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EdNotes Express

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

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

Highlights of 2/9 Lincoln Board of Education meeting < New

Lincoln Public Schools:

Highlights of 2/9 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education held a regular meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 9 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The Board will hold its next regular meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016.

Highlights of Board Meeting

Strategic Plan Update: LPS Facilities, Construction Update for Bond 2014

The community of Lincoln approved a $153 million bond issue in 2014 and Lincoln Public Schools is well on the way to working through many of the projects funded through that bond issue.

The Lincoln Board of Education Tuesday heard an update on construction projects included in that bond issue.

“We spend the same amount of time and effort on all our facilities in this school district, old and new,” said Scott Wieskamp, director of Operations at LPS. “We take good care of taxpayer dollars in the way we invest in facilities.”

He also emphasized that LPS projects generally involve local contractors and represent a significant push in “putting money back into our community.”

Construction highlights include:

  • Completion of renovations at Seacrest Activities Complex, opened in the fall of 2015.
  • Completion of the new Career Academy, which also opened in the fall of 2015 on the Southeast Community College campus.
  • Current construction of the new Sally Wysong Elementary School to open in the fall of 2016.
  • Ongoing construction of the new Marilyn Moore Middle School to open in the fall of 2017 (joint venture with the Lincoln YMCA).
  • The new Nuernberger Education Center – renovated from a former LPS facility on South 40th street – to open in the fall of 2016 for middle school students who need additional behavioral skills.
  • Complete renovation of Irving Middle School now underway.
  • Meadow Lane Elementary School now under construction is receiving a new media center, kindergarten classrooms.
  • Pershing Elementary School now has a new, four-classroom addition finished in November/December 2015.
  • Norwood Park Elementary School will receive a new kitchen/cafeteria, main entrance, indoor air quality renovation, code updates – completed by this summer.
  • Lincoln Northeast High School is getting a two-story addition to expand the existing fitness center and modify the existing wood shop.
  • Lefler Middle School addition and renovations project plans are now coming forward with a new gymnasium, science room upgrades and changes to make building fully accessible.
  • Park Middle School will receive a new gymnasium/classroom addition.
  • Randolph Elementary School is getting a new gymnasium, upgrades with new secured entrance, modifications to kitchen/cafeteria and new library media center.
  • West Lincoln Elementary School will have an eight-class addition with multiple renovations throughout the building.
  • Humann Elementary School will receive extension renovations, indoor air quality renovation, new secure entrance and office area.
  • Technology Ready Classroom Projects throughout the school district.
  • Secured Entrance Projects: Modifications throughout the district to create secure entrances in all schools.
  • Roof replacements at many schools.
  • Window replacements at Saratoga Elementary School.
  • Bleacher replacements at many high schools.

Approved 2017-18 calendar

The Board approved a school calendar for the 2017-18 school year: with school starting on Monday, August 14, 2017, and ending on May 24, 2018.

Highlights of the calendar also include:

  • Quarter break, Oct. 16-17
  • Semester break, Dec. 23-Jan. 5
  • Quarter break, March 12-16

As in previous years, the LPS Calendar Committee has followed Board approved student calendar primary and secondary variables to design and recommend a calendar that meets the purpose statement, “The school calendar demonstrates the district’s commitment to learning.  It is based on sound instructional considerations and priorities ensuring the continuity, efficiency, and effectiveness of teaching and learning.” 

North Star transfers

The Board approved a change in previous practice, making Lincoln North Star High School unavailable to transfers of students living outside of the North Star attendance area – who have missed the transfer deadline late in January.

“We believe this is the best strategy in the short-term for limiting growth at North Star,” said Liz Standish, associate superintendent for Business Affairs at LPS, noting the enrollment at North Star is approaching 2,200 and is expected to continue to grow.

“We expect a broader conversation and will examine many strategies in the future,” Standish said. “All our high schools are experiencing growth and this will be a major component of the conversation as we update the 10-year facilities plan….But right now high school choice and the high school selection process are intact….This honors that choice.”

Students who filled out the appropriate forms by the Jan. 31 deadline would still be allowed transfer into North Star students. In addition, students who want to transfer out of the North Star attendance area are allowed to do so

Board member Don Mayhew underlined that this vote is only part of an ongoing discussion. “This is our way of getting out in front of the conversation…This is hanging a lantern on this issue…that this growth is not abating…This is the first of several substantive conversations about our lack of space.”

Board member Barb Baier noted “the concentric growth happening in our community…The north side is growing as much as the south side...All our neighborhoods are vibrant.”

Common questions about North Star and high school enrollments have been posted on the LPS website at: http://home.lps.org/communications/commblog/

Annexation

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 Board approved:

  • Northbank Preserve, Annexation Ordinance #20264, for 2015-16 school year:  Norwood Park Elementary School, Dawes Middle School and Lincoln Northeast High School  
  • Northbank Preserve, 2nd Addition, Annexation Ordinance #15107, for 2015-16 school year:  Norwood Park, Dawes and Northeast.
  • Southlake, South 98th Street & Andermatt Drive, Annexation Ordinance #20273 for 2015-16 school year: Kloefkorn Elementary School, Lux Middle School and Lincoln East High School  
  • HiMark, South 88th Street & Pioneers Boulevard, Annexation Ordinance #20275 for 2015-16 school year:  Maxey Elementary School, Lux and East.

Celebration of success

The Lincoln Board of Education recognized Scott Middle School Library Media Specialist Jean Hellwege for winning the Gale/Library Media Connection Teams Award.

 

Posted on February 09, 2016


How an EHS teacher incorporated civic engagement into a Science classroom < Updated

Connie Arends is a Human Anatomy/Physiology and biology teacher at Lincoln East High School. She had an idea to have students (juniors and seniors) in her classes not only study the science of vaccines, but the impact it has on society and policy. She describes the lesson:

Recently the Lincoln East human anatomy/physiology classes have been studying the impact that vaccines have had on human health locally and throughout the world. 

This topic has also received statewide attention and debate in the legislature during the current session. To incorporate this timely topic into my classroom I provided my students with an article published in the Lincoln Journal Star explaining both sides of the issue being debated in the Unicameral (LB18), we've watched a video (“NOVA: Vaccines, Calling the Shots”), and guest speaker pharmacist Dr. Ally Dering-Anderson shared her professional opinion on vaccinations as well as other drug-related issues with our classes.

At the end of this research and as my students became informed individuals; I encouraged them to form their own opinion regarding the bill.  Each student took on the role of a state senator and voted on the bill (LB18) that was debated in the past weeks.

As a way to share their opinion, students were also shown how to access state senator contact information and were provided a template for contacting their representative.  Students who contacted their senators shared personal information as to why they felt the senator should support or oppose the bill.  Receiving a response from their representative was a great way to culminate this learning experience. 

My students have the power to make great decisions, and connecting my course concepts to real life has been an effective way for my students to learn.

Posted on February 09, 2016


Teacher named VP for national association; art staff to present at group's event < New

For more on the LPS Visual Arts, visit their webpage.

Bob Reeker, art and computer science specialist at Eastridge Elementary School, was recently elected to the National Art Education Association (NAEA) Board of Directors as the Western Region Vice President. Reeker will serve a total of four years, two as elect and two as vice president. He will join three other regional vice presidents as a vice president team during his tenure. This is Reeker's second term on the national board. He first served as elementary division director 2007-2011.

Five Lincoln Public Schools Art Staff will head to Chicago March 17-19 for the 2016 NAEA National Convention. Mollie Leisinger, Jocelyn Reiss, and Lynette Fast from North Star, along with Lorinda Rice, LPS Art Consultant, and Reeker will spend three days with 5,000 art educators from all over the world.

Each LPS Art Staffer will present a session at the convention. Fast will represent the Nebraska Art Teachers Association at delegates assembly as co-president.  Reeker is the convention coordinator working with a local committee and NAEA staff to structure the content and culture of the convention around the theme of "LEAD:  Share your Vision of Art Education." 

 

Posted on February 08, 2016


Irving middle school principal announces retirement

Irving Middle School Principal Susette Taylor has announced her retirement at the close of this school year. 
 
She says:  "In my career in Lincoln Public Schools I've appreciated the encouragement and collegiality of people among schools, departments and positions at all levels providing support to individuals, to schools, to students and families. It's an incredible network that ensures the growth and development of all our students. I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to serve in the district...The opportunity to be Irving’s principal came unexpectedly 3 years ago, and has been the highlight of my career. Coming back to Irving has been a real gift, a place full of tradition and excellence."

 

Taylor has served at LPS in a wide variety of roles: Currently principal at Irving, previously she was the associate principal at Lincoln Southwest High School, associate principal at Lincoln North Star High School, associate principal at Irving, program facilitator at Park Middle School, and teacher at Irving and Lefler Middle School and several positions outside of LPS.
 
Pat Hunter-Pirtle, director of Secondary Education at LPS, says of Taylor:  "Dr. Susette Taylor has given her all as principal at Irving Middle School. She was familiar with the school having served for eleven years as an associate principal, however, from the day she walked into the building as principal she stressed the importance of technology for staff and students. She pushed teachers to create websites for their students and families, and has done everything she can to bring technology into the classrooms. With Irving under construction for the past year, Dr. Taylor has systematically worked with the architects and builders to make the construction process successful.  Under her leadership, Irving will be positioned as a beautiful architectural treasure but also heading into the 21st century as a technology leader for middle schools. Finally, Dr. Taylor and her administrative team have worked tirelessly to hold high expectations for students while putting supports in place to ensure all Irving Aardvarks are successful."   

Posted on February 05, 2016


2016 NETA Conference

NETA 2016 Registration is now open

Start planning now to attend the 2016 NETA Conference. **Note that day two is a normal school day for LPS this year which is different than in years past when it has been an elementary plan day. You will need a sub for both days.

The LPS - Computing Services group code for registration is D71C. Using this code saves $10 off 2-day registration or $5 off a 1-day registration.

NETA-accepted presenters and co-presenter please email Kristi Peters (kristi@lps.org) for a sub code.

For more information about this conference visit NETA’s website.

Posted on February 04, 2016


Classified Retirement Workshops

For classified staff who are looking at retirement in the next year or so, please attend one of the following sessions.

Please RSVP to Nancy Harter at nharter@lps.org.

Dates: February 10 and February 18

Times: 4:30 - 6:00 p.m.

Where: LPSDO Board Room

Posted on February 04, 2016


Bill McCoy announces retirement

Bill McCoy, director of Operations at Lincoln Public Schools and an employee with the school district for 39 years, has announced his retirement at the close of the calendar year.

McCoy came to LPS in January of 1977 and served as a front-line custodian, then was promoted to assistant to the custodial supervisor at several schools - and later, district assistant supervisor for Custodial Services.  He was named district supervisor of Custodial Services in 1986; director of Custodial Services and Transportation in 2002.
"I truly consider myself fortunate to have been given the opportunities I've received while working with LPS," McCoy said.  "I consider LPS to be an outstanding organization.  I will miss all of you very much."

McCoy has also served as past president of both the International Executive Housekeepers Association, Nebraska Chapter and Nebraska School Transportation Association. 
 
Liz Standish, associate superintendent for Business Affairs at LPS, said:  "Bill McCoy is one of the most exceptional people I have ever had the pleasure to work with.  His work ethic, people skills, district knowledge and unwavering dedication to LPS students is a legacy we plan to honor for generations to come."
 

Posted on February 03, 2016


2016 UNL-LPS Math as a Second Language Course

We are pleased to accept applications from Lincoln Public Schools’ grades 3-6 teachers to take Math as a Second Language this summer at no cost to the teacher. Priority is given to teachers in Title I schools.

Click here for a flyer with more information.

  • Ideal for teachers who seek to develop special strengths in mathematical and pedagogical knowledge, which transfers into enhanced learning in their classrooms.

  • Teachers selected for this course will take the course from June 13-17, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., on the UNL campus.

  • Teachers will earn 3 graduate credits for this course at no cost to themselves (tuition and fees will be covered).

  • This course is not appropriate for teachers who have completed Math in the Middle.

Accepting applications from Feb. 2 through Feb. 16!

  • Teachers from Title I schools and who have not completed Primarily Math will have first priority.
  • Applications due online on or before Tuesday, Feb. 16.

To apply: http://scimath.unl.edu/lps

Posted on February 03, 2016


New teacher follow up sessions

New teachers, you are welcome to attend these session. There is no registration, but the attendance is paid. For more information, contact Jill Timmons at 402-436-1915 or by emailing jtimmon@lps.org

February 8, 4-5:30 p.m., at Adams Elementary Media Center
Session Topics:

  • NESA Assessments
  • Q & A
  • Effective Co-teaching strategies

March14, 4-5:30 p.m., at Adams Elementary Media Center
Session Topics:

  • Transition Process
  • Evaluation of NewTeacher Cohort Training

Posted on February 03, 2016


Optional Professional Development for life skills teachers

This year we are offering an optional professional development session for life skills teachers on February 17, at 3:45 p.m. at Adams Elementary. The topic is Structured Teaching, and during this session, teachers will be given the opportunity to receive materials specific to Structured Teach, and create for a student a structure work system that answers the following questions for the student: what am I expected to do, how much am I expected to do, how will I know when I'm finished, where do I put my finished work, what will I get when I'm done or what do I do next? Staff will be given time to create tasks related to the extended indicators. This session does not meet any district flex requirements; it is truly an optional class for staff who may want the additional support and/or information. If you are interested, please register in the Staff Development online course catalog for 012151 Curriculum Make & Take, before February 17, or click here.

Posted on February 03, 2016


Three LPS elementary school principals announce retirement: Braun, Suarez, Phillips

Kloekforn Elementary School Principal Sue Braun, Hill Elementary School Principal Michelle Phillips and Everett Elementary School Principal Michelle Suarez this week have all announced their retirement at the end of this school year.

"We are so grateful for the work these outstanding principals have done throughout their tenure with Lincoln Public Schools," said Jane Stavem, associate superintendent for Instruction at Lincoln Public Schools.  "They have had a tremendous impact on our schools and with our students and families.  They have been exemplary role models for our future leaders, and we will greatly miss their leadership." 

** Braun told her colleagues:  "I am truly and deeply grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of this outstanding district. The last 33 years have been better than I could have ever dreamed! Thank you for helping me lead, learn and grow and, most especially, for your friendship and support."

Braun has served as principal of three schools at LPS:  Riley Elementary School, 1997-2003; Rousseau Elementary School, 2003-2112; and Kloefkorn since 2012. 

Cindy Schwaninger, director of Elementary Instruction, said of Braun:  "Sue has provided exemplary leadership to Lincoln Public Schools at both the building and district level.  Most recently, she opened Kloefkorn Elementary, creating a vibrant, positive, caring community honoring the principles and character of the late William Kloefkorn.  Sue is an instructional leader that challenges teachers and students beyond the status quo and helps them achieve outstanding results.  She will be greatly missed."

** Phillips said:  "I am writing to share the news of my retirement at the end of the 2015-2016 school year. With me, I'll be able to take cherished memories of serving as a teacher and administrator at Hill, Beattie, Eastridge, Saratoga, Roper and Fredstrom schools! It has been such an honor to work for Lincoln Public Schools for the past 32 years surrounded by such talented and caring individuals.  Thank you for decades of support, friendship and learning that you have extended. I greatly appreciate and will truly miss all of you as I begin this new chapter in my life!"

Phillips was hired at LPS in 1984 and served as a teacher, team leader and coordinator.  She was assistant principal at Saratoga Elementary School, then principal at Eastridge Elementary School, 1999-2003; Beattie Elementary School, 2003-=2008; and finally Hill, 2008 to present.
Schwaninger said of Phillips: "Michelle has devoted her career to learning and leading in Lincoln Public Schools.  She has always led with a sharp focus on student achievement and had the ability to navigate any barrier to get students what they needed.  Michelle's positive outlook and 'can-do attitude' has been an inspiration and example for students, staff and colleagues.  She has been instrumental in recruiting new teachers over the years and we will miss her many talents as a dedicated leader."
 
** Suarez said: "It has been my privilege to work in the Everett, Calvert and Beattie communities over the last 32 years."

Suarez came to Lincoln Public Schools in 1984 - after working at the Wilber/Clatonia Public Schools for several years - and worked as a teacher, team leader and then coordinator at Beattie. She served as principal at Calvert Elementary School from 1997 to 2010, and has been principal at Everett since then.

Schwaninger said of Suarez:  "Michelle's mission and passion for serving students living in poverty and those learning English is unparalleled.  At Everett, she has devoted time every week to mentoring parents of students learning English, empowering them to tell their stories and to be involved in their child's education.  She led the staff in various initiatives with positive behavior supports and specialized instructional strategies for teaching English to students.  She advocates for the Everett families and has continued to keep the school as the hub of the neighborhood.  Michelle also serves as a leader in our community and will be missed."

Posted on February 03, 2016


LPS Nonelective 403(b) Enrollment/Info Meeting

All of the following presentations will be held at Union Bank and Trust, 6801 South 27th - Lower Level
Starts at 9:00 a.m.

Register by calling or emailing Kellee Krick at Union Bank & Trust, 402-323-1467 or Kellee.krick@ ubt.com.

May 7, 2016 (9:00-10:00 a.m.)
“LPS Nonelective 403(b) Enrollment/Information Meeting”
Planning to retire soon from Lincoln Public Schools? If you have unused “Leave” (sick leave, vacation hours, etc.) LPS will be distributed into the “LPS Non-Elective 403(b) Plan”. Then what? You have several options available and some great investments to pick from. The presentation will cover how to what you can do with these dollars, your investment choices, and how to request distributions. Come and ask the questions you would like to have answered!

 

Posted on February 03, 2016


Ages and Stages Seminars

All of the following presentations will be held at Union Bank and Trust, 6801 South 27th - Lower Level
Starts at 9:00 a.m.

Register by calling or emailing Kellee Krick at Union Bank & Trust, 402-323-1467 or Kellee.krick@ ubt.com.

February 13 (9:00-10:00 a.m.)
“Ages & Stages – 20-30 Years of Age”
This stage in your life presents a tremendous opportunity to get ahead in saving for your retirement. The key is simply getting started, then letting the power of compounding work for you over time. This is a time of many firsts in your working career and personal life. Balancing student loans, car payments, credit card bills, mortgage payments and other living expenses can be a real challenge. Developing skills to manage your money early in your career will really pay off. Learning and implementing these skills today will have an everlasting impact on your future financial wellness. Come for an hour and walk out with financial tips for those in their 20's-30's.

March 19 (9:00-10:00 a.m.)
“Ages & Stages – 30-50 Years of Age”
Often, many of life’s biggest milestones occur during these years; whether it is having children, buying a home, putting a child through college, or dealing with aging parents. All of these events must be juggled while trying to gain momentum professionally and excel in your career. These demands, during what should be peak earning years, can certainly impact your finances and quality of life. At this stage in life, you need to keep your eye on retirement and pay down debt. Attend the meeting and walk out with financial tips for those in their 30's-50's.

April 16 (9:00-10:00 a.m.)
“Ages & Stages - 50-60 Years of Age”
This is an empowering time. It is also a time of transition. You’re well-established in your career, you have a good handle on your financial responsibilities, and you’ve accomplished many goals. However, from a financial standpoint, one of your most important goals is still on the horizon: your retirement. It is all the more important that you manage your money, invest for your future, control your taxes, and plan your legacy as retirement nears. Come for an hour and walk out knowing more about important aspects of financial planning for those in their 50's-60's.

Posted on February 03, 2016


Thinking about retiring?

Preretirement seminars for those 50+

Nebraska Public Employees Retirement System (NPERS) has retirement seminars starting in March and into June. Each eligible employee is entitled to receive leave pay to attend up to two retirement seminars. If you are over 50, we encourage you to sign up for one of these seminars. They fill up very quickly! You can register by going to http://npers.ne.gov/selfservice/memberinfo/retirementseminar.

Posted on February 03, 2016


Bagels and Brew: Financial Wellness Workshop

February 6, 2016 (9:00-10:00 a.m.) Presented at LPSDO

“NPERS, Social Security, and Tapping Retirement Income” –

Retirement can be a confusing and stressful decision. It’s important to get all the information you possibly can before taking such a major step in your life and to make good decisions in your early years. Nebraska Public Employees Retirement System (NPERS) will present an overview of the school's Defined Benefit Plan. There will also be information on Social Security, an overview of the LPS 403(b) Plans, and brief presentation on amount of income you could expect from you retirement accounts. Make Retirement Savings a priority in 2016!

Posted on February 03, 2016


PayFlex and Flexible Spending Account Reimbursement Update

We have received notification that PayFlex has updated their mailing address on the Claim Reimbursement Form. We have updated it on the LPS Website under Departments, Human Resources, and Benefits.

New Claims Mailing Address
PayFlex Systems USA, Inc.
P.O. Box 981158
El Paso, TX 79998-1158

If you have a flex account, we strongly encourage you to registered on the PayFlex website -- www.payflex.com. You can sign up using your six-digit employee ID. You will be able to set up direct deposit to the bank of your choice, submit your expenses on-line, view your account, receive communication from PayFlex on processing of claims, view the list of eligible expenses, etc.

The plan year is September 1, 2015 through August 31, 2016, and all claimed expenses need to occur during those dates. If you do not submit for reimbursement, you forfeit your flex money.

Posted on February 03, 2016


Quarter 3 Synergy meetings with office staff

Computing Services will be conducting its quarterly meeting with all registrars and high school office technicians.

Elementary Registrars:

Middle School Registrars:

High School Registrars:

High School Office Techs

Posted on February 03, 2016


TED2016 Opening Night Live

For the first time, the opening session of the legendary TED Conference can be view live on the big screen at the Lincoln Grand Theater on February 15, at 7:00 p.m.

More information and tickets can be found here.

Posted on February 03, 2016


Morrill Hall to offer free Thursday night admission in February

Pose with the plesiosaur and mingle with the mammoths in Morrill Hall for free on Thursday nights throughout February. The University of Nebraska State Museum in Morrill Hall will offer visitors free admission February 4, 11, 18 and 25 from 4:30-8:00pm.

Special events taking place on Thursday nights in February:

February 4 | 4:30-8:00pm – Ready Jet Go! Launch Party
Join us for the launch party of PBS Kids' newest series Ready Jet Go! before you can see it on TV! Join NET Kids at Morrill Hall to watch the first ever episode of Ready Jet Go! followed by kids activities. Showtimes: 5:00pm, 6:00pm, 7:00pm

February 18 | 6:30-8:00pm – Science Café: Natural Selection
Science Café in Mueller Planetarium at Morrill Hall is a casual, educational, and entertaining monthly series for adults (21+) exploring a variety of science and natural history topics. Food, drinks and the opportunity to ask questions and share opinions. Programming fee required, purchase tickets online at museum.unl.edu/ScienceCafe

February 25 | 7:00-8:00pm – SciPop Talk
In partnership with UNL Libraries, the museum will host a SciPop Talk, called “Parasite Biodiversity: Discovering the Unknown Pathogens Before They Discover Us” given by Scott Gardner, professor in the School of Biological Sciences. The SciPop talk series combines science and popular culture.

Mueller Planetarium, located inside the museum, will present the “Big Red Sky Tour: Winter” Thursdays at 6pm in February. Regular admission to Mueller Planetarium fulldome shows will apply. Tickets can be purchased at the front desk of the museum the day of the show. The complete planetarium schedule can be found at www.spacelaser.com.

Posted on February 03, 2016


TeamMates Mentor Academy for Wednesday canceled

The Lincoln Public Schools TeamMates Mentor Academy scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 3, has been canceled due to the weather.

For more information:  Sandi Witkowicz
Community Outreach Specialist
Lincoln TeamMates
5905 O St.
Lincoln, NE 68510
402-436-1990

Posted on February 03, 2016


Reminder: Time to honor a special teacher

A reminder: Nominations for the annual Lincoln Public Schools Thank You Teacher event are due Friday, Feb. 19.

In honor of Nebraska Teacher Recognition Day – Tuesday, March 1 – LPS and KFOR/KFRX Radio are again collaborating to thank our educators with the annual Thank You Teacher contest. Nominations should be postmarked or sent by Friday, Feb. 19, at 5 p.m. and mailed to: Thank You Teacher, Communications, LPS District Offices, 5905 O St., Lincoln, NE 68510.  

** You can also submit nominations online at: http://lps.org/go/recognize.

Anyone who lives in Lincoln/Lancaster County can nominate a teacher in any of five categories: preschool-grade 2, grades 3-5, middle school, high school and retired. In addition to a written description, explaining why a teacher made a difference in your life, entries should include the teacher’s name, grade level and school (or contact information), as well as the nominator’s name, school and grade level (if applicable), address and phone number.

Five teachers will be chosen and honored at a special breakfast on March 1 at the Governor’s Mansion, where the five students who submitted the winning nominations also will be invited to attend and read their winning letters. The winners will all receive gift bags and prizes awarded by KFOR/KFRX and their sponsors.

The event is part of Nebraska Teacher Recognition activities. Sponsors include LPS, KFOR/KFRX, the Lincoln Education Association and the Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools.

For more information contact Mary Kay Roth, 436-1609, mkroth@lps.org.

Posted on February 01, 2016


LPS: Power of the puppy (video now available)

Dogs are miracles – with paws, according to counselors, teachers, social workers and administrators at Lincoln Public Schools who bring four-legged critters into their schools and classroom, and brought them to LPS District Office Tuesday.

“Dogs are magical,” according to John Neal – assistant to the Superintendent for Governmental Relations, and also supervisor of the dog therapy program at LPS – who spoke at the school district’s January Learning Lunch.  “Students who experience dogs in schools know there is always going to be someone there who loves them, that’s the magic you’re going to hear about today,” Neal said.

The dog program at LPS was launched years ago by Dick Spearman, former principal at Mickle Middle School, who convinced teacher Jean Keister to bring Riley the Dog to school – and today there are now 44 pet therapy teams at LPS, and more in training.

Today we are a model for the country, “ Neal said, “because of the people you’re going to meet today.”

  • “Betsy has a way of connecting with children, she senses when kids are stressed out and I’ve seen such a huge transition with calming down kids,” said Schyler Lindekugel-Sullivan, a school social worker at LPS who often brings along her therapy dog, Betsy.  
  • Shawnie Motschenbacher, a teacher at Lincoln North Star High School, brought Peanut to the Learning Lunch Tuesday and pointed out: “Many of my students are nonverbal…and I’ve seen students who are agitated…but as soon as they see the dog, and pet the dog, you can just feel the student starting to calm down and de-escalate. No words and no judgments.”
  • Pound Middle School teacher Steve Spieker said he saw a profound impact in bringing Ellie to school: “This year we have a number of students who have lost loved ones, and when they come to see Ellie it’s just a comforting place to be. They can talk to her; they know she’s there for them.”
  • Sugar Bear is a therapy dog in training – the fourth therapy dog for Susie Mahoney from Randolph Elementary School. “Zeke was my first dog, one of the first in the school district, and he did a lot of listening to beginning readers, often reluctant and struggling readers…In fact, we had one eighth grade boy come back to Randolph and tell us that Zeke was the only reason he had become a good reader.”

Pam Robinson, who works in LPS Student Services but also has trained many pet therapy dogs, pointed out that “dogs create a warm, school environment…Dogs give an environmental boost…They love everybody, their tails are always wagging.”

Robinson asked LPS therapy dog owners to name the major benefits of the program:

  • Increases positive hallway behavior.
  • Increases concentration and work completion.
  • Improves school attendance.
  • Gives student an incentive to meet academic and behavioral goals.
  • Reduces anxiety.
  • Provides students with a nonjudgmental partner.
  • Increases motivation for physical activity/occupational therapy.
  • Elevates mood of staff and students.
  • Provides emotional support during times of stress.
  • Creates a warm school environment.

How do you get your dog certified?

  • Pre-approval from building principal and your supervisor.
  • Successful completion of a pet therapy certification program.
  • Pet therapy certification: AKC Canine Good Citizen Certification, and necessary medical records.
  • Submit the Pet Therapy Dog Log and Building Guidelines for final school district approval.
  • Recertification is required biannually.

Remaining Learning Lunches for the school year are:

  • Tuesday, Feb. 23. One in Five: Students Facing Mental Health Challenges, Brenda Leggiadro, coordinator for LPS Counselors and School Social Workers.
  • Tuesday, March 29: A Guide to Mathematics Education Today, Matt Larson, curriculum specialist for Mathematics at LPS.
  • Tuesday, April 26. The Rhythm of Music in our Schools, LPS student musicians and Lance Nielsen, supervisor of Music for LPS.

Posted on February 01, 2016


Highlights of 1/27 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

Lincoln Public Schools:

Highlights of 1/27 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education held a regular meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 27 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The Board will hold its next regular meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016.

 

Highlights of Board Meeting

 

Proposed 2017-18 calendar

Lincoln Public Schools would start the 2017-18 school year on Monday, August 14, and end on May 24, according to a proposed calendar presented to the Lincoln Board of Education Wednesday.

 

Highlights of the proposed calendar include:

  • Quarter break, Oct. 16-17
  • Semester break, Dec. 23-Jan. 5
  • Quarter break, March 12-16

Board member Annie Mumgaard, a member of the Calendar Committee, said much discussion went into the final proposal: “I think we swept a lot of cobwebs and tried to look at all the corners…As brand new to this, I feel very strongly now that this is based on sound instructional reasons.”

 

Board member Don Mayhew said he supported the calendar but also the process LPS has developed to create the calendar, pointing out how organizational changes – like avoiding breaks before final examinations and assessments – has effects on student achievement.

 

The Board will vote final approval at the Feb. 9 meeting. LPS will add the proposed calendar to the LPS website, inviting comments, suggestions and questions.

 

BACKGROUND: Each year a joint LPS/Lincoln Education Association committee – composed of parents, Board members, Lincoln Education Association leaders, teachers and administrators – recommends a student calendar for the Board’s consideration. In addition to the Calendar Committee, the Board’s Student Learning Committee reviews the recommended calendar.  It has been the practice of the Board to adopt a calendar more than a full calendar year before it is in place.

 

The Calendar Committee received input from the Community Curriculum Council, a district parent group with a representative from each school and the district-wide PTO group.  Finally, the Calendar Committee asked the Student Learning Committee to consider the proposed student calendar prior to recommending it to the full Board. 

 

As in previous years, the LPS Calendar Committee has followed Board approved student calendar primary and secondary variables to design and recommend a calendar that meets the purpose statement, “The school calendar demonstrates the district’s commitment to learning.  It is based on sound instructional considerations and priorities ensuring the continuity, efficiency, and effectiveness of teaching and learning.” 

 

North Star numbers

Due to high and increasing student numbers at Lincoln North Star High School, the Board of Education is considering a change in previous practice and making the high school unavailable to transfers of students living outside of the North Star attendance area – after the transfer deadline late in January.

 

The enrollment at North Star is approaching 2,200 and is expected to continue to grow, according to Liz Standish, associate superintendent for Business Affairs at LPS.

 

“We see this as balancing the facility and staffing needs of the school – with the long-standing choice system in the community,” Standish said. “The high school choice and selection form process is intact.”

 

Students who filled out the appropriate forms by the Jan. 31 deadline would still be allowed transfer into North Star students.

 

“But we need to do something to limit the growth so we can plan for the facility in the fall,” Standish said. “We need to help contain and limit the growth there.”

 

Staff members at LPS monitor enrollment trends in LPS facilities – such as available capacity, impact on educational program within the building, prior enrollment levels, and anticipated future growth within the building attendance area – in order to determine availability for transfer. In particular, staff has been continuously monitoring the enrollment trends at North Star as the population within the North Star attendance area continues to grow.

 

Board member Don Mayhew noted: “This is a conversation and not intended to be a solution…But we work very hard at transparency and I see this as a beginning to notify the community that this is something we need to talk about…We might be having some very difficult conversations in the next two or three years and considering closing off transfers into a high school.”


Historically the school district has seen something of a “magical balancing effect” of students transferring in and out of attendance areas, he said. “But in this case there is just so much growth, so many new students, we are running out of space in this building.”

 

Board President Kathy Danek suggested a serious review of high school attendance areas and consideration of redrawing lines. “There is significant growth in the north side of town, but we are seeing a lot of growth in all four quadrants of our community.”

 

Annie Mumgaard added: “I see this as what happens with a vibrant, growing city…It’s wonderful that we’re growing and we have so many kids here. That’s why it makes it such a great place to live…And as a parent who just went through the process of deciding where my child went to high school, you can’t make a bad choice of where your child goes to high school in Lincoln.”

 

The Board will vote on this proposal at the Feb. 9 Board meeting.

 

Early Childhood Expansion Grant

The Board of Education approved the application for an Early Childhood Expansion Grant that would help fund the Early Childhood program at LPS.

 

The Nebraska Department of Education sponsors The Early Childhood Education Grant Program, intended to support the development of children in the birth to kindergarten age range through the provision of comprehensive center-based programs. In most cases, the projects expand and/or combine existing pre-kindergarten programs funded through school district, federal or parent fees.

 

These funds will serve three- and four-year-olds who qualify for participation in an inclusive environment. Services will be provided through a part-day (3.5 hours), five-day-a-week, center-based program, which greatly exceeds the minimum hour per week required by the Nebraska Department of Education. The staff will serve families using the program delivery model as is currently provided in existing school-based early childhood centers.

 

Building projects

The School Board was presented with proposed contracts for upcoming building projects including:

  • The $2 million expansion of Lincoln Northeast High School, a two-story addition to expand the existing fitness center and modify the existing wood shop. The agreement is with Genesis Contracting Group.
  • The $5.4 million project at 710 Hill St., a newly acquired facility that will become the Nutrition Food Services Stores Warehouse – and, for the 2016-17 school year, a temporary location for Humann Elementary School during a remodel of the existing school. The agreement is with Cheever Construction.

Annexation

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 Board approved:

 

  • Northbank Preserve, Annexation Ordinance #20264, for 2015-16 school year:  Norwood Park Elementary School, Dawes Middle School and Lincoln Northeast High School  
  • Northbank Preserve, 2nd Addition, Annexation Ordinance #15107, for 2015-16 school year:  Norwood Park, Dawes and Northeast.
  • Southlake, South 98th Street & Andermatt Drive, Annexation Ordinance #20273 for 2015-16 school year:  Kloefkorn Elementary School, Lux Middle School and Lincoln East High School  
  • HiMark, South 88th Street & Pioneers Boulevard, Annexation Ordinance #20275 for 2015-16 school year:  Maxey Elementary School, Lux and East.

Policy changes

The Board approved changes in LPS policy about Parliamentary procedure. Policy 8442 identifies that unless otherwise noted, the Board of Education utilizes Robert's Rules of Order for parliamentary procedures to conduct the orderly procedures of the meetings, protect the minority voice and express the will of the majority.

 

Strategic Plan Update: Communications and Public Engagement

John Neal, assistant to the Superintendent for Governmental Relations, gave a report on Communications and Public Engagement – the first in a series of updates for the Board on the four major LPS strategic goals.

 

“Thank you to communications staff but also thanks for the commitment of the entire district to engagement,” Neal said.

 

He outlined four major levels of community engagement and examples in many of those categories.

 

  1. Sitting/Level One – no examples, “because we are not a sitting school district.”
  1. Telling/Level Two:
  • Important Information Handbook
  • LPS Annual Report (which is mailed to 120,000 homes)
  • Webpage (with 20 million page views last year)
  • ParentVue
  • School Messenger, the district’s electronic notification system
  • Learning Lunches
  1. Listening/Level Three:
  • ConnectLPS/Let’s Talk, the new digital communication system
  • LPS Social Media: Twitter (15,000 followers) and Facebook (more than 20,000 fans)
  • Community Curriculum Council
  • Citizens Education Academy
  • LPS Evaluation and Assessment surveys
  • PTO groups
  1. Partnering/Level Four
  • Community Learning Centers – each one has a school neighborhood advisory council
  • Foundation for LPS
  • Family Literacy Program
  • A new toolbox and initiative that enhances Family Engagement

Celebration of success

The Lincoln Board of Education recognized Ann Jablonski, principal at Kooser Elementary School, named a Distinguished Principal by the Nebraska Council of School Administrators and the Nebraska Association of Elementary School Principals.

 

Posted on January 27, 2016


Bands against bullying

Every year, Lincoln High School Student Council takes the month of January to recognize the various demographic groups at their school through our Respect campaign.

The last week of January, they will focus on anti-bullying and it will culminate in their annual Bands Against Bullying on Friday, January 29, at 7:00 pm in Lincoln High's Ted Sorenson Theater. The event is free and open to the public.

This will be their fourth annual Bands Against Bullying, which is a free concert given by local bands that spreads the anti-bullying message.

Posted on January 20, 2016


Fitness or Weight Loss/Nutrition Coaching with UNL Senior Students

This is your opportunity to take control of your health and receive support backed by science. Refreshing. Sound guidance without a sales pitch; just enthusiast students ready to practice their coaching skills the before they head into the workforce. UNL professors help ensure plans and information shared are backed by science. This semester offers many more coaches available to our staff, so now is your chance.

How do I apply?

Sign up by going to www.healthybehaviors.net and click on the “Apply” tab. Enter Access Code: getfit2016

Issues with applying? Contacts: Fitness: Matt at matzner21@gmail.com or Nutrition: Allie at alliehohman@hotmail.com    

 Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Who can take part? For both LPS Staff and Spouses/Significant Others, ages 22+ required. (UNL professors review client history to ensure student coaches capable of meeting clients’ needs if medically complex for safety of clients)
  • What do I get? 8 week program with weekly face-to-face visits with your own individual coach focused rather on fitness improvement OR weight loss/nutrition.  Important you can commit to entire 8 weeks for your success and to ensure student has full experience (You are their student teaching experience of sorts)
  • Can I do both fitness and weight loss/nutrition? Each person chooses which area they need to focus on the most. To serve more people’s needs, each client is only allowed to take part in fitness OR weight loss/nutrition coaching.
  • What does it cost? $35 for the entire eight weeks of coaching paid at acceptance into program via credit card or check.
  • When does this program begin? Coaches assigned late January, coaching begins directly after clients and coaches are matched, in this case running from February-Late March/Early April.
  • Where do the sessions take place? Most sessions are held at convenient public locations and at times agreed upon between you and your personal coach, with these exceptions. 
    • Fitness clients: Complete a pre and post assessment at UNL East Campus, at the start and end of the program.
    • Nutrition clients: One personalized grocery store tour with your coach is included as part of the program.
  • What does the coaching look like? Fitness coaching will build a plan for you based on your pre assessment and your personal goals. Coaches will teach you proper form for exercises but will not be “working you out.” You will report back to them about how well your plan worked and they will work with you to modify your plan over the eight weeks, building a plan that you can sustain after the program. The same could be said for the nutrition and weight loss coaching. The goal is to meet you where you are and help you to build a plan for success over eight weeks that builds skills and focuses on long-term health, improving your overall nutrition.
  • I’ve done this before, can I take part again? We would ask that new clients are given first chance at these spots (Please wait until later in the week to apply if you are a repeat customer). They will likely have enough nutrition/weight loss spots to allow for some repeat clients. If you especially have issues such as food allergies or other nutrition issues that would benefit you with some follow up, we welcome this opportunity for you.

What do you have to lose? Being healthier by spring never sounded so great!

Posted on January 20, 2016


UNL College of Architecture High School Summer Workshops

Registration is now open for the UNL College of Architecture High School Summer Workshops.

They offer learning and career exploration exercises in an innovative and exciting format. Every summer, they offer two summer high school workshops: the Career Explorations in Architecture, Interior Design and Landscape Architecture camp - June 5-11, 2016, and the Discover Landscape Architecture camp - June 12-17, 2016.

These camps offer a unique experience to investigate issues surrounding design, learn more about the design professions and what it's like to be a college student. Apply today or share this information with your students!  http://architecture.unl.edu/prospective-student/high-school-workshops

For more information please contact Leslie Gonzalez, Admissions Coordinator leslie.gonzalez@unl.edu or call 402-472-9233 or Stephanie Kuenning at skuenning2@unl.edu or call 402-472-7943.

Posted on January 20, 2016


Neddenriep announces retirement

January and February are generally a time for school administrators to announce retirement plans, so we will share the major announcements. 

Clinton Elementary School Principal Terry Neddenriep Tuesday announced his retirement.

Neddenriep has worked in schools as a teacher/administrator since 1974 including stops at Guide Rock, Southeast Consolidated and Bradshaw before coming to Lincoln Public Schools in 1989.  In his first 18 years of education experience he was an industrial technology teacher, and he also has served in positions of middle school associate principal, curriculum specialist and summer school principal.  He has also been an administrator in the Student Services Department for LPS, principal at Park Middle School and now principal at Clinton. 
 
"Terry is a quiet leader that brings out the best in students and staff," said Cindy Schwaninger, director of Elementary Instruction.  "We will miss him." .
He told his colleagues: "The five years at Clinton have gone quickly.  It's a privilege to serve as principal at Clinton and I've learned plenty from everyone in our school community.  I'm thankful also for the help and support I've received."
 
Neddenriep earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from Peru State College and a Master of Science in Industrial Education from Northwest Missouri State in 1980. He earned both his Educational Administration Certification and his Ph.D. in Administration, Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Posted on January 20, 2016


Unity and hope theme of annual freedom breakfast

In a packed room, nearly 625 people, retired LPS associate superintendent for instruction Marilyn Moore related the words of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963 to  current events during the annual Freedom Breakfast.

"There’s a part of me that just weeps and wails inside when I read these words," said Moore about King's 1963 response to a letter published by a group of white clergymen urging him to stop the non-violent resistance. "Because this letter was written more than 50 years ago, and we’re still hearing the same messages—wait, the time is not right, we need to go slowly, this is scary to people, what does the letter of the law require….and beware the outsiders."

Moore went on to say "If the time is not right now, when every outcome—life expectancy, high school graduation, college completion, full-time employment, quality medical care—is worse for children who are of color and children who are poor than for middle income and white children—when will the time be right?"

As a teenager in the 1960s, Moore described her life in Nebraska as far from the national turmoil, but she had hope that her generation would make a difference when it came to racial prejudice. She quickly learned that changing the culture at that time was not in fact easy, and a struggle that remains today.

Moore referenced the current events and images from around the world - riots, refugees, mass shootings. "Is there any heart in this room, in this country, that was not touched by these images?  Is there any mind that did not say, 'There must be a better way...' Is there anyone, anywhere, who did not feel that inescapable network of mutuality, that single garment of destiny?”

She continued to say that all of these things, all involved, are woven together.

"We are all pulled into this garment, we are touched by it, held close within it, and through it connected to everyone else. And it’s the connections within that garment that give meaning, substance, energy, and life itself to those held within.  There are no outsiders, we’re all insiders, and when someone attempts to tear off a piece of the garment for himself or herself, the fabric weakens, and all are affected.  And when someone stretches the garment, so another may enter the fold, the garment stretches, and grows, and becomes stronger.  An inescapable network, a single garment of destiny….that’s who we are."

Other remarks were made by senior vice chancellor for academic affairs at UNL Ronnie Green, Southeast Community College president Paul Illich, and LPS associate superintendent for human resources Eric Weber.

Weber thanked Moore for her message of hope, and shared how Lincoln Public Schools is an ambassador for hope.

"We can be ambassadors of hope through programs like the Career Academy and focus programs. We can ambassadors of hope through technology initiatives like the one we have going on in the city right now. We can be ambassadors of hope by showing all juniors that we have confidence in them and we have high expectations for them because we require them to take the ACT and we will pay for it. We can be ambassadors of hope by supporting incredible programs like the Learn to Dream scholarship. Finally, we can be ambassadors of hope by breathing life into the outstanding work that is coming out of Prosper Lincoln. We have students in Lincoln who come from all over the world, everyday. It is our job to love them, to care for them, to teach them, and most importantly to instill hope in ALL of them."

At the end of the celebration, six Lincoln Public School seniors were awarded the MLK Scholarship. Caitlin Hart from Lincoln East High School, Tierra Johnson from Lincoln Northeast High School, Zoe Menard from Lincoln High School, Bailey Snow from Lincoln Southeast High School, Jason Towery Jr. from Lincoln High School, and Victoria Villota from Lincoln North Star High School.

Posted on January 19, 2016


Highlights of 1/11 Lincoln Board of Education work session, meeting

Lincoln Public Schools:

Highlights of 1/11 Lincoln Board of Education work session, meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education held a work session and a regular meeting on Tuesday, January 11 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The Board will hold its next regular meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016.

 

Highlights of Work Session: Patron Engagement Program

The Lincoln Board of Education Tuesday heard about a new online patron engagement program – also designed to create a tracking system for questions and concerns from the community – piloted at Lincoln Public Schools over the past six months.

 

LPS has branded the new program, ConnectNow, a product called “Let’s Talk” provided by K-12 Insight for free since July 15.

 

“We continue to ask ourselves how we can better communicate and engage with our public,” said LPS Superintendent Steve Joel. “As our district continues to grow, maintaining an effective system for communicating with our customers and following up on those communications will be a challenge.”

 

Joel said he sees the Let’s Talk feature as “a user-friendly approach that gives me, as superintendent, the ability to track how we are addressing concerns and issues that come in on a pretty regular basis.”  

 

The new patron engagement program can be accessed on the front of the LPS website where community members can click, send their questions and concerns – and expect answers within two days and often sooner.

 

John Neal, assistant to the Superintendent for Governmental Relations and General Administration, explained the major goals of the program:

  • Provide a Front Door for LPS.
  • Establish a Data Warehouse for LPS.
  • Create an Awareness System for questions and issues in the community.

“The program is not intended to replace human interaction,” Neal stressed. “It is not a way to target problematic departments.”

 

Dates for the pilot for “Let’s Talk” are:

  • July 15-Jan. 15 for District Office.
  • 15-Jan. 15 for a limited number of principals and schools.
Suhail Farooqui, founder and CEO of K-12 Insight, explained that the online tool helps school districts with the "listening part of communications."

 

Board President Kathy Danek said she liked the “collaborative nature of this program.”

 

Board member Don Mayhew said he was pleased with the pilot and the program.

 

The Board and staff members will continue to evaluate the program and develop a plan going forward.

 

Highlights of Board Meeting

 

Early Childhood Expansion Grant

The Board of Education Tuesday heard about a proposal to apply for an Early Childhood Expansion Grant that would help fund the Early Childhood program at Lincoln Public Schools. The Board will take a final vote to approve the application at the Jan. 27 meeting.

 

The Nebraska Department of Education sponsors The Early Childhood Education Grant Program, intended to support the development of children in the birth to kindergarten age range through the provision of comprehensive center-based programs. In most cases, the projects expand and/or combine existing pre-kindergarten programs funded through school district, federal or parent fees.

 

These funds will serve three- and four-year-olds who qualify for participation in an inclusive environment. Services will be provided through a part-day (3.5 hours), five-day-a-week, center-based program, which greatly exceeds the minimum hour per week required by the Nebraska Department of Education. The staff will serve families using the program delivery model as is currently provided in existing school-based early childhood centers.

 

The program is based on research and best practices in the field of early childhood and family systems. By embracing the child and family in a secure, nurturing and culturally appropriate environment, the child’s growth and development will flourish.

 

Annexation

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 Board heard these proposals, which will be approved at the Jan. 27 meeting:

  • Northbank Preserve, Annexation Ordinance #20264, for 2015-16 school year:  Norwood Park Elementary School, Dawes Middle School and Lincoln Northeast High School  
  • Northbank Preserve, 2nd Addition, Annexation Ordinance #15107, for 2015-16 school year:  Norwood Park, Dawes and Northeast.
  • Southlake, South 98th Street & Andermatt Drive, Annexation Ordinance #20273 for 2015-16 school year:  Kloefkorn Elementary School, Lux Middle School and Lincoln East High School  
  • HiMark, South 88th Street & Pioneers Boulevard, Annexation Ordinance #20275 for 2015-16 school year:  Maxey Elementary School, Lux and East.

Policy changes

The Board heard a proposal to make changes in LPS policy about Parliamentary procedure. Policy 8442 identifies that unless otherwise noted, the Board of Education utilizes Robert's Rules of Order for parliamentary procedures to conduct the orderly procedures of the meetings, protect the minority voice and express the will of the majority. The vote for approval happens at the Jan. 27 meeting.

 

Celebration of success

The Lincoln Board of Education recognized Lincoln High School for being selected for the 2015 NebraskARTS Award presented by Nebraskans for the Arts.

Posted on January 12, 2016


Camp Kesem

Camp Kesem is a national non-profit seeking to provide support for children who have or had a parent with cancer. One of the biggest ways they help these kids and their families is by providing a free week of summer camp to the kids, allowing them to be surrounded by other individuals who have been in the same situation but also giving them the chance to let loose and have fun for a week.

Camp Kesem UNL is in their 4th year as a chapter and will be opening up camp to 80 children age 6-18 for their week of camp June 5-10th. Applications will open next Friday, January 15th, at https://campscui.active.com/orgs/CampKesem.

Please pass this information along to any families you think would benefit. More information about CKUNL can be found at www.campkesem.org/nebraska or on our Facebook page, Camp Kesem at University of Nebraska.

Posted on January 06, 2016


January 2016 Community News - The Library Issue

"The Library Issue" was the theme for our January 2016 Community News.
To see the full issue in a page-by-page format, see below. 'The Library Issue' pages are 1-6 and 19-24


School libraries have always been evolving. Maybe we are just hearing about it more

"I want the school library to be a vibrant learning lab, a safe haven where students can wonder and be curious, think and create, read and learn using a variety of formats to answer those big questions that are swirling around in their heads!"


A book club for the whole family

“I think the success of the program is evident in the fact that we have repeat parents.” - Jennifer Cejda, Irving Middle School



Fun and Games and Creativity as professional development tool

"The real gift behind Ms. Cassata’s idea was that it gave makerspaces adult buy-in."



Marketing just another skill school librarians use to tell their many stories


Librarian teams students, curriculum and projects as part of award-winning effort


Biggest change in school libraries? Staff offer their own insight

 

Page by Page version


 

Posted on January 05, 2016


Wreaths Across America

Lincoln Public School students assisted with the sixth annual Wreaths Across America ceremonies held at the State Capitol and Wyuka Cemetery.

The Lincoln Southwest High School Chamber Choir under the direction of Denise Cotton performed "The Star-Spangled Banner," "America the Beautiful" and "We Shall Walk Through The Valley of Peace" during the Capitol event. Members of the AFJROTC at Lincoln Northeast High School provided the color guard for the event. Students from McPhee Elementary were also there for the ceremony.

At Wyuka Cemetery, over 600 evergreen wreaths were placed on veterans' graves in the Soldiers Circle sections. Members from the AFJROTC at Northeast High School, along with other high school students with the Civil Air Patrol assisted in laying the wreaths.

During a second ceremony at the Wyuka Cemetery, Lincoln High School senior Jesse Harvey and Lincoln Southeast High School junior Tommy Ward played "The Star-Spangled Banner," military branch service songs and Taps.  They were selected through the Youth Trumpet & Taps Corps.

 

Posted on January 04, 2016


Update on Bond Issue Progress

Posted on December 23, 2015


LPS classified “great” school district in new state accountability system

Lincoln Public Schools has been classified as a “3 – great” school district in a new Nebraska Department of Education accountability system that assigns a rating to the performance of schools and school districts across the state (at four levels, with 4 as the highest).

In the past, the bulk of a school’s classification was based on state assessments (NESA scores), but in the new system schools can also get credit for a variety of other factors that signify student improvement and growth, according to Sarah Salem, director of Continuous Improvement and Professional Learning at LPS.

“The State Department of Education has worked hard to create a more meaningful system of accountability,” Salem said. “It will be another source of information for us to examine as we continuously monitor where our district is strong, and where we can make improvements.”

This is the first year of the program so this is baseline information – and with a focus on improvement, the data will become more valuable over time as we identify trend lines, Salem pointed out. “We also need to remember this is only one indicator used to measure schools, but certainly not the only indicator to determine quality.  In fact, one of our most important measures is the day-to-day performance of each student."

The goal of the new system – called AQuESTT, Accountability for a Quality Education System Today and Tomorrow – is to create a “blueprint” for improving and giving educators better information about what works and what doesn’t, according to Nebraska Department of Education officials.

Rankings were released Friday by the Department of Education with possible performance levels for schools and school districts as: 4 (Excellent), 3 (Great), 2 (Good), and 1 (Needs Improvement).

LPS had 13 schools receiving a 4/Excellent; 23 schools receiving a 3/Great; 17 schools receiving a 2/Good; and two schools receiving a 1/Needs Improvement.

The previous system, Nebraska Performance Accountability System (NePAS), relied solely on ranking public school and district performance on state assessments and graduation rates. AQuESTT integrates components of accountability, including performance on state assessments, graduation, growth and improvement, and the effective use of data.

The determination for a school’s classification rating includes a variety of factors:

  • Performance on scores in NeSA, the Nebraska State Accountability assessments (scores released earlier this school year).
  • Improvement: Based on average state accountability scores over the last three years.
  • Growth: Based on the percentage of students at any given school who were present for the full year, and showed “growth” in reading or math scores, compared to the previous year.
  • Non-proficiency: Based on the percentage of students who took the state accountability tests who were ranked as “not proficient” over the last three years.
  • Participation: If you have low participation rates, it can lower your rating.
  • Graduation rate: A low graduation rate can limit your overall rating to a 3, 2 or 1.
  • School districts are also asked to fill out an electronic survey asking about policies, procedures and practices related to teaching and learning.

“It puts weight on the continuous improvement process in a good way,” said Matt Blomstedt, commissioner of Education for Nebraska. “It’s a whole different conversation.” He said the new system takes a broader, more holistic approach to evaluating how well schools are performing.

The Department of Education is also identifying the three lowest-performing schools in the state that will receive funding and support in developing individualized plans for improvement.

In 2014, the Nebraska legislature enacted legislation requiring a new accountability system for public schools and districts.

For more information about this new accountability system, go to: http://www.lps.org/go/aquestt 

Posted on December 23, 2015


Lincoln Board of Education meeting: Student achievement and school district measurements

Lincoln Public Schools:

Highlights of 12/8 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education held a regular meeting on Tuesday, December 8 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The Board will hold its next regular meeting on Tuesday, January 12, 2015.

 

Student achievement and school district measurements

Lincoln Public Schools analyzes student achievement and school district success through many different lenses, and Tuesday LPS staff members updated the Lincoln Board of Education on a variety of those measures (many of which had been reported previously).

 

Perception Data: More than 1,600 families from 27 LPS schools were surveyed about the “climate” of various aspects of the school district. Highlights of findings:

  • 89 percent gave their child’s school a grade of A or B, compared to 72 percent nation-wide
  • 80 percent gave the school district a grade of A or B, compared to 51 percent nation-wide

ACT Scores: Nationally, about 57 percent of each graduating class takes the ACT, while in LPS nearly 100 percent of each graduating class takes the ACT – due to participation in a pilot program for several school districts in Nebraska. When comparing LPS scores with other places having 100 percent ACT participation, our school district is tied with Colorado and Illinois for the highest average ACT composite.

 

NeSA/Nebraska State Accountability (NeSA): LPS continues to see solid, significant improvement in achievement – scores above state averages in most grades and subject areas – for NeSA, the piece of the achievement picture based on state standards. Noteworthy: LPS reading scores are increasing, for instance, 86 percent of third graders are reading at or above grade level (an increase from 76 percent just five years ago); LPS math is holding strong with scores meeting or exceeding the state average in every grade but 11; science scores are continuing to climb.

 

Graduation Rate: The graduation rate at LPS has increased from 80.1 percent in 2010 to 85.2 percent in 2015 – with ups and downs along the way – and in addition, LPS has gradually narrowed he achievement gap for diverse groups of students.  

 

AQuESTT: LPS has been classified as a “3/great” school district in a new Nebraska Department of Education accountability system called AQuESTT (Accountability for a Quality Education System Today and Tomorrow). This is the first year of the program, which takes into account state assessment as well as growth and improvement to assign a rating to the performance of schools and school districts across the state (at four levels, with 4 as the highest).

 

Superintendent update

Superintendent Steve Joel praised LPS staff for “always focusing on the most important thing – our kids. We have incredibly talented people in all aspects of our organization….wonderful people doing great work…despite all the challenges of public education.”

 

Policy changes

Policy changes were approved for Policy 3410 – Gifts, Grants and Bequests:

Lincoln Public Schools is part of a very generous community and has many strong community partners.  As a result, Lincoln Public Schools receives offers of many different types of gifts throughout the year.  The Board encourages donations of gifts to the district, but must weigh financial, facility, and other factors before determining that it can accept the responsibility for receiving gifts.  Policy 3410 outlines those factors.

 

Celebration of success

The Lincoln Board of Education Tuesday recognized LPS employees who have celebrated their silver anniversary – achieved the goal of 25 years of professional service to the youth of Lincoln and Lincoln Public Schools:

  • Teresa Abrahams
  • Carma Ahrens
  • Darla Rae Allen
  • Debra Andersen
  • Paula Barry
  • Glenda Beckman
  • Patti Brown
  • Julie Buck
  • Kristin Bunde
  • Cynthia Cerny
  • Bari Chadd
  • Dianne Coffin
  • Dawn Connelly
  • Kenneth Cope
  • Penni Cummings
  • Pamela Davis
  • Tim Davis
  • Jon Dawson
  • Darrell Dinneen
  • Nancy Dondlinger
  • Jane Dougherty
  • Rebecca Ehlers
  • Judy Fleischman
  • Michael Flowers
  • Tomas Garay Jr
  • Kenneth Gilbertson
  • Dorothy Goa
  • Lori Gormley
  • Alysa Haack
  • Sara Halama
  • Kathy Hall
  • Sara Harding
  • John Hastings
  • Ralph Haynes
  • Roxane Hiatt
  • Molly Hoffmann
  • Beverly Hoistad
  • Linda Holt
  • Adrianne Huelle
  • Ruth Hunzeker
  • Tori Hupf
  • Denise Irwin
  • Lori Jacoby
  • Chris Johnson
  • Janelle Kepler
  • Janet Kerr
  • Lance Kingery
  • Dorothy Kitchen
  • Sara Kosmicki
  • Sherry Lake
  • Judy Larson
  • Sandra Lehman
  • Kristina Lewis
  • Ann Lundy
  • Holly Meyer
  • Shannon Mitchell
  • Mary Morrow
  • Marti Mueting
  • Kim Nannen
  • Julie Nelson
  • Patrick O’Meara
  • Randy Oltman
  • Sara Oltman
  • Deborah Ortega
  • Theresa Ourada-Hubka
  • LynDora Palmer
  • Jeffrey Pappas
  • Kimberly Parry
  • Linda Pearson
  • Vanntaccale Price
  • Carol Redekopp
  • Carol Reed
  • Bob Reeker
  • Tachier Rezac
  • Kimberly Ridder
  • Katherine Roselius
  • Joanne Rouse
  • Diane Rousek
  • Kirt Rutledge
  • Robert Ryman
  • Charmain Satree
  • Susan Sattler
  • Jim Seward
  • Brad Siedel
  • Todd Sievers
  • Elaine Simpson
  • Angie Smith
  • Kathleen Stewart
  • David Szabat
  • Mary Teachman
  • Lisa Thiessen
  • Jeanette Tiward
  • Michele Tramp
  • Nora Treat
  • Lisa Trobee
  • Jennifer Ungvarsky
  • Kathryn Weins
  • Kimberly White
  • Jennifer Yoder
  • Kim Young
  • Carmen Zalman
  • Edith Zumwalt

Posted on December 23, 2015


A gift for every student at McPhee Elementary

McPhee Elementary students received a special surprise this morning when they arrived at school. 

Members of the U.S. Marine Corps, along with United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County gave every student at McPhee a toy through the Toys for Tots program. One Marine eventook the time to lead the Pledge of Allegiance as they started their day. 

"This was made possible through the generosity of everyone who gave through the various drop off points," Wendy Baker, senior director of community impact at United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County said. "This was wonderful, the looks on their faces, it was a very rewarding experience."

Posted on December 21, 2015


Culler creates 'The Crossroads Project'

The Crossroads Project is a collaboration performance piece that involves five classes from Culler Middle School.

Each class took part of the project by either creating a musical piece, lyrics for the song, t-shirts that identify specific roles, visual effect and spoken words. Together they brought each of their ideas to create an original powerful performance.

The students were able to reflect on past and present issues of racism then they thought of ways as of what the future may hold. The performance will allow the audience to make empathic connections with different perspectives.

 

Posted on December 21, 2015


Podcast #4 - Developing parent engagement through Family Literacy program

Lincoln Public Schools elementary principals Scott Schwartz and Michelle Suarez talk about the value of a school-based Family Literacy program, its impact on parent engagement and student achievement.

Audio only | All LPS Podcasts | Subscribe via iTunes

Posted on December 18, 2015


Podcast #3 – A student’s random approach and artistic talent

Lincoln High School senior Christian Scott is a talented artist, with dreams of combining his artistic talent and business. Hear him talk about the process of his artwork, his passion and his random approach.

Audio only | All LPS Podcasts | Subscribe via iTunes

Posted on December 17, 2015



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