News

EdNotes Express

Lincoln Public Schools Communication Services continues to look for the most effective way to provide you with information.  EdNotes is written and published specifically for the faculty and staff of Lincoln Public Schools.

If you have information you would like to include, please email Mary Kay Roth at mkroth@lps.org.

REQUIRED ANNUAL TRAINING FOR SUICIDE AWARENESS/PREVENTION

Online training is now available for all Lincoln Public Schools employee groups required to take the annual suicide awareness/prevention training as required by school personnel law approved by the Nebraska State Legislature in 2014.

Those required to take the online training include: nurses, teachers, counselors, school psychologists, administrators, social workers, health technicians, treatment nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, sign language interpreters, service coordinators, SLPs, Bilingual Liaisons, Youth Development Team members, Campus Security, Early Childhood Student Parent Advocates, and para educators including SEMs. 

*All groups are expected to have the training completed by October 18, 2017.

Any employee (including substitutes) who is not required to take the training can still take it if they choose to do so.

A software program by Kognito has been chosen by the Nebraska Department of Education as a training tool that will cover this requirement for all school districts in Nebraska.  Employees will take this training individually online.

**The Kognito software is not part of LPS system, so our LPS credentials will not work.  Those of you who took the training last year established your own credentials for the Kognito training. You will need to reset your password if you do not remember it. All new LPS employees and/or those who did not take the training last year, will need to establish new credentials.

PLEASE NOTE: If you took this training last year, please know you DO need to take it again this year.  

Follow these steps to recertify:

1)     Log in to your Kognito account and click on the tile at the top of the screen for the simulation you wish to re-certify.

2)     Click on the “Need to recertify?” link to the left of the RE-LAUNCH button. (DO NOT click the RE-LAUNCH button as that will not create the certificate required for recertification.)

3)     A prompt will appear asking you to reset the simulation to the beginning. Click RESET COURSE to reset the simulation. This may take a moment to process.
(**IMPORTANT** You must reset the simulation in order to receive an updated certificate. However, you only need to reset the simulation once! Resetting again before you complete the simulation will erase your progress.)

4)     Once the system updates, you will see the RE-LAUNCH button change to LAUNCH and your course status will show “Previous Completion.” Note that the “Need to Recertify?” link will disappear. Click on the LAUNCH to start and complete the simulation to receive your updated Certificate of Completion.

To view an instructional video on this feature, please go to:  http://resources.kognito.com/videos/Recertify_with_Kognito.mp4

If you have not yet taken the training, and/or are new to Lincoln Public Schools, please go to the following link for instructions on how to sign in, establish a new ID and password: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_2gb9qfrLSeVTfyiitznTIKpjM0qL1CTVQbd3lGcXko/edit.

For everyone:

If you have issues with Kognito login or software:

  • FIRST, find a possible solution in this Troubleshooting Guide.
  • SECOND, email support@kognito.com for technical support. This is NOT an LPS software solution, so we are not able to assist with any technical issues.
  • If you have any questions that are not related to the software or logging in, please contact me at ruhing@lps.org or by calling (402) 436-1650.

Other necessary information:

  • When you finish the training, you will be able to download a certificate - this is for your benefit.  Your principals and supervisors will receive a monthly report on who has completed the training.
  • Staff assigned to multiple buildings should choose the level and school where they have the greatest number of students. District itinerant staff will be assigned to LPSDO and not a school.  If you have questions, please check with your direct supervisor.  Classified staff are to participate in the training during normal work hours when classes are not in session. 

Thank you for your continued work and dedication in making Lincoln Public Schools a safe and welcoming place for the students of our community.    

Posted on July 20, 2017


Upcoming Online Benefits Enrollment

All new and current Lincoln Public Schools employees must enroll online for benefits during the period August 14 through August 24, 2017. (This does not pertain to substitute employees or hourly employees such as mentors.)

Annual Enrollment Dates/Instructions:
August 14-24: The enrollment will begin Monday, August 14 and will end at midnight on Thursday, August 24. You will not have access to the enrollment site before August 14.

Instructions: To access the online enrollment system:

  • Go to the Lincoln Public Schools website, www.lps.org;
  • Click on "Staff" and you will be on the Staff Center page; 
  • Under "Popular Pages" on the left side of the screen are the "Benefit Enrollment link" and "Instructions".

Your login is your Social Security Number (no dashes or spaces), and the PIN is the last four digits of your Social Security Number and last two of your birth year. (For example, for SSN 123-45-6789 and a birth year of 1974, you would type in 678974.)


Help Sessions Available
Location: District Office, 5905 ‘O’ St., Lower Level, Lab A
Time: 3:30 - 5:30 p.m.
When:

  • Wednesday, August 16
  • Thursday, August 17
  • Monday, August 21
  • Tuesday, August 22

You must go through the enrollment site even if you wish to elect no benefits, or wish to make no changes to your current benefits. The enrollment process can be completed on any computer at any time of day/night.

Effective Dates:

  • Any benefits added during this period will begin September 1. (New employees may have a different effective date -- more information in your Benefit Orientation session.) Premiums are deducted from your September 30 paycheck for September coverage.
  • If you do not go through the online enrollment system, your benefits will end August 31, 2017. Don't miss the deadline! No exceptions!
  • If you drop any benefits for you or spouse/dependents, they will end August 31, 2017. Once you confirm your entire enrollment, you will be able to print out your confirmation.
  • Even if you do not currently have any of our benefit plans (or you are a new employee and don't want to enroll in our coverage) you must still go through the enrollment and decline the coverage.
  • The annual enrollment is a good time to review your beneficiaries and update as needed!

What's New:

  • There is an open enrollment for Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) health and dental insurance. Employees may also enroll within 30 days of a qualifying event under HIPAA which includes marriage, divorce, birth/adoption, or losing coverage through a spouse changing jobs, retiring, etc. Due to Health Care Reform, there are no longer pre-existing conditions.
  • You will need the Social Security Number(s) and date(s) of birth for spouse and dependent(s). Please enter this information carefully or it could delay claims being paid.
  • Details on the various benefit plans can be found on the LPS home page. Type in "Benefits" in Keyword Search (upper right-hand corner of the screen). Or go to "Departments" and click on "Human Resources" and "Benefits".
  • The district pays a contribution for health insurance based on your employee group. Health insurance premiums deducted from employees' paychecks for 2017-18 will stay the same. You will pay between $51 and $62 for a single plan (depending on your employee group); $352.92 for employee/spouse; $311.69 for employee/child(ren) or $481.75 for family. Dental, vision, life, etc. premiums are fully paid by the employee. These rates will be shown in the enrollment, and they are also on the Benefits website (type in "Benefits" in Keyword Search). 
  • The $900 PPO individual deductible remains the same on September 1 ($1800 for the other tiers). Deductibles are CALENDAR year (January 1 through December 31).
  • Administrators and Maintenance employees have the dual option -- the $900 PPO plan or the $3500 High Deductible Plan (HDHP).
  • There are changes to the Option 2 and Option 4 Dental insurance. Please refer to your letter that you received from BCBS for more information.
  • Mynebraskablue has lots of information! The site has lots of information including provider lists, claim information, deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums, drug formularies, etc. And don't forget about Telehealth services!
  • If you receive information from Blue Cross and Blue Shield asking you to verify your spouse/dependents eligibility, PLEASE DON'T IGNORE or coverage may be dropped!
  • We have a new disability/life insurance carrier, Madison National Life (National Insurance Services). More information is available when you go through the enrollment. When you go through the enrollment you will notice that the rates are lower!!
  • Vision (VSP), Cancer and Accident Insurance premiums will stay the same for 2017-18. VSP does not issue ID cards.

Be careful when you go through the online enrollment! 

  • Please pay attention to the coverage you select. If you are declining the coverage, you will need to select the appropriate button. 
  • You will want to print your Confirmation when you complete the enrollment. 
  • If you are adding disability or life insurance (and aren't a new employee) you will need to fill out a health questionnaire which will be shown at the end of your enrollment. It is your responsibility to complete the form and send to Madison National by September 30. The coverage will start if/when the application is approved by Madison National.

Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Information

  • For employees who are currently participating in the flexible benefit plan for medical reimbursement and/or dependent care, the plan year ends August 31, 2017. Employees have 90 days after August 31 to turn in receipts. More information, including claim forms, can be found on the LPS website -- click on "Departments", then "Human Resources" and "Benefits", under the PayFlex Information section or go to the PayFlex website, www.payflex.com.
  • For Maintenance employees and/or Administrators considering the High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) and an HSA starting January 1: You are not able to be enrolled in an HSA if enrolled in our FSA. Contact the Benefits Office for more information. And you should consult with your personal tax adviser to determine whether you are eligible to contribute to an HSA and the limit of the contributions.

Have a great year! Your Benefits Team:


Kyla R. Jensby, CEBS
Employee Benefits Specialist
kjensby@lps.org
Phone: 402-436-1593

Laurie Oxley, PHR, SHRM-CP, CEBS
Employee Benefits Specialist
loxley@lps.org
Phone: 402-436-1595

Nancy Harter, CEOE
Employee Benefits Secretary
nharter@lps.org
Phone: 402-436-1578

Posted on July 20, 2017


Bonus summer LPS Learning Lunch: Solar eclipse

Lincoln Public Schools has scheduled a bonus Learning Lunch this summer – 12:15 p.m. Monday, July 24 – with information about the total solar eclipse that will be visible from Lincoln in August.

The presentation will feature James Blake, science curriculum specialist at Lincoln Public Schools, speaking about the total solar eclipse that will happen on August 21.  LPS is making sure all students grades 1-12 will be outside to watch.

Learning Lunches are set in the Board Room at LPS District Office, 5905 O St.  Doors to the Board Room open at noon, the program begins at 12:15 p.m., questions-and-answers happen at 12:45 p.m. Learning Lunches are open to LPS staff and the Lincoln community. You bring lunch - we'll bring dessert.

Posted on July 20, 2017


Come learn about our public schools: LPS launches third year of Citizens Academy


Lincoln Public Schools is inviting Lincoln citizens to apply to participate in the third year of an initiative called the LPS Citizens Education Academy: a series of monthly classes that include hands-on interactive experiences depicting a true, behind-the-scenes sense of public schools in Lincoln. Participants are asked to attend monthly meetings – generally the second Monday evening of each month, but also several day meetings – hosted at schools across the school district, featuring a wide variety of information and activities. Participants will have conversations with high school seniors, visit a Family Literacy class, sample an ACT test, spend time in LPS classrooms, tour the Career Academy, see the new Moore Middle School, and much more.

LPS is now accepting applicants for this no-charge public outreach program on a first-come, first-served basis. If you would like to participate, please register byAugust 18 and send the following information to Julie Dansky, jdansky@lps.org

  • Your name, street address, email address and phone number.
  • Tell us a little about who you are – and why you are interested in the Academy (couple sentences).
 
Academy Schedule:
  • Sept. 11, 5-7:30 p.m. Huntington Elementary School, 2900 N. 46th St.  FOCUS: Hopes and dreams, start of school, overview, introductions, conversations 
  • Oct. 9, 5-7:30 p.m. Lincoln Southeast High School, 2930 S. 37th St.  FOCUS: Focus on graduation rate, instruction and curriculum
  • Nov. 13, Choose two morning hours at an elementary, middle or high school: McPhee Elementary School, Lefler Middle School or Lincoln High School.  
  • Dec. 11, 5-7:30 p.m. Schoo Middle School, 700 Penrose Dr. FOCUS: Educating all our children/special issues and challenges
  • Jan. 8, 9-11 a.m. West Lincoln Elementary School, 630 W. Dawes Ave. FOCUS:  Growing, global changing scope of LPS
  • Feb. 12, 5-7:30 p.m. Moore Middle School, 8700 Yankee Woods Drive  FOCUS: Creating foundation of student success with budgets, facilities, security 
  • March 12, 5-7:30 p.m. The Career Academy, 8800 O St. FOCUS: Classrooms of the 21st century
  • April 9, 5-7:30 p.m. Lincoln North Star High School, 5801 N. 33rd St. FOCUS: Mandates and accountability
  • May 7, 5-7:30 p.m. Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. FOCUS: Citizen Academy Graduation and beyond
For more information: Mary Kay Roth, LPS Communications, 402-436-1609, mkroth@lps.org

 

Posted on July 14, 2017


Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra Announces 2017-18 Young Artist Competition

Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra invites young musicians to enter LSO’s 2017-18 Young Artist Competition and win an opportunity to perform as a soloist with a professional orchestra. The competition will be held at 4 p.m., Monday, September 25. Applications must be submitted by Friday, September 8, 2017.

To be eligible, musicians must be 20 years old or younger on the day of the audition, must play an instrument, participate in an audition, and submit an application with a letter of recommendation.

Applications are available online at http://lincolnsymphony.org/about/auditions/, by contacting the LSO office at 402-476-2211, or emailing Renee Pflughaupt at renee@lincolnsymphony.com. Please submit all applications to Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra, Attn: Young Artist Competition, 233 S. 13th  St. Ste., 1702, Lincoln, NE 68508.

Posted on July 13, 2017


2016-17 Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools Educator Awards

Below are the recipients of the Educator Awards presented by the Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools for the 2016-17 school year:

Florence J. Clark Middle School Award: 
Two awards that recognize outstanding middle school teachers
Katie Karabel - Schoo Middle School
Lance Kassebaum - Park Middle School

Helen Krieger Outstanding Healthcare Provider Award: 
Recognizes outstanding healthcare provider who has contributed to students and families
Myrna Mooberry Stanard - Northeast High School

John Prasch Health and Physical Fitness:
Recognizes an outstanding educator who promotes health and physical fitness
Darrell Dinneen - Sheridan Elementary School

Leola Bullock Multicultural Award:
Recognizes an LPS employee who fosters understanding of our multi-cultural society
Christopher Maly - Lincoln High School

Marian Battey Andersen/Charles Wheaton Battey Anderson Outstanding Teacher:
In recognition of leadership at Sheridan Elementary, Irving Middle School, or Lincoln High School
Molly Moller - Sheridan Elementary School

Marie Bourke Leadership Award:
Recognizes impact great principals have on the lives of students and teachers
Dr. Chris Deibler - Pound Middle School

Mike Troester Educator Award:
Recognizes an outstanding Southeast High School educator
Jeff Smith - Southeast High School

Myrtle Clark Educator Award:
Recognizes excellence in mathematics teaching
Cassandra Seiboldt - Northeast High School

Nancy Muehlhausen Counseling Award:
Awarded to educator accepted into a Master's level counseling program or current counselor in need of funds for professional development
Nicole Barnes - Lincoln High School

R.L. Fredstrom Award:
Awarded to teacher or coordiantor who has shown outstanding leadership qualities
Carrie Erks - Randolph Elementary and LPSDO

Ruth Eickman Award:
Awarded to an oustanding early childhood educator
Kaycee Perez - Holmes Elementary
Jill Martin - Prescott Elementary

Union Bank & Trust Award:
Awarded to elementary, middle, and high school educators who find creative ways to incorporate financial literacy in classroom setting
Lindsay Tillinghast - Southeast High School

Victor Vaughan Memorial Award:
Supports a teacher project dedicated to special education students
Craig Songster - Northeast High School

Posted on July 12, 2017


Lincoln Public Schools: Highlights of 7/11 Lincoln Board of Education budget work session

Lincoln Public Schools: 

Highlights of 7/11 Lincoln Board of Education budget work session

The Lincoln Board of Education held a second Budget Work Session on Tuesday, July 11, at Lincoln Public Schools District Office.  The Board’s next regular meeting is scheduled 6 p.m. on July 25.

 

Highlights of 7/11 Lincoln Board of Education Work Session

The Lincoln Board of Education Tuesday continued discussion of the 2017-18 proposed Lincoln Public Schools budget – a budget that focuses on the incredible growth in the school district in student numbers and in student needs.

 

The Work Session followed citizen feedback at two Community Forums held in June – and an earlier work session also in June.

 

The proposed budget addresses the significant growth in LPS student enrollment – but also the significant growth in student needs, said Liz Standish, associate superintendent of Business Affairs for LPS. “This budget prioritizes serving students – to meet the needs they come to us with.”

 

Comments and questions from the Board of Education:

Matt Schulte said he believes LPS should lower the levy in this budget. He warned there are other community bond issues that will be happening in coming years, “and this is an opportunity to shore up support for a future bond issue…We will need public support.”

 

Don Mayhew disagreed with the premise that we “reward” our community by lowering the levy.  “I think the suggestion that by lowering the levy, we are offering the community a reward…to buy some favor before the next bond issue…is not true.  The way we say thank you to our community is by using the tax dollars we have been given – using them well – by doing our job as Board members to provide a high quality education for kids…I think it’s important to keep the conversation framed correctly.”

 

Lanny Boswell questioned the concept of suggesting the levy be cut – without specifying how. “It’s really easy to get up and say we should lower the levy – without saying how you will do that, how it will impact programs and students. Just to say, ‘Let’s lower the levy, but I’m not going to tell you how’ – will be hard to get support from other Board members.” Boswell underlined the “diligence LPS uses in going through the budget process…Because we have done such an excellent job with our forecasting model…and been very prudent in the way we handle those dollars…we have one of the highest bond ratings of any school district in the nation.”

 

Kathy Danek pointed out this budget is the result of hours and hours of discussion in Board committee meetings over the past year, “becoming informed on how the school district is serving the students we have, how we look at this budget – as a needs-based budget.”

 

Barb Baier stressed that LPS has decreased the levy by 7 cents over 12 years “and that includes the time when we saw property values go down…In educating children, investing in our children’s future, our Board has also been responsive to a need for a decrease in the levy.”

 

Annie Mumgaard said what she “hears” in the community – are people who demand a school district that provides “an excellent, world-class education…What I have heard, loud and clear, is that our community wants us to invest in children”  

 

Connie Duncan pointed out that the Board has followed up and fully discussed all suggestions – including a possible decrease in the tax levy.

 

Budget highlights:   

  • The proposed budget provides appropriate staffing, services, supplies and resources to address significant growth in LPS student enrollment. LPS estimates an increase of 950 more students for 2017-18 –bringing total enrollment to almost 42,000 students. LPS served almost 41,000 students this year, an increase of 12 percent or 4,450 students over the last five years.  The 2017-2018 school year will mark the fifth straight year of growth greater than 850 students each year – every year. 
  • Student needs are growing as well – with increases for support in areas such as mental health and behavior issues, early childhood, and English Language Learners (immigrants and refugees). 

LPS officials recommend a slightly lower – essentially flat – tax rate for the coming school year. The 2017-18 proposed budget for LPS totals $420.8 million – a 4.6 percent increase over the previous year.  Last year, the LPS budget increased 5.95 percent to keep pace with the growing student population and growing student needs.

 

According to the most recent statistics, LPS ranked 228 out of 245 school districts in Nebraska in per pupil spending – spending $10,842 per pupil compared to the state average of $11,901.

 

Budget work session materials are located at: http://www.lps.org/about/budget/

 

** Liz Standish is available to offer presentations to the community about the proposed budget.

Posted on July 11, 2017


LES Sustainable Living Festival

Save the date!

Mark your calendar for LES’ annual Sustainable Living Festival.

Saturday, July 29 at 9 a.m.-noon

The Railyard, West Haymarket

You can get a glimpse of what the Sustainable Living Festival looks like on LES.com and our Facebook page.

 

Posted on July 05, 2017



Retirement rally in honor of Eastridge Principal

Staff, current and former students, and parents gathered outside of Eastridge Elementary School on Friday, June 30, to send principal Deb Dabbert off in style. The retirement rally was a surprise to Dabbert, and as she exited the building on her last day she was shocked to see the sidewalk to the parking lot lined with some of those who's lives she impacted throughout her career.

Dabbert has served as principal at Eastridge Elementary School since 2009, and was previously principal at Belmont and Hawthorne elementary schools, coordinator at Brownell Elementary School, and special education coordinator at Meadow Lane Elementary School.  Before that she taught at Huntington Elementary School, Omaha Public Schools and Palmyra/Bennet Schools.

Posted on June 30, 2017


Lincoln Public Schools:Highlights of 6/29 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

Lincoln Public Schools: 

Highlights of 6/29 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education held a second Community Budget Forum on Thursday, June 29 at Lincoln North Star High School. The Board will hold a Budget Work Session at 4 p.m. July 11, and its next regular meeting at 6 p.m. on July 25.

Highlights of 6/29 Community Budget Forum

Liz Standish, associate superintendent of Business Affairs for Lincoln Public Schools, Thursday presented a summary of the Preliminary Budget for 2017-18 and asked for community remarks.  During the two Community Forums – Tuesday and Thursday of this week – community members came to share a variety of comments about the budget. 

On Thursday, Standish explained that the 2017-18 LPS preliminary budget was student-centered and focused on the incredible growth in our school district – in student numbers and in student needs.

She explained that LPS works on a three-year forecast system to ensure sustainable revenue for supporting all students.  “We use that forecasting system to even out swings…taking into consideration the interdependence between state aid and property taxes…And we always have more needs than we can budget.”

This year’s budget very much focuses on the rapidly growing school district and student numbers – and growth in supporting programs such as Early Childhood and English Language Learners, Standish stressed. “We are not just growing a middle school each year, we are growing in diverse needs – we are growing a diverse middle school each year.”

Budget highlights:   

  1. The preliminary budget provides appropriate staffing, services, supplies and resources to address significant growth in LPS student enrollment. LPS estimates an increase of 950 more students for 2017-18 –bringing total enrollment to almost 42,000 students. LPS served almost 41,000 students this year, an increase of 12 percent or 4,450 students over the last five years.  The 2017-2018 school year will mark the fifth straight year of growth greater than 850 students each year – every year. 
  2. Student needs are growing as well – with an eye on growth in English Language Learners (immigrants and refugees), as well as Early Childhood students.

LPS officials recommend a slightly lower – essentially flat – tax rate for the coming school year. The 2017-18 preliminary budget for LPS totals $420.8 million – a 4.6 percent increase over the previous year.  Last year, the LPS budget increased 5.95 percent to keep pace with the growing student population and growing student needs.

According to the most recent statistics, LPS ranked 228 out of 245 school districts in Nebraska in per pupil spending – spending $10,842 per pupil compared to the state average of $11,901.

Budget work session materials located at: http://www.lps.org/about/budget/

 

Posted on June 30, 2017


Lincoln Public Schools: Highlights of 6/27 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

Lincoln Public Schools: 

Highlights of 6/27 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education held a Community Budget Forum and a regular meeting on Tuesday, June 27 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The Board will hold a second Community Budget Forum Thursday, June 29, 7-8 p.m., Lincoln North Star High School, 5801 N. 33rd St.  The Board will hold a Budget Work Session at 4 p.m. July 11, and its next regular meeting at 6 p.m. on July 25. 

Highlights of 6/27 Lincoln Board of Education regular meeting

Evaluations, contracts approved

The Lincoln Board of Education Tuesday approved the evaluation and contract for Lincoln Public Schools Superintendent Steve Joel, as well as contracts for the top administrators at LPS. 

Referring to Joel’s evaluation:

  • Board member Kathy Danek: “Sometimes your job is not fun, but we appreciate all you do for Lincoln Public Schools and for the students of Lincoln.”
  • Board member Connie Duncan: “This is a 24-hour-a-day, seven days a week job, so I thank you for all that you do.”

For the coming school year, base annual salaries will be:

  • Steve Joel: $317,239
  • Jane Stavem, associate superintendent for Instruction: $222,274
  • Liz Standish, associate superintendent for Business Affairs: $209,359
  • Eric Weber, associate superintendent for Human Resources: $209,359
  • John Neal, assistant superintendent for General Administration and Governmental Relations, $183,525

LPS to move toward new Business/Human Resources platform

The Board voted to approve a contract that would lead to the creation of a new platform for Business and Human Resources functions, called the Enterprise Resource Planning Project (ERP). Major financing will come from the Depreciation Fund. 

This new $6.5 million platform will replace the AS 400 Financial/HR system.  The move will involve considerable work, but moving to a new data system for LPS Business and HR functions will eliminate many of the current stand-alone manual spreadsheet recording functions, which now require significant data input and manual processes. This is software that provides for the back office functions that support a school district:  accounting, payroll, benefits, staffing, budgeting, finance tracking and projects, employee self-service, etc.

Elementary boundary change

The Board authorized an elementary school boundary change focused on growth in the Firethorn area near 84th Street and Pioneers Boulevard.  To eliminate neighborhood homes and single lots being located within two different elementary attendance areas: Beginning with the 2017-18 school year and continuing until further modified, the Morley Elementary School boundary will conclude at 84th street, and the Pyrtle Elementary School attendance area will run along 84th and Pioneers. 

New transportation plan

The Board passed a transportation plan for the coming school year, with these changes:

  • Add special education education transportation to the new Marilyn Moore Middle School.
  • Additional Early Childhood bus runs to Cavett, Elliott and Wysong elementary schools.
  • Additional runs for Scott Middle School.

Homeless children  

The Board approved submission of the McKinney-Vento Grant application for approximately $44,000 – to help support the salary of the Homeless Outreach Advocate at LPS and to pay transportation costs for homeless children to attend school.  The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act is the primary piece of federal legislation designed to address the problems that homeless children and youth have faced in enrolling, attending and succeeding in school.  

LPS policy

The Board approved policy changes for the wellness policy and several slight changes in policies related to Board Operating Procedures.

LPS completed process of refunding 2009 bonds

“We had very favorable results, better than we anticipated,” said Liz Standish, associate superintendent for Business Affairs, “so we have great news tonight.”

Following previous approval from the Board of Education, LPS officials reported that LPS had completed the process of issuing bonds related to the advanced refunding of the general obligation school bonds originally issued on February 11, 2009.  The school district issued around $80 million of refunding bonds.  Based on very favorable market conditions, the net present value savings (as a percentage of refunded bonds) was 16 percent or about $13.6 million.  The present value savings represent interest cost savings to the taxpayers.

Pay rates for subs and misc. employees

The Board of Education approved 2017-18 pay rates for substitutes and misc. employees. The salary increases range from no increase to a 2.89 percent increase, depending on the employee group.  The determination of what salary to recommend is made in conjunction with the supervisor of that employee group and an assessment of the availability of candidates for the positions. 

Legislative guidelines

The Board considered annual Legislative guidelines that provide guidance to school district staff and representatives – on proposed legislation or policy – communicating with governmental bodies when it is not possible to survey the Governmental Relations Subcommittee. The final vote is July 25.

Student Celebration

The Lincoln Board of Education recognized two recent graduates – representing the entire class of 2017 – who presented portions of their high school graduation speeches:

  • Ruben Aguilar, Lincoln North Star High School
  • Nebraska Grayson, Lincoln East High School

Highlights of 6/27 Community Budget Forum

LPS officials Tuesday presented the Preliminary Budget for 2017-18 and asked for community comments.  The 2017-18 LPS preliminary budget is very student-focused and addresses a variety of factors but is focused on the incredible growth in our school district – in student numbers and student needs.

“We always say we grow a middle school a year, but we are not just growing a middle school – we are growing an incredibly diverse middle school,” said Liz Standish, associate superintendent for Business Affairs for LPS.

Budget factors include:  

  • Providing appropriate staffing, services, supplies and resources to address significant growth in LPS student enrollment. LPS estimates an increase of 950 more students for 2017-18 –bringing total enrollment to almost 42,000 students. LPS served almost 41,000 students this year, an increase of 12 percent or 4,450 students over the last five years.  The 2017-2018 school year will mark the fifth straight year of growth greater than 850 students each year – every year. 
  • Student needs are growing as well – with an eye on growth in English Language Learners (immigrants and refugees), as well as Early Childhood students.
  • Addressing the growing complexity of the demographics and needs of LPS students: specifically addressing mental health needs, early childhood, special education and more.

Officials recommend a slightly lower – essentially flat – tax rate for the coming school year. The 2017-18 preliminary budget for LPS totals $420.8 million – a 4.6 percent increase over the previous year.  Last year, the LPS budget increased 5.95 percent to keep pace with the growing student population and growing student needs.

According to the most recent statistics, LPS ranked 228 out of 245 school districts in Nebraska in per pupil spending – spending $10,842 per pupil compared to the state average of $11,901.

A second Community Budget Forum is scheduled for: Thursday, June 29, 7-8 p.m., Lincoln North Star High School, 5801 N. 33rd St.

Budget work session materials located at: http://www.lps.org/about/budget/

 

Posted on June 27, 2017


MADD training open to everyone

At MADD, we know that our hopes for a safer future are riding on tomorrow’s drivers. By getting today’s youth off to a good start, we are taking a giant step toward fulfilling our vision of a nation without drunk driving. That’s why we’re focused on tackling underage drinking, a problem that threatens the safety of our kids and endangers entire communities, now and down the road. This is why MADD is offering an underage drinking prevention program training here in Lincoln on August 1. The training is presented at no cost and the materials and programs are provided at the training. For more information and to sign up please contact Amanda.miller@madd.org

Posted on June 21, 2017


Information on ELL endorsement

Based on recommendations made by the ELL District Study Committee, we would like encourage all teachers to consider working towards an ELL endorsement, even if you do not intend to teach ELL.  We are excited for all teachers to have this opportunity as you will learn valuable skills and strategies that can be used with all students in your classrooms. 

Representatives from Concordia University will be hosting an information session on Thursday, July 6, from 12:30-1:30 at North Star High School in the media center.  Lunch will be provided.  Please RSVP by Friday, June 30 (lsalem@lps.org) if you are planning to attend. 

If you have any questions, or would like more information about classes or ELL stipend opportunities, please contact Laura Salem (lsalem@lps.org, 436-1982).  Hope to see many of you on the 6th! 

Laura Salem

 

Posted on June 21, 2017


New SPED coordinators receive training

Cindy Brunken and Mindy Roberts led training of over 20 new special education coordinators at Scott Middle School on June 15.  They gathered to learn about special education paperwork and processes.  

Posted on June 21, 2017


Staff get a sneak peek at Moore Middle School

The staff of the new Moore Middle School gathered around the school's namesake, Dr. Marilyn Moore, as she cut the unofficial ribbon that let staff in to the building to see their classrooms for the first time. 

"Oohs" and "aahs" greeted principal Gary Czapla as he led the staff on the special tour and unveiled the new space to each group, explaining the vision for the upcoming school year.

A date for an official dedication ceremony complete with ribbon cutting will be announced soon!

Posted on June 19, 2017


LPS to host Community Budget Forums

Lincoln Public Schools invites the public into the discussion about the preliminary 2017-18 budget for the school district.

Two Community Budget Forums are scheduled in June, which will both include a budget presentation as well as opportunities for comments and questions: 

  • Tuesday, June 27, 5-6 p.m., LPS District Office, 5905 O St.
  • Thursday, June 29, 7-8 p.m., Lincoln North Star High School, 5801 N. 33rd St. 

The Lincoln Board of Education has an additional work session planned for budget discussion at 5 p.m. July 11 at District Office.  In addition, a public hearing for the 2017-18 LPS budget is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, August 8, at District Office.

Budget work session materials located at http://www.lps.org/about/budget/

Watch the budget work session to learn about the process of creating a budget in LPS (start at the 3-minute mark).

Posted on June 16, 2017


Training staff on Verbal Behavior Approach

Over thirty special education teachers, speech language pathologists and administrators gathered at Wysong Elementary, June 12-14 to learn a new verbal behavior approach called PaTTan.   Verbal behavior is a methodology based on research and emphases skills such as language/communication, self-help skills, play skills, social skills and complying with instruction. 

Another 60 team of educators will be trained in July.   Verbal behavior is used with many students who participate in our LPS life skills programs.

Posted on June 15, 2017


Lincoln Public Schools: Highlights of 6/13 Lincoln Board of Education budget work session, meeting


Lincoln Public Schools:  Highlights of 6/13 Lincoln Board of Education budget work session, meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education held a budget work session and a regular meeting on Tuesday, June 13 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The Board will hold its next meeting Tuesday, June 27 at 6 p.m.

Highlights of 6/13 Lincoln Board of Education budget work session:

Preliminary Budget for 2017-18

Here are highlights of the preliminary 2017-18 budget for Lincoln Public Schools presented Tuesday. At this point, the Lincoln Board of Education will gather community feedback and input over the next months, further discuss the budget and aim to approve the final LPS budget in August. 

The 2017-18 preliminary budget for Lincoln Public Schools is very student-focused and addresses a variety of factors:
  • Providing appropriate staffing, services, supplies and resources to address significant growth in LPS student enrollment. LPS estimates an increase of 950 more students for 2017-18 –bringing total enrollment to almost 42,000 students. LPS served almost 41,000 students this year, an increase of 12 percent or 4,450 students over the last five years.  The 2017-2018 school year will mark the fifth straight year of growth greater than 850 students each year – every year.  
  • Addressing the growing complexity of the demographics and needs of LPS students: specifically addressing mental health needs, early childhood, special education and more.
Other highlights:
  • Officials recommend a slightly lower – essentially flat – tax rate for the coming school year. The 2017-18 preliminary budget for LPS totals $420.8 million – a 4.6 percent increase over the previous year. Last year, the LPS budget increased 5.95 percent to keep pace with the growing student population and growing student needs.
  • Lincoln is a vibrant growing city with new housing developments in all quadrants of the city. The preliminary budget continues to focus on providing continued quality education, a long-term investment in our community, our businesses, our families, our students.
  • According to the most recent statistics, LPS ranked 228 out of 245 school districts in Nebraska in per pupil spending – spending $10,842 per pupil compared to the state average of $11,901.
  •  The 2017-18 preliminary budget is funded by several revenue streams including: property taxes (LPS estimates property tax valuation will increase about 9 percent this year), and state aid to education (anticipated at $126.7 million, a very slight increase of $271,324 over last year). 

 Possible additional funding provided under preliminary budget: 

  • Providing help to classrooms and schools by staffing for growth: added teachers and staffing for regular education, special education, early childhood, English Language Learners (refugees and immigrants); added counselors, school social workers and nurses.

  • Added support for academic interventions for students.
  • Expansion of early childhood.
  • New operational costs allocated to opening the new Marilyn Moore Middle School.
  • Support necessary for continuation of the instructional technology plan.
  • To address labor shortages, transportation bonuses available to bus drivers (sign-on bonus of $500 for new bus drivers; $500 for any driver who finishes the entire school year).
  • An additional wheelchair accessible bus.
  • Additional positions: principal for LPS focus programs; additional director for elementary instruction; additional support for The Career Academy; additional hiring supervisor for Human Resources.
  • Negotiated salary increases of 3.2 percent – the second-year of a two-year contract.
Comments from Board members included:
  • Matt Schulte criticized the proposed General Fund tax levy for taking advantage of what he called a windfall of increased valuation and “spending just because we can find a way to use it….This is spending misaligned with community resources. At what point are we going to say enough is enough?”
  • Kathy Danek pointed out that the school district levies wisely to weather the inevitable ups and downs of school funding. “When property tax revenue increases – as in this year – state aid will be reduced in the following year. We now assume that we need to allocate for growth going into the future.”
  • Barb Baier stressed, “This is not a Christmas gift kind of budget, this is an essentials-only kind of budget.” She warned that “slashing of public education can deeply damage an educational system…Here in Nebraska we have a lot good things going for us…One of the best ones is a good educational system…We think about the investment in our future…I am supportive of this budget. I feel as though we are getting value…We take seriously when the public asks us to be good stewards of their money.”
  • Connie Duncan said she believes LPS “thinks things through, and are very thoughtful; we make sure we are spending our money wisely.”
  • Lanny Boswell noted that the school district has the lowest tax rate levied in the school district in 50 years. “I believe this budget addresses the real needs of students, and does so in a way that we operate according to the rules we are given.”
  • Annie Mumgaard said: “Each community has to decide how they are going to invest in their children. We are deciding to best invest in our children, in our future…I believe we are doing a good job.”
  • Don Mayhew said he believes it is important to set a levy reflective of LPS growth, as well as changes that improve teaching and learning – such as all-day kindergarten, instructional technology and more. He explained: “When I’m looking at the budget, I have three things in mind: 1. What are the community priorities, what kind of town do we want to live in? 2. What effect do our decisions have on taxpayers? 3. Are the dollars we have – being spent well? I think some people only consider the second question, and if you only look at the effect on taxpayers, then that is an incomplete picture... I am very supportive of this budget, because I think it does an excellent job of the three things I consider.”
Community input
* Community input is valued:  Two Community Budget Forums are scheduled in June, which will both include a budget presentation as well as opportunities for comments and questions:
  • Tuesday, June 27, 5-6 p.m., LPS District Office, 5905 O St.
  • Thursday, June 29, 7-8 p.m., Lincoln North Star High School, 5801 N. 33rd
The Lincoln Board of Education has an additional work session planned for budget discussion at 5 p.m. July 11 at District Office.  In addition, a public hearing for the 2017-18 LPS budget is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, August 8, at District Office.

Budget book and work session materials located at: http://www.lps.org/about/budget/

Highlights of 6/13 Lincoln Board of Education regular meeting

Administrative evaluations, contracts

The Lincoln Board of Education Tuesday considered approval of the annual evaluation and contract for Lincoln Public Schools Superintendent Steve Joel, as well as contracts for the top administrators at LPS. 

Proposed base annual salaries for the coming school year:

  • Steve Joel: $317,239
  • Jane Stavem, associate superintendent for Instruction: $222,274
  • Liz Standish, associate superintendent for Business Affairs: $209,359
  • Eric Weber, associate superintendent for Human Resources: $209,359
  • John Neal, assistant superintendent for General Administration and Governmental Relations, $183,525
Highlights of the proposed superintendent evaluation include:
  • Successful completion of the initial phases of updated LPS Strategic Plan.
  • Successful adoption of the school district’s action plan based on the results of the Special Education review from last year.
  • Some affirmation and some reservation about the goal of reaching 90 percent graduation rate by 2019, but generally pleased about the work.
  • Positive, strong relationships and communication with Board members.
  • “In summary, the Board recognizes and appreciates Dr. Joel’s excellent work as our superintendent, and the Board looks forward to continuing its strong partnership in service to Lincoln’s children and our community.”

The Board will vote final approval for the superintendent evaluation and all the contracts on June 27.

New Business/Human Resources platform considered

The Board of Education considered a contract that would create a new platform for Business and Human Resources functions over the course of the next three years: called the Enterprise Resource Planning Project (ERP).

This new $6.5 million platform would replace the AS 400 Financial/HR system.  The move will involve considerable work, but moving to a new data system for LPS Business and HR functions will eliminate many of the current stand-alone manual spreadsheet recording functions, which now require significant data input and manual processes.  In addition, a new system will provide more functionality needed by the school district both now and in the future. 

“This past system lasted 30 years, oh my gosh, we wrung every scrap of value out of the old system,” Board member Don Mayhew said.  “Now it’s time to move on, it’s time to modernize…to leverage modern technology...This will result in changes that result in time savings, making us more efficient…There is a deliberate quality to our process….this will happen on a good timeline….I’m sure this is something that will be done very well.”

This is software that provides for the back office functions that support a school district:  accounting, payroll, benefits, staffing, budgeting, finance tracking and projects, employee self-service, etc.

The software will collect, store, manage, process, interpret and report data.  All finance and many HR functions will occur through the new system, replacing what currently functions through the AS 400.  The data in the ERP will be a new centralized source where functions within the system can talk to each other. 

Major financing would come from the Depreciation Fund. The Board will vote final approval on June 27.

Elementary Boundary proposed change

The Board considered a proposed elementary school boundary change focused on growth in the Firethorn area near 84th Street and Pioneers Boulevard, new development that would leave some single lots located within two different elementary attendance areas (Morley and Pyrtle). 

To eliminate neighborhood homes and single lots being located within two different elementary attendance areas and the attendant confusion about the proper school attendance area, a change is proposed: Beginning with the 2017-18 school year and continuing until further modified, the Morley Elementary School and the Pyrtle Elementary School attendance boundaries be modified as: Having the Morley boundary concludes at 84th street, and the Pyrtle attendance area runs along 84th and Pioneers.

The Board will vote final approval on June 27.

Board considers new Transportation Plan

Each spring a transportation plan is prepared for the following school year, reviewing and considering proposed changes in bus routes.  

Major proposed changes for next school year include:

  • Add special education education transportation to the new Marilyn Moore Middle School.
  • Additional Early Childhood bus runs to Cavett, Elliott and Wysong elementary schools.
  • Additional runs for Scott Middle School.

The Board will vote final approval on June 27.

Educating homeless students

The Board discussed submission of the McKinney-Vento Grant application for approximately $44,000 with the final allocation to be determined by the state of Nebraska and dependent upon grants awarded to other applicants. This grant requires a 100 percent match from Title 1. The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act is the primary piece of federal legislation designed to address the problems that homeless children and youth have faced in enrolling, attending and succeeding in school. 

The LPS Homeless Outreach Advocate works with families experiencing homelessness to arrange transportation services for children to attend school and works with families to provide other supports that create a more stable environment for children experiencing homelessness. LPS will use funds received through the McKinney-Vento Act to continue to support the salary of the Homeless Outreach Advocate and to pay transportation costs for homeless children to attend school.  

The Board will vote final approval on June 27.

LPS policy

The Board considered policy changes for the wellness policy and several changes for Board Operating Procedures 

One proposed change for Operating Procedures included the creation of a Board Code of Conduct to “clarify mission, values and principles, and connects them to standards of conduct.” The proposal reads as follows:

Lincoln Public Schools adopts the following code of conduct for its school board members:

  • To recognize that a board member has no legal authority as an individual and that decisions can be made only by a majority vote at a board meeting;
  • To abide by and not undermine policies and decisions of the board, while retaining the right to seek changes;
  • To attend all scheduled board meetings unless excused, and become informed concerning the issues to be considered at those meetings;
  • To render all decisions based on the available facts and independent judgment, and refuse to surrender that judgment to individuals, special interests or partisan political groups;
  • To work with other board members to establish effective board policies and to delegate authority for the administration of the schools to the superintendent;
  • To communicate with the superintendent and administration in an appropriate and timely manner to ensure that appropriate materials are available for board discussion;
  • To be informed about current educational issues by individual study and through participation in programs providing needed information, such as those sponsored by the state and national school boards associations;
  • To support and respect the employment of those persons best qualified to serve as school staff, and insist on a regular and impartial evaluation of all staff;
  • To attend board leadership sessions as directed;
  • To avoid being placed in a position of conflict of interest;
  • To clearly indicate that comments and opinions expressed do not represent the board or district, except when designated by the board president;
  • To take no private action that might compromise the board or administration and to respect the confidentiality of information from executive or closed sessions and information that is privileged or confidential under applicable law; and
  • To remember always that the primary concern of all board members is the educational welfare of all students attending the Lincoln Public Schools, while being fiscally accountable to the community.

Board members had several questions on the various proposed policy changes for Board Operating procedures, and staff will bring back these policies with some suggested alterations at the June 27 meeting.

Refunding approved for 2009 bond series

LPS issued $100 million in general obligation school bonds in 2009, the second series issued for funding a comprehensive ten-year facilities improvement plan.  Bond principal and interest are scheduled to be repaid through January, 2039.   The current bond market may allow for an advanced refunding at a reduced interest rate, resulting in a reduction of debt service payable. 

The Board Tuesday voted for LPS staff to work with the school district’s financial advisor (Ameritas Investment Corp.), bond counsel (Gilmore & Bell) and general counsel (Perry, Guthery, Haase & Gessford) to finalize refunding if and when the school district decides to proceed. 

Indian Education program  

The Lincoln Public Schools Indian Education program will provide support to Native American students in grades PK-12 in the 2017-18 school year, students enrolled in all schools across LPS representing about 60 tribes. The funding from federal grants specifically for Native American students is $138,292, and decisions regarding the use of these funds are made in consultation with the Native American Advisory Committee. The school district has received federal funds for services for Native American students since the mid-1980’s. 

The Board finalized approval Tuesday for continuing this support.  The U.S. Department of Education provides funds to fulfill the federal government’s responsibility for providing programs that serve Indian children of the highest quality and provide for the unique educational and culturally related academic needs of these children. The purpose of this program is to support American Indian and Alaska Native students in meeting the same challenging state student academic achievement standards as all other students.

Community Learning Center agreements   

The Board approved partnering organizations for the Community Learning Center sites in schools throughout LPS:  Boys and Girls Club of Lincoln/Lancaster County, Cedars Youth Services, Family Service Association, Lincoln Housing Authority, Lincoln Parks & Recreation, Malone Community Center, Nebraskans for Civic Reform, North Pointe Community Church, Northeast Family Center, Willard Community Center, and YMCA of Lincoln. These organizations provide services to CLCs at a total expenditure of $1,045,992. 

Newly annexed property

The Board assigned school attendance areas to property newly annexed in the city of Lincoln.  Lincoln has annexed a parcel of land, which automatically brings this property into the district of Lincoln Public Schools.  Grandview Estates 1st Addition, Annexation Ordinance #20483, proposed attendance areas for 2017-18 school year: Wysong Elementary School, Moore Middle School and Lincoln Southeast High School.

Food purchases

The Board approved several major food purchases for the coming school year:

  • Purchase of $950,000 in fresh fruits and vegetables from Greenberg Fruit Co.
  • Purchase of almost $3 million in shelf-stable, refrigerated and frozen food from various vendors.

Staff Celebration

The Lincoln Board of Education recognized Michelle Welch, Lincoln Public Schools Wellness Coordinator, named one of the Top 25 in the nation for Health Promotion Professionals by the Wellness Council of America (WELCOA).

Posted on June 13, 2017


Say What! Communications Festival

LPS Communications is offering a communications conference next week (the morning of June 15) called Say What? Communications Festival. This is a free, morning-only event where you can come-and-go to various sessions. We have seen an increase in options to promote the work we do in school, and in general we have done better. LPS Communications (and others in LPS) will help us with ideas on what has worked for other teachers, departments and schools. The entire list of sessions is below. You can register here - http://home.lps.org/staffdev/ - or just show up.

Say What 2017:

Lincoln Public Schools Communications Festival
June 15, 2017, LPS District Office, 5905 O St.

*Front lobby: Exhibits of what the LPS Graphics Department can produce.

7:30-8:30 a.m. Registration and refreshments

8:30 a.m. Welcome and introduction – BOARD ROOM

Communications 2016-17: Lessons Learned/Quick Year in Review (**And, of course, we have bloopers…)

8:50-9 a.m.  BREAK

 

SAY WHAT LEARNING SESSIONS 
(**Back by popular demand)

9-9:35 a.m. Sessions:

How may I serve you: Panel discussion with Jean Clough (District Office), Chris Warner (Graphics) and Lorie Safford (Calvert Elementary) – moderated by Mary Kay Roth
LOCATION: Board Room

We don't often think of what we do as serving customers, but at LPS we truly have internal and external “customers.” Communicating is a big part of offering high quality customer service – eloquently, patiently and efficiently. Get tips from a variety of Lincoln Public Schools employees who successfully handle different customer types.

Communicate your way through a crisis: Zachary Baehr
LOCATION: Conference Room C/Lower Level

When does an occurrence become an incident? When does that incident elevate to a situation? And when does the situation become a full-blown, national-media-laden, the sky-is-falling crisis? How do we prevent it? And where is the phone number for LPS Communications when you need it? You’ll learn tips for how to handle incidents, but you’ll also practice in an interactive and engaging manner. This … is only a drill.

ParentVUE – Getting info from the classroom to the living room: Kristi Peters
LOCATION: Conference Room A/B/Lower Level

The parent/student portal of our student information system is called StudentVUE/ParentVUE, the gateway for parents and students to see grades, attendance, teacher emails, upcoming assignments and more.  LPS believes in the partnership between home and school to maximize student success.  So it is important to be aware of what information is available through the portal and how to encourage and support families in using it.  Come learn about the ins and outs and ideas for marketing this powerful tool.   

9:35-9:45 BREAK

 

9:45-10:20 a.m. Sessions:

You let students do what?: Heather Steiner, Allysa Diehl, Brianne Clark, Zachary Baehr
LOCATION: Board Room

Unleash the power of 40,000 students. Ask them for content (stories) that will fill your social media page, affirm the positive feelings of your families and allow you to bask in the glow of praise from LPS Communications. You’ll hear from teachers who have done just this, and #livedtotellaboutit

Planning a successful event: Lea Ann Johnson, Betsy Gomez, Nicole Weber and Mindy Burbach
LOCATION: Conference Room C/Lower Level

Time is precious and the field is crowded so how do you get families to attend and be engaged in your events? Family nights, celebrating milestones, and community activities can all lead to moments of great communication and engagement. Find ideas and tricks on the details that you need to consider when planning an event. 

**Let’s Talk: John Neal
LOCATION: Conference Room A/BLower Level

We have now added LPSConnect/Let’s Talk to every school website, so let’s talk about making the most from this online patron engagement program.  This session offers some great guidance and user-friendly approaches in using this system, designed to create a tracking system for questions and concerns from the community. 

10:20-10:30 a.m. BREAK

 

10:30-11:05 a.m. Sessions:

**Communicating with hard-to-reach families: Oscar Pohirieth, Bryan Seck   
LOCATION: BOARD Room

One of our most popular sessions, we provide participants with strategies and techniques for communicating with under-represented populations of families that traditionally have been difficult to reach: immigrant and refugee families, homeless families.

Adding video showcases to your school website using MyVRSpot: Brian Fitzgerald and Jarred Rowe  
LOCATION: Conference Room C/Lower Level

In this session, we’ll explore the district-supported video repository, MyVRSpot, and its ability to create galleries of organized video content that can be easily embedded into your school website.  Once live, content can be added and deleted from these galleries simply and immediately.  

Become a video star: Zachary Baehr
LOCATION: Conference Room A/BLower Level

Video on social media has literally changed the outcome of world events. How can it positively impact your classroom and school (even if it doesn't go viral)? We'll cover simple ideas, equipment and the added benefits of live video. No need for the powder room yet, but we'll take the shine off a potentially intimidating process.

11:05-11:15 a.m. BREAK

11:15 a.m.-noon Sessions:

Telling your story: Mindy Burbach, Zachary Baehr, Mary Kay Roth
LOCATION: Board Room

Fifty (quick) real-life, tried-and-true stories that serve as audience builders. Listen, jot notes and take the best three ideas back to your school. Never forget the power of the story for public education!

So much to share – how to keep it simple and clean: Brian Fitzgerald
LOCATION: Conference Room C/Lower Level

Your school, your department, your class has so much to share — but people will only be able to find and read your information when presented using a clean, organized system (regardless of the communication channel you are using). Create a system and hold yourself to it: It will make things easier for you AND more pleasant for your visitors!

Connect to meetings, parents, job candidates, experts and more with any device and Zoom: Linda Dickeson   
LOCATION: Conference Room A/BLower Level

LPS teachers and staff have access to super simple, high quality, two-way interactive videoconferencing with Zoom. See why Zoom blows Skype and Facetime out of the water, and how to get started with an account. Anyone can connect to you without an account, using any device, by way of your simple invitation. You'll also see how easy it is to share a presentation, record (including screencasts), and use the instant messaging component of Zoom. Lots of great samples of how Zoom is being used will be shared.

 

Posted on June 07, 2017


LPS Multicultural Leadership speaker underlines ‘The Fierce Urgency of Now’ for inclusion, equity, excellence

Author, keynote speaker and workshop leader Gary R. Howard took Lincoln Public Schools employees on a journey of inclusion, equity and excellence on Wednesdayat the 23rd annual LPS Multicultural Leadership Institute held at Lincoln Southwest High School.

Howard said one of the most important questions for him is: “How do we create schools that do a better job with more kids, across more differences, more of the time – without asking kids to give up who they are?”

And he stressed the urgency about the question, citing Martin Luther King, Jr.: “We have come to this hallowed spot to remind American of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.  Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy.”

Howard is a national and international multicultural educator with more than 40 years of experience working in civil rights and cultural competence, founder of the REACH Center for Multicultural Education and author of “We Can’t Teach What We Don’t Know.”

“Your school district is becoming increasingly diverse, and that is a beautiful thing but also a challenge,” Howard told the LPS audience.

Howard started by describing the beginning of his own personal journey, a story that began when he was a senior at an all-white suburban high school in Seattle, Washington – but then arrived in college to encounter the civil rights movement of the 1960s.  “I was totally unaware of the movement, I had the luxury of ignorance…the height of privilege. I felt like I was in a country I did not know.” 

At that moment his path took a different direction, learning and growing aware of diversity, polarization.  “I became passionate about making sure that no kid would graduate from high school as ignorant as I was.”

Howard’s talk Wednesday focused on what he called three key concepts:

  • Inclusion: Students and employees feel welcomed, seen, safe, respected.  At schools, everybody is welcome. Our job as educators is to create that environment where everyone is welcome.
  • Equity: What we measure and what we don’t. School outcomes (positive and negative) are distributed equitably across different demographic and identity groups. Resources are distributed equitably across all groups, schools and communities.  Equity does not mean treating people the same – it means giving all kids the resources they need for being successful.
  • Excellence: Holding the bar high: We keep the bar high in all we do. We educate students for life and for reflective democratic citizenship. We empower students and employees in the preservation of their identity and culture.  Substance, depth and critical thinking are as important as test scores, and more important than mere compliance.

Howard explained that there are several phases of the work in this area, starting from an internal personal culture and personal journey – working out to professional, organizational, then societal/structural.

He stressed that the concept of cultural competence could be defined as: “The will and the ability to form authentic and effective relationships across our differences.”

Kids get messages very young, he stressed.  “In fact, kids are more comfortable to have these conversations. Their world is global. But some of us grew up with ‘I should not see the differences, otherwise I’m a racist.’”

When we tell children not to talk about our differences, Howard said, we create what he called, color blindness.  “Differences do make a difference.  Kids are different, their experiences, their families, their cultures, backgrounds, family histories, belief systems…but they don’t have to get in the way…If we pretend differences don’t exist, then we as educators are in the way.”

Bottom line, Howard said, culturally responsive teaching is:  “Teaching and leading in such a way that more of our students, across more of their differences, achieve at a higher level and engage at a deeper level, more of the time.  Without giving up who they are.”

And please remember, Howard told LPS employees:  “The journey of cultural competence goes on forever….We’re never done with it.”

Posted on June 01, 2017


Highlights of 5/23 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

Lincoln Public Schools:

Highlights of 5/23 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education held a regular meeting on Tuesday, May 9 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The Board will hold its next meeting Tuesday, June 133 at 6 p.m.

Refunding 2009 bond series

LPS issued $100 million in general obligation school bonds in 2009, the second series issued for funding a comprehensive ten-year facilities improvement plan.  Bond principal and interest are scheduled to be repaid through January, 2039.   The current bond market may allow for an advanced refunding at a reduced interest rate, resulting in a reduction of debt service payable. 

The Board voted for LPS staff to work with the school district’s financial advisor (Ameritas Investment Corp.), bond counsel (Gilmore & Bell) and general counsel (Perry, Guthery, Haase & Gessford) to finalize refunding if and when the school district decides to proceed. 

“We have done this several times before, relying upon the good advice from the people we work with to make these decisions to the benefit of our taxpayers,” said Don Mayhew, vice president of the Board.  “This is a decision point designed to still take care of our needs, but to reduce the burden of taxpayers…I’m glad this is something we do.” 

Approval will be finalized at the June 13 Board meeting.  

Plan approved for increased help for struggling students

The Board approved an action plan for providing more support to struggling students – a plan that emerged from a comprehensive review and recommendations from the District Management Council (DMGroup).

The collaborative action plan will serve as the working document to guide the future work of the school district related to struggling students with a focus on:

  • Clarify the role of regular education to take primary responsibility for the delivery of core instruction and provide extra time on task for struggling students within the school day.
  • Ensure extra instructional time is provided by a teacher with strong subject-specific training and background.
  • Refine the site-based approach to supporting struggling students by establishing some guarantees for all students and developing a model plan that schools may choose to adopt.
  • Clearly define the approach for providing social-emotional d behavioral supports for students.
  • Refine the role of school based special education coordinators 

Preventing childhood obesity: a step forward

LPS will expand a pilot project now in four middle schools using fitness monitoring watches in physical education classes – to accommodate four additional middle schools. The Board approved application for $25,000 in grant funds from Children’s Hospital in Omaha to purchase additional fitness monitoring watches – allowing LPS to move closer to its goal of a more rigorous and consistent program for all middle school students.

The fitness watches allow students to track their heart rate and level of exertion during PE classes. The students can personalize their learning through activity goal setting, fitness levels and rate of perceived exertion.   In addition to purchasing sets for four schools, the grant will provide resources for professional development for middle school PE staff as well.

Indian Education program  

The Lincoln Public Schools Indian Education program will provide support to Native American students in grades PK-12 in the 2017-18 school year, students enrolled in all schools across LPS representing about 60 tribes. The funding from federal grants specifically for Native American students is $138,292, and decisions regarding the use of these funds are made in consultation with the Native American Advisory Committee. The school district has received federal funds for services for Native American students since the mid-1980’s. 

The U.S. Department of Education provides funds to fulfill the federal government’s responsibility for providing programs that serve Indian children of the highest quality and provide for the unique educational and culturally related academic needs of these children. The purpose of this program is to support American Indian and Alaska Native students in meeting the same challenging state student academic achievement standards as all other students.

Approval will be finalized at the June 13 Board meeting.  

Community Learning Center agreements   

The Board considered approval of partnering organizations for the Community Learning Center sites in schools throughout LPS:  Boys and Girls Club of Lincoln/Lancaster County, Cedars Youth Services, Family Service Association, Lincoln Housing Authority, Lincoln Parks & Recreation, Malone Community Center, Nebraskans for Civic Reform, North Pointe Community Church, Northeast Family Center, Willard Community Center, and YMCA of Lincoln. These organizations provide services to CLCs at a total expenditure of $1,045,992. 

Approval will be finalized at the June 13 Board meeting.   

Newly annexed property

The Board of Education assigns school attendance areas to property newly annexed or newly platted in 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. 

Lincoln has annexed a parcel of land, which automatically brings this property into the district of Lincoln Public Schools.  Grandview Estates 1st Addition, Annexation Ordinance #20483, proposed attendance areas for 2017-18 school year: Wysong Elementary School, Pound Middle School and Lincoln Southeast High School.

Approval will be finalized at the June 13 Board meeting.  

LPS policy

The Board approved policy changes for student fees, and small changes to the 2000 series.

Food purchases

The Board Tuesday considered several major food purchases for the coming school year:

  • Purchase of $950,000 in fresh fruits and vegetables from Greenberg Fruit Co.
  • Purchase of almost $3 million in shelf-stable, refrigerated and frozen food from various vendors.

Approval will be finalized at the June 13 Board meeting.  

Lincoln High and the Lighthouse  

The Board approved an agreement for the 2017-18 school year between LPS and the Lighthouse After School Program – for the Lighthouse to administer an Out of School Suspension (OSS) program available to all Lincoln High School students who are suspended out of school.  The program will include the following services (at no cost to LPS): Students of parents who choose to allow their students to serve their OSS program at the Lighthouse will do all assignments, get a lunch and participate in restorative justice principles.

Superintendent Update

LPS Superintendent Steve Joel Tuesday took a moment to recognize Mary Reiman, director of Library Media Services at LPS, who is retiring this summer. 

“Mary Reiman is a tremendous talent who has dedicated her professional career to Lincoln Public Schools and who has left a tremendous legacy of excellence.  She is decorated nationally, but also, if you walk into any of our media centers you will see the touch she has administered over the years, they are all welcoming places of collaboration and innovation.”   

Student Celebration

The Lincoln Board of Education recognized Lincoln North Star High School senior Kyler Johnson, who has served on LPS Superintendent Steve Joel’s“Weather Team” as an official weather forecaster and storm hunter.

  

Posted on May 23, 2017


Down memory lane...

It's the last week of school and as we countdown to graduation we asked school administrators and Lincoln Public School Board Members to share their senior pictures with us. We hope you enjoy walking down memory lane with us...

Posted on May 21, 2017


Prescott Teacher surprised at school assembly

Congratulations Lindsey Licht and Marcel Jones!

Posted on May 19, 2017


Dates, times and tips for Graduation 2017

The Lincoln Public Schools class of 2017 will celebrate graduation ceremonies on Sunday, May 28 – for all six high schools.

LPS high school graduation ceremonies for 2017 are scheduled as follows:

  • Lincoln Southwest High School, noon, Pinnacle Bank Arena
  • Lincoln Northeast High School, 1:30 p.m., Bob Devaney Sports Center
  • Lincoln North Star High School, 3:00 p.m. Pinnacle
  • Lincoln East High School, 4:30 p.m., Devaney
  • Lincoln High School, 6:00 p.m., Pinnacle
  • Lincoln Southeast High School, 7:30 p.m., Devaney

The Bryan Community Focus Program will hold graduation ceremonies at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, May 25, in the Lincoln East High School auditorium.

Graduation 2017: Details and Tips

For those attending, here are some tips to help ensure you fully enjoy the event: 

  • Be patient. This works with the actual graduation ceremony and all the activities surrounding it:  Friends and family who want those extra pictures, drivers who want in your lane, students who take too long to get ready, and so forth.
  • Traffic could be busy and slow in the downtown areas. Give yourself plenty of time to get to, park and walk to the venue. Doors open one hour prior to the ceremony
  • Identify the best parking places and directions to them (especially those one-way streets).
  • Likewise, arriving too soon could create additional slowdowns as traffic leaving the venue might not have left suitable parking spots. So find the right balance. 
  • Consider not holding a family-and-friends celebration party immediately before or after the graduation ceremony, as it may cause extra stress in trying to get to or leave the venues. 
  • Get creative. Ask other families to consider joint celebrations. Hold your celebration a week ahead of time - or a week after. 
  • Enjoy! This is a once-in-a-lifetime event for our graduating seniors. 

Posted on May 19, 2017


Other Important Benefits Reminders

PayFlex:  If you are enrolled in the flexible spending account (PayFlex), and you are completing the school year, you have until August 31, 2017 to spend your flexible spending account.  You can logon to the PayFlex website, payflex.com and submit claims, check account balance, etc.  The money that you do not use is forfeited!  Don't forget! 
 
Vision Service Plan:  If you have our vision insurance, it is NOT through Blue Cross and Blue Shield....it is Vision Service Plan (VSP).  More information is on the Benefits website.  You will not receive a VSP ID card.  You can locate in-network providers by going to vsp.com.  
 
Changing Benefits:  If you have a Qualifying Event during the school year, make sure to notify Benefits within 30 days.
 
Name Change:  After you have changed your name with the Social Security office, please bring your Social Security card with your new name to Payroll (3rd floor, LPSDO).
 
Address Change:  If you are moving this summer, please update your address in ICE.

 

Posted on May 17, 2017


Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska

If you are a member of the EHA Blue Cross and Blue Shield health plan, check out the Telehealth Services available through BCBS.  Telehealth Services are provided in most states, and you have access to board certified doctors 24/7, 365 days per year for minor health conditions.  To register, you can download the Amwell app from the Apple App Store or Google Play, visit nebraskablue.com/telehealth or call toll free 844-733-3627.  Also, if you are traveling abroad and you have the EHA BCBS Health Plan, you may want to contact GeoBlue which gives members access to elite healthcare providers around the world.  Go to mynebraskablue.com for more information.
 
Summer is a great time to register or revisit Mynebraskablue.com.  The site's "Tools and Resources" includes information about Telehealth, how to find the closest in-network doctor or dentist, shows estimated costs of procedures and services, and includes information on pharmacy benefits; "Who's Covered" shows individual members covered under your plan and dates of service; "My Claims" shows member's deductibles and coinsurance as well as total costs.  You can also download extra ID cards from the site.  You will use your EHN member number from your BCBS ID card to register.
 
If you or your child need braces, summer is a good time to get an estimate with an orthodontist!  If you add Option 4 Dental during the annual enrollment period in August, the effective date is September 1.  Go to the LPS website, type in 'benefits' in keyword search for the Dental Summary of benefits and monthly premiums.

Posted on May 17, 2017


Annual Enrollment Tips

If you are benefit eligible, save these dates!  The annual enrollment is Monday, August 14 to Thursday, August 24, 2017.  Watch your e-mails later this summer for more information and instructions.  Mark your calendar now!

If you need enrollment assistance during the annual enrollment, please attend one of four Benefit Enrollment Help Sessions at LPSDO Lab A, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 16, 2017; Thursday, August 17, 2017; Monday, August 21, 2017; and Tuesday, August 22, 2017.

 

Posted on May 17, 2017


If You Are Retiring This Month -- CONGRATULATIONS!

If you are retiring, are 55 and above, and you have pay for leave (sick leave and/or vacation), you'll want to attend Union Bank's "Upcoming Retirees:  LPS Nonelective 403(b) Plan Orientation" on Monday, June 12 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.  RSVP to Kellee Krick at kellee.krick@ubt.com or call 402-323-1467.  The session will be at Union Bank, 27th and Pine Lake, Lower Level.
 
If you are retiring and have completed your change of status form but have not contacted NPERS (Nebraska Public Employee Retirement System), you need to do so!  Their phone number is 402-471-2053.
 
If you're nearing retirement, summer might be a good time to make an appointment with NPERS, phone 402-471-2053.  You can go to their website, npers.ne.gov and calculate your own retirement benefit estimate.

Posted on May 17, 2017


Highlights of 5/15 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

Lincoln Public Schools:

Highlights of 5/15 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education held its annual organizational meeting on Monday May 15 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St.  The Board will hold its next regular meeting on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.

 

Highlights of Board Meeting

New officers for LPS

Lanny Boswell will be the new president of the Lincoln Board of Education serving from May 2017 until May 2018, elected at the annual organizational meeting of the Board held Monday.  Don Mayhew was elected as vice president.

 

New officers for ESU No. 18

Annie Mumgaard will be the new president of Educational Service Unit (ESU) No. 18, and Connie Duncan will be vice president.

 

 

Posted on May 15, 2017


'Ragtime' features several LPS students, staff

Various students and staff members of Llincoln Public Schools are performing in 'Ragtime' at the Lincoln Community Playhouse. Learn more on their website.

Students and staff members include: Taylor Sharpe, Myeisha Essex, Abi Shelbourn, Riley Beranek, Sal Diaz-DeBose, Brian Foley, Rebecca Nelson, Lisa Taylor, Abel Ue-Bari, Marie Barrett, Kristen Works, Ashley Peterson, Melissa Casper-Walburn, Kaedyn Campbell, Kent Steen.

Posted on May 15, 2017


May LPS Learning Lunch: World Drumming  

Just listen for the drum beat – to find the May Lincoln Public Schools Learning Lunch, set for Tuesday, May 16, in the Board Room at LPS District Office, 5905 O St. 

This is the first year for a World Drumming class at Lincoln High School, so we will feature the learning outcomes from both the teacher and student perspective – as well as experience the joy of a drum circle.  You’ll hear from Lance Nielsen, supervisor of Music for LPS, music teachers Jill Oetken and Mark Irvin, and student performances from Irving Middle School and Lincoln High.  

Doors to the Board Room open at noon, the program begins at 12:15 p.m., questions-and-answers happen at 12:45 p.m. Please bring your own lunch – we’ll provide dessert – participants will be invited to play in a drum circle.  Learning Lunches offer “Untold Stories” of our schools, open to LPS staff and the Lincoln community.

Don't miss the beat, as this is the last LPS Learning Lunch of the school year.  Please watch for details of our upcoming Learning Lunch schedule to be announced this summer.

 

 

Posted on May 15, 2017


New principal announced for Belmont Elementary School

Kim Rosenthal, currently the assistant principal at Belmont Elementary School, will serve as the new principal at Belmont, according to an announcement Wednesday.

"We are excited to have Kim transition to the principalship at Belmont Elementary School," said Jane Stavem, associate superintendent for Instruction at Lincoln Public Schools. "Kim has a strong background in instructional leadership, including special education."

Rosenthal has been the assistant principal at Belmont since 2015, and prior to that was special education coordinator at Belmont, coordinator at Brownell Elementary School, special education coordinator and teacher at Humann Elementary School.

She has earned her Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Doane College.

Posted on May 10, 2017


LPS honored by United Way

Lincoln Public Schools was honored Wednesday by the United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County for having the largest increase in the category of: Giving at the "Leadership" level ($500 or more) during the 2016 campaign - for organizations with more than 250 employees. LPS tied with Duncan Aviation for the honor. 

 

 

Posted on May 10, 2017


Lincoln Public Schools: Highlights of 5/9 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

Lincoln Public Schools:  Highlights of 5/9 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education held a regular meeting on Tuesday, May 9 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The Board will hold its next meeting Tuesday, May 23 at 6 p.m.

Plans for increased help for struggling students

More help for Lincoln Public Schools struggling students is planned and was further discussed at the Tuesday Lincoln Board of Education meeting – a proposed action plan coming out of a comprehensive review and recommendations from the District Management Council (DMGroup).

“We’ve had many opportunities to review this and now we are ready to go to work,” said Jane Stavem, associate superintendent for Instruction at LPS.  The Board will vote final approval at the May 23 meeting.

The proposed collaborative action plan would serve as the working document to guide the future work of the school district related to struggling students with a focus on:

  • Clarify the role of regular education to take primary responsibility for the delivery of core instruction and provide extra time on task for struggling students within the school day.
  • Ensure extra instructional time is provided by a teacher with strong subject-specific training and background.
  • Refine the site-based approach to supporting struggling students by establishing some guarantees for all students and developing a model plan that schools may choose to adopt.
  • Clearly define the approach for providing social-emotional d behavioral supports for students.
  • Refine the role of school based special education coordinators

Some suggested parts of the action plan would include: 

  • Begin developing foundation courses specific to core areas of instruction that will expand to K-12 staff members to support struggling students at all levels – and identify pilot sites at each level to implement new foundation level courses.
  • Investigate current LPS practices for extended learning time and collaborative planning practices. Begin developing models to allow for extended learning time and collaborative planning practices.
  • Focus group will review best practices and current practices within LPS to identify academic needs for students. Focus group will determine common assessment methods for identifying students in need of additional learning time in grades K-12
  • Assess current level of fidelity and effectiveness of PBIS using outcome data, self-assessment survey and benchmarking goals.
  • Review research on best practices related to optimum ratios for mental health services.
  • Develop plans that include designated and embedded time for teaching multi-tiered curriculum to address social/emotional learning and supports.
  • Provide specialized, research-based professional learning opportunities to support interventions that address specific areas of need (i.e. trauma, anxiety, substance abuse).
  • Analyze current capacity for accessing usable data to determine areas of need.
  • Develop a network of support by level that allows for peer observation, transition planning and ongoing resources and collaboration.
  • Identify potential sites that might serve as hosts for ED/Life Skills clustered programming.
  • Analyze and align current building administrative / coordinator roles and establish criteria for equitable level of support and compensation.
Grant to help prevent childhood obesity

LPS would like to expand a pilot project it has been conducting in four middle schools this year using fitness monitoring watches in physical education classes. By using $25,000 in grant funds from Children’s Hospital in Omaha – to purchase additional fitness monitoring watches that will accommodate four more middle schools – LPS will be able to move closer to its goal of a more rigorous and consistent program for all middle school students. 

The fitness monitor watches allow students to track their heart rate and level of exertion during PE classes. The students can personalize their learning through activity goal setting, fitness levels and rate of perceived exertion.   In addition to purchasing sets for four schools, the grant will provide resources for professional development around the use and implementation for middle school PE staff as well.

Three years ago Children's created Preventing Childhood Obesity Community Grants to harness the strength of community partners and touch as many young lives as possible. In 2016, Children’s opened the Center for the Child and Community in Lincoln, which opened up this grant competition to Lincoln organizations.  This year, Children’s will award grants to non-profit partners in Omaha and Lincoln, equipping them to improve the health and lives of children.

The Board will vote final approval at the May 23 meeting.

Approval of 2018-19 school calendar

The Board approved the calendar for the 2018-19 school year which includes the following highlights:

  • First Day: Monday, August 13
  • Quarter Break: Monday and Tuesday, October 15-16
  • Second Quarter begins: Wednesday, October 17
  • ThanksgivingWednesdayFriday, November 21-23
  • Winter Break: Friday, December 21 - Friday, January 4
  • Third Quarter begins: Monday, January 7
  • MLK: MondayMonday, January 21
  • Quarter Break: Monday-Friday, March 11-15
  • Fourth Quarter begins: March 18
  • Spring Break: Friday, April 19
  • Last Day: Thursday, May 23

Newly annexed property

The Board of Education assigns school attendance areas to property newly annexed or newly platted in 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. 

Lincoln has annexed three parcels of land, which automatically brings these properties into LPS.  The Board Tuesday assigned attendance centers so that potential purchasers of homes in these areas will know which schools they will be attending.

  • Rogge Square, Annexation Ordinance #20453, for 2016-17 school year:  Norwood Park Elementary School, Dawes Middle School and Lincoln Northeast High School.
  • Legends Addition, Annexation Ordinance #20459, for 2016-17 school year:  Kooser Elementary School, Schoo Middle School and North Star.
  • White Horse, Annexation Ordinance #20472, for 2016-17 school year:  Pyrtle Elementary School, Lux Middle School and Lincoln East High School. 

LPS policy

The Board considered policy changes for student fees, and small changes to the 2000 series. They will vote final approval at the May 23 meeting.

Community Health Endowment of Lincoln  

Lori Seibel, president and CEO of the Community Health Endowment of Lincoln, presented a series of maps that analyze some demographic trends in Lincoln – starting with a map of life expectancy throughout the community. 

“Life expectancy can vary by 20 years according to where you live,” Seibel said, showing a map of Lincoln that illustrated how life expectancy varies from neighborhood to neighborhood in the community.  “If you drive south on O street you see life expectancy get higher and higher.”

She spoke to related issues to life expectancy that can be mapped, such as:  

  • Poverty, “the driving force of so many things that happen,” Seibel said, noting that “poverty is not just happening in one place in Lincoln.”
  • Childhood obesity: Seibel said they have achieved decreasing childhood obesity in Lincoln, however, there is uneven success across Lincoln.
  • Mental health (police calls related to a mental health crisis) is also related to where you live.
  • Access to health care, cancer deaths, asthma – all health issues that are related to poverty and geographic locations.

“I look upon this as another tool our school district can use as we look toward the future,” said Board member Annie Mumgaard.

Staff celebration

The Lincoln Board of Education recognized:

  • Camelle Kinney, Lincoln North Star High School Family and Consumer Science Teacher, named Family and Consumer Science Teacher of the Year by the Nebraska Association of Family and Consumer Sciences.
  • The tenth annual BackPack Extra Mile program, that raised more than $188,000 this year for the BackPack program – a record number. Top fundraising schools, in three categories, were: Lincoln East High School, Lux Middle School and Maxey Elementary School.  A special Board honor was presented to Shari Styskal, director of Budget at LPS – and the woman who has coordinated the fund-raiser for all ten years.

 

 

Posted on May 09, 2017


US Navy Band to perform at LSW May 4

America's Navy is coming to Lincoln, Nebraska, one of 18 cities in eight states to host a performance by the United States Navy Band during its 2017 tour -- one of the signature outreach programs of the U.S. Navy. The United States Navy Band Sea Chanters performance is scheduled for May 4, 2017, at 7 p.m. at Lincoln Southwest High School. 
 
The U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters is the official chorus of America’s Navy. The ensemble performs a variety of music ranging from traditional choral music, including sea chanteys and patriotic fare, to opera, Broadway, and contemporary music.
 
The Sea Chanters chorus is frequently found at the center of high-profile national events. At home in Washington, the group performs for the president, vice president, and numerous congressional, military and foreign dignitaries. One of the U.S. Navy Band’s primary responsibilities involves touring the country. All of the band’s primary performing units embark each year on concert tours throughout specified regions of the country, allowing the band to reach out to audiences in areas of the country that do not have opportunities to see the Navy's premier musical ensembles on a regular basis.
 
The concerts are family-friendly events, meant to be entertaining to veterans, families, individuals and those interested in joining the Navy.
All Navy Band performances are FREE and open to the public.
 
If you or someone you know is interested in getting FREE tickets to the concert, please contact the Theatre Box Office at 402-436-1335 and you can leave a voicemail as well.
 

Posted on May 03, 2017


Lincoln Public Schools: Highlights of 4/25 Lincoln Board of Education work session, meeting

Lincoln Public Schools:

Highlights of 4/25 Lincoln Board of Education work session, meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education held a work session on Strategic Planning and a regular meeting on Tuesday, April 25 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The Board will hold its next meeting Tuesday, May 9 at 6 p.m. 

Lincoln Board of Education meeting/Proposed 2018-19 school calendar

Each year a joint Lincoln Public Schools/Lincoln Education Association committee – composed of parents, Lincoln Board of Education members, education association leaders, teachers and administrators – recommends a student calendar for the Board’s consideration. It has been the practice of the Board to adopt calendars more than a full calendar year before it is in place.  

The general features of the proposed calendar for 2018-19 include the following:

    • First Day: Monday, August 13
    • Quarter Break: Monday and Tuesday, October 15-16
    • Second Quarter begins: Wednesday, October 17
    • Thanksgiving: Wednesday- Friday, November 21-23
    • Winter Break: Friday, December 21 - Friday, January 4
    • Third Quarter begins: Monday, January 7
    • MLK: Monday, Monday, January 21
    • Quarter Break: Monday-Friday, March 11-15
    • Fourth Quarter begins: March 18
    • Spring Break: Friday, April 19
    • Last Day: Thursday, May 23

The Calendar Committee received input from the Community Curriculum Council, a school district parent group with a representative from each school, and from the District PTO leadership group.

As in previous years, the Calendar Committee has followed Board approved student calendar primary and secondary variables to design and recommend a student calendar that meets the Calendar Committee’s purpose statement: “The school calendar demonstrates the school district’s commitment to learning.  It is based on sound instructional considerations and priorities ensuring the continuity, efficiency, and effectiveness of teaching and learning.” 

 Primary variables:

* Semester and quarter breaks typically will be the same for elementary and secondary schools.

* The four quarters typically will include at least the minimum number of days necessary for students to reasonably learn the curriculum (42 days).

* Student vacation days typically will not interrupt instruction just prior to major LPS, state or national assessments.

Additional variables

* Each student week typically will be at least three days long.

* Non-student days typically will be scheduled between quarters.

* The last day of school typically will fall after the completion of NSAA and similarly sanctioned local and state competitions.

* Whenever possible, non-student days typically will occur on common holidays, including days such as federal and state recognized holidays.

The Board will vote final approval May 9.

New elementary math curriculum materials approved

The Board approved purchase of new Math Expression curriculum materials – a blend of printed and digital resources – to be used at all elementary locations beginning the 2017-18 school year. The program is strongly aligned with Nebraska state math standards and is well-aligned to best practices in mathematics education and the school district's instructional framework.

Newly annexed property

The Board of Education assigns school attendance areas to property newly annexed or newly platted in 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. 

Lincoln has annexed three parcels of land, which automatically brings these properties into LPS.  These properties need to be assigned attendance centers so that potential purchasers of homes in these areas will know which schools they will be attending.

  • Rogge Square, Annexation Ordinance #20453, for 2016-17 school year:  Norwood Park Elementary School, Dawes Middle School and Lincoln Northeast High School.
  • Legends Addition, Annexation Ordinance #20459, for 2016-17 school year:  Kooser Elementary School, Schoo Middle School and North Star.
  • White Horse, Annexation Ordinance #20472, for 2016-17 school year:  Pyrtle Elementary School, Lux Middle School and Lincoln East High School. 

The Board will vote final approval May 9.

Student celebration

The Lincoln Board of Education celebrated a new initiative this school year: LPS has entered a partnership with the American Heart Association to provide all LPS middle schools with CPR mannequins, which created the opportunity for eighth graders to learn and practice the proper form and technique for CPR. 

Matt Avey, curriculum specialist for Health and Physical Education at LPS, and Dan Claridge, health and physical education teacher at Scott Middle School, introduced the presentation – and Scott Middle School students demonstrated what they have learned about CPR.

Scott eighth grade students presenting were:

  • Rose Curtis
  • Adam Dahlman
  • Izzy Weber

Lincoln Board of Education work session/Strategic Planning  

Five themes for a new Lincoln Public Schools Strategic Plan were unveiled for the Lincoln Board of Education at a work session Tuesday – themes that would potentially provide focus for the school district over the next five years:

  • Academic Success
  • Future Ready Global Citizens
  • Support for Students
  • Support for Educators
  • Family and Community Partnerships 

The themes were developed as a result of intense community participation and support in an initiative that began earlier this past school year – an initiative that included 49 community sessions and 3,800 responses from community citizens.  Data collected from the community engagement was passed onto a Community Study Team – made up of community members and LPS staff – that further examined and analyzed the information and helped develop the five proposed themes.

Looking ahead, the Board will spend time discussing and evaluating the themes, hold a work session this summer and work toward approving a final Strategic Plan in August.

Board of Education President Don Mayhew noted one of his mentors had described advanced civilizations as those that planned for the future: “What better way to plan for the future…than planning for the education and welfare for our children.”

The vision of the Strategic Planning process has been:  

LPS is seeking to engage citizens throughout the community to help refresh and develop a strategic plan to chart the course for the school district over the next five years. The strategic planning process involves gathering community voices through civic, school and community meetings, as well as through social media and online surveys – encouraging our citizens to dream big, imagine new ideas, help identify creative, innovative goals – necessary to write the story of our future. Our mission is to ensure LPS students experience a world-class education in preparation for college, career and life.

Here is a more extensive explanation of each theme:

Theme 1: Academic Success

LPS students find academic success through authentic learning opportunities, rigorous standards and individualized learning. Graduation alone is not the goal, but rather a graduate who attains core competencies, monitors their own progress and maintains a love for learning. During LPS students’ academic careers, they experience • a wide variety of rigorous courses available at all schools. • off-campus opportunities to learn real world applications. • the process of monitoring their own progress toward academic success in high school and beyond. • the use of technology as a tool to support learning. • the opportunity to request inclusion in any LPS school and program, including a variety of expanded opportunities such as focus programs, internships, and interest-based pathways.

Theme 2: Future Ready Global Citizens

LPS supports students as they explore innovative ideas, evaluate societal issues and demonstrate leadership potential. Students have opportunities to evaluate multiple answers to important questions and are empowered to examine new ways of thinking. LPS graduates are ready for what the future has to offer. As a result of completing their academic careers in LPS, students will experience learning that builds • innovation, leadership, creativity, and divergent thinking skills. • critical evaluation of issues from multiple perspectives and sources. • abilities to form and defend their opinions using evidence in a civil and thoughtful manner. • awareness of their own strengths and passions to guide decisions about personal growth, postsecondary learning and career development. • plans to address the financial requirement necessary to meet their short and long-term goals. • appreciation for the responsibilities of an engaged and educated citizen. • skills for an independent life. • cultural proficiency and language skills to communicate with others across cultures and around the world.

Theme 3: Support for Students

In LPS “All Means All.” LPS will provide resources and services that help all students become the best versions of themselves in a safe, non-threatening environment. LPS will meet all students where they are to support their learning. LPS provides students with • a basic level of social, mental/emotional and physical health care. • strong staff-student relationships essential to teaching and learning. • student assistance processes and expanded learning opportunities that provide supports that meet the unique needs of students and impact academic success.

Theme 4: Support for Educators

LPS is dedicated to hiring and supporting qualified, passionate and diverse staff. Through the hiring process, teacher induction, mentoring, staff resources and enhanced professional development, all students will continue to learn with the support of master teachers. The Lincoln Public Schools human resources and professional development systems ensure that • educators have resources and professional development necessary to support student learning, which includes time to collaborate about their learning with colleagues. • hiring processes strive to recruit a qualified, diverse and passionate staff. • new teachers and administrators grow their expertise and skills through mentoring and orientation programs. • staff learn about culture and examine biases as part of their cultural proficiency journey during professional learning opportunities. • staff model civil discourse in discussions with others who hold differing opinions. 

Theme 5: Family & Community Partnerships

Lincoln is a community that supports young people and public education. LPS partners with community businesses, organizations, non-profits and post-secondary institutions to extend learning beyond the classroom walls. Family and community engagement is essential for student success and growth. In LPS, we are committed to listening to and working with parents and community partners. LPS encourages and maintains opportunities for • developing schools that fully embrace family and community engagement, which includes open, two-way communication between staff and families with expanded opportunities for parent education. • linking students to Early Childhood programs to ensure that all students are prepared for kindergarten. • expanding CLC programing to full service community schools and extending systematic after school programming to all schools. • increasing business and post-secondary partnerships to expose students to changing employment options and directly connecting students to career learning opportunities in the community.

 



Posted on April 26, 2017


New principals announced

Congratulations to two Lincoln Public Schools administrators who have new positions as principals of elementary schools:

  • Polly Bowhay will be the new principal at Kloefkorn Elementary School.
  • Amy Clark will be the new principal at Adams Elementary School. 

Jane Stavem associate superintendent for Instruction at LPS: “We are fortunate to have strong leaders who are ready to assume these new positions for the 2017-18 school year.  Both Polly and Amy understand what great instruction looks like, and care deeply about students and families, and we know our schools and school district will continue to thrive under their leadership.”  

Eric Weber, associate superintendent for Human Resources at LPS:

  • “Amy has established herself as a well-respected and passionate leader as assistant principal at Adams. It will be a distinct advantage to have her stepping into the role of principal with her strong understanding of the Adams students, staff, parents and community.”

  • “Polly is an excellent veteran Lincoln Public Schools principal with a wealth of experiences as an administrator. Her passion for helping each student reach his or her maximum potential and her high expectations drive the work she does on a daily basis.” 

Polly Bowhay

Polly Bowhay is currently principal at Belmont Elementary School, and was previously assistant principal at both Adams and Hawthorne elementary schools, and coordinator and teacher at Fredstrom Elementary School.  She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and her Master’s Degree from Doane College.

Amy Clark

Amy Clark is currently the assistant principal at Adams Elementary School, and was previously coordinator, team leader and teacher at Sheridan Elementary School   She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and is working toward her Education Specialist Degree from Doane College.

 

Posted on April 21, 2017


LPSAOP helps at the FoodBank

The members of the Lincoln Public Schools Association of Office Professionals served at The Food Bank of Lincoln. 13 volunteers bagged 5,600-pounds of apples and oranges for area distribution. It was a fun night of serving and fellowship, thank you to all who made this a great success.

Posted on April 12, 2017


Lincoln Public Schools:Highlights of 4/11 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education held a regular meeting on Tuesday, April 11 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The Board will hold its next meeting Tuesday, April 25 at 6 p.m.

Board approves pilot partnership program with Indian Center Inc.

The Lincoln Board of Education Tuesday approved a three-year pilot program and partnership with the Indian Center Inc. – to provide academic support and incentive for Native American students to graduate from high school. 

This program aligns with several basic Lincoln Public Schools goals:

  • Increase the high school graduation rate.
  • Partner with community groups to provide academic support for our students.

The Indian Center Inc. will offer the following opportunities for LPS Native American students:

  • Reinforce homework.
  • Goal setting.
  • Rewarding academic success. 

Students who meet the following criteria are eligible to wear eagle feathers on their graduation caps as a reward incentive:

  • They will graduate from high school.
  • They are self-identified as Native American.
  • They have partnered with the Indian Center Inc. and fulfilled the appropriate requirements.

Barb Baier, a member of the Lincoln Board of Education, explained that Native American students are the group that struggle the most in graduating on time – and this is true nationally as well.  “I’m very appreciative to our Board and staff for doing this important work…honoring a very important cultural tradition and linking it to our students’ academic success.”

Board President Don Mayhew praised Baier for all her work on this program: “This is a super neat idea.” 

This program provides an academic incentive – related to additional recognition on graduation attire – much like LPS currently offers other students through programs such as Thespians and the National Honors Society.

LPS will monitor this program over three years and review.

Superintendent evaluation changed

The Lincoln Board of Education Tuesday approved changes in the evaluation of the LPS superintendent, an evaluation prepared annually by the Board.  The modifications were made to ensure the annual evaluation procedures better facilitate the process and conform to current practice.

Name confirmed for Professional Learning Facility/Nutrition Services Facility

The renovated LPS facility at 710 Hill St. – with two separate sections – now has two official names: The Don Clifton Professional Learning Center (for the south main entrance and the staff development section); and the Nutrition Services Distribution Center (for the east side for the section that will house LPS food storage). 

The Board voted approval of the two names Tuesday, following a recommendation from a community naming committee.

The renovated facility will have two major uses:

  • For Professional Learning: LPS is committed to high-quality professional learning opportunities for all staff.  The facility will house a large professional learning space, smaller classrooms and conference room settings to meet the various needs of staff.
  • For Nutrition Services:  The facility will house the freezer, cooler, dry storage and support offices that facilitate distribution of food to school sites district-wide. On any given day, the LPS Nutrition Services program serves 7,200 breakfasts, 26,400 lunches, 3,200 snacks and 150 dinners. In total over seven million dollars of food will be distributed through this facility each year.

The Board thanked the people who served on the community naming committee: the seven community members Nick Dean, Brendan Evans, Susan Musick, Tom Rempel, Becki Wise, Cindy Ryman Yost and Kelly Zoz; and the three Board members Kathy Danek, chair; Don Mayhew and Matt Schulte.

New elementary math curriculum materials considered

The Board considered purchase of new Math Expression curriculum materials – a blend of printed and digital resources – for LPS elementary school students. The program is strongly aligned with Nebraska state math standards and is well-aligned to best practices in mathematics education and the school district's instructional framework. 

The Board heard a recommendation of purchasing $4.1 million of materials from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for Math Expressions curriculum materials to be used at all elementary locations beginning the 2017-18 school year.  This purchase includes a digital subscription and a workbook subscription that will replace the yearly purchase of workbooks for K-2 for the next seven years.

The Board will vote final approval April 25.

Belmont construction work

The Board approved the selection of Sampson Construction Company for the $7.6 million project to fulfill the Belmont Elementary School Indoor Air Quality construction project.  The project will consist of Indoor Air Quality Improvements and be multiple phased.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on April 11, 2017


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