoln Southwest High School students on Friday hoping students would walk away with three key things - 1) Set goals for yourself; 2) believe in yourself and don't let anyone tell you you can't do it; 3) and don't be afraid to fail.
 
Navy Lt. Lance Benson is a demonstration pilot for the Blue Angels and he told the students.
 
"Nobody knows you fail most of the time. Nobody cares, they are so focused on themselves, they don't care. If you fall, pick yourself up and carry on."
 
He also wished he had been more appreciative of his parents in high school.
 
"I was not a straight a student when I was in school. But, one regret I have is that I didn't build a deeper relationship with my parents when I was in high school."
 
The Blue Angels are in Lincoln for an air show, and as part of the week, invited LSW principal Mike Gillotti to take a test flight with them over Lincoln. Students asked Gillotti if he got sick.
 
"A little bit when we landed," Gillotti said. "I was working my butt off to stay awake. My eyes were wide open, but I couldn't see. I never did pass out."

Posted on May 06, 2016


Coyote Chorus Invitational

The first of its kind, The Coyote Chorus Invitational, will feature music form Zeman and Calvert Elementary and PANgea.

Free and open to everyone, bring your blankets, lawn chairs and snacks to Henry Park (between 44th and 46th on Prescott Ave, just south of Calvert Elementary) on Thursday, May 12, at 6:00 p.m.

Posted on May 04, 2016


Renewal of Nebraska teaching, nurses, special services and administrative certificate

If your Nebraska certificate is expiring on August 31, 2016 please complete your renewal application now unless you are waiting for college coursework that is being taken this summer. If you have any questions about the renewal process please contact Grady Blase at gblase@lps.org or 402-436-1581.

 

 

Posted on May 04, 2016


Lakeview Health Walk beneficial for many reasons

At Lakeview Elementary, many students take a walk to get their school day started, and not just to get to school, either.  Back in January, Lakeview decided to offer third through fifth grade students an alternative to just sitting in the hallway waiting for the bell to ring.  Students had a new choice of heading to the gym to check in and then going outside to participate in the Lakeview Health Walk.  The first day started with about 61 kids, but steadily grew as word got around. To date, Lakeview has had a cumulative total of over 3,800 walkers, including some students who have participated in over 90% of the school days since its inception.  Currently, Lakeview’s third grade class is leading the way with over 1,300 walkers even though they started three weeks later than the upper grades.  

Third grade teacher Tanner Soderberg and P.E. teacher Bob Rung started the Health Walk to give Lakeview students a chance to burn some energy, connect socially with peers, and learn about an active, healthy lifestyle.  

Soderberg feels that the students have embraced the opportunity, “I see an eagerness on the part of the students to be healthy as opposed to just sitting in the hallway every morning.”   

Students can earn a shoe charm for every five days of participation, and the 1,000 walker in each grade earned an activity-promoting prize like a brand new basketball or jump rope.

Principal Scott Nelson says he sees the benefits daily, “ I noticed that the students have been committed to walking and understanding the benefits of daily exercise while also earning rewards for their healthy behavior.“  

Many staff at Lakeview noticed immediately that the Health Walk also contributed to a calmer start to the school day.  

 

Posted on May 04, 2016


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