Story Ideas

Lincoln Public Schools Communication Services continues to look for the most effective way to provide you with information.  Story Notes are written and published primarily for those in the media looking to cover the Lincoln Public Schools.

If you have a story idea or questions about one, please email Mary Kay Roth at or Zachary Baehr at

LPS High School Music/Theater Calendar < Updated

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

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

August 2014

21-23 - Lincoln Southwest Theater: A Chorus Line - Silver Hawk Theatre’s 50th Production, Aug. 21, 22, 23, 2014 at 7 p.m. and Aug. 23 at 2 p.m. Tickets on sale now, call 402-436-1335. Mild Language & subject matter - may not be suitable for young children

December 2014

4-13 - Theater: Irving Berlin’s WHITE CHRISTMAS, Dec. 4, 5, 6 and 11, 12, 13 at 7 p.m., Tickets go on sale November 4, call 402-436-1335

April 2015

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

May 2015

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


Lincoln Southwest High School

Theater: A Chorus Line - Silver Hawk Theatre’s 50th Production, Aug. 21, 22, 23, 2014 at 7 p.m. and Aug. 23 at 2 p.m. Tickets on sale now, call 402-436-1335. Mild Language & subject matter - may not be suitable for young children

Theater: Irving Berlin’s WHITE CHRISTMAS, Dec. 4, 5, 6 and 11, 12, 13 at 7 p.m., Tickets go on sale November 4, call 402-436-1335

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

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


Posted on July 23, 2014

Beattie hosting garden party

Beattie Elementary School, 1901 Calvert St., will host a June Garden Party. Students and families can help get the Outdoor Classroom and Garden area ready for school to start. The parent-teacher organization will be sponsoring the garden party on Wed., June 25th from 6 to 7 p.m. Games, prizes, treasure hunt and challenges for most worms, biggest weed pile and most strawberries gathered are part of the fun. 

Posted on June 20, 2014

Kloefkorn to go 'Einstein' with hair activity

The Kloefkorn Elementary School media center has busy Thursdays this summer. Each Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon, students can check out books, participate in the Lincoln City Libraries' summer reading program, and do an activity.

The June 26th activity the group will make Einstein hair and do tangrams. Two more activities will take place on July 3 and July 10.

The school Parent-Teacher Organization is sponsoring the summer program at Kloefkorn, 6601 Glass Ridge Dr.

Posted on June 20, 2014

Just more normal weirdness for Shrek, Roper teacher

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

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

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

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

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

He hopes his love for acting might encourage others.

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on June 17, 2014

To teach better, this cohort returns to math class

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

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

“Why is that?” the instructor asks.

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

Students then repeat similar statements for trapezoids and rectangles.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on June 17, 2014

Students learn through hands-on lessons at Arnold CLC

 Wildlife, rockets and inventors make up the first week line-up at Arnold Community Learning Center’s S.T.E.A.M. Through Summer program.

S.T.E.A.M. adds ‘art’ to the science-technology-engineering-math curriculum, and for two hours each weekday in June and July, students are exploring new ideas at Arnold Elementary School, 5000 Mike Scholl St.

“The main goal is to prevent the summer slide,” said Arnold’s CLC coordinator Dayna Krannawitter. “We want kids to be working their brains this summer, so they are ready when they open the school doors this fall.”

Students sign up, then get to pick their class for the week. The number and types of classes depend upon total enrollment that week, but range from nature, theater, music and more. All require students to become hands-on with their subject matter.

This week, one group will visit the Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center to explore life in the wetlands and woods.

Another group will learn about inventors, inventions and create their own inventions using recycled materials.

A third group will creat rockets, including the design, build and launch, which will happen Friday in a field nearby the school.

Arnold teachers, along with staff from community partner organizations, facilitate the classes.

At Arnold, space is still available for future classes, so parents or guardians can sign up their children in grades first through sixth by the Friday before. There is no charge for these classes. Contact Dayna Krannawitter at 402-436-1120 ext. 5 to get a class schedule and registration information.

Posted on June 17, 2014

Silver Hawks claim two top honors for activities, athletics

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on June 12, 2014

Students mix summer and science at Elliott

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on June 03, 2014

Lux musician to play with group at Carnegie Hall

Brenton Zhang, a student at Lux Middle School, has been selected for the 2014 Middle School Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall. He will perform at Carnegie Hall in June 2014 with the Honors Junior Orchestra as a Cello. Participation in one of the three Honors Ensembles is limited to the talented middle school performers from across North America.

Brenton auditioned this fall for the Honors Performance Series and was accepted after a review by the Honors Selection Board. Brenton will join other performers from the United States and Canada for a special performance at world-famous Carnegie Hall, a venue that marks the pinnacle of musical achievement.

According to Lisel Bruscia, Program Director, “Being selected to the Honors Performance Series is something each Junior Finalist should be extremely proud of accomplishing. We process thousands of nominations annually, selecting only the most talented performers.  Working with these conductors and performing at Carnegie Hall is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that these student musicians never forget”.

Brenton studies music with Tracy Sands and Huili Zhai and is a member of the Lux Middle School String Ensemble and Junior Youth Orchestra. Additionally, he is active in the Omaha Conservatory of Music Summer Institute.

Learn more by visiting

Posted on May 22, 2014