Highlights of 8/10 Lincoln Board of Education Regular Meeting

Lincoln Board of Education Regular Meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 10, at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. 

First Reading

Newly annexed property to the City of Lincoln

The City of Lincoln has annexed a parcel of land, which automatically brings this property into the district of Lincoln Public Schools. This property needs to be assigned attendance centers so potential purchasers of homes in this area will know which schools they will be attending. The annexed parcel of land is Dominion at Stevens Creek, Annexation Ordinance #21085, for the 2020-21 school year. Its assigned schools are Meadow Lane Elementary School, Culler Middle School and Lincoln East High School.

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

National Center for Families Learning – Extension of Federal Grant Funding through U.S. Department of Education

The National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) was awarded a federal grant through the U.S. Department of Education in 2018 under the Parental Information and Resource Centers Program to establish the Nebraska Statewide Family Engagement Center to develop and replicate family literacy programs across the state. LPS was an initial partner in this program, with a three-year subaward to implement the four-component, evidence-based family literacy model already used by the school district. This program has been extremely successful in collecting additional evidence of this model’s success, and LPS was able to develop a new partnership with the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation, which serves as the sponsor of the Nebraska Statewide Family Engagement Center.

NCFL is now receiving funding through Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds from the Nebraska Department of Education to continue this programming for two more years. NCFL would like to extend the $30,000 subaward with LPS for these two years to continue implementing this programming, and will continue its fundraising efforts in hopes of extending the program even further.

The Board will vote on this proposed agreement at its next meeting.

Second Reading

Pandemic and Emergency Powers Resolution

In March 2020, the Board approved its original pandemic and emergency powers resolution to provide the ability for prompt school district reactions to the evolving COVID-19 coronavirus so as to not prevent, hinder or delay necessary action in coping with the emergency.

In June 2020, the Board terminated that resolution and approved a new pandemic and emergency powers resolution, which approved a reopening plan for the fall of 2020 and among other things also provided for emergency powers as long as members of the Board of Education were reasonably informed of actions that were taken.

In light of changing circumstances and the new 2021-22 LPS Safe Return to School Plan, it’s recommended that resolution should also now be terminated, except for the emergency powers delegated to LPS Administration.

The Board voted to approve the resolution.

Board of Education and Superintendent’s Annual Goals and Priorities

Every year the Board evaluates the superintendent and develops priorities for the coming school year. 

At Tuesday’s meeting, the Board voted to approve the following 2021-22 Board and superintendent goals and priorities: 

  1. By April 1, 2022, develop and present to the Board a comprehensive learning acceleration plan with specific strategies/interventions, such as increasing instructional time, to maximize Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III funds to improve outcomes for all students.
  2. By Sept. 1, 2021, present to the Board specific measurables to assess disparities in student learning outcomes, students’ school experience, and the composition of certified personnel. By April 1, 2022, present to the Board a plan to reduce these disparities and achieve more equitable outcomes.

U.S. Department of Justice Federal Grant - STOP School Violence Grant Program

The Board on Tuesday approved a proposal that LPS write a competitive application to the Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance, within the U.S. Department of Justice, as part of the Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Grant Program. This program funds school safety projects that address one of two purpose areas: (1) To provide training to school personnel on preventing student violence against others and themselves, including how to respond to mental health crises; or (2) To develop and implement threat assessment and/or intervention teams, which must coordinate with law enforcement agencies and school personnel.

LPS utilizes a four-person threat assessment team, which responds to potential threats identified in over 60 schools and programs, making it crucial that school personnel clearly understand how to identify and respond to potential threats and how to work collaboratively with the district team.

The district will apply for grant funds for multiple training opportunities:

  • Threat identification training for all secondary school staff, including focus programs, over the course of three years.
  • Specialized threat management training for smaller, school-based threat assessment teams in secondary buildings, which will increase their competency for supporting the work of the district threat assessment team, including development of common language and protocols.
  • Supplemental training for the district threat team, which includes Lincoln Police Department and Blue Valley Behavioral Health staff.
  • Training for clinicians in secondary schools on WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) programming to support students returning to school after a mental health community placement.
  • Training on trauma and behavioral supports for IIn School Suspension Supervisors, Campus Supervisors and Student Support Technicians.

Interlocal Cooperation Act for School Resource Officers and Threat Assessment Officer

The Board voted 6-1 on Tuesday to approval a proposal that LPS enter into an agreement with the City of Lincoln for providing 12 school resource officers and a threat assessment officer for Sept. 1, 2021, through Aug. 31, 2022.  This agreement may be renewed for additional one-year periods upon mutual written agreement between LPS and the City of Lincoln. The resource officers are assigned to LPS middle and high schools and the threat assessment officer works district-wide. The officers assist with the education of students, assist staff and facilitate communication between LPS and the police department.

This will be an expenditure of $533,169 from the LPS general fund. The cost per officer per year payable by LPS cannot be greater than the cost the prior year, compounded by a growth limitation of 5 percent per calendar year. The increase for 2021 is 4.95 percent.

Superintendent Update

Superintendent Joel offered an update about the school district’s plans moving forward regarding COVID-19 and the beginning of the school year. He stressed that LPS administration continues to meet with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department on at least a weekly basis and that the plan is always subject to change depending on current conditions. Superintendent Joel asked Board member Bob Rauner to present on recently cited media reports related to COVID-19 and the wearing of face coverings. LPS Director of Operations Scott Wieskamp also talked briefly about the school district’s efforts since 1993 to ensure that ventilation in all LPS facilities meet or exceed federal standards.

Public Comment

There were 37 citizens that addressed the Board during the public comment periods. You can view their comments as part of the full meeting video here.

Glimpses of LPS

We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights the amazing things taking place in our schools. Tuesday’s video featured New Educator Week, which offered new teachers an opportunity to learn more about LPS and prepare for the year. The video featured one new teacher who will teach fourth grade at McPhee Elementary School after being a college engineering professor in Iraq. 

LPS LIVE: Board Preview - Boundary Attendance Changes

Board Vice President Don Mayhew sits down with Board Planning Committee Chair Bob Rauner, Associate Superintendent of Business Affairs Liz Standish and Director of Operations Scott Wieskamp to talk about the process behind the proposed Attendance Boundary Changes. 

Published: August 10, 2021, Updated: August 10, 2021