EdNotes Express

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

If you have information you would like to include, please email Mindy Burbach at mburbach@lps.org.

Highlights of 7/27 Board of Education Regular Meeting and Budget Work Session

Budget Work Session

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a Budget Work Session on Tuesday, July 27, at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St.

Lincoln Board of Education Regular Meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, July 27, at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. 

First Reading

Pandemic and Emergency Powers Resolution

In March 2020, the Board approved its original pandemic and emergency powers resolution to provide the ability for prompt school district reactions to the evolving COVID-19 coronavirus so as to not prevent, hinder or delay necessary action in coping with the emergency.

In June 2020, the Board terminated that resolution and approved a new pandemic and emergency powers resolution, which approved a reopening plan for the fall of 2020 and among other things also provided for emergency powers as long as members of the Board of Education were reasonably informed of such actions taken pursuant to [such] authority.

In light of changing circumstances and the new 2021-22 Safe Return to School Plan, it’s recommended that resolution should now also be terminated.

The Board will vote on the recommendation at its next meeting.

Board of Education and Superintendent’s Annual Goals and Priorities

Every year the Board evaluates the superintendent and develops priorities for the coming school year. At Tuesday’s meeting, the following 2021-22 Board and superintendent goals and priorities were presented for consideration: 

  1. By April 1, 2022, develop and present to the Board a comprehensive learning acceleration plan with specific strategies/interventions, such as increasing instructional time, to maximize Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III funds to improve outcomes for all students.
  2. By Sept. 1, 2021, present to the Board specific measurables to assess disparities in student learning outcomes, students’ school experience, and the composition of certified personnel. By April 1, 2022, present to the Board a plan to reduce these disparities and achieve more equitable outcomes.

Proposed Agreements with Maintenance Employees Association and Transportation Employees Association

The Board has recognized the Maintenance Employees Association and Transportation Employees Association as the exclusive bargaining agents to negotiate salary, fringe benefits and working conditions for members of their employee groups. LPS has negotiated with these employee groups and a tentative agreement has been reached with LPS for the 2021-22 school year.

The proposed agreements are as follows:

Maintenance
The total package for 2021-22 is a 1.58% across the board increase. The total package includes a salary increase of 1.51%, increases in Social Security and retirement costs, and a 2.96% increase in health insurance premiums.Four Alternative Network Options (health insurance) will be available for all maintenance employees beginning in the fall 2021.

Transportation
The total package for 2021-22 is 1.83%. The total package includes a salary increase of 1.51%, increases in Social Security and retirement costs - and a 2.96% increase in health insurance premiums. Four Alternative Network Options (health insurance) will be available for all Transportation employees beginning in the fall 2021.

The Board waived second reading and approved the proposed agreements.

U.S. Department of Justice Federal Grant - STOP School Violence Grant Program

LPS is proposing to write a competitive application to the Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance, within the U.S. Department of Justice, as part of the Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Grant Program. This program funds school safety projects that address one of two purpose areas: (1) To provide training to school personnel on preventing student violence against others and themselves, including how to respond to mental health crises; or (2) To develop and implement threat assessment and/or intervention teams, which must coordinate with law enforcement agencies and school personnel.

LPS utilizes a four-person threat assessment team, which responds to potential threats identified in over 60 schools and programs, making it crucial that school personnel clearly understand how to identify and respond to potential threats and how to work collaboratively with the district team.

The district will apply for grant funds for multiple training opportunities:

  • Threat identification training for all secondary school staff, including focus programs, over the course of three years.
  • Specialized threat management training for smaller, school-based threat assessment teams in secondary buildings, which will increase their competency for supporting the work of the district threat assessment team, including development of common language and protocols.
  • Supplemental training for the district threat team, which includes Lincoln Police Department and Blue Valley Behavioral Health staff.
  • Training for clinicians in secondary schools on WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) programming to support students returning to school after a mental health community placement.
  • Training on trauma and behavioral supports for IIn School Suspension Supervisors, Campus Supervisors and Student Support Technicians.

The Board will vote on the grant application at its next meeting.

Interlocal Cooperation Act for School Resource Officers and Threat Assessment Officer

It’s proposed that LPS enter into an agreement with the City of Lincoln for providing 12 school resource officers and a threat assessment officer for Sept. 1, 2021, through Aug. 31, 2022.  This agreement may be renewed for additional one-year periods upon mutual written agreement between LPS and the City of Lincoln. The resource officers are assigned to LPS middle and high schools and the threat assessment officer works district-wide. The officers assist with the education of students, assist staff and facilitate communication between LPS and the police department.

This would be an expenditure of $533,169 from the LPS general fund. The cost per officer per year payable by LPS cannot be greater than the cost the prior year, compounded by a growth limitation of 5 percent per calendar year. The increase for 2021 is 4.95 percent.

The Board will vote on the proposed agreement at its next meeting.

New High Schools Construction Projects

The Board waived second reading and approved five construction project bids for the new high schools.

Standing Bear High School Landscaping and Seeding Package

  • Nebraska Nursery & Color Garden (Lincoln, Neb.): $328,946

Standing Bear High School Electrical Package

  • Gregg Electric Co. (Lincoln, Neb.): $652,300

Both bids were the lowest received. This will be paid for through the 2020 Bond Fund.

New High Schools Expansion Control Package

The Board waived second reading and voted to accept a bid of $75,924 from Williams Restoration Co. (Papillion, Neb.) for an expansion control package for the two new high schools under construction. It was the only bid received and will be paid for through the 2020 Bond Fund.

New High Schools Site Irrigation Package

The Board waived second reading and voted to approve a bid of $321,782 from Millard Sprinkler/HEP, Inc. (Omaha/Lincoln, Neb.) for irrigation work for the two new high schools under construction. It was the lowest bid received and will be paid for through the 2020 Bond Fund.

Architecture and Engineering Services for New High School Athletics Complexes

In June 2019, the Board approved a contract with The Clark Enersen Partners, now known as Clark & Enersen, for design and construction administration services for the two new high schools.
 
The project scope under the contract has been adjusted to include basic services for design and construction administration work on new activities complexes at the high school sites. Fees for the adjusted basic services are not to exceed $830,000. 

Second Reading

Transportation Plan

Every year district policy is reviewed and recommendations for changes are solicited from schools and departments. Transportation schedules are prepared and a summary of needs is balanced against staff and equipment available to the school district. On Tuesday the Board approved the transportation plan that was presented at the June 22 meeting.

For the 2021-22 school year - like past years - the LPS Transportation Department will transport only those students who qualify under provisions of state law, including:

  1. Elementary and middle school students residing more than four miles from their school attendance area;
  2. Special education students whose Individual Education Plan (IEP) require transportation as essential to learning;
  3. Students who have been moved for the benefit of the district to relieve overcrowding, due to major facility renovations, efficiency in use of buildings and/or staff.

In addition, the Board may approve other transportation areas based on unique circumstances and for the purpose of equalizing school enrollments and facilitating programs.

Policy Updates

Special Education - 7000 series

Periodically, changes in federal or state law requires the Lincoln Board of Education to review existing policies to ensure compliance with these changes. Following each session of the Nebraska Unicameral, the Board’s policies are reviewed to identify the policies that need to be deleted, revised, or added. Updates to Policy 7000 are recommended to keep the policy aligned with the Nebraska Administrative Code. On Tuesday the Board approved updates.

From the Superintendent

In the Superintendent’s Report, Steve Joel informed the Board that LPS continues to meet with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department to get the latest information and recommendations as we plan for students and staff to return to school. 

Closed Session

The Board adjourned into closed session for litigation and legal advice.

Public Comment

A total of 32 citizens addressed the Board during two seperate public comment periods. You can view their comments as part of the full meeting video here.

Glimpses of LPS

We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights the amazing things taking place in our schools. Tuesday’s video featured the LPS summer JumpStart program. 
 

Posted on July 27, 2021


Meeting notices for Lincoln Board of Education - July 27, 2021

The following public meetings of the Lincoln Board of Education will take place on Tuesday, July 27, at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. 

Board of Education Work Session - 4:30 p.m.

Board of Education Regular Meeting - 6:00 p.m.

The meetings will take place in the boardroom. Members of the public and media may access the meetings via live video streaming or by physically attending the meetings, which are subject to all national, state and local limitations on public gatherings associated with COVID-19. The agendas can be found here: lps.org/board.

Overflow accommodations may need to be implemented to ensure the health and safety of all in attendance. 

Participation by Citizens

The function of the regular meetings of the Lincoln Board of Education is to conduct the business of the Lincoln Public School District, as distinguished from providing an open citizens’ forum. The Board believes public attendance and participation, when appropriate to the business at hand, is beneficial to the work of the Board and models the importance of civic engagement and civil discourse to the community’s children. In keeping with this belief, the Board encourages and provides an opportunity for public comment, recommendation and advice through the Public Comment agenda item at its regularly held Board meeting, public hearings on important issues facing the District and through many different forms of community engagement.

No signs, posters, placards, etc. shall be affixed to the walls, doors, etc. of the Lincoln Public Schools District Office or any room therein, except by LPS staff in connection with District business and then only with permission of the Superintendent or designee.

No sign, placard, or poster which is carried by hand shall be permitted in the Lincoln Public Schools District Office building or any of its rooms.

In keeping with Board Policy 8420:

  1. Persons speaking during Public Comment will be called forward individually by the Board Chair to the location identified for such purpose. 
  2. A time limit of five minutes will be allotted for any speaker. At the discretion of the chair, the speaker may be allotted additional time. Board members may share, address or consider comments from the public during public comment, at the end of public comment or when related business is on the agenda.
  3. Each individual speaking to the Board will be required to identify himself or herself prior to giving public comment. A "Record of Appearance" card is provided for this purpose.
  4. Persons wishing to appear will be heard in the order in which the Chair of the meeting determines appropriate.
  5. In cases where more than one person wishes to speak on the same topic, their presentations to the Board may, at the discretion of the chair, be grouped together by topic.
  6. If the number of people wishing to speak under the public participation portions of the agenda is large, the chair may rule that a public hearing be scheduled or the discussion be limited on the issue in question.
  7. Persons speaking to the Board during public comment may make printed materials available to the Board but may not use any other form of media.

If at any time persons appearing before the Board exceed the time limitations set forth in this policy or on the agenda or if persons appearing before the Board or who are present at the Board meeting or public hearing become abusive in language or behavior, it shall be the responsibility of the chair to declare that person or persons out of order and to refuse permission to continue to address the Board, require a change in behavior and may require the person or persons to leave the premises of the Board meeting.

Posted on July 23, 2021


LPS releases the 2021-22 LPS Safe Return to School Plan

The community can now find the full 2021-22 LPS Safe Return to School Plan on the LPS website: lps.org/safereturn.

After meeting with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) and reviewing the feedback gathered, it was determined there would be no major revisions to the protocols and requirements that were proposed on July 1.

“While we are highly concerned about the recent rise in positive COVID-19 cases in our community, our plan follows the recent guidelines released by the CDC while addressing the current risk of spread and test positivity rate in our community,” said LPS Superintendent Steve Joel. “If the risk of spread and test positivity rate in our community continues to increase prior to school starting, we will collaborate with the LLCHD to adjust our protocols and requirements to mitigate the risk of transmission in our schools.”

Those adjustments could include changing the face covering protocols for the entire school district, or a specific school building, program, classroom or learning environment. 

Joel added, “We agree with the CDC that students belong back in school and we will take the necessary measures to ensure we can safely continue with in-person learning.” 

Staff, students, families and the community had an opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed 2021-22 LPS Safe Return to Schools Plan until July 9. LPS received 1,036 submissions during the response period. An analysis of the feedback was conducted by staff from Education Service Unit #18 and they identified 965 relevant responses that were coded into three categories: agreement with the plan, requests for more restrictive safety measures, and requests for less restrictive safety measures. Below is a breakdown of the responses:

Category

Responses

Agreement with the plan

116

Requests for more restrictive safety measures

438

Requests for less restrictive safety measures

411

Total Relevant Responses

965

“As you can see, the feedback we received was pretty close to being evenly divided between those who thought we were too strict and those who thought we were not strict enough,” Joel said. “We will continue to collect feedback on any changes as the school year progresses.”

Lincoln Public Schools will continuously review and update the 2021-22 Safe Return to School Plan throughout the school year. This work will be ongoing as new research emerges and more guidance is provided to the school district from the LLCHD, the CDC, the Nebraska Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Education.

Any changes to the plan, protocols and requirements will be communicated ahead of time through the LPS website, email and social media. 

Below are the minor revisions and a few of the small additions and clarifications included in the website update:

Volunteers, Visitors and Families at School

During regular school hours, volunteers, visitors and families are welcome in our school buildings as long as they either wear a face covering at all times or provide proof that they are fully vaccinated.

For volunteers, visitors and families who are fully vaccinated face coverings are OPTIONAL. For volunteers and visitors who are not fully vaccinated face coverings are REQUIRED

At events that take place outside of the normal school day, vaccination status is based on a self-identified system. For volunteers, visitors and families who are fully vaccinated face coverings are OPTIONAL. For volunteers, visitors and families who are not fully vaccinated face coverings are REQUIRED. 

All guests must perform the self-screening for symptoms prior to entering a building and adhere to the face covering protocols.

Vaccinations

The COVID-19 vaccine is not required, but strongly recommended for anyone over the age of 12.

The 2021-22 LPS Safe Return to School Plan will go into effect on Monday, August 2, 2021. Until then, LPS will continue with the summer protocols announced on May 21.

Posted on July 15, 2021


Matzen named new principal at Southwest High School

Lincoln Public Schools announced Monday that John Matzen will be the next principal at Southwest High School effective immediately. Matzen will follow Mike Gillotti, who has accepted a position with the school district in Bettendorf, Iowa.

Matzen has served as associate principal at Southwest since 2018. Prior to that, he spent 13 years at Lincoln North Star High School, where he was a business teacher, instructional coordinator and associate principal.

Matzen earned his Master of Education in Educational Leadership from Doane College and his Certification in Business Education, Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

“John’s energy and passion for Southwest make him a great fit for this new leadership role,” said Matt Larson, associate superintendent for instruction. “He has an ideal mix of teaching, administrative and leadership experience that will continue to serve the Southwest community well.”

Eric Weber, associate superintendent for human resources, added, “John brings a wealth of knowledge and experience within LPS, and this will be a great opportunity for continued growth at Southwest.”

Posted on July 12, 2021


Online Budget Forum June 24th at Noon

Virtual Forum Thursday, June 24, at noon

Participate via Zoom
Join the forum to provide feedback and ask questions using this link.

Watch on Facebook
This forum will also be streamed live on the LPS Facebook page.

The Lincoln Board of Education held a work session to view the preliminary proposed budget for the 2021-22 school year. Associate Superintendent for Business Affairs Liz Standish presented the information, which includes input from various staff, community and parent groups. You can view the entire work session here.

The 2021-22 budget development process faces many challenges, as the current three-year forecast carries a great deal of volatility and uncertainty. LPS prudently builds the annual budget using a three-year forecast to minimize the negative impact of drastic swings in revenues. 

“The goal of the three-year forecast is sustainability and stability as major swings in revenue are steadied through the utilization of cash flow,” Standish said. “This year’s process proves difficult, as there are many unknowns still associated with the pandemic. We are also seeing major fluctuations in student enrollment, property valuations, State Equalization Aid and rising cost.”

LPS is looking again to make reductions to keep the budget relatively flat, representing the second consecutive year of budget reductions. That requires a reduction of approximately 1.8% in every area to balance the planned budget growth through salaries, benefits, fixed costs and the start-up cost for new schools. The goal is to ensure programming and staffing decisions are sustainable and stable over time.

Standish added, “We developed a preliminary proposed budget plan that emphasizes keeping reductions as far away from the classroom as possible while also focusing on the district’s goal of strengthening equity, diversity and inclusion.”

Over the past year, LPS received three authorizations under Federal Relief Funding and planned use for the funding was detailed in the February 23 Board meeting (click here to view a video of the presentation). The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER I) provided aid to reopen and operate school during the pandemic, including remote learning for the 2020-21 school year. ESSER II provided aid to focus on learning acceleration through the summer, while also providing interventions and supports. LPS is currently working on a grant application for ESSER III funding that will be accounted for in a separate fund with rules and limitations on how it can be used. 

This is a residential property revaluation year, and property valuation increases in 2021 will lead to major reductions in State Equalization Aid for 2022-23. In the past, LPS used the residential revaluation year to add to the cash reserve - a practice that offsets the negative impact of State Equalization Aid dropping significantly the following year. Since 2019, LPS experienced a significant drop in State Equalization Aid - approximately $30 million. It is possible that state equalization could drop $10-20 million next year.

The LPS preliminary proposed budget totals about $463 million, an expenditure budget increase of one-half of one percent. Currently, the preliminary budget proposal provides a decrease of one penny in the overall property tax levy. 

Other highlights of the 2021-22 preliminary proposed budget include:

  • The Board prioritized keeping cuts as far away from the classroom as possible. Staffing at schools was adjusted to match the drop in enrollment during the past school year.
  • A proposed $9.4 million in reductions include cutting spending on contracted services, equipment and supplies, and eliminating approximately 85 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions through attrition by not filling existing vacancies or not replacing open positions.
  • Reductions were made to offset fixed expenditure increases, which include salary and benefit costs of $6.4 million, and $1.5 million in insurance premiums.
  • Start-up costs for the new elementary school and a new high school opening in the fall of 2022 of approximately $3.8 million.
  • Implementing an extensive reading intervention program at multiple grade levels instead of offering the licensed Reading Recovery Program at first grade will reach more students and save approximately $61,732.
  • Restructuring the gifted facilitator positions to a centralized system will provide more specialized services to more students and save approximately $324,223.
  • Hiring more school nurses to replace health technicians and treatment nurses will provide a reduction of $7,335.
  • Consolidating bus routes provides more efficiency and reduces the budget by nearly $100,000.
  • In 2019-20, LPS ranked 213th out of 244 school districts in Nebraska in per pupil spending - $12,889 per pupil compared to the state average of $13,558.
  • The General Fund Levy will remain at $1.05, but reductions in the Bond Fund Levy and the Qualified Capital Purpose Fund Levy will lower the overall levy one penny to $1.211892 from $1.221966.

LPS continues to rely on a solid process for budget development that includes multiple opportunities for community feedback. There will be two budget forums - one in person and one virtually - with a short presentation and time for community questions, comments and feedback.

  • In-person forum: Wednesday, June 23, 5 p.m. in the LPS District Office boardroom (5905 O St.) This forum will also be streamed live for viewing on the LPS website and the LPS YouTube channel.
  • Virtual forum: Thursday, June 24, at noon, join the forum to provide feedback and ask questions using this link. This forum will also be streamed live on the LPS Facebook page.

Any community group that would like to schedule a presentation on the preliminary proposed budget should contact LPS Associate Superintendent for Business Affairs Liz Standish at 402-436-1636 or by emailing lstandis@lps.org. More information about the LPS preliminary proposed budget can be found on the LPS website: lps.org/about/budget.

Posted on June 24, 2021


Lincoln Board of Education views preliminary proposed budget for 2021-22 during work session

Virtual Forum Thursday, June 24, at noon

Participate via Zoom
Join the forum to provide feedback and ask questions using this link.

Watch on Facebook
This forum will also be streamed live on the LPS Facebook page.

The Lincoln Board of Education held a work session to view the preliminary proposed budget for the 2021-22 school year. Associate Superintendent for Business Affairs Liz Standish presented the information, which includes input from various staff, community and parent groups. You can view the entire work session here.

The 2021-22 budget development process faces many challenges, as the current three-year forecast carries a great deal of volatility and uncertainty. LPS prudently builds the annual budget using a three-year forecast to minimize the negative impact of drastic swings in revenues. 

“The goal of the three-year forecast is sustainability and stability as major swings in revenue are steadied through the utilization of cash flow,” Standish said. “This year’s process proves difficult, as there are many unknowns still associated with the pandemic. We are also seeing major fluctuations in student enrollment, property valuations, State Equalization Aid and rising cost.”

LPS is looking again to make reductions to keep the budget relatively flat, representing the second consecutive year of budget reductions. That requires a reduction of approximately 1.8% in every area to balance the planned budget growth through salaries, benefits, fixed costs and the start-up cost for new schools. The goal is to ensure programming and staffing decisions are sustainable and stable over time.

Standish added, “We developed a preliminary proposed budget plan that emphasizes keeping reductions as far away from the classroom as possible while also focusing on the district’s goal of strengthening equity, diversity and inclusion.”

Over the past year, LPS received three authorizations under Federal Relief Funding and planned use for the funding was detailed in the February 23 Board meeting (click here to view a video of the presentation). The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER I) provided aid to reopen and operate school during the pandemic, including remote learning for the 2020-21 school year. ESSER II provided aid to focus on learning acceleration through the summer, while also providing interventions and supports. LPS is currently working on a grant application for ESSER III funding that will be accounted for in a separate fund with rules and limitations on how it can be used. 

This is a residential property revaluation year, and property valuation increases in 2021 will lead to major reductions in State Equalization Aid for 2022-23. In the past, LPS used the residential revaluation year to add to the cash reserve - a practice that offsets the negative impact of State Equalization Aid dropping significantly the following year. Since 2019, LPS experienced a significant drop in State Equalization Aid - approximately $30 million. It is possible that state equalization could drop $10-20 million next year.

The LPS preliminary proposed budget totals about $463 million, an expenditure budget increase of one-half of one percent. Currently, the preliminary budget proposal provides a decrease of one penny in the overall property tax levy. 

Other highlights of the 2021-22 preliminary proposed budget include:

  • The Board prioritized keeping cuts as far away from the classroom as possible. Staffing at schools was adjusted to match the drop in enrollment during the past school year.
  • A proposed $9.4 million in reductions include cutting spending on contracted services, equipment and supplies, and eliminating approximately 85 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions through attrition by not filling existing vacancies or not replacing open positions.
  • Reductions were made to offset fixed expenditure increases, which include salary and benefit costs of $6.4 million, and $1.5 million in insurance premiums.
  • Start-up costs for the new elementary school and a new high school opening in the fall of 2022 of approximately $3.8 million.
  • Implementing an extensive reading intervention program at multiple grade levels instead of offering the licensed Reading Recovery Program at first grade will reach more students and save approximately $61,732.
  • Restructuring the gifted facilitator positions to a centralized system will provide more specialized services to more students and save approximately $324,223.
  • Hiring more school nurses to replace health technicians and treatment nurses will provide a reduction of $7,335.
  • Consolidating bus routes provides more efficiency and reduces the budget by nearly $100,000.
  • In 2019-20, LPS ranked 213th out of 244 school districts in Nebraska in per pupil spending - $12,889 per pupil compared to the state average of $13,558.
  • The General Fund Levy will remain at $1.05, but reductions in the Bond Fund Levy and the Qualified Capital Purpose Fund Levy will lower the overall levy one penny to $1.211892 from $1.221966.

LPS continues to rely on a solid process for budget development that includes multiple opportunities for community feedback. There will be two budget forums - one in person and one virtually - with a short presentation and time for community questions, comments and feedback.

  • In-person forum: Wednesday, June 23, 5 p.m. in the LPS District Office boardroom (5905 O St.) This forum will also be streamed live for viewing on the LPS website and the LPS YouTube channel.
  • Virtual forum: Thursday, June 24, at noon, join the forum to provide feedback and ask questions using this link. This forum will also be streamed live on the LPS Facebook page.

Any community group that would like to schedule a presentation on the preliminary proposed budget should contact LPS Associate Superintendent for Business Affairs Liz Standish at 402-436-1636 or by emailing lstandis@lps.org. More information about the LPS preliminary proposed budget can be found on the LPS website: lps.org/about/budget.

Posted on June 24, 2021


Highlights of 6/22 Board of Education Regular Meeting and ESU Regular Meeting

Lincoln Board of Education Regular Meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, June 22, at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. We apologize for any audio issues viewers experienced on the LNKTV - Education Channel. The full board meeting with audio can be viewed here.

Staff Celebration

The Board recognized Lincoln Southwest High School Athletic Director Mark Armstrong with a formal resolution. The National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association recently honored Armstrong with its Award of Merit. 

Transportation Plan Presentation

LPS Director of Transportation Ryan Robley presented the school district’s transportation plan for the 2021-22 school year. Every year district policy is reviewed and recommendations for changes are solicited from schools and departments. Transportation schedules are prepared and a summary of needs is balanced against staff and equipment available to the school district.  

For the 2021-22 school year - like past years - the LPS Transportation Department will transport only those students who qualify under provisions of state law, including:

  1. Elementary and middle school students residing more than four miles from their school attendance area;
  2. Special education students whose Individual Education Plan (IEP) require transportation as essential to learning;
  3. Students who have been moved for the benefit of the district to relieve overcrowding, due to major facility renovations, efficiency in use of buildings and/or staff.

In addition, the Board may approve other transportation areas based on unique circumstances and for the purpose of equalizing school enrollments and facilitating programs.

The full plan can be viewed here.

First Reading

Policy Updates

Special Education - 7000 series

Periodically, changes in federal or state law requires the Lincoln Board of Education to review existing policies to ensure compliance with these changes.  Following each session of the Nebraska Unicameral, the Board’s policies are reviewed to identify the policies that need to be deleted, revised, or added. Updates to Policy 7000 are recommended to keep the policy aligned with the Nebraska Administrative Code. You can find the proposed updates here.

Southwest High School Turf Improvements

The Board held first reading for bids received on the installment of turf field improvements at Southwest High School. Services will include site demolition, grading, installation of aggregate base course, installation of storm sewer piping, synthetic turf and other minor improvements. This project will be paid for through the 2020 Bond Fund. There were two bids submitted. It was recommended the project be awarded to the lowest bidder meeting specifications, which was Mid-America Golf & Landscape (Lee's Summit, Missouri) for $922,922.92.

The Board waived second reading and voted to approve the submitted bid.

New High Schools Kitchen Equipment

The Board held first reading for bids received to provide kitchen equipment for the new Northwest and Standing Bear high schools. There were two bids submitted. It was recommended the project be awarded to the lowest bidder meeting specifications, which was Hockenbergs (Omaha) for $3,252,152. This will be paid for through the 2020 Bond Fund.

The Board waived second reading and voted to approve the bid submitted by Hockenbergs.

Proposed Agreements with Administrators, Custodial Employees Association, Nutrition Services Workers Association, Office Professionals Association, Paraeducator Employees Association and Technicians

The Board recognizes the Custodial Employees Association, the Maintenance Employees Association, the Nutrition Services Workers Association, the Lincoln Public Schools Association of Office Professionals, the Paraeducator Employees Association and the Transportation Employees Association as the exclusive bargaining agents to negotiate salary, fringe benefits and working conditions for members of their employee groups. LPS Director of Employee Relations and Personnel Robbie Seybert has negotiated with each employee group. He also has met and conferred with the representatives from the administrator and technician groups. Tentative agreements have been reached between LPS and these employee groups for the 2021-22 school year.

The proposed agreements for each employee group are:

Administrators:

  • The total package for 2021-22 is a 1.65% across the board increase, and includes a salary increase of 1.51%, increases in Social Security and retirement costs, and a 2.96% increase in health insurance premiums.
  • Four Alternative Network Options (health insurance) will be available for all administrators beginning in fall 2021.

Custodial:

  • The total package for 2021-22 is a 1.71% across the board increase, and includes a salary increase of 1.51%, increases in Social Security and retirement costs, and a 2.96% increase in health insurance premiums.
  • Four Alternative Network Options (health insurance) will be available for all custodians beginning in fall 2021.
  • Additional language regarding shift variance pay when work is conducted outside a normally scheduled shift.

Nutrition Services:

  • The total package for 2021-22 is a 1.83% across the board increase, and includes a salary increase of 1.51%, increases in Social Security and retirement costs, and a 2.96% increase in health insurance premiums.
  • Four Alternative Network Options (health insurance) will be available for all Nutrition Services employees beginning in fall 2021.
  • Elimination of Uniform Allowance Stipend and corresponding funds placed in salary increase.

Office Professionals:

  • The total package for 2021-22 is a 1.85% across the board increase, and includes a salary increase of 1.51%, increases in Social Security and retirement costs, and a 2.96% increase in health insurance premiums.
  • Four Alternative Network Options (health insurance) will be available for all office employees beginning in fall 2021.

Paraprofessionals:

  • The total package for 2021-22 is a 2% across the board increase, and includes a salary increase of 1.51%, increases in Social Security and retirement costs, and a 2.96% increase in health insurance premiums.
  • Four Alternative Network Options (health insurance) will be available for all Paraprofessionals beginning in fall 2021.
  • Minor editorial changes to the Paraprofessional Agreement/Salary Schedule were made (years, pay, etc.)

Technicians:

  • The total package for 2021-22 is a 1.62% across the board increase, and includes a salary increase of 1.51%, increases in Social Security and retirement costs, and a 2.96% increase in health insurance premiums.
  • Four Alternative Network Options (health insurance) will be available for all technicians beginning in fall 2021.

Editorial changes (leave, years, pay, deductions, etc.) were made in the agreements/salary schedules/handbooks. These settlements are within the parameters set by the Board.

A complete copy of the proposed agreement/handbook for each of the eight employee groups is available for review at the office of the Associate Superintendent for Human Resources, at LPS District Office, upon request.

The Board waived second reading and voted to approve the agreements at this meeting because there is only one Board meeting in July.

Second Reading

Policy Updates

The Board voted to approve two policy updates.

Policy 4780 - Professional Boundaries and Staff Relationships with Students

Periodically, the Nebraska Unicameral passes laws that impact school district policies or mandate that local school boards adopt specific language into district policy. When this occurs, staff prepare either new policy language that complies with these mandates and presents it to the Board for consideration. 

The noted changes to policy 4780 can be found here.

Policy 6000 Series - Instruction

Periodically, a policy series is reviewed in order to address changes in legislation or regulation from the state or federal government, or to bring policy in line with current practice or intent of the Board. During the 2020-21 school year, the 6000 Policy Series was first reviewed by the instructional directors through the lens of equity with an eye both on identifying any policy that potentially disadvantaged any group of students, as well as looking at ways policies could be more inclusive and reflect the school district’s commitment to equity. The Student Learning Committee and Technology Committee then spent significant time reviewing those recommendations and is recommending a number of changes. 

The noted changes to policies in the 6000 series can be found here.

Interlocal Cooperation Act Agreement Between LPS & ESU 18 for Educational Services

The Board voted to approve an ongoing interlocal cooperation agreement between LPS and Educational Service Unit 18 in which ESU 18 provides services also offered by ESUs elsewhere in the state. Those services include instructional media services, technology and staff development, with LPS reimbursing ESU 18. The renewal period for this agreement is Sept. 1, 2021-Aug. 31, 2024.

Under this agreement, LPS would agree to reimburse ESU 18 for the costs of providing services, not to exceed:

  • 2021-22 : $7 million
  • 2022-23: $7.5 million
  • 2023-24: $8 million

Interlocal Cooperation Act Agreement Between LPS and ESU 18 for Core Services

The Board voted to approve an agreement between LPS and ESU 18 to participate in an ongoing interlocal cooperation agreement in which LPS provides "core services" in the areas of staff development, technology and instructional materials, with ESU 18 reimbursing LPS for those services. The term of the renewal period for this agreement is Sept. 1, 2021-Aug. 31, 2024.

Under this agreement, ESU 18 agrees to reimburse LPS for the costs of providing services, but not to exceed:

  • 2021-22: $4.75 million
  • 2022-23: $5 million
  • 2023-24: $5.25 million

Informational Reports

The Career Academy

Board member Lanny Boswell reported that 623 students are registered for next year, including 200 second-year students. Enrollment is projected to be roughly 650 students next school year. The three most popular pathways, based on applications, are Health Sciences with 164 applicants, Criminal Justice with 62 and Welding with 46. 

From the Superintendent

Superintendent Steve Joel clarified information that was discussed during the public comment period.

  • LPS has not commented on the draft health standards that have been discussed by the Nebraska Department of Education, as they are still in draft form and nothing has been presented as finalized for local school boards to consider. The state board needs to finish their process. The health curriculum that was recently purchased is an update to the current curriculum that is no longer in print and follows LPS health standards that were adopted in 2012. Anyone wishing to view the curriculum can make a request by calling our Curriculum Department.
  • LPS made a commitment to do equity work within Lincoln Public Schools and we are strongly committed to that work now and for the future. At LPS, we teach kindness and having healthy relationships, not Critical Race Theory. Critical Race Theory is a formal academic framework like those found in colleges, not at LPS. 
  • The COVID-19 pandemic is not over and LPS continues to work in collaboration with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department to utilize protocols to mitigate the risk of spread among our staff and students during summer school. That includes the use of face coverings for K-8 students in summer school and vaccines when appropriate. No decisions concerning protocols for the 21-22 school year have been made.

Closed Session

The Board adjourned into closed session for litigation and legal advice after the ESU 18 Regular Meeting.

Public Comment

19 citizens addressed the Board during the public comment period. You can view their comments as part of the full meeting video here.

Glimpses of LPS

We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights the amazing things taking place in our schools. Tuesday’s video featured a joint summer program between the Malone Center and The Career Academy (TCA) that allows students explore various career pathways offered at TCA. 


ESU Regular Meeting

The Educational Service Unit 18 Board met after the Lincoln Board of Education meeting.

Second Reading

Interlocal Agreement with Lancaster County for Educational Services to the Youth Services Center

The ESU 18 Board voted to approve an agreement to partner with Lancaster County to provide educational services to youth detained at the Lancaster County Youth Services Center. Through this agreement, the county agrees that the Youth Services Center will provide appropriate space, time and staff support to assist ESU 18 in providing these services. The county will reimburse ESU 18 for all expenses incurred in providing such services, not to exceed $875,460. The term of the proposed agreement would be Aug. 1, 2021-July 31, 2022.

Interlocal Cooperation Act Agreement Between LPS and ESU 18 for Educational Services

The ESU 18 Board voted to approve an agreement with LPS to participate in an ongoing interlocal cooperation agreement in which ESU 18 provides services also offered by ESUs elsewhere in the state. Those services include instructional media services, technology and staff development, with LPS reimbursing ESU 18. The renewal period for this agreement is Sept. 1, 2021-Aug. 31, 2024.

Under this agreement, LPS agrees to reimburse ESU 18 for the costs of providing these services, but not to exceed:

  • 2021-22 : $7 million
  • 2022-23: $7.5 million
  • 2023-24: $8 million

Interlocal Cooperation Act Agreement Between LPS and ESU 18 for Core Services

The ESU 18 Board voted to approve an agreement with LPS to participate in an ongoing interlocal cooperation agreement in which LPS provides "core services" in the areas of staff development, technology and instructional materials, with ESU 18 reimbursing LPS for those services. The term of the renewal period for this agreement is Sept. 1, 2021-Aug. 31, 2024.

Under this agreement, ESU 18 agrees to reimburse LPS for the costs of providing services, but not to exceed:

  • 2021-22: $4.75 million
  • 2022-23: $5 million
  • 2023-24: $5.25 million

Posted on June 22, 2021


Meeting notices for Lincoln Board of Education and ESU 18 - June 22, 2021

The following public meetings of the Lincoln Board of Education and Educational Service Unit (ESU) 18 will take place on Tuesday, June 22, at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. 

Board of Education Work Session - 4:30 p.m.

Board of Education Regular Meeting - 6:00 p.m.
(ESU 18 meeting immediately following)

The meetings will take place in the boardroom. Members of the public and media may access the meetings via live video streaming or by physically attending the meetings, which are subject to all national, state and local limitations on public gatherings associated with COVID-19. The agendas can be found here: lps.org/board.

Overflow accommodations may need to be implemented to ensure the health and safety of all in attendance. 

Participation by Citizens

The function of the regular meetings of the Lincoln Board of Education is to conduct the business of the Lincoln Public School District, as distinguished from providing an open citizens’ forum. The Board believes public attendance and participation, when appropriate to the business at hand, is beneficial to the work of the Board and models the importance of civic engagement and civil discourse to the community’s children. In keeping with this belief, the Board encourages and provides an opportunity for public comment, recommendation and advice through the Public Comment agenda item at its regularly held Board meeting, public hearings on important issues facing the District and through many different forms of community engagement.

No signs, posters, placards, etc. shall be affixed to the walls, doors, etc. of the Lincoln Public Schools District Office or any room therein, except by LPS staff in connection with District business and then only with permission of the Superintendent or designee.

No sign, placard, or poster which is carried by hand shall be permitted in the Lincoln Public Schools District Office building or any of its rooms.

In keeping with Board Policy 8420:

  1. Persons speaking during Public Comment will be called forward individually by the Board Chair to the location identified for such purpose. 
  2. A time limit of five minutes will be allotted for any speaker. At the discretion of the chair, the speaker may be allotted additional time. Board members may share, address or consider comments from the public during public comment, at the end of public comment or when related business is on the agenda.
  3. Each individual speaking to the Board will be required to identify himself or herself prior to giving public comment. A "Record of Appearance" card is provided for this purpose.
  4. Persons wishing to appear will be heard in the order in which the Chair of the meeting determines appropriate.
  5. In cases where more than one person wishes to speak on the same topic, their presentations to the Board may, at the discretion of the chair, be grouped together by topic.
  6. If the number of people wishing to speak under the public participation portions of the agenda is large, the chair may rule that a public hearing be scheduled or the discussion be limited on the issue in question.
  7. Persons speaking to the Board during public comment may make printed materials available to the Board but may not use any other form of media.

If at any time persons appearing before the Board exceed the time limitations set forth in this policy or on the agenda or if persons appearing before the Board or who are present at the Board meeting or public hearing become abusive in language or behavior, it shall be the responsibility of the chair to declare that person or persons out of order and to refuse permission to continue to address the Board, require a change in behavior and may require the person or persons to leave the premises of the Board meeting.

Posted on June 18, 2021


Lincoln Board of Education continues budget development with work session and public forums

The Lincoln Board of Education continues their work in developing the 2021-22 budget with multiple opportunities for community engagement during the week of June 21. 

First, the Board will participate in a budget work session starting at 4:30 p.m, Tuesday, June 22, at the LPS District Office. The work session will be streamed live on the LNK TV Education channel, the LPS website and LPS YouTube channel.

There will also be two public budget forums held - one in person and one virtually - with a short presentation and time for community questions, comments and feedback.

  • In person forum: Wednesday, June 23, 5 p.m. in the LPS District Office boardroom (5905 O St.) This forum will also be streamed live for viewing on the LPS website and the LPS YouTube channel.
  • Virtual forum: Thursday, June 24, at noon, join the forum to provide feedback and ask questions using this link. This forum will also be streamed live on the LPS Facebook page.

For information about the LPS Budget please contact Liz Standish at 436-1636 or by email at lstandis@lps.org.

Posted on June 16, 2021


Proposed school boundary changes presented to Lincoln Board of Education

The opening of three new schools gives the Lincoln Board of Education the unique opportunity to review projected city growth and adjust current school attendance boundaries to fully and efficiently utilize existing and future building space. The Board Planning Committee presented the proposed school boundary changes to the full Board during Tuesday’s work session.

The Board Planning Committee has been meeting with staff to gather information, look at data and draft a proposal for boundary changes. The next step in the process will be to provide the proposal information to the community through a special webpage on the Lincoln Public Schools website. During that time, community feedback will be gathered through a form on the website and reviewed by the committee. There will also be multiple public forums scheduled in August. Adjustments to the proposal will then be made based on the feedback provided and a final proposal will be  presented to the Board for approval in late August or early September. The boundary changes would not take effect until the 2022-23 school year. 

Planning Committee Chair Bob Rauner commented about the process, “These are proposed boundary changes and are not a full recommendation yet. The public will have multiple opportunities to comment and provide feedback through the webpage and community forums both in-person and virtually.” 

Any students impacted by the proposed changes in 2022-23 would be able to remain in their current attendance center based on Board Policy 5122, which in part states: “Students in attendance at a specific school may be permitted to complete their education at that attendance center if the boundary is changed, placing the family in another attendance center.” In addition, eighth-graders living within the LPS boundaries will still be able to choose any high school to attend their freshman year by January 31 of the previous year. If a high school is not requested by the first day of school, the student will attend their attendance area school.

Below are highlights of the proposed boundary changes for elementary and middle schools presented during the work session. 

Proposed Elementary School Boundary Changes

  • Study Area A (Beattie to Roper): the area between West Van Dorn Street to West Old Cheney Road, and Highway 77 to Northwest 112th Street.
  • Study Area B (Meadow Lane to the new Robinson Elementary): the area between North 84th Street to North 112th Street, and Holdrege Street to north of O Street. 
  • Study Area C (Kahoa to the new Robinson Elementary): the area between North 84th Street to North 98th Street, and south of Adams Street to north of Holdrege Street. 
  • Study Area E (Riley to Meadow Lane): the area between North 56th Street to North Cotner, and south of Holdrege Street to the north of O Street.
  • Study Area F (Huntington to Riley): the area between North 48th Street to North 52nd Street, and south of Huntington Avenue to the north of Garland Street.
  • Study Area H (Adams to Cavett): the area between South 32nd Street to South 40th Street, and south of Yankee Hill Road to an area between Rokeby and Saltillo roads. This will also include an area south of the drainage channel from 27th Street to South 32nd Street.
  • Study Area I (Sheridan to Holmes): the area to the north and east of Normal Boulevard to west of 42nd Street, and between South and Sumner streets.
  • Study Area J (Sheridan to Beattie): the area to the south of Van Dorn Street, between Woodsdale Boulevard and south 27th Street.
  • Study Area P (Pyrtle to Morley): the area between 77th Street to 84th Street, and south of Van Dorn Street to the north of Bancroft Avenue.
  • Study Area Q1 and Q2 (Pyrtle to Maxey): the area between 84th Street to west of 98th Street, and between South Street and Pioneers Boulevard.
  • Study Area S1 (Adams to Roper): the area between West Old Cheney Road and West Pleasant Hill Road, and between Southwest 40th Street and South Folsom Street.
  • Study Area T (Humann to Cavett): the area between South 40th and South 48th streets, and between Yankee Hill and Rokeby Roads.

Proposed Middle School Boundary Changes

  • Study Area A (Park to Irving): the area west of the railroad tracks and South 1st Street between Pioneers Boulevard and Van Dorn Street; including the area between Old Cheney Road and Pioneers Boulevard and from west of the railroad tracks to Southwest 12th Street.
  • Study Area B1 (Scott to Irving): the area between the railroad tracks to Southwest 12th Street, between Old Cheney Road and Pleasant Hill Road and including an area to Denton Road between Folsom Street and the railroad tracks.
  • Study Area C (Scott to Irving): the area between Old Cheney Road and Claire Avenue between South Coddington and Southwest 12th.
  • Study Area L (Pound to Moore): the area south of San Mateo Lane and Union Hill Road to Yankee Hill Road, between 40th to 56th Street.

Planning Committee Member Annie Mumgaard added, “In the Planning Committee, another question that we constantly kept bringing up is the question of equity when you’re looking at boundaries. When you’re creating boundaries, you can do some unintended consequences that can be inequitable, so that always became a question as well - what school is this impacting, how is it impacting the neighborhoods.”

Planning Committee Member Lanny Boswell commented, “Because of our family-friendly transfer policy, students that attend their school currently - even if the boundary moves - your student can still continue to attend the school you’re at, as well as any siblings that would attend concurrently. What that means is that all of these proposals if adopted phase in over time and that is part of the intent - we know as the city continues to grow we continue to make adjustments to make efficient use of all of our facilities to serve students the best we can.”  

Posted on June 09, 2021


Highlights of 6/8 Board of Education Regular Meeting and ESU Regular Meeting

Lincoln Board of Education Regular Meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, June 8, at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. 

Staff Celebration

The Board recognized LPS Director of Athletics and Activities Kathi Wieskamp with a formal resolution during the meeting. The Nebraska State Athletic Administrators Association recently honored Wieskamp as the Nebraska District I Athletic Director of the Year.

Athletics Update

LPS Director of Athletics and Activities Kathi Wieskamp presented her department’s annual report to the Board. The core purpose of LPS athletics, she said, is to offer students education-based opportunities to extend the learning experiences outside the classroom. These experiences aid in the overall growth of student-athletes by promoting academic achievement, skill development, life skills and citizenship. The athletic program creates an environment that strives for excellence by encouraging student participation, supporting academic progress and promoting physical, social, emotional and character development while creating a sense of community.

Wieskamp noted that 27 percent of LPS high school students - 22 percent of females, 31 percent of males - participated in athletics during the 2020-21 school year. She also spoke about how LPS athletics adapted and adjusted during the pandemic, as well as how it’s addressing issues of equity and inclusion and what’s offered in the summer to student-athletes.

Sustainability Update

LPS Sustainability Coordinator Brittney Albin gave the Board an update on the school district’s sustainability efforts, which are guided by the following strategies:

  • Stewardship
  • Instruction
  • Green building design
  • Energy and water
  • Purchasing
  • Transportation
  • Measurement
  • Waste management

Albin shared data that clearly illustrate the benefits of the school’s district’s sustainability work, including the following from 2020:

  • Total pounds recycled: 1,239,743, including 286,408 cardboard products and 333,840 pounds of paper
  • Total pounds reused: 39,234
  • Total pounds to landfill: 1,823,003
  • Diversion rate: 54 percent
  • Total pounds compost: 902,860
  • Radon tests: 1,833
  • Air quality data points: 28,252
  • Water samples taken: 1,343

You can read more about LPS Sustainability, including its work with schools and strategies moving forward, in the 2020 Annual Sustainability Report. The report is available online.

First Reading

Policy Updates

Policy 4780 - Professional Boundaries and Staff Relationships with Students

Periodically, the Nebraska Unicameral passes laws that impact school district policies or mandate that local school boards adopt specific language into district policy. When this occurs, staff prepare either new policy language of edited language that complies with these mandates and presents it to the Board for consideration. 

The noted changes to policy 4780 can be found here.

Policy 6000 Series - Instruction

Periodically, a policy series is reviewed in order to address changes in legislation or regulation from the state or federal government, or to bring policy in line with current practice or intent of the Board. During the 2020-21 school year, the 6000 Policy Series was first reviewed by the instructional directors through the lens of equity with an eye both on identifying any policy that potentially disadvantaged any group of students, as well as looking at ways policies could be more inclusive and reflect the school district’s commitment to equity. The Student Learning Committee and Technology Committee then spent significant time reviewing those recommendations and is recommending a number of changes. 

The noted changes to policies in the 6000 series can be found here.

Interlocal Cooperation Act Agreement Between LPS & ESU 18 for Educational Services

LPS and Educational Service Unit 18 participate in an ongoing interlocal cooperation agreement in which ESU 18 provides services also offered by ESUs elsewhere in the state. Those services include instructional media services, technology and staff development, with LPS reimbursing ESU 18. The renewal period for this proposed agreement is Sept. 1, 2021-Aug. 31, 2024.

Under this proposed agreement, LPS would agree to reimburse ESU 18 for the costs of providing services, not to exceed:

  • 2021-22 : $7 million
  • 2022-23: $7.5 million
  • 2023-24: $8 million

The Board will vote on the proposed agreement at its next meeting.

Second Reading

Naming of New High School in Southeast Lincoln

The Board voted to approve that the new high school to be built in southeast Lincoln be named Standing Bear High School.

A committee of 10 community members (Becky Dunder, Halley Kruse, Richard Meginnis, Amanda Morales, Cindy Ryman Yost, Alynn Sampson, Kamryn Sannicks, Deb Schorr, Felecia Welke and Ed Zimmer) and three Board members (Bob Rauner, Lanny Boswell and Don Mayhew) solicited and reviewed suggestions for names of the new high school to be built in south Lincoln near 70th Street and Saltillo Road. Over 200 names were suggested by more than 600 individuals. The committee met over the course of several weeks to discuss the submissions and make a recommendation to the Board.

The committee unanimously recommended that the new school be named Standing Bear High School. Standing Bear (1829-1908) was a chief of the Ponca Tribe when the tribe was forcibly removed from its homeland in Nebraska. When Standing Bear returned to Nebraska to bury his son, he was arrested and held for trial. Standing Bear prevailed and was declared a "person" according to law. He and his followers were free to return to their homeland. However, they had no home to return to, as all of the tribe’s land had been taken from them.

The school will open in fall 2023.

U.S. Department of Justice School Violence Prevention Grant Program

The Board voted to approve the LPS submission of the School Violence Prevention Grant application. This program is through the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, which is part of the U.S. Department of Justice. It’s designed to provide funding to improve security at schools and on school grounds through the following strategies: coordination with local law enforcement; training for local law enforcement officers to prevent student violence against others and themselves; placement and use of deterrent equipment; and acquisition and installation of technology for expedited notification of local law enforcement during an emergency.

LPS utilizes many procedures and systems to ensure the safety of students and staff, including the use of two-way radios for communication within schools. However, replacing this equipment in elementary and middle schools is not currently within budgetary options. The recommended life of these devices is 10-12 years; current projections for their replacement is 20 years.

Also, current equipment used in LPS schools use an analog signal, while a digital signal is much stronger and offers greater communication options and flexibility for staff. This grant provides an opportunity to replace current analog, two-way radios in elementary and middle schools with digital devices over the next three years. A plan is already in place to replace all high school radios.

This $500,000 grant is for 36 months. There is a 25% match requirement, which will be provided through existing district security staff time as in-kind contribution. The grant application is due June 22, 2021.

McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grant

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act is the primary piece of federal legislation dealing with the education of homeless children. This program addresses the problems that homeless children face in enrolling, attending and succeeding in school. Under this program, state and local educational agencies ensure that homeless children have equal access to the same free, appropriate public education - including a public preschool education - as other children. States and school districts are required to review and undertake steps to revise laws, regulations, practices or policies that may act as a barrier to the enrollment, attendance or success in school.

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

The Board discussed the submission of the McKinney-Vento Grant application for approximately $53,000, with the final allocation to be determined by the State of Nebraska after submission and dependent upon grants awarded to other applicants. This grant requires a 100 percent match from Title I allocated to LPS. Title I funds have been used in past years to cover the required match.

The Board voted to approve the application. The application is due June 16, 2021.

Proposed 2021-2022 Pay Rates for Substitute and Miscellaneous Employees

The Board approved the 2020-21 pay rates for substitute and miscellaneous employees. The recommended salary increases range from no increase to a 1.00 percent increase, depending on the employee group.  The determination of what salary to recommend is made in conjunction with the supervisor of that employee group and an assessment of the availability of candidates for the positions. You can view the approved pay rates here

Public Comment

Seven citizens addressed the Board during the public comment period. You can view their comments as part of the full meeting video here.

Glimpses of LPS

We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights the amazing things taking place in our schools. Tuesday’s video featured the first LPS unified track meet, which was held this spring. Unified sports pairs special education students with intellectual disabilities with their general education classmates in competition together. This was the first year for unified track, which is sanctioned by the Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA). It joins bowling as NSAA-sanctioned unified sports.


ESU Regular Meeting

The Educational Service Unit 18 Board met after the Lincoln Board of Education meeting.

First Reading

Interlocal Agreement with Lancaster County for Educational Services to the Youth Services Center

ESU 18 and Lancaster County partner to provide educational services to youth detained at the Lancaster County Youth Services Center. Through this agreement, the county agrees that the Youth Services Center will provide appropriate space, time and staff support to assist ESU 18 in providing these services. The county will reimburse ESU 18 for all expenses incurred in providing such services, not to exceed $875,460. The term of the proposed agreement would be Aug. 1, 2021-July 31, 2022.

The ESU 18 Board will vote on the agreement at its next meeting.

Agreement with the Nebraska Department of Education for the Southeast Nebraska Regional Program for Hearing Impaired Students

For more than 20 years, ESU 18 has partnered with the Nebraska Department of Education to plan, coordinate and provide enrichment activities for children who are deaf and hard of hearing in the ESU 4, ESU 5, ESU 6 and ESU 18 geographical areas in southeast Nebraska. It’s recommended this agreement be continued from July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2023. As part of this agreement, the Nebraska Department of Education agrees to pay ESU 18 up to $634,442 each year for providing these services.

The ESU Board waived the second reading in order to meet the deadline and voted to approve the agreement. 

Interlocal Cooperation Act Agreement Between LPS and ESU 18 for Educational Services

LPS and ESU 18 participate in an ongoing interlocal cooperation agreement in which ESU 18 provides services also offered by ESUs elsewhere in the state. Those services include instructional media services, technology and staff development, with LPS reimbursing ESU 18. The renewal period for this proposed agreement is Sept. 1, 2021-Aug. 31, 2024.
 
Under this proposed agreement, LPS would agree to reimburse ESU 18 for the costs of providing these services, but not to exceed:

  • 2021-22 : $7 million
  • 2022-23: $7.5 million
  • 2023-24: $8 million

The ESU 18 Board will vote on the proposed agreement at its next meeting.

Interlocal Cooperation Act Agreement Between LPS and ESU 18 for Core Services

Lincoln and ESU 18 participate in an ongoing interlocal cooperation agreement in which LPS provides "core services" in the areas of staff development, technology and instructional materials, with ESU 18 reimbursing LPS for those services. The term of the proposed renewal period for this agreement will be Sept. 1, 2021-Aug. 31, 2024.

Under this proposed agreement, ESU 18 would agree to reimburse LPS for the costs of providing services, but not to exceed:

  • 2021-22: $4.75 million
  • 2022-23: $5 million
  • 2023-24: $5.25 million

The ESU 18 Board will vote on the proposed agreement at its next meeting.

Posted on June 09, 2021


Highlights of 6/8 Board of Education Regular Meeting and ESU Regular Meeting

Lincoln Board of Education Regular Meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, June 8, at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. 

You can watch the meeting here.

Staff Celebration

The Board recognized LPS Director of Athletics and Activities Kathi Wieskamp with a formal resolution during the meeting. The Nebraska State Athletic Administrators Association recently honored Wieskamp as the Nebraska District I Athletic Director of the Year.

You can view a highlight of the Staff Celebration here.

Athletics Update

LPS Director of Athletics and Activities Kathi Wieskamp presented her department’s annual report to the Board. The core purpose of LPS athletics, she said, is to offer students education-based opportunities to extend the learning experiences outside the classroom. These experiences aid in the overall growth of student-athletes by promoting academic achievement, skill development, life skills and citizenship. The athletic program creates an environment that strives for excellence by encouraging student participation, supporting academic progress and promoting physical, social, emotional and character development while creating a sense of community.

Wieskamp noted that 27 percent of LPS high school students - 22 percent of females, 31 percent of males - participated in athletics during the 2020-21 school year. She also spoke about how LPS athletics adapted and adjusted during the pandemic, as well as how it’s addressing issues of equity and inclusion and what’s offered in the summer to student-athletes.

You can view a highlight of the presentation here.

Sustainability Update

LPS Sustainability Coordinator Brittney Albin gave the Board an update on the school district’s sustainability efforts, which are guided by the following strategies:

  • Stewardship
  • Instruction
  • Green building design
  • Energy and water
  • Purchasing
  • Transportation
  • Measurement
  • Waste management

Albin shared data that clearly illustrate the benefits of the school’s district’s sustainability work, including the following from 2020:

  • Total pounds recycled: 1,239,743, including 286,408 cardboard products and 333,840 pounds of paper
  • Total pounds reused: 39,234
  • Total pounds to landfill: 1,823,003
  • Diversion rate: 54 percent
  • Total pounds compost: 902,860
  • Radon tests: 1,833
  • Air quality data points: 28,252
  • Water samples taken: 1,343

You can read more about LPS Sustainability, including its work with schools and strategies moving forward, in the 2020 Annual Sustainability Report. The report is available online.

You can view a highlight of the presentation here.

First Reading

Policy Updates

Policy 4780 - Professional Boundaries and Staff Relationships with Students

Periodically, the Nebraska Unicameral passes laws that impact school district policies or mandate that local school boards adopt specific language into district policy. When this occurs, staff prepare either new policy language of edited language that complies with these mandates and presents it to the Board for consideration. 

The noted changes to policy 4780 can be found here.

Policy 6000 Series - Instruction

Periodically, a policy series is reviewed in order to address changes in legislation or regulation from the state or federal government, or to bring policy in line with current practice or intent of the Board. During the 2020-21 school year, the 6000 Policy Series was first reviewed by the instructional directors through the lens of equity with an eye both on identifying any policy that potentially disadvantaged any group of students, as well as looking at ways policies could be more inclusive and reflect the school district’s commitment to equity. The Student Learning Committee and Technology Committee then spent significant time reviewing those recommendations and is recommending a number of changes. 

The noted changes to policies in the 6000 series can be found here.

Interlocal Cooperation Act Agreement Between LPS & ESU 18 for Educational Services

LPS and Educational Service Unit 18 participate in an ongoing interlocal cooperation agreement in which ESU 18 provides services also offered by ESUs elsewhere in the state. Those services include instructional media services, technology and staff development, with LPS reimbursing ESU 18. The renewal period for this proposed agreement is Sept. 1, 2021-Aug. 31, 2024.

Under this proposed agreement, LPS would agree to reimburse ESU 18 for the costs of providing services, not to exceed:

  • 2021-22 : $7 million
  • 2022-23: $7.5 million
  • 2023-24: $8 million

The Board will vote on the proposed agreement at its next meeting.

Second Reading

Naming of New High School in Southeast Lincoln

The Board voted to approve that the new high school to be built in southeast Lincoln be named Standing Bear High School.

A committee of 10 community members (Becky Dunder, Halley Kruse, Richard Meginnis, Amanda Morales, Cindy Ryman Yost, Alynn Sampson, Kamryn Sannicks, Deb Schorr, Felecia Welke and Ed Zimmer) and three Board members (Bob Rauner, Lanny Boswell and Don Mayhew) solicited and reviewed suggestions for names of the new high school to be built in south Lincoln near 70th Street and Saltillo Road. Over 200 names were suggested by more than 600 individuals. The committee met over the course of several weeks to discuss the submissions and make a recommendation to the Board.

The committee unanimously recommended that the new school be named Standing Bear High School. Standing Bear (1829-1908) was a chief of the Ponca Tribe when the tribe was forcibly removed from its homeland in Nebraska. When Standing Bear returned to Nebraska to bury his son, he was arrested and held for trial. Standing Bear prevailed and was declared a "person" according to law. He and his followers were free to return to their homeland. However, they had no home to return to, as all of the tribe’s land had been taken from them.

The school will open in fall 2023.

U.S. Department of Justice School Violence Prevention Grant Program

The Board voted to approve the LPS submission of the School Violence Prevention Grant application. This program is through the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, which is part of the U.S. Department of Justice. It’s designed to provide funding to improve security at schools and on school grounds through the following strategies: coordination with local law enforcement; training for local law enforcement officers to prevent student violence against others and themselves; placement and use of deterrent equipment; and acquisition and installation of technology for expedited notification of local law enforcement during an emergency.

LPS utilizes many procedures and systems to ensure the safety of students and staff, including the use of two-way radios for communication within schools. However, replacing this equipment in elementary and middle schools is not currently within budgetary options. The recommended life of these devices is 10-12 years; current projections for their replacement is 20 years.

Also, current equipment used in LPS schools use an analog signal, while a digital signal is much stronger and offers greater communication options and flexibility for staff. This grant provides an opportunity to replace current analog, two-way radios in elementary and middle schools with digital devices over the next three years. A plan is already in place to replace all high school radios.

This $500,000 grant is for 36 months. There is a 25% match requirement, which will be provided through existing district security staff time as in-kind contribution. The grant application is due June 22, 2021.

McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grant

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act is the primary piece of federal legislation dealing with the education of homeless children. This program addresses the problems that homeless children face in enrolling, attending and succeeding in school. Under this program, state and local educational agencies ensure that homeless children have equal access to the same free, appropriate public education - including a public preschool education - as other children. States and school districts are required to review and undertake steps to revise laws, regulations, practices or policies that may act as a barrier to the enrollment, attendance or success in school.

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

The Board discussed the submission of the McKinney-Vento Grant application for approximately $53,000, with the final allocation to be determined by the State of Nebraska after submission and dependent upon grants awarded to other applicants. This grant requires a 100 percent match from Title I allocated to LPS. Title I funds have been used in past years to cover the required match.

The Board voted to approve the application. The application is due June 16, 2021.

Proposed 2021-2022 Pay Rates for Substitute and Miscellaneous Employees

The Board approved the 2020-21 pay rates for substitute and miscellaneous employees. The recommended salary increases range from no increase to a 1.00 percent increase, depending on the employee group.  The determination of what salary to recommend is made in conjunction with the supervisor of that employee group and an assessment of the availability of candidates for the positions. You can view the approved pay rates here

Public Comment

Seven citizens addressed the Board during the public comment period. You can view their comments as part of the full meeting video here.

Glimpses of LPS

We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights the amazing things taking place in our schools. Tuesday’s video featured the first LPS unified track meet, which was held this spring. Unified sports pairs special education students with intellectual disabilities with their general education classmates in competition together. This was the first year for unified track, which is sanctioned by the Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA). It joins bowling as NSAA-sanctioned unified sports. You can watch the video here.


ESU Regular Meeting

The Educational Service Unit 18 Board met after the Lincoln Board of Education meeting.

First Reading

Interlocal Agreement with Lancaster County for Educational Services to the Youth Services Center

ESU 18 and Lancaster County partner to provide educational services to youth detained at the Lancaster County Youth Services Center. Through this agreement, the county agrees that the Youth Services Center will provide appropriate space, time and staff support to assist ESU 18 in providing these services. The county will reimburse ESU 18 for all expenses incurred in providing such services, not to exceed $875,460. The term of the proposed agreement would be Aug. 1, 2021-July 31, 2022.

The ESU 18 Board will vote on the agreement at its next meeting.

Agreement with the Nebraska Department of Education for the Southeast Nebraska Regional Program for Hearing Impaired Students

For more than 20 years, ESU 18 has partnered with the Nebraska Department of Education to plan, coordinate and provide enrichment activities for children who are deaf and hard of hearing in the ESU 4, ESU 5, ESU 6 and ESU 18 geographical areas in southeast Nebraska. It’s recommended this agreement be continued from July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2023. As part of this agreement, the Nebraska Department of Education agrees to pay ESU 18 up to $634,442 each year for providing these services.

The ESU Board waived the second reading in order to meet the deadline and voted to approve the agreement. 

Interlocal Cooperation Act Agreement Between LPS and ESU 18 for Educational Services

LPS and ESU 18 participate in an ongoing interlocal cooperation agreement in which ESU 18 provides services also offered by ESUs elsewhere in the state. Those services include instructional media services, technology and staff development, with LPS reimbursing ESU 18. The renewal period for this proposed agreement is Sept. 1, 2021-Aug. 31, 2024.
 
Under this proposed agreement, LPS would agree to reimburse ESU 18 for the costs of providing these services, but not to exceed:

  • 2021-22 : $7 million
  • 2022-23: $7.5 million
  • 2023-24: $8 million

The ESU 18 Board will vote on the proposed agreement at its next meeting.

Interlocal Cooperation Act Agreement Between LPS and ESU 18 for Core Services

Lincoln and ESU 18 participate in an ongoing interlocal cooperation agreement in which LPS provides "core services" in the areas of staff development, technology and instructional materials, with ESU 18 reimbursing LPS for those services. The term of the proposed renewal period for this agreement will be Sept. 1, 2021-Aug. 31, 2024.

Under this proposed agreement, ESU 18 would agree to reimburse LPS for the costs of providing services, but not to exceed:

  • 2021-22: $4.75 million
  • 2022-23: $5 million
  • 2023-24: $5.25 million

The ESU 18 Board will vote on the proposed agreement at its next meeting.

Posted on June 08, 2021


Meeting notices for Lincoln Board of Education and ESU 18 - June 8, 2021

The following public meetings of the Lincoln Board of Education and Educational Service Unit (ESU) 18 will take place on Tuesday, June 8, at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. 

Board of Education Work Session - 4:30 p.m.

Board of Education Regular Meeting - 6:00 p.m.
(ESU 18 meeting immediately following)

The meetings will take place in the boardroom. Members of the public and media may access the meetings via live video streaming or by physically attending the meetings, which are subject to all national, state and local limitations on public gatherings associated with COVID-19. The agendas can be found here: lps.org/board.

Overflow accommodations may need to be implemented to ensure the health and safety of all in attendance. 

Participation by citizens

The function of the regular meetings of the Lincoln Board of Education is to conduct the business of the Lincoln Public School District, as distinguished from providing an open citizens’ forum. The Board believes public attendance and participation, when appropriate to the business at hand, is beneficial to the work of the Board and models the importance of civic engagement and civil discourse to the community’s children. In keeping with this belief, the Board encourages and provides an opportunity for public comment, recommendation and advice through the Public Comment agenda item at its regularly held Board meeting, public hearings on important issues facing the District and through many different forms of community engagement.

The following will help guide the Public Comment agenda item at Board Meetings and Public Hearings:

  1. Persons speaking during Public Comment will be called forward individually by the Board chair to the location identified for such purpose.
  2. A time limit of five minutes will be allotted for any speaker. At the discretion of the chair, the speaker may be allotted additional time. Board members may share, address or consider comments from the public during public comment, at the end of public comment or when related business is on the agenda.
  3. Each individual speaking to the Board will be required to identify himself or herself prior to giving public comment. A “Record of Appearance” card is provided for this purpose.
  4. Persons wishing to appear will be heard in the order in which the chair of the meeting determines appropriate.
  5. In cases where more than one person wishes to speak on the same topic, their presentations to the Board may, at the discretion of the chair, be grouped together by topic.
  6. If the number of people wishing to speak under the public participation portions of the agenda is large, the chair may rule that a public hearing be scheduled or the discussion be limited on the issue in question.
  7. Persons speaking to the Board during public comment may make printed materials available to the Board but may not use any other form of media.

If at any time persons appearing before the Board exceed the time limitations set forth in this policy or on the agenda or if persons appearing before the Board or who are present at the Board meeting or public hearing become abusive in language or behavior, it shall be the responsibility of the chair to declare that person or persons out of order and to refuse permission to continue to address the Board, require a change in behavior and may require the person or persons to leave the premises of the Board meeting.

 

Posted on June 04, 2021


Required training for suicide awareness/prevention now available

Training is now available for all Lincoln Public Schools employee groups required to take the annual suicide awareness/prevention training as required by the law passed by the Nebraska State Legislature in 2014. The deadline for completing the training is the end of the first quarter of the 2021-22 school year (Oct. 18, 2021). Unlike previous years, you can now complete this training in the summer if you choose. 

PLEASE NOTE:

The link to access the training can be found here. You will need to register to create an account. After you have registered, please choose the “one hour courses” option. Then choose the “Childhood and Teen Depression for Educators” course. 

Please note, fast forwarding or placing it as a tab in the background may prevent you from earning credit. This training is provided by the Jason Foundation. The training module looks at depression in children and teens. Childhood and teen depression differs greatly from adult depression in many aspects. Depression is one of the leading causes of suicide attempts. 

Those required to take the training are: teachers, administrators, counselors, school psychologists, social workers, nurses, health technicians, treatment nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, sign language interpreters, service coordinators, SLPs, Bilingual Liaisons, Gifted Mentors, Youth Development Team members, Campus Security, Early Childhood Student Parent Advocates, and para educators including SEMs. Any employee who is not required to take the training, including substitutes, can still take it if they choose to do so.

At the end of the training, you will receive a confirmation of completion email. Please forward that message to whomever will be your principal/supervisor or to the individual designated in your location/department for the 2021-22 school year.

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

Contact Russ Uhing at ruhing@lps.org or 402-436-1650 if you have any questions.

Posted on June 04, 2021


Bay High Focus Program announcement

The Bay, a program of the nonprofit Rabble Mill, known for its unique approach to serving underserved youth, is partnering with Lincoln Public Schools and businesses to create the Bay High Focus Program, set to start classes in fall 2022. Beginning with a student body of approximately 100 high school juniors and seniors, Bay High will provide creative, entrepreneurial-minded students with the tools, access and stewardship to be successful creators of tomorrow.

“We believe young people can only dream as big as they’ve seen. By fully leveraging our partners’ strengths, Bay High will provide the experiences, skills and network they need to not just gain a seat at the table, but to be ready for it,” said Mike Smith, co-founder/co-executive director of Rabble Mill, and founder of The Bay.

Bay High aims to provide students who are restricted by a lack of access, lack of opportunity and the confines of traditional education the skills they need for post-secondary education and a career.

“The community and the Lincoln Board of Education have tasked our staff with exploring more focus program offerings for our high school students,” said LPS Superintendent Steve Joel. “We feel the Bay High Focus Program is just one more avenue to engage another segment of our students and prepare them for tomorrow’s high-demand careers.”

Bay High’s curriculum focus will be on content creation and emerging digital technology in four subject areas: including photography and videography, coding and development, design and digital asset creation and digital storytelling and podcasting. It will be rooted in hands-on, project-based initiatives that go beyond the classroom —reflecting the increasing demand for creativity in today’s business environment, as well as new innovative ways of learning that connect best with Gen Z. In line with The Bay’s engagement opportunities for young people, skateboarding, music and fashion will serve as associated creative disciplines.

“Our goal is to pipeline young people at The Bay who have this digital talent, and the business partners and college programs who need it, such as UNL’s Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts and J-School,” said Andrew Norman, Rabble Mill co-founder/co-executive director. He said Rabble Mill is currently fundraising for necessary space renovations at The Bay, as well as seeking additional community partners.

The Bay will “inspire learning in ways never before experienced in Lincoln Public Schools,” said LPS Director of Strategic Initiatives and Focus Programs James Blake, who also will serve as principal of Bay High. “Great things happen when we find out what Lincoln businesses look for in future talent, and then bring in amazing teachers to co-create the vision with The Bay’s resources and staff.”

About 25 years after helping to seed what became the first LPS focus program, Cooper Foundation joined ALLO/Nelnet and Spreetail to provide the private investment necessary to launch Bay High. Additional partners include Ameritas, Archrival, BVH Architecture, Community Health Endowment of Lincoln, CompanyCam, The Skatepark Project, Union Bank & Trust, Woods Charitable Fund, and WRK Family Foundation.

“We believe in Rabble Mill and its revolutionary approach to working with young people that includes friendship, belonging and opportunities to grow personally and learn skills that leverage their own experiences, viewpoints and innate talents,” said Cooper Foundation President Victoria Grasso. “Bay High, in partnership with Lincoln Public Schools, will carry that same creative ethos with a dynamic curriculum.”

Students who will be entering grades 11 and 12 during the 2022-23 school year will be able to submit their application during the 2021-22 school year.

“This is the most diverse, colorful, empowered generation ever. We’re excited to share and nurture their unique style, passions and talent through Bay High,” said Smith.

“Kids used to skip school to come to The Bay. Now they’ll just come to Bay High.”

To learn more, donate, or (for potential students, teachers and parents) be notified about recruitment opportunities, visit
thebay.org/BayHigh.

ABOUT THE BAY: The Bay is a program of Rabble Mill (501c3), whose mission is to work with Nebraska youth statewide toward achieving the belonging, purpose and upward mobility necessary to grow, achieve and reinvest in their community. Located at 2005 Y St. since 2012, The Bay is a one-of-a-kind community space, featuring the state’s only public indoor skatepark, an all-ages music venue, digital art lab and Goldenrod Coffee. Through out-of-school enrichment, camps, events and more, The Bay creates opportunities for young people to fall in love with skateboarding, music and digital art, teaching transferable soft and hard skills along the way.

Posted on May 19, 2021


Nebraska Food Service Employee Appreciation Day

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts stopped by Hartley Elementary School to proclaim May 12 as Nebraska Food Service Employee Appreciation Day! He also presented retiring Director of Nutrition Services Edith Zumwalt with an honorary admiralship in the Nebraska Navy.

 

 

Posted on May 12, 2021


Lincoln Board of Education Regular Meeting - April 27, 2021

The Lincoln Board of Education will meet for its regular board meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 27, at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The meeting will take place in the boardroom. Members of the public and media may access the meetings via live video streaming or by physically attending the meetings, which are subject to all national, state and local limitations on public gatherings associated with COVID-19. The agenda can be found here: lps.org/board.

Overflow accommodations may need to be implemented to ensure the health and safety of all in attendance. 

Multilayer face coverings that cover the mouth and nose are required for all staff, students and visitors to enter buildings at Lincoln Public Schools. If you would like to make a request to have an exemption to the face covering requirement to attend a Lincoln Board of Education meeting because of a medical or mental health condition, please contact the District 504 coordinator, Mr. Russ Uhing, Director of Student Services and 504 Coordinator, 5905 O Street, Lincoln, NE 68510, (402) 436-1650, or duhing@lps.org.  

You will be required to share documentation of your medical or mental health condition that describes the conditions requiring the exemption at least two business days prior to the event, so we can engage in an interactive process to determine what if any accommodations may be provided.  

You can watch the board meeting via livestream in several ways:

Posted on April 26, 2021


Lincoln Board of Education Regular Meeting - April 13, 2021

The Lincoln Board of Education will meet for its regular board meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 13, at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The meeting will take place in the boardroom. Members of the public and media may access the meetings via live video streaming or by physically attending the meetings, which are subject to all national, state and local limitations on public gatherings associated with COVID-19. The agenda can be found here: lps.org/board.

Overflow accommodations may need to be implemented to ensure the health and safety of all in attendance. 

Multilayer face coverings that cover the mouth and nose are required for all staff, students and visitors to enter buildings at Lincoln Public Schools. If you would like to make a request to have an exemption to the face covering requirement to attend a Lincoln Board of Education meeting because of a medical or mental health condition, please contact the District 504 coordinator, Mr. Russ Uhing, Director of Student Services and 504 Coordinator, 5905 O Street, Lincoln, NE 68510, (402) 436-1650, or duhing@lps.org.  

You will be required to share documentation of your medical or mental health condition that describes the conditions requiring the exemption at least two business days prior to the event, so we can engage in an interactive process to determine what if any accommodations may be provided.  

You can watch the board meeting via livestream in several ways:

Posted on April 09, 2021


Lincoln Board of Education work session - April 7, 2021

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a special work session on Wednesday, April 7, at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The purpose of the work session was to provide an update to the Board on the 2020-21 Board of Education and Superintendent’s annual goals and priorities around equity. 

Presenters included:

  • Vann Price
  • Oscar Rios Pohirieth
  • Antwan Wilson
  • Walter Powell Jr.
  • Sarah Salem
  • Pete Ferguson
  • Deseree Chavez 
  • Andrea Orozco Lopez
  • Zein Saleh
  • Eiman Nour

 

Posted on April 07, 2021


Lincoln Board of Education Special Meeting/Work Session - April 7, 2021

The Lincoln Board of Education will meet for a special meeting and work session at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 7, at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The meeting will take place in the boardroom. Members of the public and media may access the meetings via live video streaming or by physically attending the meetings, which are subject to all national, state and local limitations on public gatherings associated with COVID-19. The agenda can be found here: lps.org/board.

The purpose of the special meeting and work session is to provide an update to the Board on the 2020-21 Board of Education and Superintendent’s annual goals and priorities around equity.

Overflow accommodations may need to be implemented to ensure the health and safety of all in attendance. 

Multilayer face coverings that cover the mouth and nose are required for all staff, students and visitors to enter buildings at Lincoln Public Schools. If you would like to make a request to have an exemption to the face covering requirement to attend a Lincoln Board of Education meeting because of a medical or mental health condition, please contact the District 504 coordinator, Mr. Russ Uhing, Director of Student Services and 504 Coordinator, 5905 O Street, Lincoln, NE 68510, (402) 436-1650, or duhing@lps.org.  

You will be required to share documentation of your medical or mental health condition that describes the conditions requiring the exemption at least two business days prior to the event, so we can engage in an interactive process to determine what if any accommodations may be provided.  

You can watch the Board special meeting and work session via livestream in two ways:

Posted on April 05, 2021


New principal announced at Yankee Hill Education Center

Lincoln Public Schools is pleased to announce that Laura Runge will be the next principal at Yankee Hill Education Center beginning next year. Runge currently serves as the associate principal at Lincoln Southwest High School and will replace Erik Witt, who will be moving to the LPS Human Resources Department as the next supervisor for special programs and recruiting coordinator.

Runge brings a wealth of knowledge and experience with her 32 years in education. She taught special education from 1989 to 2012 in various schools, including Belmont Elementary School, Culler Middle School and Lincoln East High School. In addition, she served as assistant special education coordinator at Lincoln North Star High School from 2012 to 2013 and special education coordinator at Lefler Middle School from 2013 to 2018. Runge has worked with many Yankee Hill students and staff through her current role at Southwest High School, where she has served as associate principal since 2018. 

Runge earned her Bachelor of Science in Special Education and a Master of Education with an emphasis in Behavioral Disorders from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, and a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from Doane College.
 
Congratulations to Laura Runge!

Posted on April 01, 2021


Highlights of 3/23 Board of Education Regular Meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, March 23, at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. 

Staff Celebration

The Board recognized two staff members with formal resolutions for awards they recently received. The Nebraska State Bandmasters Association has honored Lincoln Public Schools Supervisor of Music Lance Nielsen with its 2021 Outstanding Administrator Award. The Nebraska State Literacy Association honored Kooser Elementary School Librarian Betsy Thomas with the 2021 Distinguished Educator Award.

2020 LPS Pandemic Plan & Procedures Update

Superintendent Steve Joel gave a brief pandemic update:

  • Most LPS staff who have signed up for the vaccine have already received their first dose, with some also receiving their second dose. There were also staff who received their only dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
  • LPS continues to work with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department to monitor community conditions, especially with news of several variants being detected in Nebraska. Adjustments will be made as needed to address any concerns.
  • There are just under 6,000 students still participating in remote learning across the school district. 

First Reading

Newly annexed property to the City of Lincoln

The City of Lincoln has annexed a parcel of land, which automatically brings this property into the district of Lincoln Public Schools. This property needs to be assigned attendance centers so potential purchasers of homes in this area will know which schools they will be attending. The annexed parcel of land is Camping World Lincoln, Annexation Ordinance #21028, for the 2020-21 school year and its assigned schools are Norwood Park Elementary School, Dawes Middle School and Northeast High School.

The Board will vote on the proposed attendance centers at its next meeting.

Bond Fund Project Bids

The Board was presented with the following construction project bids for the two new high school sites and will vote on them at its next meeting. All of the bids were either the lowest in cost or the only bid submitted. The projects are being paid for through the Bond Fund, approved by voters in February 2020.

  • New High School Sites Topsoil Respread Package - Gana Trucking & Excavating, Inc. (Martell, Nebraska) - $1,189,120
  • New SE High School Site Concrete Paving Package - Concrete Works, Inc. (Milford, Nebraska) - $1,847,627
  • New NW High School Site Permeable Pavers Package - DMS, Inc. (Waterloo, Nebraska) - $173,050
  • New SE High School Site Geothermal Well Field Package - K2 Construction (Lincoln, Nebraska) - $1,292,000
  • New NW High School Site Landscaping Package - Jensen Gardens (Springfield, Nebraska) - $665,586
  • New SE High School Site Surveying Package - Catlett Surveying (Bennett, Nebraska)                                            $20,050
  • New SE High School Site Access Package - Hausmann Construction, (Lincoln, Nebraska) - $218,000
  • New SE High School Site Segmented Block Retaining Walls Package - Linhart Construction, Inc. (Omaha, Nebraska) - $38,680
  • New High School Sites Finish Carpentry Labor Package - Tim’s Custom Trim, Inc. (Lincoln, Nebraska) - $481,730
  • New High School Sites Solid Surfacing Package - Lycos Manufacturing (Omaha, Nebraska) - $348,200
  • New SE High School Site Geofoam Package - Hausmann Construction, Inc. (Lincoln, Nebraska) - $297,000
  • New High School Sites EDPM Roofing Systems Package - White Castle Roofing (Lincoln, Nebraska) - $3,066,600
  • New SE High School Site Cast-in-Place Foundations & Walls Package - Hausmann Construction, Inc. (Lincoln, Nebraska) - $4,584,600
  • New High School Sites Stainless Steel Railing Systems Package - Geiss Steel Tech, Inc. (Seward, Nebraska) - $961,800
  • New High School Sites Aluminum Railings Package - Glass Edge (Lincoln, Nebraska) -                                         $109,560
  • New High School Sites Air Barrier & Spray Foam Insulation Package - Seal-Rite Insulation, Inc. (Omaha, Nebraska) - $621,253
  • New NW High School Site Fine Grading & Seeding Package - Seeds of Life, Inc. (Lincoln, Nebraska) - $191,600
  • New SE High School Site Aluminum & Glazing Package - Glass Edge (Lincoln, Nebraska) - $1,191,300
  • New SE High School Site Utilities Package - HR Bookstrom Construction, Inc. (Lincoln, Nebraska) - $1,107,365
  • New High School Sites Steel Railings Package - Katelman Steel Fabrication, Inc. (Council Bluffs, Iowa) - $369,200
  • New High School Sites Green Roof Package - Jensen Gardens, Inc. (Springfield, Nebraska) - $87,224
  • New High School Sites Carpet, Linoleum & Resilient Flooring Package - Midwest Floor Covering, Inc. (Lincoln, Nebraska) - $1,646,252
  • New High School Sites Gymnasium Wood Flooring Package - H2I Group (Blair, Nebraska) - $418,740
  • New High School Sites Polished & Sealed Concrete Package - Surface Sealers, Inc. (Lincoln, Nebraska) - $157,851
  • New High School Sites Floor & Wall Tile Package - Midwest Floor Covering (Lincoln, Nebraska) - $1,108,000
  • New High School Sites Painting & Wallcoverings Package - Kucera Painting, Inc. (Kearney, Nebraska) - $909,667
  • New High School Sites Overhead & Side Folding Doors Package
    • Acme Dock Specialists (Omaha, Nebraska) - $277,300
    • Skold (Des Moines, Iowa) - $161,400
    • SGH Concepts (Omaha, Nebraska) - $146,760
    • Overhead Door Company (Lincoln, Nebraska) -  $135,840
      Total: $721,300
  • New High School Sites Acoustical Fire & Smoke Doors Package - Skold Door Company (Des Moines, Iowa) - $161,400
  • New High School Sites Specialties Supply Package - EPCO LTD (Council Bluffs, Iowa) and PTC (Omaha, Nebraska) - $336,682
  • New High School Sites High Speed Rolling Doors Package - Acme Dock Specialists (Omaha, Nebraska) - $279,800
  • New SE High School Site Curb Stops & Signage - Bestco Services (Lincoln, Nebraska) -               $14,740
  • New High School Sites Scoreboards Package - H2I Group (Blair, Nebraska) - $60,900
  • New High School Sites Laboratory Countertops & Equipment Package - Wynn O Jones Associates, Inc. (Schofield Wisconsin) - $334,831
  • New High School Sites Fixed Audience Seating Package - Heartland Seating, Inc. (Shawnee, Kansas) - $232,981
  • New High School Sites Telescoping & Fixed Bleachers Package - Mid-States School Equipment Co. (Lee’s Summit, Missouri) - $554,130
  • New High School Sites Window Shades Package - Lifestyle Window Coverings (Omaha, Nebraska) - $93,866
  • New High School Sites Swimming Pool Construction Package - New Wave Pools & Spas, Inc. (Omaha, Nebraska) - $2,938,460
  • New High School Sites Fire Suppression Package - Midwest Automatic Fire Sprinkler Co. (Omaha, Nebraska) - $883,880
  • New NW High School Site Plumbing Package - HEP, Inc. (Lincoln, Nebraska) - $4,576,850
  • New High School Sites Ceilings & Acoustical Components Package - E&K of Omaha, Inc. (Omaha, Nebraska) - $2,189,430
  • New High School Sites Termite Control Package - ABC Termite & Pest Control (Lincoln, Nebraska) - $33,422
  • New High School Sites Combined Rough Carpentry Package - Hausmann Construction, Inc. (Lincoln, Nebraska) - $1,230,000
  • New SE High School Paving Sealants Package - Stutzman Sealants & Sons LLC (Lincoln, Nebraska) - $75,000
  • New High School Sites Overhead & Counter Doors & Grilles Package - Overhead Door Company (Lincoln, Nebraska) - $135,840

Distribution Center construction bid

Bids were requested for an LPS Distribution Center roofing repair project. It was recommended that the lowest bid of $598,800, from Terry Neemann & Sons, Inc. (Lincoln, Nebraska), be approved. The Board waived the second reading and voted to approve the bid.

Second Reading

Newly annexed property to the City of Lincoln

The City of Lincoln has annexed a parcel of land, which automatically brings this property into the district of Lincoln Public Schools. This property needs to be assigned attendance centers so potential purchasers of homes in this area will know which schools they will be attending. The annexed parcel of land is Wandering Creek Site, Annexation Ordinance #21023, for the 2020-21 school year and its assigned schools are Pyrtle Elementary School, Lux Middle School and East High School.

The Board voted to approve the assigned attendance centers.

Proposed Negotiated Agreement with the Lincoln Education Association

The Board voted to approve a contract agreement between the Lincoln Education Association (LEA) and Lincoln Public Schools for the 2021-22 school year. 

The agreement represents a careful balance between recognizing the valuable contributions our teachers make for Lincoln Public Schools - especially as front-line workers during a pandemic - while also acknowledging the recent revenue decline including a significant drop in state aid.   

The agreement approved by a vote of LEA members provides a total compensation package increase of 1.53 percent for the 2021-22 school year. The agreement includes the district’s contribution for increases with health insurance, retirement, Social Security and step movement (approximately $500 to $1,800) for certificated staff. The agreement also includes a reduction in the 191-day teacher calendar by two professional development/teacher work days, and a reduction in the Extra Standard budget (for activities and athletics).

From Board Committees

Wellness, American Civics and Multicultural Committee

Committee Chair Annie Mumgaard reported there were many updates shared, including:

  • How the school district was addressing the impact of the pandemic on different areas
  • Voter registration activities in high schools
  • Updating the name of Heritage School to the building’s historical name of Cunningham School to better reflect the experience for all students

Update from the Superintendent

During the Superintendent Update, Joel spoke that we are thankful for many things and it is an important time to reflect. Some of those items on the gratitude list included the Lincoln Education Association and its work on the negotiated agreement; the custodians and maintenance crews for their dedication and hours spent making sure our schools and buildings were safe during recent winter storms; and for Lincoln Journal Star reporter Margaret Reist and her dedication and commitment to sharing information about the work taking place at LPS. Reist will be moving to a different assignment and will no longer be regularly covering education stories for the Journal Star. 

Public Comment

There was one member of the public that spoke during the first Public Comment period, and one member of the public that spoke during the second Public Comment period. You can watch the full meeting video here.

Glimpses of LPS

We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights the amazing things taking place in our schools. Tonight’s video featured the Graduation Pathways program, which gives former students an alternate way of attending school again and earning their diploma. 

LPS LIVE Board Update

On LPS LIVE Board Update, Board Member Don Mayhew sits down with LPS Director of Operations Scott Wieskamp to discuss the ongoing construction projects funded by the bond issue approved by voters in February 2020.

Posted on March 23, 2021


LPS names new principals at five schools

As Lincoln Public Schools works to fill principal positions across the school district following several principal moves and retirements, five new principals have been announced. Congratulations to the following new principals:

  • Shayna Cook will be the next Kloefkorn Elementary Principal. Cook has grown into a leadership role through her time at Schoo Middle School. She began teaching at Schoo in 2009 before being named an instructional coordinator in 2015. After two years, she was promoted to associate principal. Cook earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. 
  • Susan Hershberger will be the next Lakeview Elementary Principal. Hershberger has been at Lakeview since 2018 as coordinator after serving as a special education coordinator at Huntington Elementary School for two years. Prior to that, she taught at Hill Elementary School for four years. Hershberger has a Bachelor’s of Science in Business/Accounting from the College of Saint Mary, a Master’s Degree of Education in Special Education from the University of Nebraska, and a Master’s Degree of Education in Educational Administration from Concordia University.
  • Rob Rickert will be the next Hartley Elementary principal. Rickert has been at Hartley since 2018, serving as instructional coach for one year before becoming the assistant principal in 2019. Prior to Hartley, he taught fourth grade at Kooser Elementary School for seven years and science at Schoo Middle School for 2 years. Rickert earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Doane College.
  • Ryan Escamilla will be Schoo Middle School’s next principal. Escamilla has been the associate principal at Lincoln High School since 2017. He has plenty of middle school experience serving students at Park Middle School as a coordinator from 2015-17 and as a teacher at both Lefler and Pound middle schools from 2005-15. Escamilla has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, a master’s degree from Nebraska Wesleyan, and a master’s degree from Concordia University.
  • Rachael Kluck-Spann will be Irving Middle School’s next principal. Kluck-Spann started at Irving in 2014 as instructional coordinator before moving into the associate principal position in 2016. She has served as a counselor at Schoo Middle School from 2009-2014 and Culler Middle School from 2007-2009. Kluck-Spann has a bachelor’s degree from Montana State University, a Master of Arts in Educational Psychology from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, and a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from Doane College.

All five new principals will begin their duties July 1.

Posted on March 05, 2021


LPS Staff: Important COVID-19 Vaccine Update

LPS Staff,
The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) will begin vaccinating groups of Lancaster County school staff starting next Saturday, March 6. In the next couple of days LLCHD will email links to registered staff eligible for the upcoming vaccination clinic. The link will include the information necessary to schedule an appointment for the clinic.  You must have an appointment to attend the clinic and receive the vaccination. If you schedule an appointment for the clinic it is imperative you attend at your scheduled time. Below is the information they asked us to share with you:

On Saturday, March 6, from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department will be vaccinating school staff who were identified by schools as those who work with mask-exempt students, and registered educators who are 61 years of age and older. The clinic will be held at the Lincoln Center for People in Need, 3901 N 27th Street. Each eligible person will receive a link to schedule their appointment at the email they provided when they registered. Registered Early Childhood -12th grade educators are defined as any employee or staff member of an Early Childhood -12th grade public, private or parochial school in Lancaster County.

Registered Early Childhood -12th grade educators are those who registered on the LLCHD website link provided by the school district earlier this month.  If you did not register you will not receive a link to schedule an appointment.

Here are some resources from the LLCHD to help you prepare for the vaccine:

If you have questions, please contact the LLCHD at health@lincoln.ne.gov.
 

Posted on February 28, 2021


LPS announces new 2021-22 Remote Learning Program principal

Lincoln Public Schools announced Friday that Casey Fries will serve as principal for the new 2021-22 LPS Remote Learning Program. His duties will begin Monday, March 1.

“There is a tremendous amount of work to be done in a short amount of time to bring the 2021-22 Remote Learning Program to life,” LPS Associate Superintendent for Instruction Matt Larson said. “Casey brings excellent skills and knowledge into this key leadership role. He will be able to get to work right away to build an effective and efficient program that will serve students’ needs as we navigate the pandemic next year.”

Fries is currently an associate principal at East High School, starting in that role in 2017 after being an instructional coordinator there for three years. Prior to that he taught math at Lincoln High School from 2010 to 2014. Fries has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction and a Master of Education in Educational Leadership, both from Doane College.

Fries will be instrumental in helping build and shape the RLP for the entire school district grades K-12. Now that LPS has an idea how many students are enrolled in the program he has the arduous task this spring of building student class schedules, finding teachers for the program, developing student expectations, providing staff development and launching the program next fall. Next school year, Fries will serve as the principal over the entire Remote Learning Program.

As of Feb. 20, 785 students in grades kindergarten through 12th grade registered for the 2021-2022 Remote Learning Program. The deadline for families to enroll was Friday, Feb. 19. 

Here are the numbers per grade level as of Feb. 20:

  • Kindergarten = 17
  • Grade 1 = 38
  • Grade 2 = 37
  • Grade 3 = 60
  • Grade 4 = 45
  • Grade 5 = 66
  • Grade 6 = 58
  • Grade 7 = 80
  • Grade 8 = 82
  • Grade 9 = 49
  • Grade 10 = 77
  • Grade 11 = 88
  • Grade 12 = 88

Of the 785 students currently registered, 189 are special education students and 118 of those are approved for placement in the program. That’s 15 percent of the program’s enrollment. There are 53 students waiting for their Individualized Education Plan meetings to determine if this program will meet their needs. If a student has health issues that prevent them from attending in person, families are to contact their school’s special education coordinator to inquire about homebound services for next school year.

For planning purposes, families were asked to commit now for at least one semester in the one-year only program designed to bridge the gap until the end of the pandemic. Now that the deadline has passed, families who decide at a later date to enroll their child in the program or to switch to in-person learning will follow a permit process by making a request through Student Services.

More information about the LPS 2021-2022 Remote Learning Program can be found on the LPS website: rlp.lps.org.

Posted on February 26, 2021


New principal named at Adams Elementary School

Lincoln Public Schools announced today that current Hartley Elementary School principal Jeff Rust will be the new principal at Adams Elementary School starting next year. His new duties will begin on July 1.

LPS continues to fill principal positions across the school district after several retirements created a domino effect when principals accept new opportunities. The latest announcement is just one of several announcements that will take place this spring.

Rust has served as Hartley’s principal since 2012. Prior to Hartley, he was Saratoga’s coordinator, then assistant principal from 2006-2012. He taught at Belmont elementary from 2001-2005. Rust received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Nebraska- Lincoln.

Rust will replace Adams principal Amy Clark. Clark was recently announced as the new principal at Sheridan Elementary School after De Ann Currin announced her retirement.

Please join us in congratulating Jeff Rust!

BACKGROUND: LPS will continue the process of selecting principals for Lakeview, Kloefkorn and Hartley elementary schools; and Irving and Schoo middle schools; and the Remote Learning Program. Announcements on those selections will happen over the next several weeks.

 

Posted on February 25, 2021


Teacher Professional Agreement goes before Lincoln Board for approval

In a proposal presented to the Lincoln Board of Education on Tuesday, the Lincoln Education Association (LEA) and Lincoln Public Schools have reached a tentative contract agreement with teachers for the 2021-22 school year.

The tentative agreement represents a careful balance between recognizing the valuable contributions our teachers make for Lincoln Public Schools - especially as front-line workers during a pandemic - while also acknowledging the recent revenue decline including a significant drop in state aid.   

The tentative agreement approved by a vote of LEA members provides a total compensation package increase of 1.53 percent for the 2021-22 school year. The tentative agreement includes the district’s contribution for increases with health insurance, retirement, Social Security and step movement (approximately $500 to $1,800) for certificated staff.  The tentative agreement also includes a reduction in the 191-day teacher calendar by two professional development/teacher work days, and a reduction in the Extra Standard budget (for activities and athletics).   

The Lincoln Board of Education conducted the first reading of the tentative agreement at the Feb. 23 meeting and will take action on the tentative agreement at the Board meeting set for 6 p.m. March 23, at LPS District Offices, 5905 O St. 

Comments:

Superintendent Steve Joel: “We are most appreciative of the professionalism and dedication demonstrated by our educators, especially in this most unique and highly challenging year. Our students, families and community are indeed fortunate to have such highly qualified and dedicated teachers in our classrooms. This continued investment in staff is a primary reason we are able to recruit, develop and retain the very best professionals. This agreement recognizes the value we place on that expertise but is also mindful of the challenging financial situation that our community and state are facing.” 

LEA President Rita Bennett: “Teaching during a pandemic has required so much from our teachers, yet they have not missed a beat in their dedication to serving our community’s children.  It was important to negotiate an Agreement that recognizes the monetary constraints the district faces while still providing financial consideration for teachers. The Agreement also includes contractual adjustments that are supportive of teachers’ needs and is representative of LEA’s collaborative work with the district.”

Board President Kathy Danek: “The Lincoln Board of Education is committed to hiring and supporting the highest caliber teachers, while being fiscally accountable to the community. The Board deeply appreciates the care, consideration, and integrity that both the teachers and administration brought to the negotiations process. The result is a tentative agreement that serves our community's children and reflects our community's values.” 

BACKGROUND: The previous agreement for the 2020-2021 year provided a total package increase of 2.91 percent. That included an average salary increase of 2.30 percent for the year.  Lincoln Public Schools is one of the lowest spending school districts in the state for per-pupil costs and has been for decades.

Posted on February 23, 2021


New principals named at three LPS schools

In the first of several announcements, Lincoln Public Schools has named three new principals to schools where recent retirements were announced earlier this year.

“These school leaders have proven through their years of service to be dedicated to the success of all students. They have both the skills and the heart for leading our schools and the important work that happens in our classrooms every day,” said Matt Larson, LPS associate superintendent for Instruction. 

Congratulations to the following:

  • Amy Clark, current Adams Elementary School principal, is returning to Sheridan Elementary School. She began teaching first grade at Sheridan in 2005, before moving to fifth grade in 2009. In 2011, Clark served as Sheridan’s coordinator until she took on the associate principal role at Adams Elementary in 2015. In 2017, Clark became the principal at Adams. 
  • Kellie Joy, current Lakeview Elementary School principal, will be Kooser Elementary School’s next principal. Joy was promoted to principal at Lakeview in 2018, after serving as instructional coordinator there since 2015. She also taught at Clinton Elementary School and served as instructional coach and continuous school improvement co-chair. Joy also has experience as an instructor and master teacher at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
  • Jason Shanahan, current Irving Middle School principal, will move to Mickle Middle School as the principal next year. Shanahan taught in Kansas, Kearney and Bellevue before joining Lincoln Public Schools as a teacher at Schoo Middle School in 2009. He was Schoo’s instructional coordinator from 2012 to 2014, before moving to Irving as the associate principal. Shanahan was named Irving’s principal in 2016.

 

All three will begin their new duties July 1.

Posted on February 18, 2021


Lincoln Board of Education Regular Meeting - Feb. 9, 2021

The Lincoln Board of Education will meet for its regular board meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 9, at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The meeting will take place in the boardroom. Members of the public and media may access the meetings via live video streaming or by physically attending the meetings, which are subject to all national, state and local limitations on public gatherings associated with COVID-19. The agenda can be found here: lps.org/board.

Overflow accommodations may need to be implemented to ensure the health and safety of all in attendance. 

Multilayer cloth face coverings that cover the nose and mouth are required for all individuals as they enter and leave LPS District Office and while attending Lincoln Board of Education meeting. This requirement is in alignment with the recommendations of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department for individuals in public settings when it is not always possible to maintain six-feet of physical distance and to protect other participants at the meeting who may be at higher risk or more vulnerable to COVID-19. 

You can watch the board meeting via livestream in several ways:

Posted on February 07, 2021


LPS administrators announce retirement plans

Each year, school and district administrators who plan to retire at the end of the school year announce their intentions in the spring. Lincoln Public Schools wishes to congratulate the following LPS administrators on their upcoming retirements effective June 30, 2021, and thank them for their years of dedicated service to our students and families.

Polly Bowhay, principal at Kloefkorn Elementary School
Bowhay came to Lincoln Public Schools in 1989, starting as a kindergarten teacher at Fredstrom Elementary School until 2000, when she became a coordinator there. Bowhay also served as assistant principal at Hawthorne and Adams elementary schools, and principal at Belmont Elementary School for five years before taking on the role of Kloefkorn’s principal in 2017. 

DeAnn Currin, principal at Sheridan Elementary School
Currin has spent her entire 46-year career serving Lincoln Public Schools families. She taught at Clinton Elementary School for 11 years before becoming the coordinator at Prescott Elementary School in 1986 and eventually assistant principal in 1991. In 1993, Currin was named principal at Elliott Elementary School, where she served for 17 years before being named Sheridan’s principal in 2010. 

Mary Ells, assistant director of Special Education at LPS District Office
Ells currently serves as the assistant director of Special Education, a position that supports the Independence Academy, a Special Education academic program for 18-21 year old students with disabilities. She also serves students and families in the homebound and assistive technology programs. Prior to taking the position in 2004, she served as a supervisor for Special Education for seven years, and a curriculum consultant for Special Education for five years. Ells began at LPS as a Special Education teacher at Mickle Middle School in 1988.

Ann Jablonski, principal at Kooser Elementary School
Jablonski has served Lincoln Public Schools for 44 years. She taught 18 years at Beattie Elementary School before moving to Hawthorne Elementary School as a Special Education coordinator. She spent one year as assistant principal at West Lincoln Elementary School and two years as principal at Norwood Park Elementary School. Jablonski was Pyrtle Elementary School’s principal for seven and a half years before being chosen to open Kooser Elementary School as the principal in 2009. 

Gene Thompson, principal at Mickle Middle School
Thompson began in education as a teacher and coach at Pound Junior High School in 1982. In addition to teaching at Pound, he also taught and coached part time at Southeast High School from 1983 to 1993. In 1993, Thompson became the Southeast High School assistant athletic director, and from 2000 to 2008 he served as a coordinator and assistant principal at East High School. Thompson was named Mickle Middle School’s principal in 2008.

Cindy Schwaninger, director of elementary education
After teaching in Adams, Neb., for three years, Schwaninger began at LPS as a teacher at Fredstrom Elementary School in 1984 until 1998. In addition, she served as the school district’s early literacy instructional strategies facilitator from 1996 to 1999. Schwaninger took on the role of curriculum specialist from 1999 to 2004, when she was named the principal at Hawthorne Elementary School. In 2008, Schwaninger was tapped to open Adams Elementary School, where she served as principal until she was named the director of elementary education in 2013. 

Edith Zumwalt, director of Nutrition Services
When Zumwalt was named LPS director of Nutrition Services in 1990, there were 27,986 students in 49 buildings. LPS now serves an average of 26,600 lunches and 8,630 breakfasts daily in 61 buildings. Each year, Zumwalt leads a team of 410 employees to serve approximately 4.5 million school lunches and 1.4 million school breakfasts, in addition to 290,000 snacks.

Posted on February 03, 2021


Lincoln Board of Education Regular Meeting - Jan. 26, 2021

The Lincoln Board of Education will meet for its regular board meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 26, at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The meeting will take place in the boardroom. Members of the public and media may access the meetings via live video streaming or by physically attending the meetings, which are subject to all national, state and local limitations on public gatherings associated with COVID-19. The agenda can be found here: lps.org/board.

Overflow accommodations may need to be implemented to ensure the health and safety of all in attendance. 

Multilayer cloth face coverings that cover the nose and mouth are required for all individuals as they enter and leave LPS District Office and while attending Lincoln Board of Education meeting. This requirement is in alignment with the recommendations of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department for individuals in public settings when it is not always possible to maintain six-feet of physical distance and to protect other participants at the meeting who may be at higher risk or more vulnerable to COVID-19. 

You can watch the board meeting via livestream in several ways:

Posted on January 22, 2021


26th Annual Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Youth Rally

Every year, youth from Lincoln and surrounding areas partcipate in the annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Youth Rally and March. In its 26th year, it will be held virtually so everyone can participate safely.

The youth rally and march is organized by a diverse group of area youth and is held in conjunction with the national recognition of the birthday of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  All components are intended to celebrate his legacy and the mission of the planning committee: "…promotion of the life and dream of the late Rev. Dr. King, Jr. through positive youth action in the community."

"Our rally this year will share things it will take for us to stay the course for needed change that so many before us (kids and adults across the world) took. It's important that we take steps right now and our need to relate to the need now more than ever to 'Walk Together' toward the goals of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Dr. Leola Bullock," said planning committee member Kylin Trout, a student at Lefler Middle School.

All aspects of the 2021 experience will be virtual and streamed via various platforms, thanks to the City of Lincoln's generosity.

Monday, January 18, 2021 Agenda

Virtual Pre-Rally - 9:30-10:00 a.m.

Join us for a mash-up of various Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speeches, bio's, motivational music, and empowerment cameo messages leading up to the 10 a.m. "Call to Action" Program

26th Annual Youth Rally and March "Call to Action" Program - 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

2021 Call to Action Keynote

A Scholar Letter to the Administration

A Wonderful Sound | Stand Up and Speak Out

We Must Continue

Tribute to the Late John Lewis

Scholar Musical Performances and Reflection

2021 Multi-Media Empowerment Presentation

Announcement of the 2021 Youth Rally and March Community Contributor Award

Belmont TRACKS Scholars Choral Book Presentation of "This Is the Dream"

Where to watch:

The rally and march will be streamed on the LNKTV Education website, LNKTV YouTube, and LNKTV Facebook:

https://lnktv.lincoln.ne.gov/CablecastPublicSite/watch/1?channel=2

youtube.com/lnktvcity

facebook.com/LNKTVcity

Cable Access Channels LNKTV Education: 

 - ALLO | Channel 23 

 - CHARTER SPECTRUM | Channel 1303 

 - WINDSTREAM KINETIC | Channel 1080 

For more information, visit the rally and march website: mlkyouthrally.com.

Posted on January 15, 2021


Highlights of 1/12 Board of Education Regular Meeting 

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 12, at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. 

Special reports and presentations

Library Services Update

LPS Director of Library Services Chris Haeffner presented the annual school libraries report. She shared the mission of school libraries: “Our school libraries empower learners to be curious, critical, and creative thinkers; enthusiastic readers; skillful researchers; and conscientious digital citizens.”

Here are a few highlights from the presentation:

  • Every school in LPS has a certified school librarian, and 35 of 39 elementary librarians are part of the “specials” rotation.
  • LPS school librarians have on average 10.5 years experience as librarians and 20.7 years in education.
  • 86% of LPS school librarians have a master’s degree in education.
  • 44% of LPS elementary librarians are full time in their library positions.

Haeffner spoke about how the work of school librarians contributes to the strategic goals adopted by the Board, in particular preparing students to be future ready global citizens and to support academic success for all students. 

Haeffner also touched upon school librarians’ focus on equity and diversity:

“We believe that an equitable classroom is one that is connected to lives of all our students.  This connection is critical in helping our teachers and students understand the beauty and efficacy of students from all racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds. Through integrating powerful literature, reflection, and discussion into the classroom experience, we are ensuring that stories and information featuring diverse persons in positions of prominence, influence, and intelligence are made available to every student and educator in our district.”

2020 LPS Pandemic Plan & Procedures Update

Superintendent Steve Joel updated the Board on the latest in responding to the pandemic. LPS is working with the health department to get information about vaccinations for staff when they become available for educators.

Joel also reported that the LPS Security and Threat Assessment team is working with the Lincoln Police Department ahead of reports of possible protests next week to ensure that schools remain safe for students and staff. More information will be communicated with staff and families by the end of the week in preparation for next week.

Memorandum of Understanding with Bryan College of Health Sciences for new focus program

The Board removed this item from the consent agenda to further discuss LPS entering into a memorandum of understanding with Bryan College of Health Sciences (BCHS) for a new focus program. LPS and BCHS will launch the Medical Science Focus Program set to open with the new high school located at Northwest 48th and West Holdrege streets in the fall of 2022.

LPS Director of Strategic Initiatives and Focus Programs James Blake offered an overview of the new focus program and answered questions.

“It's very exciting when two partners come together with this level of trust to make this commitment and build something of this scale,” Blake said. “I just wanted to take a moment and recognize Bryan College of Health Sciences for their financial and human commitment that makes this possible. They have made a large contribution and investment in this project.”

Through hands-on, immersive experiences and dual-credit classes, the program will prepare students for a variety of careers in the medical field. Students will begin course work their freshman and sophomore years as health science curriculum will be integrated into math, science and health classes. Juniors and seniors will be able to enroll in the dual-credit courses to earn early college credit.

Several classes will be offered online and face to face through BCHS. Face-to-face courses will include Certified Nurse Aid (CNA), Phlebotomy and Anatomy and Physiology. Labs and classrooms for the focus program will be located inside the new high school. Focus program students will also be matched with BCHS students as part of a mentoring program, and there will be shadowing opportunities available.

The focus program is designed to be affordable and accessible to LPS students and their families. Non-credit experiences will be available to students free-of-charge. Students who opt to take classes for college credit can do so at a reduced tuition rate. The Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools will also raise funds to help with scholarships for the program.

The Board voted to approve the memorandum of understanding. 

First Reading

Data Center Fluid Cooler and Emergency Generator Addition Project

Bids were requested from interested vendors for the installation of a new emergency natural gas fired generator and fluid cooler at the LPS Data Center near Lincoln High School. Three bids were received; one was deemed unacceptable. The Board waived second reading and awarded the project to Johnson Controls, Inc. (Lincoln) for a cost of $513,352.00. It was the lowest bid.

The Board waived the second reading and voted to approve the bid.

Public Comment

Two members of the public attended the meeting to address the Board during Public Comment. You can view that here

Glimpses of LPS

We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights the amazing things taking place in our schools. Tonight’s video featured LPS school nurses and health office staff and the tireless work they’ve done during the pandemic to ensure the health and safety of students and staff.

Posted on January 12, 2021


Wellness Wednesday

How'd You Do with Holiday Hold'em?

Now is the time to report your Holiday Hold'em results. Please follow this link. Those who completed the program will be part of prize drawings and those who maintained or better will be part of an extra drawing. Results must be reported by next Wednesday, Jan. 13, to be part of drawings.

Laughter Lifts Wrap Up

If you took part in Laughter Lifts through EHA, be sure to report any results by the end of this week at www.ehawellness.org. Drawings for prizes will be held for participants who have completed 20 days of activity. If you have any problems, please feel free to email EHA at contact@ehawellness.org. If you don't remember your code, there is a lookup function on EHA’s homepage.

Announcing Workout Wednesdays!

Ready for some active fun for you and your students? A collaboration between LPS Wellness and TeamMates, we are being granted the opportunity to finish the school year in a fun and active way. Instead of our traditional Fitness Fridays, we are now able to announce Workout Wednesdays for the rest of this 2020-2021 school year.

If you work directly with students, power up extra brain breaks throughout the day and lead/be part of the fun. If you have less direct student management in your role, this opportunity is built to help you feel supported in walking during your lunch/other breaks. Especially in these winter months, using these opportunities to really move can make a difference for both physical and mental health and clarity.

Here is the added fun: If you want to add jeans or comfortable but classy fitness-fabulous dressing to your Wednesdays, you may opt in to donate $10 to TeamMates and - get this - have access to dress in fitness wear on Wednesdays. No painting sweats or distracting, blush-inspiring Richard Simmons shorty shorts, etc. We don’t want to lose this privilege. This $10 donation will cover Wednesday fitness fabulous dressing for the rest of the 2020-21 school year when wearing the button! Yahoo! Donate and join the fun through this link

New Year, New You!

Here’s a chance to focus on you through virtual health coaching with UNL students who are seniors. Enrollment opens today. All meetings will be held via Zoom. Availability is first come, first served, so sign up ASAP to not miss your opportunity! Click this link to apply. Access Code: 2021SPRING (all uppercase. The health coaching is free for the entire 6 for nutrition/weight loss or fitness.

Participants are partnered with a senior-level student in Nutrition or Fitness Health Sciences. You are the student’s only client and they’ll build a personalized plan for you with plenty of support, backed by sound, up-to-date nutrition/fitness research and professor oversight. It could give you the boost you may need to gain knowledge and new, positive habits built to support your health.

For more information, assistance with the application process or to ask questions, contact Nutrition Professor Andrea Laughlin, MS, RD, LMNT at: andrea.dier14@hotmail.com or Fitness Professor Nick Reimers at nickreimers10@gmail.com.

Hope in the Air

I hope you found the winter break to be a replenishing time. You can feel hope in the air, with vaccines making their way into our health community. Getting closer! Keep up the great work in keeping yourself and your crew safe. I hope you find these new opportunities to be just what you need to keep the focus on your health and have a little fun! I'm super excited for Workout Wednesdays! I always love hearing from you. Feel free to drop me a line at mwelch@lps.org. I care about you and I'm rooting for your success, in health and otherwise!

Posted on January 06, 2021


LPS and BCHS announce new Medical Science Focus Program to open in 2022

A partnership between Lincoln Public Schools and the Bryan College of Health Sciences will launch the Medical Science Focus Program set to open with the new high school located at Northwest 48th and West Holdrege streets in the fall of 2022.

“LPS continues to look for opportunities to collaborate with community partners that will engage our students and enhance their experiences while we prepare them to graduate college and be career ready,” said LPS Superintendent Steve Joel. “We look forward to working with Bryan College of Health Sciences in providing students with this exciting choice for exploring careers in the medical sciences.”

BCHS President Rich Lloyd hopes getting high school students to explore medical sciences will help increase interest in an industry with growing demand.

“The need for qualified health care workers in Lincoln and surrounding areas is not going away. To start building interest in the medical sciences early on, is imperative to building our work force well into the future. We look forward to partnering with LPS to build a meaningful pathway into the medical sciences for high school students,” Lloyd said.

Through hands-on, immersive experiences and dual-credit classes, the program will prepare students for a variety of careers in the medical field. Students will begin course work their freshman and sophomore years as health science curriculum will be integrated into math, science and health classes. Juniors and seniors will be able to enroll in the dual-credit courses to earn early college credit.

Several classes will be offered online and face to face through BCHS. Face to face courses will include Certified Nurse Aid (CNA), Phlebotomy and Anatomy and Physiology. Labs and classrooms for the focus program will be located inside the new high school. Focus program students will also be matched with BCHS students as part of a mentoring program, and there will be shadowing opportunities available.

James Blake, LPS director of strategic initiatives and focus programs, says this program challenges LPS students to explore fields in medical sciences and will prepare them to meet the demands of advanced medical careers.

“For students who know they want to enter the medical field, they will be highly engaged in this program," Blake said. “For those who do not see a medical career as their end goal, this will still enhance their problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. These skills are essential to future success in any field.”

The focus program is designed to be affordable and accessible to LPS students and their families. Non-credit experiences will be available to students free-of-charge. Students who opt to take classes for college credit can do so at a reduced tuition rate.  The Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools will also raise funds to help with scholarships for the program.

Posted on December 17, 2020


LPS releases updated COVID-19 dashboard

On Monday, Dec. 14, Lincoln Public Schools released an update to the COVID-19 dashboard on their website lps.org/coronavirus

The new dashboard will update each day by 6 a.m. to reflect numbers for the current week running Sunday through Saturday. Previously the dashboard updated once a week on Thursdays to reflect cases Thursday through Wednesday. The total number of in-person positive cases will update in the current and previous weeks as LPS receives test results and confirmation from the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department. There are also tabs at the top to show numbers broken down by elementary, middle and high school levels along with other buildings and programs.

In addition, LPS will now report the number of students in exclusion along with the number of staff. Exclusion is defined as those identified as needing to self-isolate after testing positive for COVID-19, and those in self-quarantine after being identified as a close contact with a positive COVID-19 case.

A line graph at the bottom of the dashboard will show trends from the beginning of the school year on August 12.

Posted on December 14, 2020


Wellness Wednesday

Hop into Holiday Hold’em

Just in case we missed you pre-Thanksgiving, you are welcome to join in the Holiday Hold’em opportunity to support a “Maintain instead of gain” approach to the holidays. It’s free, no one sees your weight and it's a touch of accountability for your success through the holidays. Those who report their results will be entered for nifty prize drawings, with an added drawing for those who maintain instead of gain. Enroll now: LINK

Free Wellness Lab Check through Dec.16

Knowledge is power, especially related to keeping health issues at bay. Wellness Partners is offering a free wellness lab screening for all insured employees and spouses. Instead of school-based events, staff will schedule through Wellness Partners to have their labs drawn at Lab Corps and at a date and time convenient to you. Wellness Partners Contacts: Preventive Care Clinics & Scheduling -  hfadmin@wellness-partners.org or 877.345.7775 (Julie Schneider); Health Risk Assessment & Password Help - processing@wellness-partners.org or 877.345.7775

Mood Booster Bingo

If you haven’t taken part yet, Mood Booster Bingo is a fun way to bring extra smiles and remind yourself of strategies that help you turn the tide on tough times. These are great for us and the students we work with each day who may really benefit from filling their toolbox with practical “do now and feel better” skills. Submit your results and be entered for prize drawings.

Bingo Card: LINK

Report Results: LINK

Laughter Lifts

You have until Dec. 10 to enroll in Laughter Lifts. Go to www.ehawellness.org to reach your dashboard. Don’t know your personal code? There is a lookup function at the top of the page. For those who take part for 20 or more days and track their progress, you will be entered in prize drawings. During the last challenge over 150 of our crew received prizes for completing Mindfulness Matters.

Money Wellth

Looking for financial management tips without a sales pitch? Money Wellth is a new resource on your EHA wellness dashboard. Financial wellness is a serious subject within these challenging times. Simply indicate your areas of interest and resources for better understanding will appear on your Wellth profile page. To get started, go to www.ehawellness.org.

Posted on December 11, 2020


Community Awareness Event: Youth Mental Health

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 Health and the Lancaster Prevention Coalition to put on a valuable presentation about supporting the health and wellbeing of our community’s youth. This event is open to parents, students, school professionals and community members.

December 3, 2020- QPR Gatekeeper Training
6:30 p.m. -7:45 p.m.
via Zoom- https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84428884394
Meeting ID: 844 2888 4394

QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer — three simple steps anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide. The mission of QPR is to save lives and reduce suicidal behaviors by providing innovative, practical and proven suicide prevention training. QPR will train people to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade and refer someone to help. Quality education empowers all people, regardless of their background, to make a positive difference in the life of someone they know.

This training is presented by Abbe Edgecombe from SCIP in partnership with Region V Systems. SCIP is a statewide program designed to support student mental, emotional and behavioral health. Edgecombe coordinates SCIP for schools in Lincoln and Lancaster County.

Please Note: This training is open to both adults and middle and high school students. However, students must be logged in with a parent/guardian to attend. 

Posted on December 02, 2020


LPS continues strong support of United Way

Lincoln Public Schools employees continue to be a strong supporter of community organizations that make a positive impact on the lives of Lincoln residents in need. This year LPS raised $137,191.35 for the United Way. This is a 6.2% increase from last year. The campaign’s theme, "Now More Than Ever," was reflected in the staff efforts and contributions to support our students and families.

“I want to thank all LPS staff who contributed financially, the administrators who led the efforts in their buildings and departments, and the office staff who helped organize the drive in their locations,” said LPS Associate Superintendent for Instruction Matt Larson during a presentation at the Nov. 24 Lincoln Board of Education meeting. “LPS appreciates the United Way of Lincoln and their respective organizations that support the students and families in our community. We are fortunate to live in a community that works together to support others.”

Top five elementary school contributors

  • Clinton
  • Campbell
  • Kooser
  • Elliott
  • Huntington

Top two middle contributors

  • Lefler 
  • Pound

Top two high school contributors

  • North Star 
  • East

Schools and departments with 65% or greater staff participation

Elementary

  • Don Sherrill 88%
  • Clinton
  • Campbell
  • Fredstrom

Middle School

  • Dawes 72%

LPSDO Departments

  • Payroll 100%
  • Superintendent’s Office 100%
  • Superintendent’s Office-Custodial 100%
  • Government Relations 100%
  • Teammates 100%
  • Business Affairs Division
  • Communications
  • Federal Programs
  • HR Risk Management
  • Instructional Directors
  • Library Media
  • Student Services

United Way Executive Director Meagan Liesveld commended the staff for their continued support. “I want you to know how much we admire the work of your staff, your administrators and your teachers as you endeavor to meet the educational needs of our community’s young people. And you did not need one more thing on your plate, but you did it anyway. The staff, administration and teachers gave, and you gave generously.”

Posted on December 02, 2020


Highlights of 11/24 Board of Education Regular Meeting

Highlights of 11/24 Board of Education Regular Meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 24, at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. 

Special Presentations

United Way 

Lincoln Public Schools employees continue to be a strong supporter of community organizations that make a positive impact on the lives of Lincoln residents in need. This year LPS raised $137,191.35 for the United Way. This is a 6.2% increase from last year. The campaign’s theme, "Now More Than Ever," was reflected in the staff efforts and contributions to support our students and families.

“I want to thank all LPS staff who contributed financially, the administrators who led the efforts in their buildings and departments, and the office staff who helped organize the drive in their locations,” said LPS Associate Superintendent for Instruction Matt Larson. “LPS appreciates the United Way of Lincoln and their respective organizations that support the students and families in our community. We are fortunate to live in a community that works together to support others.”

Top five elementary school contributors

  • Clinton
  • Campbell
  • Kooser
  • Elliott
  • Huntington

Top two middle contributors

  • Lefler 
  • Pound

Top two high school contributors

  • North Star 
  • East

Schools and departments with 65% or greater staff participation

Elementary

  • Don Sherrill 88%
  • Clinton
  • Campbell
  • Fredstrom

Middle School

  • Dawes 72%

LPSDO Departments

  • Payroll 100%
  • Superintendent’s Office 100%
  • Superintendent’s Office-Custodial 100%
  • Government Relations 100%
  • Teammates 100%
  • Business Affairs Division
  • Communications
  • Federal Programs
  • HR Risk Management
  • Instructional Directors
  • Library Media
  • Student Services

United Way Executive Director Meagan Liesveld commended the staff for their continued support. “I want you to know how much we admire the work of your staff, your administrators and your teachers as you endeavor to meet the educational needs of our community’s young people. And you did not need one more thing on your plate, but you did it anyway. The staff, administration and teachers gave, and you gave generously.”

Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools Update

Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools President Wendy Van DeLaCastro offered an update on the foundation’s work during the past year, particularly since the beginning of the pandemic. A few highlights:

  • Overall the foundation has raised roughly $1.5 million over the last year to support children all across the city.
  • During the early months of the pandemic, the foundation helped 800 families through its COVID Relief Fund.
  • At the school level, that fund was able to, among other things, provide for an additional three hours of mental health services for each building and 3,000 musical instrument covers so students could safely play.
  • Most recently, the foundation launched the Thank a Teacher webpage. So far, 232 virtual thank you notes have been collected.

Van DeLaCastro also took the opportunity to look toward the future.

“I’m really excited for the coming six months ahead. We’ll be partnering closely with LPS on issues of equity and diversity. We’ll be working on workplace learning partnerships and then be raising funds for the two beautiful athletic complexes that will be a part of our new high schools,” she said.

Annual Financial Audit

Tonight the results of the 2019-2020 school year audit for LPS and Educational Service Unit 18 were presented to the Board. The school district went live with a new business and human resources system in August 2019, which presented a number of challenges but also allowed opportunities to increase transparency. 

Representatives from BerganKDV told the Board that no mistakes were reported by its audit team. 

“During an unusual year of switching systems and during a pandemic, this was quite exceptional,” said BerganKDV’s Gene Garrelts. “You clearly performed above and beyond.”


2020 LPS Pandemic Plan & Procedures Update

Board President Kathy Danek spoke to what she has seen in the many schools she has visited over the past few months and noted she plans to have visited every LPS school by the end of the first semester. She offered gratitude for all of the work being done by teachers, staff and administrators.

“I just want to acknowledge what I have seen on these visits. This is an incredibly challenging time in our schools and our city and our state. Yet our incredible professionals continue to exemplify great teaching and working with our students each and every day,” Danek said.  

Superintendent Steve Joel spoke about the decision to take an additional two days off from school this week, which he hopes is an opportunity for staff and students to relax and recalibrate before finishing the semester. He also went on to express his ongoing appreciation for the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department and its continued support for offering in-person school. 


First Reading

Newly Annexed Property to the City of Lincoln

The Board of Education held a first reading on assigning school attendance areas to property newly annexed to the City of Lincoln. This action establishes school attendance areas prior to the sale of residential lots, allowing purchasers to know what schools their children will attend. The Board will assign Wilderness Hills South to Adams Elementary School, Moore Middle School and Southwest High School.

A second reading and vote will take place at the Dec. 8 meeting.

Construction Projects

The Board held first reading for bids on two construction projects that are being paid for with funds from the 2020 Bond Fund, approved by voters in February.

  • West Holdrege Street Infrastructure Project - K-2 Real Estate & Development (Lincoln, Neb.) - $3,764,940.10
  • New Southeast High School Plumbing Package - HEP, Inc. (Lincoln, Neb.) - $4,509,950.00

The Board will vote on these projects at its Dec. 8 meeting. 

The Board waived second reading and voted to approve the following bid for another Bond Fund project:             

  • Wysong Elementary School Additions - Rogge General Contractors (Lincoln, Neb.) - $3,898,000.00

All three bids were the lowest submitted. There was only one bid submitted for the New Southeast High School Plumbing Package.


Second Reading

School choice filing deadline for East, Lincoln High and North Star 

Lincoln Public Schools eighth-graders will continue to have their choice of attending any of the LPS high schools as they enter ninth grade.

In 2020-21, enrollment continues to exceed building capacity at East High and Lincoln High with more than 2,300 each and nearly 2,300 at North Star.

For the second year, LPS staff recommends that high school selection applications for 2021-22 for incoming ninth-graders living outside of East High, Lincoln High and North Star attendance areas continue to be approved through the current process, with a filing deadline of Jan. 31, 2021. All forms submitted after that date will be denied. In addition, these three schools will be unavailable for transfers at all grade levels for students living outside the school attendance areas.

The Board voted to approve the filing deadline.

Construction bids for new high schools

The Board voted to approve bids for a number of projects at the new high schools being built in northwest and southeast Lincoln. All of the projects are being paid for with funds from the 2020 Bond Fund.

  • New NW High School Segmented Block Retaining Walls Package - Linhart Construction, Inc. (Omaha, Neb.) - $100,556.00
  • New NW High School Geo-Foam/Pressure Reducing Wall Systems Package - Hausmann Construction, Inc. (Lincoln, Neb.) - $270,500.00
  • New NW & SE High Schools Fireproofing Package - True Fireproofing Company (Tulsa, Okla.) - $631,200.00
  • New NW High School Sidewalks Package - Concrete Works (Milford, Neb.) - $429,730.00
  • New NW High School Paving Sealants Package - Stutzman Sealants & Sons LLC (Lincoln, Neb.) - $78,750.00
  • New NW High School Fencing Package - Outback Fence Co. LLC (Lincoln, Neb.) - $7,956.00
  • New NW & SE High Schools Lockers Package - List Industries, Inc. (Deerfield Beach, Fla.) - $206,500.00
  • New NW & SE High Schools Joint Sealants Package - Stutzman Sealants & Sons LLC (Lincoln, Neb.) - $304,320.00
  • New NW & SE High Schools Millwork & Casework Package - Designer Woods, Inc. (Omaha, Neb.) - $717,681.00
  • New NW High School Traffic Signage & Curb Stops Package - Bestco Services (Waverly, Neb.) - $30,720.00

All of the approved bids were the lowest submitted. There was only one bid submitted for the New NW High School Paving Sealants Package and the New NW High School Fencing Package.

Decrease in Guaranteed Maximum Price for new high schools

In June 2019 the Board awarded Hausmann Construction, Inc., the contract to provide services as the Construction Manager Constructor (CMC) for the two new high schools being built in northwest and southeast Lincoln. As part of that, Haussman was required to submit a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) for each of the projects.

At the last meeting, the Board asked Scott Weiskamp, director of Operations to reevaluate a  proposal and bring it back for consideration.

“We appreciate the opportunity to come back after we had a very healthy discussion two weeks ago,” said Weiskamp. “This is a huge project for our community and for Lincoln Public Schools. We really did appreciate that conversation because we took a step back, take a look at the broader picture, look at the whole project and see how we could get the project below budget.”

The new GMP proposed was: $61,739,748.00 for the northwest high school project and $62,049,503.00 for the southeast high school.

The Board voted to approve the newly proposed GMP.


Committee Reports

Safe and Successful Kids Committee Report

Before the Board voted on whether to approve a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the City of Lincoln on School Resource Officers, Assistant Superintendent John Neal and Director of Security Joe Wright gave the Board a summary of a presentation given to the SSK Committee at its last meeting. The full presentation given to the SSK Committee can be found here

The purpose of the MOU is to fulfill the requirements of LB 390, approved by the Nebraska Legislature in 2019. LB 390 requires the creation of a comprehensive and clear MOU between law enforcement and school officials that will delineate the roles and responsibilities of school resource officers and school administrators. The ultimate goal is to balance the interests of safety for students and school staff in relation to parental rights, student success and family integrity, with the goal that an increased law enforcement presence at schools will not result in a disparate impact on students.

The Board voted 5-2 to approve the MOU on School Resource Officers with the City of Lincoln.


Public Comment

No members of the public attended the meeting to address the Board during Public Comment. 


Glimpses of LPS

We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights the amazing things taking place in our schools. Tonight’s video featured the generous giving of LPS schools as part of this year’s United Way campaign and its impact on students and families.

Posted on November 25, 2020


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