News

EdNotes Express

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

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

200 volunteers needed for science fair

We are pleased to announce the 22nd Annual Zoetis-LPS-GSK Science Fair on Thursday, March 2, 2017.  The fair will be held at the Lancaster Event Center-Pavilion 1, located at 4100 N 84th Street in Lincoln. 

Once again, we expect nearly 600 fifth through eighth grade students to descend upon the Event Center eager to share their discoveries with the Lincoln community.  There will be mazes, chemical reactions, paper airplanes, and of course, no science fair would be complete without an erupting volcano or two.  In addition, we have invited over 60 special presenters from the greater Nebraska area who will entertain and educate all who attend through many hands-on activities. 

All that is missing is YOU!  We need your help to make this science fair happen.  We need community members to serve as project judges, student assistants, and registration staff.  A description of the various volunteer positions is included with this mailing. 

How can you register to help?  Just follow the steps listed below.  Please note… all registrations must be completed on-line by the volunteer. 

If you would like to volunteer for the science fair, please follow these steps… 

a) Review the job descriptions for the various volunteer positions.  Descriptions are included below.

b) Access the volunteer registration form directly HERE or go to www.lps.org  (type in keyword Science) which will bring up the LPS Science homepage.  Scroll down to the bottom where you’ll see Click here to be a volunteer listed under 2017 Zoetis-LPS-GSK Science Fair.  

c) Complete the registration form and submit it.  Periodically, we will be sending out an email to all registrants indicating that we’ve received your registration. 

Please respond by February 17th.   If you have any questions, please contact me at 402-436-1140 or rsettles@lps.org.  Or you may contact Becky Rock  (brock@lps.org) . 

Science Fair Volunteer Positions

Project Judge Our greatest need!  (5:00pm-until completion)
You would review six to eight student projects.  Utilizing a uniform judging form, you will discuss the project with the students to see what they have learned.  (A refresher training session for judges will be held the night of the fair beginning at 4:30 pm at the Lancaster Event Center.

Judge Registration (4:00-6:00 pm)
You would greet judges as they arrive at the fair site.  You will also distribute judging forms, clipboards, and supplies to judges.

Information Table & Volunteer Registration (3:45-6:00 pm or 6:00-8:15 pm)
You would greet all ‘non-judging’ volunteers.  You would also register all students who did not complete their registration through their school.  You will also help answer questions for our participants and visitors.

Student Registration (3:45-6:00 pm)
You would distribute nametags, project numbers, and table assignments to all student participants.

T-Shirt Distribution (3:45- 6:00 pm)
You would distribute t-shirts to our student participants.

Table Guide  A High Need for volunteers! (3:45-6:00 pm)
You would assist students in finding their assigned table location on the floor.

Judging Form Review  (6:30-9:00 pm)
You would review each judging form for mathematical accuracy, organize forms and possible data entry.    

Posted on January 18, 2017


Dinosaurs & Disasters at Morrill Hall

The University of Nebraska State Museum and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences will host "Dinosaurs and Disasters" family fun day with scientists from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Feb. 4, at Morrill Hall, (south of 14th and Vine streets, UNL City Campus). 

“Dinosaurs and Disasters” is one of Lincoln's most exciting science learning events for children and their families. 

UNL scientists, graduate and undergraduate students will provide hands-on activities and demonstrations to help visitors better understand change over time.  Visitors can test their knowledge of the Earth’s history, learn about animals and their environments past and present, even go back in time in the ‘Antarctic Time Machine’.  Guests are encouraged to bring a rock or fossil for a scientist to identify. 

Mueller Planetarium will present the fulldome show “Firefall” (show length 35 minutes). Throughout Earth's violent history, impacts from comets and asteroids have mercilessly shaped its surface. Terrifying and majestic, these invaders from space are capable of utter destruction, yet they have delivered life-giving water and most of the organic materials necessary for life.  Show times are 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon, and 1, 2 and 3 p.m. Due to overhead motion and occasional loud sounds that can be overwhelming children must be at least four years of age to be admitted. 

Regular museum and planetarium admission charged. Parking is free in front of the museum.

For more information go to http://www.museum.unl.edu.

Presented by the UNL Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and the University of Nebraska State Museum.

Posted on January 18, 2017


Lincoln Public Schools: Highlights of 1/10 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

Highlights of 1/10 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education held a regular meeting on Tuesday, January 10 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The Board will hold its next meeting Tuesday, Jan. 24 at 6 p.m.

Chromebooks: Heading into third year of Instructional Technology Plan

The Lincoln Board of Education will pave the way for Lincoln Public Schools to move into the third phase of the Instructional Technology Plan with the Tuesday consideration of a purchase that will mean all LPS students grades 3-12 will have access to individual Chromebooks – and in the future, potentially the addition of second graders. 

The purchase discussed Tuesday – with final approval set for Jan. 24 – would cover Chromebooks for more than 3,000 sixth graders as well as for more than 8,300 students at the four remaining high schools where students do not have Chromebooks (Lincoln High, Lincoln East, Lincoln North Star and Lincoln Southwest).

The original Instructional Technology Plan called for providing Chromebooks to students grades 3-12, but Board members discussed the possibility of providing the gadgets to second graders as well. Funding for addition of one more grade could be provided by extending the original three-year plan into a four-year plan.

January 2017 purchase of Chromebooks for distribution to secondary students in fall of 2017 would allow the school district to save $8 per device (a total of $66,904) and ensure all students are using the same device model.  An advantage of all students using the same model Chromebook is that as devices are retired from service, their parts can be used for repairs on those devices remaining in service.

These purchases were recommended: a total of $2.1 million to Sterling Computers (Dakota Dunes, South Dakota) to purchase 11,421 Dell 11-inch Chromebooks; $313,000 to Dell EMC, Inc. (Round Rock, Texas) for device management licensing (Chrome Management); and KACE asset management licenses including three-year maintenance. 

Newly annexed property

The Board of Education assigns school attendance areas to newly annexed or platted city property.  The Board considered newly annexed property called Grandview Estates 1st Addition and proposed these attendance areas: Wysong Elementary School, Pound Middle School (Moore Middle School next school year) and Lincoln Southeast High School.  The Board votes final approval Jan. 24. 

Grants

The Board of Education Tuesday approved submission of two grants and considered submission of a third.

The Board voted submission of:

  •  A proposal to United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County to support the Two Generation Family Literacy Program in the amount of approximately $30,000 for a one-year funding cycle. The evidence-based Family Literacy model followed by LPS includes the following four components: Adult Education Instruction—provided through high quality ESL classes; Children's Education—teaching literacy through a viable district curriculum; Parent and Child Together Time; and Parenting Classes.
  •  A five-year, $352,000 State 21st Century Community Learning Center grant that will bring necessary resources and support to establish Campbell Elementary School as a CLC school.  The federally-funded grant application is submitted to the Nebraska Department of Education.  The vote on submission of this grant was 5-1, with Board member Matt Schulte opposed until further review and guidelines for CLCs are completed.

The Board considered submission of:

  •  A five-year, $687,300 State 21st Century Community Learning Center Continuation Grant for the Belmont Elementary, Brownell Elementary, Prescott Elementary and Culler Middle CLC schools. The continuation grant will build on the success these sites have experienced over the past five years.  Final approval happens Jan. 24.

Policy changes proposed 
The Board approved changes in policies related to Community Relations including distribution of community service materials, and use of students for non-school projects.  

Strategic Plan update

The Board of Education Tuesday received an update about the progress and next steps involved with “Voices for the Future,” the school district’s strategic planning process.  

Over the last few months, LPS has reached out to more than 37,500 people – and collected responses from more than 3,800 citizens. The collected data is now being reviewed and analyzed: categorizing responses, recognizing key themes and identifying representative quotations. Then that data will go to a Community Study Team later this month, a team that will develop and create proposed action steps.

Sarah Salem, director of Continuous Improvement and Professional Learning, thanked the Board of Education for approaching this endeavor in a meaningful way that required time and work: “You did not take the easy path and say, ‘There’s the survey, go fill it out.’  You chose going out into the community, speaking to more than 50 different community groups: non-profits, cultural centers, businesses and more…We had so many voices engaged…and it’s so important for our stakeholders to know we value their opinion.”

Oscar Pohirieth, cultural specialist and coordinator for the Bilingual Liaison Program, also thanked the Board “for believing we needed to communicate with every family…As they arrived at our strategic planning sessions, some of our families were surprised, some were impressed, some were afraid…and at the end of the sessions, all the families felt comfortable because we made them feel comfortable.  I thank you all…for this collaborative effort.” 

A reminder: Lincoln Public Schools is seeking to engage citizens throughout the community to help refresh and develop a strategic plan to chart the course for the school district over the next five years. The strategic planning process involves gathering community voices through civic, school and community meetings, as well as through social media and online surveys – encouraging our citizens to dream big, imagine new ideas, help identify creative, innovative goals – necessary to write the story of our future. Our mission is to ensure LPS students experience a world-class education in preparation for college, career and life. 

Staff Celebrations

The Board honored and recognized key Lincoln Public Schools employees who have made valuable contributions to the initial phase of Voices for the Future, the first step in the school district’s strategic planning initiative. Those honored included the facilitators, translators, bilingual liaisons and LPS Education Service Unit research team who were essential in the first phase of presenting to community groups and collecting data.

Facilitators

Amy Carnie

Amy Clark

Rik Devny

Carrie Foster

Jodi Frager

John Gloe

Brittany Hying

Brandi Jantzen

Monica Jochum

Amanda Krivda

Jamie Mapp

Megan McElfresh

Jennie Murphy

Robert Rickert

Sherri Robinson

Sarah Salem

Sue Showers

Erik Witt

Bilingual Liaisons

Khudhur Ali (Kurdish Bilingual Liaison)

Mohammed Alnajem (Arabic Bilingual Liaison)

Antonio Cubas ((Latino Bilingual Liaison)

Erick Ernesto Saavedra Avila (Latino Bilingual Liaison)

Khalaf Hesso (Kurdish Bilingual Liaison)

Tosh Jock (Nuer - Sudanese Bilingual Liaison)

Ellie Kasab (Russian Bilingual Liaison)

Monica Lieske (Latino Bilingual Liaison)

Nhung Nguyen (Vietnamese Bilingual Liaison)

Hugo Orellana (Latino Bilingual Liaison)

Toan Tran (Vietnamese Bilingual Liaison)

Peh Wah Moo (Karen Bilingual Liaison)

Wah Wah Moo (Karen - Burmese Bilingual Liaison)

Daniel Wal (Nuer - Sudanese Bilingual Liaison)

Education Service Unit research team

Bethany Brunsman

Leslie Eastman

Dawn Mazzie

Rob McEntarffer

Teresa Wanser Ernst

Posted on January 17, 2017


High School Information Night for Eighth Grade Families

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.

Each high school will still be offering open houses for eighth-grade families to tour and ask questions before the enrollment deadline. 

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.
***Date changed due to weather***
Monday, January, 23, 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.

4 ways 8th-grade students and families can make the most of high school information nights

#1 - Attend as many high school information nights as you wish. They are scheduled on different nights for this reason. Start discussions early with all involved (see #2).

#2 - Consider the student’s current and future interests and talents prior to the event. Then ask questions about those topics to teachers and current students at the information event at each school.

#3 - Any student can be successful academically at any school. Look for ways the student can get involved and participate, while staying on top of their studies.

#4 - Consider the student’s current friends, but also consider the opportunity to make new friends. Making new friends exposes students to new activities and common interests.

Posted on January 17, 2017


At Goodrich, students united by community

Sarah Davis, eighth grade English teacher at Goodrich Middle School, describes a class project that brought many students from different cultures and languages together based on something they all had in common — living in Lincoln.

 

Through the rumble of steps and lockers that echo through the hallways at Goodrich Middle School, the sound of multiple languages and voices trickle through the crowd. With students speaking 16 languages, the words flow from person to person in a dialogue that is sometimes difficult to interpret literally. However, the expressions of students laughing and greeting one another on their way to class need no interpretation. 

Despite their differences in background or language, the students at Goodrich are all united by sharing a common community and home. In the eighth grade English classrooms, teachers asked students to volunteer their linguistic skills in an activity that not only challenged them academically but also allowed them to find common ground in their shared experiences living in Lincoln, Nebraska. 

Mirroring a writing style that will follow them into high school, students rallied behind a common theme to support the claim that Lincoln is a good place to live, that our community is one that offers a good education, a safe environment, and an atmosphere that is beautiful and relaxing (among others). Students then worked together to research facts and statistics that would support their reasoning. Finally, students explained how their research supported their reasons. 

One excerpt goes as follows, “This is a city full of diverse cultures. The Lincoln Journal Star quoted Mayor Beutler as saying ‘Our city can take great pride in its longtime reputation as a place where everyone can feel welcome and enjoy a high quality of life.’  Welcoming other culture keeps Lincoln diverse. Diversity is important because it gives people a chance to experience different cultures and lifestyles.” 

With their combined efforts, students created books and projects to showcase their claims and all of the work they put into supporting their arguments. Using resources generously donated by the Nebraska Alumni Association, the Lincoln Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the Nebraska Tourism Commission, students found photos and maps to add more life to their projects. 

In a final step, some students volunteered to transform these projects into something that really brings to light the amazing complexity and depth that the Lincoln community has to offer. Working together, multilingual students translated the messages of this project into Arabic, Farsi, Kurdish, Pashto, Spanish, and Vietnamese. 

Posted on January 12, 2017


Randolph students hear direct from NASA

On December 20th, third, fourth and fifth graders at Randolph Elementary gathered in the gymnasium to connect to a virtual field trip with NASA for the program "Our Solar Neighborhood" presented by Lisa Illowsky from NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, California.  
 
The two-way interactive program from NASA was arranged by Bryan Ebeler, the computer teacher at Randolph, engaged students in learning how NASA uses the information gathered by spacecraft to piece together our understanding of our solar system and beyond.
 
Students were asked to distinguish the difference between planets and stars, categorize the planets as major and dwarf planets, and examine the reasons why planets are different sizes by applying their knowledge of the states of matter.
 
Demonstrations showed students differences between planets in relation to their distances from the Sun, and allowed plenty of Q & A time.
 
"It was really fun to see students at Randolph engage fully with a NASA scientist without having to leave their school through a virtual field trip," said James Blake, K-12 science curriculum specialist.  "I will be exploring ways to continue to expand these free digital offerings to classrooms as they greatly enhance the science curriculum using tools that all teachers have access to."
 
An impressive question from one student was, "What college degree do I need to have to get a job at NASA?" The NASA educator assured students they could get a degree in almost any field and find a place at NASA.
 
"It was wonderful to hear that these young students were thinking about a future career supporting NASA research and missions," commented LPS distance learning manager Linda Dickeson. 

Posted on December 21, 2016


Empower yourself to give your students more

Research shows you can improve students’ achievement by fostering their well-being. Learn how from a Nebraska expert in positive education. Prof. Randy Ernst will speak  on “The Positive Classroom: Interventions Promoting Well-being.”  

Join us and check out NWU’s Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, connect with peers and enjoy refreshments.

January 24, 5-6:30 p.m.
Nebraska Wesleyan University
Great Hall, Smith Curtis Classroom-Administration Building
RSVP to Angela today:  apearson@nebrwesleyan.edu or 402.465.2329

Posted on December 21, 2016


Nutrition Services announces launch of NutriSlice

The Nutrition Services Department has implemented NutriSlice – a new interactive web-based program that you can access on the LPS website and view on your desktop and/or download as an app to your smartphone.  

From the NutriSlice front page, simply click on the down arrow and select the appropriate school level or program, then choose what type of menu you would like to see – breakfast, lunch, or snack.  

By hovering over the menu option you can view a picture of the food item with a brief description along with nutrition facts and common allergens.  Menus may be printed by selecting the print menu icon at the top of the menu screen.  

The program also allows those with special diets to filter the menu items by clicking on the special diet button to show those foods that meet their specific dietary needs while crossing out the items that could potentially cause a problem.  

Additionally, for those students who need to track carbohydrate counts, a button is available that when clicked on will add the carb count to each item on the menu.  

Menu Items can also be translated into Spanish by clicking on the select language icon.

Posted on December 21, 2016


Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast

The 24 MLK “Freedom Breakfast” will be held Friday, Jan. 13, 2017, at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Lincoln. The breakfast is from 7:30-8:30 a.m., and doors open at 7 a.m. Tickets are $20, and there’s also an option to sponsor an individual or group.
 
Dr. Hank Bounds, president of the University of Nebraska, will be the keynote speaker. Additional comments will be made by Southeast Community College President Dr. Paul Illich, Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler, Lincoln Public Schools Supt. Dr. Steve Joel, and University of
Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor, Dr. Ronnie Green.
 
The event is sponsored by Lincoln Public Schools, Southeast Community College, and University of Nebraska - Lincoln. Proceeds from the breakfast will go toward scholarships for students in Lincoln. Last year, six $1,000 scholarships were awarded.
 
“The MLK breakfast typically draws hundreds of participants who represent the rich cultural, ethnic and generational diversity in our community,” said Jose Soto, vice president for Access/Equity/Diversity at SCC and one of the event’s organizers. “It’s a time of reflection and unity in recognition of Dr. King’s contributions to our nation and community.”
 
For more information on this event or to purchase tickets, contact Ed Wimes at ewimes@nebraska.edu.

Posted on December 21, 2016


Students invited to enter Inaugural Civics Essay Contest, Nominate Teachers for Excellence in Civics Education

The Federal Bar Association is holding its inaugural civics essay contest posing the question: “What Does an Impartial Judicial System Mean to Me?”

This year’s essay contest holds a 500-word limit for submissions from middle school students and a 1,000-word limit for high school students. Oral submissions are also accepted through the StoryCorps App and are limited to three minutes in length. The middle school category is awarding $1,000, $500, and $250 for first, second, and third place respectively. The prizes are doubled for high school winners, with first place receiving $2,000, second place receiving $1,000, and third place receiving $500.

Writers of the first place submissions in each category are rewarded with a trip to Washington, D.C and may be accompanied by one parent/guardian, with the organization providing funds for travel. This trip coincides with the Federal Bar Association’s Mid-Year Meeting on Saturday, March 18, 2017.

This essay is an opportunity for the young people of this nation to voice their opinions on the judicial system in a constructive and rewarding way.

All essays and recordings should be submitted to jalbertson@fedbar.org by Monday, January 23, 2017, at 11:59 p.m. EST. Recordings may also be submitted via the StoryCorps App.

The nomination form for Nomination of Teachers for Excellence in Civics Education is located at: www.fedbar.org/civicsessay.aspx. Nomination forms should be submitted to jalbertson@fedbar.org by Monday, January 23, 2017, at 11:59 p.m. EST. The selected teachers will be honored with a plaque.

Questions may be directed to Josh Albertson by email: jalbertson@fedbar.org or phone at 571-481-9118 or Contest Chair: Maria Vathis: maria.vathis@bryancave.com or phone at 312-602-5127. For more information visit: www.fedbar.org/civicsessay.aspx.

Posted on December 21, 2016


Every Knight Needs a Castle

Hoping to inspire current and future students in the spirit of service, Lincoln Southeast Principal Brent Toalson created the Service Wall of Fame to honor those students and staff - past and present- who contribute to the community.

The first project honored last year was the playground at Antelope Park. This year, Toalson honored the Every Knight Needs a Castle project from the 1998-99 school year at the winter pep rally.

During the project, then LSE principal Nancy Becker was looking for something the whole school could get behind.

“We were starting to get really big and I could see that there was all these different groups and they weren’t connecting,” Becker said. “They just needed to be presented with a challenge and then they took it from there.”

Becker met with the leadership from student organizations and presented the idea of participating in Habitat for Humanity, but with a twist. This home would benefit one of their fellow classmates and his family.

“Because of Darnell’s situation we had to change the whole layout of the floor plan because we needed to have everything accessible. That’s where our industrial arts kids got involved with design and it was great,” Becker added.

The rest of the student body got involved by volunteering hours to work on the house, or by raising funds. In all, over $30,000 were raised by the Knights for the project.

Dianna Utley and Darnell, her son and Southeast student at the time, worked alongside the students to complete the house that they would eventually move into.

“I just want to thank everybody. We wouldn’t have what we have if it wasn’t for you,” Utley said.

Toalson used the event to announce a new initiative at Southeast High School.

“I’m excited to announce a new service opportunity for next year’s seniors. Juniors, if you are interested, we encourage you to submit a proposal or business plan that would partner with local businesses or non-profits to complete a service project. The winning project will receive a cash reward to complete the project during their senior year.”

The Pay It Forward Service Project will begin in the 2017-18 school year. Lincoln Southeast High School will be working with the Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools on funding for the project. More information on the Pay It Forward Service Project can be found here: https://foundationforlpsorg.presencehost.net/lse-pay-it-forward

Posted on December 14, 2016


Lincoln Public Schools: Highlights of 12/13 Lincoln Board of Education work session, meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education held a work session and a regular meeting on Tuesday, December 13 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St.  The Board will hold its next meeting Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017 at 6 p.m.

BOARD WORK SESSSION Highlights

LPS 10-year Facilities and Infrastructure Plan

Imagine four new elementary schools, two new middle schools and new high school space in some form – as part of the next decade at Lincoln Public Schools. 

Those possibilities, and much more, were introduced at a Lincoln Board of Education work session Tuesday as the beginning of a conversation about what should be identified as priorities for facilities and infrastructure in the next 10 years for our school district.

Lanny Boswell, chair of the Board of Education Planning Committee, said the Planning Committee has spent the last several months reviewing enrollment trends, student demographics, the city’s comprehensive plan – has taken city growth tours to study the hot spot development areas of Lincoln.  “This work session is the beginning of a lengthy conversation, an introduction of the needs in our school district.”

In fact, the work session was only the first of what will be a Board and community discussion in updating what is known as the “LPS 10-Year Facilities and Infrastructure Plan” – a document that guides the development of schools, additions, renovations, infrastructure and more. 

“We are proud that this school district has been frugal and smart in developing facilities over the years,” said Scott Wieskamp, director of Facilities and Maintenance at LPS. 

The document draft discussed Tuesday – which is only an introduction for discussion – identified more than $486 million in facility and infrastructure needs in the school district. The 10-year plan is meant to identify all needs, Wieskamp said, but stressed that these projects are not yet funded.   

The 10-year draft identified a group of possible priorities for the next decade that mostly target student growth, including:

  •  Four elementary schools added to almost every quadrant of the city: south, southeast, northeast and northwest Lincoln (at a cost of about $20 million per elementary school).
  •  Two middle schools added to: south and northeast Lincoln (at a cost of about $42 million per school).
  •  Adding high school space in some form (such as a traditional high school, which costs about $79 million, and/or high school focus programs, e-learning, other high school concepts and programs).
  •  Renovations to accommodate changing curriculum at existing middle and high schools.
  •  Extensive renovations and additions of geothermal heating/cooling at Everett Elementary School and Park Middle School.
  •  Potential accommodation for early childhood additions at LPS.

Other “tiers” of needs include:

  •  Significant updates and renovations at Campbell, Cavett, Maxey and Roper elementary schools, as well as Lux and Scott middle schools.
  •  Various renovations at Lincoln High, Lincoln East, Lincoln Northeast and Lincoln Southeast high schools.
  •  A variety of additions and renovations to 10 elementary schools and six middle schools.
  •  Adding an eight-lane swimming pool to Lincoln East High (the only LPS high school without an eight-lane competitive pool).
  •  A weight room addition to Lincoln Southeast.
  •  An indoor/outdoor activities/athletics fieldhouse facility for practice (not a competitive arena) serving LPS staff and students.
  •  Completing a data center/generator at LPS District Office.
  •  Replacing the Yankee Hill facility, which houses high school students with behavior needs.

The Plan also includes a potential $38 million in infrastructure costs that includes items such as roof replacement, windows, flooring, basics in playground equipment, parking lot paving, etc.  “We look at infrastructure costs as protecting our investment,” Wieskamp said.  “We have a great preventative maintenance program….and maintaining our buildings is just as important as building a new building to accommodate kids.”

The LPS 10-Year Facilities and Infrastructure document was last completely updated in December, 2013 prior to the February 2014 bond issue.  The process for updating the plan will involve at least one or two more work sessions – and possibly more. 

BOARD MEETING Highlights 

Several significant grants approved

The Board of Education approved two grant applications:

  •  LPS will submit a grant to the Nebraska Department of Education to support implementation of key innovative strategies meant to redesign middle schools. The grant application request will include approximately $2 million over a three-year period. The money will fund a project called Planting the Seeds of Innovation in Middle School, which seeks to increase engagement and achievement among middle school students through a three-pronged strategy: (1) a schoolwide shift to design-based learning and an innovation mindset, (2) a transformation in design and function of learning environments, and (3) schoolwide professional development with innovative industry leaders in STEM and education fields. The project will initially target Goodrich and Moore middle schools.
  •  LPS will submit a grant to the Woods Charitable Fund to support districtwide implementation of a University of Nebraska-Lincoln-developed bullying intervention program. The grant application request will include an average of $380,000 per year for five years, totaling approximately $1.9 million. LPS would like to expand its partnership with UNL’s Department of Educational Psychology to increase utilization of a successful bullying intervention program across the district.

Policy changes proposed 
The Board heard proposed changes in policies related to Community Relations including distribution of community service materials, and use of students for non-school projects.  The changes will be approved at the Jan. 10 meeting.

United Way proposal

The Board of Education considered the submission of a proposal to United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County to support the Two Generation Family Literacy Program in the amount of approximately $30,000 for a one-year funding cycle.  The evidence-based Family Literacy model followed by LPS includes the following four components:

  • Adult Education Instruction—provided through high quality ESL classes
  • Children's Education—teaching literacy through a viable district curriculum
  • Parent and Child Together Time
  • Parenting Classes

 The Board will vote final approval at the Jan. 10 meeting.

Strategic Plan update

Everyone is encouraged to participate in the ongoing strategic planning process – online for about one more week – by taking the survey at:http://www.lps.org/strategicplan/

Staff and Student Celebrations

A Student Celebration at the Board of Education meeting recognized one of the many generous activities at Lincoln Public Schools. As part of the broaderCommunity OutReach program at Irving Middle School – Irving science and social studies teacher Kate Larson presents her students with something called theActs of Kindness Challenge. Presenters Tuesday included Irving teacher Kate Larson and Irving sixth grade students: Maude Kilmer, Graceyn Anderson, Nick Herbin and Adrianna Ambrocio.

The Board also noted two Staff Celebrations, recognizing Lorinda Rice, curriculum specialist for Visual Art in Lincoln Public Schools, honored with the State Supervision and Administration Award by the Nebraska Art Teachers Association; and Jocelyn Lippincott Reiss, art teacher at Lincoln North Star High School, named the State Secondary Art Teacher of the Year by the Nebraska Art Teachers Association.

 

Posted on December 13, 2016


Belmont, Southwest win film festival

The Lincoln Public Schools PBiS hosted it's fourth annual Film Festival to give schools a way to inform and promote positive behaviors through video.

Schools were asked to submit a short video that showcased positive behaviors and outlined expectations, and staff from the Lincoln Public Schools District Office attended the festival and voted for the videos that met guidelines. 

Lincoln Southwest won the secondary division, with Park Middle School winning second place. Belmont Elementary won the elementary division, with Hartley Elementary as runner up. Their videos will be sent on to the national competition.

 

 

Posted on December 13, 2016


LPS high school graduation rate climbs: Focus on each student

The high school graduation rate for for the class of 2016 at Lincoln Public Schools saw an increase, thanks to LPS high schools working hard to focus on every individual student and making sure they are successful through creative, proactive programs, according to officials at LPS.

Steve Joel, superintendent of LPS, noted: “I want to call out the amazing work of our educators and those that support the work in the school district's classrooms for their continued focus on helping students find success.  While the work is getting tougher as we deal with unprecedented growth in overall numbers and in populations that require many additional supports, we have maintained high school graduation as a high priority.  Thanks go as well to Lincoln Board of Education members who have prioritized funds for programs and interventions designed to lift up students who are struggling. We will not rest until all of our students are successful.”

Jane Stavem, associate superintendent for Instruction at LPS, continued: “Increasing our graduation rate continues to be a focus for our school district, because we believe it is an essential milestone.  Each of our high schools has made a concerted effort in tracking every student...We know our students as individuals, not numbers.  We know their faces, their strengths, their challenges.  We know that every single kid counts.”

LPS uses two sets of data for evaluating and assessing the high school graduation rate in the school district – using formulas that are slightly different – both released Friday.  For more than 20 years, LPS has followed the general rule of calculating graduation rates for students who start as ninth graders in the school district and graduate in four years on time.  That means 85.6 percent of the students in the class of 2016 who started at LPS as ninth graders – and did not move away – graduated on time in four years, compared to 85.2 percent the previous year. (That compares to a graduation rate of 80.1 percent at LPS more than five years ago.) When you look at actual numbers, 47 more students graduated from LPS in 2016 compared to 2015.

The official graduation rate in Nebraska and across the country is what is called the “on-time” rate – students who graduate in four years – but LPS also closely tracks students who graduate in five years (88.7 percent for the most recent numbers), and six years (91.9 percent).

Those five- and six-year graduation numbers are vital to LPS – because we believe those kids are just as important as kids who graduate on time, said Pat Hunter-Pirtle, director of Secondary Instruction.  “You’d be amazed at the way our principals – in high schools of 2,000 and more students – know each kid.”

Sarah Salem, director of Continuous Improvement and Professional Learning, agreed: “I think one of things LPS has been doing really well – is making big schools feel smaller...It is a challenge, but I think we are successfully taking huge comprehensive high schools and identifying kids who need the most support.  One program might capture these ten kids…one will capture these eight…And we are teaching all our kids about the value of grit, that it’s ok to make mistakes, that you have to persevere.  That is the mindset throughout the school district.”

Stavem said there is no one magic program, but instead a mix of proactive and reactive systems: “We help kids up front and position them well to be successful…We also watch them closely and intervene as quickly as possible – and in the right ways – to help kids get back on track quickly if they start to veer.  It is about being alert and aware, and having the right tools.  It is not about waiting for a kid to walk into the counseling office, but looking at data every single day and keeping close tabs. I think that has been a game changer.”

She stressed the graduation rate is not just about high school: “Children in grade school know when they are graduating from high school, and that impacts the way they see their future. Our feeder middle schools are working really hard on successful transitions.”

Jadi Miller, director of Curriculum, gave an example: LPS identified that struggling students in high school often have trouble with the Oral Communications course. So eighth graders in targeted middle schools are now offered the opportunity to take that class during summer school – with the first half set in their home middle school and the second half in their new high schools.  “They are more likely to pass the class, of course, but they also have more confidence when they start high school.  They have a better sense of navigating the new school.”

Graduation numbers for school districts across the state released Friday by the Nebraska State Department of Education use a slightly different calculation formula. The state includes students who transfer into high school after ninth grade begins: a formula that gives LPS an 83.2 percent graduation rate, up from 82.2 percent the previous year.  The state also released numbers for students who graduated in five years (86.2 percent), six years (89.4 percent) and seven year (90.2 percent).  LPS officials note the difference in calculations is understandable: Students who arrive and transfer into LPS later in their school experience – tend to have a greater number of challenges and therefore may graduate at a lower rate.

Our school district and community must understand that increasing the LPS graduation rate will continue to get harder, Stavem said.  “We are also increasing our student enrollment, as well as the percentages of students who have identified needs and challenges – at the same time our graduation requirements become more and more rigorous.”  Seniors in the last few years have been the first to graduate with new and more rigorous graduation requirements moving from 230 to 245 credits. 

She noted the incredible support and partnership in this community.  “We live in a community that offers support for our students, and embraces our graduation goal,” Stavem continued.  “It really does take multiple initiatives and multiple partners to get that needle to move. And we are moving it.”    

Posted on December 09, 2016


Transfer workshops for all teachers

Human Resources will be holding a transfer workshop for all certified teachers who may be interested in a school transfer for the 2017-2018 school year. Dr. Kay Byers and Dr. Nicole Regan will share information on the transfer timeline and transfer process.

December 12 and 14, 4 - 5:30 p.m. in the Board Room at LPSDO

January 11, from 4-5:30 p.m. in room 204 at LPSDO

Posted on December 07, 2016


Upcoming Retirement Planning Workshops

Retirement Planning sessions have been scheduled by Human Resources for staff considering retirement at the end of the 2016-17 school year or prior to September, 2017.  If you are planning to retire next spring/summer, we urge you to attend.  If you have not made up your mind on when you are retiring but know it will be in the next few years, the workshop will provide information about the retirement process.

Administrators:  Monday, December 12, 2016 - 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. - District Office, Lower Level, Lab A

Certificated Staff:  Wednesday, January 18, 2017 - 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. and Thursday, January 19, 2016 - 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. (Same session repeated.)  District Office, First Floor, Board Room

Classified Staff:  Wednesday, February 1, 2017 - 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. and Thursday, February 2, 2017 - 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. (Same session repeated.)  District Office, First Floor, Board Room

During the workshops, we will discuss when your benefits end and how to continue health, dental and/or other insurance benefits (Direct Bill and COBRA), the non-elective 403(b) procedures, pay for leave, how/when to apply for Nebraska school retirement (NPERS), etc.

Please RSVP to Nancy Harter (nharter@lps.org) if you plan to attend and which session in order that we have enough information packets.

 

Posted on December 07, 2016


LPSAOP teams up with City Impact to make a difference in the community

Twenty-nine members of the Lincoln Public Schools Association of Office Professionals and family volunteered at City Impact - Gifts of Love on December 5.

Gifts of Love offers need-qualified families the opportunity to purchase gifts at discount prices, helping to maintain ownership and dignity. 

Proceeds from the store further City Impact's programs for under-resourced youth and families. The Gift of Love Store's success is dependent on donations and volunteers. It takes over 1,500 volunteers to make the Gifts of Love Store and donations are still being accepted at City Impact, 1035 N 33rd Street.  Volunteer duties included inventory for the gifts, and decorating.

Posted on December 07, 2016


Hahn named next principal at Culler Middle School

Michaela Hahn will be the next principal at Culler Middle School, 5201 Vine Street, starting in January 2017.

Hahn is currently an associate principal at Lincoln Northeast High School, where she has been since 2000. At Culler, she will replace Gary Czapla, who will be the first principal at Moore Middle School, 8700 Yankee Woods Drive, set to open to the fall of 2017.

Lincoln Public Schools announced the decision on Wednesday. Eric Weber, associate superintendent for Lincoln Public Schools, said Hahn is noted for commitment to staff, students and families.

"Michaela will be a wonderful addition to the Culler family,” Weber said. “She brings great energy, passion and experience to Culler as well as a strong understanding of the community and the many opportunities that will help Culler continue to succeed going forward."

In a message for Culler families, Hahn said:

“I have had the great fortune of spending most of my professional life working with students and families in the Northeast part of town. I love the culture of pride and tradition and am beyond thrilled to get the opportunity to serve the students, parents and teachers at Culler. It is an incredibly strong school and I look forward to helping that tradition of excellence continue!”

Hahn began at Northeast in 2000 as a special education teacher and department chair, before becoming a special education coordinator in 2003, and an associate principal in 2011. She graduated from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, earned a master’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and is in the process of earning her superintendency endorsement. Hahn also completed her administrative practicum at Culler in 2005.

While at Northeast, Hahn was worked on various projects including graduation requirement committee, adaptive schools training and secondary technology advisory committee, among others.

Posted on December 07, 2016


Middle school students to present research at free Morrill Hall event

Students at Community Learning Centers at three middle schools in Lincoln Public Schools are hosting a 'Sunday with a Junior Scientist' in Morrill Hall. The Museum is offering free admission that day, Dec. 11 from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Park, Culler and Dawes CLC program students are the host scientists sharing their research information that they have been hard at work on the past few months.

The activities will focus on topics of animal behavior including migration, reptile feeding patterns, mimicry, mutualism, plus more.  Mentored by University of Nebraska-Lincoln undergraduate and graduate students, the LPS students have been hard at work during the fall semester researching and developing activities as part of a year-long initiative led by Dr. Eileen Hebets, biological sciences professor at UNL.

The Malone Center, Cedars, Boys and Girls Club and Willard Community Center have also contributed to the success of this program.

This partnership provides a multigenerational approach to educational outreach in the content area of natural sciences. UNL students receive formal instruction by Dr. Hebets and invited colleagues from across campus on how to construct and deliver effective informal science activities. The structure pairs trained UNL students, as after school science club leaders, with middle school students in the CLCs. These middle school students and CLC staff, in turn, connect with elementary students in additional joint elementary/middle

These middle school students and CLC staff, in turn, connect with elementary students in additional joint elementary/middle after-school science clubs. This vertically integrated peer instruction design leads to a richer learning experience for all students, and ultimately a broader awareness of the natural sciences.

Posted on December 06, 2016


Southwest wrestling bringing back 'Takedowns for the Troops'

The wrestling team at Lincoln Southwest High School will host Lincoln Northeast High School for its third annual Takedowns for the Troops. The event, scheduled for 6 p.m., December 14 at Southwest High School, 7001 S. 14th St., will raise money for the Disabled American Veterans group. Other groups involved in the event include the Lincoln Public Schools Junior ROTC, Dwight American Legion Post 110, LSW Choir and Band, and Emeralds Dance Team.

In 2013, Lincoln Southwest Wrestling initiated a community involvement project called “Takedowns for the Troops.”  Our team celebrates this event in conjunction with Senior Night and Alumni Recognition Night.  LSW Wrestling is proud to be the first team in Lincoln to undertake a community involvement event of this magnitude.  Last year, LSW Wrestling was able to raise over $4,500 for the Disabled American Veterans.

The event will continue to accept donations in the form of acknowledgements and memorials. Names will be displayed as part of our pre-match ceremony. If you would like to acknowledge or memorialize an active, retired, or deceased member of the armed forces, please send name, military branch, and any applicable overseas service with cash or check (made to LSW Boosters) to:

Aaron Finley

T4T Acknowledgements/Memorials

7001 S. 14th St.

Lincoln, NE 68512

Questions?  Contact coach Finley at 402-436-1306 or via email at afinley@lps.org

Posted on November 30, 2016


Lincoln Public Schools: Highlights of 11/22 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

Lincoln Public Schools: Highlights of 11/22 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

LPS: Highlights of 11/22 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education held a regular meeting on Tuesday, November 22 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The Board will hold its next meeting Tuesday, Dec. 13 at 6 p.m.

BOARD MEETING Highlights

Several significant grants proposed

The Board of Education heard discussion of three proposed grant applications:

  • LPS proposed submission to the Nebraska Department of Education to support implementation of key innovative strategies meant to redesign middle schools. The grant application request will include approximately $2 million over a three-year period.

LPS would like to propose a project called Planting the Seeds of Innovation in Middle School, which seeks to increase engagement and achievement among middle school students through a three-pronged strategy: (1) a schoolwide shift to design-based learning and an innovation mindset, (2) a transformation in design and function of learning environments, and (3) schoolwide professional development with innovative industry leaders in STEM and education fields.

If awarded, the project will initially target Goodrich and Moore middle schools—among the oldest and newest of LPS middle schools—to pilot these strategies. This will be followed by a phasing in of the remaining 10 middle schools over the three-year period, being mindful of the need for equitable distribution of resources throughout the district.

“We have seeds sewn all across our district with innovation,” said Jane Stavem, associate superintendent for Instruction at LPS. “We have deployed Chromebooks, given people initial tools…and there are more ideas that people are coming up with…We are looking at: How do we provide some engaging opportunities for students that go beyond what we’ve ever done?”

  • LPS proposed submission to Woods Charitable Fund to support districtwide implementation of a University of Nebraska-Lincoln-developed bullying intervention program. The grant application request will include an average of $380,000 per year for five years, totaling approximately $1.9 million. LPS would like to expand its partnership with UNL’s Department of Educational Psychology to increase utilization of a successful bullying intervention program across the district.

Implemented on a very small scale since 2005 – limited due to lack of funding and trained personnel to carry out the intervention – UNL’s Targeted Bullying Intervention Program has changed behaviors and decreased office referrals among approximately 200 students. This proposal would allow LPS to increase the use of the program across the district over five years, by training additional UNL graduate students to work with identified students, concentrating first on middle schools and then expanding to elementary and high schools

National data suggests that middle school students are at greatest risk for involvement in bullying, and that perpetrators and victims actually share many risk factors, including depression, anxiety and poor self-concept.

  • LPS proposed submission of a federally-funded grant application to the Nebraska Department of Education.  The total grant amount over a five-year period is projected to be $352,176. In years four and five, grant funds will step down (year four to 80 percent, year five to 60 percent of initial grant funding).  Community partnerships will contribute resources to meet the difference.

This 21st Century Community Learning Center grant application is a new funding grant for Campbell Elementary School.  This grant in partnership with United Way of Lincoln, will bring necessary resources and support to establish Campbell as a CLC school.  It is projected that approximately 100 students will be impacted by programs at this CLC school.

The following program goals will guide the program design and delivery: Goal 1: Improve student learning performance in one or more core academic areas; Goal 2: Increase social benefits and improve behavior; and Goal 3: Increase family and community involvement in schools.

The Board will vote approval for these grant applications at the Dec. 13 meeting.

Policy changes approved
The Board approved proposals for several changes in policy governing Board operating procedures: Meetings, and time and place of meetings.

Kitchen equipment for new Moore Middle School

The Board approved the purchase of $563,000 worth of kitchen equipment for the new Marilyn Moore Middle School (opening in the fall of 2017). The low bidder was Hockenbergs from Omaha.

Bond issue series

The community approved a bond issue in February, 2014 – and as a result in April of 2014, $120 million of bonds were issued.  The spend-down schedule indicates the majority of these funds will be expended in December 2016.  The Board of Education’s Finance Committee has recommended the remaining $33.3 million of the original authorization be issued for the second issuance of bonds – for the remaining LPS construction projects – no later than Feb. 15, 2017. The date of final maturity of the bonds shall not be later than January 31, 2022. The Board Tuesday voted approval of this issuance.

Strategic Plan update

Everyone is encouraged to participate in the ongoing strategic planning process – by taking the online survey at: http://www.lps.org/strategicplan/

Staff and Student Celebrations

A Student Celebration at the Board of Education meeting recognized the role of students who participate in the school district’s award-winning sustainability program. Presenting were: Brittney Albin, sustainability coordinator at LPS; and members of the Sheridan Elementary School Green Team: Annika Srivastav, third grade; Grover Korn, fourth; Gibby Chapman, fifth; and Leighton Schmit, fifth.

The Board also recognized LPS employees who have achieved the goal of 25-years of professional service to the youth of Lincoln and Lincoln Public Schools:

  1. Ardella Anderson
  2. Sylvia Bailey
  3. James Baker
  4. Sharon Barnes
  5. Diana Bauer
  6. Ruth Beechley
  7. Rita Bennett
  8. Chad Blatchford
  9. Michelle Bohac
  10. Diane Brodd
  11. Gaylene Butterfield
  12. Ralph Calafiore
  13. Nancy Clare
  14. Kelly Dodd
  15. Susan Dougherty
  16. Scott Fischer
  17. Barbara (Barb) Fitzgerald
  18. Jennifer Fosler
  19. Keri Gasseling
  20. Ronald Gormley
  21. Whitney Haberlan
  22. Sheridan Harrington
  23. Darla Haugerud
  24. Rustin Hitz
  25. Kent Hoffart
  26. Kyla Jensby
  27. Nancy Jervey
  28. Melinda Johnson
  29. Brian Kabourek
  30. Elizabeth L. Kagan
  31. Sondra Kahler
  32. Mike Kapeller
  33. Jodon (Dondi) Kilgore
  34. Melissa Kingery
  35. Kathleen Kloefkorn
  36. Dave Knudsen
  37. Devon Kosmicki
  38. Mark Lago
  39. H. Kirk Langer
  40. Susan Larson
  41. Jay Lawson
  42. Peter John Lenz
  43. Deborah Lyon
  44. Catherine Martin
  45. Carol Mathias
  46. Michael McCuistion
  47. Shaunna Meyer
  48. Kim Miller
  49. Susan Monroe
  50. Kelly Morehouse
  51. Nancy Myers
  52. Stephanie Nantkes
  53. Darwin Nelson
  54. Jill Oestmann
  55. Diana Pasco
  56. Mark Patton
  57. Kay Paulsen
  58. Roxanne Petersen
  59. Deanna Priefert
  60. Russell Raatz
  61. Lorrilyn Rennings
  62. Allan Rezac
  63. Kelli-Anne Roeber Schoening
  64. Katharine A. Runge-Wobig
  65. Jacqueline Rush
  66. Shirley Sabin
  67. Diane Schneider
  68. Rolanda Scurlock
  69. Diane Slaby
  70. Kathryn Slattery
  71. Angela Smail
  72. Jane Stedronsky
  73. Michal P. Sterns
  74. Diane Swartzlander
  75. Marge Theel
  76. Brent Toalson
  77. Russ Uhing
  78. William (Bill) Wendling
  79. Cheryl Wilkins
  80. Dawn Wright

 

 

 

Posted on November 22, 2016


Giving a book, getting a smile

Every first and second grader in Lincoln Public Schools and those in parochial schools will receive their very own book thanks to the efforts of the Lincoln Education Association, KFOR, and Raising Canes. Close to 7,000 books in total will be distributed during the 2016 Harvest of Books campaign.

Founded in 1997 by Dan Studer, former Lincoln Education Association President, the Harvest of Books Inc., is a program developed to help promote a life-long love of reading for children. There have been close to 170,000 books distributed through the 20 year program.

Posted on November 22, 2016


LPS Board of Education Chinese Bridge Delegation

Don Mayhew and Connie Duncan - president and vice president of the Lincoln Board of Education - are visiting China for nine days to build relationships and to learn about the Chinese system of education.   They will be sending us updates about their trip periodically. Here is their blog. 

 Friday, Nov. 18, 2016

"Today we are on our final day on our trip..."


Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016

"Today, Lincoln North Star and Yangzi High School in Nanjing City became sister schools as part of a ceremonial, non-binding agreement. Tonight, we head back to Beijing to wrap up our trip." 


Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016

We visited an elementary school in Nanjing City.  We were struck by the fact that the school of over 1,500 students didn’t have a single child with any kind of physical disability.  There were also no children with learning disabilities or behavioral disorders, and every single student was a native Chinese speaker.  Children with different needs go to different schools.

We also learned that some Chinese students aren’t allowed to pursue academics beyond the ninth grade.  During the ninth year, students take exams in order to establish academic ability.  Students who don’t pass those tests either drop out of school or are diverted into non-academic, vocational training and then enter the work force with limited income potential.

In talking with educators who have worked or lived in other countries, we’re told it’s not unusual for students to be required to pass tests in order to continue pursuing an education. 

Only 5 to 7 percent of Chinese students go on to college, compared with about 50 percent of U.S. students.  Five percent of 1.3 billion people is a lot of college students, but that means about 95 percent of the citizens of China do not have access to higher education.

I believe this is a defining difference in educational philosophy between our countries.  In American public schools, our doors are open to every single student who comes to us regardless of what special needs they may have or how they score on a test. Our schools are truly a melting pot of races, cultures, backgrounds, financial situations and educational needs.

I think that U.S. public schools are trying to answer a different question.  We’re not trying to figure out how to build one school that can outperform its neighbors.  We’re also not interested in excluding students.  Our goal is to figure out how to improve educational outcomes for every single child who comes through our doors.  It’s a complex challenge, but we’re very invested in solving it.


Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016


Friday, Nov. 11, 2016

Today we had several orientation sessions that described Chinese educational philosophies, practices and curriculum - and the history of how they were developed.  In 2003, Chinese educators began instituting reforms in an effort to improve educational outcomes for students.  The process is slow and ongoing, but progress is being made.

Some of the thinking behind the changes were summed up on a slide from the morning session (see below). I would say that many of these ideas are similar to values we hold in American schools. I’ve heard from many parents who would like less testing, less homework, and more time for creative learning and social development.

Especially interesting to me as a policy maker (and a nerd) is the idea of using technology to create educational experiences that are even more centered on the needs and abilities of each child. 

For example, right now if we don’t have enough students sign up for a foreign language class (like Japanese), we may not be able to offer that class.  We may not be able to pay an educator to teach a class with only three students in it. But with tools like distance learning and smart phone apps, the foreign language classes of the near future may have students sitting side-by-side in the same classroom while learning different languages than their classmates.

Chinese students begin learning foreign languages by the third grade.  Forty years ago, the most popular foreign language was Russian.  But now, over 90 percent of Chinese students are learning English.  As you might imagine, there is a lot of interest in encouraging American students to learn Chinese.

Besides learning about education in Chinese schools on this journey, we are also being exposed to Chinese culture and the history of the country.  Tomorrow we are visiting the Great Wall of China and then my group will travel by train to Nanjing City in the Jiangsu province. I’m guessing the days will be very full but I’ll do my best to continue sharing thoughts and observations for the next several days.

Posted on November 18, 2016


Scottish Rite teacher recognized

Susan Prabulos, a computer science teacher at Meadow Lane Elementary School – and now forever known as Scottish Rite 2016 Distinguished Teacher of the Year – described the honor Tuesday as “finding joy in the journey.” 

Speaking to friends, family and colleagues at the annual Scottish Rite Teacher recognition ceremony, Prabulos thanked everyone who was part of the journey of joy.  “You have helped me grow as a teacher, you have provided wonderful guidance, you have pushed me to be a better teacher…And I’m thinking of all my students today…hundreds, thousands of kids who I’ve taught over the years: Each one has had a part in my journey.”   

LPS Superintendent Steve Joel congratulated Prabulos “for this honor going to one of the great teachers in Lincoln Public Schools.” 

“I thank the Scottish Rite for presenting an award of this magnitude, representing all that’s right with schools and teachers and public education.

Susan, congratulations, you’re a tremendous representative of Lincoln Public Schools.” 

The prestigious Scottish Rite Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award is presented annually and comes with a cash prize of $3,000. 

Bruce Wood, General Secretary for the local chapter of the Scottish Rite, underlined that Scottish Rite “has always been and will continue to be a strong supporter of public education.”

Video of the full recognition ceremony:

Past Scottish Rite honorees

Posted on November 16, 2016


Students honor veterans throughout classrooms

Students in Lincoln Public Schools are taking time to learn about and honor veterans. Here are just some of the activities taking place around town.

Each Veterans Day a group marches past Lincoln High School to the Antelope Park memorials. The LHS band greeted and saluted them as they walked past this morning.

To honor Veterans Day students and staff at Humann Elementary dressed in red, white, and blue.

Pound Middle School students wrote special personal letters to veterans and active duty. Students also watched some additional informational video clips to learn more about the meaning and observance of the day.

Kindergarten students at Kooser Elementary were honored to hear a local veteran read them book.

Mrs. Mueller and Ms. Taege's eighth grade social studies classes at Mickle Middle School learned about Veterans Day.  Students wrote letters to veterans they know personally or to veterans in our community.

Students in Mr. Powell's U.S. History class at the Bill Nuernberger Education Center answered writing prompts at the beginning of class.

Calvert Elementary students thank Principal Jeff Brehm for his service to our country.

Irving Middle School held a special assembly honoring veterans in their newly remodled auditorium. 

Students at Huntington Elementary invited family members who served and other veterans from the community to join them for a special lunch.

Posted on November 14, 2016


Author shares experience with students

Children's author Lois Brandt told Lincoln Public Schools elementary students that a real-life experience when she was a child – led to the creation of her award-winning book, Maddi’s Fridge, about a young girl who discovers that her best friend’s refrigerator is bare. 

“When I was in about the fifth grade, I was playing at my best friend’s house after school when I got hungry,” Brandt told Huntington third graders Thursday. “So I ran into Liz’s kitchen, opened the refrigerator door and discovered that her refrigerator was almost completely empty….Ketchup, hot sauce, and a small carton of milk she had brought home from school for her little brother.”

Brandt said that story “stuck in my head” – through elementary, middle and high school, through college and her early career years – “until one day I wrote down the story…That’s the reason I write...because stories get stuck in my head and at some point it feels like my head is going to explode unless I write stuff out.”

The author told students that after writing her book the first time – it took her ten years of revisions and 50 rejections – before getting it published two years ago.

 Brandt’s book, Maddi's Fridge, was featured last year as Lincoln Public Schools introduced the Backpack Walk to staff and students.  You can find out more about Brandt and her books here: http://www.loisbrandt.com/

Posted on November 11, 2016


Lincoln Public Schools: Highlights of 11/8 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

Lincoln Public Schools:

Highlights of 11/8 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education held a regular meeting on Tuesday, November 8 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The Board will hold its next meeting Tuesday, Nov. 22 at 6 p.m.

 

BOARD MEETING Highlights

Naming support LPS facility

Lincoln Public Schools is extending the deadline to submit names for a new school facility that supports both school district Professional Learning and the LPS Nutrition Service Program – the Lincoln Board of Education was informed Tuesday evening.

 

Community members can submit names through Tuesday, Nov. 22 by going to: http://lps.org/nameit/2016-10/

 

“I would ask our community members to go to our website and send us suggestions for this important facility,” said Kathy Danek, who is chairing a special committee made up of Lincoln Board of Education and community members who will give their name recommendation to the Board of Education.

 

The support facility is located at 710 Hill St. and will be renovated for two major uses:

  • For Professional Learning: LPS is committed to high-quality professional learning opportunities for all staff.  The facility will house a large professional learning space, smaller classrooms and conference room settings to meet the various needs of staff.
  • For Nutrition Services:  The facility will house the freezer, cooler, dry storage and support offices that facilitate distribution of food to school sites district-wide.  On any given day, the LPS Nutrition Services program serves 7,200 breakfasts, 26,400 lunches, 3,200 snacks and 150 dinners. In total over seven million dollars of food will be distributed through this facility each year.

The Board of Education will make the final decision.

 

Policy changes
The Board heard proposals for several changes in policy governing Board operating procedures: Meetings, and time and place of meetings. The Board will vote approval at the Nov. 22 meeting.

 

Kitchen equipment for new Moore Middle School

The Board heard a proposal to purchase $563,000 worth of kitchen equipment for the new Marilyn Moore Middle School (opening in the fall of 2017). The low bidder was Hockenbergs from Omaha. The Board will vote approval at the Nov. 22 meeting.

 

Bond issue series

The community approved a bond issue in February, 2014 – and as a result in April of 2014, $120 million of bonds were issued.  The spend-down schedule indicates the majority of these funds will be expended in December 2016.  The Board of Education’s Finance Committee Tuesday recommended the remaining $33.3 million of the original authorization be issued for the second issuance of bonds – for the remaining LPS construction projects – no later than Feb. 15, 2017. The date of final maturity of the bonds shall not be later than January 31, 2022. The Board will vote approval at the Nov. 22 meeting.

 

Community Learning Centers

The Board heard a presentation from the LPS Community Learning Centers about a new grant-funded program to provide leadership opportunities to students at three CLC sites.   The CLCs are partnering with Launch to provide structured leadership skills to students who normally might not be engaged. Launch Leadership facilitates leadership development for middle school and high school students with challenging, hands-on activities to build better leaders, more effective groups and stronger communities.


Strategic Plan update

Lanny Boswell – who leads the Board’s Strategic Planning Committee – reported that if anyone wants to participate with the ongoing strategic planning process – and do not have time to attend a session – they have plenty of time to take the online survey at: http://www.lps.org/strategicplan/

 

There are two remaining open strategic planning sessions for the community:

  • Nov. 10, 6 p.m. at Lux Middle School
  • Nov. 15, 12:30 p.m. at Mount Zion Baptist Church

Staff Celebrations

The Board of Education recognized the following employees for outstanding honors:

  • Colleen Finkhouse, a counselor at Lincoln Southwest High School, has been honored with a 2016 Yale Educator Award and was nominated by former student Ashley Pales.
  • Jason Thomsen, a science teacher and department chair at Lincoln Southwest High School, has been honored with a 2016 Yale Educator

Posted on November 08, 2016


Lux hosts local veterans for special program

Lux Middle School hosted a special celebration honoring Veterans ahead of Veteran's Day on November 11.  

Active and retired members from the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, National Guard and Navy, 43 in all, participated in the event. There was also one World War II Veteran who served in the Pacific in attendance.  

Senator Ben Sasse was the keynote speaker for the assembly.  After the assembly, students rotated through breakout sessions, where the Veterans told students their stories. 

Posted on November 04, 2016


Student Vote 2016 - Results!

View the 2016 Student Vote Results Here!

 Results read live on KFOR

Fourth through twelfth grade students from across Lincoln cast their votes today during Student Vote. Students were able to weigh in on Presidential candidates, state school board candidates and first district congressional candidates. High school students were also able to vote on Referendum 426, which asks voters if they wish to retain or repeal the ban on the death penalty in Nebraska.

“Civic learning and civic engagement are vital pieces of social studies curriculum in Lincoln Public Schools,” said social studies curriculum specialist Jaci Kellison.  “We know that students who have the opportunity to learn about and participate in this democratic process from a young age will not only have increased interest in their communities, but are also more likely to become life-long voters and active citizens in adulthood.”

Each school had student election commissioners that helped run the election process. Students logged on to the special Student Vote website using their student ID to cast their ballot.

The schools determined different ways to let students cast their ballot. Some let the students vote on their own with their devices, some set a time that the whole classroom would vote using their Chromebooks, and some of the elementary schools set up voting booths where students waited in line to cast their vote.

Here is what some of the students who participated in Student Vote had to say.

  • Parker, fourth grader at Kooser Elementary: “I want to see what everyone thinks of the candidates and all the other people we can vote for. Maybe you don’t like a rule now, and maybe the new president will change a rule to a different thing so you like it.”

  • Mabast, fifth grader at Lakeview Elementary: “My job is to get students from their classrooms and bring them to the polls to vote.”

  • Megan, fifth grader at Lakeview Elementary: “The Student Vote kickoff was very fun. I learned a lot about the presidential election and the importance of voting.”

  • Kailyn, fifth grader at West Lincoln Elementary: “We get the opportunity to help pick the President.”

  • Sara, fifth grader at West Lincoln Elementary: “Kids have their own opinions and parents might not listen, so they get to share their thoughts.”

  • Chloe, fifth grader at West Lincoln Elementary: “It’s giving kids a chance to vote even though they can’t vote.  We can see who we want to be president and help build the country.”

  • Isabel, Lincoln Southwest High School: “I think it’s important for people to vote, no matter what. Even if the person they are voting for isn’t entirely what they believe in, it can maybe lead to the direction they are hoping for.”

  • Luis, Lincoln North Star High School: “Even though the students aren’t able to legally vote, they are still affected by the election and what they do to change our government.”

  • Tori, Lincoln North Star High School: “Students should care because when they are finally able to vote, they need to know the history. So it’s important to build your opinions young so you can expand on it in the future.”

  • Eli, Lux Middle School: “Students should get excited about this so they know in the future the importance of voting.”

  • Max, Lincoln North Star High School: “My first election I paid attention to was Obama’s first election and I didn’t really think it affected me, but it’s important to realize what they did, and it will affect you later in life. So realizing how important it can be growing up means you’ll be a stronger better voter as you get older and your knowledge will be increasing.”

  • Leigh, Lincoln Southwest High School: “Just learning about your right to vote encourages voting as an older individual who has that legal right.”

  • Alex, Lincoln Southeast High School: “Kids care about the election because who becomes our president, it determines what our future will be like and how our schools will teach.”

  • Harlie, Lincoln North Star High School: “I think this year’s election is very excited and I wanted to be a part of it in some way.”

Posted on November 03, 2016


Volunteers needed to ring bells

Phil Wolfe, retired Lincoln Public Schools teacher, organizes the LPS team for ringing Salvation Army bells.  Active teachers and retired teachers as well are encouraged to help out.

  • You are asked to commit for two hours at the  location of your choice.
  • Your children can be with you while bell ringing.
  • If you have been a bell ringer in the past or would like to become a bell ringer, here's all you need to do: 

Go to www.ringbells.org. On the registration form indicate “LPS Teachers" as your organization. 

Any questions please contact Phil at cubwolfe@gmail.com

Posted on November 02, 2016


Student Vote is November 2!

Wednesday is Student Vote! Students in 4-12 grades will have the chance to cast their ballot electronically in a mock election. We will reveal the results on www.lps.org after 4:15 p.m. or LIVE on our media partner KFOR radio and on the LPS Facebook page at approximately 4:10 p.m. on Wednesday.

Student Vote was created to teach kids the importance of being educated voters and to enjoy the process. Students involved are more likely to be active citizens and life-long voters.

Posted on October 31, 2016


Lincoln Public Schools: Highlights of 10/25 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

Lincoln Public Schools:

Highlights of 10/25 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education held a regular meeting on Tuesday, October 25 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The Board will hold its next meeting Tuesday, Nov. 8 at 6 p.m.

BOARD MEETING Highlights

Plan for struggling students

The Lincoln Board of Education heard a presentation Tuesday outlining the plan and timeline to move ahead after results of an external audit – conducted by District Management Council (DMC), an outside consultant – providing a comprehensive review of programs and practices that Lincoln Public Schools implements for “struggling students.”

The plan is called Planning, Monitoring and Implementing Strategies to Support the Effectiveness and Equity of Services for Struggling Students, and describes a multi-step process ahead

“People are eager to get started on the work,” said Jane Stavem, associate superintendent of Instruction.

Board member Lanny Boswell reminded everyone that the “goal is to improve the outcomes of students…by aligning with our best practices….and finding opportunities for us to improve.

Steps in the plan are:

1. Conduct and share diagnostic – a step accomplished through the audit.

2. Align on key focus areas, which will include: Building a shared understanding of opportunities; assembling a Guiding Coalitions; prioritizing opportunities, narrowing to 1-2 key areas of focus; and developing a shared vision of success and identifying key support strategies. The goals of the Guiding Coalitions are: helping guide the work in creation of a vision for change; communicating to stakeholders; championing the effort; and providing diverse perspectives, expertise and experience.

3. Plan for implementation, which will include: Creating a detailed action plan for implementation; creating a communications plan for sharing and gathering feedback; providing coaching support for the special education leadership team; and creating systems and processes to measure progress.

4. Implementation of priorities, which will include: Piloting a new vision for success and expanding; monitoring and refining the plan,

Purchasing buses
The Board gave final approval to bids for seven wheelchair buses and five 84-passenger buses to replace part of the fleet and add to it as well. The vote approves purchasing wheelchair buses from Cornhusker International for $744,570.00, and 84-passenger busses from Nebraska Central Equipment for $646,295.00.

Fruits and veggies

The Board approved selection of vendors for purchase of more than $500,000 worth of canned fruits and vegetables, and frozen potato products, for use by LPS Nutrition Services at all locations. 

Strategic Plan update

Boswell reported that if anyone wants to participate with the ongoing strategic planning process – and do not have time to attend a session – they can take a survey online at: http://www.lps.org/strategicplan/

There are also four opportunities for community members to attend open strategic planning sessions:

  • Nov. 1, 6 p.m. at Scott Middle School
  • Nov. 7, 6 p.m. at Goodrich Middle School
  • Nov. 19, 6 p.m. at Lux Middle School
  • Nov. 15, 12:30 p.m. at Mount Zion Baptist Church

Staff Celebrations

The Board of Education recognized the following employees for outstanding honors:

  • Jamie Mapp, school psychologist at McPhee Elementary School, honored as the Psychologist of the Year by the Nebraska School Psychologists Association (NSPA).
  • Ursula Vernon-Hansen, School Social Worker who serves Scott Middle School and Hill and Adams Elementary Schools, awarded the Service to Children Award from the Nebraska School Psychology Association (NSPA).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on October 25, 2016


LPS names first principal for new Marilyn Moore Middle School

Gary Czapla, currently principal of Culler Middle School, will serve as the first principal of the new Marilyn Moore Middle School, which opens next fall for the 2017-18 school year. 

Steve Joel, superintendent of Lincoln Pubic Schools, made the announcement Monday:  “We are excited to have Dr. Czapla as principal of our newest middle school. He is a proven leader of innovation as it relates to improving teaching and learning for all students. As a pilot school for the district technology plan, Culler was instrumental in helping determine the ‘do's and don’ts’ of a large-scale rollout. His belief that students need to be inspired to learn through creative engagement will serve as the backbone for a 21st century school that will emphasize creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration.”  

Jane Stavem, associate superintendent for Instruction at LPS, said: "Dr. Czapla is a great fit for Marilyn Moore Middle School and brings both the experience needed to open a new school, and the energy for creating new opportunities in our newest learning spaces.”  

Czapla has been principal at Culler for seven years – and previously served as principal at the Bryan Community High School Program, associate principal at Lincoln Southeast High School, and instructional coordinator and team leader at Bryan. 

In a message to Culler parents today, Czapla wrote: “Culler has been my family in many ways over the past 7 years and I have the greatest admiration for all of you. You have all treated me with the utmost kindness and caring and I will always be grateful for what each of you has given me. However the chance to open a brand new middle school is an opportunity that only comes around once in a great while and I felt I needed to take advantage of this opportunity.” 

Czapla earned his Bachelor’s, Master of Education and Doctorate of Education degrees all at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Posted on October 24, 2016


Lincoln Public School Office Professionals annual fundraiser Oct. 29

LPSAOP, is holding their annual Craft Fair this coming SaturdayOctober 29, at Lincoln North Star High School. Proceeds from this event will support professional development opportunities for LPS Office Professionals and towards the $1300 Diane Greiser annual scholarship given to an LPS student choosing to further their education at a Nebraska college or university. See flyer below for details.

Posted on October 24, 2016


LPS invites community members to share vision of schools

Take the survey: http://www.lps.org/strategicplan/

This year the Lincoln Board of Education and Lincoln Public Schools have launched a new strategic planning initiative, seeking to engage citizens throughout the community to help refresh and develop a strategic plan to chart the course for the school district over the next five years.

 

Called “Voices for the Future,” the strategic planning process involves gathering community voices through civic, school and community meetings, as well as through social media and online surveys – encouraging our citizens to dream big, imagine new ideas, help identify creative, innovative goals necessary to write the story of the school district’s future. The mission is to ensure LPS students experience a world-class education in preparation for college, career and life.

 

LPS facilitators are meeting with civic and school groups throughout Lincoln to gather ideas and feedback.

 

In addition, four community forums have been scheduled that are open to all Lincoln citizens:

  • Nov. 1, 6-7 p.m.: Scott Middle School, 2200 Pine Lake Road
  • Nov. 7, 6-7 p.m.: Goodrich Middle School, 4600 Lewis Ave.
  • Nov. 10, 6-7 p.m.: Lux Middle School, 7800 High St.
  • Nov. 15, 12:30-2 p.m.: Mr. Zion Baptist Church, 3301 N. 56th St.

Citizens can also participate in the strategic planning process by going online and taking a survey: http://www.lps.org/strategicplan/

 

Gathering community feedback and data is the first step in the strategic planning process, followed by meeting with smaller groups, analyzing the major themes, and working with the Board of Education to identify and finalize new strategic goals.

 

Posted on October 21, 2016


Music fills the fall air

The photos in our gallery were submitted to LPS Communications. If you have photos from this event or other school-related activities, email them to zbaehr@lps.org.

The weather was perfect for the 17 area high school bands that participated in the annual Lincoln Public Schools Marching Band Invitational Contest at Seacrest Field on Saturday, October 15.

Bands were judged individually and as an ensemble for music and visual performance, music and visual effect, colorguards and percussion. Each school was then given a rating of I for 'Superior', II for 'Excellent' or III for 'Good'.

Below are the results for the Lincoln High Schools that participated:

North Star High School - Excellent
under the direction of Rob Salistean and Kirk Brown

Southwest High School - Excellent
under the direction of Alyssa Wilhelm and Jason Lenz

Northeast High School - Excellent
under the direction of Brian Vuu and Eric Snyder

Lincoln High School - Excellent 
under the direction of Chris Watson and Jill Oetken    

East High School - Superior
under the direction of Tom Thorpe, Paul Kenney and Lisabeth Wissink

Southeast High School - Superior
under the direction of R.J. Metteer, Gary Shuda, Sam Rickert and Zach Brown  

The Lincoln Southwest High School ninth grade marching band also performed, but was not rated.

Posted on October 20, 2016


Invitation to name new LPS support facility

Lincoln Public Schools is asking for suggestions from our community to name a new school facility that supports both the LPS Nutrition Service Program and school district Professional Learning.

Please submit ideas before Oct. 26, by going to:  http://lps.org/nameit/2016-10/

The facility will have two major uses:

  • For Nutrition Services:  The facility will house the freezer, cooler, dry storage and support offices that facilitate distribution of food to school sites district-wide.  On any given day, the LPS Nutrition Services program serves 7,200 breakfasts, 26,400 lunches, 3,200 snacks and 150 dinners. In total over seven million dollars of food will be distributed through this facility each year.
  • For Professional Learning: LPS is committed to high-quality professional learning opportunities for all staff.  The facility will house a large professional learning space, smaller classrooms and conference room settings to meet the various needs of staff.

All suggested names will be forwarded to a special committee made up of Lincoln Board of Education and community members who will give their recommendation to the Board of Education. The Board of Education will make the final decision.

Posted on October 18, 2016


October LPS Learning Lunch: Choice alive and well

October LPS Learning Lunch: Choice alive and well

 

The October Lincoln Public Schools Learning Lunch will provide a wonderful sense of the many alternative high school choices for LPS students: set for noon Tuesday, Oct. 25.

 

The presentation – School choice alive and well at LPS – will feature: Pat Hunter-Pirtle describing the Science Focus Program (Zoo School) and Arts and Humanities Focus Program; J.P. Caruso, talking about the International Baccalaureate Program housed at Lincoln High School; Dan Hohensee, talking about The Career Academy, and MSgt (Ret.) Trent Woodruff, explaining the Junior ROTC Program housed at Lincoln Northeast High School.

 

The Learning Lunch will be held in the Board Room at LPS District Office, 5905 O St. Doors to the Board Room open at noon, the program begins at 12:15 p.m., questions-and-answers happen at 12:45 p.m. Please bring your own lunch – we’ll provide dessert.

 

Learning Lunches are generally held on the last Tuesday of the month, offering “Untold Stories” of our schools. They are open to LPS staff and the Lincoln community.

 

The remaining 2016-17 season:

  • 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 October 18, 2016


Kahoa PE teacher completes IRONMAN challenge

Eric Vacek, a PE teacher at Kahoa Elementary School, completed the IRONMAN Triathlon in Louisville, Ken. over the weekend and finished in 12 hours, 24 minutes.

The IRONMAN consists of a 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim, a 112-mile (180.25 km) bicycle ride, and a marathon 26.22-mile (42.20 km) run, raced in that order and without a break.

"It is extremely difficult to balance all the things in life in order train for something like Ironman," Vacek said. "But it's been on my and a friend's bucket list for awhile now. At the ages of 40 and 44 we decided it wasn't going to get any easier by waiting longer. So the last 10 months - and really 10-20 years - have been preparation for Ironman. It was such as neat experience having all of that come together in perfect fashion so that we both could have such great races! The emotion definitely pours out of you at the finish."

In order to be considered an IRONMAN, you need to complete the race in 17 hours. 

The race is regarded one of the most difficult single-day sporting events on the planet.

Posted on October 12, 2016


LPS Update: Highlights of the 10/11 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education held a regular meeting on Tuesday, October 11, at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O Street. The Board will holds its next meeting Tuesday, October 25, at 6 p.m.

BOARD MEETING HIGHLIGHTS

Presentation by Community Learning Centers Lights On Afterschool...
In October, cities from across the nation will be celebrating the Lights On Afterschool initiative and in Lincoln the celebration will be held October 20, at 5:30 p.m. at Goodrich Middle School.

The Board heard from Suzi Stout the CLC coordinator at Park Middle School, Belmont Elementary student Fernanda Islas, Goodrich Middle School student Princess Hayden and her parent Bernice Hayden.

Princess Hayden said that the CLC program is one of the best opportunities for her: “The clubs are amazing and I’m so glad CLC is here because without it I wouldn’t know what to do after school.”

Her mother Bernice said, “My daughter is capable of being by herself, but I don’t want her watching tv or playing on her cell phone. I want her doing things that will enrich her learning and the CLCs provide that.”

Teammate presentation...
Tom Osborne, founder of the Teammates program, and the director of the Lincoln program Walter Powell presented to the board about the importance of the mentor/mentee relationship for the success of students.

There are approximately 1,200 students in Lincoln matched with mentors through the Teammates program with another 700 on the waiting list.

Osborne said, “Obviously we need more mentors, but this is also an indication that Teammates is well received and well respected.

Powell reported to the board the success found when students have a mentor: “We see students who are more motivated, students who are performing better academically. When we see meetings happening consistently we see students’ academic performance improve, their attendance improves and often times we see a reduction in discipline referrals.”

Board member Kathy Danek reiterated by saying: “I’ve listened to a lot of stories of how mentorship has changed a lot of lives, but it doesn’t just change the lives of the mentees. It changes the life of the mentors. My challenge is we need 700 mentors to fill the needs for LPS. I’m challenging my colleagues and everyone in the district - it’s one hour a week. Change a life, become a mentor.”

President Don Mayhew said: “This is something that is very important to us. We talk about our graduation rate as being important to us. I think the Teammates program is an important part of that.”

If someone is interested in becoming a mentor, they can go to www.teammates.org and complete an application online. The matching process takes about 4-6 weeks to get someone matched and out to the schools.

First reading, action at next meeting

Purchasing buses...
The Board accepted bids for seven wheelchair buses and five 84-passenger buses to replace part of the fleet and add to it as well. The recommendation was to approve purchasing wheelchair buses from Cornhusker International for $744,570.00, and 84-passenger busses from Nebraska Central Equipment for $646,295.00. This action will be voted on at the next board meeting.

Second reading, recommended for action

Legislative Guidelines...
Throughout the 2016-17 calendar year, various governmental bodies will consider legislative and administrative action that will have an impact on Lincoln Public Schools. To effectively communicate the positions of the Board of Education, the Board annually approves Legislative Guidelines to provide guidance to district staff and representatives communicating with governmental bodies when it is not possible to survey the Governmental Relations Subcommittee of the Board for specific guidance on a particular piece of legislation or policy. The Board approved the guidelines that supports the mission of Lincoln Public Schools.

Board Policy updates…
The board also approved policy updates that dealt with setting up the fiscal year, the superintendent’s evaluation, Board operating procedures, and citizen participation at Board of Education meetings.

 

Summer School update…
Pam Robinson, Jadi Miller, and Linda Hix provided the Board with an update on the 2016 Summer School Programs offered at Lincoln Public Schools.

Highlights include:

  • Record number of enrollment with 1699 students enrolled, 1,411 students completing summer school.
  • All the high schools in Lincoln were represented, as well as, non-LPS schools and one student from as far away as Scottsbluff, Nebraska.
  • 279 English Language Learners participated in the summer program.
  • There were 55 different courses offered in 98 sections.
  • 318 students participated in the eLearning courses offered.
  • 93 percent of seniors enrolled in summer school finished their course work and received their diploma at the conclusion of summer school.
  • 37 schools offered summer school for elementary students serving over 857 students.
  • For ELL, 247 elementary students,105 middle school students and 50 high school students attended summer programs.
  • Eighth grade ELL students were able to complete high school credits during the summer while meeting high school teachers and learning about the schools they were going to attend.

Board Committee Reports

Strategic Plan update...
Board member Lanny Boswell reported the first presentation for the Strategic Plan was given to the Citizen’s Academy group. The first staff presentations was done by Boswell and Board member Connie Duncan at Lincoln Southeast High School, and those will continue throughout the district. There will be four opportunities for the community to attend strategic planning sessions:

  • Nov. 1, 6pm at Scott Middle School
  • Nov. 7, 6pm at Goodrich Middle School
  • Nov. 19, 6pm at Lux Middle School
  • Nov. 15, 12:30pm at Mount Zion Baptist Church

The Career Academy…
Boswell updated the Board on current enrollment at TCA. Enrollment is up with 394 students enrolled (247 juniors and 138 seniors). This is a 37 percent increase from last year’s enrollment.

 

Posted on October 11, 2016


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