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.

Lincoln Board of Education Regular Meeting - April 13, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on April 09, 2021


Lincoln Board of Education work session - April 7, 2021

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

Presenters included:

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

 

Posted on April 07, 2021


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on April 05, 2021


New principal announced at Yankee Hill Education Center

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

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

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

Posted on April 01, 2021


Highlights of 3/23 Board of Education Regular Meeting

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

Staff Celebration

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

2020 LPS Pandemic Plan & Procedures Update

Superintendent Steve Joel gave a brief pandemic update:

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

First Reading

Newly annexed property to the City of Lincoln

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

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

Bond Fund Project Bids

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

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

Distribution Center construction bid

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

Second Reading

Newly annexed property to the City of Lincoln

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

The Board voted to approve the assigned attendance centers.

Proposed Negotiated Agreement with the Lincoln Education Association

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

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

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

From Board Committees

Wellness, American Civics and Multicultural Committee

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

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

Update from the Superintendent

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

Public Comment

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

Glimpses of LPS

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

LPS LIVE Board Update

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

Posted on March 23, 2021


LPS names new principals at five schools

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

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

All five new principals will begin their duties July 1.

Posted on March 05, 2021


LPS Staff: Important COVID-19 Vaccine Update

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on February 28, 2021


LPS announces new 2021-22 Remote Learning Program principal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on February 26, 2021


New principal named at Adams Elementary School

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

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

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

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

Please join us in congratulating Jeff Rust!

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

 

Posted on February 25, 2021


Teacher Professional Agreement goes before Lincoln Board for approval

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

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

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

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

Comments:

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

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

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

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

Posted on February 23, 2021


New principals named at three LPS schools

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

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

Congratulations to the following:

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

 

All three will begin their new duties July 1.

Posted on February 18, 2021


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

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

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

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

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

Posted on February 07, 2021


LPS administrators announce retirement plans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on February 03, 2021


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

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

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

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

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

Posted on January 22, 2021


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

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

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

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

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

Monday, January 18, 2021 Agenda

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

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

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

2021 Call to Action Keynote

A Scholar Letter to the Administration

A Wonderful Sound | Stand Up and Speak Out

We Must Continue

Tribute to the Late John Lewis

Scholar Musical Performances and Reflection

2021 Multi-Media Empowerment Presentation

Announcement of the 2021 Youth Rally and March Community Contributor Award

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

Where to watch:

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

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

youtube.com/lnktvcity

facebook.com/LNKTVcity

Cable Access Channels LNKTV Education: 

 - ALLO | Channel 23 

 - CHARTER SPECTRUM | Channel 1303 

 - WINDSTREAM KINETIC | Channel 1080 

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

Posted on January 15, 2021


Highlights of 1/12 Board of Education Regular Meeting 

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

Special reports and presentations

Library Services Update

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

Here are a few highlights from the presentation:

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

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

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

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

2020 LPS Pandemic Plan & Procedures Update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Board voted to approve the memorandum of understanding. 

First Reading

Data Center Fluid Cooler and Emergency Generator Addition Project

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

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

Public Comment

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

Glimpses of LPS

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

Posted on January 12, 2021


Wellness Wednesday

How'd You Do with Holiday Hold'em?

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

Laughter Lifts Wrap Up

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

Announcing Workout Wednesdays!

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

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

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

New Year, New You!

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

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

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

Hope in the Air

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

Posted on January 06, 2021


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on December 17, 2020


LPS releases updated COVID-19 dashboard

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

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

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

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

Posted on December 14, 2020


Wellness Wednesday

Hop into Holiday Hold’em

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

Free Wellness Lab Check through Dec.16

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

Mood Booster Bingo

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

Bingo Card: LINK

Report Results: LINK

Laughter Lifts

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

Money Wellth

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

Posted on December 11, 2020


Community Awareness Event: Youth Mental Health

Our youth are our future’s greatest asset. Schools, parents, caregivers and communities all play a role in providing supportive pathways for our youth as they navigate childhood and adolescence. Lincoln Public Schools is partnering with School Community Intervention and Prevention (SCIP), Bryan Health and the Lancaster Prevention Coalition to put on a valuable presentation about supporting the health and wellbeing of our community’s youth. This event is open to parents, students, school professionals and community members.

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

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

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

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

Posted on December 02, 2020


LPS continues strong support of United Way

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

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

Top five elementary school contributors

  • Clinton
  • Campbell
  • Kooser
  • Elliott
  • Huntington

Top two middle contributors

  • Lefler 
  • Pound

Top two high school contributors

  • North Star 
  • East

Schools and departments with 65% or greater staff participation

Elementary

  • Don Sherrill 88%
  • Clinton
  • Campbell
  • Fredstrom

Middle School

  • Dawes 72%

LPSDO Departments

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

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

Posted on December 02, 2020


Highlights of 11/24 Board of Education Regular Meeting

Highlights of 11/24 Board of Education Regular Meeting

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

Special Presentations

United Way 

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

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

Top five elementary school contributors

  • Clinton
  • Campbell
  • Kooser
  • Elliott
  • Huntington

Top two middle contributors

  • Lefler 
  • Pound

Top two high school contributors

  • North Star 
  • East

Schools and departments with 65% or greater staff participation

Elementary

  • Don Sherrill 88%
  • Clinton
  • Campbell
  • Fredstrom

Middle School

  • Dawes 72%

LPSDO Departments

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

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

Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools Update

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

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

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

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

Annual Financial Audit

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

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

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


2020 LPS Pandemic Plan & Procedures Update

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

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

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


First Reading

Newly Annexed Property to the City of Lincoln

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

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

Construction Projects

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

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

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

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

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

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


Second Reading

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

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

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

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

The Board voted to approve the filing deadline.

Construction bids for new high schools

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

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

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

Decrease in Guaranteed Maximum Price for new high schools

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

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

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

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

The Board voted to approve the newly proposed GMP.


Committee Reports

Safe and Successful Kids Committee Report

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

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

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


Public Comment

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


Glimpses of LPS

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

Posted on November 25, 2020


LPS cancels classes, buildings closed to public Nov. 23-27

Lincoln Public Schools recently announced there will be no classes for students on Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving, Nov. 23 and 24. Middle and high school students will return to classes on Monday, Nov. 30. Elementary students will return on Tuesday, Dec. 1 since Monday is an elementary plan day.  Early childhood services will resume on Tuesday, Dec. 1. 

Some Community Learning Centers will be offering programming at some of their locations during the week. More information will be sent to families from the CLC site coordinator.

This extra time will allow us to pause, allow staff to recoup lost planning time and do what we need to do to provide our students what they need so we can all finish the fall semester strong.

In addition, all LPS buildings will be closed to the public Nov. 23-27, with the exception of the LPS District Office that will be open for the Lincoln Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 24 starting at 5:30 p.m. until the end of the meeting. LPS offices will still be available via phone and email during regular business hours on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday (Nov. 23-25). 

Posted on November 22, 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 is one remaining district session, Dec. 10, for new employees hired after the start of school, district staff and those unable to attend a school session. 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 November 20, 2020


Wellness Wednesday

Have a cuppa health?

Recent research supports keeping coffee or green tea as part of a routine for health, especially for those with Type II Diabetes. Those drinking two cups of coffee or four cups of green tea daily were found in recent research to have decreased mortality rates of 40% or greater in a study involving more than 4,900 subjects in Japan with diabetes.* 

Pros: Please keep in mind, there is no one food or drink that cures or kills. What we do know from trending research over time is that drinks that are both calorie-free and contain antioxidants such as black coffee and green tea can impact health in positive ways.

Cons: Caffeine can negatively impact sleep, both getting to sleep and staying asleep, as it takes approximately 10 hours to process caffeine out of the body. Especially for those of you struggling with sleep during these times, pay close attention to your timing to prevent sleepless nights, which may have sizable negative impacts on your health and more. Caffeine may also impact blood pressure, so a “more is better” approach isn’t beneficial.

If you like coffee or green tea, consider starting your day with these drinks, especially in place of sugary substitutes. As my British friends say, “Have a cuppa” as one of many ways to support your health. Being able to do so with someone you care about makes it even better.

Resource: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, study in BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care 

How would you answer?

According to a recent survey by the American Psychological Association of 3,400 US adults, 19% reported their mental health to be worse than one year ago. In addition, 61% of those surveyed stated they need more emotional health support than they receive. Issues contributing to reduced mental health included world events such as the pandemic, health care and election concerns.*

We feel it. We see it. People are struggling. We are struggling. Some days more than others, but the struggle is real. Often a good chat or laugh with a friend can prop us up and help us rediscover our mojo. Other times it’s time to seek additional help beyond that of friends and family. 

Asking for help shows strength. Continuum, our Employee Assistance Program, is a benefit to consider taking advantage of during this time. Beyond you, this service is there to help your spouse and/or kids, too, if they are the ones needing support. Contact them at 402-476-0186. 

If this time of year is usually tough for you due to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) with diminishing daylight hours, talk with your health provider now. If you need the support of medications, many of them take several weeks to reach therapeutic levels in your system, so getting ahead of the curve now can help keep from having such a severe impact. Other, non-pharmacological options include use of special lights, improving activity and nutrition, along with boosting sleep all can contribute to a better, brighter outcome this fall and winter.

I care and am rooting for you. What is helping you? Feel free to drop me a line at mwelch@lps.org. Also, feel free to use our Mood Booster Bingo as a great reminder of ways to help lift your spirits. Here is the link.

Resource: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Health Day News (10/20)

Posted on November 04, 2020


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


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


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