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.

Wellness Wednesday

Feeling dull? Ten tips to deal with dopamine dips

By Michelle Welch, RD, LMNT, LPS Wellness Facilitator

Feeling dull? Ten tips to deal with dopamine dips

Are you feeling a bit dull? Down in the dumps? Dopamine to the rescue! Our brains crave the dopamine that comes from stimulation. Simply paying attention to efforts to boost dopamine may be a helpful lifeline to rescue us from the doldrums. Our “happiness” chemistry is boosted through new, exciting or out of the ordinary activities. It’s also boosted by food experiences and physical activity. Here are some ideas.

1)     Go for a drive. The leaves are beautiful. Play fun leaf/leaves-themed music different than what you listen to regularly. If you leave me now…Drop it like it’s hot… whatever works for you.

2)     Dust off board games, puzzles or any brain games you have access to—even better if they are off-screen, as movement will add to the boost.

3)     Seek out new flavors and seasonings. Instead of the standard meatloaf Monday, use new spices and go Mexican meatloaf, or better yet, something else entirely. When grocery shopping, look for inexpensive, fun new foods. How about buying five different apples instead of five of the same type?

4)     Get adventurous with your walks or workouts. Consider walking a different route, even doing the walk, in reverse. The more we can get out during those sunlight hours can really help.

5)     Plan something, not work related. A project, a hobby, a day trip, whatever can create some excitement for you.

6)     Address sleep with your provider if you haven’t been getting adequate sleep. Even for the most motivated person, lack of sleep leads to lack of luster and drive to face the world or do much of anything. Take it seriously.

7)     Seek out distant friend and family fun. If your virtual friend gatherings have not developed or have frittered away, consider reconnecting, maybe with a theme or something to make it feel new and fresh.

8)     Find a purpose outside yourself, be it making masks or surprising someone with a good deed. Dopamine boost indeed!

9)     Bring on the brights. Just as sunlight is important, if you have bright colors in your closet, wear them! Anything from tops to pants to scarves or face coverings - anything to put some extra color in the world.

10)  Find a good laugh. Watching silly movies or pet videos, books or whatever tickles your funny bone. If you like to write or journal, think about writing something fun. We all can benefit from a good laugh, now more than ever.

Wishing you many a positive boost in brain chemistry! Dopamine like you mean it!

 

Posted on October 21, 2020


Reminder: Suicide awareness/prevention training

A reminder, if you were unable to take the annual suicide awareness/prevention training thus far it must be completed by the end of the semester.  This year’s training utilizes the QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) method, which teaches people to recognize the warning signs of suicide and how to respond. The training session lasts approximately 1 hour. 

Those required to take the training include: nurses, teachers, counselors, school psychologists, administrators, social workers, health technicians, treatment nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, sign language interpreters, service coordinators, SLPs, Bilingual Liaisons, 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.

There are two remaining district sessions for new employees hired after the start of school, district staff and those unable to attend a school session. Those will be held Nov. 10 and Dec. 10. At the end of the training, you will be asked to complete a form. When you have completed the form you can download a certificate of completion. Save a copy and share with your supervisor.  All sessions can be found on Performance Matters and a Zoom link is shared if you want to attend remotely.

Posted on October 21, 2020


LPS Health Services and Children's Hospital: Making eye care more accessible

Lincoln Public Schools is partnering with Children’s Hospital & Medical Center to make eye care more accessible to our students this year through the Visionmobile Program. Comprehensive eye exams and dilation will be provided by a Children’s Hospital optometrist and staff. If prescription eyeglasses are required, the student will be able to choose their frames on the spot and glasses will be delivered to the student’s school.

Eight LPS elementary schools have been chosen to participate in the program for the 2020-2021 school year: Huntington, West Lincoln, Belmont, McPhee, Saratoga, Campbell, Everett, and Clinton, with 130 students enrolled in the program at this time. By bringing these services to the school buildings, our students do not have to leave during the day to attend appointments and parents do not have to take the time off work. Through this collaboration, LPS and Children’s Hospital & Medical Center will work together to increase access to healthcare and to reduce health disparities within our community.

Posted on October 21, 2020


Lincoln High teacher featured on 'Today Show'

Lincoln High School business teacher Kim Pickering was selected to appear on the "Today Show" Monday, Oct. 5 in honor of World Teachers' Day. Pickering was one of six educators highlighted, and each teacher won school supplies from Five Star for their school.

Posted on October 06, 2020



Wellness Update

By Michelle Welch, RD, LMNT
LPS District Wellness

Still time to opt in for Mindfulness Matters

Per the EHA site, over 1,300 of you opted into Mindfulness Matters, so I hope this opportunity to check in on yourself helps you reset and discover what tools work well for you at this time to refresh and refocus. You still have until Oct. 10 to opt in if you are interested. Go to www.ehawellness.org and to find out your personal code use the “Find Your Code” function in the top right search box and simply use your LPS email. Participants receive a Mindfulness Matters soft cover book, which is mailed to your home. For further trouble shooting, email EHA at: contact@ehawellness.org.

Fun Face Covering Fridays has begun

This week begins our official month of Fun Face Covering Fridays. Bring on the bling, color, special interest or Husker pride. When you have a chance, send us a “Maskie” - you know, a selfie of you and your crew in your face covering glory. Use this link. We hope to share some of these on LPS social media. Those who submit a picture in October will be entered into staff drawings for prizes.

Who let the dogs out? You!

Thanks again to LPS staff who shared their precious pet picts for our fall scavenger hunts. Word from wellness reps is that our students are going crazy for your pups and purry pets. I hope you connect with your wellness champ and have a chance to both “Walk the Dogs” and “Strut the Catwalk.” Keep watching for more opportunities to add fun and joy to your days. By the way, I’m glad to make more pet scavenger hunts to keep the cuteness coming, so if you want to share your pet picts, I’m always glad to get them. Submit your fur babies here.

And that’s a good mood BINGO

Helping students (and ourselves) fill our toolboxes with coping strategies to boost our moods has never been more important. Check out our Mood Booster Bingo card  as a great reminder of tools that can help us have a better fall. Submit your results to qualify for nifty prize drawings throughout the month of October. 

Negative has never been so positive

This week I was given the full COVID brain scratching. I’m happy to report that I was given the “all clear,” but when you are in lock down it gives you lots of time to reflect. Good grief, what does it mean for my family if this is positive? For my work? How many items do I touch in a day? How many people do I see? Have I been cautious enough? With my hubby working in long-term care, we are extra cautious in our family, but geez, even with that... negative has never been so positive!

Having forced down time due to federal regulations helped weirdly fire me up to get back to work. As crispy as we often feel with this year, it was such a reminder of how purpose-filled our work is and how heart-led it is. Also, how important it is to make our downtime truly be time for recovery of mind and body. Keep doing what you can to take care of you.

Posted on October 02, 2020


Highlights of 9/22 Board of Education Regular Meeting and Educational Service Unit 18 Board Regular Meeting

Board of Education Regular Meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 22, at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St.

Lincoln Board of Education recognized by the Nebraska Association of School Boards

The Lincoln Board of Education received the Board of Excellence award from the Nebraska Association of School Boards. This award is in recognition of the Board’s commitment to achieving excellence in board leadership through continuing education.

2020 LPS Pandemic Plan & Procedures Update

During the update, Superintendent Steve Joel spoke about remote learning survey results and important changes to the pandemic plan and student calendar. 

Remote Learning Survey Results

Joel shared results from the LPS Remote Learning Surveys. There was one survey sent to teachers, and one sent to families of remote learners. 

Preliminary analysis of the results showed that depending on the grade level, 74-78%  of parents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that remote learning is going well so far. In contrast, 38-41% of teachers agreed or strongly agreed with the same statement. 

Joel said, “We interpret this to mean that for teachers remote learning is challenging, that it is a lot of work, and that it is stressful. We certainly acknowledge all of this to be true. However, and this is the important point, our teachers are working hard and the vast majority of parents are pleased with how teachers have responded and how remote learning is going so far. We appreciate the hard work of our teachers.”

Here are a few other highlights:

  • Parent response rate:
    • Grades K-1: 31.5%
    • Grades 2-5: 22.5%
    • Grades 6-8: 20%
    • Grades 9-12 100% remote learners: 11%
    • Grades 9-12 A/B schedule: 12%
  • 61-76% of parents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that their student has opportunities to share/talk with their class.
  • 70-76% of parents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that their student can reach teachers for help outside of class.
  • 76-83% of parents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that their student has the instructional resources needed to be successful in a remote environment.
  • 62-77% of parents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that their student is spending about the right amount of time on Zoom.

Results from the surveys can be found on our website:

Staff are still reviewing the open ended questions on the surveys.

No school for students Nov. 2

Nov. 2 will be a teacher and staff plan day and there will NOT be school for all pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade students and Independence Academy students. This day will provide additional plan time to work on serving the needs of both in-person and remote students and up to two hours designated for work toward the school district’s equity goal. 

Please note: There is also no school on Nov. 3 due to election day, creating a four-day weekend for all students.

Ending 3/2 in high schools starting second quarter

After discussions with the health department, beginning the second quarter on Oct. 19 we are initiating plans to end the 3/2 high school plan and have all high school in-person learners return to school full time, five days a week. This means that high school PLC early release will move back to Tuesdays.

Please note: This will be subject to current community conditions and we will continue to work in collaboration with the health department on the transition. Please note that given the number of remote learners at the high school level, our high schools will still only be at 70-80% capacity.

Elementary specialists will teach from their classrooms starting Oct. 19

Starting second quarter (Oct. 19) we have put safety protocols in place to allow for all elementary specialists to teach from their own classrooms instead of from a cart. 

Dates and location change for May 2021 graduations

Due to the uncertainty of the pandemic, LPS has secured Lincoln’s biggest venue to hold in-person graduation on Memorial Day weekend. All six ceremonies will now take place May 28-30 at Pinnacle Bank Arena and livestreamed for those who cannot attend. 

The new graduation schedule at Pinnacle Bank Arena is as follows:

Friday, May 28, 2021
6 p.m., Lincoln High School 

Saturday, May 29, 2021
8:30 a.m., Lincoln Southeast
12:30 p.m., Lincoln Northeast
4:30 p.m., Lincoln Southwest

Sunday, May 30, 2021
Noon, Lincoln North Star
4 p.m. Lincoln East

The Bryan Community Focus Program graduation will still be held at Lincoln East High School on Thursday, May 20, 2021, at 7 p.m.

All times are subject to change.

First Reading

Land Acquisition, Sale, and Exchange - Spirit/Cherrywood & new SW Site Properties

The board held a first reading of a property exchange agreement with Southwest Folsom Development, LLC. The agreement would transfer the entire 62.5 acre tract of real estate near 84th and O streets behind the State Farm office complex, commonly known as Spirit Park, that is owned by LPS and allow LPS to acquire an approximately 18.72 acre parcel of real estate generally located north of W. Old Cheney Road between SW 12th and S. Folsom streets from the development group. If the exchange transaction is completed, the development group will also pay LPS $2,330,000.00 for the property. If Southwest decides not to participate in the transfer by exercising its due diligence option, LPS will continue with the purchase of the approximately 18.7 acres from the development group for the amount of $786,240.00, without transferring the approximately 62.5 acres to Southwest and will not receive payment from Southwest.

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

Lincoln High Roof Repair

LPS sought bids for roofing at Lincoln High School. There were two bids submitted. It was recommended the lower bid be chosen to complete the project. The Board waived second reading and approved the bid from Weathercraft Company of Lincoln for a price of   $1,646,181.00.

Second Reading

Official property tax request

The Lincoln Board of Education voted to approve the official property tax request to fund the 2020-2021 budget. This is the last, necessary step in officially finalizing the 2020-21 budget and is a routine step in the process.

Public Comment

There were 8 citizens who addressed the Board during Public Comment. You can view the full video of the meeting that includes public comment here.

Closed Session

The Board went into closed session to discuss litigation.

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 work done by early childhood teachers through in-home visits.

Education Service Unit 18 Regular Meeting

Following the Lincoln Board of Education meeting, the Educational Service Unit 18 Board held a regular meeting. The Board voted to approve the official property tax request to fund the 2020-21 ESU 18 budget.

 

Posted on September 22, 2020


Changes to LPS elementary principals' Bubba’s Closet event

Every year, Lincoln Public Schools Elementary Principals Network organizes and distributes winter clothing through the Bubba’s Closet event. This year’s event will look a little different due to the current pandemic safety protocols put into place.

Instead of a Saturday event, families who are in need of winter coats for their pre-school and elementary aged children are asked to fill out a form (bit.ly/Bubbas2020) by Friday, Sept. 25 indicating the child’s size, age and school. Elementary principals cannot guarantee a new coat for every child, but they will do their best to fulfill as many requests as possible. Coats will be distributed to students through their school during the last week of October.

Those who are interested in donating to Bubba’s Closet this year are encouraged to give through the Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools Fund a Need campaign bit.ly/Donate2Bubbas. Funds raised will be used to help fill the coat requests from families. Donations of new coats (tags still on the garment) will also be accepted at each elementary school. Please call the school office ahead of time to arrange dropping off the donation.

Posted on September 19, 2020


Get your influenza (flu) shot!

From LPS Health Services

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing the spread of respiratory illnesses, like influenza (flu), this fall and winter is more important than ever. Prevention of and reduction in the severity of influenza and reduction of outpatient illnesses, hospitalization and intensive care unit admissions through influenza vaccination will help alleviate stress on the health care system.

Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness. Serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death.

Flu viruses spread mainly by tiny droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk.

"Seasonal influenza" refers to the limited periodic outbreaks of respiratory illness that typically occur in the fall and winter in the United States. While most people have some immunity to the circulating strains of the virus, annual influenza vaccine is recommended. (National Association of School Nurses)

The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year, but good health habits such as avoiding people who are sick, covering your cough and washing your hands often can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like flu. There also are flu antiviral drugs that can be used to treat and prevent flu. (Centers for Disease Control)

CDC recommends getting a flu vaccination in September or October but getting vaccinated anytime during the flu season can help protect you. Everyone six months and older can get vaccinated this season.

The Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) will return and will be offering immunizations for LPS employees and their families.

Please click Herefor Registration Information and details regarding cost, dates, times and locations.

See the LPS staff letter provided in the link above for more details.

If you experience difficulty registering from the LPS staff letter accessed above, please go directly to the VNA site by clicking Here

Posted on September 16, 2020


Wellness Update - Sept. 16

Sneaker September is in Stride! 

I hope you are donning your athletic shoes for Sneaker September. Thanks to those who joined in on the TeamMates promo with the jeans day buttons. 

Consider taking part in October Mindfulness Matters

EHA, part of BCBS Nebraska, is providing the staff tracking branch of our focus on social emotional wellness this October. If you choose to enroll, you will receive a book called “Mindfulness Matters” to support your efforts. Everything we can do to support our mental health is a plus. If you track your participation on the EHA dashboard for 20 or more days in October, it will make you eligible for additional prize drawings. All staff is welcome to take part. Each LPS employee has their own dashboard and confidential tracker, which is linked to your personal code. If you don't know your code, there is a lookup function on the EHA page, based off your LPS email. One note: EHA mails items to your home address, so be sure to check your address and keep it updated so you don't miss out on receiving any surprises! We hope you join in the fun! Website: www.ehawellness.org 

Fun Face Covering Fridays

In these serious times, we all need a bit more fun. Especially in October, staff is welcome to bring on the fun with your face coverings on Fridays. School appropriate of course, not ghoulish, but favorite bright colors, characters, favorite teams or other themes that help perk up your energy and the energy of those you work with. If you are like me, I keep a few in my classroom/cube/car anyway, so if I need to change to fit what I'm doing I can (of course it also csn depend on what I'm wearing). Face coverings are such a focus, even just using bright colors may impact your energy. You will have opportunities to submit pictures of "maskies" so stay tuned!

'Streets Alive!' 2020 Online Play, Explore, Learn!

“Streets Alive!,” Lincoln's annual outdoor festival promoting active and healthy living, is celebrating 10 years! The festival moves to a new neighborhood every two years, but this year we've moved online! Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, “Streets Alive!” 2020 will be a virtual event on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2-4:30 p.m. You'll find join-in fitness classes, learn-along sports, cooking and gardening demos, community partner resource information, a ton of fun interactive videos, and a week-long neighborhood scavenger bingo game with prizes to get people out and active in a fun, safe way. 

Neighborhood Scavenger Bingo

Join in on a friendly game to get out, get active and explore the uniqueness of your neighborhood! The game will take place between Sunday, Oct. 4 and Saturday, Oct. 10. You will find kid, teen and adult bingo cards on our web site closer to the event date. Choose the bingo card that's right for you and fill it out on your phone or download to print.

 A chance to win: After you complete a bingo, post a picture of one of your finds on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #StreetsAliveLNK to be entered for a chance to win one a special prize courtesy of Lincoln Bike Kitchen. Players will have a chance to win one of seven bikes, each with a helmet and bike lock. Grab friends and family and play along!

Posted on September 16, 2020


National Suicide Prevention Month

September is Suicide Prevention Month. We are taking this opportunity to remind everyone to #BeThe1To keep each other safe.

Our Signs of Suicide curriculum teaches students to use the ACT process when they or someone they know is struggling. ACT stands for Acknowledge (listen to your friend, don’t ignore threats), Care (let your friend know your care), and Tell (tell a trusted adult that you are worried about your friend). School counselors, social workers, and psychologists are available at school and there are resources that can be accessed anytime of the day or night. We never want anyone to believe that suicide is the only option. 

Here is a link with more information regarding suicide warning signs and resources: http://bit.ly/LPSAware

Please also review the resources below with your child so they are knowledgeable about these services:

  • CenterPointe Crisis Line (Lincoln): 402-475-6695
  • Nebraska Family Helpline: 1-888-866-8660
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
  • National Crisis Text Line: text START to 741741 (text charges from your phone carrier may apply)

If someone you know is struggling, we encourage you to reach out. If you are wondering how to start a conversation about mental health or suicide, HopeLNK (https://www.hopelnk.org/) provides resources to guide you. There is help, there is hope.

Posted on September 10, 2020


Oct. 15 deadline for suicide awareness/prevention training

Just a reminder, employee groups required to take the annual suicide awareness/prevention training must have that completed by the end of first quarter, Oct. 15. Unlike previous years, this year’s training is offered in-person - not online - and is offered at each building. 

This year’s training utilizes the QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) method, which teaches people to recognize the warning signs of suicide and how to respond. The training session lasts approximately 1 hour. 

Those required to take the training include: nurses, teachers, counselors, school psychologists, administrators, social workers, health technicians, treatment nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, sign language interpreters, service coordinators, SLPs, Bilingual Liaisons, 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.

There also will be four district sessions for new employees hired after the start of school, district staff and those unable to attend a school session. Those will be held Sept. 10, Oct. 13, Nov. 10 and Dec. 10. At the end of the training, you will be asked to complete a form. When you have completed the form you can download a certificate of completion. Save a copy and share with your supervisor.  All sessions can be found on Performance Matters and a Zoom link is shared if you want to attend remotely.

Posted on September 02, 2020


Superintendent's Blog: Rising to the challenge

Posted on September 01, 2020


LPS to announce weekly positive cases of COVID-19

Following established protocols, Lincoln Public Schools will announce the positive cases reported last week at LPS and the number of staff reporting to be self-isolating or quarantining on its special COVID-19 webpage: lps.org/coronavirus.

The number of positive COVID-19 cases at LPS Aug. 12-19 was four. This includes students and staff testing positive who have been in LPS buildings anytime 48 hours prior to the time of symptoms being exhibited or the positive test was taken. These are cases where LPS has done investigation of potential exposure to others and contact tracing in the school district setting. This also includes all positions and district locations, which refers to school buildings and non-school locations such as Operations, Transportation, District Office and Distribution.

The current number of LPS staff directed to be in self-isolation or in quarantine as of Wednesday, Aug. 19 at 4 p.m. is 35. The number includes staff who are self-isolating due to exhibiting symptoms or have been notified of a high-risk contact with COVID-19, and those who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have been directed to quarantine. This also includes all positions and district locations, which refers to school building and non-school locations such as Operations, Transportation, District Office and Distribution.

In addition to the numbers mentioned above, every year LPS releases a weekly Wednesday Student Illness Report. This gives the number of families reporting their students' absence due to illness on Wednesdays, and includes all in-person and remote learners and all illnesses reported to the attendance office. This week the percentage of students who reported absent for illness is one percent.

As a reminder, when there is a confirmed positive case of COVID-19 in an LPS building, LPS will continue to follow protocols and work with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department on the contact tracing process. Through that process, anyone identified as a close, high-risk contact with the positive case will be called directly and given instructions on next steps. Those next steps could include self-monitoring or self-isolating and reporting to the health department or health care provider if symptoms develop.

If there is a positive case reported at LPS and a person is not directly called by the health department or LPS staff, then they are not considered a close, high-risk contact. Anyone with questions about possible exposure should contact the LLCHD at 402-441-8006 or your healthcare provider. Due to privacy rules and regulations, identifying information of the person affected, such as name, position, age etc., will not be released. LPS will continue to collaborate with LLCHD and follow its guidelines regarding the safety of staff.

As a reminder, the health department recommends everyone should wear face coverings, practice hand hygiene and physical distancing, and self-screen and monitor for symptoms daily. Should you develop or currently have any COVID-19 symptoms or answer yes to any of the self-screening questions, please stay home and contact your healthcare provider.

More information can be found on the LPS website: lps.org/coronavirus.

Posted on August 20, 2020



Wellness Wednesday

By Michelle Welch, RD, LMNT, LPS Wellness Facilitator

A chance to focus on you: Virtual Health Coaching with UNL Senior Students

Enrollment opens today! New for this year: All meetings will be virtual with your personal coach via Zoom. Availability is first come, first served, so sign up ASAP to not miss your opportunity!

Click this link to apply: https://cehs25.unl.edu/ccp/nhs-coaching/ Access Code: 2020FALL (All uppercase)

  • Even lower cost for 2020: $15 for entire six weeks of coaching for nutrition/weight loss OR fitness
  • Flexible for your schedule with no travel time
  • Comfort and safety of your own chosen space

You are the student’s only client, building a personalized, individualized plan for you with plenty of support for you, backed by sound, up-to-date nutrition/fitness research and class professor plan oversight. Participants are partnered with a senior-level student in Nutrition or Fitness Health Sciences for weekly virtual coaching sessions about their individualized nutrition or fitness goals, giving you the boost you may need to gain knowledge and get new, positive habits built to support your health.

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

Fitting in you: More important than ever

We know this year is going to be extra exciting, finding all new ways to reach our students and help them feel our support and care. It’s okay to be feeling a mix of emotions. It would be surprising if we weren’t, right? You are not alone.

We will each need to fill our buckets extra full with laughter, support and taking care of our health physically. LPS Wellness is here for you.

 I’m excited about some shifts we are making in our staff wellness efforts this year. They will provide you with extra supports this fall, without adding to your travel time. Moving our UNL Health Coaching to a virtual program is a great first step. I hope you will consider this as a great way to take care of yourself and give yourself six weeks of extra support in your area of health improvement focus. Our LPS Wellness fun this fall will focus first on social-emotional wellness and will be adding some further supports for staff wellness in collaboration with EHA later this fall. Stay tuned for more info… 

Wishing you well.

 

Posted on August 05, 2020


Highlights of 6/23 Board of Education and ESU Regular Meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, June 23, at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. Immediately following the Regular Board of Education meeting, there was a regular meeting of the Board of Education Educational Service Unit 18.

Lincoln Board of Education Regular Meeting

Resolution Regarding the Framework for Reopening Schools

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the school district is working with the Lincoln Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) to develop best practices to reopen LPS schools and facilities for the 2020-21 school year. A resolution was presented regarding this process, within the framework of the LLCHD COVID-19 Risk Dial.

The Board waved second reading and voted to approve the resolution.

New High School Site Annexation Agreement with the City of Lincoln

As part of the Bond Issue passed by Lincoln voters in February, the Board previously approved the purchase of approximately 143 acres of real estate located at the northeast corner of the intersection of South 70th Street and Saltillo Road for use as a site for a new high school and athletic facilities. In order to develop the property for the intended purposes the site and adjacent roads, utilities and infrastructure must first be annexed into the boundaries of the City of Lincoln.

The proposed annexation agreement with the City also calls for design, construction and installation of roads, utilities and related infrastructure on and along S. 70th St. and Saltillo Road adjacent to the site. The estimated cost is approximately $4,950,000. As part of the agreement, LPS will be responsible for the design, construction and installation of the infrastructure and for initial payment of costs and expenses. The City will reimburse LPS for a portion of the infrastructure costs in the amount of approximately $2,250,000. This is subject to final design and negotiation of the cost share and construction costs.

The Board waived the second reading and voted to approve the annexation resolution.

New High School Sites Precast Supply Package

LPS contracted with Hausmann Construction, Inc., to serve as the district’s construction manager at risk for the new high school sites. Under the construction manager contract, Hausmann is required to competitively bid all work on the projects. Hausmann, in conjunction and consultation with the LPS Operations Department, requested bids to furnish all labor, materials and equipment for precast supply on the projects. Hausmann is required to award a subcontract to the lowest responsible bidder for the work, subject to approval by LPS.

In this case, the lowest bidder was Coreslab Structures from Bellevue, Nebraska, for an amount of $3,517,620. This will be an expenditure from the 2020 Bond Fund.

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

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Proposals were requested from vendors to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to be delivered to all LPS cafeterias as needed from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021, with renewals for 2021-22 and 2022-23. It’s recommended the award be confirmed to the lowest vendor meeting specifications, based on estimated expenditures: Greenberg Fruit Co., Inc., from Omaha for an estimated $950,000 annually, to be paid for through the Nutrition Services Fund.

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

CARES Act Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund Grant through Nebraska Department of Education

The recently enacted federal CARES Act establishes the Elementary Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund. The U.S. Department of Education will award these grants to state educational agencies to provide local educational agencies with emergency relief funds to address the impact that COVID-19 has had, and continues to have, on elementary and secondary schools across the nation. This includes both continuing to provide educational services while schools are closed, such as remote learning, and developing and implementing plans for the return to normal operations.

LPS is estimated to receive approximately $8,000,000 from the fund. LPS is required to provide up to approximately $900,000 of its award in goods and services to non-public schools that qualify for funds and choose to participate in a consultation with LPS. Expenses incurred on or after March 13 related to COVID-19 can be reimbursed, and funds will remain available through Sept. 30, 2022. Following guidance in the CARES Act, LPS will utilize grant funds to support necessary expenses for remote learning not budgeted in the district general budget for 2019-20 or 2020-21.

The Board waived second reading and voted to approve the submission of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund Grant application to the Nebraska Department of Education for approximately $8,000,000, which includes up to approximately $900,000 for services to non-public schools. There is no match requirement.

New Chromebooks for Grades 3-5

Instructional needs associated with remote learning and the increasing use of digital curriculum and online assessment are indicators of the degree to which Chromebooks have become an integral part of teaching and learning. Chromebooks were first purchased for students in grades 3-5 in September 2015. Those devices, originally purchased with the intent of a three-year lifecycle that was extended to 4 years, are approaching the end of their fifth year of service and need to be replaced to ensure operational viability.

It is recommended that the Board award a total of $2,425,247.88 to Dell, Inc., to purchase 9,361 Dell 11" Chromebooks, including three-year maintenance.

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

Community Learning Center Agreements

LPS has various sites throughout the district that provide services related to Community Learning Center (CLC) activities. It is recommended that agreements be entered between LPS and the following entities to offer these services: Boys and Girls Club of Lincoln/Lancaster County; Cedars Youth Services; Family Service Association; Lincoln Housing Authority; Lincoln Parks and Recreation; Malone Community Center; Nebraskans for Civic Reform; Northeast Family Center; Willard Community Center; and YMCA of Lincoln.

These agreements will be valid through Sept. 30, 2021. The Board waived second reading and voted to approve agreements.

Superintendent’s Contract

The Lincoln Board of Education annually evaluates and reviews the contract of the Superintendent of Schools. On Tuesday the Board voted to approve that Lincoln Public Schools Superintendent Steve Joel’s contract be extended with no salary increase. The salary for the superintendent for the 2020-21 year will remain at $329,539.

Proposed Contracts, Salaries for Superintendent’s Exec Team

The Board of Education also annually reviews the contracts of the superintendent’s executive team, and this year it is recommended that the proposed two-year contract for each of the three associate superintendents and the assistant superintendent be extended one year beginning July 1, 2020. In addition, the superintendent and executive team recommended that members of the executive team do not receive a salary increase.

Annual salary proposals:

  • Matt Larson, associate superintendent for Instruction: $209,400
  • Liz Standish, associate superintendent for Business Affairs: $219,259
  • Eric Weber, associate superintendent for Human Resources: $219,259
  • John Neal, assistant superintendent for General Administration and Governmental Relations: $214,925

The Board voted to approve the contracts.

Purchase of masks

The Board pulled from the consent agenda and voted to approve the purchase of 100,000 reusable masks - 60,000 youth size, 40,000 adult size - for a total cost of $260,000. The youth masks will be purchased from Talacko Safety Solutions in Waterloo, Neb. The adult masks will be purchased from The Graphic Edge in Carroll, Iowa.

Public Comment

There were 38 citizens that addressed the Board during Public Comment. You can view the full video that includes public comment here.

Glimpses of LPS

We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights the amazing teaching and learning taking place in our schools. Tonight’s video featured speakers from the virtual graduation ceremonies for Yankee Hill Education Center and Bryan Community Focus Program.

Board of Education ESU 18 Regular Meeting

Immediately following the Regular Board of Education meeting, there was a regular meeting of the Board of Education Educational Service Unit 18.

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

The Board waived second reading and voted to approve an agreement between Educational Service Unit 18 and Lancaster County to provide educational services to youth detained at the Lancaster County Youth Services Center.

Adopt Unit Administrator Contract

The Board waived second reading and voted to approve the contract of LPS Administrator Sarah Salem to be the ESU 18 Unit Administrator.

 

Posted on June 24, 2020


Lincoln Board of Education regular meeting, budget work session and public forums

The Lincoln Board of Education has several meetings scheduled the week of June 22.  The regular Board meeting will be held at 6 p.m., Tuesday, June 23 in the boardroom at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The meeting will also be streamed live on LNK TV Education channel, the LPS website and LPS YouTube channel.

The Board also invites community members into the development process of the 2020-2021 budget in a variety of ways. 

First, a budget work session will be held at 4:30 p.m, Tuesday, June 23, 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 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 24, 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 25, at 7 p.m., join the forum to provide feedback and ask questions using this link: https://lps.zoom.us/j/97448247692. This forum will also be streamed live on the LPS Facebook page.

The agendas for these meetings will be posted on our website: https://www.lps.org/about/board/.

Posted on June 19, 2020


LPS continues to embrace equity, inclusion and diversity

Lincoln Public Schools continues to embrace equity, inclusion, and the value of diversity.  We acknowledge that in schools across the country, including at LPS, the outcomes for all of our students are not equitable. At LPS, we will continue to identify and address practices that are contributing to these inequitable outcomes, and work to eradicate racism.

That is why Lincoln Public Schools and the Lincoln Board of Education identified equity as a primary focus this last school year, and we pledge to move forward with the following steps:

  • Improving school engagement for students. 
  • Working collaboratively with families and community members.
  • Promoting equity in supporting the needs of historically underserved students including students from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.
  • Addressing the disproportionate representation of minority students in gifted and advanced placement classes.
  • Addressing disproportionality in school discipline.
  • Supporting dropout prevention and reentry opportunities.
  • Providing additional professional development in the area of equity for all staff members.
  • Hiring diverse staff members.
  • Collaborating with the Midwest and Plains Equity Assistance Center to gain an outside perspective on district practices and next steps in supporting students.

At Lincoln Public Schools, we understand that our community is appropriately angry and struggling. Like all of us, our children are sad and angry, and they are trying to navigate their feelings and the current world around them. 

We remain committed to supporting students and families as our community comes together to work on systematic change. 

At LPS, we want our students to have a safe place to express their concerns and to be heard. We have various staff available for any LPS student who would like to talk about their feelings. Students who would like to connect with staff members can click the green “Safe to Say” button on our website, fill out the form and one of our staff will connect with your child.

Here is a resource you can use with tips on talking with your child about traumatic events.

This is about caring for one another. We must collectively embrace hope and help our students and neighbors understand that each of them is valued and important. Their lives, voices, contributions and achievements give us hope. 

Dr. Steve Joel
Superintendent

 

Posted on June 12, 2020


Highlights of 5/26 Board of Education Regular and Special Organization Meetings

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, May 26, at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. Immediately following its regular meeting, the Board held a special organizational meeting for the Lincoln Board of Education and for Educational Service Unit (ESU) 18.

Regular Meeting

First Reading

Superintendent’s contract

The Lincoln Board of Education annually evaluates and reviews the contract of the Superintendent of Schools. On Tuesday the Board recommended that Lincoln Public Schools Superintendent Steve Joel’s contract be extended with no salary increase. At the April 28 Board meeting, Joel informed the Board that he and the rest of the Executive Team will accept a salary freeze during the upcoming budget year. The salary for the superintendent for the 2020-21 year will remain at $329,539.

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

Proposed contracts, salaries for superintendent’s exec team 

The Board of Education also annually reviews the contracts of the superintendent’s executive team, and this year it is recommended that the proposed two-year contract for each of the three Associate Superintendents and the Assistant Superintendent be extended one year beginning July 1, 2020. In addition, the superintendent and executive team recommended that members of the executive team do not receive a salary increase.

Annual salary proposals:

  • Matt Larson, associate superintendent for Instruction: $209,400
  • Liz Standish, associate superintendent for Business Affairs: $219,259
  • Eric Weber, associate superintendent for Human Resources: $219,259
  • John Neal, assistant superintendent for General Administration and Governmental Relations: $214,925

The Board will take a final vote at the June 23 Board meeting.

School attendance areas for newly annexed property 

The Board assigns school attendance areas to property newly annexed to the City of Lincoln. This action establishes school attendance areas prior to the sale of residential lots, allowing purchasers to know what schools their children will attend. The City of Lincoln has annexed a parcel of land, which automatically brings this property into the district of Lincoln Public Schools.

The schools assigned to recently annexed Fallbrook, Annexation Ordinance #20911, will be Kooser Elementary School, Schoo Middle School and Lincoln North Star High School.

The Board waived second reading and voted to approve the school attendance areas.

2020-2021 Transportation Plan

Each spring a transportation plan is prepared for the following school year. District policy 3710 is reviewed and recommendations for operational changes are solicited from individual school buildings and various departments. Schedules are prepared and a summary of needs is balanced against staff and equipment available to the district. Each year a review of all routes for the current year are reconsidered. 

LPS Director of Transportation Ryan Robley and Associate Superintendent for Business Affairs Liz Standish presented to the Board. Their presentation can be viewed in the video recording of the meeting. The Board waived second reading and voted to approve the transportation plan.

Park Middle School Wellfield Project

Bids were requested from interested vendors for the installation of a new geothermal loop field and header piping at Park Middle School. It is recommended that award be made to the lowest responsible vendor meeting specifications, which is K-2 Construction of Lincoln for a cost of  $1,102,327. This project will be paid for from the 2020 Bond Fund.

The Board waived second reading and voted to approve the lowest bid from K-2 Construction of Lincoln.

McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grant

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act is the primary piece of federal legislation dealing with the education of children and youth experiencing homelessness. The McKinney-Vento program is designed to address the problems that homeless children and youth have faced in enrolling, attending and succeeding in school. Under this program, state educational agencies (SEAs) and local educational agencies (LEAs) must ensure that each homeless child and youth has equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, including a public preschool education, as other children and youth.

The LPS Homeless Outreach Coordinator works with families experiencing homelessness to arrange transportation services for children to attend school and works with families to provide other supports which 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 approved the submission of the McKinney-Vento Grant application for approximately $44,000, 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 funds allocated to the district. Title I funds have been used in past years to cover the required match for this grant.

The Board waived second reading and voted to approve the grant application.

Second Reading

Evaluation for the Superintendent of Schools

Annually, the Board of Education evaluates the Superintendent. The 2019-20 evaluation of Superintendent Steve Joel is complete. The Board voted to approve the evaluation, which will be placed in his personnel file.

2022-23 Student Calendar

Each year a joint LPS/Lincoln Education Association committee, composed of parents, education association leaders, teachers, and administrators, recommends a student calendar for the Board’s consideration. This committee began work in fall 2019 to construct a student calendar for 2022-23. The committee met and developed an initial draft, which included several possible configurations of non-student days. These options were discussed with a variety of community groups, who provided important feedback. 

The calendar was presented at the April 28 Board meeting. On Tuesday the Board voted to approve the calendar.

From the Consent Agenda

Memorandum of Understanding with Lincoln Education Association

It had been estimated there would be a 4.99 percent increase in health insurance premiums for the 2020-21 year. However, due to current events, that increase is estimated to be 1.72 percent higher. In light of that, Lincoln Public Schools and the Lincoln Education Association have agreed to equally share the cost of the premium increases.

“Not every community enjoys the level of trust that exists here in Lincoln. That partnership will help us get through the difficult times ahead,” said Board President Lanny Boswell.

The Board voted to approve the memorandum of understanding. 


Glimpses of LPS

We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights the amazing teaching and learning taking place in our schools. Tonight’s video featured the eagle feather ceremony, the annual honoring of graduating Native American students. 


Special Organizational Meeting - Election of Officers

The Board voted to elect Kathy Danek as Lincoln Board of Education President for 2020-21 and Bob Rauner as Vice President. 

ESU 18 Organizational Meeting - Election of Officers

The Board voted to elect Lanny Boswell as ESU 18 President for 2020-21 and Annie Mumgaard as Vice President. 

 

Posted on May 26, 2020


Wellness Wednesday

By Michelle Welch, RD, LMNT, LPS Wellness Facilitator

Update: EHA Wellness Incentive Cards

EHA is making efforts to get wellness incentive cards out to individuals who fully completed the survey but did not indicate a proxy group for card pick up. If you are a solo card pick up person, please watch for an email from EHA with specific directions related to card pick up on May 22 at UNL Innovation Campus Rise Building.

NOTE: If you chose a PROXY group, there will not be a card available for you at this event. The incentive card for you is in the bundle for your school and will not be available until restrictions lift and school buildings are open. Do not worry, cards retain their value until after they are activated by you. Stay tuned for instructions to pick up the incentive once buildings open.

If you will be unable to pick up your card from them on the 22nd, please contact them at pha@ehawellness.org or contact@ehawellness.org. If you are having any symptoms of COVID, send them an email and stay home. If you are symptom-free, thanks for still wearing a mask and protecting others. Thanks for all that you do to take care of you and others. (more)

What you control

This week especially, I’ve seen cracks in the veneer of tolerance for this extended sheltering in place by my crew - especially when their social media feed is full of people not following the rules. What can you do? First, recognize your feelings are valid. This time is nuts. 

That said, as we shift into summer mode for students and many of you, building a new stay-at-home strategy might make for a positive attitude support. Here’s a little list of choices you can make. You can:

  • Choose to get outside each day, even just to get the mail.
  • Dress up or dress down. Whichever makes you feel best.
  • Experiment with new/old hairstyles (if you have hair—many of us have longer and differently colored hair than usual).
  • Power up your creativity. From sidewalk chalk to photography to themed social distancing masks, this is your time.
  • Use music to boost your mood. Build playlists, go for a drive and jam, dust off that instrument, have some fun.
  • Experiment in the kitchen. Some excellent discoveries can be made from messing with recipes and using up those odd and ends in the fridge. Plan when you can before hitting the store, since you don’t want to make extra stops.
  • Learn a new skill. YouTube and Zoom can be your friend.
  • Experiment with moving more in different ways than before.
  • Seek the positive. Connect with old friends. Choose more positive media to watch. Determine how much news is too much and be selective. Consider shifting to less social media saturation if it makes you feel negative.
  • Be serious about taking your meds daily. Fuel your mind and body with seasonal fruits and veggies.
  • Cut yourself some slack - but not so much slack that you stop functioning. If you need help, now is the time to seek it.

Every storm eventually runs out of rain. - Mia Angelo 

Posted on May 20, 2020


Highlights of 4/28 Board of Education Regular Meeting

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

Public hearing on student fees policy

The Board held its annual hearing on Student Fees Policy 5520. 

Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools Update

The Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools President Wendy Van offered an update about its COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund. The Foundation has raised $196,000 since beginning the fund in mid-March. In March, the Foundation distributed roughly $100,000 to 231 families who have been affected by the pandemic. In April, the Foundation distributed roughly $105,000 to 180 families. 

First Reading

Superintendent’s annual evaluation

The Board of Education annually evaluates the LPS superintendent. The Board discussed a summary of the 2019-20 evaluation of Superintendent Steve Joel. Board members offered the following comments about Superintendent Joel:

  • Lanny Boswell: “Board members expressed a high level of confidence in Dr. Joel’s abilities, a deep appreciation for his leadership, and a well-deserved recognition of his sincere motivation to do what is best for LPS students, staff and the community.”
  • Kathy Danek: “On behalf of myself, and the people of District I and probably all of Lincoln, I just want to say thank you for always keeping the focus where it should be - on the well-being of the students, the people who work for us, and for bringing such great professionals into this system to lead us in a time of crisis.” 
  • Bob Rauner: “The first thing that struck me about Steve was that he would say, ‘Here’s the problem, here’s why it’s the problem, and here’s what I would do about it.’ It was very clear, concise, direct and I thought, Wow, he’s a problem-solver.”

The Board will vote on the full evaluation at its next meeting.

Ratification of Superintendent’s Administrative Order on Student Learning and Graduation

On March 18, the Board of Education approved an emergency powers resolution delegating power to the superintendent or a designee to implement response action plans and to make prompt reactions to the evolving COVID-19 virus. In response to that resolution and with the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, the superintendent on April 3 issued an Administrative Order related to student learning, graduation and other matters. Board members waived second reading and voted to ratify the Administrative Order.

Revised Board meeting schedules

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board of Education is modifying its regular meeting schedule and will conduct its meetings only once per month, unless otherwise needed, in the interest of public health and safety.  

Because of this, the Board voted to waive the statements in Policy 8410 and set aside the existing two meeting per month schedule for May, June and July of 2020 and conduct one meeting per month - May 26, June 23 and July 28. It is the Board’s intent to resume the regular two meeting per month schedule as provided in Policy 8410 beginning with the Aug. 11, 2020, meeting, unless further action is taken by the Board or Board President.

In a related item, the Board waived second reading and voted to approve changes to Policy 8460 regarding the date of the organizational meeting, the written ballot process for election of officers and reschedule this meeting to be held in conjunction with the May 26 meeting.  

School attendance areas for newly annexed property 

The Board assigns school attendance areas to property newly annexed to the City of Lincoln. This action establishes school attendance areas prior to the sale of residential lots, allowing purchasers to know what schools their children will attend. The City of Lincoln has annexed a parcel of land, which automatically brings this property into the district of Lincoln Public Schools.

The schools assigned to recently annexed Stevens Creek Villas will be Pershing Elementary School, Mickle Middle School and Northeast High School.

The Board waived second reading and voted to approve the school attendance areas.

Student fees

The Board of Education annually reviews and approves Policy 5520 to ensure it’s in accordance with the Public Elementary and Secondary Student Fees Authorization Act. The district’s general policy is to provide for the free instruction in school in accordance with the Nebraska Constitution and state and federal law. The district does provide activities, programs and services to children that extend beyond the minimum level of constitutionally required free instruction. Students and their parents have historically contributed to the district’s efforts to provide such activities, programs and services. The district’s general policy is to continue to encourage and to the extent permitted by law, to require such student and parent contributions to enhance the educational program provided by the district.

The proposed revisions to Policy 5520 reflect changes to fees and the fee waiver eligibility to address changes in cost while remaining in compliance with all applicable laws.

The Board waived second reading and voted to approve the student fee policy change.

Proposed student calendar for 2022-2023

Each year a joint LPS/Lincoln Education Association committee, composed of parents, education association leaders, teachers, and administrators, recommends a student calendar for the Board’s consideration. This committee began work in fall 2019 to construct a student calendar for 2022-23. The committee met and developed an initial draft, which included several possible configurations of non-student days. These options were discussed with a variety of community groups, who provided important feedback. The committee recommends to the Board a 2022-2023 student calendar based on the consideration of the committee members, the feedback from community groups and the Board adopted calendar variables.

Associate Superintendent for Governmental Relations and General Administration John Neal gave a brief presentation on the process. The Board will vote on the student calendar at its next meeting.

Title VI Indian Education Program

The Lincoln Public Schools Indian Education program provides support to Native American students in grades PK-12. Native American students are enrolled in all schools across the district, representing about 60 tribes as designated by their parents. This program supports the goal of ensuring programs that serve Indian children are of the highest quality and provide for not only the basic elementary and secondary educational needs, but also the unique educational and culturally related academic needs of these children. The program is funded by Title VI through the U.S. Department of Education. 

The Board waived second reading and voted to approve the submission of the required application for this federal funding, which is $149,006 for 2020-21. No school district funding match is required.

Xerox contract renewal

The Board waived second reading and voted to approve the school district’s contract renewal with Xerox Corp. for print and copy services for the five-year period of 2021-2025. The annual cost is estimated to be $1,768,762, with actual expenditures determined by usage. 

Informational Items and Reports

Report from Equity Ad-Hoc Committee

The Board created the Equity Ad-Hoc Committee in August 2019 with the goal of  supporting academic success and improving equitable outcomes for all students. The committee also was asked to create a common definition for equity and to develop a framework for monitoring and continuously improving equity in Lincoln Public Schools. Committee Chair Annie Mumgaard updated the Board on their work. She presented to the Board the committee's working educational equity definition, which was adapted from the Nebraska State Board of Education: 

“The Lincoln Board of Education is committed to educational equity for students, staff and patrons of the Lincoln Public Schools. Educational equity means all Lincoln Public Schools students have meaningful access to the educational resources they need to achieve at a high level at the right moment, at the right level and with the right intensity. Educational equity means high expectations for learning and student achievement for all students. Educational equity allows students to discover and explore their passions and make meaningful connections within the context of their postsecondary interests and aspirations. Equity requires that these opportunities are provided and outcomes exist for all students, regardless of their socioeconomic status; race; national origin; ethnic background; cultur; religion; sex; pregnancy; childbirth or related medical condition; sexual orientation; gender; transgender; age; disability; mental, physical or lingusitic ability; or other protected status.” 

The committee on behalf of LPS also has applied for and been accepted to work with the Great Lakes Equity Center, a federally-funded equity assistance organization. This will be a two- to four-year partnership that will result in a process for monitoring and continuously improving equity within the school district.

The committee recommends the Board hold a work session in the future to discuss this issue further and to further review the educational equity definition, with the goal of moving it toward full Board adoption, as well as to review the work with Great Lakes Equity Center and discuss formation of a Board Equity Committee and future Board equity goals.

Report from Government Relations Community Engagement Committee

Committee Chair Connie Duncan offered an update from their recent discussion regarding the safety of students and adults at NSAA activities. As a result of that discussion, staff will work within the existing NSAA processes to initiate a board committee or similar effort that will lead to potential legislation broadly supported by NSAA member schools on a tracking and reporting system of unsportsmanlike behavior. Also, athletics, activities and multicultural education departments will collaborate on continued multicultural proficiency training for staff and students.

Superintendent Update

Superintendent Joel offered an update about the school district’s ongoing efforts during the pandemic. He also asked that he and the rest of the Executive Team accept a salary freeze during the upcoming budget year. The Executive Team also includes the Associate Superintendent of Instruction, Associate Superintendent of Business Affairs, Associate Superintendent of Human Resources and Associate Superintendent for Governmental Relations and General Administration.

Closed session

The Board went into closed session.

Glimpses of LPS

We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights the amazing teaching and learning taking place in our schools. Tonight’s video featured the third-grade embryology unit and its transition from a traditional classroom to remote learning.

 

 

Posted on April 28, 2020


Lincoln Board of Education Regular Meeting - April 28, 2020

The Lincoln Board of Education will meet for their regular Board meeting at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 28, 2020 at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The meeting will take place in the Boardroom. Some board members may be attending the meeting by electronic communication conferencing methods.  Members of the public and media may access the meeting via live video streaming or by physically attending the meeting subject to all national, state and local limitations on public gatherings associated with COVID-19.  Overflow accommodations may need to be implemented to ensure the health and safety of all in attendance. 

To preview the meeting agenda, visit our website: lps.org/board

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

Posted on April 24, 2020


Glathar, Blake appointed to new positions at Lincoln Public Schools

Lincoln Public Schools announced on Monday two new appointments to help support the goals of fostering existing focus programs, as well as building new focus programs to provide high school students in Lincoln more educational options.

Beginning with the 2020-21 school year, Kurt Glathar will move to the principal position at The Career Academy (TCA). James Blake has been named the director of Strategic Initiatives and Focus Programs, which includes overseeing the Science Focus Program and the Arts and Humanities Focus Program.

Glathar will join Josh Jones at TCA who was recently named the interim director with the retirement announcement of current director Dan Hohensee.

Glathar served the last two years as the principal of the Science Focus Program and the Arts and Humanities Focus Program. Prior to that role, he was the principal at Northeast High School for 14 years, and has served in an administrator position at various school districts since 1988. Glathar began his education career at Beatrice High School as a teacher and coach in 1985. He obtained his master’s degree in Educational Administration and his bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The need for additional focus programs at LPS was identified as part of the work done by the High School Task Force and the Superintendent’s Facility Advisory Committee. To aid in accomplishing that goal, LPS has appointed James Blake as the director of Strategic Initiatives and Focus Programs. In addition to working with community partners to develop new focus programs, Blake will lead the current Science and Arts and Humanities focus programs.

Blake has served as the K-12 science curriculum specialist for LPS since 2014 and is currently co-chair of the LNKSE STEM Ecosystem. Prior to his current role, Blake also served as the director of science education for the Nebraska Department of Education and director of Nebraska Science Olympiad. Blake began his career in education as a science teacher at North Star High School in 2003. He obtained his doctorate in Educational Administration, his master’s degrees in Secondary Education and Plant Molecular Biology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and his bachelor’s degree in Biology from Buena Vista University in Iowa.

“There has been a tremendous amount of work done through community partnerships and collaboration to identify our needs and find solutions to address those needs,” LPS Associate Superintendent for Instruction Matt Larson said. “With Kurt and James in these key leadership roles, we will be able to further our mission of connecting students with their passion, help them succeed and graduate.”

Glathar and Blake will officially begin their new positions July 1.

Posted on April 21, 2020


Human Resources Department Updates: COVID-19

The LPS Human Resources Department recently shared the following information with employees.

EHA Announcement on COVID-19

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Dear EHA Member,

The health and safety of our members are of the utmost importance to the Educators Health Alliance (EHA).

The Nebraska Council of School Administrators, the Nebraska Association of School Boards, and the Nebraska State Education Association (the three organizations who founded EHA) have been meeting with Nebraska Commissioner of Education Dr. Matt Blomstedt and Dr. Gary Anthone, Chief Medical Officer for Nebraska. 

While we have been planning for the impact of COVID-19 on our schools, we have also been working with our partners at Blue Cross and Blue Shield to make sure that the EHA is also ready to meet the medical needs of our members.

BCBS-NE has put the following plan in place to continue to provide quality service to our customers, while also protecting the health and safety of our employees.

  • COVID-19 Testing: For all members, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska will cover, with no cost share, the appropriate medically necessary diagnostic testing for COVID-19, where it is not covered as part of the Public Health Service response, and ensure patient testing and any subsequently needed care are done in close coordination with federal, state and public health authorities.
     
  • Medications: Effective immediately, we are increasing access to prescription medications by waiving early medication refill limits on 30-day prescription maintenance medications (according to the terms of the member’s plan). We also encourage members to use their plan’s 90-day mail order benefit. Patients will not be liable for additional charges that stem from obtaining a non-preferred medication if the preferred medication is not available due to shortage or access issues.
     
  • Telehealth: Starting Monday, March 16, 2020, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska will cover, with no cost share to the member, the cost of all telehealth visits until further notice.

This expanded coverage applies to all types of health plans, including high deductible health plans, regardless of whether or not the member’s plan currently offers benefits for telehealth.

Additional information on how to enroll in telehealth through Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska’s preferred vendor, AmWell, will be posted on the website prior to Monday.

You can find all updated information on BCBS coverage here.

Message from Continuum EAP

Due to the continued expansion of COVID-19 (Coronavirus 2019) and the stress and uncertainty this may cause, we wanted to reach out with a reminder that Continuum EAP is available as a support resource for your organization and employees. 

At this time, we have not adjusted our office operations and are still scheduling in-office visits. However, sessions are also available via video or over the phone for those who feel more comfortable limiting their physical contact with others. We will continue monitoring this evolving situation and follow the recommendations of our health agencies and local officials. If changes to our service delivery are necessary, we will alert you.  

The core of our organization’s mission is to support the well-being of those we serve. In this effort, we are extending use of our HelpNet online resource center to all of our member companies through March 31 to aid in the access of reputable resources of information and guidance. This includes a special COVID-19 webinar with the most recent information available from the CDC and WHO, as well as coping mechanisms to address associated stress and anxiety. 

To access HelpNet through March 31, visit www.4continuum.com and click "MEMBER LOGIN" at the top of the page. Username = GUEST / Password = 7636

Additional information available on HelpNet includes:

As always, please contact Continuum EAP if you have any questions or concerns. You can reach us by phone at 402-476-0186 / 800-755-7636 or email easpecialist@4continuum.com. 

Dependent Care FSA Account Message

Many of you have been asking if we would allow a Dependent Care FSA Election Change during COVID-19.  Yes, we will allow an election change to your Dependent Care Account if you are working from home and not sending your kids to daycare. If you would like to make this change, please email benefits@lps.organd we will be glad to make the update to your Dependent Care Account.

Posted on April 08, 2020


Health Services Update: COVID-19

By Gina Miller, LPS School Nurse, and Wendy Rau, Health Service Supervisor

“There is no time for despair, no place for self pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. This is how civilizations heal.”  ~ Toni Morrison

Things have been moving at a rapid pace in the past weeks since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), and Dr. Joel announced that school would continue via remote learning for the rest of the school year.

These are uncharted waters for all of us in the education system - school nurses, teachers and administrators. We may have been tempted to shield our children from these realities, but we’ve learned instead to follow age-appropriate, evidenced-based practice that shows those who are taught certain life skills and strategies are better prepared for the uncertainties in life and tend to be strong and successful. Here is a great resource to aid in these conversations: Talking to Children about COVID-19

Now it’s our time to practice perseverance and resiliency collectively from home. Recognize what we can change and what we cannot. Stay informed, but take intentional breaks from media information. Be intentional about a schedule. Try something new.  Practice good hand washing and good physical spacing.  

As we work together to meet the needs of all of our students, please use the resources available for staff, families and students on the LPS  webpage, COVID-19 Resources and Information 

Gina Miller, LPS School Nurse

Wendy Rau, Health Service Supervisor

 

Posted on April 08, 2020


Highlights of 3/24 Board of Education regular meeting

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

First Reading

Policy Update - #5360 Student Directory Information

Lincoln Public Schools reviews policies on an ongoing basis and updates policies to ensure that they accurately reflect the ever-changing work of the district. The Board Student Learning Committee recommends revisions to policy 5360 that reflect concerns raised by Board members as well as the public about the availability of student directory information. The revisions limit the information that is released and how decisions are made regarding who can receive the information. The Board will hold a second reading and vote on the changes during the next meeting.

Issuing of Bonds

Lincoln Public Schools staff have created a spend-down schedule for the first 36 months to determine the amount needed for the first issuance of bonds as authorized in the Feb. 11 bond election. Staff have worked with the district’s financial advisor, its bond counsel and its general counsel to prepare a draft resolution and to meet all other requirements necessary. To allow staff flexibility in moving forward and take advantage of the current financial market, the Board waived the second reading and voted to approve the motion to issue bonds.

Issuing of Refunding of Bonds

The Board discussed a resolution to issue refunding bonds for the purpose of advance refunding 2014 bonds in an amount not to exceed $125,000,000. This would result in a reduction of debt service payable. To allow staff to take advantage of the current financial market, the Board waived the second reading and voted to approve the motion of refunding bonds.

Southeast High School Roofing Repair

The first project from the 2020 Bond Issue before the board is the partial reroofing of Southeast High School. The project could start now while there are no students in the building and should be completed by next fall. The Board waived the second reading and voted to approve the bid by Sprague Roofing Company for $1,749,900.

New High School Site Grading Package

The Board considered bids on mass grading and dirt work at the new high school site located near Northwest 48th Street. The Board waived the second reading and voted to approve the bid to Gana Trucking & Excavating for $1,303,830. Work will begin next week.

2020-21 Student Calendar Revision

Every election, the Lancaster County Election Commissioner uses 22 LPS schools as polling locations. LPS is able to provide adequate staffing at these polling sites when there is normal voter turnout to provide appropriate security for staff and students. The Election Commissioner is projecting a higher than normal voter turnout for the Nov. 3, 2020 general election. This increase in voter turnout at our locations can create potential difficulties in maintaining a safe environment for staff and students.

Staff recommended the student calendar for 2020-21 be changed to make Nov. 3, 2020 a non-school day. To make sure there are enough days, the calendar would then be revised to shorten fall break and make Oct. 15, 2020 a school day. To help families plan, the Board waived second reading and voted to approve the calendar change.

Second Reading

Bond Election

The Board of Education held a second reading to certify the results of the bond election held on Feb. 11 as submitted by the Lancaster County Election Commissioner. There were 36,761 votes cast in favor of the bonds and 22,471 votes cast against. The Board voted to approve the certifying of the bond election results.

Property Purchase

The Board held a second reading on the purchase of a small parcel of land and buildings adjacent to the new high school site on Northwest 48th Street. The Board voted to approve the purchase.

Annexed Property

The Board of Education assigns school attendance areas to property newly annexed to the City of Lincoln. This establishes school attendance areas prior to the sale of residential lots, allowing purchasers to know what schools their children will attend. Tonight the Board held a second reading to assign attendance areas to a newly annexed area near Fletcher Avenue in the Steven’s Creek area. The assigned attendance area will be Norwood Park Elementary School, Dawes Middle School and Northeast High School. The Board voted to approve the attendance areas.

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

The Board held a second reading on the submission of the School Violence Prevention Grant application for up to $500,000 for a 36-month period. There is a 25% match requirement, which will be provided through existing district threat assessment team staff time as in-kind contribution. The district will apply for grant funds to purchase a real-time web-filtering platform for digital monitoring of district-sponsored content. The Board voted to approve the submission.

Portable Classrooms

Portable classrooms offer a short-term solution to add needed classroom space as Lincoln Public Schools manages short-term enrollment growth and construction at schools. The Board held a second reading to approve the bid for $790,419 to Génesis Contracting Group for the construction of portable classrooms to be installed at Pershing, Sheridan, and Lakeview elementary schools; Scott, Goodrich, and Schoo middle schools; and East High School. The Board voted to approve the bid.

Glimpses of LPS

We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights the amazing teaching and learning taking place in our schools. Tonight’s video featured the 2020 Thank You Teacher event.

LPS LIVE: Board Preview

Before every Board of Education meeting, Don Mayhew previews topics of interest with special guests. In Tuesday’s episode, he sat down with Matt Larson, Associate Superintendent for Instruction, to discuss remote learning at LPS during the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

 

Posted on March 24, 2020


Elementary administrator changes announced

Lincoln Public Schools announces four administrator changes for the 2020-21 school year.

  • Sean Bailey, currently principal at Beattie Elementary, will be principal at Campbell Elementary. Bailey has been principal at Beattie since 2013 and before that was assistant principal at Meadow Lane Elementary.

  • Rik Devney, currently principal at Huntington Elementary, will be principal at Zeman Elementary. Devney has been principal at Huntington for 11 years and before that was coordinator at Lakeview Elementary for four years.

  • Julie Lawler, currently principal at Campbell Elementary, will be principal at Beattie Elementary. Lawler has been principal at Campbell since 2012 and before that was principal at Calvert Elementary.

  • Kristi Schirmer, currently principal at Zeman Elementary, will be principal at Huntington Elementary. Schirmer has been principal at Zeman since 2014 and before that was assistant principal at Kloefkorn Elementary.

They all will officially begin their new positions on July 1.

 

Posted on March 20, 2020


Highlights of 3/18 Board of Education special meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a special meeting on Wednesday, March 18, at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St.

Full video of the board meeting can be viewed here.

Emergency resolution

The Board discussed and took action on an Emergency Response Resolution regarding the evolving Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic. The resolution gives Superintendent Steve Joel the power to establish Pandemic District Closure Procedures.

Prior to the vote, Board of Education Legal Counsel James Gessford addressed the members.

“We believe it will continue to be necessary to react to this emerging situation and a lot of times it’s necessary to react almost immediately. That’s really the purpose of this emergency powers resolution,” Gessford said.

The Board unanimously approved the resolution. After the vote, Board members spoke about the resolution’s necessity.

Board Member Don Mayhew: “The world has changed a lot in a very short amount of time and we need to be able to give our superintendent the ability to act quickly and decisively in the best interest of our kids and our families...there will still be accountability, there will still be communication, but Dr. Joel has my full faith and confidence in being able to navigate this crisis and he needs to be able to have the ability to do that.”

Board Member Kathy Danek: “The community knows that we take this very seriously. The number one priority of this district has always been how it affects the education of our 42,000 students...for me, I think this resolution gives Dr. Joel and his staff the ability to act quickly.”

Board Member Annie Mumgaard: “From my experience in working with Dr. Joel and your entire executive team, I have seen nothing but decisions made with the highest regard for what is good for our students and what is good for our staff.”

Board Member Bob Rauner: “Two weeks ago, I think staff thought they were leaving for a much needed vacation but unfortunately didn’t get that. I know the last week or two weeks, a lot of them have been working seven days a week, nights, weekends, making really tough decisions...I thank you all for the work you’ve done.”

Board Vice President Connie Duncan: “As a school board member, I’ve never been through something like this that’s so tough and unpredictable...I just want to thank you (Dr. Joel) and your staff. It’s amazing and it’s a privilege to be behind you on everything.”

Board Member Barb Baier: “I’ve worked on this board for a very long time and this is a very fine team of elected officials here and we are led by a wonderful superintendent and he’s gathered together very competent  professionals...We’re gonna get through this by pulling together and by uniting, we’ll get through this together. I have every confidence.”

Board President Lanny Boswell: “Dr. Joel, you will have many important decisions to make in the next few weeks. As you can tell by the comments of my colleagues, the Board knows that you will make those decisions with the best interest of our students, staff and the community in mind, so thank you for the work ahead.”

Personnel hearing

The Board held a hearing to discuss, consider and take action concerning the employment contract of Justin Holbein.

Full video of the board meeting can be viewed here.

Posted on March 18, 2020


BackPack Walk canceled

This year's Extra Mile Walk - formerly called the Backpack Extra Mile Walk - has been canceled. The event was scheduled for Saturday, April 25.

T-shirt orders will not be filled but fundraising continues for the BackPack program, a partnership with the Food Bank of Lincoln that provides a weekly backpack filled with food for students who need help having enough to eat over the weekend. Online donations can be made here.

Posted on March 17, 2020


LPS cancels Learning Lunch, high school design open houses

Lincoln Public Schools has CANCELLED the following upcoming events: 

  • LPS Learning Lunch, originally scheduled for Tuesday, March 17 at noon
  • New high school design open house, originally scheduled for Wednesday, March 18, 6-7 p.m., at Moore Middle School
  • New high school design open house, originally scheduled for Monday, March 23, 6-7 p.m. at Arnold Elementary School

Posted on March 16, 2020


Childhood ACEs connection to Adult Addiction - An Article Executive Summary

By Julene Lesher, RN, BSN- LPS School Nurse

In the article “Addiction Doc Says: It’s Not the Drugs. It’s the ACEs…Adverse Childhood Experiences,” by Jane Ellen Stevens, Dr. Daniel Sumrok, director of the Center for Addiction Sciences at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s College of Medicine, says addiction should not be called addiction, but should instead be called ritualized compulsive comfort-seeking. Dr. Sumrok is board-certified in addiction medicine.

He says ritualized compulsive comfort-seeking is a normal response to ACEs and that the solution to changing ritualized compulsive comfort-seeking behavior of addiction is to address the ACEs with therapy and medication and with respect. He wants to help them find a comfort- seeking behavior that won’t harm or incarcerate them.

Dr. Sumrok has compiled an innovative approach to addictions: treat people with respect instead of blaming or shaming them; listen intently to what they have to say; integrate healing traditions of the culture in which they live; use prescription drugs if necessary; and integrate the science behind adverse childhood experiences: ACEs. In his work, Dr. Somrok saw 1,200 addicted patients, and of those more than 1,100 had an ACE score of 3 or more. ACEs come from the CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACE Study) that looked at the response 10 types of childhood trauma affect long-term health. He says toxic stress that comes from ACEs damages children’s developing brains, can affect genes and be passed from one generation to another. The higher the ACEs score the higher the risk of consequences such as addiction. He says it does not matter that the specific type of ACEs, the higher the score the greater the chance for negative effects on health (chronic disease), negative effects socially, and increase in potential for addiction.

He also says the brain is elastic and the body wants to heal and that resilience research focuses on what happens when trauma-informed practices, for example in education and the court system, are put in place. Dr. Sumrok says treating those affected with respect builds trust, and trust builds health.

At Lincoln Public Schools, Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS), as well as other evidence-based social emotional supports and trauma-informed practices, are provided to all students.

Lastly, in the article Dr. Sumrok says it is important to practice empathy and the art of listening, while acknowledging and understanding how the experiences in a person’s childhood and adulthood have shaped their lives and health.

Link to complete article.

Posted on March 03, 2020


Highlights of 2/25 Board of Education regular meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 25, at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The Board will hold its next regular meeting on Tuesday, March 24.

First reading

Bond Election
The Board of Education held a first reading to certify the results of the bond election held on Feb. 11 as submitted by the Lancaster County Election Commissioner. There were 36,761 votes cast in favor of the bonds and 22,471 votes cast against. The Board will hold a second reading and vote to certify the results at the next meeting.

Property Purchase
The Board held first reading on the purchase of a small parcel of land and buildings adjacent to the new high school site on Northwest 48th Street. The Board will hold a second reading and vote to approve the purchase at the next Board meeting.

Annexed Property
The Board of Education assigns school attendance areas to property newly annexed to the City of Lincoln. This establishes school attendance areas prior to the sale of residential lots, allowing purchasers to know what schools their children will attend. Tonight the Board held a first reading to assign attendance areas to a newly annexed area near Fletcher Avenue in the Steven’s Creek area. The assigned attendance area will be Norwood Park Elementary School, Dawes Middle School and Northeast High School. The Board will hold a second reading and vote on the assignment at the next regular meeting.

United Way of Lincoln Emerging Leaders United Grant
The Community Learning Center at Norwood Park Elementary is applying for a grant with United Way to assist with paying for furniture in their flexible learning spaces. The Board waived the second reading and voted to approve the grant application.

U.S. Department of Justice Federal Grant - School Violence Prevention Grant Program
The Board discussed the submission of the School Violence Prevention Grant application for up to $500,000 for a 36-month period. There is a 25% match requirement, which will be provided through existing district threat assessment team staff time as in-kind contribution. The district will apply for grant funds to purchase a real-time web-filtering platform for digital monitoring of district-sponsored content. The Board will hold a second reading and vote to approve the application at the next regular meeting.

Portable Classrooms
Portable classrooms offer a short-term solution to add needed classroom space as Lincoln Public Schools manages short-term enrollment growth and construction at schools. The Board held a first reading to approve the bid for $790,419 to Génesis Contracting Group for the construction of portable classrooms to be installed at Pershing, Sheridan, and Lakeview elementary schools; Scott, Goodrich, and Schoo middle schools; and East High School. The Board will hold a second reading and vote to approve at the next regular meeting.

Second Reading

Multi-tiered System of Support for Behavior
Lincoln Public Schools reviews policies on an ongoing basis and updates policies to ensure they accurately reflect the ever-changing work of the district. The revisions to Policy 5400 and Regulations 5400.1 and 5400.2 are recommended to make the language of Policy 5400 (previously Student Conduct and Discipline) consistent with the district’s Multi-tiered System of Support for Behavior. The Board discussed these revisions and voted to approve the revisions.

Informational Reports

Budget Calendar
Board policy directs staff to present a budget calendar prior to March 1. The budget calendar for preparing the 2020-2021 LPS budget includes the following dates:

  • April - June: Executive committee works with Board finance committee
  • June 23: Board Budget Work Session, 4:30 p.m. at District Office
  • June 24: Community Budget presentation and forum, 5:00 p.m. at District Office
  • June 25: Community Budget presentation and forum, 7:00 p.m. location to be announced
  • July 28: Second Budget Work Session, 4:30 p.m. at District Office
  • August 24: Public Hearing and Budget Forum, 6:00 p.m. at District Office
  • August 25: First reading of budget approval
  • September 8: Second reading and approval of budget

Preliminary High School Design Concepts
Liz Standish, associate superintendent of Business Affairs, and Scott Wieskamp, director of Operations, presented the new high school design concepts. The two new 1,000-student capacity high schools are part of the overall project scope of the 2020 Bond election. They will be master-planned through the design process to allow for future expansion to 2,000-students. These preliminary schematic designs of the new high schools are a culmination of research and assessment of school facilities throughout the country, numerous project team meetings, and stakeholder conversations. 

Click here to view the presentation. All the documents presented during the open house can be viewed on our special webpage here.

Staff Celebration

Three Lincoln Public Schools physical education teachers have been honored as the best in the state by the Nebraska Society of Health and Physical Educators. The Board recognized the following teachers with resolutions at the meeting: Amy Cariotto at Southwest High School was named the 2019 High School Physical Education Teacher of the Year; Charlotte Ceballos from Lefler Middle School was named the 2019 Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year; and Cathy Mohlman from Irving Middle School was named the 2019 Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year. 

Public Comment

There were seven citizens that addressed the Board during Public Comment. The video from tonight's meeting will be available soon on our website: https://home.lps.org/board/


Glimpses of LPS

We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights the amazing teaching and learning taking place in our schools. Tonight’s video featured Park Middle School sixth grade students in science class.

Click here to view the Glimpses.


LPS LIVE: Board Preview

Before every Board of Education meeting, Don Mayhew previews topics of interest with special guests. In Tuesday’s episode, Don Mayhew sat down with Scott Wieskamp, director of Operations, to talk about the new high school design concepts. View the full episode here.

 

Posted on February 27, 2020


Community event examines youth anxiety and depression

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 SCIP (School Community Intervention and Prevention), Bryan Independence Center and the Lancaster Prevention Leadership Team to put on a series of valuable presentations about how to support the health and well-being of our community’s youth. Please join us Feb. 27 for our first event, which will examine youth anxiety and depression. The event is 6:30-8 p.m. in the Lincoln High School library.

For more information about the event and its presenters, visit the SCIP website.

Posted on February 20, 2020


Wellness Wednesday

By Michelle Welch, RD, LMNT, LPS Wellness Facilitator

Quick note of support resources:

If you have yet to receive an EHA Health Survey (also known as PHA for personal health assessment), please contact EHA directly at pha@ehawellness.org.

If you have questions related to the new Weight Watchers/WW discount opportunity, please contact EHA directly at contact@ehawellness.org. 

Reminder about our focus for this quarter:

Schools are having fun, especially this week with our heart-filled theme of kindness and self-acceptance. Here's to hoping that your Valentine efforts include love for that person in your mirror and kindness for all those you see each day. Please play along with us! Resources are at  www.lps.org/wellness under the “Challenges!” tab. Here's wishing you a more meaningful week of love and acceptance.

Stay home:

It's that time of year. You think, Yeah, I can make it, and drag yourself to work. Please don't. Yes, you are irreplaceable, but someone can hold your spot while you get well. Meetings can be rescheduled.

As a person just taken out by Influenza myself, I sure wish that person(s) not feeling well would have stayed home, so that I wouldn't now have to miss work myself. Stop the spread. Stay home. It'll be okay. Side note: Can't get into your doctor right away? Many pharmacies can now test you for Influenza and prescribe Tamiflu to lessen the severity of your illness (if within the first 48 hours of illness). Just one more resource to help you get better, faster.

Posted on February 19, 2020


Highlights of the 2/11 Board of Education meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 11, at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The Board will hold its next regular meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 25.

Bond Election

Board President Lanny Boswell opened the meeting by offering preliminary results from the 2020 Bond Election. By 6 p.m., more than 80 percent of ballots had been counted, with 61 percent voting in favor of the bond vs. 39 percent opposed.

 “The LPS bond has passed,” he said, to a round of applause. “I want to express our appreciation for everyone who has supported this effort. The Board of Education is deeply grateful to the members of the High School Task Force and Superintendent’s Facility Advisory Committee, who helped craft this proposal; Dr. Joel and the LPS District Office staff, who helped inform the community of its details; the parents, teachers and students who stood up for public school; and the elected officials, community and business leaders who supported this effort. We are so fortunate to live in a community that has the highest expectations of our schools and a community that so strongly supports its public schools.”

 Superintendent Steve Joel also expressed gratitude later in the meeting.

“Thank you so much to a tremendous community and tremendous staff for their support of this bond issue,” he said. He then turned his attention to the Board: “This community needs to know just how much time and how much effort you put in on a daily basis, on a weekly basis, over the course of a year to really support the work that takes place in our classrooms, which is nothing short of phenomenal.”

Watch a press conference about the bond election held at LPS District Office after the meeting: 

First reading

Multi-tiered System of Support for Behavior

Lincoln Public Schools reviews policies on an ongoing basis and updates policies to ensure they accurately reflect the ever-changing work of the district. The revisions to Policy 5400 and Regulations 5400.1 and 5400.2 are recommended to make the language of Policy 5400 (previously Student Conduct and Discipline) consistent with the district’s Multi-tiered System of Support for Behavior. The Board discussed these revisions and will hold a second reading and vote at the Feb. 25 Board meeting.

Second reading

Family Literacy Grant 

We currently have 12 family literacy programs in LPS that serve more than 180 refugee and immigrant parents. This two-year grant from United Way would allow LPS to continue with those programs in our school district. This application would replace the current United Way grant funding that expires this summer. The Board voted to approve the proposal submission. 

Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Grant Program 

Staff propose to apply for a competitive grant to the Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance, within the U.S. Department of Justice. These funds would help with threat assessment training. LPS utilizes a four-person district 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 Board voted to approve the application. 

Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) for the Data Center at LPSDO

When the district office was first designed and built, there was an area identified through long-range planning in the basement for a data center. This agenda item sets a guaranteed maximum price for the project to finish the data center. In November, the Board approved contract documents and Cheever Construction Company to provide construction manager services. The proposed GMP for the project will be set at approximately $1,146,300. The Board voted to approve the GMP. 

Staff Celebration

Three Lincoln Public Schools world language teachers have been honored as the best in the state by the Nebraska International Languages Association. The Board recognized the following teachers with resolutions at the meeting: Jami Holbein Swanson of Lincoln North Star High School, 2019 Spanish Teacher of the Year; Sasha Van Zandt from Lincoln Southwest High School, 2019 French Teacher of the Year; and Kelleen Browning, a German teacher at Lincoln Southeast High School, 2019 New Language Teacher of the Year Award. 

 

Glimpses of LPS

We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights the amazing teaching and learning taking place in our schools. Tonight’s video featured a partnership between Lincoln Public Schools and Lincoln Electric System that allowed physics students at Lincoln North Star High School to study wind turbines and the energy they produce through a hands-on classroom lesson. 

Posted on February 11, 2020


Wellness Wednesday

EHA Personal Health Assessment (PHA) is on! 

It’s that time! Tuesday was the launch for the annual Personal Health Assessment or PHA through EHA. The survey helps nudge you toward working on your health risks and if fully complete, makes you eligible for a $25 Visa gift card incentive at the end of the school year. This survey is available to all staff members who are benefits eligible, whether you choose to take LPS insurance or not.

If you did not see this email in your inbox from PHA on Tuesday, with the subject line “EHA Personal Health Assessment Open,” please contact EHA directly through its email at pha@ehawellness.org. The option to complete the survey is offered throughout February. Reminder emails will be sent on a weekly basis to those who haven’t completed the survey.

Note: Each person’s code number is unique to you and your data is kept confidential, so do not share your code with others. Here’s to hoping you find this information helpful to your health journey!

P.S. EHA is releasing the Weight Watchers WW online signup this week (slated for Wednesday), so watch your inbox if you are interested. An FAQ may be found here. If you have further questions about this program, email contact@ehawellness.org.

Holiday Hold’em prize drawing winners!

Great news! For those of you who completed the challenge, 89% of you maintained your weight over the holidays and 40% of you beat the odds and even lost weight (Highest weight loss reported was 28 pounds!). Great work! Did you or someone you know take part and win a prize? Here is our list of prize drawing winners: Holli Longe (OT-Bottlers), Jessica Oliver (Campbell), Kristin Haussier (Cavett), Kathryn Kelley (East), Sheri Eichelberger (Health Services), Breanna Incontro (Holmes), Martha Valverde (Irving), Caroline Anderson (Kooser), Lauren Mulholland (LPSDO), Alane Wahlstrom (Maxey), Kevin Deutsch (Mickle), Michael Mason-D’Croz (Northeast), Teri Baustert (Riley), Autumn Wardyn, Betty Pters (Southeast), Michelle Tricia Ostermeier (Southwest), Dionne Keys (West Lincoln) and Katie Vote (Zeman). Watch interoffice mail for your prize if you are listed.

Sharing the love 

LPS Wellness is working with you to think about love in a new way. Hopefully, this month of hearts may become your favorite for an entirely new reason. 

This quarter we are focusing on kindness, both to others and ourselves. What little words we say to others and to the mirror may harm or heal? As adults, we are well-practiced at taking our own inventory in a negative way. These activities are meant to help us pause and listen, to take an improved angle to our approach.

Schools are likely to pair wellness spirit week activities with Valentine’s week or sometime during February, so please take advantage of these opportunities for fun. Staff who return their personal, individual results online will be entered in prize drawings. These opportunities are available to ALL LPS staff. The week-long tracker for this activity week is available here. (Staff and student versions are the same)

Schools with good participation in these activities may win $1,000 in funds to support future wellness resources, so making those extra efforts to engage classes in wellness efforts and submitting results can make a big difference. Thanks for taking care of you—and them!

Posted on February 05, 2020


Health Services News: Sweet Dreams Lead to School Success

By Gina Miller, BSN, RN, NCSN

School Nurse, Lincoln Public Schools

A recent study presented to the American Academy of Pediatrics at its national conference in October 2019 states “chronic sleep loss is a serious public health problem among children.” The results found that only 48% of school age children in the U.S. get the recommended nine hours of sleep most weeknights. Children that get adequate sleep, the study suggests, are significantly more likely to show a positive outlook toward school and other signs of “childhood flourishing,” a measure of behavioral and social well-being.

flour·ish defined:verb

1.  of a person, animal, or other living organism) grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as the result of a particularly favorable environment.           - Oxford online dictionary

Conclusions were analyzed from responses from parents and caregivers of over 49,000 children, ages ranging from 6 to17 in 2016-17. Effects of adequate sleep translated into:

  • 44% increased odds of showing interest and curiosity in learning new things
  • 33% increased odds of doing all required homework
  • 28% increased odds of caring about doing well in school
  • 14% odds of working to finish tasks started
  • 12% increased odds of demonstrating the combined flourishing measure

“Insufficient sleep among adolescents, for example, is associated with physical and mental health consequences, including increased risk of depression and obesity and negative effects on mood, attention and academic performance.”        - ScienceDaily

A link to the full article is available HERE. 

The CDC (Center for Disease Control) also has several simple recommendations on its website. See IDEAS.

Few would argue that we all want our children to flourish, to grow and develop in a healthy and vigorous way. Consistency is the key. Offer incentives to your child for getting to bed on time. Realize that habits take time to form (weeks to months). Model what you want to see from them. Hopefully sleep will become an important priority for the duration of their lives!

Posted on February 05, 2020


Highlights of 1/28 Board of Education regular meeting

The Lincoln Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 28, at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St. The Board will hold its next regular meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 11.

First reading

Family Literacy Grant 
We currently have 12 family literacy programs in LPS that serve more than 180 refugee and immigrant parents. This two-year grant from United Way would allow LPS to continue with those programs in our school district. This application would replace the current United Way grant funding that expires this summer. The Board will hold a second reading and vote at the next Board meeting on Feb. 11. 

Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Grant Program 
Staff propose to apply for a competitive grant to the Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance, within the U.S. Department of Justice. These funds would help with threat assessment training. LPS utilizes a four-person district 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 Board will hold a second reading and vote at the next Board meeting on Feb. 11. 

Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) for the Data Center at LPSDO
When the district office was first designed and built, there was an area identified through long-range planning in the basement for a data center. This agenda item sets a guaranteed maximum price for the project to finish the data center. In November, the Board approved contract documents and Cheever Construction Company to provide construction manager services. The proposed GMP for the project will be set at approximately $1,146,300. The Board will hold a second reading and vote at the next Board meeting on Feb. 11. 

Second reading

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

There were minor changes suggested to six different policies in the 1000 series that cover community relations. The Board voted to approve the revisions.

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

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

Annexed Property
The Board of Education assigns school attendance areas to property newly annexed to the City of Lincoln. This establishes school attendance areas prior to the sale of residential lots, allowing purchasers to know what schools their children will attend. Tonight the Board held a first reading to assign attendance areas to a newly annexed area near Interstate 80 and Highway 77. The assigned attendance area will be Norwood Park Elementary School, Dawes Middle School and Northeast High School. The Board voted to approve the assigned school attendance areas.

Board Committee Reports

Wellness, Americanism and Multicultural Education Committee 
Board member Annie Mumgaard reported that this committee met Jan. 22, focusing on wellness. The committee includes staff, parents and community members. It was noted during the presentation that LPS is perceived as a state and national leader in several areas falling under the LPS wellness umbrella, including:

  • best practices in assisting students in returning to school after concussion;
  • our vaccination participation process;
  • and nutrition services programs.

The committee worked in small groups to discuss the recommendations and make suggestions for future work and agenda items.

Staff Celebration

Lincoln Public Schools honored the following employees for 25 years of dedicated service:

  • Debra Bateman
  • John Black
  • Jeffrey Brehm
  • Constance Campfield
  • Marcela Cantarero
  • Susan Cassata
  • John Catlett
  • Jane Cutshall
  • Patty Daberkow
  • Lori Devine
  • Christine Dlouhy
  • Kevin Eckhout
  • Krystal Elsberry
  • James Elsener
  • Jennifer Engle
  • Martha Erickson
  • Jennifer Feeney
  • Angela  Fessler
  • Jennifer Fisher
  • Barbara Frost
  • Garold Furse
  • Jana Ghormley
  • Carol Goans
  • Jarrell Green
  • Kay Holt
  • Melody Kenney
  • Dianna Knight
  • Sue Kramer
  • Robyn Lade
  • Kym Le
  • Brenda Leggiadro
  • Tracy Liesemeyer
  • Beverly Lyman
  • Mary McCauley-Long
  • Stacey Meier
  • Lou Anne Miller
  • David Nebel
  • Rhonda Neely
  • Betty Noell
  • Kristin Oakland-Maxwell
  • Anita Riehl
  • Johnny Salisbury
  • Kirsten Smith
  • Heidi Smutny
  • Jeffrey Soucie
  • Nissa Sturgeon
  • Shannon Svoboda
  • Tracy Timmons-Focht
  • Cynthia Tyler
  • Dianna Utley
  • Stacie Walton
  • Teresa Wanser-Ernst
  • Chris Warner
  • Shirley Wenzel
  • Lisa Wieman-Schulz
  • Cynthia Wiesen
  • Kathleen Wilson
  • Catherine Wittstruck
  • Aaron Zabawa

 

Glimpses of LPS

We open every Board meeting with a video that highlights the amazing teaching and learning taking place in our schools. Tonight’s video gave us a peek into a recent visit by more than 20 eighth-grade students to the LPS Air Force Jr. ROTC program, based at Lincoln Northeast High School. 

LPS LIVE: Board Preview

Bond FAQs
Before every Lincoln Board of Education meeting, Board member Don Mayhew sits down with guests to discuss various topics around Lincoln Public Schools. On Tuesday, Mayhew visited with Lincoln Board of Education President Lanny Boswell, and Superintendent Steve Joel. 

Posted on January 29, 2020


Three world language teachers named best in the state

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

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

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

Posted on January 24, 2020


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