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 Mindy Burbach at mburbach@lps.org.

Three world language teachers named best in the state

Three Lincoln Public Schools world language teachers have been honored as the best in the state. The Nebraska International Languages Association (NILA) honored the following LPS educators last semester:

  • Jami Holbein Swanson of Lincoln North Star High School was named the 2019 Spanish Teacher of the Year. In her nomination letter, North Star French teacher Cara Heminger said this about Holbein Swanson: “Her talents include connecting with students, bringing Spanish culture to life, and managing work groups to get the maximum amount of outcome in the minimum amount of time...She is a deep thinker, a lifelong learner, a well-liked teacher, and a valued friend and colleague to all of her colleagues in Lincoln Public Schools.”
  • Sasha Van Zandt from Lincoln Southwest High School was named the 2019 French Teacher of the Year. Lisa Maupin, a French teacher at Lincoln East High School, said the following about Van Zandt in her nomination letter: “Sasha Van Zandt is one of the most dedicated teachers I know, and always thinks of her students first. She works tirelessly for their benefit, creating new and exciting activities in the classroom, pushing them in their linguistic skills and opening up in them a love for the language and culture.”
  • Kelleen Browning, a German teacher at Lincoln Southeast High School, won the 2019 New Language Teacher of the Year Award, which recognizes someone who shows great promise during their first five years of teaching. Southeast French teacher Krisen Tangen said this about her colleague in her nomination letter: “Kelleen blends both historical and modern culture into her classes, and cleverly uses technology both for research and communication. Her students are continually collaborating and interacting, both in written and oral interpersonal communication…I have observed her classroom, and it is evident that students know the expectations, so they are on task, but they are also comfortable and happy being in that class.”

NILA announced the winners at its fall conference. They also are scheduled to be honored at the Feb. 11 Lincoln Board of Education meeting.

Posted on January 24, 2020


LPS Wellness Update - Jan. 22, 2020

By Michelle Welch, RD, LMNT, LPS Wellness Facilitator

Registration open for individual health coaching through UNL senior students 

Be treated to an abundance of personal attention for eight weeks of support in your fitness or weight loss/nutrition journey. Availability is first come, first served. See the FAQ section later in this post to get the skinny on this LPS/UNL partner exclusive. Ready, set, apply today! Go to this link and use access code: healthy2020. Spots go quickly and are first come first served. Questions? Professor’s email: Nick Reimers (Fitness) at nickreimers10@gmail.com and/or Andrea Laughlin at andrea.dier14@hotmail.com (Nutrition/Wt. Loss) Click here to read more about individual health coaching, as well as a calendar of upcoming wellness happenings. 

Individual health coaching frequently asked questions: 

  • Who may take part? LPS staff and spouses/significant others are eligible. This includes part-time staff and substitutes/volunteers/partners such as Foundation for LPS and TeamMates, etc. If you receive this email, you can play.
  • What are my options? Weight loss/nutrition coaching or fitness coaching, depending on your needs. If you have nutrition issues such as Type II diabetes, gluten allergies, etc., you will be a great fit for this program, as well, since it’s customized to your needs. If you are working to develop a fitness routine that works for your individualized health needs, this is perfect for you.
  • Then what happens? Applications are accepted first come, first served. Once you complete the intake application, you will be approved and matched to a coach. Safety of clients is always top priority, so professors review applications to ensure they feel senior students would be appropriate to meet your health needs.
  • What is the cost? The entire cost of the eight-session individual coaching program is only $25. Within the application process, it will ask for secure online payment. If you are wait-listed, you will be able to complete the application, but it will not yet request payment. 
  • What do I get? Eight, individual, face-to-face sessions with your coach. Coaches will also follow up with you between sessions in the way that works best for you (such as through phone, email or text messages).
    • Nutrition: Coaches will help you fine tune your nutrition plan, helping you adjust for the obstacles you face weekly. Clients will be offered a personalized grocery store tour as one of their sessions.
    • Fitness: Coaches will complete a pre-and post-program assessment with you and then hold individual coaching sessions with you building a plan and ensuring proper exercise form. This is not a “work you out” coach.
  • Where/when will I meet with my coach? A public location and time that works for both of you (e.g., a coffee house or your school). For fitness clients, pre-and post-assessment will be completed in their facilities on UNL East Campus. Face-to-face meetings are once per week for both nutrition and fitness.

Wellness happenings

January

  • Registration launched today: UNL Health Coaching Opportunity (see above info)
  • 3rd quarter wellness focus: Kindness and self-acceptance, submit your result for prizes

February

  • Fitness February with TeamMates
  • Personal Wellness Assessment (PHA) surveys with gift card incentive
  • Launch of WW discount rate through LPS insurance

Don't miss out: Receive wellness messages straight from me by subscribing on the LPS Wellness webpage.

Posted on January 22, 2020


LPS school nursing embraces trauma informed care

By Julene Lesher, RN, BSN, Arnold Elementary School Nurse, and Megan Lytle, MBA, MSN, RN, Huntington Elementary School Nurse

The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) position statement on the school nurse’s role in behavioral/mental health states, “School nurses, because of their regular access to students, are uniquely qualified to identify students with potential behavioral health concerns.” Over the last couple of years, school nurses at LPS have revamped health offices to better meet emotional and behavioral needs of students by partnering with administration and teachers to provide Tiered Support for students. It's all part of evidence-based Trauma Informed Care.

Health Office Tier 1 examples, designed to support all students to help students meet behavior expectations:

  • “When to Visit the Health Office” protocols have been created with input from building administrators and teachers. Protocols were made available to classrooms and posted throughout school buildings. The protocol outlines when it is appropriate to refer students to the health office. Health office passes were also created. The protocol has reduced lost classroom minutes significantly.
  • Updated classroom first aid kits were created and provided to classrooms. Simple first aid, such as paper cuts, are handled in the classroom instead of losing instructional minutes for trips to the health office.
  • School Nurses are setting health office Trauma-Informed Care goals, such as “Use positive verbal and non-verbal wording, as well as voice tone cues that are positive and supportive of student self-esteem”.

Health Office Tier 2 resources are designed to provide targeted group interventions to students who are needing additional support:    

  • Student health office visit data is collected and evaluated. Students who frequent the health office with vague complaints are brought by the school nurse to building Tier meetings. Problem-solving and collaboration with administration, school counselors and school psychologists takes place and a decision is made as to if those students qualify for scheduled daily health office triage/wellness visits.   With the addition of a brief daily health office triage/wellness visit for those students, their visits have been reduced to one per day. This has significantly reduced lost classroom minutes for those students, as approximately 10 minutes of instructional time is lost with each health office visit. During scheduled triage, a temperature is taken and physical/emotional symptoms addressed. Academic focus questions are also reviewed with the student, if needed. For example: “Will you make small problems big or keep them small? - Keep them small,” and, “What goal are you working on?” 
  • As we focus on physical and emotional health, additional attention has been given to increase mindfulness in students. Research suggests mindfulness training can reduce stress and improve self-confidence, relationships with others, attention, optimism and self-esteem. Mindfulness-based practices appeal to children because they are self-management techniques and allow them to play a role in their own growth and development. Further, there is a potential for greater self-awareness, improved impulse control and decreased emotional reactivity to challenges (Rempel, 2012). Mindfulness is a free tool that can assist students with self-advocacy and resiliency. Students dealing with trauma and stress often leads to difficulty with self-regulation and self-awareness. The tool is being utilized with students who come to the health office and are struggling emotionally.
  • Students are taking scheduled medication by following a Student Medication Procedure, receiving simple rewards as part of building wide good behavior reward systems. This procedure enhances safety practices during medication administration.    

Health Office Tier 3 intense supports, designed to provide individualized interventions:

  • Trauma-Informed Care is supported in health offices with care, such as morning triage for students who suffer from anxiety. School Nurses create Individualized Anxiety Action Plans with input from school staff as well as the parent and student. An Anxiety Tool used in health offices outlines green/yellow/red zones and strategies that help move the student from yellow/red zones to their green zone, supporting a state of mind conducive to learning. Strategies to help these students include progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, talking with the school nurse, drawing, use of a stress ball, Play Doh, and Take 5 social and emotional program strategies. We also discuss triggers and prevention strategies, including the importance of daily self-care activities such as regular exercise, positive self-talk, and time-management.
  • Individualized Health Plans are being created for students learning how to complete their own medical treatments (example: self-catheterization and diabetic care). Sticker charts and small prizes/tickets serve as motivation. Students are reaching success quickly with the use of the positive behavior techniques. These students have chronic diseases and are learning life long self-care.

References:

Rempel, K. D. (2012). Mindfulness for children and youth: A review of the literature with an argument for school-based implementation. Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy, 46(3), 201-220.

National Association of School Nurses (NASN:) The School Nurse’s Role in Behavioral/Mental Health of Students, Position Statement: https://www.nasn.org/nasn/advocacy/professional-practice-documents/position-statements/ps-behavioral-health

LPS Classroom Practices are Trauma Informed: https://home.lps.org/studentsupports/classroompracticestrauma/

https://www.take5program.com/

Posted on January 22, 2020


Students 'Walk Together' to honor MLK's legacy

The frigid temperatures and icy streets did not prevent a record number of students and their families from participating in the 25th Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Rally and March on Monday, Jan. 20. The annual event was organized by a diverse group of area youth and held in conjunction with the national recognition of King's birthday. The event was intended to celebrate his legacy and the mission of the event's planning committee.

This year’s theme: “Walk Together.”

Azcia Fleming, Lincoln High School senior and planning committee member, conjured the memory of Leola Bullock, the late Lincoln civil rights activist, when she addressed the crowd: "I 'walk' honoring Dr. Leola Bullock’s desire for youth like me, Azcia Fleming, to not only honor, but to be inspired, and to be educated about the 'walk' of King and those who followed him, and take the reigns of a movement and step into the light as leaders."

The day’s events began in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Ballroom with a pre-rally celebration. That was followed by a "Call to Action" program and the "Unifying March" at approximately noon through the streets of downtown Lincoln.

Southwest High School journalism students Thursey Cook, Milana Done' and McKenna Deriese, along with their sponsor, Brandi Benson, were awarded the Community Contributor Award. The award is based on the rally's misson: “…promotion of the life and dreams of the late Rev. Dr. King Jr. through positive youth action in the community."

Posted on January 21, 2020


Lincoln Public Schools: Highlights of 1/14 Board of Education regular meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 14, at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The Board will hold its next regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 28.

First reading

Policy Updates 

Periodically, new circumstances or changes require the school district to make a number of updates to align existing policy without changing the original leadership or organizational intent of the Board. When the Board has a number of such policies to revise, it collects them into a single Board agenda item. 

There were minor changes suggested to six different policies in the 1000 series that cover community relations. A second reading and vote by the board will be held during the Jan. 28 meeting.

State 21st Century Community Learning Center Continuation Application

The 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CLCs) federally funded grant program provides grants to eligible schools for the purpose of creating or expanding CLCs. The primary purpose of 21st Century funds is to provide students with academic enrichment opportunities designed to complement their regular academic program. The Board held a first reading on two grant applications that would continue funding grants for existing CLCs at Calvert, Arnold, McPhee and Norwood Park elementary schools; Park and Dawes middle schools; and North Star High School. The Board will hold a second reading and vote at the Jan. 28 meeting.

Chromebooks for 2020 Distribution

The CLASS technology plan provides budget resources in the 2019-20 fiscal year for the purchase of Chromebooks for each student in the 2020-21 sixth-grade class (3,300) and ninth-grade class (3,100). The Board held first reading on accepting the recommended bid from Dell EMC Inc. to purchase 3,300 Dell Standard Chromebooks at $735,900 and 3,100 Dell 2-in-1 Chromebooks at $923,800. The Board will hold a second reading and vote at the Jan. 28 meeting.

Annexed Property

The Board of Education assigns school attendance areas to property newly annexed to the City of Lincoln. This establishes school attendance areas prior to the sale of residential lots, allowing purchasers to know what schools their children will attend. Tonight the Board held a first reading to assign attendance areas to a newly annexed area near Interstate 80 and Highway 77. The assigned attendance area will be Norwood Park Elementary School, Dawes Middle School and Northeast High School. The Board will hold a second reading and vote on the assignment at the Jan. 28 regular meeting.

Second reading

Annexed Property

Tonight, the Board held a second reading and voted to approve assigning attendance areas to newly annexed Stone Bridge Creek Commercial addition near Kooser Elementary. The assigned attendance area will be Kooser Elementary School, Schoo Middle School and North Star High School. The Board voted to approve the assignment.

Glimpses of LPS

We the People 

We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights the amazing things taking place in our schools. Tonight’s video gave us a peek into the We The People competition.

 

Posted on January 14, 2020


LPS announces 2019-20 lineup for Learning Lunches

The 2019-20 lineup for the annual Lincoln Public Schools Learning Lunch series offers more “Untold Stories of our Schools.” Learning Lunches are free and open to LPS staff and the Lincoln community, beginning with the first program on Tuesday, Aug. 20. Learning Lunches are generally held on the third Tuesday of the month in the boardroom at LPS District Office, 5905 O St. Doors to the boardroom open at 11:45 a.m., the program begins at noon, with questions-and-answers at 12:30 p.m. Please bring your own lunch - we'll provide dessert.

Our 2019-20 LPS Learning Lunch season:

Aug. 20 - "Housing the Students of a Growing City: The Bond Elections of 1919 and 1924"

In special elections of 1919 and 1924, Lincoln voters approved bonds resulting in construction of a dozen buildings still serving our community nearly a century later.  Ed Zimmer, historic preservation planner for the City of Lincoln, will describe some of the issues and outcomes of those elections.

September 17 - "Digital Protections: How LPS Cares for our Students in the Online World"

The dedication LPS has to protecting students physically is apparent everywhere we look in our schools. What's less visible are the ways we are committed to protecting students digitally. Join the LPS Ed Tech Team for a walk-through of the invisible but critical ways we care for our kids in the online world. Presenters: Chris Pultz, Tim Hahn, Jarred Rowe, all from LPS Computing Services.

Oct. 15 - "ABCs of Teaching English to Immigrant/Refugee Students"

Basics of English Language Learners: How do you teach students who cannot speak English? Presenters: Laura Salem, LPS English Language Learners program supervisor, and Kate Damgaard, LPS language curriculum specialist.

Nov. 19 - "Meeting the Needs of All Students: Supporting our Students Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing"

This session will provide an introduction to the supports, technology and services provided in our district for one of the fast-growing disability areas within LPS. Presenters: Alisha Bollinger, Special Education supervisor.

Dec. 17 - "SROs: Understanding this Important Job"

School Resource Officers wear many hats during their shift: mentor, teacher, investigator, guardian. Come hear how Lincoln Public Schools and the Lincoln Police Department have partnered to ensure our SROs successfully serve our students and staff. Presenters: Marco Pedroza, principal at Scott Middle School, and Capt. Ryan Dale from the Lincoln Public Department.

Jan. 14 - Information Presentation about the 2020 Bond Issue

During January's Learning Lunch, Superintendent Steve Joel will present information about the bond issue for consideration on February 11th. On December 10, the Lincoln Board of Education passed a resolution calling for a special election on February 11, 2020 asking voters to approve a $290 million bond issue to address building needs throughout the school district as identified in the updated LPS 10-year Facility and Infrastructure Plan.

Feb. 18 - "We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution"

LPS Government students have the opportunity to showcase their civic and Constitutional knowledge through the "We the People" program and competition. Presenter: Jaci Kellison, K-12 curriculum specialist, social studies

March 17 - "The Importance of Our Guest Teachers in LPS"

The job of being a substitute teacher can be challenging, yet rewarding. This session will provide information about being a substitute teacher in Lincoln Public Schools and the opportunities that are available for professional growth and development. Presenters: Vann Price, LPS Human Resources Department supervisor for secondary personnel, and Kren Shellhase, administrative assistant.

April 21 - "Take Charge, Career Readiness and Financial Responsibility: Lessons in Career and Personal Finance"

Lessons from the classroom in teaching young people responsibility in career and personal finance. Presenters: Julie Hippen, assistant curriculum specialist for career and technical education, along with teachers and students.

May 12 - "Creating Music on a Blank Canvas"

The final Learning Lunch of the school year will focus on the creative aspect of music. All six LPS high schools offer various music courses that empower and foster students to learn the creative process of music composition and improvisation. Some of our talented high school students will share their experiences, inspiration and performances of creating their own original music. Presenter: Lance Nielsen, LPS supervisor of Music.

Posted on January 09, 2020


Information presentations set in January for LPS bond issue

Informational presentations about the Lincoln Public Schools upcoming bond issue will be held throughout the community during the month of January.  The Lincoln Board of Education is asking Lincoln citizens to consider a $290 million bond issue on Feb. 11, 2020 to address building needs throughout the school district. Those needs are identified in the updated LPS 10-year Facility and Infrastructure Plan.

The informational presentations are scheduled 6-7 p.m. for the following dates and locations:

  • Thursday, Jan. 9: North Star High School, commons area, 5801 N. 33rd St.
  • Thursday, Jan. 16: Southeast High School, media center, 2930 S. 37th St.
  • Thursday, Jan. 23: Northeast High School, cafeteria, 2635 N. 63rd St.
  • Thursday, Jan. 30: Southwest High School, commons, 7001 S. 14th St.

More information about the bond election can be found on the Lincoln Public Schools website at lps.org/2020bond, or by contacting LPS Business Affairs at 402-436-1636.

 

Posted on December 20, 2019


Winter lice education: A reminder from the school nurses of LPS Health Services

Each year there is renewed interest in head lice and children. Lincoln Public Schools has clear protocol and procedures for dealing with the reality of this issue. 

Helpful information:  

Head lice are very small insects that can attach to human scalps and can cause severe itching. They do not cause disease. Lice can be difficult to get rid of and are easily spread, but only if there is close, head-to-head contact with another person. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Association of School Nurses do not recommend exclusion from school. Research has proven this to be an ineffective way to control head lice. There are many misconceptions about how lice are transmitted.  

Facts:  

Anyone can get lice, regardless of cleanliness. Lice start out white and turn a light brown color as they feed on the blood of the scalp. They are about the size of a sesame seed, about 1/8-inch. Lice glue their tiny eggs, called nits, to hair about ¼-inch away from the scalp. It takes about a week for them to hatch. Nymphs are newly hatched lice and can lay eggs about seven days after hatching. Lice are killed with special pesticide shampoo. Nits are difficult to kill and must be physically removed from hair with a nit comb or individually by hand. Lice live approximately 30 days once they hatch and can lay up to 100 eggs in their short lifetime. Adult lice die within a day or two if they fall off a human head.  

How lice travel:

Lice can get onto your hair when you come in contact with an infested person’s hair or something their hair has touched, such as clothing, brushes, combs, hair accessories, hats, pillows, toys and furniture upholstery. They do not jump or fly – they crawl. Risk of transmission is low at school, but more likely to spread at home, child care or sleepovers. Head-to-head contact is the most likely way to transmit lice.

For more information

Please contact your school nurse.

Posted on December 18, 2019


Lincoln Public Schools: Highlights of 12/10 Board of Education regular meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 10, at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The Board will hold its next regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 14.

The entire Board meeting can be viewed here.

First reading

Annexed Property
The Board of Education assigns school attendance areas to property newly annexed to the City of Lincoln. This action establishes school attendance areas prior to the sale of residential lots, allowing purchasers to know what schools their children will attend. Tonight the Board held a first reading to assign attendance areas to newly annexed Stone Bridge Creek Commercial addition near Kooser Elementary. The assigned attendance area will be Kooser Elementary School, Schoo Middle School and North Star High School. The Board will vote to approve the assignment at the Jan. 14 regular meeting.

Second reading

Bond resolution 
The Board held a second reading and vote on a resolution proposing a bond issue of $290 million to be decided by voters during a special election on Feb. 11, 2020. Based on analysis and finance models, this amount is expected to stay within the current bond and building fund levy. 

Board President Lanny Boswell opened the discussion: “Our meeting tonight is a significant milestone for the Board, the school district and our community. It marks the transition from crafting a proposal to informing our community. These projects were selected by the Board of Education from a list of needs identified by the Superintendent’s Facility Advisory Committee - a group of over 100 community members. As Board members we are often the decision-makers with our community coming to us with the information that we need to make sound decisions. Now the roles are reversed and it is our job as a school district to inform the community about this proposal so the voters can make an informed decision in February.”

Board Finance Committee Chair Kathy Danek added, “I believe that this bond resolution checks off a lot of the needs in our school district. We are touching every zip code in the city and we are keeping it a levy that is static. I think that that's the most important part of this, as it shows the long-term planning abilities of a school district that believes we are responsible to our taxpayers.”

The Board voted to approve the resolution. 

Updating 10-year Facility and Infrastructure Plan 
The Board held a second reading on an updated 10-year Facility and Infrastructure Plan. The updated plan includes:

  • Two new high schools - one at South 70th & Saltillo Road, one at NW 48th and Holdrege streets.
  • Six current high schools and focus programs: facility enhancements and renovations, including an investment in athletic and activity facilities.
  • Park Middle School: Upgrading windows, finishing, lighting, heating and cooling systems.
  • Scott Middle School: Additional classrooms and physical education space.
  • Dawes, Lefler, Lux, Mickle and Schoo middle schools: Addition of physical education and multi-purpose spaces.
  • All middle schools: enhancements and renovations of specialized learning spaces.
  • Everett Elementary School: Upgrading windows, finishing, lighting, heating and cooling systems.
  • A new elementary school at approximately 102nd and Holdrege streets.
  • Wysong Elementary School: Addition of classroom space.
  • Arnold Elementary School: Additional space to serve pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students.
  • Along with infrastructure needs for all schools to include: Playground equipment and surfacing, roof recapping and replacements, interior lighting upgrades, traffic flow improvements, bleachers, parking lot paving and future site acquisition and development.

Board Planning Committee Chair Don Mayhew said, “Going back to 2003 when we did this comprehensive look at every single building that we have and all of our needs, we have maintained incredible data. That data has allowed us to bring good information to our community committees. It has allowed us to have a very collaborative and information-driven process, which has been a benefit to us, and I think it is a benefit to the community and to taxpayers. I think this is a very strong proposal that we are taking to the community to ask for their support.”

The Board voted to approve the resolution.

Land purchases 
There were two land purchase agreements up for second reading and approval at Tuesday’s meeting. The two properties — one in northwest Lincoln and the other in southeast Lincoln — would be large enough for the construction of new high schools, along with athletic complexes as identified by the proposed updated 10-year Facilities and Infrastructure Plan. The properties are located at South 70th & Saltillo Road and at NW 48th and Holdrege streets. The Board voted to approve the purchase.

Bus purchase 
The Board held a second reading and voted to approve purchasing five wheelchair school buses with three-point safety belts for use by the Transportation Department. The buses will be replacements to the fleet.

Special reports

Independence Academy, formally known as VOICE 
Tonight the Board heard a special presentation from the Special Education Department’s program Independence Academy. Previously called the VOICE program, the Independence Academy is a transition program for students with disabilities that provides students ages 18 to 21 years of age with relevant educational, life, social, vocational and career experiences in a business and/or agency setting. Tonya Jolley, Independence Academy coordinator, gave a brief overview of the program and introduced current student Dalante Artis and his grandfather, Garrie Gordon, who spoke to the work Dalante does in the program.

2020 U.S. Census Report
John Neal, Assistant Superintendent for Governmental Relations and General Administration, reported to the Board that Lincoln Public Schools is partnering with the U.S. Census Bureau and other community groups to help inform families about the upcoming 2020 Census. Part of the special report included:

  • Walter Powell, LPS Administrator for Diversity and Multicultural Education, and his work with the Lincoln/Lancaster County Complete Census Count Committee.
  • Marta Boucher, Partnership Specialist for the US Census Bureau, on how the federal count impacts communities.
  • Linda Hix, LPS Federal Programs Director, on how LPS is working with the Census Bureau to inform staff about the process.
  • Jaci Kelllison, LPS K-12 Social Studies Curriculum Specialist, on curriculum connections.
  • Mindy Burbach, LPS Communications Director, on how LPS is partnering with the community group and the U.S. Census Bureau to communicate the facts to families.

Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools
Wendy Van, President of the Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools, gave an annual update to the Board. This upcoming year the Foundation is focusing on four themes: alignment, impact, sustainability and action. There is a new operating agreement between LPS and the Foundation that allows the two entities to more closely align their projects. One way the Foundation is making an impact is by piloting a three-year funding for the LPS Graduation Pathways project. This project is a unique route to graduation for students who have dropped out of high school or may be at risk of dropping out, as it allows them to obtain needed courses and work toward their high school diploma. Also, the Spark summer enrichment program is one part of the sustainability focus for the Foundation. In action, the Foundation every year honors outstanding educators and staff members through monetary awards and presentations.

Public Comment

There was one member of the public who addressed the Board during Public Comment at the beginning of the meeting on the topic of the Bond resolution. 

There was one member of the public who addressed the Board during Public Comment at the end of the meeting on the topic of the property purchase for the high school site located near Saltillo Road. 

Click here to watch the full meeting with public comment.


Glimpses of LPS

Independence Academy 
We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights the amazing teaching and learning taking place in our classrooms. Tonight’s video gave us a peek into an Independence Academy student and his work. 


LPS LIVE: Board Preview

Bond Resolution and the Updated 10-Year Facility and Infrastructure Plan
Before every Board of Education meeting, Don Mayhew previews topics of interest with special guests. In Tuesday’s episode, Don Mayhew sat down with Lanny Boswell, Board President, and Kathy Danek, Board member and Chair of the Finance Committee, to talk about the next steps in bond resolution process.

Posted on December 10, 2019


Lincoln Public Schools sees improvement in AQuESTT classifications

The updated AQuESTT (Accountability for a Quality Education System, Today and Tomorrow) classifications released Nov. 27 by the Nebraska Department of Education show for the first time that no schools within Lincoln Public Schools remained on the “Needs Improvement” list. The updated classifications were released after the completion of the evidence-based analysis period.

“We are extremely proud of the hard work exhibited by our students, staff and administration,” said Matt Larson, associate superintendent for instruction. “This indicates that the strategies and practices put into place are moving us in the right direction.”

In early October, the Nebraska Department of Education provides a classification for all Nebraska school districts and schools: Excellent, Great, Good or Needs Improvement. After the classification is released, schools have an opportunity to submit documentation for review that demonstrates continuous improvement efforts. 

After the review, 16 schools increased their classification. Schools receiving an increase in classification: Arnold, Calvert, Clinton, Elliott, Everett, Fredstrom, Hartley, Huntington, Kahoa, McPhee, Norwood Park, Pershing and West Lincoln elementary schools; and Lincoln High, and North Star and Northeast high schools.

Larson added, “There are still challenges that remain and we will continue to work with staff to address areas of concern, ensuring that every student at Lincoln Public Schools is college, career and civic ready.” 

Visit the Nebraska Department of Education’s website to view Lincoln Public Schools’ Nebraska Education Profile.

 

Posted on November 27, 2019


Lincoln Public Schools: Highlights of 11/26 Board of Education regular meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 26, at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The Board will hold its next regular meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 10.

The entire Board meeting can be viewed here.

First reading

Updating 10-year Facility and Infrastructure Plan 

The Board held a first reading on an updated 10-year Facility and Infrastructure Plan. The updated plan includes:

High School Facility Investments

  • Two new high schools - one located in northwest and one located in southeast Lincoln - with core facilities comparable to our existing high schools and space to serve 1,000 students. These new schools are planned to accommodate 2,000 students through future expansion. Each new high school will include space to accommodate a focus program.
  • At the six existing high schools, enhancements and renovations of specialized learning spaces: Arts, Family Consumer Sciences, Industrial Technology and Science.
  • New focus program facility modifications or enhancements as required to support programming at our existing high schools and program sites.
  • Additional athletic and activity facilities with the overall vision to include a football, track and baseball complex at the new northwest high school site, and a soccer and softball complex at the new southeast high school site. While the bond would include funding to begin work, additional partners will be needed to finish the complexes. In addition, an investment in turf at our existing high school sites.
  • High school site acquisition and development.

Middle School Facility Investments

  • Enhancements to address program deficiencies at six of our existing middle schools.  Projects will include additional physical education and multi-purpose spaces in schools currently short of square footage when compared to the school district standard.
  • Address capacity challenges at Scott Middle School with additional instructional space, along with addressing program deficiencies by adding a gym.
  • At the middle schools, enhancements and renovations of specialized learning spaces: Arts, Family Consumer Sciences, Industrial Technology and Science. 
  • Park Middle School Indoor Air Quality and Renovation.  

Elementary School Facility Investments

  • A new four-section PK-5 grade school in northeast Lincoln at the Waterford site (at approximately 102nd and Holdrege streets).
  • An addition at Wysong Elementary School to transition the school from a four-section school to a six-section school, adding capacity for the current population and growth.
  • An Early Childhood Center at Arnold Elementary School to serve pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students. This will increase early childhood offerings in the area and create space for growth in our PK-5 student population.
  • Everett Elementary School Indoor Air Quality and renovation. Everett is the last elementary school to transition to the geothermal heating and cooling model.   

The 10-Year Facility and Infrastructure Plan also includes funds to acquire new school sites for future elementary and middle schools, along with addressing other school district infrastructure needs through depreciation funds. For example: 

  • The replacement of dated playground equipment
  • Roof recapping and replacements
  • Lighting upgrades
  • Bleachers
  • Family restrooms
  • Parking lot paving
  • Site modifications to enhance traffic flow 

Don Mayhew, chair of Board planning committee, commented, “There may not be many questions or comments tonight, but that is because so much work has already been done in the work sessions leading up to tonight’s meeting. I continue to be astounded at how this has coalesced into a cohesive plan that makes sense to a lot of people. There might be individual line items on the plan that individual Board members might want to do a little bit differently, but I think, though, that this plan represents excellent compromise, collaboration and communication.” 

Bond resolution 

The Board held a first reading on a resolution proposing a bond issue of $290 million to be decided by voters during a special election on Feb. 11, 2020. Based on analysis and finance models, this amount is expected to stay within the current bond and building fund levy. A second reading and action will take place at the Dec. 10 regular Board meeting.

Kathy Danek, chair of the Board finance committee said, “We do have an opportunity in two weeks to ask more questions. So if the community has questions that they feel were not answered, feel free to contact Board members.”

Land purchases 

There were two land purchase agreements up for first reading at Tuesday’s meeting. There will be a second reading followed by a vote by the Board at its Dec. 10 meeting. The two properties — one in northwest Lincoln and the other in southeast Lincoln — would be large enough for the construction of new high schools, along with athletic complexes as identified by the proposed updated 10-year Facilities and Infrastructure Plan.

Those properties are:

  • Ringneck, LLC: 118.6 acres for approximately $5.8 million that stretches from approximately Northwest 48th to Northwest 56th streets and West Holdrege to West Vine streets.
  • Ag Invest, LLC: 143.7 acres for approximately $3.6 million that sits east of 70th Street and north of Saltillo Road.

“With the high schools, I think having specific sites identified just helps the voters and public be that much more informed about what we are proposing with the bond,” said Lincoln Board of Education President Lanny Boswell. “Enrollment growth at the high school level over the last couple of years and projected over the next couple of years has been so incredible that it is clearly one of the highest needs that the advisory committee identified. We are well positioned with these proposals to meet the highest needs that have been identified by our community.”

Bus purchase 

The Board held a first reading on a proposal to purchase five wheelchair school buses with 3-point safety belts for use by the Transportation Department. The buses will be replacements to the fleet. The Board will hold a second reading and vote at the December meeting. 

American Airlines Flight Education Grant 

LPS recognizes the need for aviation study at the high school level, as the demand in this field will increase significantly in the near future. Lincoln Public Schools has been invited to apply for the American Airlines Flight Education Grant, funded by American Airlines. Only schools utilizing the Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association (AOPA) High School Aviation STEM Curriculum are invited to apply. Last summer, LPS sent a North Star teacher to this training on first-year curriculum, two courses called Launching into Aviation and Exploring Aviation. These courses are now offered at North Star, with 36 and 19 students in each, respectively. Training on second-year curriculum will be attended next summer so North Star can offer additional courses, with the intent to continue training for a third year of curriculum the following year. Due to the timeline for the grant, the board waived the second reading and voted to approve the grant application.

Second reading and action

New policy on Sustainability 

The Board approved policy 3905 on Sustainability to serve as a guideline and commitment to responsible stewardship to sustainability goals. Staff and the Board recognize the impact that district activities have on the natural environment and on the health and well-being of students, employees and the community.  

Revise current policy on Student Activities 

The Board approved a revision of policy 6700 to include the addition of Unified Track as a new activity. Unified Track was sanctioned by the Nebraska School Activities Association in the fall of 2019, and LPS staff completed a review of Unified Track. The first season for LPS Unified Track will take place during the spring of 2020. 

Staff celebrations

LPS celebrated three staff members for recently winning national awards.

Alicia Davis, math instructor at Scott Middle School, and Rochelle Settles, science instructor at Fredstrom Elementary School

Alicia Davis and Rochelle Settles were recently honored with Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching by the National Science Foundation. This is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government specifically for K-12 science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and computer science teaching. The National Science Foundation administers the award, which recognizes those teachers who have both deep content knowledge of the subjects they teach and the ability to motivate and enable students to be successful in those areas. 

April Jorgensen, library media services instructor at Schoo Middle School

April Jorgensen was recently awarded National Education Association Foundation Global Learning Fellowship. Each year, the NEA Foundation awards NEA Global Learning Fellowships to one K-12 educator from each state. The goal of the fellowship is to help educators develop instructional methods to equip students for global citizenship in the 21st century. 

Click here to watch the complete staff celebrations.

Special reports

United Way campaign update 

Tonight the Board heard an update on the annual staff United Way giving campaign. Staff raised approximately $126,379 for United Way. The Board recognized the top schools in total dollar contributions and any school or department that had a 65% or more participation rate. 

Top five elementary schools:

  • Clinton
  • McPhee
  • Zeman
  • Belmont
  • Huntington

Top two middle schools:

  • Lefler
  • Pound

Top two high schools:

  • North Star
  • East

Schools and departments with 100% participation:

  • Fredstrom 
  • Superintendent's office
  • Government Relations
  • TeamMates

Other schools and departments with 65% or greater:

  • Beattie
  • Clinton
  • Don D. Sherrill Education Center
  • Federal Programs
  • Science Focus Program
  • Huntington
  • Kloefkorn
  • Morley
  • Payroll
  • Roper
  • Zeman 

Click here to watch the full presentation.

Glimpses of LPS

Kooser Elementary School 

We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights the amazing teaching and learning taking place in our classrooms. Tonight’s video gave us a peek into a Kooser first-grade classroom and Heggerty Phonemic Awareness. View the video here.

LPS LIVE: Board Preview

New High School Sites

Before every Board of Education meeting Don Mayhew previews topics of interest with special guests. The Lincoln Board of Education will consider two land purchases during upcoming meetings. The two properties — one in northwest Lincoln and the other in southeast Lincoln — would be large enough for the construction of new high schools, along with athletic complexes as identified by the proposed updated 10-year Facilities and Infrastructure Plan. 

Land acquisition is an extensive process and Lincoln Public Schools is consistently investing in properties throughout the city that will position the school district well for continued growth. 

Sharing more about that process is Scott Wieskamp, director of operations. View the full episode here.

Posted on November 26, 2019



Lincoln Public Schools: Highlights of 11/12 Board of Education work session and regular meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for the fifth of six planned work sessions and a regular meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 12 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The Board will hold its next work session and meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 26.

Work Session 

During the work session, the Board Finance Committee made a recommendation to the full board to move forward with a resolution for a bond issue of $290 million. Based on analysis and finance models, this amount is expected to stay within the current bond and building fund levy.

LPS staff and the Board Planning Committee provided an updated 10-year Facility and Infrastructure Plan to align it more closely with the dollar amount the Board Finance Committee recommended. Adjustments made to the plan since the Oct. 22 work session include:

  • Move up the timeline for the Scott and Lux additions so that Scott could be finished before the fall of 2022. 
  • Adjust the amount dedicated to infrastructure to $16.2 million.

The Board also discussed the timing of the bond resolution. By holding a special election in February instead of waiting until May, Lincoln Public Schools will be able to take advantage of the 2020 summer construction period, saving approximately $3 million dollars in construction costs at the high school level alone.

“I want to say thank you to each of my colleagues for sharing each of your thoughts tonight,” commented Lincoln Board of Education President Lanny Boswell. “All of them have been appropriate and each of us come to the board with different perspectives that are based on our backgrounds and based on the things that we have learned through our board service. I strongly support the recommendations of both the finance committee and the planning committee and it would be my intent to bring the resolution this staff has prepared and this plan back to the board in two weeks for first reading with the goal of having a board vote on the 10th of December and putting the question in front of the public.”


Regular meeting

Special report

STEM Eco-system
The Board heard an update from James Blake, LPS K-12 science curriculum specialist, and Bryan Seck, director of workforce development for Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development. Both serve as the co-chairs for the Lincoln STEM Eco-system (LNKSE). 

LNKSE brings together community partners, both public and private, to serve on a steering committee. The purpose is to increase children’s knowledge by connecting in- and out-of-school learning to real-world application through community partnerships.

 

First reading, action at next meeting

New policy on Sustainability 
The Board Planning Committee recommended a new policy for consideration by the full Board. Policy 3905 on Sustainability is to serve as a guideline and commitment to responsible stewardship to sustainability goals. Staff and the Board recognize the impact that district activities have on the natural environment and on the health and well-being of students, employees and the community.  This will come back to the Board at the next meeting for approval. 

Revise current policy on Student Activities 
This revision of policy 6700 includes the addition of Unified Track as a new activity. Unified Track was sanctioned by the Nebraska School Activities Association in the fall of 2019, and LPS staff completed a review of Unified Track, recommending that it be authorized for spring 2020 in Lincoln Public Schools. This will come back to the Board at the next meeting for approval. 

Staff celebration

LPS celebrated two staff members for recently winning state awards.

Kacee Conley from Irving Middle School
The Nebraska Art Teachers Association has named Kacee Conley from Irving Middle School the 2019 Nebraska Middle School Art Educator of the Year. The mission of the Nebraska Art Teachers Association is to advocate for and advance art education in Nebraska to fulfill human potential and promote global understanding. Conley has proven herself as a leader and advocate for art education, both on the state and national levels.

Marnie Zabel from Belmont Elementary School
The Nebraska School Psychologist Association has named Marnie Zabel, from Belmont Elementary School, the 2019 Nebraska School Psychologist of the Year. School psychologists are uniquely trained to help children succeed academically, socially, behaviorally and emotionally. With expertise in mental health, learning and behavior, school psychologists partner with families, teachers, administrators, and other professionals to help children thrive. Zabel has been doing all of this at Belmont for more than 30 years.


LPS LIVE: Board Preview

The Career Academy
Before every Lincoln Board of Education meeting, Board member Don Mayhew sits down with guests to discuss various topics around Lincoln Public Schools. On Tuesday, Mayhew visited with Dan Hohensee, director of The Career Academy, about career pathways available to students.

 

Posted on November 12, 2019


Lincoln Public Schools: Highlights of 10/22 Board of Education work session and regular meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for the fourth of six planned work sessions and a regular meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 22, at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The Board will hold its next work session and meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 12.

Work Session

During the work session, the Board Planning Committee proposed a 10-Year Facility and Infrastructure Plan to be considered for a potential 2020 bond issue. 

High School Facility Investments

  • Two new high schools - one located in northwest and one located in southeast Lincoln - with core facilities comparable to our existing high schools and space to serve 1,000 students. These new schools are planned to accommodate 2,000 students through future expansion. Each new high school will include space to accommodate a focus program.
  • At the six existing high schools, enhancements and renovations of specialized learning spaces: Arts, Family Consumer Sciences, Industrial Technology and Science.
  • New focus program facility modifications or enhancements as required to support programming at our existing high schools and program sites.
  • Additional athletic and activity facilities with the overall vision to include a football, track and baseball complex at the new northwest high school site; and a soccer and softball complex at the new southeast high school site. While the bond would include funding to begin work, additional partners will be needed to finish the complexes. In addition, an investment in turf at our existing high school sites.
  • High school site acquisition and development.

Middle School Facility Investments

  • Enhancements to address program deficiencies at six of our existing middle schools.  Projects will include additional physical education and multi-purpose spaces in schools currently short of square footage when compared to the school district standard.
  • Address capacity challenges at Scott Middle School with additional instructional space, along with addressing program deficiencies by adding a gym.
  • At the middle schools, enhancements and renovations of specialized learning spaces: Arts, Family Consumer Sciences, Industrial Technology and Science. 
  • Park Middle School Indoor Air Quality and Renovation.  

Elementary School Facility Investments

  • A new four-section PK-5 grade school in northeast Lincoln.
  • An addition at Wysong Elementary School to transition the school from a four-section school to a six-section school, adding capacity for the current population and growth.
  • An Early Childhood Center at Arnold Elementary School to serve pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students. This will increase early childhood offerings in the area and create space for growth in our PK-5 student population.
  • Everett Elementary School Indoor Air Quality and renovation. Everett is the last elementary school to transition to the geothermal heating and cooling model.  

The 10-Year Facility and Infrastructure plan also includes funds to acquire new school sites for future elementary and middle schools, along with addressing other school district infrastructure needs through depreciation funds. For example:

  • The replacement of dated playground equipment
  • Roof recapping and replacements
  • Lighting upgrades
  • Bleachers
  • Family restrooms
  • Parking lot paving
  • Site modifications to enhance traffic flow

Comments from the presentation:

  • Don Mayhew, Board Planning Committee chair: “Thank you to my Board colleagues for taking the time to meet with staff to discuss your priorities and concerns. There was a fair amount of overlap in the feedback we received, and we still have to work out some details. This is an excellent place to start the conversation as it addresses the needs in every zip code and at every grade level.”
  • Lanny Boswell, Board President: “I just want to say thank you. The Planning Committee and the staff have done an excellent job of identifying a starting point for the 10-year plan discussions and I just want to thank you for that work.”

During the work session, the Board also heard presentations from staff on requirements for Early Childhood Education and Lincoln Community Learning Centers.

Click here to view the full work session.

Regular Meeting

Special report

Summer School Presentation
The Board heard a special report about summer offerings at Lincoln Public Schools from Curriculum Director Takako Olson, Federal Programs Director Linda Hix, and Summer High School Administrator Edwin Bonner.

  • Approximately 1,980 high schools students participated in 49 courses and 164 sections. There were 138 students who obtained their high school diploma after attending summer courses.
  • 1,270 elementary students and 263 middle school students were served by the K-8 Title summer programs.
  • 489 elementary students and middle school students who attended the Level I ELL summer school four-week program. 
  • 107 Title I eighth-grade students were able to get a jump start on high school and obtain credit by attending Oral Communications and Fitness for Life classes at their future high school.
  • 59 Title I middle school students participated in course work and earned credit at The Career Academy.
  • 53 high school Level I and II ELL students took classes over the summer.

Second reading, action

The Board held a second reading and approved revisions to several guidelines and policies. 

Legislative Guidelines for 2019-2020
In order to communicate the positions of the Board of Education, the Board approves Legislative guidelines that provide guidance to district staff and representatives communicating with governmental bodies. A change to the guidelines would communicate more clearly support for Educational Service Unit (ESU) 18 and the state-wide network of ESUs.

Policy on Political Activity
LPS reviews policies on an on-going basis and updates policies to ensure they accurately reflect the ever-changing work of the school district. During review, the Government Relations committee found that policies 1310 and 1420 both provided information on Board political activity. The committee recommends merging the two existing policies, and regulations under policy 1420 will become regulations of policy 1310.

Student celebration

This is the 20th anniversary of the Lincoln Community Learning Centers (CLCs) serving Lincoln Public Schools. The Lights On Afterschool event hosted each October by the CLCs is a national celebration to honor programs dedicated to ensuring that all children have access to quality, affordable after-school programs. This year’s event will be held Thursday, Oct. 24, 6-8 p.m. at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo. Lincoln stakeholders shared more information about the CLCs and the planned event with the Board.

  Presenters included:

  • Lincoln High School senior Levi Staton
  • Parent Samantha Anderson, whose children attend West Lincoln Elementary School, Goodrich Middle School and Lincoln North Star High School.

Click here to watch the complete student celebration.

LPS LIVE: Board Preview

Community Learning Centers
Before every Lincoln Board of Education meeting, Board member Don Mayhew sits down with guests to discuss various topics around Lincoln Public Schools. On Tuesday, Mayhew visited with Nola Derby-Bennett, Community Learning Centers director, about the important services our CLCs provide and to promote the Lights On After School event on Oct. 24. View the full episode here.

Posted on October 22, 2019


LPS Learning Lunch: 'ABCs of Teaching English to Immigrant/Refugee Students'

Join us on Tuesday, Oct. 15 for the latest LPS Learning Lunch, "ABCs of Teaching English to Immigrant/Refugee Students," with presenters Laura Salem, LPS English Language Learners program supervisor, and Kate Damgaard, LPS language curriculum specialist. They'll cover the basics of English Language Learners and answer the question, How do you teach students who cannot speak English? 

 

Learning Lunches are free and open to LPS staff and the Lincoln community. Learning Lunches are generally held on the third Tuesday of the month in the boardroom at LPS District Office, 5905 O St. Doors to the boardroom open at 11:45 a.m., the program begins at noon, with questions-and-answers at 12:30 p.m. Please bring your own lunch - we'll provide dessert. 

 

Click here for the full Learning Lunch schedule for 2019-20.

Posted on October 11, 2019


2019 LPS State Accountability Report

Lincoln Public Schools received a designation of “Great” as part of the Nebraska Department of Education’s Accountability for a Quality Education System, Today and Tomorrow (AQuESTT) - the annual school district evaluation information shared Wednesday.

A few accountability highlights:

  • School district proficiency scores from spring state assessment indicate that LPS exceeds state mean scores in every grade from three through eight – in both English/language arts and mathematics.
  • The percent of LPS juniors on-track for college exceeds the state average for English, Math and Science and improved from spring 2018.
  • This is a designation that reflects the quality of teaching and learning in the school district, and policies enacted by the Lincoln Board of Education that support high quality teaching and learning.

Other information released Wednesday included:

  • LPS has received preliminary classifications for 57 schools. Of those, 51 classifications are “Good” or higher.
  • 17 schools are eligible for an increase in their preliminary classification after the review process. There is the potential for LPS to have zero schools classified as “Needing Improvement.”

After schools receive their initial rating, they are subject to additional “designations” of Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI) or Additional Targeted Support and Improvement (ATSI).  These designations are given to schools who have a specific subgroup of students who are underperforming compared to their peers across the state. Less than half of LPS schools received either a TSI or ATSI designation.

“We are proud of our educators and our students, and the accountability scores overall,” said Matt Larson, associate superintendent for Instruction. “Growth scores on the nationally recognized Measures of Academic Progress assessment indicate our students generally grew as much or more than is expected by national growth norms in math and reading between Fall 2018 and Fall 2019. With that said, we recognize that challenges remain. We are aware and continue to work on areas of concern through a relentless focus on instructional improvement. We are committed to achieving equitable outcomes, improving our accountability scores, and ensuring that every student who graduates from high school is college, career and civic ready.”

Visit the Nebraska Department of Education's website to view Lincoln Public Schools' Nebraska Education Profile.

AQuESTT

The Nebraska Department of Education provides a classification for all Nebraska school districts and schools (Excellent, Great, Good or Needs Improvement) through a system called AQuESTT (Accountability for a Quality Education System, Today and Tomorrow). Determination of classifications is based on the following data:

  • In grades 3-8, state accountability scores in English/language arts and math, including individual student score growth, school score improvement and reduction in non-proficiency classifications.
  • In grades 5 and 8, state accountability science proficiency status and score improvement.
  • At high school, junior performance on the ACT as measured by the percent of students on track to meet college readiness benchmarks.
  • 95 percent participation in state assessments.
  • At the high school level, four-year and extended graduation rates.
  • Reduction of chronic absenteeism (absent 10 percent or more of membership days).
  • Progress toward English Language proficiency. 

Posted on October 09, 2019


Lincoln Public Schools: Highlights of 10/8 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 8, at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The Board will hold its next regular meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 22.

First reading, action at next meeting

Legislative Guidelines for 2019-2020

In order to communicate the positions of the Board of Education, the Board approves Legislative guidelines that provide guidance to district staff and representatives communicating with governmental bodies. A change to the guidelines would communicate more clearly support for Educational Service Unit (ESU) 18 and the state-wide network of ESUs.

Policy on Political Activity

LPS reviews policies on an on-going basis and updates policies to ensure they accurately reflect the ever-changing work of the school district. During review, the Government Relations committee found that policies 1310 and 1420 both provided information on Board political activity. The committee recommends merging the two existing policies, and regulations under policy 1420 will become regulations of policy 1310.

Staff celebration

LPS celebrated Carrie Erks from Lincoln Public Schools, who was recently awarded School Social Worker of the Year by the School Social Work Association of Nebraska. School social workers are licensed mental health practitioners who connect students and families to resources at school and in the community in an effort to help students overcome barriers to success. Among her many accomplishments, Erks has led the effort to institute the Second Step curriculum, which teaches social-emotional learning to LPS students in grades kindergarten through seventh grade.

Click here to watch the complete staff celebration.

Public comment

There was one member of the public who addressed the Board during Public Comment on the topic of top three percent academic recognitions for students. 

Click here to watch the full public comment.

LPS LIVE: Board Preview

Educational Service Units (ESUs)

Before every Lincoln Board of Education meeting, Board member Don Mayhew sits down with guests to discuss various topics around Lincoln Public Schools. On Tuesday, Mayhew visited with Sarah Salem, ESU 18 administrator, about the important work ESU 18 does for LPS. View the full episode here.

 

Posted on October 08, 2019


Flu shot: Your best bet for avoiding influenza

This year's annual flu shot will offer protection against three or four of the influenza viruses expected to be in circulation this flu season. A high-dose flu vaccine also will be available for adults age 65 and older.

Influenza is a respiratory infection that can cause serious complications, particularly in young children, older adults and people with certain medical conditions. Getting an influenza vaccine — though not 100% effective — is the best way to prevent the misery of the flu and its complications.

Doctors and nurses are encouraged to begin vaccinating people as soon as the flu vaccine is available in their areas, usually sometime in August. So, the time to get your flu shot is now!

It takes up to two weeks to build immunity after a flu shot, but you can benefit from the vaccine even if you don't get it until after the flu season starts. It's usually best for people in the United States to get their flu vaccine by the end of October. However, you can still protect yourself against late flu outbreaks if you get the vaccine in February or later.

When you get vaccinated, your immune system produces antibodies to protect you from the viruses included in the vaccine. But antibody levels may decline over time — another reason to get a flu shot every year.

The CDC recommends annual influenza vaccinations for everyone age 6 months or older. Chronic medical conditions, including asthma and diabetes, also can increase your risk of influenza complications. Check with your doctor before receiving a flu vaccine if you are allergic to eggs or had a previous severe reaction to a previous flu vaccine.

The flu vaccine will be available as an injection or as a nasal spray. In recent years, there was concern that the nasal spray flu vaccine wasn't effective enough against certain types of flu. The nasal spray vaccine is expected to be more effective in the 2019-2020 season. The nasal spray vaccine is approved for people between 2 and 49 years old. The flu vaccine can also be delivered by an injection that's usually given in a muscle in the arm.

The flu vaccine can't give you the flu. But you might develop flu-like symptoms such as muscle aches and fever for a day or two after receiving the vaccine due to the body’s response to the proteins in the vaccine. But, even then, it’s still protective and those symptoms are not as severe as the flu.

The flu vaccine is your best defense against the flu, but there are additional steps you can take to help protect yourself from the flu and other viruses. These steps include the following:

  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Use an alcohol-based sanitizer on your hands if soap and water aren't available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth whenever possible.
  • Avoid crowds when the flu is most prevalent in your area.
  • Practice good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly, drink plenty of fluids, eat a nutritious diet and manage your stress.
  • You can also help prevent the spread of the flu by staying home if you do get sick.

If you receive your flu vaccine at an LPS-sponsored vaccination clinic, remember to bring your most current insurance card. Click on Lincoln Public Schools Immunization Clinics to sign up and for more information on the clinics. Flu vaccine is also readily available at a variety of locations in the community.

This is also a great time to review your vaccination record and make sure you are up to date on all vaccinations. With the recent outbreaks of measles, mumps and pertussis, you will want to make sure you are protected.

- Julie Frederick, BSN, RN, NCSN, LPS Health Services Coordinator

Resources: www.cdc.gov/flu, Prevention Magazine 2019, Mayo Clinic 2019

Posted on October 02, 2019


Lincoln Public Schools: Highlights of 9/18 Lincoln Board of Education work session

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a work session on Tuesday, Sept. 18, at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St.  The Board will hold its next work session on Tuesday, Oct. 7. 

The Lincoln Board of Education met for the second of six scheduled work sessions to fully analyze facility proposals, likely trimming the recommendations from the Superintendent’s Facility Advisory Committee (SFAC) to $250-290 million – an amount which would fund a potential bond issue within the existing bond levy of 16.1 cents.  The Board will likely consider passing a possible resolution in November for a bond issue in 2020.

SFAC was a group of 100 Lincoln stakeholders who met for months to analyze long-range facility and infrastructure needs to envision schools of the future and ensure that LPS wisely accommodates student growth into the next 7-10 years.  They presented their final recommendations to the superintendent and Board in August.

The work session embraced three major topics:

Infrastructure

The Superintendent’s Facility Advisory Committee recommended 10-20 percent of a future bond issue be used on existing facilities infrastructure needs – and the Board started a discussion for the appropriate amount.

Indoor Air Quality projects

SFAC also recommended completing indoor air quality projects at Park Middle School and Everett Elementary School (as well as adding geothermal heating and cooling to each school).  Park students will likely stay onsite during renovations, while LPS is still considering whether or not Everett children will stay at school during renovations.

Estimated costs for these projects are:

  • Park Indoor Air Quality project at a cost of $32,463,762 – with an estimated annual utility savings: $132,180.
  • Everett Indoor Air Quality project at a cost of $15,350,913 – with an estimated annual utility savings of $69,312

High schools

Current numbers show that high schools at LPS are overcapacity. Ideal enrollment is 1,850 to 1,900 students and five of the six high schools are over 2,000 – two high schools are expected to be over 2,300 during the 2019-2020 school.

Northwest and southeast Lincoln are two areas that have significant numbers of students who currently do not reside within three miles of an existing high school. Recommendations from SFAC include building additional high school capacity in these two areas. This recommendation also lines up with existing Board policy on guidelines for building new schools.

Staff presented a variety of ways to sequence the construction of two possible new high schools in Lincoln.  Different scenarios include:

  • Build two 1,000-student buildings with a bond issue in 2020 at a cost of $134.7 million, then adding the capacity for them to become 2,000-student buildings in another bond issue approximately seven years later – for a total cost of $225.6 million.
  • Building two full-sized 2,000-student buildings after the next bond issue at a total cost of $209.7 million

The Board also heard additional information about athletics and activities. SFAC proposed adding high school athletic complexes at both new high schools – with considerable savings for locating these complexes on high school sites due to the sharing of parking lots and other resources. The recommendations from SFAC also include adding new turf to the existing high school athletic fields.

The next work session will address elementary and middle schools, exploring K-8 facilities, and program improvements at existing middle schools.

Click here to find video of all the work sessions.

 

Posted on September 19, 2019


Community Awareness Series: Promoting Healthy Behaviors

Our youth are our future’s greatest asset. Schools, parents, caregivers and communities all play a role in providing supportive pathways for our youth as they navigate childhood and adolescence. SCIP (School Community Intervention and Prevention) is partnering with Lincoln Public Schools, Bryan Independence Center and the Lancaster Prevention Leadership Team to put on a series of valuable presentations about how to support the health and well-being of our community’s youth. These events are open to parents, students, school professionals and community members.

Please join us for our first event, “Let’s Talk: Youth Vaping & Marijuana Use”

Oct. 24, 6:30-8 p.m.
Lincoln Southeast High School (Commons Area)
2930 S. 37th St.

Research shows that families and influential adults play the most important role in preventing youth substance use. As part of National Health Education Week, this presentation will provide education and awareness surrounding two growing youth substance use issues as a means to promote conversations and healthy decision making. Marijuana continues to be one of the most prevalent substances of abuse among our youth and teen vaping is increasing at alarming rates.

Rebekah Willoughby, a public health educator with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department, and Deputy Jeremy Schwarz, a licensed drug recognition expert with the Lancaster County Sherriff’s Office, will discuss:

• The prevalence of youth vaping and marijuana use
• The effects of these substances on the developing youth brain
• Physical health effects of vaping and marijuana use
• The role of marketing in vaping and various products that youth are using
• Legal aspects
• Signs of use
• How to engage in conversations with youth about vaping and marijuana
• Resources to further address prevention and early intervention of use.

Please contact Abbe Edgecombe, SCIP coordinator for Lincoln-Lancaster County, for questions or additional information: 402-327-6841 or aedgecombe@lmep.com

Posted on September 18, 2019


Courageous or comfortable: Administrators asked to decide

The 2019-2020 school year officially kicked off on Thursday, July 25, when Lincoln Public Schools leaders and administrators gathered at Lincoln Southwest High School for the annual Leadership Day. This year’s theme: “Equity: All means all.”

Lincoln Board of Education President Lanny Boswell welcomed LPS administrators and described the two major goals set forth by the Board for the upcoming school year:  Moving forward with recommendations for top-priority facility needs for the school district, and working toward equity and accessibility for all students. 

“To support academic success, we have asked for a common definition of equity to be developed and the framework to work towards this goal by April 15,” Boswell said. “We understand that this will not be achieved overnight or in one year’s work. To truly make progress we must be intentional in our definitions and our process. We will do this in partnership with our students, staff and community. In a district where all mean alls we would expect no less.”

LPS Superintendent Steve Joel added this is work that never ends:  “We know all means all. We know that we don’t ask kids how they got here. We don’t even ask them why they got here. We don’t ask them how they express themselves. When they show up we give them all we have, and we can’t ever lose sight of that.”

Keynote speaker Toni Robinson from Discovery Education reminded the group this requires a human solution, not a technical solution.

“Equity is about identifying, recognizing, appreciating and valuing the humanness in me as I value it in you,” Robinson explained. “And if we approach it in that way, then we can’t lose. Every child that comes through that door deserves to be valued.  Period.”

She also said this work was going to require some cost and a whole lot of courage.

“You will face things you don’t know, but you’ve got to get comfortable being uncomfortable. You have to be courageous to take some risks,” Robinson said. “Leaders can be courageous or comfortable, but not both. So what are you going to be?”

Joel added that if there was a district and a community anywhere in America that could pull this off, it was LPS - and Lincoln.

“When you think about what we are going to be doing, there are going to be a lot of dimensions to this. But at the end of the day we have to be leaders of change. We have to be inspirers of doing things differently if we want to get different outcomes,” Joel said.

Posted on August 02, 2019



Apply now for the 2019-2020 Lincoln Public Schools Citizens Academy

Lincoln Public Schools is inviting Lincoln citizens to participate in its annual Citizens Education Academy, a series of monthly gatherings that include hands-on interactive experiences depicting a true, behind-the-scenes sense of LPS.

Meetings are generally scheduled the second Monday evening of each month, but also include several day meetings hosted at schools across the school district, and feature a wide variety of information and activities. Participants will have conversations with high school seniors, visit a Family Literacy class, create their own school budget and spend time in LPS classrooms, as well as tour The Career Academy and one of our Education Centers.

LPS will accept applicants for this free public outreach program on a first-come, first-served basis – however, participants are asked to be willing and able to commit the necessary time (see schedule below).  If you would like to participate, please register by July 31, 2019 and send the following information to Julie Dansky, jdansky@lps.org:

  • Your name, street address, email address and phone number.
  • A brief explanation of why you are interested in attending the Academy (couple sentences).


Academy Schedule:

  • Sept. 9, 5-7:30 p.m. – Huntington Elementary School
  • Oct. 14, 5-7:30 p.m. – Lincoln Southeast High School
  • Nov. 11, 7:30 - 9:30 a.m. – Lefler Middle School
  • Dec. 9, 5-7:30 p.m. – Don D. Sherrill Education Center
  • Jan. 13, 5-7:30 p.m. – Moore Middle School
  • Feb. 10, 9:15 - 11:15 a.m. – West Lincoln Elementary School
  • March 16, 5-7:30 p.m. – The Career Academy
  • April 6, 5-7:30 p.m. – Lincoln High School
  • May 11, 5-7:30 p.m. – Graduation  

For more information: Mindy Burbach, LPS Communications, 402-436-1619, mburbach@lps.org.    

Posted on July 26, 2019


Highlights of the Community Budget Forum June 27, 2019

Lincoln Public Schools officials on Thursday presented the preliminary budget for 2019-20 at a Community Budget Forum held at North Star High School, and asked for community comments.

The preliminary budget includes:

  • No increase in the current property tax levy.
  • Funding for continued student growth.
  • Funding that addresses complexity of student needs to promote student success.  
  • The understanding that high-quality public schools at a reasonable price bring tremendous value to our community.  

One member of the public attended the public forum and had questions about possibly increasing the number of staff in the coming years.

LPS prudently plans for the long-term, as 2019-20 state aid for education is decreasing $13.7 million compared to last year. Revenue increases related to property valuations and the use of cash reserve will be necessary to fund the 2019-20 budget. LPS saved money in cash reserve in previous budgets to provide stability in a climate of dramatically changing revenues.

To review:

The 2019-20 preliminary expenditure budget for LPS totals about $458.6 million, representing a slight decrease from first estimates due to an extension grant awarded to LPS that will provide funding for two early childhood full-day classrooms.

The expenditure budget is funded by several revenue streams, including: property taxes (estimated to increase by 6.5 percent, providing about $14.8 million more revenue than last year), and state aid to education (projected at $133 million, down $13.7 million compared to last year). The preliminary budget also includes drawing $3.46 million from cash flow – about half of what the Board wisely set aside last year. Cash flow is a tool to stabilize swings in revenue through transfers into and out of cash flow with the goal of ensuring that programming and staffing decisions are sustainable over time.

In the past months the Board has reviewed about $18.6 million in identified needs, prioritized them and ultimately built a preliminary budget that left almost $4 million in needs unfunded. Tentatively funded for the coming year are:

Support to schools to keep up with continued, incremental growth, adding teachers/staff for regular education, special education and early childhood.
Supports that allow students the foundation to learn, adding school counselors, social workers and health care workers.
Expansion with more teachers at behavioral skills schools at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

LPS has a solid process for budget development, using a three-year forecasting and sustainability model to manage and stabilize the swings in state funding revenue. In the coming months the Board will continue to analyze needs district-wide, establish priorities, develop a revenue budget to best meet student needs and have a thoughtful conversation with the community. The largest budget line on the LPS budget consistently funds teachers and classroom instruction – prioritizing our students. 

According to the most recent statistics, as prudent stewards of taxpayer money, LPS is one of the lowest spending school districts in the state for per-pupil costs and has been for decades.  LPS ranks 224 out of 244 school districts in Nebraska in per pupil spending: $11,508 per pupil compared to the state average of $12,613.

You can view the entire presentation slides here, or watch a video of a community presentation by clicking here.

Community budget conversation

LPS has a long-standing transparent, open process for budget development – inviting community members into the development of the 2019-20 budget in a variety of ways. A public hearing and budget forum are set for 6-6:45 p.m. on Aug. 13 at LPS District Office.

Posted on June 27, 2019


LPS ranks fourth in Forbes ‘Best Employers in Nebraska’ list

In a recently released ranking by Forbes Magazine, Lincoln Public Schools ranked fourth in Nebraska - and the only public school district listed in the state - for “Best Employer by State.”

“Our employees are committed to the most important job one could have: Making sure that each child in Lincoln has access to a quality education,” said LPS Superintendent Steve Joel. “We are honored to have the brightest and the best working for Lincoln Public Schools and that they, in turn, can see the value we place on their important work.”

LPS employs approximately 7,500 across the city, in roles that include teaching, coaching, health, nutritional services, office support, transportation, security, custodial, maintenance and administration.

The top three in the list of 21 were Nebraska Medicine, PayPal and First National Bank of Omaha. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln ranked fifth.

The list was compiled by business media company Forbes and market research company Statista based on an independent survey. The study was made up of more than 80,000 U.S. employees working for companies employing at least 500 people in their U.S. operations. The surveys were administered in a series of online panels and provide a representative sample of the U.S. workforce. Employees were asked to rate their willingness to recommend their own employers to friends and family; participants also were prompted to evaluate other employers in their respective industries. The full list can be viewed here: https://www.forbes.com/best-employers-by-state/#3f13c256487a

Posted on June 19, 2019



'It's an experience I won't forget'

In 2017, the Lincoln Board of Education approved a three-year pilot program in partnership with the Indian Center to provide academic support and an incentive for Native American students to graduate from high school. Part of that incentive included giving eligible seniors an eagle feather to wear on their graduation cap as a reward.

Now in its third year, communications coordinator Mindy Burbach sat down with Lincoln Northeast High School senior Alan Acoya on the last day of school to talk about his accomplishments and how receiving the eagle feather to wear at graduation impacted him. Below is the transcript of their conversation:

I want to know about your journey, tell me where you went to elementary, middle and high school…
So, when I was younger I lived with my dad and he has drug and alcohol problems. So we never really stayed in one spot for any long period of time. So the first actual complete year of school that I completed wasn’t until fifth grade. That’s when I moved here to live with my mom. I went to Huntington, and after that I went to Dawes Middle School - which I still kind of miss a little bit - and then now I'm here at Lincoln Northeast.

You said elementary school, fifth grade year was your first year at Huntington. What was that like going into Huntington Elementary?
That was really like a reality shock for me. So when I was growing up, I never really had a home or stable income or anything like that. And to go from that - to having a place to sleep, to having food to eat, to know where I was going to have dinner and actually go to school - it was so completely different. I realized how bad of a life I had. And to come here, and being nine years old, and having that switch it was...it was kind of crazy.

I ended up really shy because I didn't know how to make friends. I didn't really apply myself because I didn't know how to work hard or anything like that it. It was really completely two different scenarios that I went through, but it all worked out and I'm sitting here now.

Talk to me a little bit about Dawes Middle School - you talked about how you missed it. Tell me about those teachers and how that made a difference for you and your path to high school…
After elementary school, I really didn't try very much in the fifth grade. Then it came to Dawes and then that was another complete change up to go from a normal elementary school to going to Dawes. Middle school has bigger kids than me, and had like class periods, and had to go to lockers and we had to really manage yourself a lot. I had two teachers - Mr. Miller and Señora Nickum - and they really pushed me to my limits. Like they understood what I was capable of and they really helped me unlock that deeper part of myself. Without them I don't know what I’d be right now.

Have you seen them since you left Dawes?
Unfortunately, I haven't. My brother went to Dawes a couple months ago to an open house and neither one of them were there so I couldn’t talk to them.

What would you say to them if you were able to see them again?
First and foremost, I’d just give my thanks because I'm really appreciative of them. They're really good teachers. Even beyond that, they're really good friends. They can be there when you need them and they know that people can do great things as long as they apply themselves. That's what they helped me with.

How about here at Northeast, have you made any connections with anybody, or anybody you’re going to miss?
There’s a lot of friends I’m going to miss. There will be some teachers too. Mr. Bettendorf, he’s my favorite teacher. I had him my freshman year, my sophomore year and my senior year. I'm one of like five students have done that. We really just established a connection. It's more than just teacher and a student, it’s friend to a friend. He knows how smart I am and he doesn't let me do anything less than that. Unfortunately, I don't want to do some of the things, but he makes sure I do them because he knows that I can.

You’ve really had to push yourself hard to get done...
Yeah, some of the stuff just comes naturally to me, but others I have to work for it. Like my AP Calculus final, I was worried about that but I ended up getting a 95 on the final and finishing with a 98 percent in the class.

Talk about what you’ve achieved in just the last couple of years…
Well probably some of my best accomplishments, I got a 33 ACT composite score. I’m in the top five percent of my class. I've been in Omaha World-Herald as an honorable mention, and I will be in the Lincoln Journal Star for Class Acts. I just think that it's crazy how much you can do if you really apply yourself, and I think it's even more crazy that I did all this coming from a hard childhood.

How does that feel to know you are being recognized for that hard work, that grit?
It really pays off. It’s so worth it. I’ve missed hanging out with friends. I've been had a job of sorts, to focus on school and everything, and it all just pays off in the end. It's really worth it.

You got a 33 on your ACT. When you saw that score, when you opened it up, what was your reaction?
I couldn't believe it and first. I thought it might be wrong or something like that. It was actually better than what I got my pre-ACT. I was confused at first and then it kind of sunk in and I was like “wow, I really did get a 33.” Only like five or six seniors who got a 32 or better in the ACT at Northeast.

How many times did you take it?
Just the one time.

What's been your favorite class in high school?
That's a good question. I'll have to say probably my AP Psychology class. I took that last year as a junior and it's one of the classes I had with Mr. Bettendorf.  We just learn like how the brain works - memories, genetics, things like that - and it was just a really interesting class. If you really sit down to think about it, the brain is so amazing. I don't know how to else to explain it. It was just a really fun class, and I had a great teacher, and there's a lot of cool people in that class. Now one of them is going to UNO next year and she's going to be leaving in a couple months and I'm going to be going to San Diego. I really met some good friends and it was just a really good class.

When you cross the stage on Sunday, and you're getting handed your diploma and they're shaking your hand, what's going to be going through your head?
I have no idea. I'm going to be so shocked. I don’t think it has really set in yet. I am done with school. I don't have to go to high school no more and that's just crazy to think about. Four years here and I'm graduating top five percent, and seven semester honor roll... that's just crazy to think of where I come from and that's where I'm at right now.

Did you ever think when you were in fifth grade or sixth grade that this is where you would be?
I really didn't. I really didn't. I didn't think - I mean I hoped I graduated - but I didn't think that I'd be this accomplished. I never knew the ability that I had, and I applied myself and now I'm here.

Is there a moment that you thought this is the reason, or this is why I should try harder or persevere or anything?
The reason why I try so hard is because my I don't want to be like my dad. I want to have a good solid life when I grow up, and I don't want anything that I had to go through, I don't want my children to have to suffer through that. I don't want to be like him that's why.

What do your future plans include?
For the summer I'm going to work as much as I can, and in October I'm going to be shipping out for the Marine boot camp. I'm going into the Marine Corps and if I like it I might stay in, if not then I might choose to go to college afterwards.

What’s your interest, your passion, what are you passionate about?
I really like building things. I'm going in as a combat engineer for the Marine Corps, and after that maybe going into some sort of architectural engineering in college.

What opportunity have you gotten here at Lincoln Public Schools to help you reach that next level of going in the Marine Corps?
Really, my counselor helped me a lot. She understood what I was capable of. She knows that I am able to do good things for everybody - like for Native Americans and just for people in general. Me and my parents decided that the Marine Corps would probably be the best idea for me. It really changes who you are as a person, but it changes you for the better, always. Any person that we’ve met, I have a cousin - and he's in the Army National Guard right now - and he says that he doesn't regret any decision that he made for that. I have another cousin who was in the Navy, and he says it was the best decision of his life too. Everyone that I talked about and everyone I’ve talked to about the military really says that it's a decision that you won’t regret. I'm looking forward to it.

Has there been a role model in your life that you've looked up to, that has gotten you to this moment?
Right now, I’d have to say it would be my mom. My mom also had drug and alcohol problems, but she has been 11 years clean and sober now. To know where she came from - her childhood and her earlier life, the hard troubles that she had - and to make it now where she's living in a nice home and she has a stable income.

What advice do you have? I mean you're obviously going to be a role model for other Native American youth - not only in high school, but middle school and elementary school - what advice do you have for them as they get ready to continue on their educational journey?
I would say just keep pushing. Things are going to get harder before they get easier. As long as you keep pushing yourself and understand what your limits are and somehow surpass that. I think anybody can do great things.

You have such an inspirational story - what you've been through and how you persevered - and I hope you know that's an inspiration to others as well. What are your dreams for your little brother?
I hope he has to suffer none, to suffer none of the things that I’ve had to go through. He is gifted. He's in diff math, and he's in diff reading. He's a smart kid, but he also has autism. He has some times where he has troubles accepting things, but he's gotten over that and now he's always one of his teacher’s favorite students. I hope he continues that, and I hope he will apply himself and do the great things that I know he can do.

You are participating in the Eagle Feather program which is new for Lincoln Public Schools. It’s only been in existence for three years. Tell me a little bit about that program, and what does that mean for you to participate in it?
The Eagle Feather program, I think it’s a really cool program. It allows Native American seniors who are graduating to have an eagle feather that they can wear on their cap when they’re graduating. I think it's really cool for Native American seniors to have this opportunity. It really shows who we are, that Native Americans are still here. I mean we really only make up like two percent of the American population, but the people who are still here we're still trying and we're graduating. I think it just shows who we are.

Tell me about that Eagle Feather ceremony, what happens there?
There are a lot of Native American kids there. Native American seniors whom I know from different high schools. It is really from all LPS high schools. It's really spiritual. It almost connects everybody. It’s just crazy. There's a deeper feeling that comes with just getting an eagle feather. Something else is there and it really shows Native Americans who they are. And with the eagle feather, it is an experience I won’t forget.

How does your family feel about that?
They were super stoked. They were really excited for me, and I was too. Native Americans are the only people legally allowed to own eagle feathers. To get one for my graduation, I thought that was pretty cool.

What is your heritage - I know you're Native American but - what is your tribe?
I’m enrolled in the Ho-Chunk tribe. They’re about two hours north of Lincoln. I'm also part Cherokee, and I have some Canadian Cree in me. I'm also an eighth Irish. My great-great-grandma was full Irish.

Posted on June 05, 2019


2019 Final Words

Each year we sit down with graduating seniors and retiring staff members to get their Final Words. Check back this week as we will add a new one each day during the last week of school.

Tatum Custer

Lincoln Northeast High School Graduating Senior

Mayoum Buom

Lincoln Southwest High School Graduating Senior

Jane Holt

Lincoln East High School Librarian

Posted on May 22, 2019


Belmont Elementary earns national award for its work with students

The American Psychological Association (APA) and its Board of Education Affairs (BEA) has honored Belmont Elementary School for its ability to adapt to the needs of students while ensuring the highest standards for their achievement, engagement and social competence.

Belmont received the BEA Golden Psi Award, becoming only the seventh school in the country to earn the honor. Previous winners include schools from Los Angeles, Dallas and Florida. The award is open to all public and private schools, from pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade.

Beth Doll, interim dean and a professor with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Education and Human Sciences, is an APA member and presented the award to Belmont Principal Kim Rosenthal during a staff meeting on Tuesday.

“In a competition dominated by coastal states, Belmont has proven that the Great Plains state of Nebraska does quality education well,” Doll said, later adding, “I want to say thank you for all that you do for the Lincoln community and congratulations. This award is for all of you.”

“This award really is because of all of your hard work,” Rosenthal said to her staff. “You guys are the ones doing this every single day. Thank you for everything you do to make our students successful. That really is why we do all of this. It is to make our students be successful, not only academically while they’re at Belmont but so they can have life success, as well.”

Lincoln Board of Education member Annie Mumgaard attended Belmont and also was on hand for the award presentation. Mumgaard said the school and larger Belmont community still hold special meaning for her.

“Just driving up today and seeing all of the amazing kids leaving for the day, I thought, ‘This is a great place to be.’”

Posted on May 16, 2019


LPS encourages all staff members to be up-to-date on measles vaccinations

We are very lucky in Nebraska with a 96.2 percent vaccination rate against measles, which means the chances of a measles case in Lincoln is reduced significantly. However, with the number of confirmed measles cases rising across the country - including in surrounding states - measles could come to Lincoln, Nebraska.

Those who are up-to-date on their measles immunizations, reduce the chances of contracting the disease to less than a three percent.  

But we know there are those who are not vaccinated.  Lincoln Public Schools encourages all staff members to make sure they are up-to-date on their measles vaccinations.

What you need to know about measles:

  • Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. It spreads through the air by an affected person coughing and sneezing. It is so contagious that if one person has it, up to 90 percent of the people around him or her will also become infected if they are not protected.
  • The virus can stay active in the air in a room/space for up to two hours after an affected person has left the area. The virus cannot be spread by touching a surface after an affected person has touched the same surface.
  • Measles starts with a fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes and sore throat, and is followed by a rash that spreads all over the body.
  • An infected person can spread measles to others even before developing symptoms—from four days before they develop the measles rash through four days afterward.
  • Children younger than five years of age and adults older than 20 years of age are at high risk of getting a serious case of measles if they are not vaccinated.
  • One out of four people who get measles will be hospitalized. One out of every 1,000 people with measles will develop brain swelling due to infection, which may lead to brain damage. One or two people out of 1,000 with measles will die, even with the best care.

What you can do to protect yourself, your family, your co-workers and your students:

  • Adults born in or after 1957 should have documentation of at least one dose of MMR or other evidence of measles immunity. Those in this age group who need a second dose include:
    • Postsecondary educational students
    • International travelers
    • Healthcare personnel
    • Persons with HIV and a CD4 count ≥ 200 cells/μl for at least 6 months
    • Household or close personal contacts of immunocompromised persons with no evidence of immunity.
  • Older adults born before 1957 are generally considered immune to measles, mumps and rubella. This is acceptable evidence of immunity unless they work in healthcare facilities.
  • If you are unsure about the status of your vaccinations, get the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccination. It does not hurt you to get an extra dose if you are unsure.
  • Talk with your healthcare provider.

For more information about measles and what we can do to protect our community, visit this website: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); About the Measles

If you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer them. Please email me at wrau@lps.org or by phone at 436-1655.

Thank you for taking the protection of our students seriously.

Wendy Rau, RN
Health Services Supervisor

 

Posted on May 15, 2019


Scott music teacher honored with Scottish Rite award

It was not your typical interlude between musical numbers at the Scott Middle School band concert Thursday night at Lincoln Southwest High School. After the jazz band finished “Tyrannosaurus Charlie” and before the sixth-grade musicians settled in for their first song, Scott music teacher Jacque Rush was the honoree in a surprise award ceremony.

Rush was named the 2019 Scottish Rite Distinguished Teacher of the Year, a prestigious award presented annually to a Lincoln Public Schools teacher. It comes with a cash prize of $7,500, donated by the local chapter of the Scottish Rite organization.

Rush was surprised - to say the least.

“That was just mind blowing - I had absolutely no idea,” she said afterwards.

Many of Rush’s colleagues, family, friends, LPS administrators and Scottish Rite representatives - not to mention an entire middle school band and hundreds of audience members - were on hand Thursday for the announcement. Dale Lueders from the Scottish Rite presented Rush with the award and the check. LPS Associate Superintendent for Human Resources Eric Weber and Superintendent Steve Joel spoke of the significance of the honor and how fitting it was that Rush was its latest winner.    

Rush described winning the award as “overwhelming” and “everything.”

“I’ve worked so hard and I just love teaching,” she said. “This is just amazing to be recognized for that but honestly I don’t think I do anything different than any other teacher.”

Rush has taught music for more than 40 years and at Scott since the school opened in 1996. Scott typically has more than 300 students enrolled in its instrumental music program, making it the largest in LPS. Since 1997, more than 2,300 of her students have earned individual superior ratings in solo and ensemble competitions. Rush has former students who are now music educators in Lincoln, across Nebraska and nationwide, as well as others who perform professionally.

But her impact goes far beyond her impressive resume. In his nomination letter, Scott Principal Marco Pedroza wrote this about Rush: “She has truly enriched the lives of thousands of students through the years by giving them a great music education...Her strong work ethic combined with her high expectations help develop lifelong skills in all of her students...She spends countless hours working with students teaching them not only music but life skills.   Through her work with her students she engages and connects them to the school community.”

Beyond LPS, Rush has volunteered on committees with the Nebraska Music Education Association (NMEA) and the Nebraska State Bandmasters Association (NSBA). Her bands have been asked to perform at the annual NMEA conference, annual NSBA convention, State Capitol assemblies and Worlds of Fun. Rush also received the prestigious Jack R. Snider Young Band Director Award from the NSBA.

Rush will be honored again during a special event in the fall at LPS District Office, where she’ll be featured along with past winners in an interactive display located outside the boardroom.

Posted on May 03, 2019


Eickhoff selected as next Humann Elementary principal

Lincoln Public Schools Monday announced Sharon Eickhoff – currently the assistant principal at Cavett Elementary School – will be the new principal at Humann Elementary for 2019-20.  

“I know you will love your new principal, and she’ll be reaching out to Humann families very soon,” current Humann Principal Gena Licata told Humann families on Monday. “She has a wonderful mix of teaching, administrative and leadership experience and will serve your school well." 

Matt Larson, associate superintendent for Instruction at LPS, said: "Sharon's experiences and focus on instruction make her a tremendous fit for the Humann school community." 

Prior to serving as assistant principal at Cavett, she was the instructional coordinator at Brownell Elementary School, and previous to that – a special education teacher at both Fredstrom and Arnold elementary schools.

Sharon earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Cardinal Stritch College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and two Master’s Degrees in education – one from Doane University and one from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 

Posted on April 15, 2019


Muggy named new principal at Holmes Elementary School

Lincoln Public Schools is proud to announce that Tim Muggy has been named the next principal at Holmes Elementary School. He follows Haeven Pedersen, who announced earlier this year he is taking a new position in Norfolk, Nebraska.

“Tim is a great fit for Holmes elementary,” said Eric Weber, associate superintendent for Human Resources. “He is a veteran principal who will bring a wealth of experience to the school. We are thrilled to have Tim serve as the next principal at Holmes, and we look forward to his leadership."

Tim currently serves Lincoln Public Schools as the interim director of Elementary Education, and is very familiar with the important role that principals play in our schools. Prior to that position, he was the principal at Roper Elementary School for seven years, Meadow Lane Elementary School for four years and Brownell Elementary School for five years. He has been a part of Lincoln Public Schools for 38 years.

Muggy will officially take over his new duties as our principal on July 1.

Congratulations to Tim Muggy!

 

Posted on March 27, 2019


Licata selected to serve as director of Elementary Education

"We are excited to announce Gena Licata has been selected to serve as director of Elementary Education for Lincoln Public Schools," said Eric Weber, associate superintendent for Human Resources at LPS. "Ms. Licata will serve alongside Cindy Schwaninger in this capacity. Ms. Licata is filling the position that Tim Muggy has served as interim this year. We are very thankful for his work as we navigated several transitions, and he will continue with the district in a different capacity next year."

Matt Larson, associate superintendent for Instruction at LPS, observed: "Ms. Licata has been an outstanding principal at Humann Elementary School and we look forward to her leadership contributions at the district level in support of principals and high quality teaching and learning."

Licata is currently principal at Humann and prior to that she served as assistant principal at Humann, a teacher at Huntington Elementary School and a teacher with Indianapolis Public Schools. Licata's bachelor's degree is from Ball State University, her master's degree from Doane University.

Posted on March 19, 2019


NARSP awarding $1,000 scholarships to educators working toward advanced degree/endorsement

The Nebraska Association of Retired School Personnel (NARSP) will awarding two scholarships of $1,000 each for the 2019-2020 academic year. 

These scholarships will be awarded to active educators working toward an advanced degree/endorsement in a related field of education. 

Since 2010, LPS recipients have included Malinda Burk, Kimberly Snyder, Matt Maw and Carrie Foster. 

The Lincoln Retired School Personnel (LARSP) organization will accept applications for the NARSP  scholarships. After applications are reviewed, the LARSP review committee will select two semifinalists, and those applications will be sent to NARSP. Those applications will be reviewed with the other semifinalists from the 14 local units across Nebraska for the awarding of two scholarships. Notification of the scholarship recipients will be on or before Aug. 1.

Deadline for the receipt of completed applications is April 12, 2019.

Applications and additional information may be requested contacting one of the co-presidents of the local unit: 

Pam Ford                                                                                              

402-483-2790                                                                                        

prford46@gmail.com                                                       

Jan Stamper

402-853-4872

jstamper@inebraska.com

Posted on February 06, 2019


Employees honored for 25 years of service

The following employees have achieved the goal of 25 years of professional service to the youth of Lincoln and Lincoln Public Schools. They were honored at the Jan. 8 Lincoln Board of Education meeting.

Kari Amen

Molly Baird

Christopher Baum

Stephanie Boesiger

Traci Boothe

Anica Brown

Cynthia Brown

Jacqueline Burmeister

Melissa Cochrane

Kelly Cockle

Joel Cornwell

Janet Creech

Lora Curtis

Gary Czapla

Kathy Dawson

Sherri Day

Kevin Deutsch

Douglas Dickeson

Denise Ebeler

Chantel Ehrenfried

Kimberly Flamme

Bradley Gilbreath

Jeffrey Hansen

Jonathan Heithold

Mary Herrington

Dennis Hershberger

Mary Hiller

Shelly Hillis

Nancy Hoppe

Tom Houchen

Ko Inamura

Kristin Johnson

Marjorie Kneifl

Carry Koebernick

David Leader

Amy Lipins

Paula McClung

David Medina

Anthony Meints

Mary Mitchell

Jennifer Motschenbacher

Amy Moyer

Todd Noble

Margaret Odgers

Lisa Oltman

Carole Owen

Anthony Quattrocchi

Debra Rasmussen

Bobbi Roesler

Phillip Rudebusch

Ronald Schinkel

Lisa Schmutte

Scott Schwartz

Daniel Sheridan

Brendon Sibley

David Smith

Sarah Smith

Grayson Spomer

Lynn Strack

Sherri Svoboda

Susan Townsend

Amanda Williams

Posted on January 16, 2019


Formal Scottish Rite recognition Friday for Southwest teacher

Every fall Lincoln Public Schools gathers together and officially honors the latest winner of the Scottish Rite Distinguished Teacher of the Year, and Friday the school district formally recognized Terry Abrahams, longtime English teacher at Lincoln Southwest High School.

“This is a highlight of the year for us, an opportunity to recognize fantastic work,” said LPS Superintendent Steve Joel.  “This is about honoring a teacher who demonstrates the highest proficiency of excellence in the classroom, and the school … But this is about more than content, it’s about kids and relationships. It’s about mentoring younger teachers.  It’s about giving back to your profession.  That’s what great teachers do, and nobody does it better than Terry Abrahams.” 

Connie Duncan, president of the Lincoln Board of Education, noted: “Terry builds relationships with students, gets to know their stories so she can meet their needs … She values every student for who they are …. She creates a family with her staff and makes sure they are taken are of – professionally and personally.” 

Abrahams was first honored as the 2018 Scottish Rite Distinguished Teacher of the Year during a surprise ceremony at the school last spring, but Friday her portrait was officially added to the Scottish Rite photo gallery at LPS District Office – and Abrahams was presented with an official portrait.   Abrahams taught 14 years at Lincoln Northeast High School before joining Southwest 15 years ago. At Southwest, Abrahams serves as department chair and has taught everything from English 11, for students who struggle with literacy, to AP Literature. In all, she’s dedicated 40 years of her life to teaching.

Abrahams thanked family, friends and colleagues: “I am so honored to receive this award…but this is not just about me, we don’t do this alone …

I’ve just been so lucky to be surrounded by terrific people who have helped me grow … and to work in a district that is committed to teacher growth.” 

Bruce Wood, with Scottish Rite, noted that much has changed over the years, “but the classroom teacher is still the heart of the education process – and Lincoln Scottish Rite will continue to recognize excellence among classroom teachers.” 

Scottish Rite is one of the most prestigious awards given to an LPS teacher and comes with a cash prize of $5,000.   In 1964, Scottish Rite in Lincoln recognized the need to acknowledge a teacher in LPS who merited special acknowledgement for his or her dedication to students.

Posted on November 17, 2018


LPS announces new Director of Accounting and Payroll

Lincoln Public Schools announced this week that Kelli Ackerman will be the new Director of Accounting and Payroll for LPS.  Ackerman is currently the Business Manager for Holdrege Public Schools and Treasurer of the Holdrege Public Schools Board of Education.

Ackerman has both private and public professional experience.  Previously she worked at Tagge Engineering Consultants as well as Allmand Bros. Inc., both in Holdrege, and, prior to that – served as Business Manager for Arapahoe Public Schools. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration at Kearney State College. 

“Kelli brings 25 years of experience leading school district finances to LPS – and will be a tremendous addition to our school district,” said Liz Standish, associate superintendent of Business Affairs for LPS. “She is known throughout the state for her strong expertise and wealth of knowledge.  In addition, Kelli is recognized as a service-orientated leader.  She received the Nebraska Council of School Administrators Distinguished Service Award in 2017.  Kelli served as President of the Nebraska Association of School Business Officials in 2013-2014 and currently serves on the Public Employee Retirement Board and Board of Directors for Nebraska Public School Advantage.” 

Ackerman will follow Jill Pauley, who is retiring from LPS at the end of 2018.

Posted on October 02, 2018


LPS Staff: VNA immunization clinics for staff

The Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) will return and will be offering immunizations for employees and their families.
 
Please click Here Registration Information and details regarding cost, dates, times and locations.
 
Note: Flu mist will be available this flu season.  See the LPS staff letter provided in link above for more details.
 
If you experience difficulty registering from the LPS staff letter accessed above, please go directly to the VNA site by clicking Here.

Posted on August 24, 2018


LPS Staff: Annual Benefit Enrollment dates and instructions

Greetings Lincoln Public Schools Staff,
 
Below is a quick reminder of benefit information that is important for you and your family.  Please read through!

 

All new and current Lincoln Public Schools employees must enroll online for benefits during the period of Monday, August 13, 2018 (first day of school) to Thursday, August 23, 2018.  (This does not pertain to substitute employees or hourly employees such as mentors.)

 

Annual Enrollment Dates/Instructions:
 
  • August 13-23:  The enrollment period for all new hires and benefit eligible employees will begin on Monday, August 13 and will end at midnight on Thursday August 23.  YOU WILL NOT HAVE ACCESS TO THE ENROLLMENT SITE BEFORE AUGUST 13TH.
  • Instructions:  To access the online enrollment system 1) go to www.lps.org  2) click on the STAFF tab 3) on the STAFF CENTER PAGE, you will scroll down to the bottom of the page next to the weather and click on Benefits Enrollment.  Instructions on how to enroll are located there as well.
  • Be prepared with names, dates of birth, social numbers and address for dependents( spouse, children under age 26) as well as beneficiaries (for death benefit as well as any life insurance you elect).  This will simplify the process.  
  • This an open enrollment for health and dental insurance for employees, spouses and dependents.  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.  Health Care Reform eliminated the pre-existing condition requirements.
  • 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).
  • Good news...no rate changes!!
  • If you are newly benefit eligible, you will have the opportunity to enroll in disability as well as life insurance.  Please read carefully! 
  • If you are no longer newly benefit eligible and you want to enroll in disability and/ or life, you will have to complete an Evidence of Insurability (EOI) Form and return to Madison National by September 1.  This form is located in the enrollment system as well as on the benefits website.   The coverage will start if/when the application is approved by Madison National.  
  • Pay attention to what coverage(s) you select.  If you are adding or declining the coverage, you will need to select the appropriate button. 
  • Review, Print and/or save your confirmation so you remember what you elected!
Effective Dates of Coverage: 
  • Any benefits added during this period will begin September 1.  (New employees may have a different effective date - addressed in your Benefit Orientation session.)  Premiums are deducted from your September 30th paycheck for September coverage. 
  • If you choose to drop coverage that you had, that benefit will end on August 31, 2018. 
Online Help Sessions Are Available :
  • Location:  District Office, 5905 "O"Street, Lower Level, Lab A
  • Time:  3:30 pm to 5:30 pm
  • When: Wednesday, August 15Thursday, August 16Monday, August 20, and Tuesday, August 21
  • Come and go as you please!
OR
  • Location:  Transportation Department
  • Time:  9:00 - 11:00 A.M.
  • When: Wednesday, August 15Thursday, August 16Monday, August 20, and Tuesday, August 21
  • Come and go as you please!
A cancer/accident representative will be available should you have any questions regarding these voluntary coverages. You are welcome to schedule an appointment if you wish via the attached link.  
 
Want to learn more about your health and dental insurance?
 
Greg Long, Educator's Health Alliance Representative,  will be at the District Office, Board Room 100, Thursday, August 16 from 4:30 - 5:30 P.M. You are welcome to attend and bring a spouse as well!
 
 
Flexible Spending Account Information:
 
  • If you are currently participating in the flexible spending account FSA ( healthcare or dependent care) it is time to spend down.  The plan year ends August 31, 2018.  Employees have 90 days or until November 30th to turn in receipts for reimbursement and processing.  (Don't wait until the last minute due to the Thanksgiving Holiday!)
  • If you have not have been on the Payflex website to view your account or set up your direct deposit, please make sure to do so.  You can do this via your smart phone or computer.  The instructions are on the LPS website, just type in keyword "benefits" or copy and paste -  https://home.lps.org/hr/benefits-for-certified-and-classified-staff/
  • The Payflex website is www.payflex.com 
  • If you are planning to elect a health flex plan this year, the max is $2,650 and dependent care is $5,000 in a household.
  • This a a full service FSA and can not be matched with an HSA.
  • For Maintenance employees and Administrators considering the High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) and an HSA starting on January 1 :  You are not able to enroll in an HSA if enrolled in our FSA. 
 
This email message does not pertain to substitute employees or hourly employees such as mentors.
 
If you are participating in NPERS, your statement should be 
arriving soon.  Please view. 
Your benefits team:
 
Laurie Oxley
Employee Benefits Specialist
Phone:402-436-1593
 
Julie McAndrew
Employee Benefits Specialist
Phone:402-436-1595
 
Nancy Harter
Benefits Secretary
Phone:402-436-1578

 

Posted on August 10, 2018


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