How can you take 570 Lincoln elementary students on a field trip to a paleontology dig 440 miles across the state of Nebraska for free? With a virtual field trip set up between Lincoln Public Schools and other organizations across the state, the hassle and costs of these learning experiences are minimal.
"National parks and other places in our state offer these opportunities to our students free or at little cost, without needing to get parent permissions slips signed, buses scheduled, lunches packed. It's a great opportunity for our students to get out of the classroom and experience the world around them," commented LPS distance learning coordinator, Linda Dickeson.
The virtual field trips are done using a two-way interactive videoconferencing system set up between the schools and the host organization. The most recent of these virtual field trips was conducted with Agate Fossil Beds in the Panhandle of Nebraska and Prescott Elementary. Park rangers gave tours of their facility, showcased fossils and displayed artists' renderings of prehistoric animals found at the national park.
"I'm going to tell you about some animals we have," said Park Ranger Ann to the 102 kindergartners sitting around the projector screen. "Right behind me is the beardog. Looking at his head, what can we tell about what he eats?"
The experience was set up as part of Prescott's Expressive Arts Day. Prescott principal Ruth Ann Wylie challenged the school’s specialists to find creative and engaging ways to make the most of shortened PLC days.
“They did a great job developing what we call Expressive Arts Day. They plan physical activities, arts events and other things that relate to what we are doing and expand what students are learning in the classroom,” Wylie said. “Today our students can make the connection to our newly created fossil dig out back in our outdoor classroom.”
The tour of Agate Fossil Beds is just one of the 37 field trips offered to Nebraska educators through the Nebraska Virtual Instruction Source. Schools interested in setting up a virtual field trip can go to http://nvis.esucc.org/ at the Field Trip link to choose a location and topic that fits into their lessons. Topics and organizations range from NASA to national parks, art museums, and how food gets from the farm to our tables.
For more information about distance learning opportunities, contact Lincoln Public Schools distance learning coordinator Linda Dickeson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted on August 26, 2015
High school students participating in the first Career Academy health services pathway received hands-on experience in working with needles.
During class time, instructor Amy Holst, along with two EMT volunteers from Kawasaki, worked with students on drawing blood, giving injections and starting IVs.
“This should take a little edge off of being nervous, as far as working with needles,” said Holst. “At least they get introduced to it and learn how to use them, hold them correctly.”
Students of the class see the experience as a way to get a jumpstart on their future.
“I think it's going to help me because I'm learning right now, practicing, so when I get into the real future, I'll know what to do. It’s really exciting,” commented Khadiya Mengelkamp.
Another student Carolyn Hopkins added, “It's made me more confident in things I'm going to be doing in my career in the future. Even though I'm just starting, I know I can do it.”
Holst said thanks to community support, this experience was possible for students. “For Kawasaki to send these EMT's out, there is no way I could watch 25 students with needles and run four different lab stations. It's huge that Kawasaki and the community itself, lends a hand and comes out to help us.”
Posted on August 25, 2015
Irving Middle School and Sheridan Elementary were honored with the School Recycling Award from the Keep Nebraska Beautiful organization. Sheridan was given the second place award, and Irving was given the first place award and a $50 check.
Both schools acitively recycled and composted during the 2014-15 school year. Iriving recycled over 30,800 pounds of materials and composted over 66,400 pounds during last year. Sheridan recycled over 12,100 pounds and started composting in March with a total of 6,670 pounds of organic waste.
In addition to lessening the schools' environmental footprint, both programs helped students learn about keeping our environment beautiful.
“Composting is putting things that decompose like food scraps and paper into a bin or pile, and letting it decompose and become rich soil that helps the earth, and is also better than putting it in landfills.” – 5th Grader
“Composting is taking biodegradable material, breaking it down, and putting it back in the system.” – 4th Grader
“It helps by not being put into landfills because food scraps turn into bad chemicals when they are in the landfill and this hurts the earth. Also, when compost becomes dirt, it's very rich and full of nutrients, so it helps the environment.” – 5th Grader
“Compost nutrifies the plants and the plants help you eat, breathe, and stay healthy.” – 4th Grader
“Instead of polluting the Earth in landfills, it puts nutrients in the soil.” -4th Grader
Accepting the awards were assistant custodial supervisor Bob Mounce from Sheridan and principal Dr. Susette Taylor from Irving.
Posted on August 21, 2015
High school students will arrive this week on Wednesday, but on Monday at The Career Academy – a partnership of Lincoln Public Schools, Southeast Community College and local business and industry – the community cut ribbons, gave speeches and celebrated a great new facility on the SCC campus that will offer career pathways for high school and college students.
LPS Academy student Anthony Marks helped offer tours of the new school and also spoke on the official program, thanking the audience for providing him the opportunity to follow his dream of engineering: “I’m ready to get started, I’m excited about getting started.”
LPS Superintendent Steve Joel proclaimed “there is no career academy model like this in America….We have partnered academic institutions, brought in business organizations and industry that had needs, but also had a willingness to support this Academy with resources, mentorships and internships. We wouldn’t be here today if they weren’t willing to roll up their sleeves and imagine this dream…This will be a game changer and a difference maker in the lives of our kids.”
Dan Hohensee, director of The Career Academy, said: “This will serve as a connection between academics and the real world.”
Great comments from the morning:
- Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts: “This is a wonderful celebration of a variety of things…helping make sure we have the 21st century work force in Nebraska…But ultimately the best thing about this new Academy is what it’s going to do for our kids: Give them an opportunity to have that great career.”
- U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer: “This is an innovative, entrepreneurial program, and we can only imagine what it will be like in a few more years.”
- Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler: “This Academy represents one more instance, an example of where public democratic institutions work with private sector forces – to make great things happen.”
- Paul Illich, president of Southeast Community College: “This will not just change Lincoln, it will charge the entire area of southeast Nebraska.”
- Lanny Boswell, a member of the Lincoln Board of Education and a member of the joint LPS-SCC Career Academy Board, said research indicates that students who have personal meaningful connections to school are more likely to graduate on time, “and The Career Academy provides a new way for students to connect with school.”
- Dale Kruse, a member of the SCC Board and joint LPS-SCC Board: “I believe this also contributes to keeping our young people here in Nebraska.”
- Kevin Keller, Union Bank: “Today we celebrate the beginning of a student’s journey into a new career….They have a spark and it is our job to help them…to help fuel the fire they have within…. The Career Academy represents the best of our community…all joining their hands together…to help students into their future.”
- Nick Cusick, co-founder and CEO of IMSCORP – and one of the first to suggest a notion for the Academy – stressed that the success of the community and country depends on the success of every student – and every student has unique learning needs: “I applaud LPS and SCC for their vision to make this possible….I applaud students and families who have made the choice to attend this Academy...I applaud my fellow businesses who have stepped forward.”
- Wendy Van, president of the Foundation for LPS, noted that Monday’s audience was filled with “noble men and women…Each of you believe in the children of Lincoln, NE…and what they are capable of…and we thank you.”
Posted on August 10, 2015
Last spring, the principals of Belmont, Campbell, Fredstrom, and Kooser Elementary started talking about ways their staff could inspire their students about their futures.
"We read the book, 'Make Hope Happen' by Dr. Shane J. Lopez," said Campbell Elementary principal Julie Lawler. "And that got us thinking about ways our staff could give the elementary students in northwest Lincoln hope about what their future may hold."
The teachers from all four elementary schools gathered for an afternoon of brainstorming and learning concepts from Lopez.
Lopez, a senior scientist at Gallup, used the four elementary schools' data from the annual Hope, Engagement, and Well-being Gallup poll given to fifth graders last fall. His goal was to assist staff in building a "hope map".
"He shared specific data from the Gallup polls from our schools' fifth graders last October, and we found commonalities in the data points in our area," added Vicki Schulenberg, Fredstrom Elementary principal. "The data showed all of us that we need to do a better job of allowing kids to be better problem solvers."
By building a "hope map", the educators were able to illustrate obstacles and pathways to get to a goal, and ways they can work as a team to help kids reach their goals.
"Lopez helped our staff envision what does a good job great life look like, and how do we share that with our kids," said Lawler.
Posted on August 04, 2015
First-Day Videos from the past
Summer is winding down and we are getting ready for students. The first day of classes for grades K-9 is August 12, the first day for grades 10-12 is August 13.
Here are some key reminders for families as they prepare for the start of the 2015-16 school year:
Elementary School Supplies
Pencils, erasers, crayons, glue, scissors, etc...traditionally, one of the rituals families participate in as they prepare for the new school year is to purchase school supplies.
In accordance with the Nebraska Constitution and state and federal law, Lincoln Public Schools provides a free, public education to all students. This generally means the district provides the supplies needed for instruction at no cost to students. For this reason, please do not send school supplies for your child’s individual use at school.
If you enjoy shopping for school supplies, and would like to make a donation to your child’s classroom, this list provides suggestions. Items donated will be shared with all students at each grade level. Thank you!
Parents need to provide a student immunization record in order to enroll in school. The requirements and approved waiver form are listed on the Health Services website, which has lots of other health-related information. Still have a question? Call our Health Services team at 402-436-1000.
Free/Reduced Lunch Applications / Lunch Money / Menus
Lunch prices will stay the same this year, however, there are some changes. Free and reduced applications are not renewable, so you must fill it out again. Start here - http://www.lps.org/post/index.cfm?collection=29. You can find a lot of information about menus, paying online, and nutrition information for meals. Also, you can get daily meal announcements on Twitter at @LPSMenus and Facebook.
Students and parents / guardians can get secure access to grades, assignments, and attendance information through Synergy ParentVUE and StudentVUE. ParentVUE is not intended to replace direct communication between students/parents/teachers or other school staff members.
Information available via ParentVUE includes:
- Communications from teachers
- Progress Grades
- Assignment Calendars
- Student Schedules
- Course History
You can learn a lot more here - http://home.lps.org/training/parentvue-lps-parent-portal-for-student-information/ - but you can get this information via web or mobile apps. An activation key is required to login to Synergy ParentVUE and StudentVUE. Call the school to get your activation key.
Once a week, once a month, once a quarter, once a year — no matter how much time you can give, you have the power to make a difference in the life of a student and school by serving as a volunteer. Volunteer roles might include …
- Helping in the front office with a mailing
- Shredding paper
- Stapling forms
- Counting flyers for teacher homerooms
- Shelving books in the media center
- Decorating in the classroom
- Room parent
- Classroom readers
- Field trips assistants
- Chaperones for school events where students are supervised by an LPS employee (school dances, celebrations, homeroom parties)
- Chaperoning an overnight band trip
- Sponsoring an after school club
- Driving for school or club events
- School Activity outside of the school building that driving or an overnight stay is involved
For the safety of our students and volunteers, we ask all our volunteers to fill out an application. Application to Volunteer
Posted on August 04, 2015
More than 300 Nebraska students and advisers recently attended the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) National Leadership Conference in Chicago.
Nebraska FBLA members competed June 29-July 2 in 70 competitive events. More than 11,000 FBLA members from 46 states, as well as U.S. territories and international chapters attended the conference.
Nebraska members brought home 22 Top Ten awards, and Lincoln Public Schools had three award national winners.
The Top Ten award winners are: third place, Banking and Financial Systems — Eric Le and Jacob Shiers, Lincoln Southwest High School; ninth place, Management Decision Making — Alicia Zeng and Ojus Jain, Lincoln East High School.
Mason Frey of Lincoln Southwest High School was awarded the achievement level of the National Community Service Awards.
Posted on July 28, 2015
Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra invites young musicians to enter LSO’s 2015-16 Young Artist Competition. Funded in part by the J. Edmunds & Thelma D. Miller Fund at the Lincoln Community Foundation, the competition allows an accomplished young musician to perform with Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra as a featured soloist.
To be eligible, musicians must be 20 years old or younger on the day of the audition, must play an instrument, participate in an audition and submit an application with a letter of recommendation. The winner will have the opportunity to perform as a soloist with the orchestra at LSO’s Young People’s Concerts at the Lied Center and a family concert at Wesleyan’s O’Donnell Auditorium. The winner also receives the title of LSO Young Artist Winner for the 2015-16 season, a private rehearsal and coaching with LSO Resident Conductor, Dr. Tyler White, a $500 cash prize and media exposure.
"The Young Artist Competition is such a great opportunity for local music students to audition to solo with a professional orchestra,” said Barbara Zach, executive director of LSO. “In addition to the winner having the unique experience of rehearsing and performing with Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra, they also get the chance to become a role model for more than 4,000 4th and 5th grade students at our Young People's Concerts."
The audition panel includes LSO Music Director Edward Polochick, Dr. White and two representatives from Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra. Recent Young Artist Competition winners include Lukas McIlhaney, flute, from Wahoo High School; Jennifer Ahn, violin, from Westside High School; and Nicholas May, saxophone, from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Applications are available online at lincolnsymphony.org/about/employment-volunteer or by contacting the LSO office at (402) 476-2211. The application deadline is Wednesday, November 11, 2015. Auditions will be held Saturday, November 21, 2015 at 5:00 p.m.
Founded in 1927, Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra has a mission to enrich, educate and entertain current and potential audiences through the performance and advancement of symphonic music. For more information about Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra, visit lincolnsymphony.org or call (402) 476-2211.
Posted on July 22, 2015
“The kids will not have an issue with this.”
Perhaps that’s part of the reason more than 325 Lincoln Public Schools secondary educators became students themselves during a special training day this summer - as LPS prepares to enter the first phase of a new three-year Instructional Technology initiative in 2015-16.
Library media services coordinator Chris Haeffner further explained.
“Students can turn their work in digitally, you can respond to it digitally, and return it to them digitally, without having to print. It will require a change in the way we do stuff, and a change in the way we think about it.”
The Connected Learning for the Achievement of Students and Staff (CLASS) Bootcamp focused on implementing the student Chromebooks in the classroom by demonstrating best practices and tools available.
CLASS is perhaps better known as the initiative that will place a Chromebook computer with each student in third- through twelfth-grade over the next three years. Chromebook 11 from Dell will be distributed to students entering sixth grade and the focus programs (Arts & Humanities, Zoo School), the International Baccalaureate program at Lincoln High School, and The Career Academy this fall.
Topics during the bootcamp included Google Drive basics, intro to Chrome and Chromebooks for the classroom, Google Classroom, using Synergy’s new tools to communicate, and Hapara for digital classroom management.
Hapara, for example, is a suite of tools that helps teachers facilitate digital work done by students in LPS Google Drive, as well as allowing them to interact with and manage Chromebooks in their classroom.
When choosing between Google Classroom and Hapara, computing services application specialist Chris Pultz encouraged the group to find what fits them best.
“You have access to both of these tools. You can choose the one that fits with what you are trying to do, that feels most comfortable for you,” Pultz said. “Or, you might find you don’t have to choose. You may find you can use both of these tools, ebb and flow.”
By the end of the four sessions, staff were excitedly talking with their peers and team members about ways to implement the Chromebooks into their current teaching and curriculum.
“All of my students already use some kind of technology in the district, and I think the Chromebooks are going to be a nice addition to what they already use,” said Patricia Daberkow, a team leader in the LPS special education department. “Some of my students have really struggled with writing for years and never really turned in complete projects or really struggle with completing any of their assignments. I think the Chromebook will offer lots of different opportunities, and their software, apps and extensions will support them so that they are able to complete their projects.”
Scott Middle School sixth-grade teacher Suzie Olberding added, “We are looking at all curricular areas. So let’s say we want our math students to research a famous mathematician, or our science students, or even going into social studies, the different elements of research we can bring into the classroom using the web through Hapara and through google classroom amazes me.”
Kim Ridder, also a sixth-grade teacher at Scott Middle School, was enthusiastic about the possibilities of being the first to introduce Chromebooks into the classroom, “This is just making everything better. It's not going to replace anything. It's going to make everything better for our students.”
The teachers agree that with these new tools, they will be able to use current classroom management techniques to increase student engagement.
“We have wonderful management techniques already instilled in the classroom,” said Rochelle Senkbeil, Lux Middle School sixth-grade teacher. “We are talking as a team to get some things in place too, so that if we have signals for the students, they are able to follow them and respect that when we are not using the devices, that they be where they are suppose to be - on task in the classroom.”
Lori Nakagawa from Lincoln Southwest High School added, “The idea that you can do selective or focus browsing I think is really positive. Just some of the features that make it easier for teachers to see what students have done, what they are working on, in real time I think is just important.”
Nakagawa continued on saying, “I also like that as far as the classroom management, in Google Classroom you can give the assignments and just have the papers there for ready access. So if they lose the paper it's there; and program, the name, and the title of the assignment. There's just a lot of things that it helps to make it easier for the teacher and the student and I think students will really respond to that.”
When asked about whether or not students will be ready to embrace the Chromebooks, Scott Middle School sixth-grade teach Mark Danley summed up staff perceptions best, “They're ready for it. I think there are a few kids that'll need to get caught up, but for the most part, it's the world they're in that we are trying to get caught up to. We're looking forward to it.”
Posted on July 22, 2015
In June 2014, the President launched the Nation of Makers initiative — a mindset that promotes dispositions and skills such as curiosity, collaborative problem-solving, and self-efficacy, with educators inspiring the next generation to invent, tinker, and learn vital skills in STEM education. One year later, the White House recognized Lincoln Public Schools during National Week of Making for creating maker kits that can travel between libraries within the district.
Last year, LPS media services started with approximately a dozen kits for schools to check out. “Many of the librarians discovered what an exciting component this is,” commented library media services director Mary Reiman. “They are now taking it a step further and enhancing their school’s programs by creating their own unique makerspaces and kits, which is what we envisioned for the program.”
These kits can included simple items like ribbon, paper, crayons, glue, craft scissors, and paints; or more sophisticated items like robots, origami, Legos, die cutting machines, and erector sets.
This year, the district will also expand their kits by adding stop animation cameras and kits, 3D doodlers, magna-tiles and simple machines. “Makerspace is how to take the concept of what looks like play, but what really it is giving students an opportunity to be creative and use critical thinking skills while supporting all curriculum areas,” said Reiman.
Library media services coordinator Chris Haeffner adds, “In order to build a community of problem solvers, students need an environment where they can try without being afraid to fail. We all learn better from experience, and it helps build resilience when students can fail safely. That’s what makerspace is all about.”
In a release from the press secretary, the White House reiterates “America has always been a nation of tinkerers, inventors, and entrepreneurs. In recent years, the rise of the Maker Movement and growing community of self-identified ‘Makers’ is a huge opportunity for the United States...More than 100 school leaders of the K-12 districts and schools, representing more than 3 million students, are committing to an all-hands-on-deck effort to broaden participation in making, tinkering, and inventing.”
Posted on July 21, 2015
High school students will have the opportunity to learn about College of Architecture academic programs, lunch with faculty and students, tour the College facilities, and participate in a design activity. To register for the Open House, visit admissions.unl.edu/CoA-Open-House. Check out the College of Architecture website architecture.unl.edu. Please register by September 28, 2015 to secure a seat.
Students who cannot attend the Open House are encouraged to contact us for a campus visit! Please contact Leslie Gonzalez, Admissions Coordinator email@example.com or call 402-472-9233.
Posted on July 21, 2015
Eager students and their families took a break from summer activities to receive their string instrument at the Lincoln Public School District Office on Friday, July 17. Over 120 instruments lined the board room walls and tables as first-year string students, chosen through a lottery system that's been in place for approximately 17 years, picked up their rentals.
"We have a very limited number of instruments, and so that is one of the reasons why we do this lottery," said Lance Nielsen, district music supervisor.
In June, students enrolled in string music classes for the first time at LPS were mailed information about how to enter their names into a drawing for an opportunity to rent a stringed instrument from the district for one year for a one-time fee of $50. There are violins, violas, cellos and upright bass instruments for students to rent through the lottery system.
When the students pick up their instruments, school music instructors give each student important instructions about their new instrument.
"I can't open it until SAIL camp, because I will develop bad habits," said Ethan, a fifth grader at Humann Elementary, repeating the instructions. "I'm not to leave it in a hot car, not let my sisters get it, and to put it on the floor."
"It is a great opportunity to get our kids started," added Nielsen. "If students are not getting an instrument through LPS or the lottery, then they can get an instrument through a lot of our wonderful music dealers in Lincoln."
Posted on July 20, 2015
Under the leadership of eighth grade team captain Suzie Cho, a team of five students representing Lux Middle School made an impressive showing at the 2015 National Academic Championships for Middle School/Junior High Quiz Bowl teams. Held in the city of New Orleans, the questions focused on history, geography, math, science, grammar, literature, poetry, music and the arts.
The Junior National Championships allows ninth graders as team members so this team benefited from Lux alum Luke Bigelow & Dallas Lim who attended East High School last year. Lux eighth grader Darrix Lim and seventh grader Erin Bigelow completed the team line-up.
“The team had a shaky start in the first qualifying round robin match because they had not competed together in a quiz bowl competition since June of 2014 when they qualified for this important tournament,” commented their coach, Linda Bettis. “Then they followed my directive to loosen up and have fun and everything will be okay!”
With every match that they played, the team’s confidence grew. They finished the qualifying rounds with a record of five wins and one loss — good enough to join 12 other teams from across the nation in the tournament play offs.
The Lux team won their first three matches Monday morning. Their fourth and final match was against the sister team of their previous victory. Like the championships in 2014, a Lux team is now pre-qualified for the 2016 National Championships.
Bettis added, “Next year’s team will not have the expertise of Luke and Dallas, however, the captain has resolved that she will re-form a team that will be ultra-competitive to take back to next year’s event.”
Posted on June 18, 2015
Lincoln North Star High School student, Brooke Lampe, placed first in three of the six events of the Certiport and Nebraska Department of Education's Microsoft Office Specialist competition held this spring. She won $250 for each 1st place honor, along with a Microsoft Surface, and free airfare for her and a chaperon to fly to Orlando for national competition. Since Lampe can only compete in one event at nationals, she will represent Nebraska in Word 2013 during the National Championships this week.
Lampe worked on her Microsoft Office Specialist certification through independent study at Lincoln North Star High School. "Besides the competition, Brooke also earned Microsoft Specialist certifications in Access and also took the MS Word Expert 1 & 2 and the MS Excel Expert 1 & 2, which wouldn't even be covered in our Advanced Information Technology class," commented Shannon Quible, instructor at LNS. "She's just a highly motivated and driven student, and this program let us differentiate the curriculum to meet her needs."
Thousands of Nebraska students age 13 to 22 were eligible to participate in one of six competition tracks by submitting a qualified, passing score on any of the following exams by May 20, 2015: Microsoft Office Specialist Word (2013 or 2010), Microsoft Office Specialist Excel (2013 or 2010), and Microsoft Office Specialist PowerPoint (2013 or 2010).
Invitations to the MOS U.S. National Championship were extended to the top champion in each exam track. During the 2015 MOS U.S. National Championship event, student competitors will take a unique competition exam in their track, further testing their knowledge of the applications. One winner per track will be named the 2015 MOS U.S. National Champion, and each will win an all-expenses-paid trip to compete in the 2015 MOS World Championship in Dallas, Texas August 9-12, 2015.
Posted on June 16, 2015
Lincoln Public Schools connection to NetworkNebraska just recieved a boost that will allow more students to access educational resources outside of school hours. Mayor Chris Beutler announced a partnership between Lincoln City Libraries (LCL) and NebraskaLink to greatly improve LCL’s broadband capabilities. This will allow LCL to access Internet through NetworkNebraska, an educational Internet provider also used by LPS.
Mayor Beutler said, “We are especially excited about how this will benefit Lincoln Public Schools as the District moves forward with providing tablets and other technology for students. The fiber connections will provide better wireless Internet for students outside of school. This partnership will help prepare our students for the workforce of tomorrow. I want to thank NebraskaLink, our excellent library system and the PSC for making this project possible.”
Library Director Pat Leach said students' tablets will connect automatically to the LPS network when they enter an LCL location. “For low-income families with school-age children who do not have a broadband connection at home, the access provided by the Lincoln Library Network may be the only source of broadband Internet access available to the student,” Leach said.
“The Libraries’ plan to increase access to global information is critical for our students, who will use this infrastructure to support their learning that, increasingly, requires access to digital content,” said Kirk Langer, Chief Technology Officer for LPS. “This timely community partnership means LPS students can use the safe learning environment of the Lincoln City Libraries outside the school day. They will now have the type of network access necessary to support the devices LPS provides for students from third through twelfth grade.”
Posted on June 11, 2015