EdNotes Express

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

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

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

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

Regular Meeting

First Reading

Superintendent’s contract

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

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

Proposed contracts, salaries for superintendent’s exec team 

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

Annual salary proposals:

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

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

School attendance areas for newly annexed property 

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

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

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

2020-2021 Transportation Plan

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

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

Park Middle School Wellfield Project

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

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

McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grant

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

The LPS Homeless Outreach Coordinator works with families experiencing homelessness to arrange transportation services for children to attend school and works with families to provide other supports which create a more stable environment for children experiencing homelessness. 

LPS will use funds received through the McKinney-Vento Act to continue to support the salary of the Homeless Outreach Coordinator and to pay transportation costs for homeless children to attend school.  

The Board approved the submission of the McKinney-Vento Grant application for approximately $44,000, with the final allocation to be determined by the State of Nebraska after submission and dependent upon grants awarded to other applicants. This grant requires a 100 percent match from Title I funds allocated to the district. Title I funds have been used in past years to cover the required match for this grant.

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

Second Reading

Evaluation for the Superintendent of Schools

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

2022-23 Student Calendar

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

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

From the Consent Agenda

Memorandum of Understanding with Lincoln Education Association

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

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

The Board voted to approve the memorandum of understanding. 


Glimpses of LPS

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


Special Organizational Meeting - Election of Officers

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

ESU 18 Organizational Meeting - Election of Officers

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

 

Posted on May 26, 2020


Wellness Wednesday

By Michelle Welch, RD, LMNT, LPS Wellness Facilitator

Update: EHA Wellness Incentive Cards

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

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

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

What you control

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

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

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

Every storm eventually runs out of rain. - Mia Angelo 

Posted on May 20, 2020


Highlights of 4/28 Board of Education Regular Meeting

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

Public hearing on student fees policy

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

Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools Update

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

First Reading

Superintendent’s annual evaluation

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

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

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

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

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

Revised Board meeting schedules

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

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

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

School attendance areas for newly annexed property 

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

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

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

Student fees

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

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

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

Proposed student calendar for 2022-2023

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

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

Title VI Indian Education Program

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

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

Xerox contract renewal

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

Informational Items and Reports

Report from Equity Ad-Hoc Committee

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

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

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

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

Report from Government Relations Community Engagement Committee

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

Superintendent Update

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

Closed session

The Board went into closed session.

Glimpses of LPS

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

 

 

Posted on April 28, 2020


Lincoln Board of Education Regular Meeting - April 28, 2020

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

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

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

Posted on April 24, 2020


Glathar, Blake appointed to new positions at Lincoln Public Schools

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on April 21, 2020


Human Resources Department Updates: COVID-19

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

EHA Announcement on COVID-19

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Dear EHA Member,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can find all updated information on BCBS coverage here.

Message from Continuum EAP

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

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

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

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

Additional information available on HelpNet includes:

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

Dependent Care FSA Account Message

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

Posted on April 08, 2020


Health Services Update: COVID-19

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gina Miller, LPS School Nurse

Wendy Rau, Health Service Supervisor

 

Posted on April 08, 2020


Highlights of 3/24 Board of Education regular meeting

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

First Reading

Policy Update - #5360 Student Directory Information

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

Issuing of Bonds

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

Issuing of Refunding of Bonds

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

Southeast High School Roofing Repair

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

New High School Site Grading Package

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

2020-21 Student Calendar Revision

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

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

Second Reading

Bond Election

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

Property Purchase

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

Annexed Property

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

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

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

Portable Classrooms

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

Glimpses of LPS

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

LPS LIVE: Board Preview

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

 

Posted on March 24, 2020


Elementary administrator changes announced

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Posted on March 20, 2020


Highlights of 3/18 Board of Education special meeting

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

Full video of the board meeting can be viewed here.

Emergency resolution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Personnel hearing

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

Full video of the board meeting can be viewed here.

Posted on March 18, 2020


BackPack Walk canceled

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

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

Posted on March 17, 2020


LPS cancels Learning Lunch, high school design open houses

Lincoln Public Schools has CANCELLED the following upcoming events: 

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

Posted on March 16, 2020


Childhood ACEs connection to Adult Addiction - An Article Executive Summary

By Julene Lesher, RN, BSN- LPS School Nurse

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

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

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

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

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

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

Link to complete article.

Posted on March 03, 2020


Highlights of 2/25 Board of Education regular meeting

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

First reading

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

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

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

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

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

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

Second Reading

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

Informational Reports

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

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

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

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

Staff Celebration

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

Public Comment

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


Glimpses of LPS

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

Click here to view the Glimpses.


LPS LIVE: Board Preview

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

 

Posted on February 27, 2020


Community event examines youth anxiety and depression

Schools, parents, caregivers and communities all play a role in providing supportive pathways for our youth as they navigate childhood and adolescence. Lincoln Public Schools is partnering with SCIP (School Community Intervention and Prevention), Bryan Independence Center and the Lancaster Prevention Leadership Team to put on a series of valuable presentations about how to support the health and well-being of our community’s youth. Please join us Feb. 27 for our first event, which will examine youth anxiety and depression. The event is 6:30-8 p.m. in the Lincoln High School library.

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

Posted on February 20, 2020


Wellness Wednesday

By Michelle Welch, RD, LMNT, LPS Wellness Facilitator

Quick note of support resources:

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

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

Reminder about our focus for this quarter:

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

Stay home:

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

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

Posted on February 19, 2020


Highlights of the 2/11 Board of Education meeting

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

Bond Election

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

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

 Superintendent Steve Joel also expressed gratitude later in the meeting.

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

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

First reading

Multi-tiered System of Support for Behavior

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

Second reading

Family Literacy Grant 

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

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

Staff propose to apply for a competitive grant to the Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance, within the U.S. Department of Justice. These funds would help with threat assessment training. LPS utilizes a four-person district threat assessment team, which responds to potential threats identified in over 60 schools and programs, making it crucial that school personnel clearly understand how to identify and respond to potential threats and how to work collaboratively with the district team. The Board voted to approve the application. 

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

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

Staff Celebration

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

 

Glimpses of LPS

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

Posted on February 11, 2020


Wellness Wednesday

EHA Personal Health Assessment (PHA) is on! 

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

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

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

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

Holiday Hold’em prize drawing winners!

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

Sharing the love 

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

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

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

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

Posted on February 05, 2020


Health Services News: Sweet Dreams Lead to School Success

By Gina Miller, BSN, RN, NCSN

School Nurse, Lincoln Public Schools

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

flour·ish defined:verb

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

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

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

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

A link to the full article is available HERE. 

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

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

Posted on February 05, 2020


Highlights of 1/28 Board of Education regular meeting

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

First reading

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

Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Grant Program 
Staff propose to apply for a competitive grant to the Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance, within the U.S. Department of Justice. These funds would help with threat assessment training. LPS utilizes a four-person district threat assessment team, which responds to potential threats identified in over 60 schools and programs, making it crucial that school personnel clearly understand how to identify and respond to potential threats and how to work collaboratively with the district team. The Board will hold a second reading and vote at the next Board meeting on Feb. 11. 

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

Second reading

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

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

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

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

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

Board Committee Reports

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

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

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

Staff Celebration

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

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

 

Glimpses of LPS

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

LPS LIVE: Board Preview

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

Posted on January 29, 2020


Three world language teachers named best in the state

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

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

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

Posted on January 24, 2020


LPS Wellness Update - Jan. 22, 2020

By Michelle Welch, RD, LMNT, LPS Wellness Facilitator

Registration open for individual health coaching through UNL senior students 

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

Individual health coaching frequently asked questions: 

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

Wellness happenings

January

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

February

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

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

Posted on January 22, 2020


LPS school nursing embraces trauma informed care

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

References:

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

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

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

https://www.take5program.com/

Posted on January 22, 2020


Students 'Walk Together' to honor MLK's legacy

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

This year’s theme: “Walk Together.”

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

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

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

Posted on January 21, 2020


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

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

First reading

Policy Updates 

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

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

State 21st Century Community Learning Center Continuation Application

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

Chromebooks for 2020 Distribution

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

Annexed Property

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

Second reading

Annexed Property

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

Glimpses of LPS

We the People 

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

 

Posted on January 14, 2020


LPS announces 2019-20 lineup for Learning Lunches

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

Our 2019-20 LPS Learning Lunch season:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jan. 14 - Information Presentation about the 2020 Bond Issue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 12 - "Creating Music on a Blank Canvas"

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

Posted on January 09, 2020


Information presentations set in January for LPS bond issue

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

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

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

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

 

Posted on December 20, 2019


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

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

Helpful information:  

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

Facts:  

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

How lice travel:

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

For more information

Please contact your school nurse.

Posted on December 18, 2019


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

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

The entire Board meeting can be viewed here.

First reading

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

Second reading

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

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

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

The Board voted to approve the resolution. 

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

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

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

The Board voted to approve the resolution.

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

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

Special reports

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

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

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

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

Public Comment

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

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

Click here to watch the full meeting with public comment.


Glimpses of LPS

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


LPS LIVE: Board Preview

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

Posted on December 10, 2019


Lincoln Public Schools sees improvement in AQuESTT classifications

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Posted on November 27, 2019


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

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

The entire Board meeting can be viewed here.

First reading

Updating 10-year Facility and Infrastructure Plan 

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

High School Facility Investments

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

Middle School Facility Investments

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

Elementary School Facility Investments

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

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

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

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

Bond resolution 

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

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

Land purchases 

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

Those properties are:

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

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

Bus purchase 

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

American Airlines Flight Education Grant 

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

Second reading and action

New policy on Sustainability 

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

Revise current policy on Student Activities 

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

Staff celebrations

LPS celebrated three staff members for recently winning national awards.

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

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

April Jorgensen, library media services instructor at Schoo Middle School

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

Click here to watch the complete staff celebrations.

Special reports

United Way campaign update 

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

Top five elementary schools:

  • Clinton
  • McPhee
  • Zeman
  • Belmont
  • Huntington

Top two middle schools:

  • Lefler
  • Pound

Top two high schools:

  • North Star
  • East

Schools and departments with 100% participation:

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

Other schools and departments with 65% or greater:

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

Click here to watch the full presentation.

Glimpses of LPS

Kooser Elementary School 

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

LPS LIVE: Board Preview

New High School Sites

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

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

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

Posted on November 26, 2019



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

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

Work Session 

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

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

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

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

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


Regular meeting

Special report

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

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

 

First reading, action at next meeting

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

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

Staff celebration

LPS celebrated two staff members for recently winning state awards.

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

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


LPS LIVE: Board Preview

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

 

Posted on November 12, 2019


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

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

Work Session

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

High School Facility Investments

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

Middle School Facility Investments

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

Elementary School Facility Investments

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

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

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

Comments from the presentation:

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

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

Click here to view the full work session.

Regular Meeting

Special report

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

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

Second reading, action

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

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

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

Student celebration

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

  Presenters included:

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

Click here to watch the complete student celebration.

LPS LIVE: Board Preview

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

Posted on October 22, 2019


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

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

 

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

 

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

Posted on October 11, 2019


2019 LPS State Accountability Report

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

A few accountability highlights:

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

Other information released Wednesday included:

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

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

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

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

AQuESTT

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

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

Posted on October 09, 2019


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

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

First reading, action at next meeting

Legislative Guidelines for 2019-2020

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

Policy on Political Activity

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

Staff celebration

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

Click here to watch the complete staff celebration.

Public comment

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

Click here to watch the full public comment.

LPS LIVE: Board Preview

Educational Service Units (ESUs)

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

 

Posted on October 08, 2019


Flu shot: Your best bet for avoiding influenza

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on October 02, 2019


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

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

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

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

The work session embraced three major topics:

Infrastructure

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

Indoor Air Quality projects

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

Estimated costs for these projects are:

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

High schools

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to find video of all the work sessions.

 

Posted on September 19, 2019


Community Awareness Series: Promoting Healthy Behaviors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on September 18, 2019


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