Highlights of the 2/28 Lincoln Board of Education regular meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for its regular meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 28, at the Lincoln Public Schools Steve Joel District Leadership Center, 5905 O Street. The full meeting video and a summary are below.

First reading

Lincoln High Annex renovation project

Staff recommended the Board vote to approve the lowest bid from Genesis Contracting for $7,108,200 to renovate the annex at Lincoln High School. Renovations will include HVAC systems, lighting upgrades and painting. This will include renovations to science, family and consumer science and early childhood classrooms. The project will be phased over 18 months.

Because there is only one meeting at the end of March, the Board waived second reading and voted to approve the lowest bid.

Second 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 voted to approve the assignments.

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 voted to approve the changes.

K-6 reading curriculum materials

Last meeting, 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 comprehension 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 voted to approve the purchase.

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 voted to approve the application.

Informational items and reports

Finance committee update

The Board on Tuesday was presented with the 2023-2024 budget calendar, which includes the following:

  • Budget work session June 27
  • Community presentations and public forums in June and July
  • Preliminary budget available Aug. 22
  • Publication of the budget hearing date Sept. 17
  • Joint public hearing with other city and county entities Sept. 18-22
  • Public hearing/budget forum Sept. 25
  • Budget approval Sept. 26

More information about the budget process will be available soon on the LPS website.

Wellness, American Civics and Multicultural committee

Committee chair Annie Mumgaard reported that the Wellness, American Civics and Multicultural committee met on Tuesday to review social studies curriculum and objectives.

The committee also learned about the voter registration drives being held at all high schools and the Bryan Community Focus Program.

Superintendent update

Superintendent Paul Gausman provided an update to the Board about recent and upcoming news and events from across the school district.

Gausman reiterated that he was proud of Prescott administrators and staff in how they remained calm and kept students safe during the incident last Friday. Staff also prioritized keeping the day and week as normal as possible so as to not further traumatize students. He also thanked Lincoln Police for their continued collaboration and support in keeping our schools safe. 

He added, “Every child deserves to go to school in a safe, warm and loving environment that fosters learning and not one that feels scary. We will continue to review our protocols with LPS Security and Threat Assessment to find that balance.”

Gausman also thanked the 45 school social workers who serve Lincoln elementary, middle and high schools. Next week is National School Social Work Week, and he wanted to acknowledge all that they do. School social workers help students deal with mental health and behavioral challenges and provide academic and classroom support. They also work with crisis interventions, and identify and report child neglect and abuse.

“Our social workers are an important part of our school teams that support student academic, social and emotional development,” Gausman said.

Gausman also congratulated the student-athletes who competed in state competitions. He shared that there were 17 wrestlers and 38 students participating in state diving and swimming brought home state medals. There are also three girls’ basketball teams and three boys’ basketball teams with Lincoln High boys playing for the district championship on Tuesday.

To wrap up his report, Gausman invited the community to the second annual CLC Walk Together Event being held on Friday, March 4, from 5:30 -7:00 p.m. in the University Place Neighborhood. Students in CLC programs from Brownell, Clinton, Huntington, Norwood Park, Pershing, Riley, Hartley, Culler, Mickle, Dawes and Northeast will present what they have learned about sustainability in collaboration with our CLC community partners and University Place businesses.

Public comment

There were five 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 Independence Academy student Heba. 

Published: February 28, 2023, Updated: February 28, 2023