Highlights of 10/13 Regular Board of Education meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 13, at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St.

To watch the full video, click here.

2020 LPS Pandemic Plan & Procedures Update

Superintendent Steve Joel updated the Board about the announcement to begin the second quarter in the 3/2 schedule for high school students. 

Associate Superintendent for Instruction Matt Larson gave a presentation that focused on pandemic instructional support. He offered answers to four overarching questions: 

  • Why did LPS adopt the current remote learning model? Larson outlined many answers to this question: Flexibility for families; maintains school connections; provides continuity of instruction in the case of quarantine; doesn’t require additional staff; provides greater opportunity for activities; maintains a greater breadth of the curriculum; and perhaps most importantly, it aligns with LPS beliefs about learning and the importance of relationships to a greater extent than other options.
  • Why didn’t we choose other options? Larson spoke about some of the many other options that were considered, including 100 percent remote-synchronous, 100 percent remote-asynchronous, half days and a week on/week off model. Larson emphasized that the chosen model is not perfect, there are still many challenges and LPS continues to evaluate and seek feedback.
  • What has been done to support teachers? Larson reviewed the many actions that LPS has taken to support teachers, including suspending the formal appraisal process for tenured staff, reduced large-scale district/state assessment, reduced staff meetings and increased flexibility with the curriculum in order to focus on essential standards.
  • What additionally can be done to support teachers? Larson proposed additional plan time for staff throughout the year.
    • Early childhood and elementary: Additional early release days on Nov. 10, Jan. 12, Feb. 9, March 16 and April 13. Additional non-student plan days on Nov. 2 and Dec. 11
    • Middle school: Additional early release days on Nov. 10, Jan. 12, Feb. 9, March 16 and April 13. Additional non-student plan days on Nov. 2 and Feb. 15.
    • High school: Additional non-student plan days on Nov. 2, Feb. 15 and April 1.



The Board asked staff to put the additional plan time on the agenda for consideration and adoption at the Oct. 27 Board meeting.

First Reading

School attendance areas for newly annexed property

The Board assigns school attendance areas to property newly annexed to the City of Lincoln.   This action establishes school attendance areas prior to the sale of residential lots, allowing purchasers to know what schools their children will attend. The City of Lincoln has annexed a parcel of land, which automatically brings this property into the district of Lincoln Public Schools.

The schools assigned to Grandale South, Annexation Ordinance #20981, for the 2020-21 school year are Humann Elementary School, Moore Middle School and Southwest High School.

The Board will vote on the attendance areas at its next meeting.

Legislative guidelines

Each year, various federal, state and local governmental bodies will consider legislative and administrative actions that will have an impact on Lincoln Public Schools. In order to communicate the positions of the Board of Education, the Board approves Legislative Guidelines that provide guidance to district staff and representatives communicating with governmental bodies. 

The Board held a first reading and will vote at the next meeting.

Additional professional work day - Nov. 2

The Board has recognized the outstanding work of LPS professional staff in providing learning opportunities to students under these unique and challenging conditions. The Board and Superintendent’s Office have tried to find ways to make adjustments that will assist the professional staff in their efforts.

As a result, the Superintendent recommended to the Board that Monday, Nov. 2, be adjusted from a student attendance day to a professional staff work day to give the professional staff additional planning time to continue their efforts in adapting instruction to the pandemic conditions and to students enrolled both in-person and remotely. Nov. 2 was identified as approximately halfway between now and the end of the semester. Also, the following day - Nov. 3 - is already a non-student, non-staff day, so this will provide families with a four-day weekend.

The Board waived second reading and voted to approve this change to the student and staff calendar.

Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Grant

The Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) program through the Library of Congress promotes the widespread, sustained and effective use of primary sources in K-12 classrooms by offering grants of up to $20,000.  The purpose of these grants is to incorporate TPS materials and methods into existing programs for teachers, librarians and other K-12 educators. School districts, universities, cultural institutions, library systems and other educational organizations may apply. Funds can be used for a variety of professional development options, such as workshops and academic courses.

The Lincoln Public Schools Curriculum Department is working with Nebraska Wesleyan University (NWU) to develop a project that would result in enhanced social studies curriculum at the middle and high school levels. This project includes the submission of two companion grants — one by LPS and one by NWU — for professional development that results in deeper and more accurate representation of ethnic, racial and gender groups.

The Board discussed both submissions at Tuesday’s meeting. This grant does have a 20 percent match requirement, which will be met through the in-kind donation of Curriculum Department staff in their time spent in the workshop and in assisting with curriculum development. 

Both proposals are due Nov. 1. The Board will vote on the grant proposal at its next meeting.

Construction bids for new high schools

The Board waived second reading and approved three bids for the new high schools being built in northwest and southeast Lincoln.

The projects and approved bids are as follows:

  • Site grading (SE high school site): Gana Trucking & Excavating, Inc. (Martell, Neb.) -  $1,257,816
  • Waterproofing and Drain Tile (both high school sites): Stutzman Sealants & Sons, LLC. (Lincoln, Neb.) - $334,894
  • Electrical Package (both high school sites): Gregg Electric Company (Lincoln) - $12,413,000

All of the approved bids were the lowest submitted. 

Both high schools are being paid for with funds from the 2020 Bond Fund, approved by voters in February.

Second Reading

Land Acquisition, Sale and Exchange - Spirit/Cherrywood & new SW Site Properties

The Board voted to approve a property exchange agreement with Southwest Folsom Development, LLC. The agreement will transfer the entire 62.5 acre tract of real estate near 84th and O streets behind the State Farm office complex, commonly known as Spirit Park, that is owned by LPS and allow LPS to acquire an approximately 18.72 acre parcel of real estate generally located north of W. Old Cheney Road between SW 12th and S. Folsom streets from the development group. If the exchange transaction is completed, the development group will also pay LPS $2,330,000.00 for the property. If Southwest decides not to participate in the transfer by exercising its due diligence option, LPS will continue with the purchase of the approximately 18.7 acres from the development group for the amount of $786,240.00, without transferring the approximately 62.5 acres to Southwest and will not receive payment from Southwest.

Public Comment

There were 27 citizens who addressed the Board during Public Comment. You can view the full video of the meeting that includes public comment here.

Closed Session

The Board went into closed session to discuss negotiations, litigation and legal advice.

Glimpses of LPS

We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights the amazing things taking place in our schools. Tonight’s video featured music teachers and students and how they’ve adjusted to teaching and learning during a pandemic.

You can view the full video here.

Published: October 13, 2020, Updated: October 19, 2020