Learning Lunch features We the People program

The latest Learning Lunch, held Tuesday at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, highlighted We the People, a program that promotes civic responsibility and knowledge about the history and principles of U.S. constitutional democracy.

Jaci Kellison, LPS K-12 social studies curriculum specialist, offered the audience an overview of the national program and how it aligns with the school district’s curriculum.

“In Lincoln Public Schools social studies courses, we use inquiry learning to prepare students to be active, engaged and informed citizens - and that’s exactly what the We the People program prepares students to be,” she said, adding that students also learn to work cooperatively as a team, manage conflict, reach consensus and speak confidently in public. 

Tuesday’s program featured students from Lincoln East High School who participate in We the People, as well as their coach, social studies teacher Kevin Rippe. The students offered a snapshot of a We the People competition, in which teams of four students participate in a simulated congressional hearing. They testify before a panel of judges acting as members of Congress - in the case of this Learning Lunch, a local attorney, university professor and representative from Civic Nebraska. 

Students offer heavily researched answers to questions such as, “What are the philosophical and historical foundations of the American political system?” and, “What challenges might face American constitutional democracy in the 21st Century?”

Roughly 100 LPS high school students participated in the recent We the People state competition, held at the University of Nebraska College of Law. In addition to East - which won for the 13th time in 15 years - students from Southeast, North Star and Southwest high schools also competed. East earned a trip to nationals with its first-place finish.

“You have something special with this team and I know you can compete favorably at nationals,” said one of Tuesday’s judges, Randy Ernst from Nebraska Wesleyan University.

Southeast finished second at state and also earned a trip nationals, held April 24-27 in Washington, D.C.

Learning Lunches are generally held on the third Tuesday of the month in the boardroom at LPS District Office, 5905 O St. Doors to the boardroom open at 11:45 a.m., the program begins at noon, with questions-and-answers at 12:30 p.m. Please bring your own lunch - we'll provide dessert.

The remaining LPS Learning Lunch schedule for 2020:

March 17 - "The Importance of Our Guest Teachers in LPS"

The job of being a substitute teacher can be challenging, yet rewarding. This session will provide information about being a substitute teacher in Lincoln Public Schools and the opportunities that are available for professional growth and development. Presenters: Vann Price, LPS Human Resources Department supervisor for secondary personnel, and Kren Shellhase, administrative assistant.

April 21 - "Take Charge, Career Readiness and Financial Responsibility: Lessons in Career and Personal Finance"

Lessons from the classroom in teaching young people responsibility in career and personal finance. Presenters: Julie Hippen, assistant curriculum specialist for career and technical education, along with teachers and students.

May 12 - "Creating Music on a Blank Canvas"

The final Learning Lunch of the school year will focus on the creative aspect of music. All six LPS high schools offer various music courses that empower and foster students to learn the creative process of music composition and improvisation. Some of our talented high school students will share their experiences, inspiration and performances of creating their own original music. Presenter: Lance Nielsen, LPS supervisor of Music.

Published: February 20, 2020, Updated: February 20, 2020