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.

Jr. ROTC students host one of biggest PCM donation drives of year

The Lincoln Air Force Junior ROTC leadership and citizenship program completed a three-day effort to collect donations for the People’s City Mission in Lincoln.

They collected 1,773 pounds of donations and, according to their Community Relations Director, Kyle Winchell, “That is one of the best drives we have had come in all year.”  The cadets spent a total of 24 hours working this drive over three days. 

This drive was conceived, organized, and run by the cadets themselves, and fits perfectly with the AFJROTC mission of “Developing citizens of character, dedicated to service their nation and community”.

A special thank-you goes out to Lincoln Northeast High School, as well as the two SuperSaver stores at 56th Street and Highway 2, and 48th and O streets, for allowing us to use their facilities to run the donation drive and to store the goods until they could be picked up.

Posted on July 18, 2014


Junior ROTC holding fund raiser for City Mission

The Lincoln Air Force Junior ROTC leadership and citizenship program is organizing a donation effort for the People’s City Mission on Monday through Wednesday, July 14-16. Please consider stopping by and donating items at any of the following dates/locations:

  • Monday, July 14 from Noon – 8 p.m., SuperSaver on South 56 Street and Highway 2
  • Tuesday, July 15 from Noon – 8 p.m., SuperSaver on North 48 and O streets
  • Wednesday, July 16 from Noon – 8 p.m., Lincoln Northeast High School Commons (Door 35, which is the northeast corner of the school)

Any items are of course welcome, but list below are suggested items:

  • Non-perishable food
  • School supplies
  • Clothing
  • Hygiene products
  • Kids books/toys
  • First Aid supplies
  • Diapers (in all sizes)
  • Wet wipes
  • Toilet paper
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Tissues
  • Towels
  • Blankets
  • Paper towels
  • Disposable razors

Posted on July 14, 2014


Q&A with Antwan Wilson, LHS alum and new superintendent in Oakland, Calif.

Antwan Wilson was recently named the superintendent Oakland Unified School District in Oakland, Calif. Wilson started at a student in Lincoln Public Schools in 1980, attending Hartley Elementary, Clinton Elementary and Elliott Elementary schools, Lefler Junior High and Lincoln High School, graduating in 1990. He provided insight into his own high school career path and what he hopes to accomplish in Oakland.

From Lincoln High School to Oakland Unified School District. How does that happen?  

First and foremost, I consider myself to be blessed to have the opportunity to lead the Oakland Unified School District as Superintendent. Additionally, I am extremely thankful for the opportunities given to me to lead in Denver by leaders such as Tom Boasberg (current Superintendent), Michael Bennet (US Senator and Past Superintendent), and Dr. Jaime Aquino (former Chief Academic Officer).

I have had a passion to make a difference and to work towards social justice for all young people by reforming the education system. Growing up in Lincoln, NE was an important component to my development.  I was in a city with a good educational system and around many young people who knew they were going to college. Lincoln High, specifically, was important because in addition to being able to go to school with friends who were talented and going to college, I also had the benefit of working with some educators who encouraged me to think and get involved - Marilyn Greve, Thomas Christie, Ross Tegler, and Sue Cain to name a few.  

Additionally, I got to experience the benefits of being pushed to succeed academically by some of my teachers during my time at LHS and I also came to understand the inequalities that exist in society and how the education system can perpetuate those inequalities. I got to see what happens when not all students are pushed to meet their full potential. All of this had a great impact on me and inspired my desire to make a difference in the lives of young people by trying to reform the system of education and help as many young people as possible reach their dreams.

What I would say to young people is that I believed in myself.  I chose to listen to those individuals who recommended I pursue challenging opportunities and I trusted people who saw things in me that I did not always see in myself. Finally, I surrounded myself with positive young people who didn't ever pressure me to do anything that I didn't want to do or was bad for me. I would say this about so many of my friends I grew up with, some of whom ended up in trouble themselves, and all of my closest friends who all went to college and are successful.

What was your impression of school administrators when you were a student at LHS?

I really didn't have a great opinion of school "administrators" as a student at LHS. As it relates to our principal Mr. Nelson, I didn't know who he was until my junior year in the school (remember the school was 10-12 at the time). He was the guy I passed on second floor outside of his office and said hello to on my way to my locker in the morning. It was unclear what his role was or what he was doing to impact the education of the students. I later served as a student assistant during my junior and senior years and learned that he was a nice person.  I liked getting to know him more and thought others should as well. 

At the time in Lincoln High School, the Vice Principals were the leaders in the school the students knew and respected (please know that I remember the names of all the "administrators" at LHS). The Vice Principal who was synonymous with LHS for many of us during that time was Dr. Charles Jones. He was the presence in the school. I remember being impressed with his photographic memory. I remember him telling me one day I'd be a distinguished alumni for LHS, I was shocked at the time that he knew my name.  I remember he got to know the students, worked out with us (he lifted over 300 ponds with ease), and played basketball with us after school.  He handled all of the discipline for the school at the time and I know students didn't want to go see him for any trouble they had caused. I also remember how much of a loss it was when he passed away in '89.  I remember the whole school coming out and saying goodbye as he was driven by the school one last time.  I get emotional thinking about it.

I also remember how cool I thought Mr. Barry Stark was when came to the school following Dr. Jones. I appreciated that he didn't try to be like Dr. Jones.  It would have been impossible because Dr. Jones was such a presence.  Mr. Stark was just himself and that worked.

In regard to what I would expect from school leaders I work with, the leaders at that time were not doing those things. It was as much a reflection of where education was at the time and the thinking in high schools particularly. That is, there weren't school leaders in the classroom regularly (almost never) observing teachers and giving constant feedback to improve practice.  There weren't proactive interventions to help students when they weren't responding to the instruction in the classroom. There weren't efforts to ensure that classes were interactive focusing on ensuring students spent at least 60% of their time engaged in higher order thinking—debating, defending thought, etc. A student had to know which teachers were inclined to this type of teaching so that they were chosen or be in a differentiated class to be exposed to it. The time was different, the focus was different, and luck played a larger role than it should in the outcomes for young people.

We've read about tougher challenges impacting Oakland schools, but what about the positives? 

How do you build positive momentum?  Oakland, like all of our urban areas, has tremendous young people who deserve a rigorous education that prepares them for success in college and career. Oakland has a long history of activism and fighting for equality on behalf of people through various causes. As it relates to OUSD, I was inspired by the strategic plan and the process used to arrive at it. I was also drawn to the fact that the school board stressed that it wants to push for college and career readiness for all students through quality school development and building professional practice.  

I believe that the district leadership is right to emphasize that the district has to be more than a place that provides classes for students to get an education. They recognized that schools are important pillars in the community and the school district is responsible for helping students access the American Dream. If that Dream is to be a reality for many students in urban areas, the schools must orient themselves in such away that recognizes the realities that many young people face in the community. Challenges of poverty, violence, apathy, bullying, and frustration towards the education system are real. The district and its schools cannot cure many those things. What it can do, is partner with other civic institutions, families, postsecondary, and community-based institutions to help students navigate the issues and receive an education that can change the circumstances of young people and their future children. The strategic plan in Oakland recognizes that we must educate AND serve the whole child.  That was compelling.   

The job I have is now to come in and build upon the work that was done and help prioritize the initiatives. This includes leading a focus on ensuring that providing a quality education is job one and engagement serves as a means of accomplishing this and not the end itself. Additionally, my work is to focus on ensuring that young people are attending quality schools, are taught by talented and supported educators, are led by strong school leaders, and are resourced to ensure they have a real chance to succeed. For me, that starts with establishing high expectations and leading towards them, addressing the culture and values of the district head-on, and building a district team of educators with a focus on college and career readiness as a stated outcome along with helping students become productive world citizens. 

Explain the differences, in your minds, in reasons and excuses.  

The difference between reasons and excuses comes down to how they are used. Excuses are examples cited to explain why we can't or shouldn't be expected to help every student succeed. Excuses are limiting because they assume that we have contemplated all of the strategies that we could explore in order to impact young people. Excuses absolve us from most responsibility. They often boil down to explaining that young people aren't successful because of the neighborhood they're from, their background, or some other factor they do not control. Reasons are examples focused on elevating issues that we must consider as we contemplate strategies to improve upon or resolve a situation impacting the education of our young people.  

An example may be that young people who grow up in poverty may enter school knowing far fewer words than middle-class students. An excuse would be that because these students are poor and know fewer words that they will be behind by third or fourth grade. It may be stated that it would be "hard or harder" to educate them.  Sometimes comments are made about what their parents may or may not value. On the other hand, a reason would focus more on explaining that since lower income students are more likely to enter school knowing fewer words we must partner with other institutions to help increase access to rigorous pre-K programs and summer learning programs.

Additionally, you point out the necessity of that student being taught by capable teachers who are supported and utilizing culturally responsive pedagogy to ensure student mastery of standards throughout the system. When you're elevating reasons, you demonstrate empathy for the circumstances a young person may be in and you recognize there are some challenges you need to develop thoughtful solutions for. You care for the children, but you consciously work to maintain the highest of expectations for each child (you have to work on it because not doing so could mean unconsciously lowering expectations). You don't compromise on the ultimate goal or your resolve for getting them to succeed.  

With excuses you have sympathy, apathy, or disregard for the circumstances young people and their families may be in and resign yourself to the idea that many will not meet the expectation. You then settle for poor practices, less organized and focused classrooms, and the abundance of academic data that shows students are not growing as they should. We can never be satisfied with our young people not learning. Additionally we can't begin to expect less or accept dysfunction because there are real challenges many young people and families face and education for many may be their only chance to know fewer challenges in their lives and those of their children. 

With your success with one particular school in Denver, where the college readiness percentage grew dramatically in three years, how will you handle high expectations?  

I do not allow myself to think about the risks of high expectations as an area of concern. My focus is much more on stressing that we can educate young people to succeed if we're willing to do the things that lead to success. Often times, this requires making uncomfortable changes that are quickly recognized as the right thing just a few short years later. I intend to be focused on the work and to focus on creating a culture where we attract like-minded people who are equally as dedicated. I expect it to be difficult and I don't expect to always be agreed with. I will aim to keep the focus on the children and not make it personal towards any individual or group of people. For me, it's about what's best for young people, not a judgment of other individuals.

Posted on July 11, 2014


New middle school site approved

Lincoln Board of Education meeting, budget work session highlights, July 7

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular Board meeting and a work session – to further discuss the 2014-15 budget – on Monday, July 7, both at LPS District Office, 5905 O St. The next Board meeting is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, August 12.

Board of Education highlights

New LPS middle school site selected

The newest Lincoln Public Schools middle school will open in the fall of 2017 on a 26-acre site at the southeast corner near 84th Street and Yankee Hill Road, according to a decision made Monday night at the Lincoln Board of Education meeting. The vote was six to one, with only School Board member Kathy Danek voting against acquisition of the site.

According to the plan, the school district will purchase the land from the city of Lincoln – providing the added benefit of maintaining public property for public purposes and not taking private property off the tax rolls. The middle school will be funded by the recent $153 million LPS bond issue.

Board member Barb Baier had initial concerns, but said she now supported the proposal: “We’re getting a partnership between private and public, the city, the school district and the YMCA…We’re next to a park…. possible library and sports fields…I believe this is a really terrific opportunity.”

Board member Lanny Boswell agreed and supported the concept of relieving the crowded middle schools in southeast Lincoln.

Board President Richard Meginnis said this was a difficult decision: “What’s come to my attention…changed my mind…is the pattern of growth we’re seeing in that area.”

The middle school will likely serve students in Lux, Pound and Scott middle school attendance areas, though the official attendance area for the new school will be made official in the fall of 2015 (two years prior to opening the school).

The 26 acres are a portion of the city’s 200-acre plot in that area of southeast Lincoln – an area that tentatively could eventually include a city park and city library.

Plans also call for the middle school development to include a partnership with the YMCA to encompass a traditional fitness center and middle school within one structure – much like the arrangement at Schoo Middle School in Fallbrook.

Danek said she had concerns about the location because of what she called safety issues due to nearby railroad tracks, and a lack of enough students and families in the area.

Newly annexed property

The Board of Education assigns school attendance areas to property newly annexed in Lincoln. The city has annexed a parcel of land near South 88th Street and Pioneers Boulevard, and Monday the Board of Education assigned future families in that area to: Maxey Elementary School, Lux Middle School and Lincoln East High School.

New policy on video surveillance

The Board of Education Monday approved new policy for video surveillance at LPS that states: “The Lincoln Board of Education authorizes the use of video cameras and other passive electronic measures (such as motion detectors) for monitoring transportation and interior and exterior public areas for the purposes of ensuring the health, welfare and safety of staff, students and visitors, safeguarding district facilities and equipment and maintaining student discipline and an appropriate educational and work environment.”

The LPS budget for 2013-24 includes funding for surveillance cameras on LPS buses as well as for the six high schools.

Haven Kirkendoll, who just graduated from Lincoln High School, testified about the policy – saying that she and many of her fellow students supported the concept of cameras on buses and in open hallway areas of high schools. “But we do not support cameras in the classroom…We think it might take away the personal experience with a teacher…We would fear it would be a stigma to learning in what is supposed to be an open environment…I would be concerned there would be an excessive use…cameras all over the place would be stressful and change the environment of the school in general.”

Transportation plan

The Board of Education discussed a new section of the proposed 2014-15 transportation plan that would switch using cabs for transporting homeless students – to purchasing smaller buses and vans owned by LPS.

Board member Baier said she liked the proposal for several reasons: easing reliance on cab service for homeless students, ensuring that the drivers are thoroughly vetted for security reasons “in the transportation of some of our most vulnerable students,” as well as investing in a more diversified and flexible fleet of buses with smaller vehicles.

The proposal is what is called “budget neutral” and will not require additional funding.   The Board will take a final vote on the issue at the August 12 meeting.

Lincoln Public Schools Work Session

The Lincoln Board of Education held a work session Monday to further discuss the 2014-15 proposed $363.3 million budget.

Board member Don Mayhew pointed out that LPS spends more than 83 percent of its budget on instruction, and praised the school district for smart priorities.

Liz Standish, associate superintendent for Business Affairs at LPS, gave a summary of the proposed budget and described a slight change in numbers. The final amount for the negotiated 3.95 percent package increase came in slightly lower than estimated – by more than $478,000 – and that amount was added to funding for technology equipment.

Overall highlights for 2014-15 proposed LPS budget:

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

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

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

o   The changing landscape of how we provide quality education.

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

 

 

Posted on July 07, 2014


East FBLA team wins national title

Ojus Jain, Elliot Sandfort and Alicia Zeng won first place at the national Future Business Leaders of America conference.

The trio won the title in the Global Business competition held in Nashville, Tenn. East's FBLA sponsor is Lori Anderson. Jain and Zeng are incoming sophomores, while Sandfort graduated in May.

East received its award during the winners ceremony, which can be found at the 1:50 mark - http://pdcproductions.com/fbla/.

Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda (FBLA-PBL) is the largest and oldest student business organization. Participants from across the United States and two countries were in attendance to participate in more than 60 business and business-related competitive events. The conference also has learning sessions and networking opportunities for students.

Posted on July 03, 2014


New LPS middle school site recommended

Lincoln Board of Education meeting, budget forum highlights, June 24

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular Board meeting and held a Budget Forum on Tuesday, June 24, both at LPS District Office, 5905 O St. The Board meeting was live streamed on www.lps.org, and broadcast live on cable channels 80/99. The next Board meeting is set for 6 p.m. July 7.

Board of Education highlights

New LPS middle school site recommended

The Lincoln Board of Education’s Planning Committee recommended a 26-acre location on the southeast corner near 84th Street and Yankee Hill Road as the site for the new middle school funded by the recent Lincoln Public Schools bond issue

Under the recommendation, the school district would purchase the land from the city of Lincoln – providing the added benefit of maintaining public property for public purposes and not taking private property off the tax rolls, according to Ed Zimmer, the Board member who chairs the Planning Committee.

The $153 million LPS bond issue – approved by the community last February – specifically included funding for a new middle school, but the Board has not yet selected a specific site.

The location is well positioned to create capacity to serve portions of Lux, Pound and Scott middle school attendance areas, Zimmer pointed out, which he said would address the significant growth in student enrollment at those schools. The new middle school will provide capacity for 850 students. The attendance area for the new school will be made official in the fall of 2015, two years prior to opening the school.

The 26 acres are a portion of the city’s 200-acre plot in that area of southeast Lincoln – an area that tentatively could eventually include a city park and city library. Zimmer has noted that there is broader public benefit to choosing this site, because building a school in the area will provide investment in developing infrastructure and grading to perhaps act as a catalyst to begin further development of a future park.

The Board will take a final vote on the decision at the July 7 Board meeting.

Plans also call for the middle school development to include a partnership with the YMCA to encompass a traditional fitness center and middle school within one structure – much like the arrangement at Schoo Middle School in Fallbrook.

Don Mayhew, a member of the Board of Education, said he found the vision for the area “compelling.”

Lanny Boswell, another Board member, agreed. “We build our schools to last for decades. I can see this middle school serving our families and students for generations to come…a site that provides excellent value to our taxpayers.”

Board Vice President Kathy Danek requested additional information about the proposed site related to adding roads and infrastructure and rail crossings in the area.

Approval of superintendent contract

The Board of Education unanimously approved a contract for LPS Superintendent Steve Joel.  For the coming school year, the Board decided upon an annual salary package of $299,804, which is a 3.98 percent increase from his current salary of $288,329 (the same increase as LPS educators received). Mayhew said the new contract expresses “appreciation of the School Board for Dr. Joel’s excellent work.”

In addition the Board also approved a one-time $25,000 contribution to Joel’s retirement plan. Five School Board members voted for approval, while Board members Barb Baier and Ed Zimmer voted against the additional compensation.

“When you have a super star who is in demand…you want to make sure his contract is competitive,” Mayhew said. Board member Lanny Boswell said that Joel “has led the school district to new heights.”

Barb Baier said: “I appreciate Dr. Joel’s excellent execution of his job…but I believe education is a team work effort and I believe we need to maintain that ethic in our compensation…I also thank all our teachers and staff for their excellent work.”

Newly annexed property

The Board of Education assigns school attendance areas to property newly annexed in Lincoln. The city has annexed a parcel of land near South 88th Street and Pioneers Boulevard, which was proposed for assignment to: Maxey Elementary School, Lux Middle School and Lincoln East High School. The Board will vote final approval at the July 7 Board meeting.

New policy on video surveillance

Board members discussed proposed policy for video surveillance at LPS that says: “The Lincoln Board of Education authorizes the use of video cameras and other passive electronic measures (such as motion detectors) for monitoring transportation and interior and exterior public areas for the purposes of ensuring the health, welfare and safety of staff, students and visitors, safeguarding district facilities and equipment and maintaining student discipline and an appropriate educational and work environment.”

The Board will vote final approval at the July 7 meeting.

Board member Katie McLeese Stephenson called video surveillance “something that can be a very effective tool, but one that must be used cautiously.” She said the policy was a starting point – and that video surveillance “must be monitored and updated and enhanced.”

The LPS budget for 2013-24 includes funding for surveillance cameras on LPS buses as well as for the six high schools.

Danek said: “This policy gives notice to make sure the public understands that there will be video cameras at LPS on a very limited basis…that will be respectful of public and private places…protecting students’ right to privacy.”

Lincoln Public Schools Budget Forum

Lincoln Public Schools held a Budget Forum on Tuesday to ask the community for conversation about the preliminary $363.3 million LPS budget for 2014-15. A second Budget Forum will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 26, at Lefler Middle School, 1100 S. 48th St.

Liz Standish, associate superintendent for Business Affairs at LPS, gave a summary of the budget and opened up the discussion to comments from the community.

Kit Boesch, administrator for the Lancaster County Human Services Department, was the only person who spoke at the Forum, specifically supporting the proposed addition of four fulltime social workers in next year’s budget. “I’m very proud of the way community schools and human services have reached across to collaborate on what is best for children…LPS social workers are amazing people…who enhance the ability to learn…and ultimately increase the district’s graduation rate.

Overall highlights for 2014-15 preliminary LPS budget:

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

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

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

o   The changing landscape of how we provide quality education.

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

 

 

Posted on June 25, 2014


Culler students exploring topics, school

Explore whatever topic you want to explore. Do the research, utilize technolgy and make a presentation.

The environment is summertime at Culler Middle School, 5201 Vine St. Turns out it’s a great way to stay busy, hone skills and pursue an interest.

“We don't help them a lot this year because they are not as needy,” said Becky Tuttle, one of the teachers at this Community Learning Center location. “The skills they are working on include library and research skills, and they are kind of fine tuning those.”

Awizan, a seventh-grader this fall, has a brother who likes soccer, so she and future eighth-grader Hussain are studying FIFA, the organization that puts on the World Cup every four years.

Blake, a sixth-grader this fall, is still trying to decide her research topic. What she does know is that this experience is helping her get ready for school to begin, especially since she’s learning alongside older students.

“They are a lot bigger, and people might be afraid to come here, but the others take you around the school, and this will help me learn better,” Blake said.

That transition is critical, Tuttle said.

“They (fifth-graders) become more familliar with our school, and that confidence just carries from summer into the school year,” she said. “Confidence, you can't put a price on that. It seems like they are more successful.”

A new reading program initiated last year means more fifth-graders are better equiped with skills for middle school level projects. To that end, Tuttle is more likely to prod students to find their own solutions to problems, than to just give them the answer.

Varying groups and activities are two highlights for Awizan.

“You get to be with different grades at different times, and you get to go places,” Awizan said. “In middle school you don’t get to go on a lot of field trips, but here, you go somewhere every Friday.”

Those trips include swimming pools and activity centers. Members of the community also come in to teach a topic, such as a session on designing drums and projects with Arts Are Basic.

Breakfast and lunch are also included for students.

Hussain loves the freedom to investigate what he wants, with one key difference.

“There are no grades,” he said. “You get to kick back and choose what you want to learn about.”

Posted on June 25, 2014


VIDEO: Irving students put compost plan in motion

During the past semester, Irving Middle School students took on a food compost project, and made their own video to share what they learned.

Posted on June 24, 2014


State reading group holding one-day institute

The Nebraska State Reading Association’s Summer Institute is hosting "Literacy Superheroes Institute: Step Up for Change." The event is Tuesday, July 8, 2014 at Christ Lutheran Church, 4325 Sumner St.

The featured Literacy 'superhero' is Dr. Maureen McLaughlin, IRA President, who will deliver a morning keynote presentation, 'Creating Rich Instructional Tasks.' A strong research base, a sound theoretical framework, and numerous practical ideas ready for classroom implementation are embedded in this presentation, which is designed for active audience participation.

There are two afternoon breakout sessions with topics for all teachers in kindergarten through twelth grade:

  • Infusing Close Reading in Whole Group, Small Group and Individual Instruction; 
  • Formative Assessment; Poetry;
  • Writing; Using Non-­?fiction to Improve Reading

The cost is cost is $80. For more information, visit nereads.org.

Posted on June 20, 2014


Remembering Wally McNaught

Wally McNaught was a long-time coach and athletic director at Lincoln Southeast High School. He passed away recently. Memorials to the Wally McNaught Lincoln Southeast Scholarship Fund c/o Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools, Nebraska High School Hall of Fame, St. Mark's United Methodist Church, or Nebraska Wesleyan University.

Posted on June 19, 2014


Minor league baseball teams hosting peanut allergy friendly games

The Lincoln Saltdogs and the Omaha Stormchasers are each hosting a peanut allergy friend baseball games, where no peanut or peanut products will be sold.

Lincoln's event is at 2:05 p.m., July 27. For more information, see this flier.

Omaha's event is at 7:05 p.m., July 29. For more information, see this flier.

Posted on June 19, 2014


Just more normal weirdness for Shrek, Roper teacher

Shrek gets it. He knows he’s a bit odd: a plus-sized ogre with some unusual tastes, peculiar ears and a rather brusque personality, at times. And so what? Aren’t we all? Shrek also has a large heart, too, as the animated character created by Dreamworks.

Shawn Carlson, a second-grade teacher and team leader at Roper Elementary School, can relate a bit. Though his ears are more human-like, and his skin's not green, he has usually been bigger than other people. But he’s accepted it.

This spring, Carlson accepted a chance to combine those similarirites - those of Shrek and Shawn - by playing the leading role in Shrek: The Musical, the annual summer production this year at Pinewood Bowl in Pioneers Park.

“He’s one of the few characters in this show who knows what he is, and he accepts that other people are what they are," Carlson said. “He thinks it’s weird that other people can’t get over how other people are weird.”

Carlson has taught at Roper, 2323 S. Coddington Ave., his entire teaching career, which began in 2000. He had a routine of teaching during the day, rehearsing at night and enjoying the local productions, until he decided to try going national, which he did for more than two years. Turns out, he missed the classroom more than he liked the road.

He hopes his love for acting might encourage others.

“If it is an in with some kids, or if I can inspire someone in that direction, I think that’s awesome,” Carlson said. “It’s been a great benenfit in my life, so i hope it inspires somebody.”

Some of his current and future students may not even know he’s in the show, and they certainly won’t recognize him.

Carlson had a bust made of himself so the costume designer could get the right fit for the part of the Shrek’s face to be ‘glued’ to his own face. His mouth and eyes will show, but everything else will be covered in costume.

“I’ve only seen pictures of what they’ve created," he said. "It’s going to be intense - not having anything like this before."

Tickets for 'Shrek: the Musical' are on sale now at Russ’s Market Stores. Adult tickets are $10 and $11, tickets for kids ages 6 to 12 are $5, and kids age 5 and under are free. Shows are July 10-13 and 17-20, with gates opening at 6 p.m. and shows starting at 8 p.m. at Pinewood Bowl in Pioneers Park.

Posted on June 17, 2014


To teach better, this cohort returns to math class

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

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

“Why is that?” the instructor asks.

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

Students then repeat similar statements for trapezoids and rectangles.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on June 17, 2014


Learning and Growing with Nature at Prescott

Over several years and as a result of hard working and dedicated Prescott families, staff and community members, Prescott playground has been transformed into a beautiful park for students, their families and the entire neighborhood.

The goal of the partnership with Community Crops over the summer months is to provide and engage Prescott community in educational activities in the Outdoor Classroom with emphasis on maintaining and beautifying the outdoor space, managing an organic garden, growing food and learning about environmental sustainability.

This project is part of the safety focused action plan discussed at The Stronger Neighborhood Summit in October 12, 2013. By engaging in this program, the residents can take pride in their collective work and become guardians of this space, thus minimizing the risk of vandalism.

The program would ultimately like to see residents apply the knowledge gained through the program in their own gardens at home. Prescott CLC works closely with Community Crops to provide programming two times per week on Monday and Friday from 9 to 10 a.m. The program started in early June and will wrap up on July 25th, culminating with a celebration during the Prescott school annual event Summer Festival on that day.

The project wouldn't happen without the partnership of Nature Explore, which designed and put in place the Outdoor Classroom at Prescott, the involvement of Prescott students, staff and parents who strive to maintain this wonderful space. Support has also been received from the Near South Neighborhood Association, Community Learning Centers and Family Service.

Posted on June 16, 2014


LPS to host Community Budget Forums

Lincoln Public Schools invites the public into the conversation about the preliminary 2014-15 budget for the school district.

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

o   Tuesday, June 24, 5 p.m., LPS District Office, 5905 O St.

o   Thursday, June 26, 7 p.m., Lefler Middle School, 1100 S. 48th St.

The Lincoln Board of Education has a work session set for additional budget discussion at: 4:30 p.m. Monday, July 7, LPS District Office, 5905 O St.

In addition, a public hearing for the 2014-15 LPS budget is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, August 12, at LPS District Office, 5905 O St.

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

 

 

Posted on June 13, 2014


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.

2014/15 events will be posted here starting this fall.

Posted on June 13, 2014


Sister inspires brother to educate friends on syndrome

Bennett, a third-grade student at Adams Elementary School, shared valuable information with his fellow students about Down syndrome last October for the 2013 Capital City Step Up for Down Syndrome walk at Antelope Park.

Bennett is an "expert" on Down syndrome as his Kindergarten sister, Claire, was born with Down syndrome.

Prepared with print and digital resources, Bennett educated his classmates about Down syndrome. He focused on the importance of getting to know a person with Down syndrome because they have the same interests, feelings, and dreams as their peers.

Posted on June 13, 2014


LHS, LNS advance to semis in poetry competition

Lincoln High School and Lincoln North Star High School are both advancing to semifinals of "Louder Than a Bomb Great Plains," a poetry competition.

LHS won both of their preliminary events, while North Star got a second place and a first place to move on in the state championship process. 

Posted on June 13, 2014


Avery elected to board of directors for SHAPE America

Marybell Avery, Ph.D, curriculum specialist for Health, Physical Education and Character Education at Lincoln Public Schools, was recently elected in the first ever all-member vote to the Board of Directors of the nearly 20,000-member Society of Health and Physical Educators, doing business as SHAPE America. Avery’s three-year term of office began at the 129-year old organization’s recent National Convention & Expo in St. Louis, MO, where a new name, logo and brand were launched. It was formerly known as the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD). The organization’s mission is: “To advance professional practice and promote research related to health and physical education, physical activity, dance and sport.” Its vision statement is: “Healthy People – Physically Educated and Physically Active!”

As a member of the SHAPE America Board of Directors, Dr. Avery will promote quality health and physical education, physical activity and health education programs and lend expertise to tackle the growing epidemic of physical inactivity in children and the importance of physical activity for everyone.

For over 20 years Avery has directed the curriculum, instruction and professional development program for 120 health and physical education teachers who serve over 37,000 students. Avery’s passion is helping teachers learn to nurture in their students the skills, knowledge, habits and desire to be physically active and make healthy choices now, and for the rest of their lives.

Under her direction, Lincoln Public Schools received Carol M. White PEP grants in 2002 and 2009. In the fall of 2010 the Lincoln Public School Board of Education approved the first increase in the physical education graduation requirement in 15 years.      

An established leader, Avery has served SHAPE America/AAHPERD in a variety of elected and appointed positions at the state and national levels. She was the President of one of AAHPERD’s associations, the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) in 2001-2002, a member of the Assessment Task Force that developed PE Metrics, the national standards assessments and was the NASPE representative to the Alliance Board of Governors from 2003 to 2006. In 2007 she received the Margie R. Hanson Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contributions and leadership on behalf of quality physical education programs for children and was the recipient of the 2011 Channing Mann K-12 Physical Education Administrator Award.

A native of North Carolina, Avery completed her B.A., M.A.T. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before serving as Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Education and Exercise Sciences at Creighton University in Omaha. She has taught physical education at the preschool, elementary, high school and university levels during her 38-year career.

Posted on June 13, 2014


Three teachers earn honor from civic reform group

Three teachers – Cheyenne Jensen, Lisa Bales and Elizabeth Carranza-Rodriguez – in Lincoln Public Schools were honored with an Outstanding Educator Award from the Nebraskans for Civic Reform. 

From the group’s website: 

Cheyenne Janssen (Lincoln Northeast High School) is a dedicated teacher who educates her students far beyond the requirements. She challenges her students to be critical thinkers and active members in our government and society. Cheyenne brings excitement and opportunity to her Government and Politics, Geography, US History and Civics classes at Lincoln Northeast High School through engaging her students directly in our government and community. This year she brought 100 students to the capitol where they shared in depth testimony on two legislative bills after extensive preparation and research in the classroom. (read more)

Lisa Bales (Lincoln Southwest High School) is an innovative and tenacious teacher who is always willing to try new programs to ensure that her students are learning how to be critical thinkers and active members of our society. Lisa brings excitement and opportunity to her Civics and Geography classes. This year she demonstrated this commitment as she took on three successful projects with her students including a Capitol Experience Day where her Civics class debated the idea of teachers carrying guns and two service projects centered around the environment, Lincoln’s homeless population and the Nebraska Air National Guard. (read more)

Elizabeth Carranza-Rodriguez (Lincoln North Star High School) and her sixth period class of twenty-six geography students from North Star High School completed NCR’s Civic Engagement Mentor program. What started as a simple yet important conversation with McEvoy on his Air Force background, turned into a creative service learning project in which they created care packages for Nebraska’s deployed Air National Guard members. (read more)

Posted on June 13, 2014


Locking up a bright future

Art teacher Diane Gabelhouse and students from Mickle Middle School’s Diversity Club created a project for the Hildegard Center for the Arts fundraiser. The proceeds from the auction (Oct. 1) of the door project will help fund a Habitat for Humanity home . Twenty percent of the proceeds were to go back to the artists , but it was subsequently decided to give ALL of the auction proceeds to Habitat for Humanity.

Our choice for a door was simple - a locker door. This door symbolizes the importance of education not only to the students but to their families. Some of the students shared the reasons that their families immigrated here from other countries: for a new beginning, better opportunities, better education, and hopes for a bight future.

If you look closely behind the glass marbles, the students have added cultural influences and their hope for the future. 

The door will be displayed at Mickle this week and then displayed somewhere in the community until the auction. If you would like more information, contact Diane Gabelhouse 402-436-1216 or Ann Williams 402-440-0965. 

Posted on June 13, 2014


Writing emphasis - even in math - multiplies students’ understanding

Reading, writing and arithmetic is not out, but reading and writing in arithmetic is becoming increasingly popular.

An unofficially termed Writing Across the Curriculum effort at Lincoln North Star High School creates more meaningful writing opportunities in all classes, even math and art.

At Tuesday’s capstone-type event, 10 teachers from different curriculum areas presented their own findings from their classrooms to fellow teachers and school district staff.

The new approach is nearing the end of a two-year grant cycle, but the emphasis will stay. The grant is from Humanities Nebraska with partial funding coming from the Nebraska Writing Project.

Twenty-eight teachers at North Star have gone through the program. They will continue to share their data with their fellow teachers in their data teams (professionally learning communities).

Melanie Farber, English Department Chair and Co-Director for the Nebraska Writing Project, said the writing effort helps students think more deeply, improves problem-solving skills and helps them better recognize errors.

"Their scores are getting better, and they are understanding concepts more deeply," Farber said.

Students are questioning the reasoning for writing less and less, she said, because writing - once commonly emphasized mostly in English and social studies classes - is now a growing part of the school-day culture in all classes.

Susan Frack has spent 30-plus years teaching science. Last year, she felt trapped in a rut. She sought out ideas though from English teachers at North Star. There was one spot left in the Nebraska Writing Project Summer Institute. It was Frack’s.

Starting in second semester, Frack thought through her daily lessons and incorporated writing where it made sense. It unleashed

“Kids are responsible for their own learning, rather than me being the giver of information,” Frack said. “I rarely get a kid that says, ‘Oh, this is boring.’ They were excited, starting to ask what they were going to do ahead of time.”

It’s one thing for a student to be able to be hands-on in learning, but at some point they have to be able to describe what is happening. By writing out the explanation, they can see where there are holes in their answer. That means they need to do more research.

“They are getting better at problem solving because writing helps them solve their problems,” Frack said. “If they can put down in words what they don't know, that makes them better researchers to find the answer.”

In English Language Learner classrooms - designed for immigrant and refugee students - the writing emphasis has sped up language acquisition, and teachers experiencing students going back to their native language less often.

“You have to reflect,” said Bailey Feit, a math teacher at North Star. “That's where I started writing in math, writing reflections. You have to reflect upon your actions and the results of those.”

As kids started writing about their math problems, it didn’t click right away. Students would review what they wrote days later, and it didn’t serve as a helpful reminder.

So she went back to her research, studied double-entry note taking, and taught her students the method.

“In algebra, I’ve had the best assessment scores I've ever had,” Feit said. “Pretty consistent in advanced algebra. But what I have found is students are now taking the skills and methods I'm teaching with them, like color coding and highlighting, and using themon assessments without me having to tell them. So they are starting to internalize those strategies.”

At the recent event, Feit was honest with teachers: this will take more time early on. But the reward, especially among students who typically struggle in a math class, provides incentive to spend the extra time implementing the writing skills.

With writing - and subsequent skills like critical thinking - so prevalent in all career pathways, students will have a foundation for more success outside of the classroom.

Posted on June 13, 2014


Schoo, Pound take top-three finishes in Stock Market Game

Two middle schools in Lincoln Public Schools were honored for their third-place finishes in the Nebraska Stock Market Game. The competition is presented by the Nebraska Council on Economic Education.

Schoo Middle School finished third in the Fall 2013 competition, and Pound Middle School finished third in the Spring 2014 competition. Schoo's teacher for the event was Heather Steiner. Pound's teacher for their team is Dani Fusco.

The Nebraska Stock Market Game is a 15-week, online investment competition for students in grades 4-12. Teams of two to five students invest a virtual $100,000 in stocks, bonds and mutual funds listed on the New York Stock Exchange, the American Exchange and the NASDAQ.

Sponsors of the Stock Market Game are Ameritas, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City-Omaha Branch, the Nebraska Department of Banking & Finance and Union Pacific.

The Nebraska Council on Economic Education and its five centers are focused on directly educating Nebraska's students and providing professional development for K-12 teachers to advance economic literacy. Its mission is to act as a catalyst and lead a statewide initiative to advance economic literacy. The non-profit organization is located at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business Administration.

Posted on June 13, 2014


ITFP student first in LPS to gain Adobe certification

Sierra Hearn, a student at the Information Technology Focus Program, has passed the Adobe Certified Associate exam in Visual Communication Using Adobe Photoshop CS5, becoming the first student in Lincoln Public Schools to do so.

Adobe Certified Associate certification is the industry standard. It could be considered to be similar to an Advanced Placement exam in a core subject. Students who acquire an ACA certification set themselves apart from their peers and earn a number of significant advantages:

- ACA certification provides a boost to the student’s confidence in their skills;
- ACA certification can provide credit for college courses, saving students time and money;
- ACA certification on a job resume or college application speaks volumes about a student’s digital media skills and abilities;

ITFP students who successfully complete the Digital Graphic Design class, supplemented by a few exam preparation resources and a practice exam, are very well prepared for the ACA exam in Visual Communication using Adobe Photoshop. The ITFP is an official Certiport Authorized Testing Center so students can sit for the exam in a familiar setting. Both Linda Dickeson and Steve Carr are qualified to administer and proctor the exams. All interested LPS staff and students are welcome to certify in Adobe products at the ITFP.

Posted on June 13, 2014


25 teachers join up to complete Masters degree in Historical Studies

Twenty-five Lincoln Public Schools teachers received the Master of Arts in Historical Studies degree from Nebraska Wesleyan University. The 25 teachers, representing 21 separate schools within the district, have spent the past two-and-a-half years working to strengthen their own knowledge and seeking innovative strategies to improve student achievement in history and social studies.

Teacher participation in the graduate program stems from over a decade-long partnership between Lincoln Public Schools and Nebraska Wesleyan, with funding by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement.

“The partnership between LPS and Nebraska Wesleyan is a model of how public education and higher education can join forces to enrich the lives and increase success among students in the community we all share. Working with these teachers has been incredibly rewarding,” said Professor Kevin Bower, who directs the Historical Studies graduate program.

“This Teaching American History grant has truly transformed the way history is taught in Lincoln Public Schools,” said LPS Social Studies Coordinator J.P. Caruso. “Whether it’s kindergarten or high school, our students are going beyond the bolded word in the text book, and are reading and thinking like historians in a way that makes history much more exciting and meaningful.

For the past six years, LPS teachers have been joined by colleagues who teach at Nebraska schools located on the Omaha, Santee and Winnebago Indian Reservations.

Randy Ernst, LPS social studies curriculum specialist, credits the graduating teachers for their willingness to “go beyond their already considerable day-to-day duties to continually find ways to become better at serving the needs of students.” According to Ernst, by taking courses in the evening and during the summer, these teachers will impact student learning across the district for years to come.    

The last cohort of 11 teachers are expected to graduate next December.  

--------------------------------

2014 NWU Historical Studies Graduates by School

Michelle Eckman

Adams Elementary School

Melissa Ash

Campbell Elementary School

Kate Barr

Cavett Elementary School

Abi Shelbourn

Culler Middle School

Meghan Schmidt

Eastridge Elementary School

Jules Spickelmier

Everett Elementary School

Susan Halsted

Fredstrom Elementary School

Jamie Thompson

Hill Elementary School

Sherri Day

Hill Elementary School

Pam Reber

Kaoha Elementary School

Sonya Zimmer

Kaoha Elementary School

Caitlin Leuenberger

Kooser Elementary School

Donna Anderson

Lincoln High School

Dru Sypal

Lux Middle School

Liz Carranza-Rodriguez

North Star High School

Stephanie Howell

Northeast High School

Mark Holland

Park Middle School

Pat O’Meara

Park Middle School

Carol Patterson

Pound Middle School

Lori Browne

Roper Elementary School

Anna Whisinnand

Roper Elementary School

Paula Smith

Rousseau Elementary School

Stephanie Meyer

Schoo Middle School

Holly Stange

Sheridan Elementary School

Helen McLaughlin

West Lincoln Elementary School

Carol Patterson – Pound Middle School

“The Historical Studies program at Nebraska Wesleyan has been a catalyst for change in my classroom. Having taught in LPS for 33 years, I’ve been exposed to the latest trends, philosophies, and teaching movements, but it’s the coursework completed for this program that most influences how I teach today. In content and pedagogy classes, I’ve practiced how to think critically about historical events, read primary source documents like a historian, and viewed American history from multiple perspectives. Embedding these same critical thinking skills in my 8th grade lessons exposes my students to the skills and strategies “real” historians use when examining artifacts, documents, and place. Taking students outside the confines of a traditional textbook –an emphasis of this program- has generated excitement, which hopefully will evolve into a lifelong joy for learning.”

Pat O’Meara – Park Middle School

“The Historical Studies program, along with the shifted focus of skill acquisition in LPS social studies classes, has helped revitalize my teaching career.  The program is a perfect companion piece to the adjusted focus of history courses at LPS to the acquisition of the skills used by historians.  Rather than merely memorizing events in history, students learn the skills to help them evaluate past historical events as well as current issues.  The program helped establish a solid historical background and an arsenal of strategies to help students successfully analyze primary source documents.  LPS curriculum and the Historical Studies program are at the cutting edge of reshaping the way students learn social studies.”

Donna Anderson – Lincoln High

"Attending the Historical Studies graduate program at Nebraska Wesleyan University has not only increased my knowledge of U.S. history, but has developed my understanding on the pedagogy of history. The skills that I learned - aligning with the historical habits of mind as influenced by the Stanford Historical Education Group - have not only benefited myself, but my students as well. I have seen an increase in student engagement and their ability to decipher primary documents grow throughout my two and a half years in the program. I have developed a relationships with colleagues of all different disciplines throughout my district and within these connections, built working relationships that help me grow professionally within my career.

Caitlin Leuenberger – Kooser Elementary

When I first started in the program I was nervous because history was never my best subject in school. However, those nerves quickly faded away. Working together in our cohort of teachers, we developed a strong sense of community and comradery. We worked together to learn history and to understand how we could teach history to our students. In our program we focused on learning and teaching history through primary sources. We were no longer focusing on just dates and names, but the stories of the everyday people who lived through these events. This approach to history has not only helped me to gain a better understanding of history, but also my students. This year I was the Creative Expressions specialist at Kooser Elementary. I worked with all of the kindergarten through fifth grade students on the Habits of Mind lessons that we developed in the historical studies program. Students are more engaged in history when they can relate to it. Whether it was through historical photographs, diary entries, or journals, students developed a stronger understanding of history and strengthened their reading and critical thinking skills. Even our youngest learners can be historians. I'm so grateful to have been able to participate in this program. This unique collaboration between Nebraska Wesleyan University and Lincoln Public Schools will continue to have an impact on our students for years to come.

 

Posted on June 13, 2014


Four trends in school nursing you may not know

May 7th is deemed National School Nurses Day at the Nebraska Capitol with a proclamation from Gov. Dave Heineman. All proclomations are signed on one day, so the actual signing ceremony will be May 14. Here are four things you may not know about school nurses, including recent trends in the profession:

1. School nurses are on the front lines for combating the effects of poverty on school aged children. According to Kids Count Nebraska one in eight Nebraska households don’t know where their next meal is coming from. In fact, one in five children in Nebraska live in poverty. From 2008 to 2012 there was nearly a 30 percent increase in poverty for children in Nebraska. School nurses are often the link to the community in providing essential services for families that they interact with.

2. Currently one in 16 children in Nebraska are uninsured. Of those children who are uninsured most have parents who are working and whose jobs either do not provide insurance or who make it affordable. In 2012 27,806 kids were uninsured though a large portion were in fact eligible for insurance under CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program). School nurses play a vital role in accessing care for our students and families in the form of case management, providing education on available resources and coordinating care with practitioners in the community.

3. The top 5 health problems of children in the United States are now mental health problems not physical problems (Slomski, 2012). Approximately one in five children and adolescents has a diagnosable mental health disorder in the course of a year. Five percent have impairment in functioning that is extreme (U.S.DHHS, 2000).Twenty percent of students may have undiagnosed mental health problems that cause difficulty with academic work (Puskar & Bernardo, 2007). School nurses spend 32 percent of their time providing mental health services (Foster et al., 2005). According to the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey 14.2 percent of youth seriously considered suicide, 10.9 percent had a suicide attempt plan and 7.7 percent actually attempted suicide. These numbers are alarming but illustrate the growing number of students that school nurses assess and assist on a daily basis. Often the school nurse is the first person that a student confides in and school nurses can be a link to life saving interventions for students.

4. Students’ level of illness and chronicity of illness have increased significantly. There are higher numbers of children in special education and more children in school with medically fragile conditions and chronic illnesses than ever in history. In fact, the percentage of students in federally supported special education program increased from 8.3 percent to 13.4 percent, from 1977 – 2008, a 62 percent increase (NCES, 2011a). In fact, from 2002 to 2008, the percentage of children in special education with health impairments due to chronic or acute health problems increased 60 percent (NCES, 2011a). The vast majority of these students require carefully coordinating health plans to meet their needs at school. The School Nurse plays a pivotal role in coordinating care and disseminating information to ensure the safety of these children in the classroom.

The Proclamation


Whereas, children are the future and, by investing in them today, we are ensuring our world for tomorrow; and

Whereas, all students have a right to have their health needs safely met while in the school setting; and

Whereas, children today face more complex and life-threatening health problems requiring care in school; and

Whereas, school nurses have served a critical role in improving public health and in ensuring student’s academic success for more than 100 years; and

Whereas, school nurses are professional nurses that advance the well-being, academic success, and life-long achievements of all students by serving on the frontlines and providing a critical safety net for our nation’s most fragile children; and

Whereas, school nurses act as a liaison to the school community, parents, and health care providers on behalf of children’s health by promoting wellness and improving health outcomes for our nation’s children; and

Whereas, school nurses support the health and educational success of children and youth by providing access to care when children’s cognitive development is at its peak; and

Whereas, school nurses are members of school-based mental health teams; and

Whereas, school nurses understand the link between health and learning and are in a position to make a positive difference for children every day, therefore be it

Resolved, that the Nebraska School Nurses Association and the National Association of School Nurses celebrates and acknowledges the accomplishments of school nurses everywhere and their efforts of meeting the needs of today’s students by improving the delivery of health care in our schools and offers gratitude for the nation’s school nurses, who contribute to our local communities by helping students stay healthy, in school, and ready to learn, and keeping parents and guardians at work, not just on this National School Nurse Day, but at every opportunity throughout the year.

Now, THEREFORE, I (Name), Governor of (State), do hereby proclaim May 7, 2014, as “School Nurse Day” in (State), and commend its observance to all citizens.

Posted on June 13, 2014


Silver Hawks claim two top honors for activities, athletics

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on June 12, 2014


LPS Athletics Memorable Moments 2013/14

LPS Athletics has begun its look back on the 2013/14 sports season with Memorable Moments. Each week for the next two months, two moments will be unveiled in random order. The 'Memorable Moments' include state champions, game-winning plays and a big upset.

To stay up to date and for photos of some past sporting events, visit the LPS Athletics Facebook page.


Jeralyn Poe, a junior at Lincoln North Star High School, won her third state individual title at the State Cross Country Meet. It's the first girls state title race at the 5,000-meter distance. That was the fall. In the spring, Poe put even more 'distance' between her and opposing runners by winning the mile and two-mile race at the State Track & Field Meet.


The Girls State Cross Country meet came down to two teams from Lincoln Public Schools: Lincoln Southwest High School and Lincoln East High School. Both teams had just one senior on the team, and both had a competitive top line of runners. But the Silver Hawks of Southwest would prove the winners in a close finale. Silver Hawk runners included Anna Hurlbut, Emily Berzonsky, Hannah Wolkenhauer, Taylor Augustyn, Abigail Burke, Marissa Czapla and Chloe Ubben.


More to come

Posted on June 12, 2014


Lincoln Board of Education meeting highlights, June 10

Lincoln Board of Education meeting highlights, June 10

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular Board meeting on Tuesday, June 10, at LPS District Office, 5905 O St. The meeting was live streamed on www.lps.org, and broadcast live on cable channels 80/99. The next Board meeting is set for June 24.

Meeting highlights

Update on Family Literacy Council

The Lincoln Board of Education listened to several stories Tuesday evening from Lincoln Public Schools families who participate in the Family Literacy program – which supports students through work with their parents, and where parents come to school every day alongside their children, said Jane Stavem, associate superintendent for Instruction.

A few comments from parents:

  • A Prescott Elementary School parent, from Burma: “I am thankful for Family Literacy and those who support us for many reasons. It has changed my reading and writing skills…now I don’t need a translator and can help my friends...Now my child can write and say the English alphabet..and I can go to my child’s classroom to see what the teacher teaches my child, so I can help my children with school work.”
  • An Elliott Elementary School parent, from Mexico: “First of all, I want to say thank you very much for the opportunity to participate in this program. It was very helpful. I couldn’t understand any English and had to ask for help with everything…Now I feel freer and more independent…But more than anything I want to do this for my children…so they can fend for themselves in the future. I hope this program can help more families.”

LPS Superintendent Steve Joel commented: “If you ever have an opportunity to see Family Literacy in action – it will absolutely warm your heart….It helps these people become better parents…Their motivation is to help their children be successful in school… We are helping our parents and children become more effective.”

Review of superintendent contract

Annually, the Board of Education evaluates and reviews the contract of the LPS Superintendent of Schools.  For the coming school year, the Board considered an annual salary package of $299,804 for LPS Superintendent Steve Joel, which is a 3.98 percent increase from his current salary of $288,329 (which is the same increase as LPS educators received). In addition to the salary package, the Board proposed that Joel receive a one-time $25,000 contribution to his retirement plan.

The Board will take a final vote at the June 24 meeting.

Board member Don Mayhew, who led the evaluation process for Joel, explained that the special contribution was proposed for several reasons:

  • Recognizing exemplary performance.
  • An opportunity to incent him to stay in Lincoln.

“I think that Dr. Joel’s performance has been incredible…He never wants to take more compensation than the teachers do…I think we need to make sure his compensation is at least competitive,” Mayhew said.

Kathy Danek, vice president of the Board, said she supported the salary package and the special compensation. “Every ship needs a leader, and Dr. Joel puts good people in places to help the ship stay on course…We have significantly increased the graduation rate. We have significantly attacked the technology issue.”

Board member Barb Baier said she would not be supportive of additional compensation: “We need to continue to promote a feeling of teamwork…. I see everywhere in our society…that we create a huge distance between leadership and workers.”

Approval of additional salary agreements

The Board also approved final contracts for several employee groups:

  • The Board approved the two-year contract for each of the three Associate Superintendents and the Assistant to the Superintendent be amended and extended for one year to June 30, 2016 – with an overall total package increase of 3.95 percent be for 2014-15 (the same overall amount as included in the negotiated contract for LPS educators).  Included in the package increase for each of the four positions are all district costs including the district’s contributions to health insurance, state retirement and Social Security.
  • The Board also approved a 3.95 percent total package increase for LPS Administrators, Custodial Employees Association, Maintenance Employees Association, Nutrition Services Workers Association, Office Professionals Association and Technicians

Grant applications

The Board discussed and approved submission of several grants.

  • College Access Grant (for Lincoln High, Southeast and Northeast high schools): LPS would apply for grants of $20,000 per school – through EducationQuest’s College Access Grants program – that would provide funding to Nebraska high schools to increase the high school’s college-going rate.
  • School Climate Transformation Grant Application: The Board discussed submission of the School Climate Transformation Grant Application to the U.S. Department of Education for the approximate amount of $250,000 per year for five years. LPS would use grant resources to: provide training on social/emotional development and trauma-informed care, implement evidence-based small group activities and enhanced mentoring for various sub-populations of students, pilot restorative practices in a high school setting, and provide deeper training and consultation to schools from the PBIS Technical Assistance Center to ensure fidelity to the framework.   (The grant relates to the LPS PBIS program that includes school-wide prevention practices that focus on setting and teaching behavioral expectations in all areas of the school including the classroom, playground, hallway, and bus.)
  • Project Aware Grant Application: LPS would apply for the Project AWARE Grant (through SAMHSA, a division of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services) for the approximate amount of $50,000 for a two-year project. The purpose of this program is to assist local educational agencies to begin support through the training of school personnel and other adults who interact with youth to detect and respond to mental illness in children and youth. It is required that individuals be trained in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) or Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA). LPS would use grant resources to train six district and secondary administrators to be YMHFA Instructors – who will then provide YMHFA training to approximately 250 individuals from LPS (teachers, administrators, and secured entrance monitors).
  • Full Service Community Schools Grant Application: The Board discussed submission of the Full Service Community Schools Grant Application to the U.S. Department of Education for the approximate amount of $500,000 per year for five years. LPS has already implemented a highly successful Community Learning Center (CLC) program across 25 schools in the school district.  Building on this 14-year old initiative, the Full Service Community Schools grant would allow LPS to deepen the school-community connections at three schools: Belmont Elementary School, Goodrich Middle School and Lincoln North Star High School. 

 

 

Posted on June 10, 2014


Lincoln Public Schools Budget Work session, June 10

Lincoln Public Schools Budget Work session, June 10

The preliminary $363.3 million Lincoln Public Schools budget for 2014-15 addresses a variety of factors in the LPS school district, including significant growth in the number of students attending school at LPS. In fact, next school year LPS estimates an increase of 1,000 more students – the largest increase in half a century since the Baby Boomer years of Lincoln.

Highlights of the 2014-15 preliminary LPS budget:

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

o   Significant growth in the number of students attending school at LPS. Next school year LPS estimates an increase of 1,000 more students – an increase that would put LPS student enrollment at almost 39,000.

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

o   The changing landscape of how we provide quality education.

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

o   Lincoln Board of Education work sessions at LPS District Office:

  • June 10, 4:30 p.m.
  • July 7, 4:30 p.m.

o   LPS budget forums:

  • June 24, 4:30 p.m., LPS District Office
  • June 26, 7, p.m., Lefler Middle School

o   Public hearing and first reading: August 12

More details of the 2014-15 preliminary LPS Budget:

  • LPS has two major revenue streams, and preliminary information for next year is beginning to take shape.

o   Assessed valuation: Last year, property valuation in the school district increased by 2.68 percent, however this year – after some initial returns – LPS is estimating a 1.5 percent increase.

o   State Aid: LPS will receive about $110.8 million in state aid to education next school year, compared to about $97.3 million received in the current school year. State aid is intended to equalize school funding across the state – and is based on factors such as student growth, increases in poverty and English Language Learner populations, and more. In national comparisons, LPS ranks 46 out of 51 states in the country for the percentage of public education revenue received from state sources.

This year LPS is proposing increased spending in a variety of areas, according to Liz Standish, associate superintendent for Business Affairs.

“Last year’s budget started to address classroom needs and size,” she explained, “and this year’s budget still focuses on student growth, meeting needs of the classroom. But this year we are also looking to restore capacity of district-wide services…It is so important that we support and maintain the systems that support our schools.”

  • A few highlights from the proposed increases in expenditures for 2014-15:

o   Additional staffing for classrooms: the equivalent of adding 53.9 teachers in regular education, 16.2 teachers and 18.9 paras in special education, 4 teachers and 4 paras in early childhood education, 2.6 teachers and part of a bilingual liaison position in English Language Learners (though final decisions have not been determined in the specific positions that will be funded).

o   Instructional supplies and equipment due to growth.

o   Start-up costs of The Career Center with expenses for the LPS share of paying the new director, as well as training, textbooks, equipment, supplies and more.

o   Additional positions for: school counselors/social workers/mental health workers, and school treatment nurses.

o   Technology costs for coaches, specialists and equipment.

o   Implementation/curriculum materials.

o   Communications web/technology technician.

o   Wellness facilitator (previously funded by a grant).

o   Funding to endure each LPS high school has a full-time assistant athletic trainer (in addition to the current full-time athletic trainer at each high school).

o   Increases for: HR/contracted services for costs such as background checks, etc.; risk management insurance premiums; utilities; custodial supplies and staff; transportation staffing, diesel fuel and parts; facilities and maintenance staffing; and more.

Posted on June 10, 2014


Two new additions named to Curriculum and Instruction

We are pleased to announce two new additions to the department of Curriculum and Instruction at Lincoln Public Schools:
 
  • Lance Nielsen will be the new supervisor of Music for LPS. Most recently, Nielsen has been an associate professor of Music for Doane College, and prior to that was an instrumental music teacher and director of bands at Lincoln East High School.  Nielsen received his graduate and undergraduate degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 
  • James Blake is joining the department as the curriculum specialist for Science. Blake comes to LPS from the Nebraska Department of Education where he served as the state director of Science Education. Blake is returning to LPS where he taught secondary science at Lincoln North Star High School. He is pursuing his doctoral studies through the joint administrative program at the Universities of Nebraska - Lincoln and Omaha. 

 

Posted on June 10, 2014


LPS, SCC launch new Career Academy for community

Follow The Career Academy on Twitter | Facebook | Stay Informed

Students who attend The Career Academy – a joint initiative of Lincoln Public Schools and Southeast Community College – should walk away with what might be called Diploma+ – according to Dan Hohensee, director of the high school program that will open in the fall of 2015.

He explained that Career Academy students should walk away with a diploma, plus: credit hours of college, experience with internships and apprenticeships, potential certifications – and more – ready for a job or ready for college.

Today, this is about the power of you,” Hohensee told a group of about 150 participants who attended the official Community Launch of the program on Thursday – where presenters provided an overview of the program as well as encouraged local business and industry people to consider participating in the new Academy program.   “How can you paint yourself into the picture,” Hohensee asked the audience.

The Career Academy – now under construction on the SCC campus at 88th and O streets – will offer a wide variety of career pathway courses for high school juniors and seniors.

For much of the Thursday event, participants attended various breakout sessions that focused on the major career pathways. Each session stressed that students who graduate from The Career Academy should be able to articulate into higher education but also be employable immediately.

Participants were urged to consider the “Power of You” with possible contributions for the Career Academy that could include: regular visits, speaking, panels, advising, project ideas, judging contests, one-time special event support, consumable donations, equipment funding, Academy sponsorships and more.

“This is about changing our internal culture,” said LPS Superintendent Steve Joel. “We will be talking with children about career education from the time they are in elementary school.”

Kathy Danek, vice president of the Lincoln Board of Education, noted the consistent theme of “Growing our own…growing our own construction workers, growing our own teachers…We all need to work together to make this work, because it’s good for our students, our community.”

In one breakout session, Jadi Miller, director of curriculum for LPS, said part of the opportunity is helping even elementary students see the array of potential careers. Students might asy they want to be teachers, becaues they see teachers almost every day, or professional athletes, because they see them on TV and other media.

Ag Science, for example, isn't just about a career as a farmer.

"Part of it is to help them understand what those all look like, and part of it is to get them hands-on experience and then help them see if it's something they want to explore," Miller said.

Major breakout sessions were:

Engineering: 28.5 possible dual credits

Session presenters stressed that there is an incredible shortage of engineering workers in this community – and that graduates would have incredible employment opportunities. 

Welding/Manufacturing

Manufacturing: 26 possible dual credits

Welding: 23-27 possible dual credits

Presenters stressed that 80 percent of the course experiences would be “hands-on” with real-life experiences. 

Construction: 13-30 possible dual credits

Courses in this area would cover a variety of courses that include building construction technology, electrical technology, masonry, woods manufacturing, HVAC/R technology and more

Education/Early childhood

K-12 education: 30 possible credits

Early childhood: 35.5 possible dual credits

Student outcomes for the Academy:

  • Student outcome 1: Completion of the rigorous requirements to earn an LPS high school diploma.
  • Student outcome 2: Earning up to one year of post-secondary credits critical for completion of post-secondary degrees.
  • Student outcome 3: Progress toward industry certification.
  • Student outcome 4: Depth of study in a career field…at least three courses in a single career field.
  • Student outcome 5: Acquisition of Nebraska Standards for Career Readiness.

Posted on June 06, 2014


Schirmer to begin as new Zeman principal

Lincoln Public Schools has announced that Kristi Schirmer will be the new principal at Zeman Elementary School, following current Principal Donna Williams who will retire at the close of the school year.

Schirmer is now assistant principal at Kloefkorn, and has also served as coordinator at Rousseau Elementary School and taught at Rousseau and Belmont Elementary School.

Eric Weber, associate superintendent for Human Resources, said:  "We are very excited for Kristi to join the team at Zeman. Her leadership experiences at Rousseau and then Kloefkorn have well prepared her for this principalship. She's going to be a great fit."

Cindy Schwaninger, director of Elementary Instruction, said:  "Kristi brings a strong skill set to this position that will continue the Zeman tradition of partnering with families and the community, while keeping a sharp focus on academic success for all students." 

Schirmer earned her Bachelor's Degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, her Master of Education Degree from Mid-America Nazarene University and has her Post-Baccalaureate Administrative Endorsement through UNL.

Posted on June 06, 2014


Spartan Speech: A video about a program of success

For the last thirteen years, Lincoln East High School has won the Class A State Speech title. Only once since 1976 - the first year for team competitions, has East finished worse than second - and they’ve won the title 31 times altogether.

To capture a little bit of the work that goes into this successful program, LPS Communications followed two Spartan speech students, interviewing them at the beginning of the spring season, before and after districts, and after the state meet.

Trisha Miller and Danny Carraher, both juniors, share their feelings about the East speech legacy, the pressure, the fun, the speeches themselves, and the nerves that one might expect to go along with keeping such a streak a live.

When the team finishes in second place at the district meet, it adds a new layer of pressure and preparedness to their state meet prep.

Miller and Carraher are joined by Coach Matt Davis, and later by two other speech students who would win individual titles at state, in sharing the stories behind the East speech team.

State speech video clips were provided by the Nebraska School Activities Association via NET. Stills at the state meet were provided by Trisha Miller.

 

 

Posted on June 04, 2014


Students mix summer and science at Elliott

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on June 03, 2014


'Hear to Learn' group earns community honor

Beth Brady and Susan Stibal received the Community Horizon Award from the Lincoln Community Health Endowment for their work on the Hear to Learn project. Hear to Learn helps teachers and schools put sound amplification equipment in classrooms enabling more children to hear their teacher more often.

From CHE’s website about the Horizon Award: Special individuals and groups enrich our community by sharing their time, resources, and talents to make Lincoln a healthier place to live, work, and raise a family. In an effort to recognize the contributions of these individuals and groups, CHE’s Community Horizon Award was born.

 

Posted on June 02, 2014


LPS high schools donate books for younger students

In the Months of March and April, High School students in LPS participated in the statewide Annual Cornhusker Book drive. Supported and organized by the LPS AmeriCorps VISTA Team, the High School Students and the Staff at the LPS District Office collected an impressive 5,592 books! With all the high school’s participating, East High School donated the most books, bringing in over 800 from their school!

With the books collected, 2,000 were donated to students who receive a food bag from the backpack program, 335 were collected for preschool students, and 184 were collected for infants and toddlers in the district. The VISTA team also received a donation of 2,275 new books which will be distributed to high school students.

The additional books that were collected for adults will be distributed throughout the state as a part of our participation in the statewide drive. The LPS VISTA team is very grateful for all of the hard work that the students and staff put into collecting books for this drive.

The younger students greatly appreciated the gift of a new book before the summer, and this couldn’t have been accomplished without all of your efforts.

Posted on May 30, 2014


Middle School Parent-Teacher Conference Schedule for 2014-15

 The following are the Parent/Teacher Conference Dates for the 2014-15 school year for Middle Schools:

 
Lux, Lefler, Pound, Schoo, and Scott will conference on these dates:
 
Thursday, September 11, and Tuesday, September 16, 2014
 
Tuesday, February 3, and Thursday, February 5, 2015
 
 
Schools choosing alternate dates:
 
Dawes: September 9September 11February 10February 12
 
Culler: September 25November 20February 17April 16
 
Irving: September 18 and 22, 2014; February 23 and 25, 2015
 
Goodrich September 9November 4February 5April 13
 
Mickle: September 16November 20February 10April 23
 
Park: September 23November 18February 10April 7

 

Posted on May 29, 2014


Goodrich builds solutions with robots, camaraderie with each other

UPDATE: The Goodrich Middle School robotics team placed 13th in Nationals. 


Check out the video at the bottom of the page

If you want to learn how to better work with other people, you might try something like a robotics club.

Students in the club at Goodrich Middle School have learned how to program robots to do very specific tasks, how to work with fellow students who have different opinions, and, most recently, how to build a winning team and robot.

Goodrich won first place in the state First Lego League competition recently at the SAC Museum. The team advances to a national competition in California this summer, and hopes to attend if they can raise the necessary funds.

The assignment this year was Nature's Fury. Students teamed up to design a robot that would help the Smokejumpers of Missoula navigate and fight large-scale fires.

The students are judged on their robots, their quick problem-solving skills, and their ability to function as a team.

"You learn how to get along as a team," said eighth-grader Richard Sanchez. "In a school, it helps if you are going to work with someone you don't necessarily like, you have that pre-knowledge of how to work with people, how to solve problems on the spot."

The students put in many hours after school, but also enjoy working on similar projects at home. The skills they use in programming the robots, like using coordinates to determine a path requires knowing the slope formula, comes up in their school curriculum, too.

Other topics for past and future students include Senior Solutions, where students identify and create a solution for problems senior citizens face, and World Class, where students design a modern classroom for schools.

Students on the team include: Jason Vo, Keith Tran, Richard Bui, Maria Thomas, Mathew Pagan, Alex Meysenburg, Brieanna Kroeger, Andrew Anderson, Richard Sanchez and Saliman Attaie. The coach is Jesse Andres.

For more on the specifics of the events, read the Q&A with the coach conducted prior to the statewide competition.

Posted on May 29, 2014


Highlights of the May 27 Board of Education meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for its regular meeting Tuesday, May 27, at Lincoln Public Schools District Office. The next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 10, again at District Office.

Highlights of the May 27 Board meeting

Wendy Van, the new director for the Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools, offered an update of the Foundation and particularly fundraising for The Career Academy - at Tuesday's Lincoln Board of Education meeting.

Van said the Foundation has “the beginnings of a vision for the next 25 years…I’m really proud to report major progress. We are engaged with many community members who believe in the Foundation and its value to public education. They are supportive, thoughtful and very energized…We are working to make our services more affordable and valuable…We have built bridges to exciting partnerships. We have celebrated teachers and scholars.”

Van said the Foundation is particularly focused on The Career Academy, “working carefully to build a system of support.” She said many corporate partners are already reaching out, “and it is critical we can figure out ways to engage them.”

She said the Foundation is envisioning lots of ways the community can support the activities of The Career Academy:

  • Nonfinancial ways through internships, professional mentorships, providing expertise, filling in-kind needs, making onsite visits
  • Financial support in building sponsorships and scholarships, identifying special projects and equipment., developing marketing and recruiting support

On June 5, the Foundation will hold a community launch of The Career Academy with an overview of partnerships, an update of progress and working toward who is interested in moving the work forward.

In other business, the Board affirmed selection of Lanny Boswell as the new member of the Joint LPS/Southeast Community College Board to develop The Career Academy. Board member Richard Meginnis was the former member, but resigned when he was recently elected president of the Board.

Employee contracts

Annually, the Board of Education reviews the contracts of the Associate Superintendent for Instruction, the Associate Superintendent for Business Affairs, the Associate Superintendent for Human Resources, and the Assistant to the Superintendent for General Administration and Governmental Relations.

It was recommended that the proposed two-year contract for each of the three Associate Superintendents and the Assistant to the Superintendent be amended and extended for one year to June 30, 2016. It was also recommended that an overall total package increase of 3.95 percent be approved for this group for 2014-15 – the same amount as included in the negotiated contract for LPS educators.  Included in the package increase for each of the four positions are all district costs including the district’s contributions to health insurance, state retirement and Social Security.

The Board also recommended a 3.95 percent total package increase for LPS Administrators, Custodial Employees Association, Maintenance Employees Association, Nutrition Services Workers Association, Office Professionals Association and Technicians

Board recognition

The Board of Education passed a special resolution to recognize three teachers in Lincoln Public Schools honored with Outstanding Educator Awards from the Nebraskans for Civic Reform:

  • Lisa Bales, Lincoln Southwest High School
  • Elizabeth Carranza-Rodriguez, Lincoln North Star High School
  • Cheyenne Janssen, Lincoln Northeast High School

Posted on May 27, 2014


Recent Items

Jordan Shoes Michael Kors sale Jordans dr dre Jordans Michael Kors bags for women cheap jordan shoes cheap beats by dre jordan retro uggs clearance