Highlights of 1/12 Board of Education Regular Meeting 

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 12, at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. 

Special reports and presentations

Library Services Update

LPS Director of Library Services Chris Haeffner presented the annual school libraries report. She shared the mission of school libraries: “Our school libraries empower learners to be curious, critical, and creative thinkers; enthusiastic readers; skillful researchers; and conscientious digital citizens.”

Here are a few highlights from the presentation:

  • Every school in LPS has a certified school librarian, and 35 of 39 elementary librarians are part of the “specials” rotation.
  • LPS school librarians have on average 10.5 years experience as librarians and 20.7 years in education.
  • 86% of LPS school librarians have a master’s degree in education.
  • 44% of LPS elementary librarians are full time in their library positions.

Haeffner spoke about how the work of school librarians contributes to the strategic goals adopted by the Board, in particular preparing students to be future ready global citizens and to support academic success for all students. 

Haeffner also touched upon school librarians’ focus on equity and diversity:

“We believe that an equitable classroom is one that is connected to lives of all our students.  This connection is critical in helping our teachers and students understand the beauty and efficacy of students from all racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds. Through integrating powerful literature, reflection, and discussion into the classroom experience, we are ensuring that stories and information featuring diverse persons in positions of prominence, influence, and intelligence are made available to every student and educator in our district.”

2020 LPS Pandemic Plan & Procedures Update

Superintendent Steve Joel updated the Board on the latest in responding to the pandemic. LPS is working with the health department to get information about vaccinations for staff when they become available for educators.

Joel also reported that the LPS Security and Threat Assessment team is working with the Lincoln Police Department ahead of reports of possible protests next week to ensure that schools remain safe for students and staff. More information will be communicated with staff and families by the end of the week in preparation for next week.

Memorandum of Understanding with Bryan College of Health Sciences for new focus program

The Board removed this item from the consent agenda to further discuss LPS entering into a memorandum of understanding with Bryan College of Health Sciences (BCHS) for a new focus program. LPS and BCHS will launch the Medical Science Focus Program set to open with the new high school located at Northwest 48th and West Holdrege streets in the fall of 2022.

LPS Director of Strategic Initiatives and Focus Programs James Blake offered an overview of the new focus program and answered questions.

“It's very exciting when two partners come together with this level of trust to make this commitment and build something of this scale,” Blake said. “I just wanted to take a moment and recognize Bryan College of Health Sciences for their financial and human commitment that makes this possible. They have made a large contribution and investment in this project.”

Through hands-on, immersive experiences and dual-credit classes, the program will prepare students for a variety of careers in the medical field. Students will begin course work their freshman and sophomore years as health science curriculum will be integrated into math, science and health classes. Juniors and seniors will be able to enroll in the dual-credit courses to earn early college credit.

Several classes will be offered online and face to face through BCHS. Face-to-face courses will include Certified Nurse Aid (CNA), Phlebotomy and Anatomy and Physiology. Labs and classrooms for the focus program will be located inside the new high school. Focus program students will also be matched with BCHS students as part of a mentoring program, and there will be shadowing opportunities available.

The focus program is designed to be affordable and accessible to LPS students and their families. Non-credit experiences will be available to students free-of-charge. Students who opt to take classes for college credit can do so at a reduced tuition rate. The Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools will also raise funds to help with scholarships for the program.

The Board voted to approve the memorandum of understanding. 

First Reading

Data Center Fluid Cooler and Emergency Generator Addition Project

Bids were requested from interested vendors for the installation of a new emergency natural gas fired generator and fluid cooler at the LPS Data Center near Lincoln High School. Three bids were received; one was deemed unacceptable. The Board waived second reading and awarded the project to Johnson Controls, Inc. (Lincoln) for a cost of $513,352.00. It was the lowest bid.

The Board waived the second reading and voted to approve the bid.

Public Comment

Two members of the public attended the meeting to address the Board during Public Comment. You can view that here

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 LPS school nurses and health office staff and the tireless work they’ve done during the pandemic to ensure the health and safety of students and staff.

Published: January 12, 2021, Updated: January 12, 2021