Kooser named LPS’ first “Heart Safe” school

Kooser Elementary School became Lincoln Public Schools' first Heart Safe School on May 16.

The school and LPS Health Services Department, in collaboration with Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, made the announcement during a special celebration that the school received a Heart Safe designation through Project ADAM.

Earlier this semester, a Kooser fourth-grade student, Angelina, experienced a cardiac emergency during class. An on-site LPS nurse assisted her before paramedics came thanks to the school district’s emergency preparedness training. This incident helped jumpstart the partnership. 

“It is an honor to have this designation as a Heart Safe School as it comes with hard work, preparation and, especially in our case, saving the life of a child,” Kooser Principal Kellie Joy said. “Knowing and having systems in a school setting is one thing, but protocols being orchestrated and effectively utilized by staff to assist in saving a child's life will forever be a part of Kooser now.”

Project ADAM’s Heart Safe School Program ensures schools and organizations have well-maintained AEDs available on campus, CPR- and AED-trained staff and a practiced emergency plan to respond to a person collapsing - giving staff, students and community visitors the best possible chance to survive an unexpected cardiac event. 

 "They were ahead of the curve in their preparation and readiness for a cardiac event, and they still wanted to go the extra mile to become a designated Heart Safe School as a prototype for their school district and as a leader statewide,” Matt Sorensen, M.D., said. Sorensen is a pediatric electrophysiologist and medical director of Children's Project ADAM program.

Schools designated as a Project ADAM Heart Safe School successfully implemented a quality sudden cardiac arrest program of awareness, training and effective emergency response to promote a safe environment for staff, students and visitors as outlined within the Heart Safe School Checklist. 

This collaboration enhances LPS’ already established cardiac plan, which includes AED devices all at schools and annual emergency practice drills. It will also assist with medical oversight and consultation. 

“Cardiac emergencies can happen at any time and need a timely response to increase positive outcomes. These situations can be very stressful,” LPS Health Services Director Wendy Rau said. “Our partnership with Children’s will build on our current plan allowing efficient, quick responses for good outcomes and less stress for school teams.” 


Kooser challenged Lux Middle School as the district’s next “Heart Safe” school. Officials at LPS hope all schools will have the designation within the next three years. 

Check out highlights from Kooser's Heart Safe Announcement below.

Published: May 17, 2023, Updated: May 17, 2023

Kooser becomes LPS' first "Heart Safe" School after help save of its own during a cardiac emergency in January 2023.