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EdNotes Express

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

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

High School Information Night for Eighth Grade Families < Updated

At Lincoln Public Schools, students have an option to choose which high school they would like to attend.  All the high schools provide a high quality educational experience for all their students, but each school also offers different opportunities and programs.

Lincoln Public Schools is offering two information nights for parents and students who want to know more about what options are available in high school. Both sessions are the same and open to the families of ALL students, no matter which high school they plan to attend.

Families may attend either:

Monday, October 3, 2016 Southwest High School auditorium 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, October 11, 2016 Lincoln High School auditorium 6:00-7:00 p.m.

Speakers will give information about the process of selecting a high school, LPS Focus Programs (Science, Arts & Humanities, and Bryan), the International Baccalaureate Program at Lincoln High, Air Force Junior ROTC program at Northeast, The Career Academy, Learn to Dream Scholarship Program, and EducationQuest.

Anyone with questions about these special programs or transitioning to high school in general  are encouraged to call the Counseling Center at their planned high school.

Each high school will still be offering open houses for eighth grade families to tour and ask questions before the enrollment deadline. Those dates are in January.

High School Open Houses:

Tuesday, January 10, 2017 North Star High School  6:30 p.m
Wednesday, January 11, 2017 East High School 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, January 12, 2017 Southwest High School 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday, January 17, 2017  Southeast High School 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday, January 18, 2017 Northeast High School 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday, January 24, 2017 Lincoln High School 6:30 p.m.

These focus programs will be offering open houses as well for families to get more information:

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 The Career Academy 7 - 8 p.m.
Thursday, October 27, 2016 The Career Academy 7 - 8 p.m.
Thursday, November 3, 2016 Arts & Humanities 6 - 7 p.m.
Monday, November 7, 2016 Zoo School (at the Zoo) 6:00 - 6:45 p.m.
Monday, November 7, 2016 Zoo School (at the Zoo) 7:00 - 7:45 p.m.
Saturday, November 5, 2016 IB Academy at LHS (for 6-8 grade) 8 - 11:30 a.m.

Posted on September 22, 2016


Vernon-Hansen wins NSPA Service to Children Award

Ursula Vernon-Hansen, School Social Worker who serves Scott Middle School and Hill and Adams Elementary Schools, was awarded the Service to Children Award from the Nebraska School Psychology Association (NSPA).

Each year the NSPA recognizes one individual outside of the profession of school psychology with the Service to Children Award.  This individual is recognized for their efforts and activities that have made a substantial contribution to the lives of children.

Nomination letter by Jill Timmons: 

This candidate is a social worker for Lincoln Public Schools. As such she advocates for and supports students and families through out our community. 

One school psychologist wrote: Ursula creates an environment for children that is based on mutual respect and makes school a safe learning community so that students can concentrate on their individual strengths. Ursula strives to form positive relationships with her students by making it clear that she has her students’ best interests at heart. 

Another school psychologist described Ursula in this way: Ursula strives to give students and their families the best. She is open to trying any intervention to support students and teach them the missing skills. Plus, she does it all with a sense of humor. She is wonderful to collaborate with! She does not silo herself in the Social Work world but collaborates with school psychologists in her work. Her dedication (even after school hours) to students is something to strive for! She is so deserving of this award. 

The coordinator for school social workers wrote: Ursula is a dedicated school social worker who goes the extra mile to connect students and families to resources that will help them be successful. Though her primary responsibility has been to students who are in elementary and middle school she has also worked with high school students at the summer school program. Ursula is the ideal school social worker - competent, ethical, responsible, approachable, trustworthy, conscientious - who seeks opportunities to learn and lead others.

The director of student services wrote: Ursula builds great relationships with students and families. She is an excellent problem solver, caring and patient. Ursula knows the resources available for families and students and goes out of her way to connect the two. Ursula is highly professional and non-judgmental. 

From the first day I meant Ursula in 2002, she welcomed me to my new position and was willing to teach me, collaborate and partner with me as we served our students. Although I no longer get to work by her side, I get to hear about her good work for students from my colleagues who share the same opinion that I do which is this: We are so lucky to get to work with her because she truly has a heart for children. Ursula is not only an amazing social worker, she is an incredible friend! When my son and I experienced personal loss, she came running to our side and fought for and with us like a true warrior. She was there to battle with me, cry with me and laugh with me. She is a true blessing in my life but also to the students she serves. There is no one I can think of who is more deserving of this award than my dear friend and dear colleague.

Posted on September 21, 2016


High School Fall Plays

East High School
The Adding Machine
Tickets cost $7
Thu, Sept. 22 at 7:00 p.m.
Fri,  Sept. 23 at 7:00 p.m.
Sat, Sept. 24 at 7:00 p.m.

Southwest High School
Steel Magnolias - http://lsw.lps.org/detail.html?id=10728
Tickets cost $8 for students, $10 for adults
Thu, Sep. 29 7:00 p.m.
Fri, Sep. 30 7:00 p.m.
Sun, Oct. 2 2:00 p.m.

North Star High School
Leaving Iowa
Tickets cost $5 for kids, $8 for adults
Thu, Oct. 6 at 7:00 p.m.
Fri,   Oct. 7 at 7:00 p.m.
Sat, Oct. 8 at 7:00 p.m.

Lincoln High School
The Mouse That Roared
Tickets cost $5
Thu, Oct. 6 at 7:00 p.m.
Fri,   Oct. 7 at 7:00 p.m.
Sat, Oct. 8 at 2:00 p.m.

Censored on Final Approach (One-Act Play)
Tickets cost $5
Thu, Dec. 1 at 7:00 pm

Northeast High School
Young April
Tickets cost $5
Tue, Oct. 11 at 7:30 pm
Wed, Oct. 12 at 7:30 pm
Thu, Oct. 13 at 7:30 pm

Southeast High School
Diary of Anne Frank 
Tickets cost $8 for students and seniors, $10 for adults
Fri, Oct. 14 at 7:30 pm
Sat, Oct. 15 at 7:30 pm
Sun, Oct. 16 at 2:00 pm

Posted on September 21, 2016


Finkhouse, Thomsen receive 2016 Yale Educator Award

Colleen Finkhouse and Jason Thomsen of Lincoln Southwest High School have been recognized by the Yale Office of Undergraduate Admissions as recipients of the 2016 YaleEducator Award. They were nominated by 2016 LSW graduate Ashley Pales.

The Yale Educator Recognition Program recognizes outstanding educators from around the world who support and inspire their students to perform at high levels and to achieve excellence. Of this year’s 326 nominees, who represent 33 states and 24 countries, 55 teachers and 28 counselors were selected to receive the award. Matriculating students are invited to nominate high school educators, and a committee of Yale admissions officers reviews each nomination individually and designates recipients. In September, the winners were sent engraved desk sets and congratulatory letters, and administrators of the high schools were notified of their achievement.

Here is Pales' nomination letter:

Mr. Thomsen was my teacher for AP Biology. He first stood out as a great educator to me when he let me transfer into his class, even though it was already full. I had sent Mr. Thomsen an email explaining how I really, really wanted to take AP Bio and how it would be much appreciated if he could open up a spot for me, and he did.

From that moment on, I loved AP Bio. I’m certain that I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much if I’d had a different teacher. Mr. Thomsen did an excellent job at making sure we knew all the material before the AP Exam---a difficult feat, considering our school operated on block scheduling and that the test was in May, before our semester would finish. Our labs and experiments were always fun and extremely beneficial to understanding the material. We had frequent, challenging tests and quizzes, but I never felt ill-prepared for them.

Mr. Thomsen always emphasized the fact that taking AP Bio under his instruction would help us prepare for higher education. Now that I have finished the class, I believe him more than ever.  AP Bio was the most challenging class that I’ve ever taken, but during the course I learned valuable skills in time management and group efficiency.

The countless students who know Mr. Thomsen from one or more of his positions in the science department can attest that he is a wonderful teacher and person. Taking his class and getting the opportunity to know him was one of the most valuable experiences of my high school career, and I’m proud to say that my school has such a profound educator making a difference in many students’ lives every day. 

When I transferred high schools at the beginning of my junior year, Mrs. Finkhouse was the first staff member of my new school that I met. She made a great impression on me, and I knew that she was going to be valuable over the next two years.

I come from a school where most seniors attend in-state colleges, and not many people consider competitive, out-of-state institutions. So, as a Yale applicant, I ended up spending a lot of time in Mrs. Finkhouse’s office, and I got to know her very well. She was always excited to see me and always wanted to hear about what was going on in my life.

When I became frustrated with a difficult class (AP Physics), she encouraged me to stick with it, reminding me that the hard work I put into it would pay off later. She was always willing to help me out with anything---class schedules, letters of recommendation, financial aid, scholarships, and whatnot.

After talking with other students counseled by Mrs. Finkhouse, I knew I wasn’t the only one who felt like she really cared about our futures. Her devotion to our educational success could be seen in the way she went above and beyond to help students with whatever they needed; she made us feel like our education goals were important.

Mrs. Finkhouse was with me through every step of my Yale application, and I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to share it with her. I know that future students will love working with her and that she’ll continue to bring out success in everyone.

Posted on September 21, 2016


Mapp receives NSPA Outstanding School Psychologist Award

Jamie Mapp, Psychologist at McPhee Elementary, was awarded the Nebraska School Psychologists Association's (NSPA) Psychologist of the Year.
 
Each year the NSPA awards one member School Psychologist of the Year.  This person demonstrates or has demonstrated contributions to the profession that are of exemplary status.
 
Mapp was nominated by 3 people.  Here are their nominations:
 
Nomination #1 by Hillary Veerhusen

This candidate is outstanding at her tasks given and goes above and beyond expectations when working with students, staff and parents to achieve success and superior amounts of advocacy for her school community and her profession.

Nomination #2 by Ariel Christensen

This candidate is an outstanding school psychologist because she goes above and beyond for her students. She is constantly advocating for her students at home, as well as school and in turn creating a better environment for them to thrive. She is an advocate for the field of school psychology by being a leader and role model for her peers and new psychologists who are still developing their skills. She never hesitates to help or guide her colleagues through tough and tricky situations. As an intern in the field, her guidance has meant a great deal to me. Her knowledge and skills are admirable; she is an exceptional school psychologist and sets a standard all school psychologists should strive to meet.

Nomination # 3 by Jill Timmons

This candidate is currently a co-team leader for Lincoln Public Schools and a full time school psychologist at McPhee Elementary School. As a team leader, she supervises interns each year and does an amazing job supporting and growing their skill set. She has also supervised practicum students. Her interns for the last 2 years contribute their growth and success to her mentorship. At a district level, she provides training each year for administrators, teachers, school psychologists, bus drivers and paras. She co-facilitates monthly professional development meetings for school psychologists. She is a member of our district crisis response team and supports our team by being part of the school psychologist interviews each year. 

At a building level, she is considered part of the leadership team. She is the building leader for SAT, RTI, PBIS, mental health and advocates for students on a daily basis through her work in contacting community services, creating systems level change, individual student plans, monitoring school wide data and direct work with students. In my conversations with her building administrators, they have described her as “critical to their building work.”

I would add that she is “critical” to our district work. Her positive attitude, constant focus on ‘what is best for kids’ and a desire to support, grow and lead others makes her the perfect candidate for School Psychologist of the Year.

 

Posted on September 21, 2016


Kelley named Geography Teacher Fellow

The American Geographical Society (AGS) has named Ms. Kelley of Lincoln Southwest High School as a 2016 AGS Geography Teacher Fellow. Ms. Kelley is one of fifty teachers selected from across the United States to participate in this first year of the program. The AGS Geography Teacher Program has been made possible by a generous gift to AGS by the Boundless Corporation.

Kelley teaches Advanced Placement (AP) Human Geography at Lincoln Southwest High School. As part of the award for being selected as a Teacher Fellow, Kelley will attend the AGS Fall Symposium on November 17 and 18, 2016 at Columbia University in New York City. The Symposium will enable the Teacher Fellows to gain valuable cutting edge content knowledge and awareness of the real-world geographic workplace skills demanded by today’s geospatial companies. The Teacher Fellows will have a unique opportunity to interact with, and become one of, the nation’s thoughtleaders who are involved in the multi-year dialog about the future of geography.

“We are very pleased to be able to have Alison among 50 of the best teachers in the country join us in New York City in November,” said Dr. John Konarski, CEO of the American Geographical Society. “Geography and geospatial science have an effect on just about every aspect of our daily lives. The collective experience and expertise of these Geography Teacher Fellows will help guide the Society as we lead the discussion about the future of geography. In addition, the teachers will be able to bring back to their classrooms, practical and cutting edge information about the latest advancements in the geospatial world. We are so privileged to have these amazing teachers leading the future of geography with us,” added Dr. Konarski.

Posted on September 21, 2016


Maxey kindergarten teacher wins Award for Teaching Excellence

Linda Freye, kindergarten teacher at Maxey Elementary School, was recently named one of 43 public school educators who received the California Casualty Award for Teaching Excellence – one of the nation’s most prestigious honors for public educators.

The educators will be honored at the NEA Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education Gala to be held in Washington, DC on February 10, 2017.

The California Casualty Awards for Teaching Excellence are unique: in addition to being recognized for excellence in instructional and professional practice, awardees are nominated by their peers – their National Education Association state affiliate – for their dedication to the profession, community engagement, professional development, attention to diversity, and advocacy for fellow educators.

 “Teachers have to believe in their students and believe that they can learn. I use whatever strategy I need to use to reach a child,” Ms. Freye said. 

Because the NEA Foundation values both professional development and diversity, awardees are invited to participate in its Global Learning Fellowship. Fellows learn how to prepare their students for a connected and multicultural world in this comprehensive, year-long professional development program, which includes an international field study next June.

 “These outstanding educators are innovators, challengers, and global thinkers,” said Harriet Sanford, NEA Foundation President and CEO. “We are delighted that California Casualty joins us once again in expressing our shared admiration and thanks for their work.”

“The California Casualty awardees are the architects of our nation’s future,” said Beau Brown, California Casualty CEO. “We are thrilled for the opportunity to honor them with the California Casualty Awards for Teaching Excellence.”

The Nebraska State Education Association nominated Ms. Freye for the honor. Her school will also receive an award of $650.

 

Posted on September 21, 2016


Preparations for first Unified Bowling underway

This is the first year for Unified Bowling and several Lincoln teams are getting ready for the first season which begins October 17.  Lincoln Southwest High School describes what's been happening as the team prepares.

With little over a month before practice and competition begin, the Lincoln Southwest Unified Bowling team is getting ready for the inaugural season. Participants met recently for shirt and ball fittings to begin to prepare for the NSAA's newest sanctioned sport.

"It's an incredible opportunity for our school, the district, and the entire state," said head coach Brandi Benson. "I think that this could really be something that brings the school together and starts to create a more socially inclusive culture within the building."

Unified Bowling combines equal teams of students with intellectual disabilities and individuals without intellectual disabilities. Team members are referred to as athletes and partners and bowl using what is known as the Baker format.

"I am so excited to have an opportunity to work with students from my school," said LSW partner Arabelle Jackson. "I look forward to making relationships with my bowling partners and competing with them."

Currently, there are over 40 teams throughout the state that have committed to the first year for the sport. Practices and competitions begin in mid-October and continue to the State Tournament at the beginning of December. A date for State is still being decided.

"What's exciting is that I get to be on a team," said LSW athlete Clint Adams. "I get to make friends and go Hawks!"

 

 Unified Bowling partner Hunter Paxson gets fitted for a bowling ball by Jason Johnson of Let's Talk Bowling Pro Shop.

Posted on September 21, 2016


LPS hosting six ‘Digital Citizenship’ events this fall

Lincoln Public Schools will host six community events this fall centered around safety in technology and social media. LPS has partnered with Ryan Sothan of the Consumer Protection Division the State Attorney General's office, a state leader in best practices for the use of technology for families and students.

Each presentation is the same, and all are free and open to all ages. Attend the presentation that fits your family's schedule best:

Mickle Middle School - Sept. 22, 6:30 p.m.

Culler Middle School - Sept. 27, 6 p.m.

Scott Middle School - Oct. 3, 6:30 p.m.

Pound Middle School - Oct. 24, 7 p.m.

Park Middle School Nov. 14, 7 p.m.

Schoo Middle School, Nov. 17, 6:45 p.m.

About Sothan’s presentation: Think of “Digital Citizenship: Rules of the Road for Safely Navigating the Information Superhighway” as Driver’s Ed, a primer designed to raise awareness and prepare families and students to drive and interface with today’s information technology—including social media and smartphones—in a safe, responsible, and respectful manner.

About Sothan: As Outreach Coordinator within the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office, Ryan has statewide responsibility for developing and implementing community-based initiatives for educating Nebraskans in the areas of consumer fraud, predatory and illegal business practices, and Internet safety.

After each presentation, LPS will have staff available for parents to ask questions regarding technology in schools, including Chromebooks, a student device being rolled out to more students at various levels over the next two years.

Posted on September 21, 2016


Congratulations Jane Stavem!

The L Magazine, a product of Lincoln Journal Star, is featuring women in Lincoln who are in a leadership role. These articles will highlight the kinds of business women who are recognized by the Lincoln Journal Star’s annual Inspire – Celebrating Women’s Leadership program, which culminates with an awards program in September.

Lincoln Public Schools Associate Superintendent for Instruction Jane Stavem was recently featured in the publication. Here is the link to the article in the Lincoln Journal Star: http://journalstar.com/niche/l-magazine/profiles/q-a-with-an-inspiring-woman-dr-jane-stavem/article_e1af1933-89c2-548d-b6fd-2860e8ec9f32.html

Posted on September 20, 2016


Wysong celebrates with official dedication

More pictures and full video of the ceremony coming soon.

Sally Wysong Elementary School – the newest building for Lincoln Public Schools that opened this school year in southeast Lincoln –held an official dedication Sunday afternoon in celebration of a new beginning for students, families and staff, a celebration of community, and a celebration of the woman whose name was chosen for the school.

“Today we celebrate the creation of a community of learning…a place where teachers and parents, family and friends will come together to help our children grow and learn,” Boswell said.  "Today we celebrate Sally Wysong…an advocate of public education and early childhood education.”

Boswell honored Wysong’s legacy, and the many friends and family members who attended the Sunday ceremony – all wearing t-shirts that proclaimed: “Wysong...The Originals.”

"Sally was ahead of her time – understanding the value of providing young people with a rich and meaningful education," Boswell said.

 LPS Superintendent Steve Joel agreed: “Today we honor the work of Sally Wysong, who dedicated her entire career to make sure children would get the very best we could provide. She made a difference.”

 Hadyn Kihm, Wysong’s oldest grandchild, also spoke at the celebration and specifically noted that her grandmother’s maiden name was Goodfriend.  “When the students at Wysong look up at the sign on their school, they will know that they always have a good friend watching over them: My grandma.”

 At the close of the ceremony, Wysong Principal Randy announced the official school mascot and school colors voted on by Wysong students. They will now be known as the Wysong Wolves – with blue and silver colors.

 “We really are a family here at Wysong,” Oltman said. “That is how we do our work.”

Posted on September 20, 2016


Hannah Huston sings Valentine of songs for schools, community

Hannah Huston – the Lincoln preschool teacher who wowed the nation with her performance on the latest season of “The Voice” – sang a song of gratitude to Arnold Elementary School, Lincoln Public Schools and the community Sunday evening at a fundraiser with the Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra presented at The Lied Center for Performing Arts. 

Highlighting the evening, Arnold children joined her on the stage as she serenaded them with “Let There Be Peace on Earth” – a gift to the school where she taught before she took leave last year to compete on the popular television show. 

“I’m so honored Lincoln would put together something like this - for a preschool teacher,” Huston told the audience. “I’m proud to be part of the Lincoln Public Schools family, where they support students in dreaming big dreams – but they also stand by their teachers.”

 In a concert that ran almost two hours, Huston performed many of the songs she performed on “The Voice,” including the blockbuster, “House of the Rising Sun.” 

The night was called, “Welcome Home Hannah Huston,” with a portion of the funds raised going to LPS Early Childhood through the Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools. 

Huston said it was emotional leaving her classroom kids last year, “but there are so many things a person can love. I love teaching and I love singing.”

Posted on September 19, 2016


Constitution Week September 17-23

September 17-23 is Constitution Week and schools all over Lincoln kicked off the week with special events. 

Constitution Week, which also includes Constitution Day and Citizenship Day on September 17, is an American observance to commemorate the adoption of the United States Constitution. The purpose of the observance week is to promote study and education about the constitution which was originally adopted by the American Congress of the Confederation on September 17, 1787.

"Constitution Day and Citizenship Day is important to help students understand and celebrate the rights and freedoms we have in our country," said Jaci Kellison, K-12 Social Studies Curriculum Specialist for Lincoln Public Schools. "It gives teachers and students time to explore and reflect on our nation's democratic ideals and aids in preparing our students to be engaged, active, and informed citizens."

Check back as we will be adding video and pictures of our different classroom celebrations all week long. 

Posted on September 16, 2016


LPS shares pride in continued strength of achievement scores

Lincoln Public Schools continues looking at a well-rounded plan for educating children – with excellence in classroom instruction, quality teachers who focus on that great instruction and take time to work with all students, strong school and district leadership, fine curriculum, professional development and continuous improvement – and the result is continued strength in achievement based on release Friday of the 2015-16 Nebraska State Accountability (NeSA) scores, the piece of the achievement picture based on state standards.

 

“We are really proud that we have so many areas that have the best scores we have ever seen, and that is the result of amazing work happening every day in classrooms across our school district,” said Jane Stavem, associate superintendent for Instruction at LPS. “We’re seeing some of the highest NeSA proficiency scores we’ve ever had – especially in reading and math – in the history of our school district. There’s a lot to celebrate here…and, of course, always more work to be done.”

 

She emphasized that these kinds of solid scores do not happen by “magic,” but instead – “by doing the hard work to make sure we are accomplishing the right things that focus on instruction.”

 

There are a total of 17 tests administered to LPS students grades 3-11 through NeSA, and of those: 14 overall scores either went up or stayed the same; and 11 were all-time highs, or tied for all-time highs from the last seven years.

 

Summary of subject area highlights  (Scores based on assessments administered in Nebraska public schools last spring to all students in grades 3 through 8, and grade 11. This is the seventh year Nebraska students have taken the NeSA reading exam, the sixth year they have take math, and the fifth year for science.)   

 

Reading grades 3-6

  • In all grades, the percentage of LPS students proficient in reading meets or exceeds the state average.
  • In grades 3, 4 and 5, the percentage of students proficient was at an all-time high in 2016.
  • Grades 3, 4 and 5 have shown an upward trend over the last three years.
  • Ten elementary schools increased the percentage of students proficient in all three grades.
  • Two elementary schools have increased the percentage of proficient students at all three grade levels three years in a row.
  • One middle school has increased the percentage of sixth graders proficient three years in a row.
  • Continued use and refinement of rigorous instruction in McGraw-Hill Wonders curriculum has led to increases in reading scores.

Reading grades 7, 8 and 11

  • In grade 8, the percentage of LPS students proficient on secondary reading exceeds state average.
  • In grades 8 and 11, the percentage of students proficient was at an all-time high.
  • Three high schools increased the percentage of students proficient three years in a row.

Science:

  • Elementary curriculum enhancements showed evidence of effectiveness in grade 5 during the 2015-16 school year, tying the all-time highest score for elementary science on NeSA: These scores occurred even with a pilot program for new science curriculum running last school year at six of the 38 elementary schools.
  • Middle school curriculum enhancements showed effectiveness in grade 8, exceeding state average by 1 point in 8th
  • In grades 8 and 11, the percentage of LPS students proficient in science rose steadily from 2012 to 2013 and then become relatively stable in the last two years.

Math:

  • For grades 3-8, the percentage of LPS students proficient in math exceeds the state average.
  • All grade levels have an upward trend from 2011.
  • One high school has raised the percentage of proficient students every year starting in 2013.
  • High school proficiency among eleventh grade students enrolled in advanced algebra, or a course beyond advanced algebra, was 81 percent.

Following inquiries from some school districts, the Nebraska Department of Education is confirming the accuracy of calculations of NeSA writing data and did not release writing scores Friday. The writing test will no longer be administered next year as part of NeSA – instead, writing will be embedded in the other tests. “Preparations are already underway for the changes coming next year in writing assessments,” Stavem said.

 

Posted on September 16, 2016


Lincoln Public Schools joins nation in celebrating Family Service Learning Week

September 12-16 is National Family Service Learning Week, and the House of Representatives in Washington D.C. introduced a resolution acknowledging the broad benefits of Family Service Learning. 

Lincoln Public Schools has participated in the Family Service Learning multi-generation method developed by the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) since being awarded a three-year Toyota Learning Grant in 2013. 

Family Learning includes components such as family mentoring and service learning – but the foundation is something called PACT: Parent and Child Together Time. Among its many benefits, Family Service Learning improves workforce and literacy skills while enabling parents to become stronger teachers and role models for their children. 

"I am pleased to see Congress recognize the importance of Family Service Learning," NCFL President and Founder Sharon Darling remarked. "Whether addressing crime, fostering health and nutrition, or helping people reclaim their communities, when families—especially low-income families—are treated as an integral part of the learning process, children, families, schools, and communities all stand to benefit. Family Service Learning equips family members with employability skills to improve their socio-economic status. And it creates stronger ties between low-income populations and their own communities," she added. 


About the National Center for Families Learning 

The National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) is a non-profit organization dedicated to addressing our nation's literacy challenges by engaging all family members in learning, with a primary focus on parents and children living in poverty. Pioneered by NCFL, the two-generation family literacy approach harnesses the power of parent-child bonds to help those who are most at risk of failing economically, emotionally, and socially reach their full potential. Family Service Learning is NCFL's latest innovation on its two-generation family learning model. This approach to community building, currently being implemented in 20 U.S. communities, was developed with generous support from Toyota, NCFL’s partner in family literacy and education efforts for 25 years. This approach also has gained funding support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Skillman Foundation, PNC Grow Up Great, the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation, and the William R. Kenan, Jr., Charitable Trust. 

NCFL develops and utilizes innovative programming and tools that focus on empowering families. Its programs are evidence-based and have been shown to improve student attendance, achievement, and behavior (including decreased absenteeism) while simultaneously building adult capacity for college and career readiness.

Posted on September 14, 2016


Kicking off LPS Live: Board Preview

Recording of LPS LIVE: Board Preview on 9/13/16

On September 13, we kicked off a new Facebook Live broadcast to preview the Board meeting agenda with Board President Don Mayhew and Vice President Connie Duncan.

Before each Board meeting at appoximately 5:40 p.m., Mayhew will sit down with a Board member and they will talk about issues that will be appearing on that night's agenda. If there is time, they will also answer viewer questions that are posted on the Facebook feed.

If you are interested in watching, go to the LPS Facebook Page and click on the video, or watch for our live broadcast beginning at 5:40 p.m. before Board meetings.

The next show will be on Tuesday, September 27, at 5:40 p.m.

Posted on September 14, 2016


Wysong dedication SUNDAY

The dedication ceremony for the new Sally G. Wysong Elementary School is set for 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18, for the newest LPS school,  located at 7901 Blanchard Blvd.

 

Dignitaries will speak, children will sing, tours will be offered and refreshments served. 

 

The event is open and free to the public.

Posted on September 14, 2016


Highlights of 9/13 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

Lincoln Public Schools:

Highlights of 9/13 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education held a regular meeting on Tuesday, September 13 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The Board will hold its next meeting Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 6 p.m.

 

BOARD MEETING Highlights

Moving ahead with new strategic planning initiative for LPS

The Lincoln Board of Education is moving forward with a new community-wide strategic planning initiative with a plan to engage the community and gather thousands of citizen voices to help refresh Lincoln Public Schools major strategic goals.

 

The plan involves gathering community input – through civic, school and community meetings, as well as through social media and online surveys – to refresh the school district’s major goals for the coming five years.

 

Lanny Boswell, chair of the Board’s Strategic Planning Committee, explained that the process will have three guiding principles:

  • Inclusion
  • Future focus
  • Unity

“We want a very inclusive process, we want to cast a wide net,” Boswell said. “We know a whole bunch of people will want to be part of this process, and they should be.”

 

Tuesday, the Board approved a $32,400 contract with Leadership Resources, a local company that will provide support and guidance in the strategic planning process.

 

New computer laptops for educators

The Board approved a $2.9 million purchase of 3,500 Macbook Air computers to replace the current certificated staff computers. LPS certificated staff use Macbook Air computers to create lesson plans to assist with the education of their students.

 

Approval for additional compensation for health technicians – and memo of understanding with Lincoln paras

The Lincoln Board of Education has prioritized recruitment and retention of employees in hard to fill positions.  The school district has identified that health technician positions as well as paraprofessional positions are currently hard to fill based on recruiting and hiring data collected. 

 

As a result the Board Tuesday approved recruitment and retention funds be allocated to enhance the previously approved salary increase for health technicians, increasing compensation by $2 per hour.

 

Recruitment and retention funds were also allocated to enhance the previously negotiated salary agreement with the paraprofessional employee group: Increasing all para compensation by 16 cents per hour. When the 16 cents is added to the 34-cent increase – already included in the new contract – paras will see a 50-cent increase per hour in the 2016-17 school year.

 

Property tax request

Board members must officially make an official property tax request to provide revenue for the budget adopted by the Board of Education, a necessary step in the process. The Board considered that request Tuesday – and will vote final approval at the Sept. 27 Board meeting.

 

Theater needs

The Board considered a proposal for submission of a grant application by Lincoln Southwest High School for $10,000 in lighting equipment and bulbs for its auditorium.  No matching funds are required by LPS. The grant is offered by Electronic Theatre Controls, Inc., headquartered in Middleton, Wisconsin, which awards philanthropic equipment grants each year.

 

The Board will vote final approval at the Sept. 27 Board meeting.

 

Student Celebration

The Board of Education recognized Alex Torres, a Lincoln High School senior, who gave a speech at the launch of the annual community United Way campaign.

 

Posted on September 13, 2016


Making connections through interactive media

“This year it won’t be so easy for people to just walk on by.”

That’s what Lincoln Public Schools district media coordinator Chris Haeffner wants any way when MOSAIC goes on display at the district office September 6 - 15, and later as it rotates through area schools over the next two years.

MOSAIC is a collection of multicultural literature selected by a committee to help students make connections with the many different cultures from around the world. This year, MOSAIC is modernizing with more hands-on and interactive displays to help create more connections with the books.

Over 280 titles will be part of the interactive displays which will include things like:

  • QR codes on the books and readers so students can watch video clips related to the stories;
  • Augmented reality viewers with virtual tours loaded on them;
  • Building blocks with specialized pieces from different cultures;
  • Cards with QR codes so students can watch popular music videos from around the world;
  • Or Chinese calligraphy mats and instructions.

“It took a lot of hours for our staff to research the multimedia support for each title and then compiling them all together,” added Haeffner. “Our hope is to get them to stop and look more deeply at the literature, giving them a richer experience and a deeper connection.”

The display will be at the LPS district office located at 5905 O Street in Lincoln and is open and free to the public during regular office hours. Click here to see all of this year’s titles selected for MOSAIC.

 

Posted on September 13, 2016


Run to Overcome event

The annual Run to Overcome will be Saturday, Oct. 30. The race proceeds will be used to raise awareness and provide education on topics of mental health. This is a 1 mile kids fun run and a 5k walk/run and is a family friendly event to bring hope to the community. There are ribbons for the kids and prizes for the top 2 male and female runners in each age category. The event is called Run To Overcome and is presented by Project 4:7, a newly formed non-profit in the Lincoln community that will provide medical/wellness scholarships to individuals in need of mental health treatment that could not otherwise afford it. 

More information and event registration can be found here.

Posted on September 12, 2016


Exploring our immigrant stories

Posted on September 09, 2016


ConnectED turns student IDs into city library cards

Surrounded by the many books of McPhee Elementary School Library, Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler and Lincoln Public Schools Superintendent Steve Joel announced a new partnership to provide all LPS students with access to the resources of the Lincoln City Libraries, including high-speed Internet access.

"Lincoln is a city that values education, and we are proud of our excellent public libraries and public schools," Beutler said. "The ConnectED Library Challenge is another way we are working as partners to help our children become adults who are engaged in the community and who participate in our culture of innovation."

Through ConnectED, LPS students will have an account with Lincoln City Libraries using their school identification numbers. The project will start during the 2016-2017 school year with students in three pilot schools — McPhee and Norwood Park Elementary Schools and Lefler Middle School. The goal is to extend Connect ED accounts to all LPS students for the 2017-2018 school year. This will allow them to check out materials and to access information through the library's website, lincolnlibraries.org.

"This partnership will encourage students to be lifelong learners, increase student achievement and help us make sure our students are ready for their future after graduation," said Joel. "This collaborative project also expands our participation in Prosper Lincoln by supporting early childhood education, employment skills and innovation. This is one more way for us to support children and families in our community, making sure that every Lincolnite has the opportunity to read and learn every day."

LPS Board President Don Mayhew added, “This initiative enhances classroom experiences by providing students with access to homework help, magazines and encyclopedias, and a variety of other electronic resources. For example, our high school students will be able to access car repair manuals online and locate more science, technology, psychology, legal, and medical information from their Chromebooks. These diverse resources will assist our students as they prepare to be college and career ready.”

Posted on September 08, 2016


EHS teacher selected for NARSP scholarship

Matt Maw, Business Education and Technology teacher at Lincoln East High School, has been selected as one of two recipients of the 2016-2017 Nebraska Association of Retired School Personnel (NARSP) Active Educator Scholarships.  The scholarships in the amount of $1,000 each are awarded annually to an active educator working toward an advanced degree or endorsement in a related field of education.  Mr. Maw previously taught at Lincoln Southeast High School.

By offering the scholarships to active educators in the field, NARSP members have an opportunity to “maintain professional contacts and to develop new ones” with the district, schools, and educators in and around the communities of the local units. 

The NARSP Executive Board reviewed a total of ten quality semi-finalist applications from nine local units.

Matt Maw is pursuing a Master of Education degree in Educational Leadership at Doane University.  The Lincoln Area Retired School Personnel submitted his application.

Mr. Maw received his Bachelor of Science in Education and Human Sciences degree with a Business, Marketing, Information Technology, and Diversified Occupations endorsement from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  Matt has also earned a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Doane College.  He has been an educator for six years.

On his application essay, Matt noted, “I am currently pursuing a Master of Education in Educational Leadership.  This degree will be my second Master’s, with my other degree being a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction.  I strive to combine the leadership skills developed in my current program with my knowledge of curriculum gained from my prior Master’s to be more effective in the classroom and serve as an instructional leader within business education.  I hope to further engage colleagues and students while creating a culture allowing everyone to be successful in reaching individual learning goals.”

One of the references indicated, “One of Mr. Maw’s strengths is his strong academic focus.  He sets high stands for himself and his students.  Mr. Maw has a great rapport with his students.  He is easy to approach and ready to assist students when they need extra help.”

Matt is an active member of the school and district professional learning communities.  He is a member of and actively involved in a number of professional organizations at the local, state, regional, and national levels.  He also volunteers and participates in a variety of community service projects and activities.                                   

Posted on September 07, 2016


Big Ticket Week set for Sept. 6-10

Students in elementary and middle school can get free admission to an athletics event during the annual Big Ticket Week. This year, the week is Sept. 6-10, and the free admission applies to any LPS-sponsored athletic event with an adult’s paid admission.

Download here

Below are the events eligible for free admission during Big Ticket Week:

Tuesday, Sept. 6

5 p.m. - North Star vs. Southwest - Softball, All Levels - Doris Bair Complex

5:30 p.m. - Grand Island vs. Lincoln High - Volleyball, all levels - Lincoln High Gyms

5:30 p.m. - East vs. Southeast - Volleyball, all levels - Southeast Gyms

5:30 p.m. - Norfolk vs. North Star - Volleyball, all levels - North Star Gyms

Thursday, Sept. 8

9 a.m. - Southeast Invitational - Varsity Girls Golf - Holmes Golf Course

4 p.m. - Fremont vs. East - Varsity Boys Tennis - Woods

5 p.m. - Fremont vs. North Star - Softball, All levels - Doris Bair Complex

5 p.m. - Columbus vs. Lincoln High - Softball, V & JV - Doris Bair Complex

5 p.m. - Bellevue West, Marian vs. Southeast - V & JV - Southeast Gyms

5:30 p.m. - Burke vs. Northeast - Volleyball, all levels - Northeast Gyms

7 p.m. - Bellevue West vs. North Star - Varsity Football - Seacrest Field

Friday, Sept. 9

7 p.m. - Southeast vs. East - Varsity Football - Seacrest Field

7 p.m. - Papillion-La Vista South vs. Lincoln High - Varsity Football - Beechner Field

Saturday, Sept. 10

9 a.m. - North Star vs. Southeast - JV Football - Seacrest Field

 

Posted on August 31, 2016


Annual LPS Saltdogs game brings excitement, creates memories

Haymarket Park filled with voices of excitement and laughter, music and cheers as approximately 3,000 Lincoln Public School fifth grade students attended the annual Saltdogs Game field trip.

“The biggest thing is we actually have an opportunity this year to bring every single school to the ballpark,”  said Matt Avey, LPS curriculum specialist for Health and Physical Fitness. “We’ve done this for nine years, but it’s nice to finally get every fifth grader on the same page - all 39 schools out here enjoying the day at Haymarket Park.”

It is an annual ritual of lessons in character, sportsmanship and good fun.

“Obviously we want the kids to have fun, but there’s some teachable moments here. We’re really trying to get the kids to understand not only the importance of physical activity, but how to participate in a positive manner as a spectator. That’s a component of the character education piece we teach our kids,” Avey commented.

The students played a big part in the day’s activities. Prescott Elementary performed the Star Spangled Banner. Each school had a student representative serve as “Watchdogs” - students who get to follow players onto the field during introductions. Leo from Norwood park was chosen as the mini-manager, providing the line up to the umpires and start the game with the traditional “Let’s play ball!” Students also became junior professional announcers and participated in the between inning games on the field.

Avey added, "I’m excited to see all these smiling faces on our kids today. This has become a great tradition for Lincoln Public Schools - something kids look forward to from the time they start kindergarten and one of their greatest memories at graduation time.”

Highlights from the day: 

Facebook LIVE broadcast at the beginning of the game:

Posted on August 25, 2016


ACT scores continue strong with all LPS juniors taking test

August 24, 2016

For immediate release

ACT scores for Lincoln Public Schools continued strong and steady with results from the fifth year of a pilot program in which all LPS high school juniors now take the college-ready test for free.

“Taking the ACT has become part of the culture in our school district,” according to Jane Stavem, associate superintendent for Instruction at LPS, noting that these scores mark a record for the most LPS students taking the test. “And we are holding firm in our scores with a population of students that continues to grow and change.”

As LPS student enrollment increases, more high school juniors take the test every year – 2,351 took the test last year – while the composite test score has remained steady with the same composite score over the past three years. In fact, of the states in the top third for participation in the ACT, Nebraska is first in composite scores by almost a full point.

Jadi Miller, director of Curriculum at LPS, said she is especially proud that LPS juniors take this test seriously. “The day we administer the ACT is one of the highest attendance days of the school year for high school juniors…Our kids are really invested in this, they see this as an opportunity.”

Before the pilot program began, only about 65 percent of LPS graduates took the ACT, but now virtually 100 percent take the test, one of the most common standardized college entrance examinations, according to Leslie Eastman, director of Assessment and Evaluation for LPS.

In April of 2012, LPS started participation in the pilot of what is called the District Choice in-School Testing (DCST) program for the state of Nebraska in which all LPS juniors take the ACT at no cost on a regularly scheduled school day (as opposed to the previous process of paying for the test and taking it on a Saturday morning).

Eastman said that each year, high school counselors share stories about kids who took the ACT – who would not have taken it if the test were not administered free at school – and who have obtained scholarships and are heading for college.

“I think of the realization that certain states only test 20 percent of their juniors…and there’s the possibility for missing a kid who is potentially ready to go to college,” said Sarah Salem, director of Continuous Improvement and Professional Learning. “Our school district is finding the potential in every single kid.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on August 24, 2016


Highlights of 8/23 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

Lincoln Public Schools:

Highlights of 8/23 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education held a regular meeting on Tuesday, August 23 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The Board will hold its next meeting Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 6 p.m.

 

BOARD MEETING Highlights

Budget approved for 2016-17

The Lincoln Board of Education approved the 2016-17 budget Tuesday evening – a budget that slightly lowers the tax levy and provides the educational needs for significant growth in the school district.

 

Board member comments:

  • Annie Mumgaard noted she sometimes hears comments about a lack of discussion or commentary about the budget – and she disagreed with that characterization. “I want you to know I have been in a lot of discussion about this budget…with people who care deeply about our schools…We’ve had such a range of discussions on how we use the funds we have toward the best good and the best end…. The discussions have been very deep and very sincere.”
  • Lanny Boswell: “I look forward to voting for this budget…I think it’s a budget that focuses on classrooms…the priorities are in the right place.”
  • Matt Schulte said he was especially satisfied that the General Fund tax levy was going down.
  • Board President Don Mayhew: “We do a very good job of making sure we have the funding necessary to meet the core mission of educating children…and taking care of the needs of our kids.”

Highlights of 2016-17 Budget

The LPS budget is set through a process of staff research, analysis and discussion; as well as open meetings and public conversations.

 
 
Over the last ten years, from 2005-2006 to 2015-2016, LPS reduced the total tax levy over seven cents – from $1.3142 to $1.2429. For 2016-17, the school district will see an even slightly lower levy of $1.2392 for 2016-2017, the lowest levy in our records dating back to 1967-1968. The average homeowner paid $2,148 in property tax to LPS in 2005-2006 and will pay an estimated $2,026 in the 2016-2017 budget (a difference of $122, based on $163,457 average home).

 

The 2016-17 budget for Lincoln Public Schools addresses a variety of factors:
  • Providing appropriate staffing, services, supplies and resources to address significant growth in LPS student enrollment. LPS estimates an increase of 900 or more students for 2016-17 – following a growth of 7,500 students in the past ten years – growth that means LPS would teach well over 40,000 students in the coming school year.
  • Addressing the growing complexity of the demographics and needs of LPS students.
  • Serving our students in a changing landscape of providing the highest quality education.

The budget continues to focus on providing continued quality education – recognizing that a quality education system is a long-term investment, not simply an expenditure – and our community, our businesses, our families, our students deserve a great school system.

 

A few highlights of additional funding provided under the budget:

  • Providing help to classrooms and schools with: added teachers and staffing for regular education, special education, early childhood, English Language Learners (refugees and immigrants); added school social workers, health care workers and high school security; added staffing for middle school math and reading intervention; added staff for intervention assistance for after-school hours.
  • Resources allocated for opening the new Sally G. Wysong Elementary School and the Bill Nuernberger Education Center; and early start-up costs for Marilyn Moore Middle School (which opens in the fall of 2017).
  • Continuation of phasing in the LPS instructional technology plan.
  • Funding to accommodate increases related to more schools and more students – for instance, increases in utilities, facilities and maintenance, custodial services and more.

 The 2016-17 expenditures for the LPS General Fund total $402 million – a 5.95 percent increase over the previous year.

 According to the most recent statistics, LPS ranked 227th out of 245 school districts in Nebraska in per pupil spending – LPS spent $10,576 per pupil compared to the state average of $11,619.

 

Update on staff diversity

LPS Human Resources gave an update to the Board on one of the LPS strategic goals: Continually expand efforts to recruit staff reflective of the diverse demographics of our students.

 

The U.S. teaching force continues to fall short of reflecting the demographics of the student body, and Lincoln Public Schools teachers are still about 95 percent white, according to Eric Weber, associate superintendent for Human Resources at LPS. Weber noted an increase in diversity of students – while the diversity of new educators has not kept up, “so the gap continues to widen.”

 

Current research about minority teacher recruitment indicates:

  • Effective teacher recruitment efforts begin at an early age.
  • Adopt aggressive recruiting practices in colleges and universities.
  • Close partnerships with community colleges and universities.
  • Actively seek candidates with alternative certifications.
  • Regional recruitment efforts appear to be more successful than out of state or out of region strategies.

Current research about minority teacher recruitment indicates:

  • Teacher autonomy and collaboration with administrators.
  • Access to effective professional development and leadership opportunities.
  • Financial incentives for teacher retention – research and conclusions are mixed and not reliable.
  • Culture and climate help create an environment welcoming to diverse educators.

LPS has ongoing strategies to increase teacher diversity including:

  • Early hires.
  • Student teacher pipeline: Placed in LPS, Student Teacher Boot
  • Camp, LPS interview fairs, cooperating teacher feedback.
  • LPS high school students attend Future Multicultural Teachers Workshop at LPS District Office – hearing about possible future in education.
  • Multicultural Dinner/Reception - Matching college students with
  • district administrators of diversity, discussions about application
  • process, resumes, etc.
  • Local Job fairs - SCC, Journal Star job fairs, discuss careers in
  • Education.
  • Assisting with H1B visas - securing extensions of visas and
  • permanent residence for employees.
  • Career Academy - Future K-12 students in LPS.
  • Recruiting – Reaching out to LPS administrators for names and numbers of diverse practicum students and student teachers.
  • Informal Transition to Teaching Program Cadre - Potential
  • educators, Transition to Teaching Program UNK.
  • Relationships with programs - Peter Kiewit Foundation
  • Educators Opportunity Scholarship.
  • Advertising -Teachers of Color Magazine, HBCU.
  • Recruiting - Attendance at National Alliance of Black School
  • Educators (NABSE), District leaders.
  • Local Subs - Seniors in teacher education to be hired early.

Computer Laptops recommended for educators

LPS certificated staff use Macbook Air computers to create lesson plans to assist with the education of their students – and the Board is considering the $2.9 million purchase of 3,500 Macbook Air computers to replace the current certificated staff computers.

 

The proposed computers will replace computers purchased for certificated staff three years ago, allowing those 3-year-old computers to be placed in elementary and middle school computer labs.   Intel-based Apple computers support both the Macintosh and Windows operating systems, allowing the district to maintain a single hardware platform while also providing teachers the opportunity to select the platform that best meets their productivity and instructional needs.

 

The Board will vote final approval at the Sept. 13 Board meeting.

 

Permission for proposed additional compensation for health technicians – and memo of understanding with Lincoln paras

The Lincoln Board of Education has prioritized recruitment and retention of employees in hard to fill positions.  The school district has identified that health technician positions as well as paraprofessional positions are currently hard to fill based on recruiting and hiring data collected. 

 

As a result the district is recommending that recruitment and retention funds be allocated to enhance the previously approved salary increase for health technicians and increase compensation by $2 per hour.

 

The district is also recommending that recruitment and retention funds be allocated to enhance the previously negotiated salary agreement with the paraprofessional employee group: Increasing all para compensation by 16 cents per hour. When the 16 cents is added to the 34-cent increase – already included in the new contract – paras would see a 50-cent increase per hour in the 2016-17 school year.

 

The Board will vote final approval at the Sept. 13 Board meeting.

 

Attendance assignments for newly annexed property

The Board of Education assigned school attendance areas to property newly annexed to the City of Lincoln or newly platted: Pemberly Place, Annexation Ordinance #20347 – are Maxey Elementary School, Pound Middle School and Lincoln Southeast High School.

Student Celebration

The Board of Education recognized the student leaders of LPS Student Serve: Ajus Jain and Faith Irvine, both seniors at Lincoln East High School.

Student Serve is a student-led, district-wide initiative committed to instilling civic responsibility in our students by promoting behaviors of good citizenship and volunteerism in our community.

 

Posted on August 23, 2016


LNE raises the rocket once again

(Full video of the LIVE broadcast below)

Students, past and present, along with staff and other local dignitaries gathered on the front lawn of Lincoln Northeast High School at 8:00 a.m. under the glistening new black and silver rocket sculpture.

Replacing what was lost 26 years ago, principal Kurt Glathar said when people think of Northeast they think of rockets.

“I hope you will remember this day that we have created...When you come back in ten years, in 20 years and 30 years from now, I fully believe this rocket will be standing proud - welcoming new students and alumni alike,” said Glathar. “Today take pride in being a rocket, it’s a symbol that will live on for a long time and we’ll be very proud of it and I appreciate all of you being here today to help us dedicate it.”

Jim Campbell, retired teacher and LNE alumni spoke to the crowd about what being a rocket was all about.

“Rocket starts with the letter R, and the R in rocket stands for respect...The second letter is O, opportunity...C is a letter that becomes community...K, I think for us as we talk about it is kinship...E is for education...T is for the teachers and teamwork...S is the most important thing, students. It’s the students who make this school,” said Campbell.

Nebraska state senator Matt Hansen read legislative resolution 620 which officially recognized Northeast High School for celebrating their 75 years.

Other dignitaries who spoke talked about the symbol of the rocket and what it means to Northeast:

  • Don Mayhew, school board president: “Today, this high school stands tall and strong, and how fitting for it’s symbol to be a rocket. Named after the famous local train the Rock Island Rocket. You think of the power of those engines, of the modern technology behind those engines, and you think of the power of public education in our lives.”

  • John Neal, LNE alumni and assistant to the superintendent: “As an alumnus, the rocket symbolizes the role the rocket played for me and will play for you - as the launching pad for your future. It will provide a stable foundation as you go off to college and a career.”

  • Jason Lemon, alumnus and raise the rocket committee chair: “The last time I got goosebumps this big, Marian Price was handing me my diploma back in 1990. Kurt, when we started this project, you were Principal Glathar to me. 216 emails, 113 phone calls, 6 text messages and 23 visits to your office later I’m now proud to call you my friend. Thank you. To every person who has worn the black and white before me, and those who will do so after...once a rocket, always a rocket!”

Glathar also wanted thanked the many community volunteers that made the project possible.

“We have many people to thank for this unselfish contribution. The planning and design committee Jason Lemon, Clayton Heath and his wife Wendy, Reed Stephenson and Doug Weatherholt. Ayars & Ayars, Inc. donated the labor in laying the pad, the arch and placing the rocket. Dan Leosing donated the labor and the paint. Rivers Metal Products, Inc. hand built the rocket. Mike Eisenbarth, engineer, donated his time designing the base and the supporting structures. U.S. Bank and LPS Foundation helped with donations to help kick off the project.”

Posted on August 22, 2016


Lux science teacher finds 'glowing' success

Our teachers don’t take the summer off, most are participating in classes and professional development. Lux Middle School science teacher Rich Powers participated in the Research Experiences for Teachers program at UNL. He describes what he did this summer below:

I was selected to participate in a Research Experience for Teachers (RET) with UNL's Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC). The goal of the RET is to provide teachers experience working on a research program during the summer, gaining first-hand experience with cutting–edge research and modern technologies. 

I was working with Dr. Alex Sinitskii in Chemistry and Dr. Axel Enders in the Physics department. The initial goal of our project was to easily make an inexpensive glowing (photoluminescent) substance in the chemistry lab and then to apply that substance onto a conductive surface. We were very successful at making and applying the material. This research may one day be used to produce cheap flexible solar cells. 

For the last decade, science education has emphasized the move towards "three dimensional learning". (Three dimensional learning blends the subject content with scientific and engineering skills and the concepts that occur across all science domains). My RET experience provided valuable insights into scientific and engineering practices, as well as the conceptual connections between them. 

I will share and model these practices and connections with my students and require them to ask questions, solve problems, and design solutions in the classroom. I will also invite MRSEC members to visit my classes throughout the year, bringing hands–on science activities and showing examples of how materials research affects their lives. It will also be really beneficial to show students what real scientists and engineers do on a daily basis and encourage students to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) learning pursuits and professions. 

Pictures: (Photo 1 - Powers in the lab making perovskite, Photo 2 - Perovskite photoluminescing, Photo 3 - Printed Nebraska N-shaped perovskite photoluminescing)

Posted on August 19, 2016


Donation to Eastridge turns into walk down memory lane

Before school kicked off, residents of the Country House at 70th and O street collected and donated 24 backpacks full of school supplies to Eastridge Elementary School. The backpacks will be given to students who qualify for the backpack food program to carry their food home each week.

When the Country House dropped of the donations, the residents were given a personal tour by principal Deb Dabbert. Come to find out, one of the visitors had made a big impact on Dabbert.

It was fun for me to recognize Ann Powers, a former LPS teacher, and share with her that she was an inspiration for me as a young teacher,” said Dabbert.

The school has invited the residents to join them for their afternoon winter and spring music concerts and student success assemblies.

Posted on August 19, 2016


Piano Lessons for Adults - the Lincoln Community Piano Experience

Have you always wanted to play the piano? Or have you forgotten how to play piano since you were a child? Join Lincoln's Community Piano Experience, a group piano class offered with the help of UNL’s School of Music Piano Pedagogy faculty and interns! Offering classes at beginning and intermediate levels! Date, time, location, and cost information can be found on our website https://sites.google.com/site/lincolncommunitypiano/. For additional information email lincoln.cpe@gmail.com or call Travis Worsham at 936-591-2116. Registration deadline: August 31, 2016. 

Posted on August 18, 2016


Update: Kognito Suicide training for staff, troubleshooting

If you have already successfully completed the Kognito Suicide training you can ignore this information below.  Please remember: Building principals and department supervisors will receive reports at the start of each month reporting staff members who have completed the training.

Overall, the Kognito training has gone well.  However, the Kognito website has been experiencing intermittent service interruptions that have been affecting the proper functioning of the training website (especially during times of peak usage).

Kognito is working to resolve these issues, but they wanted to provide some guidance in the event that you may experience any of the following issues:

Log In Issue - No Error Message (Page "re-sets")

If you are attempting to log in and are being dropped back to the log in page without seeing any errors (and it appears that the log in page has simply re-loaded), please be aware that your password and e-mail are most likely correct.   The issue is on the Kognito end, and they are working to resolve it as soon as possible. 

Try logging in a second time by entering your e-mail address, password and clicking "Sign In" again. It may take one or two additional attempts, but you should be able to log in after several tries. 

Log In Issue - Seeing a Message asking you to check your E-mail or Password

This message appears when a user's e-mail or password is entered incorrectly. This can result from a few issues:

1.) You may have made a typing error in either the e-mail or the password. Please do double-check that the e-mail is fully entered (including the "@domain.com" portion)

2.) You may have copied and pasted your e-mail or password into the fields, and accidentally included an additional space at the beginning or end of the entry. The system will read this as a character and return an error message.

3.) You may have re-set your password using the automated system, but the new password either did not arrive or does not seem to work. If you experience a delay in receipt of your password re-set e-mail, or if entering the password you received results in an error message asking you to check your username or password, please notify Kognito tech support  at support@kognito.com.   

Loading Issues - The Simulation will not load when you click "Launch."

In cases where the simulation fails to load, Kognito generally finds two types of common errors:

1. Pop-up Blockers Preventing the Simulation from Starting

If you have a pop-up blocker enabled on your web browser, it will prevent the training from loading properly. If you require assistance unblocking your pop-ups, please notify: support@kognito.com. 

2. Error Message on Launch (Memory Issues)

If you receive an Error upon launch that asks you to contact Kognito Technical Support (or in Chrome, an error page that says "Aw, Snap!"), then your web browser may be running out of memory when trying to load the graphics from our simulation. 

In cases like this, it's best to contact Technical Support at support@kognito.com.  They can determine the issue and tailor the response to your individual needs.

However, you can also try the following:

1.) Ensure that no other applications or web pages (besides the Kognito website and the training window) are open when you launch the simulation.

2.) Try opening the simulation in Internet Explorer - IE will give you the option to open the training in Standard Definition, which uses much less memory than the High Definition version used in Chrome or Firefox. The graphics will not be as crisp, but the content is the same.  

If you reset the simulation but your certificate still shows last year's date

If you accidentally complete the simulation as a review (re-launch instead of re-certify see instructions below), please contact Kognito Technical Support (support@kognito.com).

If you went through all the steps to re-certify and you still receive last year's certificate, then you may be experiencing a tracking error in the system that is preventing your status from properly updating to "complete." These issues are rare, but can prevent the updated certificate from appearing.  Please do not restart the training at this point. Instead, contact support@kognito.com and they'll be happy to handle the situation for you.

Reminders: 

If you took this training last year, please know you need to take it again this year.   You will need to utilize the Recertification feature by clicking on the "Need to Recertify?" link (it will appear on the left hand side of the "Re-Launch" button). To view an instructional video on this feature, please go to:

http://resources.kognito.com/videos/Recertify_with_Kognito.mp4

This will reset the course to the beginning. Simply "relaunching" the training will not generate an updated Certificate for this calendar year.

If you have not yet taken the training, please go to the following link for instructions on how to sign in, establish a new ID and password: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_2gb9qfrLSeVTfyiitznTIKpjM0qL1CTVQbd3lGcXko/edit. 

For everyone:

  • Information on how to turn off pop-up blockers (which may come up when you try to use Kognito): https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_2gb9qfrLSeVTfyiitznTIKpjM0qL1CTVQbd3lGcXko/edit

 

 

Posted on August 18, 2016


Embracing all cultures at Culler

Teachers at Culler Middle School became students during a special presentation when staff reported back to work.

Parents participating in the family literacy program at Culler Middle School this summer were given an opportunity to speak with Culler teachers during staff development on August 9. The activity was coordinated by principal Gary Czapla and family involvement specialist Ever Preciado.

The presenters volunteered to share their holidays, dress codes, and facts about the education system in their countries. Families also prepared food from their countries for the educators to try.

“This is a one million dollar opportunity,” said Preciado. “When you can meet one on one with them and hear their stories, and what their dreams are for their children.”

Czapla said this information will help staff understand the students and families they serve every day.

“The thing that stuck out to me was when getting a phone call from the school, they think it’s because the school needs money,” added Czapla. “We need to rethink how we communicate. It is important to slow down and use translators to send home accurate information.”

After the presentation, staff agreed that it would be a challenge coming to a new country, not speaking the language or knowing the culture while trying to be successful.

“I think it really shows how we need to embrace the whole community. It shows how scary it is coming into the United States, and not knowing the school system. This is a way for them to know the expectations of the school system and become part of the Culler Middle School family,” said teacher Renee Bohaty.

This is the fourth year for the family literacy summer classes, and proves to be the most successful yet. With an 87% attendance rate, there were 34 families representing 16 countries and 11 different languages.

During the summer classes, students move through four levels learning about Nebraska and U.S. culture, different holidays that are celebrated and English.

Posted on August 18, 2016


Lefler staff learn how poverty impacts students, parents

Students can face a number of challenges before they even step foot in the classroom. In an effort to better understand what students and families may face daily, the Lefler School Improvement Planning (SIP) team reached out to The Food Bank and Leadership Lincoln to provide Bridges Out of Poverty Training for Lefler staff the week before school started.

“The last two years we have been focused on learning how trauma and poverty can impact students at school,” said principal Jessie Carlson. “The School Improvement team started to reach out to our community to see what resources were out there and who could provide this training.”

Staff spent the entire day at the Food Bank’s Child Hunger Center. In the morning they participated in a poverty simulation facilitated by Leadership Lincoln, enabling participants to look at poverty from a variety of angles and then to recognize and discuss the potential for change within their local communities.

During the simulation, participants role-played the lives of low-income families. Some were Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients, some were disabled, and some were senior citizens on Social Security. They had the stressful task of providing for basic necessities and shelter on a limited budget during the course of four 15-minute “weeks.” They interacted with human service agencies, grocers, pawnbrokers, bill collectors, job interviewers, police officers and others.

“Each staff member had their own different experience. Afterwards, they realized as teachers we sometimes get frustrated students don’t have their homework done, but these families are just fighting to meet their basic needs each day and don’t have time to do many other things,” added Carlson.

Carlson credits SIP co-chair Dawn Holsten with creating the successful experience for the staff.

“It’s really important we integrate cultural proficiency and understand where our kids come from if we are going to help them be successful,” said Holsten. “We needed to break out of our comfort zones. You get so focused in your own world, sometimes you don’t see where everyone else comes from.”

In the afternoon, staff became students as they discussed their experiences and learned more about the hidden rules and mental models that exist within each economic class. Bridges Out of Poverty is a lesson in empathy, not sympathy, and understanding. All socioeconomic classes are called upon to view the same topics from perspectives different than their own as a step to address root causes of poverty.

Continuing with the theme through the school year, staff have been given a journal to write and share their experiences.

Holsten added, “The journal has two parts. We want staff to branch out into the community and learn more about the kids we serve and reflect about it in their journal. We also want them to keep a gratitude journal, shifting the perspective from ‘things that would be better if’ to ‘I’m thankful I have this’.”

Carlson thinks this really made an impact on her staff this year.

“They left with some powerful take aways. This evoked emotion, and when we have that, we learn in a different way.”

Posted on August 18, 2016


Lincoln Public Schools: Highlights of 8/9 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education held a public hearing on the proposed budget for 2016-17 as well as a regular meeting on Tuesday, August 9 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The Board will hold its next meeting Tuesday, August 23 at 6 p.m.

 

BOARD MEETING Highlights

Proposed 2016-17 budget considered

The Lincoln Board of Education held a public hearing Tuesday on the proposed 2016-17 Lincoln Public Schools budget – inviting members of the public to come and speak – followed by Board discussion. A final vote on the budget will happen at the August 23 Board meeting.

 

Board member comments:

  • Kathy Danek: “I am proud that our budgets have always been forward-thinking…and I would point out that we still always seem to have a list of needs we can’t fund.”
  • Barb Baier: “Overall I support this budget…I want to thank staff for their efforts. This is a lot of work and you do an excellent job…As we go forward I want to take a moment to go and be mindful of something that is really necessary…that we use evidence-based decisions on our programs.”
  • Don Mayhew noted this would mark the lowest levy rate in more than 40 years… “We do take opportunities when we can and when it’s appropriate to lower the property tax levy.”

Highlights of Proposed 2016-17 Budget

The LPS budget is set through a process of staff research, analysis and discussion; as well as open meetings and public conversations.

 

Over the last ten years, from 2005-2006 to 2015-2016, LPS reduced the total tax levy over seven cents – from $1.3142 to $1.2429. LPS proposes an even slightly lower levy of $1.2392 for 2016-2017, the lowest levy in our records dating back to 1967-1968. The average homeowner paid $2,148 in property tax to LPS in 2005-2006 and will pay an estimated $2,026 in the 2016-2017 proposed budget (a difference of $122, based on $163,457 average home).

 

The 2016-17 proposed budget for Lincoln Public Schools addresses a variety of factors:

  • Providing appropriate staffing, services, supplies and resources to address significant growth in LPS student enrollment. LPS estimates an increase of 900 or more students for 2016-17 – following a growth of 7,500 students in the past ten years – growth that means LPS would teach well over 40,000 students in the coming school year.
  • Addressing the growing complexity of the demographics and needs of LPS students.
  • Serving our students in a changing landscape of providing the highest quality education.
The budget continues to focus on providing continued quality education – recognizing that a quality education system is a long-term investment, not simply an expenditure – and our community, our businesses, our families, our students deserve a great school system.
 
 
A few highlights of possible additional funding provided under the proposed budget:
  • Providing help to classrooms and schools with: added teachers and staffing for regular education, special education, early childhood, English Language Learners (refugees and immigrants); added school social workers, health care workers and high school security; added staffing for middle school math and reading intervention; added staff for intervention assistance for after-school hours.
  • Resources allocated for opening the new Sally G. Wysong Elementary School and the Bill Nuernberger Education Center; and early start-up costs for Marilyn Moore Middle School (which opens in the fall of 2017).
  • Continuation of phasing in the LPS instructional technology plan.
  • Funding to accommodate increases related to more schools and more students – for instance, increases in utilities, facilities and maintenance, custodial services and more.
The 2016-17 proposed expenditures for Lincoln Public Schools General Fund total $402 million – a 5.95 percent increase over the previous year.

 

According to the most recent statistics, LPS ranked 227th out of 245 school districts in Nebraska in per pupil spending – LPS spent $10,576 per pupil compared to the state average of $11,619.

 

Board, superintendent goals/priorities approved

The Lincoln Board of Education approved goals and priorities for the 2016-17 school year for the superintendent and Board:

  • By 2019, develop, implement, and sustain district initiatives that result in an increased graduation rate, with a goal of 90 percent of on-time graduates that are career and college ready.
  • By February 1, 2017, develop plans and recommend action steps based on the results of the Special Education review.
  • By March 1, 2017, adopt benchmarks that ensure high-quality, sustainable, full-service community schools and communicate a strong vision for current and future partnerships.
  • By May 1, 2017, complete a community-wide strategic planning process to identify community priorities for the district’s next 5-year strategic plan.

Policy changes approved

The Board approved policy changes related to Prohibition on Aiding and Abetting Sexual Abuse, Request to Contact Students and Student Interviews by Non-School Personnel, Participation by Citizens, and updates for Policies 6283, 6421, 6570, 6742, and 8442.

 

Attendance assignments for newly annexed property

The Board of Education assigns school attendance areas to property newly annexed to the City of Lincoln or newly platted. Proposed school attendance areas for a newly annexed parcel of land – Pemberly Place, Annexation Ordinance #20347 – are Maxey Elementary School, Pound Middle School and Lincoln Southeast High School. The Board will vote vital approval at the August 23 meeting.

Staff Celebration

The Board of Education recognized the Lincoln Southeast High School counseling center for designation as a Recognized American School Counselor Association Model Program (also called RAMP) by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA). The honor represents the culmination of a comprehensive approach to school counseling defined by best practices nationally and the unique needs of students locally.

Posted on August 09, 2016


LPS Learning Lunches for 2016-17, More Untold Stories…

The 2016-17 lineup for the annual Lincoln Public Schools Learning Lunches series offers more “Untold Stories” of our schools with Learning Lunches open to LPS staff and the Lincoln community – beginning with a program on Tuesday, Sept. 27.

For all lunches: Lunches are generally held on the last Tuesday of the month in the Board Room at LPS District Office, 5905 O St. Doors to the Board Room open at noon, the program begins at 12:15 p.m., questions-and-answers happen at 12:45 p.m. Please bring your own lunch – we’ll provide dessert.


This year’s schedule:

  • Tuesday, Sept. 27. The Power of Education: Tales of two waiters: Ed Zimmer will tell the stories of two long-forgotten but remarkable individuals he has encountered in his research on Lincoln's past, Llewelyn L. ("Bud") Lindsey and Arthur B. Moss. Zimmer is Lincoln’s historic preservation planner and former member of the Lincoln Board of Education.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 25. School choice alive and well at LPS: Pat Hunter-Pirtle describes the Science Focus Program (Zoo School) and Arts and Humanities Focus Program; J.P. Caruso, the International Baccalaureate Program housed at Lincoln High School; Dan Hohensee, The Career Academy, and MSgt (Ret.) Trent Woodruff, the Junior ROTC Program housed at Lincoln Northeast High School.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 29. The FIRST and LAST Class of the Day: Bill McCoy, director of LPS Transportation and Custodial Services, shares a wonderful primer on school buses and student transportation at Lincoln Public Schools
  • Monday, Dec. 5. Computer Science for All, Kent Steen, curriculum specialist for Computer Science, encourages everyone to come learn about what is happening at LPS in K-12 computer science. You can also try out some coding as part of Hour of Code and Computer Science Education Week.
  • Tuesday, Jan 31. Building a Sports Performance Program, Jake Fincham and Matt Bertsch, LPS sports performance, describe the process of establishing a model sports performance program and how the program can help prepare kids for success in sports and life.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 21. A Guide for Science Education Today, James Blake, curriculum specialist for Science at LPS, will discuss the focus of science education today and how LPS is developing teacher and curriculum support to prepare the next generation of science students.
  • Tuesday, March 28: Visual Art: Enriching the Human Experience, Lorinda Rice, curriculum specialist for Visual Arts for LPS, invites you to learn how high-quality art education can prepare students for learning in a visual age and into the future.
  • Tuesday, April 25. All That Shines Isn’t Chrome, Kirk Langer, chief technology officer at LPS, invites you to come learn about why LPS decided to purchase Chromebooks for students – and how the Chromebooks are being used as a tool for learning.
  • Tuesday, May 16. World Drumming, a Cultural Experience, Lance Nielsen, supervisor of Music for LPS, notes this is the first year for a World Drumming class at Lincoln High School.  Come hear the learning outcomes from both the teacher and student perspective and experience the joy of a drum circle.

Posted on August 03, 2016


LPS launches second year of Citizens Academy to teach ABCs of our schools

Lincoln Public Schools is inviting Lincoln citizens to participate in the second year of an initiative called the LPS Citizens Education Academy: a series of monthly classes that include hands-on interactive experiences depicting a true, behind-the-scenes sense of LPS.
 
Participants are asked to attend monthly meetings – generally the second Monday evening of each month, but also several day meetings – hosted at schools across the school district, featuring a wide variety of information and activities. Participants will have conversations with high school seniors, visit a Family Literacy class, sample an ACT test, spend time in LPS classrooms, tour the new Career Academy and the new Wysong Elementary School, and much more.

 

LPS will accept applicants for this no-charge public outreach program on a first-come, first-served basis – however, participants are asked to be willing and able to commit the time needed (see schedule below).

 

If you would like to participate, please register by August 26 and send the following information to Amy Segura, asegura@lps.org

  • Your name, street address, email address and phone number.
  • A brief explanation of why you are interested in attending the Academy (couple sentences).

Academy Schedule:

  • Sept. 12, 5-7:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 10, 5-7:30 p.m.
  • Nov. 7, morning hours (vary slightly depending on school selection)
  • Dec. 12, 5-7:30 p.m.
  • Jan. 9, 9-11 a.m.
  • Feb. 13, 5-7:30 p.m.
  • March 13, 5-7:30 p.m.
  • April 10, 5-7:30 p.m.
  • May 8, 5-7:30 p.m.
For more information: Mary Kay Roth, LPS Communications, 402-436-1609, mkroth@lps.org

Posted on August 02, 2016


New substitute solution adds features for teachers

A new substitute employee platform brought back memories of how finding a substitute used to happen. Recently, about 250 substitute teachers gathered at Lincoln East High School for their annual orientation and training sessions on various topics.

Prior to 2002, a staff member needing a substitute called a phone number and left a voicemail with key information. District office staff - three employees in the morning and two in the afternoon - would listen to the voicemails and enter all the information into another computer system and go to work in finding subs.

Then in 2002, when LPS switched to SubFinder - the most recent substitute platform - one new ‘cutting-edge’ feature was when the automated computer system would suggest a substitute to call based on the the length of time, the subject area and the school.

Also cutting edge in 2002, SubFinder required a touchtone phone, but not a computer to accept sub requests.

“I have since removed the language ‘touch tone’ because it was confusing the college students,” said Darbi Umholtz, who works with the substitute teacher process for LPS.

Now LPS will launch SmartFind an absence management and substitute placement system.

This change is nothing like the big change that occurred in 2002 as the old solution used some newer technology. And it is possible to use a traditional phone to enter information, but perhaps easier online.

(All staff members, full-time, part-time and substitutes will need to setup their account. More information will be shared with staff members via their LPS email.)

SmartFind allows more precise options for substitutes:

  • Establish a regular schedule of days/times you are able to sub;
  • More easily set times for when you are unavailable (vacation, sickness, etc.);
  • Create a do-not-call schedule (blocking calls during inconvenient times or during other scheduled activities);
  • To pick up an open spot if a staff member couldn’t teach in the afternoon because they became ill or hurt during the school day;
  • Receive an email reminder the day prior to your scheduled assignment.

Subs are still able to list the subject areas (called classifications) and locations that they wish to to teach.

Full-time teachers needing a sub still have the option to request a specific substitute teacher - perhaps a sub they are familiar with based on past experience. Then the automated calling system looks for subs who are certified in that specific subject area. Finally, it will contact local subs available for that school.

Therefore, the system gives preference to those substitute teachers certified in the specific subject area where a substitute is requested.

The SmartFind system also allows staff members to request absences for multiple, non-consecutive days, within one week - and subs can accept those assignments in group, as one job. For example, an absence can be entered for Monday, Wednesday and Friday of a week, and the sub will receive the request as one, three-day job.  In the past, the substitute would receive three separate phone calls, one for each of the days requested.

 

Posted on August 01, 2016


LPS Leadership Day opens official 2016-17 school year

Speaking to hundreds of Lincoln Public Schools leaders on Monday, Superintendent Steve Joel urged them to remember and proclaim the power of public education in our community.

“We continue to make a difference in the lives of children – that’s our work and that’s our legacy,” Joel said at the annual LPS Leadership Day event held at Lincoln Southeast High School this year. “This is hard work...But at the end of the day…this is the best investment that the Lincoln community can make.”

Joel stressed four important aspects of the power of public education:

  • Great public schools challenge students and staff to learn about themselves and others – ultimately making them career and college ready when they leave LPS.
  • Great public schools provide choices and options that connect learning to life. “We continue to look for new ways to connect kids to opportunities that are meaningful.”
  • Great public schools encourage staff and students to persevere through all types of challenges and never give up. “We never ever give up on kids.”
  • Great public schools embrace diversity and remind us: ALL MEANS ALL. “That’s what separates public education from everything else…We take all students every single day.”
  • Southeast Principal Brent Toalson also welcomed the leaders to Southeast, urging everyone to “take this year to inspire excellence in all of our students.”

Don Mayhew, president of the Board of Education, noted that there is unprecedented support of public education in the Lincoln community – support that is well earned: “Each day public educators have the chance to raise up our children – to open the door to their future – to provide a free opportunity for unique and innovative programs that make their lives richer. I wish you a great school year with meaningful experiences and opportunities. Please remember the greatness of your work.”

Posted on August 01, 2016


Highlights of 7/26 Lincoln Board of Education meeting, work session

Lincoln Public Schools:

Highlights of 7/26 Lincoln Board of Education meeting, work session

The Lincoln Board of Education held a work session and regular meeting on Tuesday, July 26 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St.  The Board will hold its next meeting Tuesday, August 9 at 6 p.m.

 

BOARD MEETING Highlights

Board, superintendent goals/priorities

The Lincoln Board of Education presented proposed goals and priorities for the 2016-17 school year for the superintendent and Board. They will vote final approval at the August 9 meeting.

 

Proposed goals and priorities:

  • By 2019, develop, implement, and sustain district initiatives that result in an increased graduation rate, with a goal of 90 percent of on-time graduates that are career and college ready.
  • By February 1, 2017, develop plans and recommend action steps based on the results of the Special Education review. (This goal may be revised to require a report update by Feb. 1.)
  • By March 1, 2017, adopt benchmarks that ensure high-quality, sustainable, full-service community schools and communicate a strong vision for current and future partnerships.
  • By May 1, 2017, complete a community-wide strategic planning process to identify community priorities for the district’s next 5-year strategic plan.

The Board evaluates the superintendent annually and develops Annual Priorities for the Superintendent for the coming school year.

 

Approved additional bond issue projects

The 15 priority Lincoln Public Schools construction projects financed through the 2014 LPS bond issue are underway, as well as extensive infrastructure additions throughout the school district – and now LPS estimates $14.5 million in funding is still available for additional construction projects.

 

Tuesday the Board approved a list of the next tier of recommended projects that prioritizes these initiatives as:

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

Final LPS employee agreements

The Board approved agreements for three employee groups for the coming school year:

  • Substitute educators and miscellaneous employees (such as mentors in the gifted program, interpreters and others): Salary increases for substitute teachers and miscellaneous employees range from no increase to a 7.7 percent increase, depending on the employee group.  The determination of what salary to recommend is made in conjunction with the supervisor of that employee group and an assessment of the availability of candidates for the positions.
  • Nutrition Workers: For 2016-17, a salary increase of 2.88 percent with a total package increase of 3.62 percent; and for 2017-18, a salary increase of 2.89 percent and a total package increase of 3.63 percent. Eliminate emergency leave and replace it with additional special leave.
  • Lincoln Paraeducator Association: The salary increase for 2016-2017 is 2.88 percent with a total package increase of 3.46 percent (compensated on a flat basis). The salary increase for 2017-2018 is 2.89 percent with a total package increase of 3.47 percent (compensated on a percentage basis). Service year stipend increase by $0.10 in the 2016-17 school year.

Policy change proposals

The Board was presented with proposed policy changes related to Prohibition on Aiding and Abetting Sexual Abuse, Request to Contact Students and Student Interviews by Non-School Personnel, Participation by Citizens, and updates for Policies 6283, 6421, 6570, 6742, and 8442. The Participation by Citizens policy was returned to committee; the other policy changes will be approved at the August 9 meeting.

 

Approved attendance assignments

The Board of Education approved school attendance assignments to land newly annexed to the city of Lincoln:

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

Staff Celebration

The Board of Education recognized Bill McCoy, director of Custodial Services and Transportation for LPS, for earning the Art Keller Lifetime Achievement Award from the Nebraska School Transportation Association.

 

Student Celebration

The Board’s Student Celebration Tuesday featured the LPS Summer Middle School Strings Camp with remarks from Del Whitman, LPS music teacher, and a performance by a student quartet: Anna Cooper, violin, Lux Middle School; Lars Pedersen, violin, Scott Middle School; Josh Duhs, viola, Lux Middle School, and Lily Rippeteau, cello, Irving Middle School.

 

BOARD WORK SESSION Highlights

Monday, the Board was presented with results of a study – conducted by an outside consulting firm, District Management Council – implemented to gain a deeper understanding of services, best practices and resources LPS provides to “struggling students” (students provided additional services and support through Special and General Education).

 

Tuesday there was continued discussion on the issue with the understanding that LPS staff and the Board will move forward with a slow, thoughtful and deliberative process to analyze, discuss and develop potential changes.

 

The overriding question: What’s next?

 

Nate Levenson from District Management Council said the school district needs to proceed slowly and thoughtfully.

 

“There is nothing simple on this list,” he stressed. “As a superintendent or a Board, you can’t do this work alone…This touches an awful lot of people…This will take a collective effort…You need to get a lot of people to understand and process what we’ve shared – a sharing-out process – then to create some sort of cross-departmental team to work on this…And finally think about and put in place an organizational structure and plan to help lead this work and prioritize.”

 

He urged LPS to be patient and cautious in moving ahead: “Do not rush to start doing….before you have a large group of people who understand and are part of the planning, who are fervently behind it.”

 

LPS Superintendent Steve Joel continued: “This is the beginning of a conversation…an opportunity for us to have courageous conversations… We need time to digest and reflect…This will not happen in a year, not even three years…This will be systemic and deliberate…. to focus on what we can to change part of our culture to make sure our students are successful…within existing resources.”

 

Board member Lanny Boswell agreed: “This is not about the Board voting tonight to implement changes, it’s about starting a discussion…always based on a belief as a Board that all children can learn.”

 

Don Mayhew said he would like staff and parents to know that “this isn’t about playing gotcha, assigning blame…This is about getting better. This is a very healthy conversation for us to be having, a healthy process for us to be going through…To recap, it is clear to me that we have a lot of work in front of us, and this is a huge opportunity to move the district forward.”

 

Summary highlights: LPS is proud of this report – an analysis that concludes the school district does an excellent job providing struggling students with services to offer supports that will help them succeed socially, emotionally and academically. The school district’s programs and services for struggling students have many strengths – building from a very strong foundation – with passionate, caring and committed leadership, teachers and staff. The school district is well staffed, and serves and supports a diverse range of student needs within current resources.

 

The report also recognizes that systems can improve, providing a road map with a series of recommendations to be implemented over the next three to five years. The report suggests that LPS could: more tightly manage current staff, make sure all educators have the appropriate skills and training, provide extra time on task for struggling students and more proactively align activities to best practices.

 

For the full report go to: https://meeting.nasbonline.org/Public/Meeting.aspx?PublicAgencyID=4365&PublicMeetingID=13733&AgencyTypeID=

 

Goals:

  • To gain a deep understanding of the current status of services for “struggling students” (students who need additional supports – through special and general education)
  • Compare current LPS practices to best practices
  • Provide a short list of recommendations to improve student outcomes (cost effective and consistent with school district values)
 

Posted on July 26, 2016


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