Highlights of the 2/14 Lincoln Board of Education regular meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for its regular meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 14, at the Lincoln Public Schools Steve Joel District Leadership Center, 5905 O Street. The full meeting video and a summary are below.

Special reports, presentations, and celebrations of success


During the meeting, the Board of Education recognized both Adams Elementary and Humann Elementary staff, students and families for being honored with the U.S. Department of Education 2022 National Blue Ribbon School Award. 

First reading

Newly annexed property to the City of Lincoln

The Board of Education 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 proposal assigns the newly annexed area of Lincoln Logistics Hub to Norwood Park Elementary School, Dawes Middle School and Northeast High School.

The Board will hold a second reading and vote to approve the assigned areas at the next Board meeting.

Policy 5505 - Wellness

Lincoln Public Schools reviews policies on an ongoing basis and updates policies to ensure that they accurately reflect the ever-changing work of the district and changes in state and federal laws.

Every three years, the Board is required by law to review the wellness policy. Highlights of the changes include:

  • A heading was changed from Nutrition to Essential Tier I Programs to better capture the supports all students receive.
  • Work by Health Services was added to the policy along with Social and Emotional Learning as part of the wellness program.
  • Language about access students have to drinking water was added to match current practice.
  • More guidance was also added about “smart snack” rewards.

You can read the full policy changes here. The Board will hold a second reading and vote to approve the policy updates at the next meeting.

K-6 reading curriculum materials

LPS Director of Curriculum and Instruction Takako Olson and LPS K-6 English Language Arts Curriculum Specialist Lisa Oltman presented to the Board a recommended reading curriculum and materials. 

The Amplify CKLA curriculum is being piloted in four LPS schools this year: Huntington, Lakeview, Robinson and Wysong elementary schools. This researched-based curriculum is a blended mix of print and digital resources that develops strong knowledge and reading comprehensive skills. The program is strongly aligned with Nebraska State English/Language Arts standards (adopted by the state in 2021) and is well-aligned to best practices in English/Language Arts education and the district's instructional framework.  This curriculum was selected by a committee of teachers, administrators, and community members over the course of curriculum study for the last two years.

Staff recommend the purchase of CKLA and English Language Arts curriculum materials to be used in grades K-6 at Lincoln Public Schools beginning in 2023-2024. 

The Board will hold a second reading and vote to approve the estimated bid of $7.7 million at the next meeting.

Ukrainian Refugee School Impact Grant application

A federal appropriation is being provided by the Office of Refugee Resettlement with specific appropriations to provide services to support citizens or nationals of Ukraine. Many newly arrived Ukrainian families have young children who will need additional supports to help with effective integration and education.

Lincoln Public School would like to apply for a grant to support a full-time bilingual liaison position dedicated to serving the needs of new Ukrainian arrivals to Lincoln. The primary focus of the bilingual liaison is educational support of new students and their parents as they navigate the U.S. education system, but also includes social and emotional support as well. The LPS proposal would also include support for school social worker time to partner with the new bilingual liaison to conduct a New Americans Social and Emotional Support series in schools where these students would be served.

The Board will hold a second reading on the application and vote at the next meeting.

Items removed from consent agenda

Agreement with strategic plan consultant

The Board removed from the consent agenda for discussion the agreement with District Management Group (DMG) to deliver strategic planning services for the school district. 

The Strategic Planning Committee Chair Lanny Boswell said strategic plans are important because they guide budget and policy decisions. 

“The best strategic plans build on the work of previous plans, and feature extensive engagement with internal and community stakeholders,” added Boswell. “Tonight, the Strategic Planning Committee consisting of Mrs. Danek, Dr. Rauner and myself, along with Dr. Gausman and the executive team, recommends approval of the contract with District Management Group.”

The proposed contract includes a revised timeline with three main phases:

  • In phase one, DMG would analyze existing school district data from last year's superintendent search along with Dr. Gausman's transition study. They would also review existing LPS initiatives including the “All Means All Action Plan”. 
  • In phase two, DMG would work with the committee to develop a theory of action and a proposed strategic plan. LPS staff trained by DMG would then facilitate internal and community input sessions to gain feedback on the proposed plan. 
  • In phase three, the Board would use feedback gathered from the sessions to update the proposed strategic plan, goals and measurable objectives. A final plan would then be presented for board approval in the spring of 2024.

The Board voted to approve the contract with DMG for the amount of $190,000.

Informational items and reports

The Career Academy

Boswell also provided an update from the latest TCA joint board meeting. There were conversations on equipment replacement as the program is eight years old. TCA Director Josh Jones will identify needs before taking requests through the LPS budget process. Other funding will include donations from community partners and the Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools. The remainder will be taken through the Southeast Community College budget process.

Superintendent update

LPS Superintendent Paul Gausman announced that after reviewing enrollment numbers for the 2023-2024 school year, a decision was made to open Standing Bear High School next fall with only ninth- and tenth- grades. Information was emailed early in the evening to those who have already enrolled at the new high school.

As of last Friday, there were 219 freshmen enrolled, and 26 sophomores. Opening Standing Bear with only freshmen and sophomores allows LPS to focus resources on offering high-quality opportunities and experiences.

“The good news is we are hearing that students and families know that they are getting a quality education where they currently attend high school and don’t want to leave as evident in the upper class numbers,” added Gausman. “We are proud to provide options for students to choose where they attend high school. This does, however, provide unique planning challenges as we open new buildings.”

The anticipated number of students enrolled at Standing Bear will continue to grow each year, just as it did with Northwest High School. LPS opened Northwest this year just shy of 500 students in grades 9-11. Current numbers show that next year’s enrollment at Northwest will be closer to 800 students in grades 9-12.

Future 11th- and 12th- grade students who chose Standing Bear for fall of 2023 will automatically be re-enrolled in their current high school. Students in those grades who optioned into Lincoln Public Schools from other school districts will have the opportunity to attend one of the other open LPS high schools. 

At this time, Standing Bear is planning to offer most individual sports and activities at the varsity level. Standing Bear will plan to compete at the lower levels for most team sports. 

Gausman also announced that five schools were recently awarded the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation grants. Instruments will be given to Belmont, Clinton and Hartley elementary schools, along with Goodrich and Park middle schools. The total gift amount is approximately $125,000.

Also announced was the Artist in Residence Program in collaboration with the Lincoln Arts Council and Nebraska Arts Council. Musician Daniel Martinez will be working in schools and performing.

Gausman wrapped up his report with a mention of the Young People’s Orchestra performance last week. It’s a partnership between the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra and Lincoln Public Schools for all fourth grade students.

Public comment

There were seven individuals that addressed the Board during public comment. You can watch the public comment agenda item in the full meeting video here.

Glimpses of LPS

We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights Lincoln Public Schools. Tuesday’s Glimpses featured students from both Adams and Humann elementary schools describing why their schools deserve the National Blue Ribbon Award. You can watch the Glimpses here.

Published: February 14, 2023, Updated: February 14, 2023