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.

Transfer workshop set for March 18 < New

Lincoln Public Schools will host a Transfer workdshop on March 18 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the Lincoln Education Association office, 4920 Normal Blvd. This workshop is for any LPS teacher considering or wishing to transfer to another teaching position in the district. No sign-up is necessary. Information will be provided regarding the transfer process, timeline and interviewing information.

Posted on February 27, 2015


LHS Wind Ensemble gets chance to perform at Holland < Updated

Students in the Lincoln High School Wind Ensemble visited the The Holland Center in Omaha through the Omaha Symphony's "Music Mentors" program. The students had an opportunity to work with one of their conductors, David Barg, and also share stands with the professional musicians of the symphony. The video is a clip of the students performing Persichetti's "Symphony for Band - IV. Vivace".

Posted on February 27, 2015


Favorite Fictional Educator Bracket - Quarterfinals < Updated

It’s the third year of the bracket series for Lincoln Public Schools. We started with lunches, then childhood books, and now - Favorite Fictional Educator! Over the next couple of weeks, we will whittle our list of 64 fictional educators down until we arrive at your favorite teacher from books, television and the movies.

The Schedule

The Field

Bracket A
Ms. Frizzle, Magic Schoolbus
Mr. Strickland, Back To The Future

Bracket B
Professor Severus Snape, Harry Potter
Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter

Bracket C
Principal McGee, Grease
Dr. Henry Jones, Jr., Indiana Jones

Bracket D
Professor McGonagall, Harry Potter
Dr. Ross Geller, Friends

Posted on February 27, 2015


Favorite Fictional Educator Bracket - Round 3 < Updated

 

The Field

Bracket A
John Keating, Dead Poets Society
Ms. Frizzle, Magic Schoolbus
Dr. Curtis Connors, Spider-Man
Miss Halverson, Peanuts

Bracket B
Master Shifu, Kung Fu Panda
Professor Severus Snape, Harry Potter
Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter
Dewey Finn, School of Rock

Bracket C
Sean Maguire, Good Will Hunting
Principal McGee, Grease
Mr. George Feeny, Boy Meets World
Dr. Henry Jones, Jr., Indiana Jones

Bracket D
Professor Robert Langdon, The Da Vinci Code
Professor McGonagall, Harry Potter
Dr. Ross Geller, Friends
Miss Honey, Matilda

Posted on February 27, 2015


Scott students complete research, writing project with annual Make A Difference fair

The fourth annual Make-a-Difference Fair will be held on Thursday, March 5, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the Scott Middle School multi-purpose room. The public is invited to attend the event at the school, 2200 Pine Lake Road.

This event has raised more than $20,000 for various organizations to improve a variety of social issues in Lincoln and around the world. Sixth-grade students on the 6A team have been busy researching a social issue to answer the research question of "What can I do to make a difference for a social issue?"

After learning the steps of the research process in the school library with the school librarian Jean Hellwege, each student wrote a research paper about their topic, what is it, why it is a problem in society, what others are already doing about it, and finally, what they can do about it.

The students learned how to write a persuasive paper from their language arts teachers: Debbie Beran, Mark Danley, Eric Nelson and Kimberly Ridder and then were put into groups with similar topics (hunger, animal abuse, childhood cancer, etc.) The groups are preparing for the upcoming Make a Difference Fair, where each group will have a booth with information about their social issue and an organization that is helping to improve it.

The students invite you to come to learn how you can make a difference in our world.

For more information, contact Jean Hellwege, school librarian

Posted on February 25, 2015



Board of Education holds Work Session and Open House on Attendance Areas

Highlights of Feb. 24 Lincoln Board of Education work session, meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a Work Session on Attendance Areas and for a regular Board meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 24 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The next Board meeting is set for Tuesday, March 24, 2015.

Work Session and Open House on Attendance Areas

The Lincoln Board of Education hosted an Open House and held a Work Session Tuesday to continue a study and discussion on upcoming changes in attendance areas for elementary, middle and high schools.

The community is welcome to comment and ask questions about attendance area options through an online version of the Open House, as Board of Education members are only just beginning the process of selecting new boundaries. The Board is not expected to make the final selection until April. The online Open House is located at: http://www.lps.org/2014bond/attendanceareas/

“The turn-out to our Open House was encouraging – we are getting the feedback we need to make a final decision,” said Ed Zimmer, chair of the Board’s Planning Committee. “We will work on this through March and are not expected to take action until April.”

The background: In February 2014, the community of Lincoln approved a $153 million bond issue that includes construction of a new elementary and new middle school. The new Sally G. Wysong Elementary School will open in the fall of 2016, and the new Marilyn Moore Middle School will open in the fall of 2017.

When new schools open in our community, it is necessary to make adjustments in boundaries to create an attendance area for the new school, as well as to provide relief to nearby schools that are serving at or over capacity. These changes naturally impact attendance areas of existing schools located in the vicinity of the new construction.  

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 has conducted extensive research and looks forward to community input. Input and discussion will occur throughout March and April.

The website version of the “Open House” – open through April – has maps that outline the options discussed, as well as the attendance area boundaries tentatively proposed by the Board of Education’s Planning Committee as the first consideration from which to begin the discussion for each of the following categories: elementary, middle and high schools in LPS.

** Again, please know this is a place from which to begin the conversation.   The Board of Education will continue discussion for coming weeks and months – and anticipates further discussion and action at the two April Board meetings.  

Regular Board Meeting

Proposed Technology Implementation Plan

The Board discussed an implementation and fiscal program for phasing in a comprehensive technology plan at Lincoln Public Schools – quality teaching and learning supported by technology.

“We have been on quite a journey,” said Jane Stavem, associate superintendent of Instruction at LPS. “We’ll soon begin to dream about teaching and learning and innovation…as we bring more devices to our students.”

The Board is expected to take a final vote on the Technology Implementation Plan at the March 24 Board meeting.

A few highlights of the plan include:

Devices

2015: Devices for all sixth graders; pilot for high school students at the new Career Academy

2016: Devices for third, fourth and fifth graders, seventh graders and students at two high schools

2017: Devices for eighth graders, and for students at four remaining high schools; tablets in K-2 classrooms

2018: Begin a rotation of refreshing devices every three years.

Computer labs
When students have access to devices, there will be a significant reduction in the need for computer labs in elementary, middle and high schools (consequently the number of labs will decrease from a current 440 labs to 223 labs) – resulting in budget savings.

Background

In January, the Board approved a Technology Resolution that directed LPS staff to develop a comprehensive technology plan within existing funding parameters, providing for appropriate staffing, proposing sufficient professional development and providing greatly expanded access to technology district-wide all in support of student learning. The plan will be reviewed annually.

Lancaster County Juvenile Truancy Diversion Project

The Board heard a report about the Lancaster County Juvenile Truancy Diversion Project – a pilot launched in January, 2011 at Park Middle School and has been expanded to three middle schools and three high schools.

The project, a collaborative effort between the Juvenile Court and LPS, was created for students and their families as an alternative to traditional court proceedings. The short-term goals of the voluntary program are to improve school attendance, grades and attitude toward school. The long-term goals are for the student to maintain consistent school attendance after completion of the diversion program – followed by graduation from high school.

Students can expect:

  • Supportive services to help with attendance and grades.
  • Rewards for good attendance and good grades.
  • Upon successful completion, dismissal of truancy petition and records sealed immediately.

The program has resulted in an 80 percent reduction in total absences.

Proposed changes in middle school course of study

The Board discussed possible policy changes in the middle level instructional program to more effectively deliver its non-core curriculum and aim to give students an opportunity for the best quality in exploratory courses. The Board will take a final vote on this issue at the March 24 meeting.

Celebrations of success

The Board of Education recognized Matt Larson, math curriculum specialist for Lincoln Public Schools, elected president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

Public Remarks

Public remarks were made by 28 people.

Lincoln Board of Education members criticize McPherson comments

Three members of the Lincoln Board of Education – the three members of the Board’s Student Learning Committee – added their voices Tuesday in criticism of Nebraska Board of Education Board Member Patrick McPherson, who has come under attack for racist comments related to President Obama posted on his now-defunct blog.

Board members Barb Baier, Katie McLeese-Stephenson and Ed Zimmer all wrote what they characterized as open letters to the State Board of Education. McPherson, who was elected in November, has disassociated himself from the blog posts and said he does not intend to resign.

McLeese-Stephenson said she would add an agenda item on the Student Learning Committee to propose creating outreach on nondiscrimination to community groups to create sessions to listen and find ways to enhance student learning.

A few excerpts:

Baier: “I…wonder how Mr. McPherson can advocate for diverse children, if he cannot even respect the office of the President of the United States without reaching for racial slurs to bolster his arguments. I am fully supportive of free speech. I believe that a robust dialogue regarding the policies of our government on all levels is the cornerstone of a healthy democracy. But that dialogue needs to be based on facts and points of view, not name calling or worse.

So unlike many others, I am not calling for Mr. McPherson’s resignation…

…I’m making a request of Mr. McPherson, of the Nebraska State Board of Education, and of ourselves, the Lincoln Board of Education: Could we embrace the challenge to learn more about the real needs of our biracial, minority, new American and low-income students? Could Mr. McPherson and the State Board of Education visit the schools in Nebraska’s Indian reservations, in North Omaha, in Lexington and elsewhere? Could they purposefully have a dialogue with the students and their families that so many would rather cast aside and forget? Could we here in Lincoln sponsor dialogues with the same students and families at places like the Lincoln Indian Center, the Malone Community Center, the Center for People in Need, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, and the Mental Health Association of Nebraska? Could we go, listen and learn?

In closing, my challenge to all of us adults is: Could we stop the ‘us versus them’ politics and start engaging in dialogue? Our children are watching us and learning. I think it’s time we set a better example.

Zimmer: As a board member, I particularly think about the tone we set and the example we give as we go about our work of governing the district.  All of the work of this district, from our board room to the yellow buses and their drivers to the carpenters and electricians and secretaries and custodians, focuses on what goes on in our classrooms between students and their educators. So all of our work must be in support of those precious learning encounters in the best possible learning environment, always supporting and never distracting from that work.  As the elected representatives of the community that owns and provides for our schools, we have accepted special responsibility not only to give our best efforts, but also to bring our best selves to the work.  The State Board is a step further removed from the schools, but represents the whole endeavor of public education in Nebraska—an awesome responsibility.  I wish all my colleagues at both local and state levels well in shouldering the burdens of making wise decisions, in a civil, respectful, exemplary manner and of being accountable for all of our actions.

Finally, I want to express my admiration for my board colleagues, our administrators, our teachers, our students, and our community.  In recent months our commitment to welcoming and serving all of our students has been challenged.  We cannot welcome and serve students if we do not prepare ourselves and our teachers to recognize and understand the challenges they face.  All of my colleagues, and many in our community, have spoken clearly that we should not and will not waiver in our commitment to all of our students. And all means all. For that you have my gratitude and admiration.

McLeese-Stephenson: What I know I can do as an individual, a mother, a social worker and a proud member of the Lincoln Board of Education is share with you my beliefs and be resolute in my actions. I believe that love triumphs over hate and that goodness will prevail over fear and ignorance. I believe in the Native American saying that “words have a spirit”. I know that we carry words with us in our minds and hearts long after they are spoken, be it a sincere and positive compliment or a caustic, hurtful remark. I know that I am sorry for the hurt that Mr. McPherson’s words or those on his blog have caused you and those that you care about. I know that our 3,200 professional educators and 8,000 staff within LPS care about you as students and as individuals. Collectively we each desire to see you achieve, succeed and become the truest form of yourself.

I believe that our board, like so many boards of education across our country believes in the worth and dignity of all, which is at the heart and soul of public education. We embrace every student that comes through our doors and work with your unique gifts and talents. I know that we share the sincere belief that our differences make our world more interesting, more vibrant and indeed expand our world, rather that detract from it. We as a board know and understand that while we can and should have opinions that differ from one another, we chose to articulate them with carefully chosen words that reflect the respect that we have for one another and the value we place on student achievement and success that is best accomplished by a collaborative team effort, not one of hatred, divisiveness or rancor.

We have been in the midst of a conversation over the last several months that has highlighted varied viewpoints in our community. At times my colleagues and I have shared the phrase “all means all”. The tenor of the remarks on Mr. McPherson’s blog immediately evoked the phrase “all means all” for me. I want to share with you that I am recommitting myself to safe, respectful and welcoming environments for all of our students each and every day. As a member of the board and our community I am inspired to learn more and to do more to help all of our students to achieve and be successful each and every day.

 

Posted on February 24, 2015


Favorite Fictional Educator Bracket - Round 2

The Field

Bracket A
John Keating, Dead Poets Society
Mr. Belding, Saved By The Bell
Chiron Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Ms. Frizzle, Magic Schoolbus
Mack Thackeray, To Sir With Love
Dr. Curtis Connors, Spider-Man
Miss Halverson, Peanuts
Mr. Strickland, Back To The Future

Bracket B
Coach Calhoun, Grease
Master Shifu, Kung Fu Panda
Professor Severus Snape, Harry Potter
Miss Riley, October Sky
Mr. Miyagi (Sensei), The Karate Kid
Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter
Dewey Finn, School of Rock
Professor X, X-Men

Bracket C
Sean Maguire, Good Will Hunting
Richard Vernon, The Breakfast Club
Principal McGee, Grease
Cory Matthews, Girl Meets World
Mr. George Feeny, Boy Meets World
Mr. Charlie Moore, Head of the Class
Dr. Henry Jones, Jr., Indiana Jones
Mrs. Puff, Spongebob

Bracket D
Louanne Johnson, Dangerous Minds
Professor Robert Langdon, The Da Vinci Code
Sue Sylvester, Glee
Professor McGonagall, Harry Potter
Dr. Ross Geller, Friends
Professor Turgeson, Back to School
Mr. Cooper, Hangin' With Mr. Cooper
Miss Honey, Matilda

Posted on February 23, 2015


Save the dates: LPS sets three groundbreaking ceremonies for spring

Lincoln Public Schools will host three groundbreaking ceremonies this spring for:

a new elementary school, a new middle school and a renovated facility providing services to middle school students who need behavior skills.

The groundbreakings will all be held at 11 a.m. on Fridays:

  • April 24: The Marilyn Moore Middle School/and YMCA near 84th Street and Yankee Hill Road.
  • May 1: The new Nuernberger Education Center, a renovation of the former Bryan facility at 1801 S. 40th St.
  • May 8: The new Sally G. Wysong Elementary School near 63rd and Yankee Hill

The facilities are funded through the Lincoln Public Schools bond issue approved by the community in February, 20

Posted on February 23, 2015


Favorite Fictional Educator Bracket - Round 1

The Original Field

Bracket A
  • John Keating, Dead Poets Society
  • Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory
  • Mr. Belding, Saved By The Bell
  • Mr. Jonathan Turner, Boy Meets World
  • Mr. Gabe Kotter, Welcome Back, Kotter
  • Chiron Percy Jackson and the Olympians
  • Yoda, Star Wars
  • Ms. Frizzle, Magic Schoolbus (books, TV show)
  • Mack Thackeray, To Sir With Love
  • Mr. Terupt, Because of Mr. Terupt
  • Dr. Curtis Connors, Spider-Man
  • Principal Skinner, The Simpsons
  • Miss Carrie Bliss, Saved By The Bell
  • Miss Halverson, Peanuts (comic strip)
  • Mr. Strickland, Back To The Future
  • Splinter, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Bracket B
  • Mrs. Krabappel, The Simpsons
  • Coach Calhoun, Grease
  • Master Shifu, Kung Fu Panda
  • Alice Johnson, Room 222
  • Economics Teacher, Ferris Bueller's Day Off
  • Professor Severus Snape, Harry Potter
  • William Schuester, Glee
  • Miss Riley, October Sky
  • John Kimble, Kindergarten Cop
  • Mr. Miyagi (Sensei), The Karate Kid
  • Principal McGee, Grease
  • Pete Dixon, Room 222
  • Katherine Ann Watson, Mona Lisa Smile
  • Dewey Finn, School of Rock
  • Professor X, X-Men
  • Professor Charles Kingsfield Jr., The Paper Chase
Bracket C
  • Dean Vernon Wormer, Animal House
  • Sean Maguire, Good Will Hunting
  • Richard Vernon, The Breakfast Club
  • Charlie Moore, Head of the Class
  • Professor Dumbledore, Harry Potter Series
  • Cory Matthews, Girl Meets World
  • Mr. Falker, Thank You, Mr. Falker (book)
  • Mr. George Feeny, Boy Meets World
  • Coach Linstock, Teenwolf
  • Sylvia Barrett, Up The Down Staircase
  • Mr. Charlie Moore, Head of the Class
  • Principal Clark, Lean on Me
  • Dr. Henry Jones, Jr., Indiana Jones
  • Mrs. Puff, Spongebob
  • Coach Whitey Durham, One Tree Hill
Bracket D
  • Liz McIntyre, Room 222
  • Louanne Johnson, Dangerous Minds
  • Senor Ben Chang, Community
  • Professor Robert Langdon, The Da Vinci Code
  • Mrs. Collins, The Wonder Years
  • Sue Sylvester, Glee
  • Professor McGonagall, Harry Potter
  • Patches O'Houlihan, Dodgeball
  • Mr. Holland, Mr. Holland's Opus
  • Dr. Ross Geller, Friends
  • Mr. Thorne, Teenwolf
  • Professor Turgeson, Back to School
  • Jamie Summers, The Bionic Woman
  • Mr. Cooper, Hangin' With Mr. Cooper
  • Miss Honey, Matilda
  • Mr. Bergstrom, The Simpsons

Posted on February 19, 2015


Concordia offering information sessions on Masters Degree programs

Concordia University in Seward, Neb., is offering information sessions on their Master of Education programs.

Feb. 23 - 3:30 and 4:15 p.m., Concordia University Campus, 570 Fallbrook Blvd., Suite 203 in Lincoln

Feb. 24 - 4:15 p.m., Lincoln Lutheran High School

Feb. 25 - 3:30 and 4:00 p.m., Lincoln Southwest High School

March 2 - 3:15 and 3:45 p.m., Lux Middle School

March 6 - 2:30 p.m., Norris High School 

For more information, see their flyer or visit their webpage.

 

Posted on February 19, 2015


Lincoln High to celebrate 100-year anniversary on J street

Lincoln High School celebrates the 100-year anniversary of educating students at the current facility, 2229 J St. – with a Community Open House set for 2-4 p.m. Sunday, March 29.

The event will feature:

  • Ed Zimmer, a member of the Lincoln Board of Education and the city’s Historic Preservation Planner, giving presentations about the history of Lincoln High at 2:15 p.m. and 3:15 p.m.
  • School tours, 2- 4 p.m.
  • Displays and exhibits
  • Opportunities to share Lincoln High memories
  • Refreshments

Lincoln High is more than 140 years old, but has served at its current location for 100 years.

 

Posted on February 19, 2015


Attendance areas: LPS to hold community open houses

In February 2014, the community of Lincoln approved a $153 million bond issue that includes construction of a new elementary and new middle school. When new schools open in our community, it is necessary to make adjustments in boundaries to create an attendance area for the new school, as well as to provide relief to nearby schools that are serving at or over capacity.

The Lincoln Board of Education has scheduled several opportunities for review and feedback for recommended attendance areas for elementary, middle and high schools – when maps and options for new attendance areas will be available:

  • A Community Open House is set for 4-5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 24, in the front lobby of LPS District Office, 5905 O St. A 5 p.m. Board Work Session concerning attendance areas will follow the Open House.
  • An online Community Open House will be available on the LPS website – www.lps.org open Feb. 24 through April – with maps of the recommended areas, and a place for questions and comments.

The Board of Education anticipates further discussion and action on the boundaries issue at the two April Board meetings.  

The new Sally G. Wysong Elementary School will open in the fall of 2016, and the new Marilyn Moore Middle School will open in the fall of 2017.

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 welcomes questions – and any comments that will help them in their deliberations.

 

Posted on February 18, 2015


How and when to apply for Early Childhood Preschool

Lincoln Public Schools provides a half-day Early Childhood Preschool program for children in the Lancaster County area. The Early Childhood Preschool is located in many of the elementary schools across Lincoln. Children who turn 3 or 4 by July 31, 2015 may apply for enrollment starting March 2nd. Preference will be given to 4-year-olds.

Applications are available at any elementary school, on the Lincoln Public Schools website, www.lps.org, or at the Early Childhood Preschool Office at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office. Completed applications may be submitted to the Lincoln Public Schools District Office at 5905 O Street, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Please bring your child with you so they can complete a pre-enrollment activity. Children are selected based on a variety of criteria listed on the application.

You must provide the following documents before your child may be considered for placement:

  • Early Childhood Application
  • Bring in your child’s certified birth certificate so we may verify your child’s birth information and we will make a copy of it for our files. If you do not have a certified birth certificate or other proof of the child’s identity and age (i.e.,official birth records/passport), we will assist with a notarized affidavit.
  • Child’s immunization record.
  • Income verification for the family for the past 12 months. (For example: 2014 Tax Return 1040, W-2, Pay stubs for previous 12 months, ADC, Child Support, Grants, Scholarships, SSI, Unemployment Benefits.)

If you have any questions about this process, please contact Toni Jafferis at 402-436-1941.

Posted on February 17, 2015


Mickle race engages families

Mickle Parent Advisory Council hosted THE AMAZING RACE at Mickle Middle School. Families raced around the building completing roadblocks and challenges. Many Mickle teachers from various teacher committees, our PTSO and Counseling Center hosted fun family games and challenges. A favorite stop required families to stack sugar cubes on a Popsicle stick that was held in their mouth. The family member with the slowest time had to put their hand in a freezing water and identify an object inside.

Posted on February 13, 2015


Lux students headed for nationals after state title

Lux Middle School won state championship Science Bowl, and with it a spot in the national competition.

The coach is Rich Powers. Students on the team included Ina Bhoopalam, Crystal Xu, Alix Cui, Suzie Cho and Trevor Anderson.

“The National Science Bowl® has grown into one of the most prestigious science academic competitions in the country and challenges students to excel in fields vital to America’s future,” U.S. Energy Secretary Moniz said. “I congratulate these students for advancing to the National Finals, where they will be among some of the brightest science and math students from across the country.”

The NSB brings together thousands of middle and high school students from across the country to compete in a fast-paced question-and-answer format where they solve technical problems and answer questions on a range of science disciplines including biology, chemistry, Earth and space science, physics and math.

The U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz today announced that a team of middle school students from Lincoln, Neb. won their regional competition for the 2015 National Science Bowl® (NSB) this past weekend and are advancing to compete at the National Finals in Washington, D.C., in April. This year marks the 25th time the national competition has been held.

A series of 118 regional middle school and high school tournaments are being held across the country from January through March. Winners will advance to represent their areas at the National Science Bowl® held from April 30 to May 4 in Washington, D.C., for the final middle school and high school competitions.

The top 16 high school teams and the top eight middle school teams in the National Finals will win $1,000 for their schools’ science departments. Prizes for the top two high school teams for the 2015 NSB will be announced at a later date.

Approximately 240,000 students have participated in the National Science Bowl® since it was established in 1991, and it is one of the nation’s largest science competitions. More than 14,000 students compete in the NSB each year.

DOE’s Office of Science manages the NSB Finals competition. More information is available on the NSB website: http://www.science.energy.gov/wdts/nsb/.

Posted on February 11, 2015


Board hears proposal for implementation of instruction/technology plan

Highlights of Feb. 10 Lincoln Board of Education work session, meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a Work Session on Technology and for a regular Board meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 10 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The next Board meeting is set for Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015.

Technology Work Session

An implementation and fiscal plan for phasing in a comprehensive technology plan at Lincoln Public Schools – quality teaching and learning supported by technology – was presented to the Lincoln Board of Education in a Tuesday Work Session.

“We know the ‘why’ of adding technology, now we need to talk about the what and how,” Board member Lanny Boswell explained.

A second Board Work Session is planned for Board discussion and questions at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 12, in the Board Room at LPS District Office.

Highlights of proposed implementation of technology plan

Connected Classrooms

2015: Wireless updates in middle and high schools

Projection up to standard in middle schools

2016: Wireless updates in elementary schools

Projection up to standard in high schools

Devices

2015: Devices for all sixth graders; pilot for high school students at the new Career Academy

2016: Devices for third, fourth and fifth graders, seventh graders and students at two high schools

2017: Devices for eighth graders, and for students at four remaining high schools; tablets in K-2 classrooms

2018: Begin a rotation of refreshing devices every three years.

Computer labs
When students have access to devices, there will be a significant reduction in the need for computer labs in elementary, middle and high schools (consequently the number of labs will decrease from a current 440 labs to 223 labs).

Devices for the 3,200 certificated staff at LPS will be refreshed every three years, but since those devices have a life cycle of six years – those computers will be used in the computer labs in the elementary, middle and high schools for the three remaining years of their life cycle.

Background

In January, the Board approved a Technology Resolution that directed LPS staff to develop a comprehensive technology plan within existing funding parameters, providing for appropriate staffing, proposing sufficient professional development and providing greatly expanded access to technology district-wide all in support of student learning. The plan will be reviewed annually.

Regular Board Meeting

Update on Bond Issue progress

One year ago, the community of Lincoln overwhelmingly approved a $153 million bond issue for construction, technology and security projects throughout the Lincoln Public Schools district.

The Board was provided an update Tuesday on the construction projects funded in the 2014 bond issue. “We want to thank our community again,” said Scott Wieskamp, director of Facilities and Maintenance at LPS.

Wieskamp recalled that a special mail-in bond issue election was held a year ago at an additional cost of $200,000 to the school district – over a regular election – with the understanding that an earlier election would translate into long-term savings.

He said LPS initially estimated a savings of $900,000 with the earlier election due to factors such as taking advantage of the 2014 summer construction season, the potential inflationary impact on petroleum products and more. “And we already know the more aggressive time frame will definitely save us in the excess of $900,000,” he said.

The 2014 bond issue will increase the capacity of LPS schools by adding 2,200 new seats through the construction of one new elementary, one new middle school, a high school career academy and a variety of additions and renovations across the community – as well as provide enhanced security, and infrastructure capable of supporting digital learning environments in schools throughout Lincoln.

Calendar for development of 2015-16 budget

The Board reviewed a proposed timeline for development of the budget for the coming 2015-16 school year.

Highlights:

  • March 1: State Aid and 2015/16 Budget Authority

  • April 20: (approximate) Gross Assessed Valuations from County Assessor

  • April-June: Executive Committee Works with Board Finance Committee

  • June 5: End of Legislative Session

  • June 9: Budget Work Session, 4:30 p.m. at LPSDO

  • May-July: Community/District Constituent Presentations

o   Presentation and Budget Forum at LPSDO (June 23, 5-6 p.m.)

o   Presentation and Budget Forum at Location to be announced (June 25 from 7-8 p.m.)

o   Presentations to Various Community/District Constituent Groups

  • Key Communicators

  • Community Curriculum Council

  • LIBA (Lincoln Independent Business Association)

  • LPS Parent Leader Group

  • Lincoln Area Chamber of Commerce

  • Lincoln Neighborhood Alliance

  • July 14: Second Budget Work Session 5 p.m. at LPSDO

  • August 2: Publication of Budget Hearings/Forums (LPS and ESU 18)

  • August 11: Public Hearing/Budget Forum (6:00-6:45 p.m.) and Budget Approval (First Reading)

  • August 20: Certified Assessed Valuation

  • August 25: Budget Approval (Second Reading/Action)

Public Remarks

Six people made public remarks to the Board of Education.

 

 

Posted on February 10, 2015


Lincoln Literacy hosting Reading Rainbow creator for fundraising event

Lincoln Literacy is celebrating a Lincoln creating, Reading Rainbow, on Thursday, March 5, 2015.

Dr. Twila Liggett, the Emmy award-winning creator of Reading Rainbow, one of the most acclaimed and beloved children’s programs ever, will return to Lincoln as our guest of honor. The fundraising dinner will be held at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, 6001 A Street, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Dr. Liggett, earned her bachelor’s at Union College and her master’s and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and then went on to create Reading Rainbow at Nebraska Educational Television – NET, as we call it today – before its enormous success took it national.

For more information on the event, visit http://lincolnliteracy.org/?p=5037.

 

Posted on February 04, 2015


Updated list of LPS retirements

An updated list of retirements announced by principals, directors and specialists in Lincoln Public Schools:

- Mike Wortman, principal, Lincoln High School

- Hugh McDermott, principal, Lincoln Southwest High School

- Marybell Avery, PE curriculum specialist, LPS

- Ken Babcock, director of employee relations, LPS

- Sandi Carrington-Robertson, principal, Calvert Elementary School

- Russ Reckewey, principal, Kahoa Elementary School

- Wendy Bonaiuto, principal, Randolph Elementary School

A more complete list of all retirement celebrations for LPS staff will be coming in the weeks ahead.

Posted on February 04, 2015


LPS Learning Lunch Feb. 17: Managing Traumatic Brain Injury

The February Learning Lunch for Lincoln Public Schools is set for 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 17, and will feature Cindy Brunken, supervisor of the Speech-Language Pathology Program at LPS, speaking about “Managing Traumatic Brain Injury/Concussions in Our Schools.”

This year’s LPS Learning Lunches focus on “Untold Stories of LPS” in the second annual series of bring-your-own-lunch presentations.

Lunches are all held in the Board Room at LPS District Office, 5905 O St. Doors to the Board Room open at noon, the program begins at 12:15 p.m., questions-and-answers happen at

12:45 p.m. Community members are welcome to stay after lunch for a tour of the LPS District Office building.

Schedule of remaining 2014-15 lunches:

  • Tuesday, March 17: Educational Based Athletics: Kathi Wieskamp, director of Athletics and Activities at LPS.
  • Tuesday, April 21. The Rhythm of Music in our Schools.

 

Posted on February 03, 2015


Remember: Teacher letters due Feb. 20

There is still time to honor your teacher for the annual Lincoln Public Schools Thank You Teacher event – with a deadline for receiving letters on Friday, Feb. 20.

In honor of Nebraska Teacher Recognition Day – Tuesday, March 3 – LPS and KFOR/KFRX Radio are again collaborating to thank our educators with the annual Thank You Teacher contest. Again, nominations should be postmarked or sent by Friday, Feb. 20, 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 until 5 p.m. on Feb. 20 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 3 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.

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

Posted on February 03, 2015


LPS High School Music/Theater Calendar

High schools in Lincoln Public Schools perform various music and theater performances throughout the year. For more information about a specific event, call the school. To add a music or theater performance to this list, email zbaehr@lps.org.

February 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

16 - Concert: Spring Swing, Southeast, May 16

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

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

School Listing

Lincoln East High School

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lincoln High School

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

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

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

Lincoln North Star High School

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

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

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

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

Lincoln Northeast High School

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lincoln Southeast High School

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Concert: Spring Swing, Southeast, May 16

Lincoln Southwest High School

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on January 28, 2015


Board of Education approves 2015-16 contract agreement

Highlights of Jan. 27 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

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

Board of Education approves 2015-16 contract agreement

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

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

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

Comments included:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Human Resources policy

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

Celebration of Success

The Board of Education recognized:

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

Public Remarks

Four people made public remarks to the Board of Education.

 

 

Posted on January 27, 2015


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

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

Posted on January 27, 2015


Welch honored for wellness efforts

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

Posted on January 27, 2015


North Star trainers earn top honors for student-athlete safety

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

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

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

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

Bios for Eggleston and White:

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

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

Posted on January 26, 2015


Morrill Hall offering free events in February

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

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

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

Posted on January 23, 2015


Northeast earns national recognition for student achievement in financial literacy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on January 23, 2015


Morley students take the lead in tracking, reducing tardies

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

Posted on January 23, 2015


Looking beyond labels to student learning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what would a sound educational accountability system look like? 

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

No Child Left Behind:  A few facts

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

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

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

Posted on January 23, 2015


Student volunteers needed for Bright Lights

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on January 23, 2015


Pathfinder focuses on education for detained youth

Randall Farmer didn’t plan to go to college.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When students are at Pathfinder, they:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on January 20, 2015


McDermott to retire as Southwest principal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on January 20, 2015


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

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

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

How did you become interested in The Ascendance Trilogy?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on January 16, 2015


Board of Education considers tentative 2015-16 contract agreement

Highlights of Jan. 13 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

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

Board of Education considers tentative 2015-16 contract agreement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Additional comments:

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

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

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

Board approves school calendar for 2016-17

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

Highlights of the calendar:

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

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

Technology

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

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

Human Resources policy

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

Celebration of success

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

Public Remarks

Four people made public remarks to the Board of Education.

 

 

Posted on January 13, 2015


Teacher's Perspective with Jason Rushing, Humann Elementary

Jason Rushing, computer science teacher, Humann Elementary School.

Posted on January 08, 2015


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on January 08, 2015


Community organizations hosting suicide prevention conversation

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

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

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

Cam McDaniel - c.mcdaniel@sheridanlutheran.org

Mitch Connely - mitch@firstplymouth.org

Michelle Chesnut - mchesnut@newvisionsumc.org

Jen Strickland - jen@westminsterlincoln.org

Jason Obermeier - jobermeier4@gmail.com

Chris Hansen - yaya@fpclincoln.org 

Posted on December 18, 2014


'Portraits' highlight student artwork

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on December 18, 2014


Morehouse elected VP of national organization for office pros

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on December 18, 2014


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