EdNotes Express

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

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

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



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: Joe Wright, director of Security at LPS, and a representative from Lincoln Police Department.

Jan. 14 - "Ensuring Students Have Adequate Learning Environments"

Update on the 10-year LPS Facility and Infrastructure Plan. Presenter: Liz Standish, associate superintendent for Business Affairs

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 July 31, 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


Annual Staff Training for Suicide Awareness/Prevention

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

PLEASE NOTE:  A new software program has been chosen by the Nebraska Department of Education as a training tool that will cover this requirement for all school districts in Nebraska. This is not the same software that has been used in previous years. The new training program is called “Building a Suicide-Safe School Community” and is provided by the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center.

As in the past, employees will take this training individually online. Those required to take the online training include: nurses, teachers, counselors, school psychologists, administrators, social workers, health technicians, treatment nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, sign language interpreters, service coordinators, SLPs, Bilingual Liaisons, Youth Development Team members, Campus Security, Early Childhood Student Parent Advocates, and paraeducators (including SEMs).

If you are a classified employee, you must complete the training during your normal work hours when classes are not in session. If you are not a classified employee, you can complete the training when you choose.

Three online training modules addressing prevention and postvention are available through this program. Nebraska educators must complete 2 of the 3 modules to satisfy their annual suicide prevention training requirement.

  • Module 1 – Includes a brief summary of what to look for and how to respond to a student who may be experiencing thoughts of suicide. (30 minutes) All staff listed above will take this module.

  • Module 2 – Includes information about how to integrate a student back to the classroom or school activity environment after a suicide attempt; and what you need to know and do in the classroom or school activity after a death by suicide. (30 minutes)  All teachers, occupational therapists, physical therapists, sign language interpreters, service coordinators, SLPs, Bilingual Liaisons, Youth Development Team members, Campus Security, Early Childhood Student Parent Advocates, and paraeducators (including SEMs) will take this module.

  • Module 3 – Includes information about how to plan for and manage reintegration of students who have attempted suicide; and how to plan for and manage learning environments after a death by suicide. (30 minutes)  All administrators, counselors, social workers, psychologists, psychotherapists, and health office staff will take this module.

*All groups are expected to have the training completed by end of the day on October 16, 2018.

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

GETTING STARTED

To get started with the training software program, please use this link: http://ppck12training.unl.edu/

You will register for an account at this site. You must have at least a “medium” strength password or you will not be allowed to proceed. Once you’ve registered, you will receive a confirmation email, which will direct you to the program’s page.

District Office staff: When choosing a location the district location is at the end of the list.

Make sure to click on the “Have a voucher?” link and enter the code BSSSC.

Once you’ve registered, you will receive a second email with a link to your personal training dashboard. Please bookmark this page for future reference: https://ppccourses.unl.edu/my-courses/

Click on “Building a Suicide-Safe School Community” to begin your training.

If you receive the following error message - “You must enroll in this course to access course content” - please ignore. It has not had any impact on the ability to complete the course and access certificates. This is a bug that NDE is working on fixing.

As you work through the training it will display a completion percentage. This percentage reflects the percentage completed if you were doing all 3 modules.

COMPLETION

Once you have completed 2 of the 3 modules, remember to save to your computer the certificate of completion after each module. Certificates are available to print or save to your computer after each module is completed (If you have trouble saving, print as a pdf and save to your computer or print a copy and scan it to your email). Please email those certificates as an attachment to the designated person in your building/department.  

If you have issues with login or software:

  • Email ppccourses@unl.edu or call 402-472-5678 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. This is NOT an LPS software solution, so we are not able to assist with any technical issues.

If you have any questions that are not related to the software or logging in, please contact Russ Uhing at ruhing@lps.org or by calling 402-436-1650.

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

Posted on August 09, 2018


LPS to livestream all six high school graduation ceremonies

Lincoln Public Schools is proud to announce that all six high school graduations on Sunday, May 27, will be livestreamed on the LPS website.

Those interested in viewing the livestream can log on to the district’s website - www.lps.org - and click on the special graduation page. Each high school will have their own stream that will start broadcasting at least ten minutes before the ceremony’s scheduled start time.

“Families most often want to celebrate their student’s achievement in person, but we also recognize there are circumstances that sometimes prevent extended family members from attending the event,” said Pat Hunter-Pirtle, director of secondary education. “We are proud to bring this opportunity for everyone to participate and recognize the hard work and accomplishment of these young people.”

For more about graduation, go to https://home.lps.org/graduation/

Posted on May 14, 2018


City of Lincoln, Lincoln Public Schools: Safe and Successful Kids in our Community

The city of Lincoln and Lincoln Public Schools are coming together with the goal of: Safe and Successful Kids in our Community. To meet this goal they are proposing multifaceted action that covers increased security, mental health resources and proactive measures. 

Here are the facts.   

What this initiative would fund: 

  • Protective measures: Establish additional School Resource Officers to cover LPS middle and elementary schools, and one additional threat assessment officer.
  • Preventive measures: Increase mental health services with one additional LPS social worker and additional student therapist services.
  • Proactive measures: Increase leadership and staff at Community Learning Centers (CLCs) to provide a safe place for students before and after school as well as academic and enrichment opportunities that lead to success for students; and enhanced learning opportunities focused on STEAM programs (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) for CLC clubs and after school activities.

What is a JPA:

  • A new political subdivision created between existing sub-divisions that serves the purpose of supporting and overseeing a unique effort – with a shared mission.
  • In this case, a response to address unique challenges where two sub-divisions have shared and integrated interests.
  • A JPA has a separate operating board made up of elected officials from both sub-divisions (the city and school district).

Funding:

  • This initiative will generate an estimated $2 million in the first year of existence with a 1-cent city property tax levy.

Posted on April 26, 2018


New principals named at three LPS middle schools

Lincoln Public Schools Tuesday proudly announced three new middle school principals.

“We welcome three new principals who will serve at Schoo, Park and Scott middle schools,” said Jane Stavem, associate superintendent for Instruction at Lincoln Public Schools.  “These leaders know the importance of strong middle schools as part of the transitional years between elementary and high school and are eager to assume their new roles.”

Congratulations to:

Cedric Cooper
Cedric Cooper
Principal, Schoo Middle School

Cooper will serve as the new principal at Schoo Middle School. He is currently principal at Torrington High School in Torrington, WY. Cooper worked previously for Avenue Scholars in Omaha and was a teacher at Omaha Northwest High School. He earned his Bachelor's degree from Montana State University and his Master's degree from Doane University.

Charlotte Everts
Charlotte Everts
Principal, Park Middle School

Everts will serve as the new principal at Park Middle School. She is currently associate principal at Goodrich Middle School, and prior to her role as associate principal she was instructional coordinator at Goodrich and a teacher at Lefler Middle School. Everts earned her Bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and her Master's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Marco Pedroza
Marco Pedroza
Principal, Scott Middle School

Pedroza will serve as the new principal at Scott Middle School. He is currently associate principal at Lincoln Southwest High School, and has previously served as instructional coach at Schoo and teacher at Southwest.  Pedroza earned his Bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and his Master’s degree from Doane University.

Congratulations to our new principals!

Posted on April 17, 2018


Highlights of 4/16 Lincoln Board of Education Work Session

The Lincoln Board of Education held a Work Session Monday, April 16, at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, focused on the proposed Joint Public Agency.

The Lincoln Board of Education held a Work Session Monday evening at Lincoln Public Schools District Office to specifically discuss the proposed Joint Public Agency for safety, security and success of students.

The proposed JPA represents a collaborative effort between the city and school district presenting multifaceted, comprehensive action that covers increased security, mental health resources and proactive measures (that would include increased funding for Lincoln Community Learning Centers).

LPS Superintendent Steve Joel started the meeting by offering some history about Community Learning Centers, which began in 2000 with CLC sites at four LPS elementary schools funded through the Foundation for LPS.  The Foundation conducted a feasibility study in the following year, which set the groundwork for $2.1 million in federal grants that allowed LPS and community partners to soon expand to nine additional sites and hire two district-wide coordinators.

Joel explained further milestones:  In 2004 LPS and community partners began to look at developing a long-term sustainability plan for CLCs – and by 2010 there were 24 CLC sites at LPS schools, while discussion continued about possible sustainability.  Since 2016 the CLCs have been working on and developed a strategic plan and established “success quality indicators” that will be implemented at all CLC sites next school year – but had still not found sustained funding.

“The Parkland shooting elevated interest in school security and safety once again …and created a different conversation for us,” Joel said.  “We determined at that point, if we could include safety and security…. perhaps all governing bodies could find enough value to approve and move forward … This is a way to strengthen the partnership between the city and LPS and with non-profits … in improving school safety and student academic achievement, packaged in a proactive, preventive and protective approach.” 

LPS officials walked through key elements of the structure, organization, programming and financing of the proposed JPA – then Board members made comments and asked questions. 

Barb Baier specifically praised a proposed memorandum of understanding related to the portion of the JPA that deals with funding additional School Resource Officers - that would underline that the LPS school disciplinary policy will come first and foremost, “so we would not go and encourage a situation where we would have lots of referrals to juvenile justice…. This strengthens what we already do so well at LPS…going and helping some of our community members understand that we are still doing our job with school discipline…I think we are on the right path.”

She also said she likes: Rules of governance that make JPA decisions require agreement from both the city and school district; inclusion and coordination with non-profit organizations; and the ability to fund CLCs into the future.

Connie Duncan also praised the rules of governance, “because they require equal representation” from both the city and school district.

Kathy Danek noted that one significant value of the JPA was that “funds are designated and dedicated” to ensure supports for safe and successful kids – stressing that she is “comfortable with the way this is set up.”

She specifically praised the preventive nature of the proposal quoting the old adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” 

Annie Mumgaard asked for input from middle school principals about possible SROs – which drew a response from John Neal, currently assistant superintendent for Governmental Relations and Administration, but also a former middle school principal when there were SROs in LPS middle schools.  Neal said the presence of a shared SRO in a middle school provided an element of law enforcement, but much more, the SRO served in the role of mentor for students, as well as an educational role in classrooms and community.  

Lanny Boswell had a long series of questions about the proposed JPA contract, noting he “loves the concept of creating an entity that brings in more than the mayor and superintendent and director of the Community Foundation … bringing in more people from participating nonprofit parties is a fantastic idea.”  He added that he wished the non-profits had more than advisory power.   

Boswell also referred to some debate over the better way to fund these measures, a JPA or an interlocal agreement: “I think that’s what we need to wrestle with over the next three weeks.”

Don Mayhew said he believes there is widespread support for what the JPA would fund, but there is a misunderstanding among some community members that somehow it would cost less to fund additional SROs through an interlocal as opposed to a JPA. “And that is simply not the case…I don’t think it’s realistic to hire more SROs, and not to have it somehow cost more…. A JPA is not more intrinsically expensive.”

He also reiterated the intention of both the city and school district to lower their levies to make the JPA “levy neutral” for the coming year 

Going forward:  First reading for the proposed JPA will be at the regular Board of Education meeting at 6 p.m. on April 24, and second reading is May 9.  The Board also plans a Public Forum on the proposed JPA at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 30, at Lincoln Southwest High School.

To view the complete Work Session meeting, go tohttps://videocenter.lps.org/videos/

For more information about the JPA: https://www.lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=12783

Posted on April 16, 2018


Highlights of 4/16 Super Commons meeting

A Super Commons meeting was held on Monday, April 16, at Lincoln Public Schools District Office. The Super Commons meeting combines three government groups: The Lincoln City Council, Lincoln Board of Education and Lancaster County Board of Commissioners. 

School Safety and Security

“Kids are the most valuable resource in this community,” according to Lincoln City Council member Carl Eskridge, summarizing the theme of the Monday morning meeting of the “Super Commons” – a meeting of three governmental groups: The Lincoln City Council, Lincoln Board of Education and Lancaster County Board of Commissioners. 

The meeting was highlighted by a series of presentations, as well as robust conversation and questions about a wide variety of aspects of safety and security in our community and schools.

To view the complete meeting, go to: https://videocenter.lps.org/videos/video/3366/

Below is a summary of the major presenters at the Monday Super Commons.

School Security Processes at LPS: Joe Wright, LPS Director of Security

Lincoln Public Schools approaches school safety in a comprehensive manner with many components, Wright said, “with our best efforts to make each building as safe as it can be.”

He noted some of those major components:

  • The LPS Operations staff has ensured the design and construction of secure entrances at many LPS schools – and LPS is currently conducting a study to develop a plan to ensure all schools have those entrances.
  • The six traditional high schools have a comprehensive camera system.
  • Schools at LPS are well designed and maintained, and creating that kind of environment contributes to staff and students behaving “in a professional and safe manner.”
  • Cyber security is in place to protect online data and students.
  • Training from Human Resources is provided to support LPS staff members in creating positive relationships, partnerships with parents, student success, and a strong culture of “see something, say something.”   These are all elements that contribute to student success, Wright said, “and student success is about student safety.”
  • Social and emotional supports for students are in place that include programs for anti-bullying and suicide prevention, as well as a skilled Crisis Response Team.
  • Special education programming is at work in every school, as well as programs for students with additional behavior support needs.
  • Guidelines for crisis response across the district are based on the consistent Standard Response Protocol, and each school has developed a crisis response plan.
  • School Resource Officers are assigned to each of the six traditional high schools.
  • The LPS school district and the city of Lincoln have “become a hub of threat assessment knowledge.”

School Resource Officers in Lincoln: Tom Casady, Public Safety Director; Jeff Bliemeister, Lincoln Police Chief

Casady reported that School Resource Officers (SRO) have been at LPS for 30 years – and there are currently six SROs in Lincoln, one at each of the traditional high schools. “If you want to know about the value of these officers, ask your principals – ask your staff – ask your students.” 

He explained that the cost of one SRO runs about $100,000 – currently split with the city covering 65 percent of that cost and LPS, 35 percent.

Bliemeister noted that the number of officers has varied, but the focus remains the same, “an emphasis on relationships, shared experiences in the classroom, another positive influence in the lives of kids.”

He explained that it takes time to recruit, vet and provide the advanced training necessary to prepare new SROs, a process that can take up to six months. If funding for new SROs is approved soon, he said there is the potential of having six new SROs working inside schools by January of 2019 – but likely no more than six in that time frame. 

School Resource Officers in Lancaster County School Districts: Terry Wagner, Lancaster County Sheriff

Wagner said there are four major school districts outside Lincoln in Lancaster County: Raymond Central, Malcolm, Waverly and Norris public schools – and they utilize SROs using the same funding formula as the city and LPS.

Threat Assessment/Threat Management: Bliemeister and Wright

Bliemeister and Wright agreed that threat assessment and threat management are powerful tools in providing preventative measures for student safety and security – though LPD has no full-time police officer specifically assigned to threat assessment. LPS has two security officials who have a wide array of security tasks and are nationally certified in threat assessment.

Joint Training and Exercising with LPS, Lincoln Fire and Rescue, and Lincoln Police: Casady, Bliemeister

Casady explained that over the past six years efforts have significantly increased to improve community preparedness in the event of a critical incident or mass casualty situation – through training and exercising that includes full-scale exercises and smaller more low-key training.

“We are much better prepared today through training and exercising than six years ago.”

Juvenile Diversion Services: Sara Hoyle, Director, Lancaster County Human Services; Chris Turner, Lancaster County Chief Deputy Attorney

Hoyle and Turner said the juvenile justice system in our community has been analyzing system-wide data for the past 20 years – following potential disparities related to detentions and arrests.

They specifically talked about Project Restore, a program to help young people who are charged with assault or disturbing the peace – with supports such as mediation, diversion, etc. – and help keep those youth out of the juvenile court system.

Community Learning Centers’ Role in School Safety: Lynn Johnson, Director, Lincoln Parks and Recreation; Nola Derby-Bennett, Director of Lincoln Community Learning Centers

Community Learning Centers are now located in 26 LPS school sites, serving an estimated 7,000 students and offering “safe, purposeful activities before and after school – and summer months – during times when students might otherwise not be supervised,” Derby-Bennett said. In addition, she noted, students involved in CLCs achieve higher on standardized assessment than students who are not in CLCs.

“CLCs provide that continuum of support that our community has said – loudly and clearly – that we need for the safety and security of our students.”

Johnson summarized what would be offered by the proposed Safe and Successful Kids Joint Public Agency (JPA) – a collaborative effort between the city and school district presenting multifaceted, comprehensive action that covers increased security, mental health resources and proactive measures (that would include increased funding for CLCs).

“Some people are asking why a JPA,” Johnson noted, listing three major reasons:

  • A JPA creates designated, dedicated funding for student supports.
  • A JPA creates a coordinated and focused process for the school district and city to work together.
  • A JPA offers increased transparency and public discussion.

Mental Health Services in our Community: Katie McLeese Stephenson, Executive Director, Child Guidance Center; Dennis Hoffman, Executive Director, Lincoln Family Service

Mental health is one of the most difficult issues in the school setting, making it so beneficial when mental health services can be offered in schools, McLeese Stephenson said.

She said that currently – through community agencies – mental health services are offered to students at 13 elementary schools, seven middle schools and all high schools, but that not all schools are served, and those that are served have waiting lists. “We are only serving a small slice of students who have needs.” 

Hoffman continued: “We really believe that mental health services can prevent crisis from becoming more of an issue.”

 

Posted on April 16, 2018


Highlights of 4/10 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education held a regular meeting on Tuesday, April 10 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St.

The Board will hold its next regular meeting on April 24 at 6 p.m. 

Chromebook purchases approved

The Lincoln Board of Education Tuesday approved the purchase of Chromebooks in the next annual instructional technology cycle for Lincoln Public Schools students.  

Research has indicated that a slightly costlier version of the touch screen is a good investment for high school students. So for the next cycle of purchases, the Board approved touch Chromebooks for ninth grade students (3,300) who will use them throughout their high school years, and standard Chromebooks for sixth grade students (3,000) who will use them for their middle school years. 

The approval awarded a $1.9 million contract to Dell EMC Inc. 

School meal prices

The Board Tuesday approved a ten-cent increase in new prices for LPS meals next school year:

  • Elementary Student Full-Priced: $2.45                       
  • Middle School Student Full-Priced: $2.65                      
  • High School Student Full-Priced: $2.80   

Southeast, Southwest swimming pools

The Board of Education approved modifications of the swimming pools at Southeast and Southwest high schools – contracting with Cheever Construction Company to make modifications related to filtration and environmental pool conditions.

Annexed Land

The Board of Education assigns school attendance areas to property newly annexed or platted to the city of Lincoln.  This action establishes school attendance areas prior to the sale of residential lots, allowing purchasers to know what schools their children will attend.

The City of Lincoln has annexed two parcels of land for which the Board Tuesday approved attendance areas. 

  • Wandering Creek, Annexation Ordinance #20627, for 2017-18 school year:  Pyrtle Elementary School, Lux and East.
  • Dominion at Stevens Creek, Annexation Ordinance #20630, for 2017-18 school year:  Meadow Lane Elementary School, Culler Middle School and East.

Public Comment

There were community people who came and spoke at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting in the public comment section of the agenda. To watch the full Board meeting go to the following link and scroll down to Board of Education meetings: https://www.lps.org/video/ 

Staff Celebrations

The Lincoln Board of Education Tuesday recognized:

  • James Blake, LPS K-12 Science Curriculum Specialist, elected President of the National Science Education Leadership Association.
  • Adam Bonesteel, LPS Assistant Director of Athletics and Student Activities, named Nebraska State Activities Association Assistant Activities Director of the Year.

Posted on April 10, 2018


New high school principals announced

Lincoln Public Schools on Wednesday proudly shared the new principals at two LPS high schools.

“We're pleased to announce our two newest high school principals,” said Jane Stavem, associate superintendent for Instruction at LPS.  “They are both experienced leaders in Lincoln Public Schools and are excited to assume these new roles.”

Congratulations to:

Keri Applebee
Northeast High School

Keri Applebee, who will serve as the new principal at Lincoln Northeast High School.  Applebee, currently associate principal at Lincoln Southwest High School, was previously instructional coordinator and guidance counselor at Southwest, and worked at other Nebraska school districts.  She earned her Bachelor degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, her Master’s degrees from UNL and the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and an Ed.S in Educational Leadership from Northcentral University.

Ryan Zabawa
North Star High School

Ryan Zabawa, who will serve as the new principal at Lincoln North Star High School.  Zabawa, currently principal at Park Middle School, previously served as associate principal at North Star, curriculum facilitator for Health/Physical Education, and team leader and teacher at Goodrich Middle School.  He earned his Bachelor degree from the University of Nebraska-Kearney, and his Master’s degree from Doane University.

Posted on March 28, 2018


Highlights of 3/27 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

Highlights of 3/27 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education held a regular meeting on Tuesday, March 27 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The Board will hold its next meeting on April 10 at 6 p.m. 

Lessons in Chromebook purchases

Lincoln Public Schools officials Tuesday recommended a slightly costlier Chromebook for purchases in the next annual technology cycle for high school students – finding that the investment pays off long-term in reduced repairs. 

This year all LPS students grades 2-12 have access to an individual Chromebook – and the popularity of these gadgets in education settings continues to grow, leading to innovations in the Chromebook operating system. Most notably is the proliferation of Chromebooks featuring a touch screen and "2-in-1" form factor that allow the device to be used as both a standard laptop and tablet.   

Repair data suggest that a more costly touch screen and greater feature set is a good investment for high school students.  So for the next cycle of purchases, LPS officials recommended to the Lincoln Board of Education – adoption of touch Chromebooks for ninth grade students (3,300) who will use them throughout their high school years and standard Chromebooks for sixth grade students (3,000) who will use them for their middle school years.

“We did a lot of work and research to make the technology plan very deliberate and thoughtful,” said Board Vice President Don Mayhew.  “We’ve also been learning…and as a result staff are making slight modifications…We are getting better at this. 

The recommendation would award a $1.9 million contract to Dell EMC Inc.  The Board will vote final approval April 10.

LPS Safety and Security

The Board Tuesday voted ratification of a memorandum of understanding with the Lincoln Police Department.

The agreement would give the Lincoln Police Department access to LPS camera feeds when it is “necessary to protect the health or safety of students or others.” That means in the event of a crisis at one of the LPS high schools, Lincoln police could use a live feed from cameras in the schools.  

“It would make it possible for Lincoln police to utilize our camera system in the event of a crisis,” said Liz Standish, associate superintendent for Business Affairs at LPS.  “This is a great value add. 

Board member Matt Schulte praised the idea: “I see this as an essential tool in the moment of crisis.”

There were community people who came and spoke at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting about safety and security issues. To watch the full Board meeting go to the following link and scroll down to Board of Education meetings: https://www.lps.org/video/ 

School meal prices

The LPS Nutrition Services Department operates a school meal program that provides breakfast and lunch meals to LPS students. Annually, the Board of Education reviews and approves school breakfast and lunch prices – and Tuesday heard a proposed ten-cent increase for meals next year.  The Board will vote final approval April 10.

Prices suggested for next school year – which all represent a dime increase:

  • Elementary Student Full-Priced: $2.45                       
  • Middle School Student Full-Priced: $2.65                      
  • High School Student Full-Priced: $2.80                      

The issue of equity in school lunch pricing is addressed in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 – mandating that School Food Authorities (SFA) annually review their paid lunch revenue to assure compliance with the paid lunch equity requirement.  The average paid lunch price requirement by USDA is $2.83, compared to the LPS weighted average price for lunch at $2.49.  That means our price is 30 cents lower than USDA standard. Because the district’s price was less than the paid lunch equity requirement, the district is required to adjust and increase its lunch prices for 2018-19.  The required increase for paid lunch meals for the 2018-19 school year is 10 cents.  

Modifications of Southeast, Southwest swimming pools

The Board of Education heard proposals to make mechanical modifications of the swimming pools at Southeast and Southwest high schools.  The recommendation would be to contract with Cheever Construction Company to make modifications related to filtration and environmental pool conditions. The Board will vote final approval April 10.

Annexed Land

The Board of Education assigns school attendance areas to property newly annexed or platted to the city of Lincoln.  This action establishes school attendance areas prior to the sale of residential lots, allowing purchasers to know what schools their children will attend. 

The city of Lincoln has annexed a parcel of land – Himark Estates, Annexation Ordinance #20620 – which automatically brings this property into LPS. Attendance areas approved Tuesday for the 2017-18 school year:  Maxey Elementary School, Lux Middle School and Lincoln East High School.  

The City of Lincoln has also annexed two parcels of land for which the Board considered attendance areas.  Final action for the last two parcels will happen April 10.

  • Wandering Creek, Annexation Ordinance #20627, for 2017-18 school year:  Pyrtle Elementary School, Lux and East.
  • Dominion at Stevens Creek, Annexation Ordinance #20630, for 2017-18 school year:  Meadow Lane Elementary School, Culler Middle School and East.  Final action for the last two parcels will happen April 10.

Staff Celebration

The Lincoln Board of Education Tuesday recognized:

  • Barb Johnson: Named Teacher of the Year by National Council of Exceptional Children's Division of Visual Impairments and Deafblindness.
  • Lincoln High School: Named a School of Opportunity by the National Education Policy Center, represented by Lincoln High Principal Mark Larson.

Posted on March 27, 2018


March LPS Community High School Task Force at Northeast

The Lincoln Public Schools Community High School Task Force held its final monthly meeting on Thursday at Lincoln Northeast High School, wrapping up committee work to study high school enrollment, priorities and facilities – and starting to finalize recommendations.

“As you review recommendation proposals, here’s what I would like you to ask yourself today,” said Liz Standish, associate superintendent for Business Affairs, who is facilitating the Task Force: “Is this a recommendation that makes sense, that I could stand by?  And, is there a recommendation I was expecting to see – but don’t?”

Thursday, committee members circulated among stations to review proposed recommendations from all the committees:

Subcommittee on Focus Programs/Innovative Delivery: “Great conversation, increased understanding of challenges....in order to focus on career ready and college ready…and what tools are needed.”

Subcommittee on Traditional High School/School Size: “We are getting close to our working statements and will be ready to move ahead.”

Subcommittee on City Growth/Capacity Needs.  “We realize the amount of growth we’re seeing in Lincoln…with a lot of facts and figures presented, and we will base our recommendations on those numbers.”

Subcommittee on Community/Student/Diversity: “Our subcommittee plays a unique role in that we impact all the other subcommittees. We will be asking for feedback from all of the other groups.”

“This is important work,” LPS Superintendent Steve Joel told the group Thursday.  “You’ve done a great job thinking about this in a deep and robust way.  This is a critical question that needs to be answered and planned for…I thank you for your commitment and diligence.” 

The Task Force’s recommendations will be presented at the April 24 Lincoln Board of Education meeting.  After that, the Board and superintendent will take those recommendations and opt for a variety of follow-up choices:  Community quadrant meetings for a high school conversation, presentations to community groups, and eventually a new community group that will examine not just the need for high school facilities but for all LPS facilities.

The Task Force – made up of about 70 community citizens and LPS educators – was formed to investigate community options and priorities for serving high school students.  They met monthly throughout the school year at all six public high schools.

Last year, LPS served 11,677 high school students, and by 2021, LPS is expected to have 13,344 high school students.  Last year three high schools had enrollments of more than 2,000 students: Lincoln North Star High School, Lincoln Southeast High School and Lincoln High School – and this year Lincoln East High School joined that list. 

Task Force Co-Chairs:

  •       Gloria Eddins
  •       Bob Rauner

Date

Location

Time

September 28th, 2017

East High School

1000 S. 70th Street

Meeting 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Optional Tour at 3:30 p.m.

October 26th, 2017

North Star High School

5801 N. 33rd Street

Meeting 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Optional Tour at 3:30 p.m.

November 30th, 2017

Southeast High School

2930 S. 37th Street

Meeting 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Optional Tour at 3:30 p.m.

January 25th, 2018

Lincoln High School

2229 J Street

Meeting 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Optional Tour at 3:30 p.m.

February 22nd, 2018

Southwest High School

7001 S. 14th Street

Meeting 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Optional Tour at 3:30 p.m.

March 22, 2018

Northeast High School

2635 N. 63rd Street

Meeting 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Optional Tour at 3:30 p.m.

 

Posted on March 22, 2018


Thinking about a career in School Libraries? Funding for coursework now available at the University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO)

Do you love teaching children and/or young adults? Do you engage your students in research and inquiry? Do you love sharing books and literature with your students? Do you love technology and social media?

If so – school libraries could be in your future!

The University of Nebraska Omaha has funds from the NE Dept of Education's 2018-2019 Enhancing Excellence in Teaching (EETP) award to support your journey towards a school library endorsement in its Nationally Recognized graduate School Library Endorsement program. The award would pay part of your tuition for classes during Fall 2018/Spring 2019/Summer 2019 academic year.
UNO courses are offered in a family and work friendly format that combines online experiences with on-campus sessions which allows students from all over Nebraska and the Midwest to join our profession.


Questions? Contact Dr. Becky Pasco at rpasco@unomaha.edu or at 402-580-5480.

Posted on March 21, 2018


March LPS Learning Lunch: Developing Young Men and Women

Learning to become responsible young men and women – are lessons for students at Huntington Elementary School – lessons featured at the March Learning Lunch for Lincoln Public Schools this month: Tuesday, March 27, at LPS District Office, 5905 O St.

Called “Developing Young Men and Women” Huntington Principal Rik Devney will talk about empowering young people on the cusp of their teen years. The program begins at 12:15 p.m. 

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

The rest of the 2017-18 season:

  • Tuesday, April 24: A Great Year of Achievement, highlighting LPS special education programs at Sherrill, Nuernberger and Yankee Hill Education Centers – Jane Stavem, associate superintendent of Instruction at LPS.
  • Tuesday, May 15: Making Music, UKE can do it! Come try your musical talents with ukuleles, Lance Nielsen, curriculum specialist for Music at LPS.

Posted on March 16, 2018


Lincoln Public Schools asks for budget feedback

Lincoln Public Schools invites community members into the development process of the 2018-19 budget in a variety of ways.

The Lincoln Board of Education has scheduled a budget work session for 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 22, at LPS District Office, 5905 O St. 

Two Community Budget Forums are scheduled in June specifically for community questions, comments and feedback:

  • Budget Forum, 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 12, Board Room, LPS District Office. 
  • Budget Forum, 7 p.m. Thursday, June 14, library media center, Lincoln Northeast High School, 2635 N. 63rd St.

A second Lincoln Board of Education work session is set for 4:30 p.m. June 26, at LPS District Office. 

And a public hearing and budget forum is set 6-6:45 p.m. on August 14 at LPS District Office.  

For more information on the budget: http://home.lps.org/budget/

For more info: 

Mary Kay Roth/Director, Communications/Lincoln Public Schools
mkroth@lps.org
402-436-1609/402-617-0021
www.lps.org

Posted on March 16, 2018


New principals named at five LPS elementary schools

Lincoln Public Schools on Friday proudly announced new principals at five elementary schools.

“These five new principals are great examples of people who have both the skills and the heart for leading our schools and the important work that happens in our classrooms every day,” said Jane Stavem, associate superintendent for Instruction at LPS. 

Congratulations to:

Chris Boden - McPhee Elementary

Chris Boden

Chris Boden who will be the new principal at McPhee Elementary School. Boden, currently assistant principal at Elliott Elementary School and previously coordinator at Elliott, also taught at Clinton, Cavett and Prescott elementary schools.  She earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and her Master’s degrees from Doane College.

Stephanie Drake - Morley Elementary

Stephanie Drake

Stephanie Drake who will be the new principal at Morley Elementary School.  Drake is now assistant principal at Wysong Elementary School and, prior to that at LPS, served as coordinator at Zeman Elementary School and taught at Adams Elementary School. She earned her Bachelor’s degree at Buena Vista University, and her Master’s degrees at Concordia University and Doane College.

Lynn Fuller - Roper Elementary

Lynn Fuller

Lynn Fuller who will be the new principal at Roper Elementary School.  Fuller is currently assistant principal at West Lincoln Elementary School.  She has also served as Intervention Project Manager for the School Improvement grant at Elliott Elementary School, technology coach for LPS, and a teacher at Everett.  She earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Master’s degree from the University of Florida in Gainesville, and her Doctorate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  

Kellie Joy - Lakeview Elementary

Kellie Joy

Kellie Joy who will be the new principal at Lakeview Elementary School.  She is currently instructional coordinator for Lakeview and previously was instructional coach and co-chair of Continuous School Improvement for Clinton Elementary School, taught at Clinton and served as a Family Literacy Grant Facilitator. She earned her Bachelor’s degree at Nebraska Wesleyan University and a Master’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Cheryl Richter - Fredstrom Elementary

Cheryl Richter

Cheryl Richter who will be the new principal at Fredstrom Elementary School. Richter is now coordinator at Fredstrom and, prior to that, was a teacher and team leader at Fredstrom. She earned her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and her Master’s degrees from Doane College.

Posted on March 09, 2018


National School Social Worker Week

March is National Social Worker Month and March 5-9 is National School Social Worker Week.

Meet Susan Baker, social worker at North Star High School. Baker has served as a social worker at Lincoln Public Schools for over 32 years and will be retiring at the end of this school year. We sit down with Baker to hear what a school social worker does and the impact it has on students. (approximately 10 minutes)

Posted on March 08, 2018


‘You’re the best teacher ever’

Highlights from the Thank You Teacher Ceremony

 Five-year-old Julian Romo Gonzalez, his perfectly combed hair peeking out above the podium, leaned into the microphone and said five words - “You’re the best teacher ever” - that set the perfect tone of gratitude for Tuesday’s breakfast ceremony honoring the 2018 Lincoln Public Schools Thank You Teacher award winners.  

Gonzalez was talking to Andrea Woita, his teacher at Kooser Elementary School who won the pre-school to grade two category. The five winning teachers, their students, family members and fellow educators gathered at the Governor’s Mansion for this year’s event, where they heard inspiring stories of the impact that a great teacher can have on a student’s life.

Lauren Cochran, Gonzalez’s mom, read her son’s letter nominating Woita, including the following excerpt: “You can see the passion she has for her job and all her little friends every day by their little smiling faces…It’s a great feeling knowing that when I drop him off at school every day, he is in the care of someone that is patient, kind, loving, goofy, exciting and just happy.”

Woita responded in kind: “I know that teaching kindergarten doesn’t sound fun to all people but I know without a doubt that I have one of the best jobs in the whole world. Every day I am greeted with hugs, high fives and smiles and I also get to watch my students become better readers, writers and mathematicians - but most of all, good citizens who are kind to others and accepting of all who enter our classroom.”

Anycia DuBray-Bivens, now a fourth-grader at Belmont Elementary School, nominated Tim Oehring, her previous teacher at Saratoga Elementary School and the winner of the grades three to five category. Her nomination letter, which she read Tuesday, included the following: “Mr. O is the best teacher ever. He makes kids think that school is fun. He helped me to know that I am smart…He is my hero, he’s my Batman, he’s my super teacher.”

Oehring thanked his colleagues, parents and wife, then turned to DuBray-Bivens and said, “It’s been an absolute joy to watch you grow and I can’t wait to see what you accomplish next.”

Lincoln High English teacher Deborah McGinn won this year’s high school category. Her nominating student, freshman Samantha Roblyer, said McGinn gave her the confidence to “break out of the shell” she had built around herself as a person who stutters - even pushing her to join the school’s slam poetry team. “She has encouraged me to overcome the obstacle put in front of me as a result of my speech, she’s introduced me to new opportunities, and she’s also taught me the importance of caring about the world and those around you.”

McGinn responded, “I want you to know that I respect you as a young woman who is strong...and a young woman who truly knows her heart. You are so honest and it is so easy to work with you.”

This year’s middle school winner, science teacher Molly Hoffman from Irving, was nominated by former student Thea Lahey, now a student at Lincoln High. “I learned to love science in your class, and you gave me the chance to exceed my own expectations of how academically inclined I was,” Lahey said. “You sparked an interest of science in me, and showed me that a strong woman can be passionate about science and succeed.”

Hoffman said she will cherish Lahey’s letter. “It will literally carry me to the end of my career. It will be a constant reminder that my service as an educator goes far beyond this community - it will extend worldwide because of students like you who are kind, good at heart, intelligent and set goals. You will go far and do great things and as a result I get to go with you on your journey.”

Lynn White, a former counselor at Lakeview Elementary School, won this year’s category for retired teachers. The entire staff of Lakeview nominated White and several of her former colleagues were on hand Tuesday morning. Samantha Wessels, a special education resource teacher at Lakeview, talked about the “heart work” done by White. “She had the special ability to make everyone feel like they were the most important person in the room and was eager to help in any way she could.”

White thanked the Lakeview staff and everyone else she worked alongside during her 38-year teaching career. “It’s not too many who can look back...and say they loved every minute - waking up, going to work and being a part of a community. I accept this not only for myself but all of my colleagues that I have had the joy of working with.”

There were more than 550 entries for this year’s awards, which are sponsored by Lincoln Public Schools and KFOR/KFRX radio.

LPS Superintendent Steve Joel told Tuesday’s audience that the winning nominations are a powerful reminder “that teaching is the gateway to everything that happens with young people’s lives.”

“These letters are powerful, powerful examples of what’s happening in our schools every single day.”

Here are the highlights from when the teachers found out they were nominated and won:

Posted on March 07, 2018


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.  Lincoln Public Schools is partnering with School Community Intervention and Prevention (SCIP), Bryan Independence Center and the Lancaster Prevention Coalition 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.

The next event in the series will be:
Promoting Healthy Choices
April 26 at 6:30 p.m. 
North Star High School - auditorium

Protecting our youth from at-risk behaviors, such as substance use, takes a community of support.  One of the best ways we can help our kids make healthy choices is to stay informed and be aware of issues that may adversely affect the lives of our youth. 

Amanda Miller, manager of the underage drinking prevention programs for Mothers against Drunk Driving (MADD) will share the Power of Parents Presentation.  MADD’s Power of Parents program empowers parents of middle school and high school students to have ongoing, intentional conversations about the dangers and consequences of underage drinking.  Abbe Edgecombe, SCIP Coordinator for Lincoln/Lancaster County will also share information on emerging youth drug trends in an effort to raise awareness of specific substances of abuse, recognition of drug paraphernalia (including products created specifically to help youth disguise or hide substances of abuse) and the role of awareness, education and community supports in youth substance use prevention. 

Posted on February 28, 2018


Highlights of 2/27 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

Highlights of 2/27 Lincoln Board of Education meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education held a regular meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 27 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The Board will hold its next meeting on March 27 at 6 p.m. 

LPS Safety and Security Update

Student safety continues to be our school district’s top priority, Joe Wright, director of Security at Lincoln Public Schools, told the Lincoln Board of Education Tuesday. Giving a general update about safety and security measures throughout LPS, Wright stressed there are many procedures and systems in place. 

Wright described some of the major LPS safety measures:

  • Regular drills to prepare for a wide range of emergencies, including active threats, gas leaks, fire drills and more.
  • Security cameras at all our major high schools.
  • A solid Threat Assessment/Management Program at LPS, which provides a preventative mindset. For more information: http://home.lps.org/threat/
  • Standard Response Protocol established throughout the district (plain language protocol for emergency situations). For more information: http://iloveuguys.org/srp.html
  • Crisis response plans at each school.
  • Partnering with local law enforcement and safety experts. LPS works closely with the LPS security team and the Lincoln Police Department to continuously evaluate safety protocols and practice with staff and students in the event of an emergency. 

LPS Superintendent Steve Joel said when asked what keeps him awake at nights, he replies: “It’s the safety and security of our students…It is clear this is the biggest and most important work we will do…I’m glad we’re having this conversation now… I have no doubt we will be able to strengthen what we already have.” 

Comments from the Board of Education:

Barb Baier: “We are challenged with balancing the needs of reasonable security measures with the needs of classrooms…and the risk of decreasing the educational values of our schools.”  Baier provided a list of many of the security measures implemented at LPS, but stressed that the commonality among shootings has been “perpetrators who are socially and emotionally isolated.”  She urged building positive relationships with students and a positive school culture, reducing class size so teachers have more time to interact with students, hiring more social workers, counselors and mental health workers. 

Annie Mumgaard noted she had a child in a high school last week who called her with concerns. “I told my child, ‘You are now in the safest place you can be. I know that everything possible is being done to make this the safest place.’”   

Kathy Danek: “The community comments are not falling on deaf ears, we are listening.  I would be happy to talk with any group.”

Matt Schulte said he appreciated the community comments and conversation.  He commended the security team at LPS and investing in mental health of students specifically through the LPS behavioral programs – and made some suggestions for further security measures.  

Don Mayhew: “I know security is not a new topic for LPS…I know that this is something that is very important to the district and has been for a long time.  I also know that when something like Florida happens…it raises so many questions and so many emotions.  I think our parents are rightfully asking…could we doing more?  I appreciate the…constructive dialogue and conversation. I think it is completely appropriate for us to have some broader conversations about best practices that we do.”

Connie Duncan: “I was a teacher…and never once did I ever feel in danger…We want all our teachers and students to feel safe all the time …I feel confident we have the necessary procedures in place...But we may need more conversation.”

Lanny Boswell explained that each of the Board’s standing committees will go forward to review and study the appropriate security issues relevant to those committees: “Security is a multi-faceted issue…We are committed to making schools the safest possible place.”

For more information about general security measures at LPS and frequently asked questions, go to http://home.lps.org/security

For a story about the experienced people in charge of security at LPS: 

https://www.lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=12646

There were community people who came and spoke at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting about safety and security, firearms, mental health and more. To watch the full Board meeting go to the following link and scroll down to Board of Education meetings: https://www.lps.org/video/ 

One-Year Salary Package Approved for LPS Educators

The Board of Education Tuesday approved an agreement with teachers for a one-year contract for the 2018-19 school year, developed by the Lincoln Education Association (LEA) and Lincoln Public Schools.

This proposal recognizes the valuable contributions our teachers make to the school district to maintain the LPS legacy of excellence in teaching and learning, while also making sure the school district serves as good stewards of taxpayer funds – according to Steve Joel, superintendent of LPS; Rita Bennett, president of the LEA; and Lanny Boswell, president of the Lincoln Board of Education. 

The agreement – voted on and approved by LEA membership – provides a total compensation package increase of 2.68 percent for the 2018-19 school year, which includes salary increases of 3.07 percent, increases in Social Security and retirement costs – and no increase in health insurance premiums. Each full-time employee will receive a $1,675 salary increase. The base salary for a new teacher will increase by $1,175 to $45,156.

“One of the most important tasks we do is hire professional educators,” said Board member Kathy Danek.  “This agreement is a token of my great appreciation for every teacher at LPS.” 

Annexed Land

The Board of Education assigns school attendance areas to property newly annexed or platted to the city of Lincoln.  This action establishes school attendance areas prior to the sale of residential lots, allowing purchasers to know what schools their children will attend. The city of Lincoln has annexed a parcel of land – Himark Estates, Annexation Ordinance #20620 – which automatically brings this property into LPS. Attendance areas proposed for the 2017-18 school year:  Maxey Elementary School, Lux Middle School and Lincoln East High School.  The Board will take final action at the March 27 meeting.

Student Celebration

The Lincoln Board of Education heard a special Student Celebration Tuesday, recognizing the value of science fairs and promoting the 23rd Zoetis-LPS-GSK Science Fair set for March 1. 

Speaking were:

  • Rochelle Settles, elementary science specialist at Fredstrom Elementary School – and director of the Zoetis-LPS-GSK Science Fair
  • Audrey West, 8th grader at Moore Middle School
  • Jack McCarter, 5th grader at Meadow Lane Elementary School
  • Jeter Sanders, 4th grader at Meadow Lane

  

Posted on February 27, 2018


February: LPS Community High School Task Force at Southwest

The Lincoln Public Schools Community High School Task Force held its monthly meeting on Thursday at Lincoln Southwest High School, continued committee work to study high school enrollment, priorities and facilities – and heard an update on school security.  

The Task Force’s final recommendations will be presented at the April 24 Lincoln Board of Education meeting, according to Liz Standish, associate superintendent for Business Affairs, who is facilitating the Task Force. Going forward after that, the Board and superintendent will take those recommendations and could take a variety of steps such as: Community quadrant meetings for a high school conversation, presentations to community groups, and eventually a community group to examine not just the need for high school facilities but for all LPS facilities. 

The Task Force – made up of about 70 community citizens and LPS educators – was formed to investigate community options and priorities for serving high school students.  They are meeting monthly throughout this school year at all six public high schools.

Before the Task Force divided into committee work, they heard an update about LPS safety and security from Joe Wright, director of Security at LPS.

Wright directed them to a wealth of information about LPS security at the website on the LPS site: http://home.lps.org/security – where community members can find information about frequently asked questions and the general LPS safety and security protocol. 

Wright pointed out several of the major LPS security measures:

  • Regular drills to prepare for a wide range of emergencies, including active shooters.
  • A solid Threat Assessment/Management Program at LPS. For more information: http://home.lps.org/threat/ (See something of concern, tell the school district.)
  • Standard Response Protocol established throughout the district (plain language protocol for emergency situations). For more information: http://iloveuguys.org/srp.html
  • Partnering with local law enforcement and safety experts.

On Thursday, the Task Force also continued to work in four subcommittees.

  • ·      Subcommittee on Focus Programs/Innovative Delivery: “Great conversation, increased understanding of challenges....in order to focus on career ready and college ready…and what tools are needed.”
  • ·      Subcommittee on Traditional High School/School Size: “We are getting close to our working statements and will be ready to move ahead.”
  • ·      Subcommittee on City Growth/Capacity Needs.  “We realize the amount of growth we’re seeing in Lincoln…with a lot of facts and figures presented, and we will base our recommendations on those numbers.”
  • ·      Subcommittee on Community/Student/Diversity: “Our subcommittee plays a unique role in that we impact all the other subcommittees. We will be asking for feedback from all of the other groups.” 

Last year, LPS served 11,677 high school students, and by 2021, LPS is expected to have 13,344 high school students.  Last year three high schools had enrollments of more than 2,000 students: Lincoln North Star High School, Lincoln Southeast High School and Lincoln High School – and this year Lincoln East High School joined that list.

Task Force Co-Chairs:

  • ·      Gloria Eddins
  • ·      Bob Rauner

Task Force meetings: 

Date

Location

Time

September 28th, 2017

East High School

1000 S. 70th Street

Meeting 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Optional Tour at 3:30 p.m.

October 26th, 2017

North Star High School

5801 N. 33rd Street

Meeting 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Optional Tour at 3:30 p.m.

November 30th, 2017

Southeast High School

2930 S. 37th Street

Meeting 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Optional Tour at 3:30 p.m.

January 25th, 2018

Lincoln High School

2229 J Street

Meeting 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Optional Tour at 3:30 p.m.

February 22nd, 2018

Southwest High School

7001 S. 14th Street

Meeting 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Optional Tour at 3:30 p.m.

March 22, 2018

Northeast High School

2635 N. 63rd Street

Meeting 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Optional Tour at 3:30 p.m.

 

Posted on February 22, 2018


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