Communications

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: July 6, 2015

1. 2015 LPS Summer School Graduation For more information: Bryan Seck, bseck@lps.org

The Lincoln Public Schools Summer School program will hold its annual Graduation Celebration at noon on Thursday, July 9, at Lincoln North Star High School. The ceremony recognizes LPS seniors – wearing their full caps and gowns – who are officially graduating thanks to summer school credits. The ceremony involves reading of names, handing out diplomas, youth vocal performances and brief words of encouragement.

2. Preliminary LPS budget – For more information: Liz Standish, lstandis@lps.org

There are still opportunities to learn about the preliminary 2015-16 LPS budget. The Board of Education has a work session set for budget discussion at 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 14, LPS District Office, 5905 O St. –and that meeting will be live-streamed on the LPS website. A public hearing for the budget is scheduled 6 p.m. Tuesday, August 11, at District Office.

3.  LPS joins Prosper Lincoln Week – For more information: John Neal, jpneal@lps.org.

Lincoln Public Schools has participated in Prosper Lincoln recently, encouraging staff members and families to submit their ideas on how we can make positive changes to our community. Submit your ideas online at ProsperLincoln.org.

4. TCA ribbon cutting – For more information: Dan Hohensee, dhohen@lps.org

A dedication/ribbon cutting ceremony will be held for The Career Academy (TCA) at 8:15 a.m. Monday, Aug. 10, at the new facility at 8800 O St.  A refresher: The Career Academy is a partnership between LPS and SCC – a program where high school students will explore their specific interest in any one of 16 different career pathways. Juniors and seniors attend TCA for two hours a day, earn high school and SCC credits through dual credit courses, and will have a distinct advantage on applications for jobs, internships, scholarships and/or college.

5.  Junior Achievement honors – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org.

Congratulations to our schools and staff honored by Junior Achievement of Lincoln at their recent awards ceremony.

  • Jane Stavem, associate superintendent for Instruction, received the top JA USA Bronze Leadership Award.
  • Two Educator of the Year awards went to: Nick Madsen, high school business and economics teacher at Lincoln High School; and Angela Pierson-Aerni, fourth grade teacher at Campbell Elementary School.
  • Thirteen LPS elementary schools were given the “JA Super School Award:” Brownell, Hill, Holmes, Humann, Kloefkorn, Kooser, Morley, Norwood Park, Pershing, Riley, Saratoga, Sheridan and Zeman.

6.  Good bye Mr. Reckewey For more information, Mindy Burbach, mburbach@lps.org.

Retiring Kahoa Elementary School Principal Russ Reckewey was surprised on his last day of work – Tuesday, June 30 – with a group of Kahoa staff, students and families greeting him as he exited the building that day with escorts and cheers into retirement. Reckewey was the Kahoa principal for 16 years. Go to: https://www.facebook.com/lincolnpublicschools

Posted in Just Sharing by on July 2nd, 2015

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: June 15, 2015

1. Preliminary LPS budget highlights – For more information: Liz Standish, lstandis@lps.org

Highlights of the preliminary 2015-16 budget for Lincoln Public Schools. The Lincoln Board of Education will gather feedback and input over the next months, further discuss the budget and aim to approve the final LPS budget in August.

  • The 2015-16 preliminary LPS budget addresses a variety of factors: Provide appropriate staffing, services, supplies and resources for significant growth in student enrollment (increase of 900 more students predicted for 2015-16; past year’s increase of 1,200 students); address complexity of demographics and needs of students.
  • LPS ranked 234th out of 249 school districts in Nebraska in per pupil spending: LPS spent $10,297 per pupil; state average is $11,365.
  • Total tax levy will stay flat. That means no change in your property taxes if your house valuation remains the same.
  • Additional funding would help classrooms and schools with added teachers and staffing, social workers, treatment nurses, health technicians and computer support positions.
  • Two Community Budget Forums scheduled: Tuesday, June 23, 5-6 p.m., LPS District Office; and Thursday, June 25, 7-8 p.m., Lefler Middle School, 1100 S. 48th St

2. The Career Academy – For more information: Dan Hohensee, dhohen@lps.org

Members of the Lincoln Board of Education in June took the first official tour of the new Career Academy, under construction at the Southeast Community College campus, 88th and O streets. To date about 400 LPS high school students from across the city have signed up for classes at the new Academy, to open this fall. The Career Academy is a partnership between LPS and SCC – a program where high school students will explore their interests in 16 different career pathways. Juniors and seniors attend TCA for two hours a day, earn high school and SCC credits through dual credit courses, and will have a distinct advantage on applications for jobs, internships, scholarships and/or college.

3. LPS students to benefit from Lincoln City Library internet upgrades – For more information: Mary Reiman, mreiman@lps.org

NetworkNebraska just received a boost that will allow more LPS students to access educational resources outside of school hours, said Mayor Chris Beutler in announcing a partnership between Lincoln City Libraries (LCL) and NebraskaLink to greatly improve LCL’s broadband capabilities. Mayor Chris Beutler said:  “We are especially excited about how this will benefit Lincoln Public Schools as the district moves forward with providing tablets and other technology for students.”

Kirk Langer, chief technology officer for LPS, said: “This timely community partnership means LPS students can use the safe learning environment of the Lincoln City Libraries outside the school day.  They will now have the type of network access necessary to support the devices LPS provides for students from third through twelfth grade.”

4. School bond issue projects – – For more information: Liz Standish, lstandis@lps.org

The Lincoln Board of Education has voted to move forward on bids that involve two additional projects funded by the 2014 bond issue:

  • The renovation project at Norwood Park Elementary School, involving Indoor Air Quality construction as well as additions that include the expansion of the administration area and new food service and cafeteria areas.
  • The renovation project at Meadow Lane Elementary School that funds an addition to the building with additional renovations that would include a new library media center and new classrooms.

Posted in Just Sharing by on June 15th, 2015

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: June 1, 2015

1. Budget time – For more information: Liz Standish, lstandis@lps.org

Lincoln Public Schools invites the public into the discussion about the preliminary 2015-16 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 23, 5-6 p.m., LPS District Office, 5905 O St.
  • Thursday, June 25, 7-8 p.m., Lefler Middle School, 1100 S. 48th St

In addition, the Lincoln Board of Education has two work sessions set for Board discussion about the budget:

  • 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 9, LPS District Office, 5905 O St
  • 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 14, LPS District Office, 5905 O St

A public hearing for the 2015-16 LPS budget is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, August 11, at LPS District Office, 5905 O St

2. Summer school – For more information: Pam Robinson, probin@lps.org

The Lincoln Public Schools High School Summer School program runs from May 28 thru July 9 at Lincoln North Star High School.   High school summer school classes have been planned to cover a wide range of course offerings for students in grades 9-12. The summer school program provides:

  • An opportunity for all high school students to continue their learning during the summer.
  • An opportunity for high school students to earn additional credit during the summer.

In addition, there are a variety of summer school offerings for technology, music and students with special education needs.

3. New Board of Education – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

The Lincoln Board of Education now includes new members Connie Duncan, Annie Mumgaard and Matt Schulte. For the 2015-16 school year, the Board elected Kathy Danek as the next Board president, and Lanny Boswell as vice president. Duncan was elected as the new president of Educational Service Unit (ESU) No. 18, and Mumgaard, as vice president

4. Recruiting for diversity – For more information: Eric Weber, eweber@lps.org

The May issue of Fast Track to Learning, a monthly LPS community video, features recruiting for staff diversity in our school district. Go to: http://videocenter.lps.org/videos/video/2030/

5. Contract and evaluation for superintendent – For more information: Eric Weber, eweber@lps.org

The Lincoln Board of Education has unanimously approved a contract for Lincoln Public Schools Superintendent Steve Joel. “This was a journey that started when Dr. Joel came to the school district and we have created a very transparent contract…that I would say even a sixth grader could read,” said Board President Kathy Danek.  A base salary of $308,439 was approved for the superintendent for the coming school year, a 2.88 percent salary increase (the same percentage as provided in the teacher contract for the coming year).

The Board also approved an evaluation for the superintendent that featured specific praise related to:

  • Unwavering commitment to providing the highest quality education for all LPS students.
  • Continued focus on core mission of teaching and learning despite the year’s significant challenges.
  • Adoption of a district-wide technology plan and progress in the 2014 bond issue projects, including the Career Academy.
  • Solid reputation in the community and strong communication skills.
  • Sustained progress toward a 90 percent on-time graduation rate by 2019.

6.  First day – The first day of the 2015/16 school year is Wednesday, Aug. 12 – plenty of time to enjoy summer!

Posted in Just Sharing by on June 1st, 2015

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: May 18 2015

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

Believe it or not: The last day of school for LPS is Thursday. May 21. That means about 180 days of school are nearly complete, and a new class of graduates is just around the corner. Summer school for high school students starts on Thursday, May 28, and for everyone else, there’s a summer of camps and clinics for musicians, athletes, scientists, coders and much more. For those already looking ahead: the first day of the 2015/16 school year is Wednesday, Aug. 12 – plenty of time to enjoy summer!

2. Final words – For more information: Zachary Baehr, zbaehr@lps.org

Watch LPS social media and the front of the LPS website this week for our annual last-week-of-school series called, Final Words – “final words” from graduating seniors and retiring LPS employees. Go to: http://lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=9853

3. New Board of Education LPS – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

The first organizational meeting of the newly elected Lincoln Board of Education will be held at 5:30 p.m. Monday, May 18, in the Board Room at LPS District Office. The meeting will be videotaped and be available on the website’s LPS Network. New officers will be elected. New members joining the Board are Connie Duncan, Annie Mumgaard and Matt Schulte. The first regular meeting of the new Board is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 26.

4. Season for graduations – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

Bryan Community graduation is at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 21, at Lincoln East High School. The six high school graduations are all held on Sunday, May 24:

  • Noon – North Star, Pinnacle Bank Arena (PBA)
  • 1:30 p.m. – Southeast, Bob Devaney Sports Center (BDSC)
  • 3 p.m. – Lincoln High (PBA)
  • 4:30 p.m. – Northeast (BDSC)
  • 6 p.m. – Southwest (PBA)
  • 7:30 p.m. – East (BDSC)

5. More space for Nutrition Services – For more information: Liz Standish, lstandis@lps.org

The Lincoln Board of Education has approved the purchase agreement for a warehouse/office building and adjacent land located at 710 Hill Street — for a facility that would house storage for LPS Nutrition Services — but pushed back the closing date to December to accommodate those who had reserved a banquet room in the facility for various events. LPS will use the facility for food storage due to significant growth in the school district and the nutrition program. On an average day, LPS serves about 26,000 lunches — and 7,000 breakfasts.

Lincoln Board of Education member Ed Zimmer noted: “This will allow — before we close on this purchase — those arrangements people made and have invested in to have events at that building…This isn’t something we have to do, this is something worth doing.”

The actual contract will come back to the Board for final approval when all the details are confirmed.

Posted in Just Sharing by on May 18th, 2015

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: May 4, 2015

1. Healthier kids – For more information: John Neal, jpneal@lps.org

Lincoln Public Schools students are generally more fit and less obese compared to five years ago – during a time period in which many health and fitness initiatives were implemented in the school district – according to a health and wellness update presented recently for the Lincoln Board of Education.

“We are literally changing the number of healthy kids in our school district,” said Lincoln physician and wellness champion Dr. Bob Rauner, who also underlined research that increasingly indicates a direct connection between improved fitness and improved academics.

A few statistics:

  • 22 percent of LPS K-8 graders were classified as obese in 2010-11, compared to 15.36 percent last school year.
  • 96 percent of 4-8th graders passed the Fitnessgram PACER fitness test in 2011-12, compared to 77.37 percent last school year.
  • Improvements cross demographic and socio-economic lines.

2. Final groundbreaking of the spring – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

The third and final Lincoln Public Schools groundbreaking of the spring is set for 11 a.m. Friday, May 8 for the new Sally G. Wysong Elementary School.   To see video clips and text from the Bill Nuernberger Education Center groundbreaking on May 1, go to: http://lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=9799

3. LPS proactive dealing with K2 drug spring – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

This spring, LPS sent an email to elementary, middle and high school families asking them to be aware of a current community health risk—a problem that is also happening nationwide—something our local public health officials are calling an overdose crisis involving the synthetic drug sold as K2. We also placed information about K2, and links to additional resources, on the LPS website: http://www.lps.org/news/k2/index.html

4. Board of Education approves attendance areas – For more information: Liz Standish, lstandis@lps.org

The Lincoln Board of Education has approved new attendance area boundary changes for specified elementary, middle and high schools in southeast Lincoln.

“The adoption of boundaries is often one of our most contentious issues,” said Board member Kathy Danek. “I believe we did an exceptional job…From where we started, we know there were people who would have felt disenfranchised and we helped everyone feel part of their neighborhood school. That’s such a valuable part of the quality of life in Lincoln….That’s really the gift that Lincoln has in its public schools and how we keep that neighborhood connection.”

5. Season for graduations – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

Bryan Community graduation is at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 21, at Lincoln East High School. The six high school graduations are all held on Sunday, May 24:

  • Noon – North Star, Pinnacle Bank Arena (PBA)
  • 1:30 p.m. – Southeast, Bob Devaney Sports Center (BDSC)
  • 3 p.m. – Lincoln High (PBA)
  • 4:30 p.m. – Northeast (BDSC)
  • 6 p.m. – Southwest (PBA)
  • 7:30 p.m. – East (BDSC)

6. Gratitude for Richard Meginnis For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

The April 24 Lincoln Board of Education meeting was the last for Board member Richard Meginnis. He chose not to run again – and will be on vacation early in May. Meginnis served for two terms, a total of eight years on the Board.

“We are saying good bye to a dedicated public servant and we want to acknowledge Richard’s great work,” LPS Superintendent Steve Joel said of Meginnis. “Speaking on behalf of 8,000 employees and 39,000 students, you gave it your all. We’re a better school district because of your service.”

Praise from fellow Board members:

  • Don Mayhew: “I especially appreciate your knowledge of business and real estate…Like a chess player, you are always thinking a couple plays ahead: What if this happens, what if that happens…You’re always looking out for the best in Lincoln’s children.”
  • Katie McLeese Stephenson: “You have a great inquisitive mind…I think of you as a teddy bear with a heart of gold….Thank you for your work, your friendship…for giving all students a sense of place.”

 

Posted in Just Sharing by on May 4th, 2015

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: April 20, 2015

1. Board of Education discusses attendance areas – For more information: Liz Standish, lstandis@lps.org

The Lincoln Board of Education last week considered proposed new attendance area boundary changes for specified elementary, middle and high schools in southeast Lincoln.  Board member Kathy Danek said: “Growth is a good thing, but we will also have growing pains…Our middle schools are on the cusp of the growth we’ve experienced over the last decade…We know we can and will make it work.”

Board member Lanny Boswell said he believes the proposed attendance areas accomplish three things:

  • Values the connections between families and schools
  • Provides relief to middle schools
  • Provides for growth in southeast Lincoln

The Board will take the final vote of approving attendance areas April 28. For more information go to: http://www.lps.org/2014bond/attendanceareas/

2. Million-dollar BackPack Walk – For more information: Shari Styskal, sstyskal@lps.org

After the eighth annual Lincoln Public Schools BackPack Extra Mile Walk – held on April 11 – LPS employees had raised a total of more than one million dollars to address hunger for children in Lincoln and surrounding communities. The annual fundraiser aims to raise awareness of hunger in our community and raise money in support of the Food Bank’s BackPack Program, which provides a weekly food-filled backpack for children in need.

3. Friday’s groundbreaking first of three – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

The first of three LPS groundbreaking ceremonies will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, April 24 for the new Marilyn Moore Middle School/and Copple Family YMCA near 84th Street and Yankee Hill Road.

The additional two groundbreaking celebrations are set for 11 a.m.:

  • May 1: The new Bill Nuernberger Education Center, a renovation of the former Bryan facility at 1801 S. 40th St. providing services to middle school students who need behavior skills.
  • May 8: The new Sally G. Wysong Elementary School at 7901 Blanchard Blvd.

** The facilities are funded through the Lincoln Public Schools bond issue approved by the community in February, 2014.

4. More space for Nutrition Services – For more information: Liz Standish, lstandis@lps.org

The Board of Education is considering a proposal to purchase a warehouse/office building and adjacent land located at 710 Hill Street – for a facility that would house storage for Lincoln Public Schools Nutrition Services. The Board will take the final vote at the April 28 meeting.

On an average day, LPS serves about 26,000 lunches – and 7,000 breakfasts.

In addition, over the last six years, LPS has seen:

  • A 31 percent increase in school breakfast participation.
  • A 17 percent increase in school lunches.
  • A 33 percent increase in food purchases.
  • A 45 percent increase in commodities received for LPS Nutrition Services.

5. She said yes – For more information: Zachary Baehr, zbaehr@lps.org

Recently Lincoln High School orchestra director Brett Noser proposed to Holly Liibbe, a teacher at Culler Middle School. The milestone moment happened during the middle of a school concert, with the orchestra adding just the right amount of crescendo at just the right time. To see the proposal: http://lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=9711

6. Five new elementary principals – For more information: Eric Weber, eweber@lps.,org

LPS has announced new elementary principals who will officially take over duties this summer.

  • The new principal at Kahoa Elementary School is Teresa (Terri) Nelson, currently assistant principal at Kooser Elementary School.
  • The new principal at Randolph Elementary School is Kristen Finley, currently assistant principal at Adams Elementary School.
  • The new principal at Calvert Elementary Schools is Jeff Brehm, currently assistant principal at Cavett Elementary School.
  • The new principal at Meadow Lane Elementary School is Daniele Schulzkump, currently coordinator at Lakeview Elementary School.
  • The new principal at McPhee Elementary School is Elizabeth (Betsy) Gomez, currently principal at Blumfield Elementary School for Ralston Public Schools.

Posted in Just Sharing by on April 20th, 2015

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: April 6, 2015

1. BackPack Extra Mile Walk – For more information: Shari Styskal, sstyskal@lps.org

The eighth annual BackPack Extra Mile Walk – a time to remember “Each Kindness” – is set for 10 a.m. Saturday, April 11, at Lincoln East High School. The annual fundraiser aims to raise awareness of hunger in our community and raise money in support of the Food Bank’s BackPack Program, which provides a weekly food-filled backpack for children in need. In this eighth year, LPS employees will pass the million-dollar mark and raise more than a million dollars for the program that addresses hunger for children in Lincoln and surrounding communities.

2. Two new high school principals – For more information: Eric Weber, eweber@lps.,org

Lincoln Public Schools has announced new high school principals who will officially take over duties this summer.

  • Mike Gillotti, currently associate principal at Lincoln North Star High School, will become principal at Lincoln Southwest High School. Current Southwest Principal Hugh McDermott is retiring.
  • Mark Larson, currently associate principal at Lincoln High School, will become principal at Lincoln High. Current Lincoln High Principal Mike Wortman is also retiring.

3. Board of Education approves Technology Plan – For more information: Kirk Langer, klanger@lps.org.

Students at Lincoln Public Schools – grades 3-12 – will receive individual Chromebooks over the next three years, the school district will provide effective staff development for technology, and quality teaching and learning will serve as the focus of technology: all according to the Technology Implementation Plan approved by the Lincoln Board of Education late in March.

“This is the stuff of legacy,” said Board member Don Mayhew, who also serves as the chair of the Board’s Technology Committee.

“This plan is good only if instruction is first,” said Kathy Danek, vice president of the Board, “and my colleagues have been very astute in making that a priority.”

LPS Superintendent Steve Joel gives his “Elevator Speech” about Student Learning Through Technology in this videotape: http://www.lps.org/video/center.html?title=Video&id=1951

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

The April Learning Lunch for Lincoln Public Schools is set for 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, April 21, and will feature “The Rhythm of Music in our Schools.”   The Learning Lunch will include a performance from PANgea, the student steel-drum band of Lincoln Public Schools, followed by remarks from Lance Nielsen, supervisor of Music for LPS. Nielsen will discuss the most current brain research related to playing and singing music. Lunches are all held in the Board Room at LPS District Office, 5905 O St. 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. This is the final Learning Lunch of the 2014-15 school year.

5. LPS reviews hiring practices – For more information: Eric Weber, eweber@lps.,org

This spring Lincoln Public Schools officials have conducted a complete review of hiring policies and practices to ensure they are the best possible in ensuring student safety in the school district, according to Eric Weber, associate superintendent for Human Resources at LPS.   He reported:   “We have done a thorough review, talking with Joe Wright, director of Security at LPS, and Jeff Gade, background investigation specialist at LPS, as well as conducting ongoing research and visiting with others in HR to ensure we are using the best, cutting-edge procedures.”

Weber said the school district took the review very seriously – have looked at all aspects of the situation – “and have concluded that our processes and procedures are research-based and sound.”

The review was done in connection with a now-former LPS teacher who was arrested on charges of enticement and first-degree sexual assault.

Posted in Just Sharing by on April 6th, 2015

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: March 16, 2015

1. Fourth quarter at LPS

The beginning of Fourth Quarter at Lincoln Public Schools officially began on Monday, March 16 – a time that also marks the beginning of hiring season at LPS as well as a time when we conduct many student assessments. The final day of the 2014-15 school year is Thursday, May 21.

2. Second Open House set for LPS attendance areas – For more information: Liz Standish, lstandis@lps.org

The Lincoln Board of Education will hold a second open house for members of the public who wish to discuss and ask questions about the revised proposal for new attendance areas for Lincoln Public Schools. The event is set for 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 24 at LPS District Office, 5905 O St. – prior to the 6 p.m. Board meeting that evening.  The Lincoln Board of Education listened to feedback about suggested attendance area changes in our school district, the Board’s Planning Committee made some changes in the proposal in response and will hear additional comments at the March 24 open house.

The community is also welcome to comment and ask questions about attendance area options through an online version of the Open House – that will run through April. The Board is not expected to make the final selection until April.   Go to the front of our LPS website and click on Attendance Changes, or go to: http://www.lps.org/2014bond/attendanceareas/

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

The March Learning Lunch is set for 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, March 17, and will feature Kathi Wieskamp, director of Athletics and Activities at LPS, speaking about “Athletics: It’s More Than a Game.” The program will be live-streamed on the LPS website and run live on public access channels 80/99.

4. Spring groundbreakings – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

Save the date for three groundbreaking ceremonies set for this spring, all at 11 a.m. at the site of the new facilities:

  • April 24: The Marilyn Moore Middle School/and new Copple Family YMCA branch on the southeast corner of S. 84th Street and Yankee Hill Road.
  • May 1: The William H. Nuernberger Educational Center, a renovation of the former Bryan facility at 1801 S. 40th St.
  • May 8: The new Sally G. Wysong Elementary School, 7901 Blanchard Blvd. near S. 63rd Street and Yankee Hill.

5. At the movies – For more information: Randy Ernst, rernst@lps.org

NET, Nebraska’s PBS and NPR station, will present a special preview screening of the Academy Award nominated documentary ‘Last Days in Vietnam’ at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 26 in the Ted Sorensen Theatre at Lincoln High School, 2229 J St., Lincoln. Admission is free, and the event is open to the public. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Posted in Just Sharing by on March 16th, 2015

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: March 2, 2015

  1. Thank a Teacher this week!

Tuesday. March 3, is Nebraska Teacher Recognition Day, so call or email a favorite teacher and thank them for their valuable commitment to the students of our community.

  1. Please give us your feedback on LPS attendance areas – For more information: Liz Standish, lstandis@lps.org

The Lincoln Board of Education hosted an Open House and held a Work Session Feb. 24 to continue a study and discussion on upcoming changes in attendance areas for elementary, middle and high schools. The community is welcome to comment and ask questions about attendance area options through an online version of the Open House – that will run through April – as Board of Education members are only just beginning the process of selecting new boundaries.

Go to the front of our LPS website and click on Attendance Changes, or go to: http://www.lps.org/2014bond/attendanceareas/

On this website you will find maps that outline the options discussed, as well as the attendance area boundaries tentatively proposed by the Board of Education’s Planning Committee as the first consideration from which to begin the discussion. The Board is not expected to make the final selection until April.

  1. Truancy Diversion project reduces absences – For more information: Jane Stavem, jstavem@lps.org

The Lincoln Board of Education heard a report in February about the Lancaster County Juvenile Truancy Diversion Project – a pilot launched in 2011 at Park Middle School and has been expanded to three middle schools and three high schools. The project has resulted in a dramatic 80 percent reduction in total absences for students participating in the program.

The project is a collaborative effort between the Juvenile Court and LPS and was created for students and their families as an alternative to traditional court proceedings. The short-term goals of the voluntary program are to improve school attendance, grades and attitude toward school. The long-term goals are for the student to maintain consistent school attendance after completion of the diversion program – followed by graduation from high school. Students receive: Supportive services to help with attendance and grades; rewards for good attendance and good grades; and upon successful completion, dismissal of truancy petition and records sealed immediately.

  1. Congrats to Larson

The Board of Education has recognized Matt Larson, math curriculum specialist for Lincoln Public Schools, elected president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

  1. Happy birthday Lincoln High For more information: Mike Wortman, mwortman@lps.org

Lincoln High School celebrates the 100-year anniversary of educating students at the current facility, 2229 J St. – with a Community Open House set for 2-4 p.m. Sunday, March 29.

  1. LPS raising money for Junior Achievement For more information: Steve Joel, sjoel@lps.org

Thanks to all the Lincoln Public Schools administrators who have filled 26 lanes for the Junior Achievement/Lincoln Public Schools Bowl-A-Thon on Saturday, March 7.

  1. Technology implement plan rolled out For more information: Kirk Langer, klanger@lps.org

The Lincoln Board of Education are discussing an implementation and fiscal program for phasing in a comprehensive technology plan at Lincoln Public Schools – quality teaching and learning supported by technology.

“We have been on quite a journey,” said Jane Stavem, associate superintendent of Instruction at LPS. “We’ll soon begin to dream about teaching and learning and innovation…as we bring more devices to our students.”

The Board is expected to take a final vote on the Technology Implementation Plan at the March 24 Board meeting. In January, the Board approved a Technology Resolution that directed LPS staff to develop a comprehensive technology plan within existing funding parameters, providing for appropriate staffing, proposing sufficient professional development and providing greatly expanded access to technology district-wide all in support of student learning. The plan will be reviewed annually.

 

Posted in Just Sharing by on February 26th, 2015

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: February 16, 2015

  1. Review of LPS attendance areas – For more information: Liz Standish, lstandis@lps.org

In February 2014, the community of Lincoln approved a $153 million bond issue that includes construction of a new elementary and new middle school. When new schools open in our community, it is necessary to make adjustments in boundaries to create an attendance area for the new school, as well as to provide relief to nearby schools that are serving at or over capacity. The Lincoln Board of Education is responsible for establishing attendance areas and strives to make changes in attendance areas with thoughtful, prudent analysis and consideration.

The Board has scheduled several opportunities for review and feedback for recommended attendance areas for elementary, middle and high schools:

  • A Community Open House is set for 4-5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 24, in the front lobby of LPS District Office, 5905 O St. A 5 p.m. Board Work Session concerning attendance areas will follow the Open House.
  • An online Community Open House will be available on the LPS website – lps.org open Feb. 24 through March 10 – with maps of the recommended areas, and a place for questions and comments.
  1. Spring groundbreakings – For more information: Liz Standish, lstandis@lps.org

Save the date for three groundbreaking ceremonies set for this spring, all at 11 a.m. at the site of the new facilities:

  • April 24: New Marilyn Moore Middle School (open fall of 2017)
  • May 1: Renovated Nuernberger Education Center (open fall of 2016)
  • May 8: New Sally G. Wysong Elementary School (open fall of 2016)
  1. Board considers implementation of technology plan For more information: Kirk Langer, klanger@lps.org

The Board of Education held several Work Sessions early in February specifically addressing a proposed implementation strategy for the Lincoln Public Schools Technology Plan.

A few quick highlights:

  • Devices: 2015: Devices for all sixth graders; pilot for high school students at the new Career Academy – 2016: Devices for third, fourth and fifth graders, seventh graders and students at two high schools – 2017: Devices for eighth graders, and for students at four remaining high schools; tablets in K-2 classrooms – 2018: Begin a rotation of refreshing devices every three years.
  • Computer labs: When students have access to devices, there will be a significant reduction in the need for computer labs in elementary, middle and high schools (decrease from a current 440 labs to 223 labs). Devices for the 3,200 LPS certificated staff will be refreshed every three years, but since those devices have a life cycle of six years – those computers will be used in the school computer for the three remaining years of their life cycle.
  1. Learning Lunch for February – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

The February Learning Lunch for LPS is set for 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 17, at District Office, and will feature Cindy Brunken, supervisor of the Speech-Language Pathology Program, speaking about “Managing Traumatic Brain Injury/Concussions in Our Schools.”

  1. Scott student wins spelling bee with ‘grotesque’ – For more information: David Smith, dsmith@lps.org

Scott Middle School seventh grader Blake Callahan took home the 2015 Lincoln Public Schools championship on Feb. 14 by spelling: “Grotesque” –second place went to Oliver Wright-Frank, a sixth grader from Irving Middle School. During more than two hours of competition more than 70 LPS spellers – fifth through eighth grades – survived words such as whey, outrageous, eschew, neophyte, umami, bhangra and souchong.

6. Vote for your favorite fictional educator For more information: Zachary Baehr, zbaehr@lps.org

Lincoln Public Schools is launching the third annual LPS March Madness Bracket Challenge: This year, we’re asking our community to vote for their favorite fictional educator from books, TV and movies. Go the front of the LPS website to vote in the first round.

Posted in Just Sharing by on February 16th, 2015

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: February 2, 2015

1. LPS Annual Reports mailed to community members – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

We would like to inform you that a document called the Lincoln Public Schools Annual Report will be arriving in your mailbox sometime in the coming weeks – mailed to every household in the Lincoln community. We encourage you to read through the valuable information in this publication – talk to your friends and neighbors about our school district – save the Report as a valuable resource. The Annual Report is required by law for school districts to report student performance results and financial information to stakeholders, and is also a valuable piece of communication. Thanks for helping us spread the word about our great public schools in Lincoln.

2. School district considers student safety first for calling off classes Monday, Feb. 2 For more information: Liz Standish, lstandis@lps.org

LPS canceled classes on Monday, Feb. 2, the second inclement school day of the school year. Steve Joel noted: “Calling a snow day is always a serious decision, but we need to think about the safety of staff and students with those kinds of temperatures. In addition, city and school district crews have been working hard, but the blowing snow is making it difficult to keep streets and sidewalks clear. Our school district must make sure we have all sidewalks and streets safe and cleared throughout the 60 neighborhoods where LPS has schools and programs located.”

How does LPS decide on a snow day? There is only one set criteria: The safety of our students.  Regarding our judgment of the weather – a magic formula does not exist for determining whether to cancel classes. Closing schools for inclement weather involves forecasts from multiple sources, projected wind and wind chill, temperatures, accompanying precipitation, forecast throughout the day, and so forth.  In addition, we work with the City of Lincoln to gauge their ability to clean streets and sidewalks, based on time and severity and type of snow and ice. It is also important for us to remember that we are a community school district where most students attend neighborhood schools and many walk to their school.  Finally, timing is essential.  A snow storm at 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., or between 8 a.m. and noon, means different things in this decision.

3. Board of Education finalizes 2015-16 contract agreement For more information: Eric Weber, eweber@lps.org

The Lincoln Board of Education approved a total negotiated package increase of 3.25 percent for the 2015-16 school year for LPS educators in a one-year agreement with the Lincoln Education Association. That percentage includes salary increases; increased health insurance costs; and increases in Social Security and retirement costs.

 4. Learning Lunches bring untold stories of LPS For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

This January at our monthly Learning Lunch, LPS featured Randy Farmer, supervisor of the Pathfinder Education Program, speaking about “Educating Youth in Detention.”  We often forget about all the different needs of our students, and this group of students, in detention, is truly away from view of the public. But it is a group of students who have a critical need to continue their education not only for the immediate success of the semester, but in possibly changing the trajectory of their lives. The role of a community school district, as described in Randy Farmer’s speech, is available on the LPS website.

The February LPS Learning Lunch is set for 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 17, and will feature Cindy Brunken, supervisor of the Speech-Language Pathology Program at LPS, speaking about “Managing Traumatic Brain Injury/Concussions in Our Schools.”  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.

5. Still time to Thank you teacherFor more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

There is still time to nominate your favorite teacher for the annual Thank You Teacher event – the deadline for submitting letters is Friday, Feb. 20.  The annual Thank You Teacher event is held in honor of Nebraska Teacher Recognition Day on Tuesday, March 3.  Anyone who lives in Lincoln/Lancaster County can nominate a teacher in any of five categories. Go to the front of the LPS website for more information.

Posted in Just Sharing by on February 3rd, 2015

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: January 19, 2015

  1. Board of Education considers tentative 2015-16 contract agreement For more information: Eric Weber, eweber@lps.org

The Lincoln Board of Education has discussed a tentative contract with teachers for a one-year agreement for the 2015-16 school year – reached by the Lincoln Education Association and Lincoln Public Schools. The Board conducted the first reading of the contract at the Jan. 13 meeting and will take action at the Jan. 27 Board meeting.

The proposed agreement represents both judicious stewardship and providing fair compensation for excellent educators – with the goal of maintaining a fine school district, according to Steve Joel, superintendent of LPS, Jenni Benson, president of the LEA, and Kathy Danek, chair of the Board of Education’s Finance Committee. The contract – approved by 94 percent of LEA membership – provides a total package increase of 3.25 percent for the 2015-16 school year. That percentage includes salary increases; increased health insurance costs; and increases in Social Security and retirement costs.

  1. Thank you teacherFor more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

Please take time to nominate your favorite teacher for the annual

Thank You Teacher event – held in honor of Nebraska Teacher Recognition Day on Tuesday, March 3. Anyone who lives in Lincoln/Lancaster County can nominate a teacher in any of five categories – the deadline to nominate is Friday, Feb. 20. Go to the front of the LPS website for more information.

  1. Portraits of a Movement For more information: Pete Ferguson, pfergus@lps.org.

Schoo Middle School eighth-grade artists have created and are showcasing what they are calling, “Portraits of a Movement, “art pieces that reflect selected local and national individuals who have supported the Civil Rights movement. The showcase will be displayed throughout Lincoln in February at LPS District Office, the State Capitol, the City Libraries, the Clyde Malone Community Center and Schoo Middle School.  The artwork will then be auctioned off with proceeds going to Schoo as well as the annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Rally and March.

  1. Technology moves forward For more information: Kirk Langer, klanger@lps.org

The Board of Education has approved a Technology Resolution that directs LPS staff to develop a comprehensive technology plan within existing funding parameters that will: provide for appropriate staffing, propose sufficient professional development and provide greatly expanded access to technology district-wide all in support of student learning. The initial plan will be presented to the Board no later than March 1, 2015 – and will be reviewed annually. Board member Kathy Danek stressed: “Technology does not drive curriculum – curriculum will drive the use of technology.”

  1. Learning Lunch Jan. 20 – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

The January Learning Lunch is set for 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, Jan 20, and will feature Randy Farmer, supervisor of the Pathfinder Education Program, speaking about “Educating Youth in Detention.” This year’s Learning Lunches focus on “Untold Stories” of LPS in the second annual series of bring-your-own-lunch presentations. Lunches are all held in the Board Room at LPS District Office, 5905 O St. 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.

 

Posted in Just Sharing by on January 19th, 2015

What is the criteria for a ‘snow day’?

There is no set criteria. Closing schools for inclement weather involves forecasts from multiple sources, projected wind and wind chill, temperature, accompanying precipitation, forecast throughout the day, and so forth.

In addition, we work with the City of Lincoln to gauge their ability to clean streets and sidewalks, based on time and severity and type of snow / ice. So a snow storm at 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. mean different things in this decision.

Finally and most importantly, the safety of our students is of upmost concern. We are a community school district where most students attend neighborhood schools and many walk to their school.

Posted in Behind the Scenes, Your Questions Answered by on January 8th, 2015

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: January 5, 2015

  1. Second semester begins at LPS For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

The first day of second semester for Lincoln Public Schools is Monday, Jan. 5 – and the last day of the school year for students is Thursday, May 21. Spring break is the week of March 9-13. For full school calendar information please go to the LPS website and look under popular pages.

  1. Community coalition focuses on suicideFor more information: Russ Uhing, duhing@lps.org.

LPS is participating in the launch of a community coalition that will focus on prevention of suicide among the young people of Lincoln. The group is developing leadership, goals and guidelines for process.

Meanwhile, links and resources remain online on the LPS website for suicide prevention. Go to the front of the LPS website and look under Headlines. (http://www.lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=9293)

  1. Annual Financial AuditFor more information: Liz Standish, lstandis@lps.org.

The 2013-14 financial audits for the school district have been completed, and a representative from Orizon CPAs spoke recently at a Lincoln Board of Education meeting to compliment the school district on a clean slate. The representative noted: “This is one of the best governmental agencies we work with…You do outstanding work.”

  1. Parent Involvement For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org.

LPS Superintendent Steve Joel calls your attention to the addition of a Parent Involvement FAQ to the LPS website. The webpage includes information about Curriculum, Parent Involvement and Discrimination. Go to the LPS website and look under what’s “Current.”  (http://home.lps.org/instruction/parent-involvement-faq/)

  1. Proposed 2016-17 school calendar info online/Board to vote at Jan. 13 meetingFor more information: John Neal, jpneal@lps.org

Lincoln Public Schools has added information online about the proposed school calendar for 2016-17. Go to the LPS website and look under what’s “Current.”(http://www.lps.org/about/calendar/proposal/index.html)

The Lincoln Board of Education will vote approval of the calendar at the next Board meeting: 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 13.  As always, the meeting will be live-streamed on the LPS website and aired on cable channels 80/99.

A joint committee of LPS and the Lincoln Education Association – along with the Board of Education’s Learning Committee – have recommended a school calendar for 2016-17 that sets: the first day of school for Monday, August 15, the last day on Wednesday, May 24, winter break Dec. 23-Jan. 3, and spring break, March 13-17.

  1. Learning Lunch Jan. 20 – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

The January Learning Lunch is set for 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, Jan 20, and will feature Randy Farmer, supervisor of the Pathfinder Education Program, speaking about “Educating Youth in Detention.”

This year’s Learning Lunches focus on “Untold Stories” of LPS in the second annual series of bring-your-own-lunch presentations. Lunches are all held in the Board Room at LPS District Office, 5905 O St. 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. Community members are welcome to stay after lunch for a tour of the LPS District Office building.

 

Posted in Just Sharing by on January 5th, 2015

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: December 15

  1. School calendar proposed for 2016-17 For more information: John Neal, jpneal@lps.org .  A joint committee of Lincoln Public Schools and the Lincoln Education Association – along with the Board of Education’s Learning Committee – have recommended a school calendar for 2016-17 that sets: the first day of school for Monday, August 15, the last day on Wednesday, May 24, winter break Dec. 23-Jan. 3, and spring break, March 13-17. It is the practice of the School Board to adopt calendars more than a full calendar year – before it is put in place.

This year the calendar was developed with additional input from an LPS staff survey and the Community Curriculum Council. The Board will take a final vote on the calendar at the Jan. 13 Board meeting.

Primary variables for considering the calendar are ensuring sound instructional practices:

  • Semester and quarter breaks typically the same for elementary and secondary schools.
  • The four quarters will typically include at least the minimum number of days necessary for students to reasonably learn the curriculum (42 days).
  • Student vacation days typically will not interrupt instruction just prior to major LPS, state or national assessments.

2. Resources for suicide preventionFor more information: Russ Uhing, duhing@lps.org. Lincoln Public Schools is committed to the safety of all students and has recently addressed a somber topic:  suicide prevention.  We are encouraging families, students, staff members and the larger community to talk about the issues related to suicide or other unhealthy actions.  The school district has added a list of resources on the LPS website with information on who to call, and how to have this tough yet important conversation.

Superintendent Steve Joel sent a message to all middle and high school families earlier this month – and that same week, our middle and high school teachers had a conversation with students about suicide. LPS has also reached out to our community and is coming together with mental health leaders, law enforcement officials, educators from the public and private sector and our families to utilize the expertise in our community – to talk about this issue.

 3Technology progressFor more information: Kirk Langer, klanger@lps.org. The Board of Education is discussing a Technology Resolution that dictates the Board will direct LPS staff to develop a technology plan that fits several requirements: falls within existing funding parameters, provides for appropriate staffing, proposes sufficient professional development and provides greatly expanded access to technology district-wide all in support of student learning. The initial plan will be presented to the Board no later than March 1, 2015 – and will be reviewed annually.   The Board will take a final vote on the resolution at the Jan. 13 Board meeting.

4. Hour of codeFor more information: Kent Steen, ksteen@lps.org.   Last week Lincoln Public Schools participated in the worldwide Hour of Code, a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries during Computer Science Education Week (Dec, 8-14). The movement is an effort to demystify code, and change the conversation around computer science. One moment from an Hour of Code event: An LPS first grader answers the question “What is Computer Science?” with: “It is electricity for your brain!”

5. Winter breakFor more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org. The Lincoln Public Schools winter and semester break begins Saturday, Dec. 20. The first day of second semester for LPS is Monday, Jan. 5.

 

Posted in Just Sharing by on December 15th, 2014

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: December 1

  1. Lincoln Public Schools contributes to community For more information: John Neal, jpneal@lps.org

Lincoln Public Schools conducted the 2014 Combined Community Campaign this fall and raised $156,938.32 with 47 percent of school employees contributing: both all-time records for LPS employees.

In fact, since 2003, LPS staff has donated over $1.4 million to the Combined Campaign.  In addition, in just the last seven months LPS staff has donated almost a third of a million dollars when you add their contributions to the BackPack Extra Mile Walk to the results of the Combined Community Campaign.

  1. LPS high school graduation rate continues gradual climb while district keeps more students in school – For more information: Jane Stavem, jstavem@lps.org

The high school graduation rate at Lincoln Public Schools held steady with a gradual increase for the class of 2014 – while setting new records for a declining dropout rate that keeps more students in school.

School district progress has happened due to intentional and systemic strategies: research, evidence-based solutions and individualized student support, according to LPS officials. Graduation rates reflect the entire K-12 education, not just high school.

For more than 20 years, LPS has followed the general rule of calculating graduation rates for students who start as ninth graders in the school district and graduate in four years on time. That means 87.2 percent of the students who started at LPS as ninth graders in 2010-11 – and did not move away – graduated on time in four years, compared to 87.1 percent the previous year.

The dropout rate for 2014 was 5.1 percent, down from 6 percent the previous year – and down from 8.8 percent just three years ago.

  1. Career Academy moves forward – For more information: Dan Hohensee, dhohen@lps.org

The Lincoln Public Schools/Southeast Community College high school Career Academy is hosting a Partnership Summit 10 a.m.-noon Thursday, Dec. 4, at Innovation Campus.  The event will include updates on: construction of the new high school program located on the  Southeast Community College campus, partnerships, curriculum summaries and progress on student enrollment.

  1. Community News – For more information: Zachary Baehr, zbaehr@lps.org

Lincoln Public Schools has published a special December edition of Community News, the publication distributed to all LPS elementary and middle school students. It is called the College Edition and features a wide variety of stories related to attending, choosing, preparation for and paying for college. Go to the LPS website and under keyword type: Community News.

  1. Honoring excellence in teaching – For more information: Eric Weber, eweber@lps.org

Steve Carr, an educator at the Information Technology Focus Program in Lincoln Public Schools, was officially honored recently as the 2013-14 Scottish Rite Distinguished Teacher of the Year – in a presentation at LPS District Office. The award is considered one of the more prestigious awards in the school district, recognizing an outstanding classroom teacher at LPS.

LPS Superintendent Steve Joel called Carr the consummate teacher and professional – and thanked the Lincoln Scottish Rite “for their ongoing support of LPS. They join us in the belief that there is no job more important to our community than teaching.”

Posted in Just Sharing by on December 1st, 2014

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: November 17

  1. Community’s children a little warmer today – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

A gentle snow began to fall just as the doors to Bubba’s Closet opened on the morning of Saturday, Nov. 15, and Lincoln’s children wiggled into winter coats, jackets, mittens and hats.  The annual event – held this year at McPhee Elementary School right smack in the center of the community – offers free winter clothing to elementary-aged children through a coat drive coordinated and facilitated by Lincoln Public Schools elementary principals.

There were double the number of donations this year, principals said – helped in part by generous new coats from Ameritas and Lincoln Electric System.  Also thanks to Hanger’s Cleaners, the organization that cleans all the gently used donations.

  1. That dreaded word: Snow – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

Lincoln Public Schools uses a telephone communication system to alert families of weather-related school closing days in the winter – allowing the School District to notify families individually by telephone when school has been canceled due to bad weather.

When a decision is made in the evening, we try and notify families by 9:30 p.m. When a decision is made in the morning, we try and notify families by 6 a.m. Information about school closings is also posted prominently near the top of the LPS website. In addition, the news is announced on local radio and television stations, and on the Lincoln Journal Star website.

  1. Thanks to community for feedback: School Board members, superintendent affirm professional development, inclusiveness in schools For more information: Steve Joel, sjoel@lps.org

At the latest Board of Education meeting, Board members and LPS Superintendent Steve Joel addressed recent questions and concerns about professional development related to transgender issues – and affirmed the school district’s philosophy of providing inclusiveness in our schools.

Board member Don Mayhew: “The major point here is equal access, making sure every child has equal access to the classroom and equal opportunities.”

Board member Lanny Boswell: “I would like to thank all community members who came forward on this issue…The conversation has been civil and respectful…and this has been a good opportunity to describe our principles: Our primary mission is to educate our children, all our children – and all still means all.”

The Policy Review and Revision Committee specifically addressed policy issues related to this topic and, in summary, affirmed that recent professional development about transgender issues were in compliance with LPS policies. For the full summary: http://www.lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=9234

  1. Learning Lunch: Immigrant story – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

The November LPS Learning Lunch of the school year is called My Immigrant Experience – Dreams, Challenges and the Reality of Living in an Adopted Country, set for 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 18, in the Board Room at LPS District Office. This year’s series is called, “Untold Stories” – and Tuesday’s presentation features Oscar Rios Pohireth, cultural specialist and coordinator for the Bilingual Liaison Program at LPS. This is a monthly series of bring-your-own-lunch presentations open to the community.

  1. Developing road map for technology plan– For more information: Kirk Langer, klanger@lps.org

The Lincoln Board of Education held a Work Session recently to continue discussion of the Lincoln Public Schools Technology/Instruction plan – called CLASS (Connected Learning Achievement Students Staff). This plan embraces a five-year initiative that includes both the equipment and hardware necessary for instructional technology as well as the necessary staff training and professional development, and connected classrooms and digital curriculum for students.

Don Mayhew, chair of the Board’s Technology Committee, said the Board aims to develop a road map to guide them in developing a general course of action and timeline – beginning with a Board resolution providing affirmation for the Technology Plan.

A few of the major broad issues Board members began to consider: emphasizing student achievement in connection to technology, creating sustainability and flexibility for the plan, priorities and implementation.

 

Posted in Just Sharing by on November 17th, 2014

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: November 3

  1. New LPS school names honor early childhood advocate, educator, judge – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

The Lincoln Board of Education has approved three names: for a new elementary and middle school, and a soon-to-be renovated facility at 1801 S. 40th St. The names are:

  • Sally G. Wysong Elementary School, named after a long-time early childhood advocate who ran the Meadowlane daycare/preschool, and later served on the Lincoln Board of Education.
  • Marilyn Moore Middle School, named after the former Associate Superintendent for Instruction at LPS, a life-long educator who gave her career to the students of LPS.
  • Bill Nuernberger Education Center, named after the first separate juvenile judge for Lancaster County, a man who advocated that children and young people needed a separate court.

The elementary school will open in the fall of 2016; the middle school will open in the fall of 2017. The renovated facility – at 1801 S. 40th St. – will provide a home for middle school students who need additional behavior, emotional and social support.

2. Keeping our children warm – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

The annual Bubba’s Closet event will happen 8:30-9:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 15, at McPhee Elementary School, 820 Goodhue Blvd. (820 S. 15th St.). Any elementary student, accompanied by an adult, may come and choose appropriate items of warm winter clothing – for free. There are no income requirements. Bubba’s Closet is coordinated by LPS elementary school principals and is one of the many American Education Week activities planned in LPS.=

3. Student Vote reminds students of fundamental American right – For more information: Randy Ernst, rernst@lps.org.

Republican candidate Pete Ricketts would be governor – the minimum wage would pass – and Republican Ben Sasse would be Nebraska’s next new U.S. Senator – if Lincoln Public Schools students ruled the world. Student Vote 2014 happened at LPS on Oct. 30 with more than 20,000 students casting votes on their own version of Election Day.

Randy Ernst, curriculum specialist for Social Studies, notes: “Student Vote gives our students a chance to exercise one of the more fundamental American rights: the right to vote. And while the tendency for some will be to focus on who won, we at LPS focus on the process of what it takes to be an informed and active participant in the democratic process. Student Vote is good citizenship in action.”

4. Looking beyond labels to student learning – For more information: Jane Stavem, jstavem@lps.org.

LPS continues to set high standards while aiming to ensure every child succeeds and flourishes in school, despite what most local and national education officials consider an outdated and ineffective No Child Left Behind (NCLB) system that continues to label schools, according to Steve Joel superintendent of LPS. “We want every child to succeed and will continue to make this our absolute highest priority.”

Like almost all school districts in Nebraska, LPS did not meet what are called the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) goals for 2014 as required by NCLB. For schools to meet benchmarks this year, 100 percent of all students – regardless of special needs, English language mastery, or other life-impacting circumstances – must have met proficiency standards. The labels mask what is really important here: LPS focuses on growth and improvement over time and strives to make sure that students, schools and the school district are showing continuous improvement. And that is exactly what is happening, reflected in the achievement and accomplishments of our students.

The No Child Left Behind Act was signed into law on January 8, 2002.  This legislation expired on September 30, 2007, without new educational legislation approved by Congress to replace it.

5.  Superintendent comments on recent conversation about professional development – For more information: Steve Joel, sjoel@lps.org

LPS Superintendent Steve Joel issued a statement at the last Board of Education meeting related to professional development issues. His comments follow:

  • “Our School District has gone through a valuable learning experience over the past month. I appreciate all those who have offered input, and I would like to say a few words of perspective and reflection.
  • First, I’d like to underline something that I know for sure. At Lincoln Public Schools we are committed to all students – and all means all. That’s something I knew long before a month ago, but I’m proud of how our staff and our Board of Education have united over the last few weeks to reinforce that core mission. Lincoln Public Schools welcomes every student who walks through our doors and is committed to providing them with the very best education we can.
  • Something else I know for sure: Our school district is committed to cultural proficiency – work to gain a better understanding of children and adults from diverse backgrounds so we can establish positive relationships with all. In fact, much of what we do in teaching and learning must be seen through the lens of cultural proficiency. This isn’t new, it has been a part of LPS for a number of years.
  • We are educationally stronger when we provide information and guidance through professional development to help staff tune in to the needs of all students. These materials are not shared with students nor are they shared in a classroom setting. These are materials that help our educators do a better job of teaching. In fact, every young person has the right to have informed, educated, and compassionate teachers.
  • We also know that some topics in cultural proficiency are very sensitive and make us uncomfortable. While we would never expect any member of our staff to alter their personal beliefs or values, we do expect that they will create welcoming classrooms – always.
  • Over the past month, we have had powerful conversations with citizens, staff and administrators who took valuable time to talk with us – to tell us they care about these issues – parents with varied opinions – parents who are all clearly committed to all children. I appreciate everyone who sent letters, emails, text messages, and spoke to us with civility. We are all stronger because of these healthy discussions. We value your words. We listened. And, I believe we learned from the various perspectives.
  • As we move forward in our continuing journey of cultural proficiency, we need to be very cognizant of the materials we are using. We need to make sure our resources are appropriate, purposeful, and clear. These documents were not, and I have directed that they be removed from our schools.
  • I trust our educators and value their professional judgment. We must do our very best to make sure the materials we use in professional development are aligned with our policies and best practices. We are reinforcing important guidance with all our administrators, principals, teachers, and staff.
  • First: We must all be increasingly aware it’s a new world out there – where materials can be posted on the web – in social media – sometimes without explanation or context. Our handouts and resources must be able to stand alone with clarity.
  • Second: It is appropriate to utilize experts when we are learning about a topic that is new to us. However, before we further distribute information from guest speakers, we need to ensure all those materials are consistent with district policies and best practices.
  • Finally: In the event a subject matter or resource materials may cause questions or concerns among staff or community – I am asking our staff to seek a review from school and district leadership. In the event that questions continue to persist, I am asking our LPS Cultural Proficiency Implementation Advisory Steering Committee to appraise the materials and lend guidance.
  • LPS has an over-arching policy of equity and non-discrimination. LPS does not and will not discourage the terminology “boys and girls” when referring to students, but LPS does and will promote a safe environment that recognizes individual differences so that 39,000 students can feel included, welcomed and successful. That is what makes me proud of our staff, our district and ultimately our results.”

Posted in Just Sharing by on November 3rd, 2014

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: October 13

1. Purple penguins and the truth – For more information: Steve Joel, sjoel@lps.org

Following is a summary of Lincoln Public Schools stance on professional development and gender identity of students.

  • LPS educates all students who come to our schools: It is our legal and moral obligation to educate each and every one of them to become successful and productive citizens.
  • LPS recognizes all students need a safe and supportive learning environment to progress, thrive and succeed academically and developmentally in school. It is essential for a school district to create a culture, conditions and expectations in which all students feel safe, supported and fully included.
  • There has been recent confusion and misinformation recently about professional development related to transgender, gender nonconforming and gender conforming students. We would like to set the record straight.
  • LPS conducts ongoing professional development for our teachers that is rich and multi-dimensional: teaching better skills in academic areas, as well as providing information and awareness to help meet the needs of all our kids. As we encounter increasingly diverse populations of students, it is incumbent upon our district – administrators, teachers, staff and students – to understand the characteristics of the complex communities we serve, as well as to play an important part in creating and sustaining that safe and supportive learning environment.
  • Please understand this: Our teachers are allowed to use boys and girls in the classroom – and they do so in schools across the community. They have NOT been mandated to stop using those wonderful terms. We do not promote a political agenda. That is not our role.
  • We do give our staff members guidance in ways to be sensitive to the needs of all students. We do offer research that tells us transgender students are particularly vulnerable to bullying and suicide. LPS is legally mandated – and morally obligated – to ensure students are protected from discrimination and bullying of all kinds. That’s going to be something LPS continues to focus on. We will not back away. We want the people of the Lincoln community to understand that we will continue to do the very best work we can for all Lincoln children.
  • Our recognition that we must provide a safe learning environment for all students – has not detracted from our focus on academic achievement. In fact we know that our focus on all students and all families has helped our school district achieve an 87 percent graduation rate and high achievement scores.
  • Our Lincoln Board of Education has clear policy that says: We are committed to providing the highest quality education for all Lincoln Public Schools students. We fully support this statement and policy,

For more information: http://lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=9100

 2. New LPS school name recommendations – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

  • Sally Wysong Elementary School.
  • Marilyn Moore Middle School.
  • Bill Nuernberger Center.

The Lincoln Public Schools Community Naming Committee has approved those three recommendations for a new elementary and middle school – and a new title for the renovated facility at 1801 S. 40th St.

The new elementary and middle school will both be located in southeast Lincoln: The elementary school will open in the fall of 2016; the middle school will open in the fall of 2017. The renovated facility – at 1801 S. 40th St. and previous home to the Bryan Focus Program – will soon provide a home for middle school students who need additional behavior, emotional and social support.

  • Sally Wysong was a long-time early childhood education advocate who ran the Meadowlane daycare/preschool in north Lincoln. Later she served several terms on the Lincoln Board of Education as a staunch supporter of early childhood education.
  • Marilyn Moore was the Associate Superintendent for Instruction at LPS for many years, retired several years ago, and started her career in education as a middle school teacher with LPS. She often talked about the specific needs of middle school students, and initiated the process to transition LPS from the junior high to the middle school model.
  • Bill Nuernberger was the first separate juvenile judge for Lancaster County, a man who advocated that children and young people needed a separate court.

The three nominations for names will be submitted to the Lincoln Board of Education for consideration and final approval.

3.  Awareness and funds take the place of Sydni’s hair – For more information: Zachary Baehr, zbaehr@lps.org

Sydni Sherman raised $1,151 and started a conversation longer than her hair, well longer than her hair used to be. The sixth-grader at Lefler Middle School cut her once shoulder-length brown hair as part of a local fundraiser.

“I know a lot of people with cancer, and my friend died two years ago, and his aunt (cut her own hair) last year,” she said. Her friends have been supportive, and some think it’s “pretty cool.”

And if others talk about why Sydni had her hair cut off?

“That’s kind of the point.”

For the full story and photo: http://lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=9092

4. Keeping our children warm – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

If your elementary-aged children have outgrown their winter coats, jackets, sweaters, sweatshirts or jeans, please consider dropping off those gently used clothes at any Hanger’s Cleaners throughout the month of October: from Wednesday, Oct. 1, through Friday, Oct. 31– so that other children might keep warm this winter.

Then, on Saturday, Nov. 15, those clothes will be available to the community’s children at the annual Bubba’s Closet event: 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. at McPhee Elementary School, 820 Goodhue Blvd. (820 S. 15th St.) Any elementary student, accompanied by an adult, may come and choose appropriate items of clothing to adopt and use – for free. There are no income requirements. Sacks will be provided by Lincoln Public Schools.

Bubba’s Closet is one of the many American Education Week activities planned in LPS.

Posted in Just Sharing by on October 13th, 2014

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: September 29

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: September 29

1.  Student enrollment rockets to more than 39,000 – For more information: Jane Stavem, jstavem@lps.org.

Official enrollment for Lincoln Public Schools rocketed to more than 39,000 students for the 2014-15 school year with a record 1,222 more students than last year: growth seen throughout the community from north to south, from schools on the outer edges of Lincoln to schools in central Lincoln. That boost tallies up to an LPS enrollment of 39,066, representing an increase of more than 3 percent in students over last year – students from pre-kindergarten through high school – and a whopping increase of about 9 percent in the last five years.

Two LPS high schools – Lincoln Southeast High School and Lincoln North Star High School – have enrollments of more than 2,000. Two LPS middle schools – Lux and Scott – now have enrollments of more than 1,000.  In fact, every grade level has more students than last year except for second, fourth and seventh grades.

2.  Grant allows focus on PBiS training  – For more information: Russ Uhing, duhing@lps.org

Lincoln Public Schools has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Education – with funding at about $250,000 per year for five years. The money will be used to support staff and students through enhancement of the school district’s PBiS efforts, programs and strategies. The grant – officially called a School Climate Transformation Grant – comes at the perfect time for LPS, as the school district has already started implementation of PBiS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Support), a multi-tiered behavioral framework.

Much of the grant funding will go toward broadening training to expand capacity and knowledge of PBiS, efforts that will likely connect with all certified staff.

 3. Naming new schools – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

More than 400 people submitted 100 suggestions for the new elementary and middle school in Lincoln, and 50 suggestions for the renovated facility on South 40th street. A special Lincoln Board of Education/Community Committee will meet this week to agree upon recommended names for each of the three facilities, then the Board of Education will consider final approval for those recommendations.

LPS is creating names for:

  • New elementary school at South 61st Street and Blanchard Blvd.
  • New middle school at southeast corner near 84th Street and Yankee Hill Road
  • Renovated facility at 1801 S. 40th St.

4. Keeping our children warm – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

If your elementary-aged children have outgrown their winter coats, jackets, sweaters, sweatshirts or jeans, please consider dropping off those gently used clothes at any Hanger’s Cleaners throughout the month of October: from Wednesday, Oct. 1, through Friday, Oct. 31– so that other children might keep warm this winter.

Then, on Saturday, Nov. 15, those clothes will be available to the community’s children at the annual Bubba’s Closet event: 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. at McPhee Elementary School, 820 Goodhue Blvd. (820 S. 15th St.) Any elementary student, accompanied by an adult, may come and choose appropriate items of clothing to adopt and use – for free. There are no income requirements. Sacks will be provided by Lincoln Public Schools.

Bubba’s Closet is one of the many American Education Week activities planned in LPS.

5. Mosaic 2014 –For more information: Chris Haeffner, chaeffne@lps.org

Mosaic 2014 runs through Friday, Oct. 3 on the second floor of the Lincoln Public Schools District Office, Library Media Services. Mosaic features the unveiling of the best and brightest new titles in multicultural literature.

Posted in Just Sharing by on September 29th, 2014