Highlights of the 9/26 Lincoln Board of Education Meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education held a regular meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 26, at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The Board will hold its next meeting 6 p.m. Oct. 10.

Policy changes

The Board held a second reading and voted to approve changes to policy 6441-  Instructional programs: Technology Resources and internet safety. These changes were made to reflect legislation passed last spring.

Attendance areas approved for new annexed property

The Board approved attendance areas for newly annexed city property. The first was for Highland View - located near Northwest 12 Street and Highway 34 - to be assigned to the Kooser Elementary School, Schoo Middle School and North Star High School attendance area. The second was for Grandview Estates - located near 70th Street and Rokeby Road - to be assigned to Wysong Elementary School, Moore Middle School, and East High School.

Property tax request

As part of the last step in the 2017-18 budget process, the Board approved the final property tax request to fund the budget approved by the Board on Sept. 22. The budget provides appropriate staffing, services, supplies and resources to address an estimated increase of 950 more students for 2017-18 – bringing estimated total enrollment to almost 42,000 students.

Board member and finance committee chair Kathy Danek commented, “We’ve had significant discussion on our budget. We passed our budget. It’s a budget that provides for the needs of a growing school district. We’ve had that discussion and now we have to fund the budget that was approved.”

Other business

In other business, the Board had a discussion about Community Learning Centers and the process in selecting the community partners that serve those CLCs in our schools across Lincoln.

Student presentation

Several Irving Middle School students, along with their principal Jason Shanahan and associate principal Rachael Kluck-Spann, presented the Board about a new ambassador program aimed at helping new Irving students quickly become part of the Irving culture.

  • Jason Shanahan, principal: “What we quickly realized is that one plan did not fit all, and we certainly needed to look at how we could set students up for success when they were coming to us, especially if they were coming to us with academic or behavioral challenges from other schools.”

  • Rachael Kluck-Spann, associate principal: “Right now we have 46 trained ambassadors, 7th and 8th grade, and we will be selecting 6th grade students at semester. These five students here tonight represent our diverse student population. They demonstrate leadership skills, they are positive,have so many unique talents and have the ability to connect well with students in our building.”

  • Darian Blyden, 8th grade student: “We all try to make people to feel as welcome as possible.”

  • Puot Gak, 8th grade student: “I’m proud to be an ambassador because at Irving we get to show the younger students that we’ve got their backs. And it makes me happy because we as ambassadors, we make Irving feel like a great and safe environment for the younger students.”

  • Cyrus Zgud, 7th grade student: "We have plenty of wonderful role models. Our role models truly keep this school alive, and almost every day I can feel a positive air floating through our hallways."

  • Maddie Hesse, 8th grade student: “We’re going to get a good education any where in LPS, but I feel like Irving has a lot of character and I’m going to get the best one here.”

  • Adriana Abrocio, 7th grade student: “This brings our community together, and we are like a big family. We help people and they help us.”

Air Force Junior ROTC Presentation

Lt. Col. Terrance Plumb gave a presentation about what the Air Force Junior ROTC program at Lincoln Northeast High School has been doing in their efforts to recruit more cadets into the program.

Two student cadets described their day to the Board, including driving from other high schools in Lincoln to participate in the program, their class schedules, what they have learned, and other activities associated with the JROTC program.

Suicide Prevention Coalition Report

Rose Hood Buss, a member of the community Suicide Prevention Coalition, gave an update to the Board on the work that has been done since their efforts began three years ago. This year, the coalition is working with a local marketing firm to create a campaign to raise awareness. The “Speak up and bring hope campaign” is designed to start the hard conversations about mental health.

The community coalition is made up of approximately 40 individuals representing different sectors from across Lincoln.

Don Mayhew commented, “I remember several years ago when there was a lot of concern in the community about suicide prevention. Dr. Joel had a leadership position in the response to that. That tragedy of young people who are going through something very difficult and they find a permanent solution to what so often is a temporary problem. And the best defense of that is the people next to them. Raising that awareness is crucial to that effort.”

Steve Joel added, “You’re right, one life lost is too many. I think we’ve made tremendous inroads and I think there is greater awareness today, and I think we have saved lives. So thank you to you, and the 40 members of the coalition, for your diligence and commitment.”

Published: October 10, 2017, Updated: October 10, 2017