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Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: July 3, 2017

Posted in Just Sharing by on July 3rd, 2017

  1. Community forums gather feedback for preliminary 2017-18 budget – For more information: Liz Standish, lstadis@lps.org

Lincoln Public Schools hosted two Community Forums late in June for feedback about the Preliminary Budget for 2017-18 – and community members came to share a variety of comments about the budget.

LPS officials note the preliminary budget is student-centered and focused on the incredible growth in our school district – in student numbers and in student needs – because LPS is not just growing the equivalent of a middle school each year, the school district is growing a diverse middle school each year.  The preliminary budget provides appropriate staffing, services, supplies and resources to address an estimated increase of 950 more students for 2017-18 –bringing total enrollment to almost 42,000 students. LPS served almost 41,000 students this year, an increase of 12 percent or 4,450 students over the last five years.  The 2017-2018 school year will mark the fifth straight year of growth greater than 850 students each year.

LPS works on a three-year forecast system to ensure sustainable revenue for supporting all students – evening out swings and taking into consideration the interdependence between state aid and property taxes.  LPS officials recommend a slightly lower – essentially flat – tax rate for the coming school year. The preliminary budget totals $420.8 million – a 4.6 percent increase over the previous year (compared to a 6 percent increase last year). According to the most recent statistics, LPS ranked 228 out of 245 school districts in Nebraska in per pupil spending.

Budget work session materials located at http://www.lps.org/about/budget/

2. LPS Title 1 Summer School grows rapidly – For more information: Linda Hix, lhix@lps.org

Lincoln Public Schools Federal Programs Title I Summer School grew by leaps and bounds this year.  With the theme of “Learning is My Superpower,” all Title I elementary and middle schools invited the students who would benefit most from half-day summer programs.  Programs ranged from four to six weeks.

The program was a collaborate effort with support from Federal Programs, the Curriculum Department and Library Media Services – in designing summer materials for students in the areas of Language Arts, Math, English Language Learning and Maker Spaces.  Schools served breakfast and/or lunch to students and transportation was provided.  Students were engaged in fun learning experiences while building skills.

3. LPS completes re-issuing 2009 bonds – For more information: Liz Standish, lstadis@lps.org

Following previous approval from the Lincoln Board of Education, Lincoln Public Schools had very positive results in June in re-issuing bonds related to the advanced refunding of the general obligation school bonds originally issued in February, 2009.  The school district issued around $80 million of refunding bonds.  Based on very favorable market conditions, the net present value savings (as a percentage of refunded bonds) was 16 percent or about $13.6 million.  The present value savings represent interest cost savings to the taxpayers.

4. Retirement season – For more information: Eric Weber, eweber@lps.org

Many Lincoln Public Schools employees said good bye to the school district on June 30 – the official end of the school year and the last day of work for many retiring employees. Nine LPS administrators and 79 teachers retired at the end of the 20016-17 school year.

To see how families and staff members said good bye to retiring Eastridge Elementary School Principal Deb Dabbert, go to: https://www.lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=12003

5. PBiS conference draws 600 participants from throughout region – For more information: Sarah Salem, ssalem@lps.org

This summer, Lincoln Public Schools hosted its first ever statewide conference dedicated to Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports — commonly referred to as PBiS — centered around effective practices in schools. The conference drew more than 600 participants from 40 school districts and educational service units (ESUs) across Nebraska, and members of the Nebraska Department of Education, as well as professionals from colleges and universities.  Session presenters included local, state and national experts, covering topics from classroom management to alternatives to suspensions, and from building positive relationships to being proactive with early signs of students struggling in class. For more:  https://www.lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=11991

 

Alumni Profiles an open invitation to share stories of success

Posted in Just Sharing by on June 23rd, 2017

We in the Communications Department of Lincoln Public Schools are always seeking stories of alumni in leadership positions in their chosen industry. We will collect responses and publish on a semi-regular basis depending on the submissions received per high school, some may be edited for length and basic proofreading, and we may not be able to use all submissions. We might use your responses on the LPS website, the district and school-specific social media, and in our Community News, a monthly printed newspaper. To participate, just answer the following questions. If you would, please email a photo of you, perhaps in your professional/community setting of choice.

Questions? Email Zachary Baehr at zbaehr@lps.org.

Submissions will be published based on the following factors:
  • Only submissions from official LPS alumni will be considered;
  • The timing of publishing these submissions will be based on the number of submissions per high school, and the quality of responses;
  • We are seeking submissions from those who have impacted change in their organization, company or community;
  • While we understand not all experiences in school were completely positive, we will give preference in publishing submissions where a balance is provided.
    • “While I didn’t care for the music classes in school, it helped me find my interested in the theater program” is better than “I really disliked the music program.”
  • Submissions will be published based in the entirety or not at all, but LPS Communications will do basic editing for grammar and punctuation;
  • Preference will be given to those who include a photo.

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: June 19, 2017

Posted in Just Sharing by on June 19th, 2017

  1. Preliminary LPS 2017-18 budget addresses dramatic growth – For more information: Liz Standish, lstadis@lps.org

The 2017-18 preliminary budget for Lincoln Public Schools was first presented last week to the Lincoln Board of Education, a very student-focused proposal addressing a variety of factors:

Providing appropriate staffing, services, supplies and resources to address significant growth in LPS student enrollment. LPS estimates an increase of 950 more students for 2017-18 –bringing total enrollment to almost

  • 42,000 students. LPS served almost 41,000 students this year, an increase of 12 percent or4,450 students over the last five years.  The 2017-2018 school year will mark the fifth straight year of growth greater than 850 students each year – every year.
  • Addressing the growing complexity of the demographics and needs of LPS students: specifically addressing mental health needs, early childhood, special education and more.

Officials recommend a slightly lower – essentially flat – tax rate for the coming school year. The 2017-18 preliminary budget for LPS totals $420.8 million – a 4.6 percent increase over the previous year.  Lincoln is a vibrant growing city with new housing developments in all quadrants of the city. The preliminary budget continues to focus on providing continued quality education, a long-term investment in our community, our businesses, our families, our students.

2. LPS invites community into budget conversation  – For more information: Liz Standish, lstadis@lps.org

Lincoln Public Schools invites the public into the discussion about the preliminary 2017-18 budget for the school district. Two Community Budget Forums are scheduled in June, which will both include a budget presentation as well as opportunities for comments and questions:

  • Tuesday, June 27, 5-6 p.m., LPS District Office, 5905 O St.
  • Thursday, June 29, 7-8 p.m., Lincoln North Star High School, 5801 N. 33rd

For more information:

3. Staff members report for work at new Marilyn Moore Middle School – For more information:  Jane Stavem jstavem@lps.org

Teachers and staff report to work this week at the new Marilyn Moore Middle School, opening for the 2017-18 school year on the southeast side of Lincoln (8700 Yankee Woods Drive).

Moore Principal Gary Czapla writes on the school website: “One of the goals we will strive for at Moore is to have your students ready for the 21st century.  To do this we are seeking innovative ways to prepare Moore students… We want to look at different ways to redefine learning spaces, develop a futuristic mindset for teachers, and create opportunities for students to design some of their own learning – all while maintaining rigor and high standards for students.”

4. Administrative contracts, evaluations – For more information: Eric Weber, eweber@lps.org

The Lincoln Board of Education is considering approval of the annual evaluation and contract for Lincoln Public Schools Superintendent Steve Joel, as well as contracts for the top administrators at LPS.  Proposed base annual salary for the superintendent is: $317,239

Highlights of the proposed superintendent evaluation include:

  • Successful completion of the initial phases of updated LPS Strategic Plan, and adoption of the school district’s action plan based on the results of the Special Education review from last year.
  • Some affirmation and some reservation about the goal of reaching 90 percent graduation rate by 2019, but generally pleased about the work.
  • Positive, strong relationships and communication with Board members.
  • “In summary, the Board recognizes and appreciates Dr. Joel’s excellent work as our superintendent, and the Board looks forward to continuing its strong partnership in service to Lincoln’s children and our community.”

The Board will vote final approval for the superintendent evaluation and all the contracts on June 27. For more info: https://home.lps.org/superintendent/contracts

5. New Business/Human Resources platform – For more information: Liz Standish, lstandis@lps.org

The Board of Education has discussed a new platform for Business and Human Resources functions – over the next three years – called the Enterprise Resource Planning Project (ERP).  This new $6.5 million platform would replace the AS 400 Financial/HR system, moving to a new data system for LPS Business and HR functions and eliminating many of the current stand-alone functions that require significant data input and manual processes.

This is software that provides for the back office functions that support a school district:  accounting, payroll, benefits, staffing, budgeting, finance tracking and projects, employee self-service, etc.  The software will collect, store, manage, process, interpret and report data.  The data in the ERP will be a new centralized source where functions within the system can talk to each other.  Major financing would come from the Depreciation Fund. The Board will vote final approval on June 27.

 

 

What mic works well with an iPad?

Posted in Tips & Strategies by on June 15th, 2017

LPS Communications uses a VideoMic Me microphone, which is a directional mic, meaning it is designed to pick up sound that is directly in front of the mic.

Want to see and hear the difference? Watch this short video.

If you post photos of your students to a social media account, you should read this

Posted in Tips & Strategies, Web Sites and Social by on June 12th, 2017

Remember that time … when a friend of yours posted a work photo onto their personal Facebook account, and tagged you – and it wasn’t a great photo – and dozens of people liked it before you even saw it?

It’s not all that dissimilar from the viewpoint of some students.

LPS Communications strongly recommends having clear boundaries between your professional or personal social media accounts – and not mixing those accounts. Teachers and staff should take extra precautions before posting photos of students to their social media accounts.

When it’s ok
  • When the student’s family has given consent via the media permissions form (on the student census) most often signed at the beginning of a school year. (If a student says no, then remove or don’t post the photo.)
  • When the teacher has created or uses a social media account for the SOLE purpose of promoting their classroom or school activities (indicate this in the account bio).
  • When the students and families also know that this account exists and your purpose for the account.
When it’s not ok
  • When a teacher or staff member intermixes classroom photos with personal content (pets, pics of family and friends, comments on other posts, complaints about weather, hair, politics, referees, traffic, etc.)
  • When a teacher or staff member thinks the consent form covers ALL possible uses of photos

So, what are your best options going forward?

1 – Contribute to your school’s social media accounts, then share or retweet those social media messages on your own account (even from your personal account). Be clear with students about why you might be taking photos or video during class.

2 – Use a social media account explicitly for the promotion of your classroom or school projects and activities.  Never post anything of a personal nature.  Be clear with all involved they have a choice.

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: June 5, 2017

Posted in Just Sharing by on June 5th, 2017

  1. Graduation – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

More than 2,400 Lincoln Public Schools high school graduates received their diplomas at six graduation ceremonies on Sunday, May 28.  Congratulations!

Graduation coverage:

https://www.lps.org//post/detail.cfm?id=10921

2. Summer School – For more information: Jane Stavem, jstavem@lps.org

The Lincoln Public Schools district does not close up in the summer – schools and classrooms are alive with activity:

  • More than 1,700 students registered for the annual LPS High School Summer School program at Lincoln North Star High School, June 1-July 14.
  • E-learning opportunities are available at most high schools.
  • A wide variety of programs happen at elementary and middle schools.
  • School libraries are open periodically throughout the summer.
  • Programs are available for students with special education needs.
  • Summer school opportunities focus on special interests such as music, technology and athletics.
  • Community Learning Centers in LPS schools are open throughout the summer.

3. Refunding 2009 bond series – For more information: Liz Standish, lstandis@lps.org

Lincoln Public Schools issued $100 million in general obligation school bonds in 2009, the second series issued for funding a comprehensive ten-year facilities improvement plan.  Bond principal and interest are scheduled to be repaid through January, 2039, however,  the current bond market may allow for an advanced refunding at a reduced interest rate (resulting in a reduction of debt service payable).

The Lincoln Board of Education in May voted for LPS staff to work with the school district’s financial advisor (Ameritas Investment Corp.), bond counsel (Gilmore & Bell) and general counsel (Perry, Guthery, Haase & Gessford) to finalize refunding if and when the school district decides to proceed.

“We have done this several times before, relying upon the good advice from the people we work with to make these decisions to the benefit of our taxpayers,” said Don Mayhew, vice president of the Board.  “This is a decision point designed to still take care of our needs, but to reduce the burden of taxpayers…I’m glad this is something we do.”

4. Fierce urgency of “now” for inclusion, equity – For more information: Thomas Christie, christt@lps.org

Author, keynote speaker and workshop leader Gary R. Howard took Lincoln Public Schools employees on a journey of inclusion, equity and excellence early this summer at the 23rd annual LPS Multicultural Leadership Institute held at Lincoln Southwest High School.

Howard said one of the most important questions for him is: “How do we create schools that do a better job with more kids, across more differences, more of the time – without asking kids to give up who they are?”

Howard is a national and international multicultural educator with more than 40 years of experience working in civil rights and cultural competence, founder of the REACH Center for Multicultural Education and author of “We Can’t Teach What We Don’t Know.”

“Your school district is becoming increasingly diverse, and that is a beautiful thing but also a challenge,” Howard told the LPS audience.

5. LPS business teachers honored – For more information:  Jane Stavem, jstavem@lps.org

Nine teachers from five high schools and programs in Lincoln Public Schools will be honored this week for their efforts in teaching business classes to students.

Teachers whose professional activities influenced business and marketing education in Nebraska during the past year will receive BEST — Belong, Excel, Study and Travel — Awards for their involvement in professional associations, community and school activities, professional leadership development, and service to the business education profession.

The Nebraska Department of Education will recognize 52 Nebraska business teachers at the Nebraska Career Education Conference June 7 in Kearney.

BEST awards exemplify superior qualities, including dedication to students, community outreach, and continual classroom improvement efforts.

 

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: May 15, 2017

Posted in Just Sharing by on May 15th, 2017

  1. Last day, graduations – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

The countdown is on:  The last day of class for Lincoln Public Schools is Wednesday, May 24.

The LPS class of 2017 will celebrate graduation ceremonies on Sunday, May 28 – for all six high schools:

  • Lincoln Southwest High School, noon, Pinnacle Bank Arena
  • Lincoln Northeast High School, 1:30 p.m., Bob Devaney Sports Center
  • Lincoln North Star High School, 3:00 p.m. Pinnacle
  • Lincoln East High School, 4:30 p.m., Devaney
  • Lincoln High School, 6:00 p.m., Pinnacle
  • Lincoln Southeast High School, 7:30 p.m., Devaney

For tips and details about graduation:

https://www.lps.org//post/detail.cfm?id=10921

2. LPS Solar Eclipse Celebration – For more information: James Blake, jblake@lps.org

We are excited to announce that all Lincoln Public Schools students and staff will be invited to participate in a special LPS Solar Eclipse Celebration early in the 2017-18 school year.  On Monday, August 21, students and staff will take part in a solar eclipse experience for this once-in-a-lifetime event: a full solar eclipse visible in the Lincoln and southeast Nebraska area.  Guided by specialists in all curriculum areas, this eclipse day of celebration will be preceded by a full week of rich, hands-on learning opportunities leading up to the grand finale. Special safety glasses will be provided for all LPS students and staff – glasses approved by the LPS Medical Advisory Committee. Alternative activities will be provided for students who choose to stay inside.

3. May Learning Lunch – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

Listen for the drum beat – to find the May Lincoln Public Schools Learning Lunch, set for 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, May 16, in the Board Room at LPS District Office. This is the first year for a World Drumming class at Lincoln High School, so we will feature the learning outcomes from both the teacher and student perspective – as well as experience the joy of a drum circle. Learning Lunches run live on channel 80 and are livestreamed on the LPS website.

4. Grant for childhood obesity – For more information: Jane Stavem, jstavem@lps.org

Lincoln Public Schools would like to expand a pilot project it has been conducting in four middle schools this year using fitness monitoring watches in physical education classes. By using $25,000 in grant funds from Children’s Hospital in Omaha – to purchase additional fitness monitoring watches that will accommodate four more middle schools – LPS will be able to move closer to its goal of a more rigorous and consistent program for all middle school students.

The fitness monitor watches allow students to track their heart rate and level of exertion during PE classes. In addition to purchasing sets for four schools, the grant will provide resources for professional development around the use and implementation for middle school PE staff as well.  The Board will vote final approval at the May 23 meeting.

5. Scottish Rite – For more information: Eric Weber, eweber@lps.org

Jan McKeown, an instructional and technology coach at Lefler Middle School – who says the secret of good teaching is caring enough to bring your A game every day – will now forever be known as the Scottish Rite 2017 Distinguished Teacher of the Year.  She was honored early in May at a surprise assembly at Lefler.

McKeown began her teaching career with Lincoln Public Schools at Clinton Elementary School 32 years ago, and has since taught at Humann and Meadow Lane elementary schools, and now Lefler – where she determined middle school was her true love.  The prestigious Scottish Rite Award is presented annually, and comes with a cash prize of $5,000 from the very generous local chapter of the Scottish Rite.

6. Plan for helping struggling students– For more information: Jane Stavem, jstavem@lps.org

More help for Lincoln Public Schools struggling students is planned and was further discussed at a recent Lincoln Board of Education meeting – a proposed action plan coming out of a comprehensive review and recommendations from the District Management Council (DMGroup). The proposed collaborative action plan would serve as the working document to guide the future work of the school district. The Board will vote final approval at the May 23 meeting.

 

 

 

 

 

A question, and response, about student devices

Posted in Your Questions Answered by on May 3rd, 2017

A community member recently contacted LPS with questions about student laptops, the reasoning behind them, and how they will be handled at the end of each school year. Here is the response from Kirk Langer, Chief Technology Officer for Lincoln Public Schools.

LPS is coming to the close of the 2nd year of a 3-year roll out of devices associated with our CLASS technology plan that you can review at this address – http://home.lps.org/class.

As for cost of the plan, you can see from the graphic at this site That is an ‘all-in’ number that includes management software and application software licensing. Given the demands of online testing (state and district) and adoption of digital curriculum that in some cases has no print alternative, LPS sought to embrace the most cost-effective method to provide Lincoln’s learners with device technology to meet these demands in support of learning. We are certainly a long way from the $1,000+ devices that students only occasionally had access to in labs but much has also changed with regard to online curriculum content and access to the rich online learning resources that have supplanted many print resources.

We are working hard to make sure our spend on technology is measured and leveraged to its fullest extent in support of learning. The Chromebook devices in use by 6th -12th graders have a 3-year lifecycle and those in use by 2nd – 5th graders have a 4-year lifecycle. At the end of each year we refurbish and repair over the summer and the devices are checked out again at the start of the next school year. Most especially the batteries, but other components as well, have typically been worn pretty thoroughly over the course of the lifecycle of the device.

The primary difference between the 3-year lifecycle of devices used by secondary students and 4-year devices used by elementary students relates to the extended time that the devices are used by secondary students who take the devices home each day. Given that digital resources have, in some cases, completely supplanted print resources, secondary students take the devices home just as they do textbooks and other learning materials.

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: May 1, 2017

Posted in Just Sharing by on May 1st, 2017

  1. Strategic Plan themes unveiled – For more information: Steve Joel, sjoel@lps.org

Five themes for a new Lincoln Public Schools Strategic Plan were unveiled for the Lincoln Board of Education at a work session in April – themes that would potentially provide focus for the school district over the next five years:

  • Academic Success
  • Future Ready Global Citizens
  • Support for Students
  • Support for Educators
  • Family and Community Partnerships

The themes were developed as a result of intense community participation and support in an initiative that began earlier this past school year – an initiative that included 49 community sessions and 3,800 responses from community citizens. Data collected from the community engagement was passed onto a Community Study Team – made up of community members and LPS staff – that further examined and analyzed the information and helped develop the five proposed themes.  Looking ahead, the Board will spend time discussing and evaluating the themes, hold a work session this summer and work toward approving a final Strategic Plan in August.

2. Calendar schedule proposed for 2018-19 Calendar – For more information: John Neal, jpneal@lps.org

Each year a joint Lincoln Public Schools/Lincoln Education Association committee – composed of parents, Lincoln Board of Education members, education association leaders, teachers and administrators – recommends a student calendar for the Board’s consideration. It has been the practice of the Board to adopt calendars more than a full calendar year before it is in place.

The general features of the proposed calendar for 2018-19 include the following:

  • First Day: Monday, August 13
  • Quarter Break: Monday and Tuesday, October 15-16
  • Thanksgiving: Wednesday- Friday, November 21-23
  • Quarter Break: Monday-Friday, March 11-15
  • Spring Break: Friday, April 19
  • Last Day: Thursday, May 23

The Calendar Committee’s purpose statement: “The school calendar demonstrates the school district’s commitment to learning.  It is based on sound instructional considerations and priorities ensuring the continuity, efficiency, and effectiveness of teaching and learning.”

3. BackPack Walk – For more information: Shari Styskal, sstyskal@lps.org

Lincoln Public Schools employees raised a record $186,000 this year – and still counting – as well as $1.5 million over the past decade to support the community’s children through the annual BackPack Extra Mile Walk, held Saturday at Lincoln East High School. The fundraiser helps support the Food Bank of Lincoln’s generous BackPack initiative, which provides a weekly Friday backpack filled with food for students who need help in having enough to eat over the weekend. 

“I know that my cupboards are full, but I also know we have so many children in our school district who go home to empty cupboards,” said Shari Styskal, the director of Budget at LPS – and the woman who has coordinated the walk for the past 10 years.   “This is our way of helping those children – and one way our employees can support their own community.”

4. Campbell Community Learning Center – For more information: Lea Ann Johnson, ljohns2@lps.org

Campbell Elementary School held a celebration Monday to rejoice in becoming a Community Learning Center this coming fall.

The Lincoln CLC provides a delivery system that uses the local school as the hub of service. These schools provide safe, supervised before and after school programs, weekend and summer enrichment programs, and many other supportive services for citizens of all ages.

5. Zoo/Zoo School groundbreaking – For more information: Pat Hunter-Pirtle, ppirtle@lps.org

This spring, the community celebrated a groundbreaking at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo, recognizing a growing zoo as well as new facilities for the LPS Science Focus Program (Zoo School).

Don Mayhew, president of the Lincoln Board of Education: “Today we not only celebrate the expansion of our Zoo, but also the expansion of the Zoo School…I believe we have been pioneers in education in Lincoln. There was no template or algorithm to envision the Zoo School.  But over the years this program has become incredibly popular, a way of doing high school differently, a way of developing a high school experience that goes beyond the four walls of the classroom and the boundaries of the school campus. We have launched hundreds and thousands of students into the world and into an amazing array of careers.  Now – looking ahead – the new Zoo School facility will continue to support our community in educating young people – doubling the number of students who can attend.”

6. Ribbon cutting for Copple Family Y/adjacent to Moore Middle – For more information: Pat Hunter-Pirtle, ppirtle@lps.org

A ribbon cutting late in April celebrated the opening of the new Copple Family YMCA – located adjacent to the new Marilyn Moore Middle school, which opens this fall – as well as celebrating the power of community collaboration.  The Lincoln Public Schools/YMCA partnership is modeled after the first such pilot program: the Fallbrook YMCA located right next to Schoo Middle School.

“I love that image,” LPS Board of Education President Don Mayhew said at the ribbon cutting, “because we now have two cornerstones in northwest and southeast Lincoln – where our schools and YMCA’s  prudently and efficiently share space….Joint facilities – like this one – undoubtedly save money because of shared spaces, and allow for smoother transitions for our families. In fact, the YMCA and Lincoln Public Schools are two organizations that represent a perfect mesh of mission. We both support families, youth development, physical fitness, education and sense of community.”

LPS Track & Field 2017

Posted in Just Sharing by on April 28th, 2017

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Individual photos

 

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: April 17, 2017

Posted in Just Sharing by on April 17th, 2017

  1. Indian Center pilot program – For more information: John Neal, jpneal@lps.org

The Lincoln Board of Education has approved a three-year pilot program and partnership with the Indian Center Inc. to provide academic support and incentive for Native American students to graduate from high school.

This program aligns with several basic Lincoln Public Schools goals: Increase the high school graduation rate, and partner with community groups to provide academic support for our students.

The Indian Center Inc. will offer the following opportunities for LPS Native American students:

  • Reinforce homework.
  • Goal setting.
  • Rewarding academic success. Students who meet the following criteria are eligible to wear eagle feathers on their graduation caps as a reward incentive: They will graduate from high school; are self-identified as Native American; have partnered with the Indian Center Inc. and fulfilled the appropriate requirements.

2. Zoo Reveal offers peek at new facility for Science Focus Program  – For more information: Pat Hunter-Pirtle, ppirtle@lps.org

Giraffes, tigers and spider monkeys are on their way to Lincoln – along with an enhanced and expanded place for them to live at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo – and a full-fledged facility for the Lincoln Public Schools Science Program (Zoo School). In fact, upon completion, the new Zoo School facility could double enrollment from 100 to 200 students.  The announcement came this month in a collaborative event featuring officials from the zoo, city of Lincoln and LPS.

3. Moore Middle School and adjacent YMCA rolling along – For more information: Pat Hunter-Pirtle, ppirtle@lps.org

Community members glimpsed their first peek at the new Marilyn Moore Middle School this month through the eyes of news reporters invited for the facility’s first media tour – opening the doors onto a beautiful, three-story middle school on the edge southeast Lincoln. Moore will be the school district’s 12th middle school, anticipating more than than 350 students this fall for the 2017-18 school year.  The school is designed to handle 850 students, and has a capacity for 1,000.

The $30 million, 175,000 square-foot structure is built with funds from the 2014 school bond, and should ease pressure on other area middle schools. It is the second LPS school to be built in partnership with the local YMCA – with an adjacent Copple YMCA branch right next door. A ribbon cutting for the Copple YMCA is set for 2 p.m. Friday, April 28, and the Y opens its doors on May 1.  For more: https://www.lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=11814

4. Heartland Athletic Conference expanding – For more information: Kathi Wieskamp, kwieska@lps.org

The Heartland Athletic Conference has announced three schools have applied for and accepted invitations to join beginning in the 2018-19 school year:  Kearney High School, Lincoln Pius X High School and Norfolk High School.  The conference’s current members include Fremont High School, Grand Island High School, and all six high schools in Lincoln Public Schools.  The last time the conference expanded came more than a decade ago when two new LPS high schools – North Star (2003) and Southwest (2002) – were opened.. More info at: http://home.lps.org/athletics/2017/04/11/heartland-athletic-conference-announces-expansion-starting-in-2018-19/

5. Learning Lunch For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

All That Shines Isn’t Chrome – is the focus of the April LPS Learning Lunch, set for noon Tuesday, April 25, in the Board Room at LPS District Office, 5905 O St. The presentation will feature Kirk Langer, chief technology officer at LPS, inviting you to come learn about why LPS decided to purchase Chromebooks for students – and how the Chromebooks are being used as a tool for learning. Learning Lunches are open to LPS staff and the Lincoln community.

6. BackPack Walk April 29– For more information: Shari Styskal, sstyskal@lps.org

The tenth annual LPS BackPack Extra Mile Walk is set for 10 a.m. Saturday, April 29, at Lincoln East High School. In nine years of walking, LPS employees have raised over $1.3 million for the Food Bank of Lincoln’s BackPack program, which provides Friday food-filled backpacks to children who need help with nourishment over the weekends.

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: April 3, 2017

Posted in Just Sharing by on April 3rd, 2017

  1. Changes in superintendent evaluation – For more information: Steve Joel, sjoel@lps.org

Annually, an evaluation of the Lincoln Public Schools Superintendent is prepared by the Lincoln Board of Education – along with leadership goals/job targets – and the Board is considering modifications in the annual evaluation procedures to better facilitate the process and to conform to current practice. The Board will vote final approval at the April 10 meeting.

Don Mayhew, president of the Board of Education, called the newly proposed evaluation instrument more meaningful and streamlined: “The point of having an evaluation is having a conversation with the superintendent, where all Board members get a chance to be heard…and where we provide meaningful feedback to the superintendent.”

Mayhew stressed that the changes have nothing to do with the current or previous superintendents, “but we are trying to answer the question: What is the best evaluation tool?”

2. Conversation begins on LPS growth and future facilities – For more information: Liz Standish, lstandis@lps.org

In light of significant growth at Lincoln Public Schools – especially over the past decade – the Lincoln Board of Education recently held a work session to begin the conversation about updating what is called the 10-year Facilities and Infrastructure Plan, looking ahead to the facility needs of the school district in the coming years.   In an early draft of updating the 10-year plan, LPS staff members are suggesting four new elementary schools, two new middle schools and possible new high school space – as part of the next decade at LPS.

“This document is about many things, but mostly it is about dramatic growth in our community and our school district – and making sure there is broad community understanding,” said Scott Wieskamp, director of Operations at LPS.  “This plan is not just about tomorrow. This is about years down the road – perhaps what is happening in our community in 30, 40, 50 years…This kind of long-range planning is really critical…and that is where your vision is so important.”

The presentation and discussion are only the beginning of a long and intensive community-wide discussion – beginning with the clear and consistent message of growth, said Liz Standish, associate superintendent for Business Affairs. The 10-year plan is an important document, as it identifies priorities for facilities and infrastructure, guiding the development of schools, additions, renovations, infrastructure and more.

3. New director of Curriculum and Instruction – For more information: Jane Stavem, jstavem@lps.org

Takako Olson, currently associate principal at Lincoln Southeast High School, has been named the new director of Curriculum and Instruction for Lincoln Public Schools.  “We are pleased to welcome Takako to this position,” said Jane Stavem, associate superintendent for Instruction at LPS. “We believe her skills and experience are a great fit for this new role.”

4. Naming Professional Learning Facility and Nutrition Services Facility – For more information: Liz Standish, lstandis@lps.org

The renovated Lincoln Public Schools facility at 710 Hill St. – which has two separate sections – will likely carry two names: The Don Clifton Professional Learning Center (for the south main entrance and the staff development section); and the Nutrition Services Distribution Center (for the east side for the section that will house LPS food storage).   A community committee – made up of seven community members and three Board of Education members – have passed on that recommendation to the full Board Tuesday evening. The Board will vote final approval at the April 10 meeting.

The renovated facility will have two major uses:

  • For Professional Learning: LPS is committed to high-quality professional learning opportunities for all staff.  The facility will house a large professional learning space, smaller classrooms and conference room settings to meet the various needs of staff.
  • For Nutrition Services:  The facility will house the freezer, cooler, dry storage and support offices that facilitate distribution of food to school sites district-wide. On any given day, the LPS Nutrition Services program serves 7,200 breakfasts, 26,400 lunches, 3,200 snacks and 150 dinners. In total over seven million dollars of food will be distributed through this facility each year.

5. LPS graduation ceremonies for class of 2017 – For more information: Pat Hunter-Pirtle, ppirtle@lps.org

The Lincoln Public Schools class of 2017 will celebrate graduation ceremonies on Sunday, May 28 – for all six high schools:

  • Lincoln Southwest High School, noon, Pinnacle Bank Arena
  • Lincoln Northeast High School, 1:30 p.m., Bob Devaney Sports Center
  • Lincoln North Star High School, 3:00 p.m. Pinnacle
  • Lincoln East High School, 4:30 p.m., Devaney
  • Lincoln High School, 6:00 p.m., Pinnacle
  • Lincoln Southeast High School, 7:30 p.m., Devaney

The Bryan Community Focus Program will hold graduation ceremonies at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, May 25, in the Lincoln East High School auditorium.

 

Community News: April 2017

Posted in Community News by on March 28th, 2017

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Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: March 20, 2017

Posted in Just Sharing by on March 20th, 2017

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: March 20, 2017 

1. Happy spring and fourth quarter

Lincoln Public Schools students and staff members begin their first day of fourth quarter on Monday, March 20. The final day of this school year is May 24.

2. Looking into the future for LPS schools/facilities – For more information: Liz Standish, lstandis@lps.org

The Lincoln Board of Education has started the important and lengthy process of updating what is called the 10-year Facilities and Infrastructure Plan – looking ahead to the facility needs of the school district in the coming years, especially in light of the incredible growth at LPS over the past decade.  The Board is holding a Work Session Monday, March 20, for a presentation and discussion, but the session is only the beginning of a long and intensive community-wide discussion.

3. Learning Lunch highlights visual arts education  – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

Visual Art: Enriching the Human Experience – is the focus of the March Lincoln Public Schools Learning Lunch, set for Tuesday, March 28, in the Board Room at LPS District Office, 5905 O St. The presentation will feature Lorinda Rice, curriculum specialist for Visual Arts for LPS, inviting you to learn how high-quality art education can prepare students for learning in a visual age and into the future. Doors to the Board Room open at noon, the program begins at 12:15 p.m., questions-and-answers happen at 12:45 p.m. Please bring your own lunch – we’ll provide dessert.

4. Weaving dreams and memories – For more information: Zachary Baehr, zbaehr@lps.org

Students are sewing and weaving together their memories and dreams through a wonderful program at Lincoln High School called, The Quilted Conscience, connecting students to their stories through creating quilts – stories that are a crocheted memory bank of pain, loss, love and hope. Go to: https://www.lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=11732

5. Thank you teacher winners – For more information: Mindy Burbach, mburbach@lps.org

Lincoln Southeast High School sophomore Aaron Bolton said that Southeast English teacher/debate coach Sam Segrist is a teacher who “goes above and beyond for teaching, and clearly cares about the impact, influence and learning that he gives to any student.”  Lincoln High School student Kaleb Miller says of his former health and physical education teacher, Jeff Williams at Culler Middle School: “How I live right now is affected by him more than he probably knows.”  Riley Elementary School teacher Vickie Neilly “was always there for me and loved me no matter what I did,” according to Jackson Okereke – now a student at Lincoln High.  And Kloefkorn Elementary School teachers Kristy Kennedy and Kate Manstedt have supported and helped Alexis Verzal – a Kloefkorn student – overcome a variety of challenges to become a successful student and wonderful reader.

The students and teachers selected as winners through the annual LPS Thank You Teacher contest were announced this month. For winners and video, go to: https://www.lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=11709

6. LPS names new principals for 2017-18 school year – For more information – Eric Weber, eweber@lps.org

Lincoln Public Schools is pleased to announce five new elementary principals for the 2017-18 school year. Jane Stavem, associate superintendent for Instruction at LPS said, “In Lincoln Public Schools we are fortunate to have committed leaders who care about student achievement and providing a quality education in every school. We are excited to welcome these new administrators and look forward to the energy and ideas they will bring to their schools.”

The new principals are:

  • Arnold Elementary School: Jodi Frager, currently the associate principal at Dawes Middle School.
  • Brownell Elementary School: Kelly Apel, who has served as the associate principal at Goodrich Middle School since 2011.
    Eastridge Elementary School: Traci Boothe, who has been the coordinator at Eastridge Elementary School since 2013
  • Pershing Elementary School: Jamie Cook, currently the coordinator at Sheridan Elementary School.
  • Saratoga Elementary School: Annette Bushaw, now the coordinator at Randolph Elementary School.

Community News: March 2017

Posted in Community News by on February 21st, 2017

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Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: Feb. 20, 2017

Posted in Just Sharing by on February 20th, 2017

  1. Science bubbling – For more information: James Blake, jblake@lps.org

The 2017 Zoetis-Lincoln Public Schools-GSK Science Fair – the 22nd annual event – will be held on Thursday, March 2 at the Lancaster County Event Center.  LPS is excited to showcase all the wonderful science experiments and demonstrations from LPS fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth graders. With more space than ever, we will have different groups also sharing different aspects of science around our community. The public is invited to come and see these terrific, creative experiments and demonstrations – for a night of science.

2. Update on plans for struggling students – For more information: Jane Stavem, jstavem@lps.org

The Lincoln Board of Education has scheduled a 4:30 p.m. work session on Tuesday, Feb., 28, for an update on the external audit on struggling students.  The school district hired an outside consulting firm, District Management Council (DMC), to gain a deeper understanding of services, best practices and resources Lincoln Public Schools provides to “struggling students” – students provided additional services and support through Special and General Education

DMC presented a report – and now LPS is making plans to move ahead, examine current processes and look for opportunities to improve. The analysis had concluded the school district does an excellent job providing struggling students with services to offer supports that will help them succeed socially, emotionally and academically – while also recognizing that systems can improve, providing a road map with a series of recommendations to be implemented over the next three to five years.

3. Expanding early childhood  – For more information: Jane Stavem, jstavem@lps.org

The Lincoln Board of Education recently approved submission of an Early Childhood Expansion grant application that would expand early childhood offerings in the school district in LPS elementary school buildings.

The programs would ensure that each child enters a formal school setting with the same learning advantages as other children with early childhood staff and partners seeking opportunities to promote the physical, social, emotional, cognitive and language development of very young children and their families.  Research demonstrates that the best approach to serve the families of these young children is through quality preschool services to assist with transitions to kindergarten. These programs would serve three- and four-year-olds who qualify for participation in an inclusive environment.  The $200,000 grant will be submitted to the Nebraska Department of Education.

4. February Learning Lunch focuses on science  – For more information: Zachary Baehr, zbaehr@lps.org

The February Learning Lunch – noon on Tuesday, Feb. 21 – features James Blake, curriculum specialist for Science at LPS, offering a presentation called: A Guide for Science Education Today. The Lunch will focus on science education today and how LPS is developing science teachers and curriculum to support our science students.  Learning Lunches are presented in the Board Room at District Office, run live on channel 80 and are livestreamed on the LPS website. Doors to the Board Room open at noon, the program begins at 12:15 p.m., questions-and-answers happen at 12:45 p.m. Please bring your own lunch – we’ll provide dessert.

5, Celebrating our facilities  – For more information: Mindy Burbach, mburbach@lps.org

Several LPS schools have celebrations planned in the coming weeks to invite our community to sobserve significant renovation and additions that have occurred in the last months and years.  Irving Middle School will celebrate with an open house on the afternoon of Sunday, Feb. 26 – and Norwood Park Elementary School holds an open house on the afternoon of Sunday, March 5.  Both events are open to the public.

6. Thank you teacher – For more information: Mindy Burbach, mburbach@lps.org

Thank a teacher!  Tuesday, March 7 – is National Teacher Recognition Day.

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: Feb. 6, 2017

Posted in Just Sharing by on February 6th, 2017

  1. Thanks to our community – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

Lincoln Public Schools has a tradition of thanking the community – for providing support to renovate the school district’s older schools – by holding open houses to celebrate extensive building renovation. Irving Middle School will hold an open house on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 26, to highlight the extensive renovation that has happened at Irving over the last several years. Norwood Park Elementary School will celebrate building renovations on Sunday, March 5.

2. Underlining the importance of early childhood – For more information: Jane Stavem, jstavem@lps.org

The Lincoln Board of Education held a first reading late in January and will vote at the Feb. 14 meeting on an Early Childhood Expansion grant application in the amount of $200,000 to expand early childhood education offerings.

Lincoln Public Schools proposes to pilot two full-day, center-based early childhood classrooms in LPS elementary school buildings through this grant. Each classroom will serve 20 children, for a total of 40 children served: three- and four-year-olds who qualify for participation in an inclusive environment. The program is based on research and best practices in the field of early childhood and family systems. By embracing the child and family in a secure, nurturing culturally appropriate environment, the child’s growth and development will flourish. Research demonstrates that the best approach to serve the families of these young children is through quality preschool services to assist with transitions to kindergarten. The program emphasizes the core elements of family involvement through home visitation with an emphasis on family literacy that supports education as a core family value.

3. All means all – For more information: Steve Joel, sjoel@lps.org

In light of recent political events that have impacted our classrooms, LPS Superintendent Steve Joel issued a message to all LPS staff members that emphasized our philosophy of welcoming all children who come to our doors. His video message is here:

http://www.lps.org/video/center.html?title=Video&id=2734

4. Retirement season – For more information: Eric Weber, eweber@lps.org

Several top administrators from Lincoln Public Schools have announced their retirement for the close of the 2016-17 school year.  Jane Stavem, associate superintendent for Instruction at LPS, noted: “We are so grateful for the legacy of excellence these leaders will leave with Lincoln Public Schools.  They have demonstrated their commitment to our students and families through their dedicated service and the many ways they have made our school district a great place to learn and grow.”

To read about those retiring: http://www.lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=11602

5. Thanks to our Lincoln Board of Education  – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

January was National Board of Education Appreciation month, and we all thanked our committed Board members who dedicate countless hours to advocate for all students. To view a brief video of each Board member: http://www.lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=11597

6. One week left to say thanks to your teachers – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

You have one week left to nominate your favorite teacher for the annual Lincoln Public Schools Thank You Teacher event.  Deadline is Feb. 10. In honor of Nebraska Teacher Recognition Day – Tuesday, March 7 – Lincoln Public Schools and KFOR/KFRX Radio are again collaborating to thank our educators with the annual Thank You Teacher contest. Go to the LPS website for more information.   The event is part of Nebraska Teacher Recognition activities.

Community News: February 2017

Posted in Community News by on January 31st, 2017

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Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: Jan. 16, 2017

Posted in Just Sharing by on January 16th, 2017

  1. First snow day of season – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

Lincoln Public Schools called the first snow day of the season with no classes on Tuesday, Jan. 17.   However, District Office remains open. 

2. Third year of tech plan – For more information: Jane Stavem, jstavem@lps.org

The Lincoln Board of Education will pave the way for Lincoln Public Schools to move into the third phase of the Instructional Technology Plan with the consideration of a purchase that will mean all LPS students grades 3-12 will have access to individual Chromebooks – and in the future, potentially the addition of second graders.  The purchase discussed at a recent Board meeting – with final approval set for Jan. 24 – would cover Chromebooks for more than 3,000 sixth graders as well as for more than 8,300 students at the four remaining high schools where students do not have Chromebooks (Lincoln High, Lincoln East, Lincoln North Star and Lincoln Southwest).

The original Instructional Technology Plan called for providing Chromebooks to students grades 3-12, but Board members discussed the possibility of providing the gadgets to second graders as well. Funding for addition of one more grade could be provided by extending the original three-year plan into a four-year plan.

A January 2017 purchase of Chromebooks for distribution to secondary students in fall of 2017 would allow the school district to save $8 per device (a total of $66,904) and ensure all students are using the same device model

For more information: http://www.lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=11562

3. Strategic Plan update – For more information: John Neal, jpneal@lps.org

The Board of Education received an update recently about the progress and next steps involved with “Voices for the Future,” the school district’s strategic planning process.

Over the last few months, LPS has reached out to more than 37,500 people – and collected responses from more than 3,800 citizens. The collected data is now being reviewed and analyzed: categorizing responses, recognizing key themes and identifying representative quotations. Then that data will go to a Community Study Team later this month, a team that will develop and create proposed action steps.

A reminder: Lincoln Public Schools is seeking to engage citizens throughout the community to help refresh and develop a strategic plan to chart the course for the school district over the next five years. The strategic planning process involves gathering community voices through civic, school and community meetings, as well as through social media and online surveys – encouraging our citizens to dream big, imagine new ideas, help identify creative, innovative goals – necessary to write the story of our future. Our mission is to ensure LPS students experience a world-class education in preparation for college, career and life

4. Grant submissions approved – For more information: Jane Stavem, jstavem@lps.org

The Board of Education has approved submission of two grants:

  •  A proposal to United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County to support the Two Generation Family Literacy Program in the amount of approximately $30,000 for a one-year funding cycle. The evidence-based Family Literacy model followed by LPS includes the following four components: Adult Education Instruction—provided through high quality ESL classes; Children’s Education—teaching literacy through a viable district curriculum; Parent and Child Together Time; and Parenting Classes.
  • A five-year, $352,00 State 21st Century Community Learning Center grant that will bring necessary resources and support to establish Campbell Elementary School as a CLC school.  The federally-funded grant application is submitted to the Nebraska Department of Education.

5. Say thanks to your teachers – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

Please take time this month to nominate your favorite teacher for the annual Lincoln Public Schools Thank You Teacher event.  In honor of Nebraska Teacher Recognition Day – Tuesday, March 7 – Lincoln Public Schools and KFOR/KFRX Radio are again collaborating to thank our educators with the annual Thank You Teacher contest. Nominations can be made in five categories and should be postmarked or sent by Friday, Feb. 10 – go to the LPS website for more information.   The event is part of Nebraska Teacher Recognition activities.

 

Contact

Mary Kay Roth
Director of Communications
mkroth@lps.org | 402-436-1610

P.O. Box 82889
Lincoln, Nebraska 68501

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