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Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: April 16, 2018

Posted in Just Sharing by on April 15th, 2018

1. Comprehensive school safety plan proposed by coalition For more information: John Neal, jpneal@lps.org

The city of Lincoln and Lincoln Public Schools are coming together with the goal of: Safe and Successful Kids in our Community. To meet this goal, they are proposing multifaceted action that covers increased security, mental health resources and proactive measures.  They propose establishment of a Joint Public Agency (JPA) – and are working together so citizens would not see an increase in the total tax levy, making it “levy neutral.”

The Lincoln Board of Education will hold a work session on the proposed JPA at 6 p.m. Monday, April 16, in the Board Room at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St.  The meeting will be livestreamed on the LPS website.

More info on the JPA: https://www.lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=12783

2. High School Task Force recommendations shared April 24 For more information: Liz Standish, lstadis@lps.org

Final recommendations from the Lincoln Public Schools Community High School Task Force, which was formed to study high school enrollment, priorities and facilities, will be presented at the April 24 Lincoln Board of Education meeting.  The Task Force – made up of about 70 community citizens and LPS educators – was formed to investigate community options and priorities for serving high school students.

The Board of Education meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 24, in the Board Room at LPS District Office, 5905 O St.

3. BackPack Walk For more information: Liz Standish, lstandis@lps.org

The eleventh annual Lincoln Public Schools BackPack Extra Mile Walk is set for 10 a.m. (some fun festivities begin earlier) on Saturday, April 28, at Lincoln East High School.  In ten years of walking, LPS employees have raised over $1.5 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.

The two major goals of the walk are:

  • Raising money for the hungry children of our community
  • Educating our community about the needs of children at LPS

4. Encouraging budding teachers For more information: Eric Weber, eweber@lps.org

More than 50 Lincoln Public Schools students attended the school district’s annual Future Multicultural Teachers Workshop recently, a day-long workshop aimed to encourage culturally diverse students who have expressed interest in being teachers.

“The idea is to emphasize ‘home grown’ when it comes to recruiting teachers,” said LPS Multicultural School/Community Administrator Thomas Christie, who started the workshop nearly 20 years ago. “Hopefully, through events like this, we can help prepare current students to be some of our future teachers.”

To find out more:  https://www.lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=12774

5. Board honors  For more information: Steve Joel, sjoel@lps.org

The Lincoln Board of Education has recognized:

  • James Blake, LPS K-12 Science Curriculum Specialist, elected President of the National Science Education Leadership Association.
  • Adam Bonesteel, LPS Assistant Director of Athletics and Student Activities, named Nebraska State Activities Association Assistant Activities Director of the Year.

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: April 2, 2018

Posted in Just Sharing by on April 1st, 2018

1/ Lessons in Chromebook purchases – For more information: Kirk Langer, klanger@lps.org

Lincoln Public Schools officials recommended a slightly costlier Chromebook for purchases in the next annual technology cycle for high school students – finding that the investment pays off long-term in reduced repairs.  This year all LPS students grades 2-12 have access to an individual Chromebook – and the popularity of these gadgets in education settings continues to grow, leading to innovations in the Chromebook operating system. Most notably is the proliferation of Chromebooks featuring a touch screen and “2-in-1” form factor that allow the device to be used as both a standard laptop and tablet.

Repair data suggest that a costlier touch screen and greater feature set is a good investment for high school students.  So for the next cycle of purchases, LPS officials recommended to the Lincoln Board of Education – adoption of touch Chromebooks for ninth grade students (3,300) who will use them throughout their high school years and standard Chromebooks for sixth grade students (3,000) who will use them for their middle school years.

The Board will vote final approval April 10.

2/LPS ratifies safety understanding with Lincoln police  – For more information: Liz Standish, lstandis@lps.org

The Lincoln Board of Education has voted ratification of a memorandum of understanding with the Lincoln Police Department. The agreement would give the Lincoln Police Department access to LPS camera feeds when it is “necessary to protect the health or safety of students or others.” That means in the event of a crisis at one of the LPS high schools, Lincoln police could use a live feed from cameras in the schools.

“It would make it possible for Lincoln police to utilize our camera system in the event of a crisis,” said Liz Standish, associate superintendent for Business Affairs at LPS.  “This is a great value add.

3/New high school principals announced  – For more information: Jane Stavem, jstavem@lps.org  

Lincoln Public Schools announced the new principals at two LPS high schools:

Keri Applebee, currently associate principal at Lincoln Southwest High School, will serve as the new principal at Lincoln Northeast High School.

Ryan Zabawa, currently principal at Park Middle School, will serve as the new principal at Lincoln North Star High School.

To find out more: https://www.lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=12750

4/Roper teachers honored with first WIT Award – For more information: Jane Stavem, jstavem@lps.org  

Lincoln Public Schools staff do such excellent work, they have inspired the creation of a new award – WIT/Whatever It Takes – to recognize the moments when people go above and beyond to do “whatever it takes.”

Jane Stavem, associate superintendent for instruction, stopped by Roper Elementary School recently to present the first WIT Award, honoring the fourth-grade teachers for going above and beyond. For more info: https://www.lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=12747 

5/Board honors – For more information: Steve Joel, sjoel@lps.org

The Lincoln Board of Education has recognized:

Barb Johnson: Named Teacher of the Year by National Council of Exceptional Children’s Division of Visual Impairments and Deafblindness.

Lincoln High School: Named a School of Opportunity by the National Education Policy Center, represented by Lincoln High Principal Mark Larson.

6/Respecting one another – For more information: Brent Toalson, btoalson@lps.org

Chase Alphin and Abby Peterson don’t agree on much when they talk politics. Alphin, a junior, is president of the Young Republicans club at Lincoln Southeast High School. Peterson, a senior, is president of the school’s Young Democrats club.   One thing they do agree on: People need to change how they talk about politics.

Alphin and Peterson took turns reading the following joint statement over the school’s intercom system last week during student announcements:

“In light of America’s recent tragedies regarding school shootings and calls for gun control, we realize that many students have differing opinions. However, it is more important than ever that we are all respectful and listen to each other. Each of us here has the common goal to make schools as safe as possible and this cannot be accomplished without help from everybody, regardless of differing opinions. So both of us, together, are asking for your help. In order to encourage respectful and progressive conversation, it is important that everyone, on both sides of the political spectrum, are listening and working to understand the other person’s point of view. Let’s all work together to create positive change.”

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: March 19, 2018

Posted in Just Sharing by on March 18th, 2018

  1. Fourth quarter

Fourth quarter begins Monday, March 19, and the last day of school for the year is May 24. LPS calendars at: https://www.lps.org/about/calendar/

2.  Lincoln Public Schools asks for budget feedback – For more information: Liz Standish, lstandis@lps.org

Lincoln Public Schools invites community members into the development process of the 2018-19 budget in a variety of ways.  The Lincoln Board of Education has scheduled a budget work session for 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 22, at LPS District Office, 5905 O St.

Two Community Budget Forums are scheduled in June specifically for community questions, comments and feedback:

  • Budget Forum, 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 12, Board Room, LPS District Office.
  • Budget Forum, 7 p.m. Thursday, June 14, library media center, Lincoln Northeast High School, 2635 N. 63rd St.

A second Lincoln Board of Education work session is set for 4:30 p.m. June 26, at LPS District Office.   And a public hearing and budget forum is set 6-6:45 p.m. on August 14 at LPS District Office.    For more information on the budget: http://home.lps.org/budget/

3. LPS Community High School Task Force  – For more information: Liz Standish, lstandis@lps.org

LPS Community High School Task Force members continue their work, meeting at Lincoln Northeast High School on Thursday, March 22.  Watch for their recommendations coming this spring.  The Lincoln Board of Education adopted a goal this year to establish a High School Task Force to investigate community options and priorities for serving high school students.   More info at: https://home.lps.org/hstaskforce/

4. New elementary principals announced  – For more information: Jane Stavem, jstavem@lps.org  

Lincoln Public Schools has proudly announced new principals at five elementary schools.

“These five new principals are great examples of people who have both the skills and the heart for leading our schools and the important work that happens in our classrooms every day,” said Jane Stavem, associate superintendent for Instruction at LPS.

To find out more: https://www.lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=12689 

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

Learning to become responsible young men and women – are lessons for students at Huntington Elementary School – lessons featured at the March Learning Lunch for Lincoln Public Schools this month: Tuesday, March 27, at LPS District Office, 5905 O St.   Called “Developing Young Men and Women” Huntington Principal Rik Devney will talk about empowering young people on the cusp of their teen years. The program begins at 12:15 p.m.

LPS Learning Lunches, open to the Lincoln community, are 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. You bring your lunch, we provide dessert.

6. Board of Education  – For more information: Steve Joel, sjoel@lps.org

The Lincoln Board of Education will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 27 in the Board Room at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St.  Board Vice President Don Mayhew hosts a live interview show, LPS Live, before every Board meeting starting at 5:30 p.m. – live streaming on the LPS website.  For the full agenda of the Board meeting go to https://www.lps.org/about/board/ (published the Friday before the Tuesday meeting).

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: March 6, 2018

Posted in Just Sharing by on March 6th, 2018

  1. Spring break and final stretch

Spring break arrives for Lincoln Public Schools the week of March 12-16, marking the close of third quarter.  Fourth quarter begins Monday, March 19, and the last day of school for the year is May 24.

LPS calendars at: https://www.lps.org/about/calendar/

2. Safety and security at LPS – For more information: Joe Wright, jwright@lps.org

Our community continues to be concerned about security and safety in our schools.  LPS has posted all of our publicly available safety information to a single page on our website: Go to lps.org and click on the safety .

More than a dozen community members came to the latest Board of Education meeting to share suggestions during public comment at our last Board meeting – and we have taken all community comments and suggestions about safety and assigned them to appropriate Board subcommittees to develop a comprehensive understanding of what we need to continue and to improve.

For a story about the people who lead our security initiative at LPS:

https://www.lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=12646 

3. Science Fair  – For more information: James Blake, jblake@lps.org

More than 500 students from Lincoln Public Schools participated in the 23rd Zoetis-LPS-GSK Science Fair, held March 1 at the Lancaster County Event Center. The fair is open to students in grades five through eight. Once they chose a topic of interest, students had to think of a question to answer, research the topic, write a hypothesis statement, conduct an experiment, record and review the results, and state the conclusion. They also had to prepare a visual display and an oral presentation for the science fair.

Go to: https://www.lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=12675

4. Thank you teacher – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

Lincoln High School student Samantha Roblyer says of Deborah McGinn, one of her teachers at Lincoln High: “She gave me a safe place to grow my confidence and to break out of the shell that I had built around myself … She has also taught me some very important things about how to live life. She has taught me that it’s ok to be who you are even if that person is just a bit quirky at times.”

Anycia DuBray-Bivens, now a fourth-grader at Belmont Elementary School, describes Tim Oehring, her previous teacher at Saratoga Elementary School:  “Mr. O is the best teacher ever.  He makes kids think that school is fun. He helped me to know that I am smart … He is my hero, he’s my batman, he’s my super teacher.”

These students – and more – were selected to honor this year’s winning teachers at the annual Lincoln Public Schools Thank You Teacher breakfast For all winners; https://www.lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=12678

5. Budget development  – For more information: Liz Standish, lstandis@lps.org

Lincoln Public Schools continues to put together the building blocks in developing a wise and prudent 2018-2019 budget.

The expenditure landscape is gradually emerging.

  • The Board approved an agreement with LEA estimated to cost $6.3 million.  In 2017-2018 the LPS required an increase of $10 million to support increased salary and benefit cost at current staffing levels.
  • In addition it is important to staff for student growth and growing student needs, last year LPS added:
    • Funding for student growth: $3.8 million.
    • Additional resources dedicated to serve growing needs for special education and refugee/immigrant populations ($1.5 million), serve early childhood ($1.2 million) and support students with mental health needs.

Next: Each year LPS reviews every budget line for necessary decreases and increases in expenditure needs at the department and building level, and reviews growing staffing needs in schools, while the Board of Education discusses community expectations and priorities.

The revenue landscape is also gradually emerging.

Property taxes: Industrial and commercial values are expected to be up 17 percent, but commercial only makes up 28 percent of valuation for LPS.  The LPS overall increase will be substantially lower than 17 percent.  LPS is awaiting the information from the county on all classes of property typically published in late-April to estimate anticipated overall valuation growth.

State equalization aid: Lincoln Public Schools has the unique circumstance in Nebraska of experiencing growth on two fronts: suburban and urban.

  • As a thriving suburban school district, LPS student numbers are growing dramatically as well as the need for new facilities.
  • As a thriving urban school district, LPS students are growing dramatically in the complexity of needs and supports (growth in special education, poverty, refugee/immigrant populations).

State equalization aid for LPS has remained basically flat for the past three years despite dramatic increases in student numbers and complexity of student needs. While state equalization aid remained flat ($126-$127 million) over the past three years, the school district saw: 1,800 more students, 2,000 more students recognized as living in poverty, 655 more English Language Learner students and 916 more students with special needs.

The state has released certification for state equalization aid and LPS will receive about $146.6 million for the coming school year, recognition of both suburban and urban growth in Lincoln’s public school district.

LPS uses a three-year forecasting and sustainability model – to manage and stabilize the swings in state funding revenue – anticipating state equalization aid will go back down again next year.

Just a reminder, Lincoln Public Schools is one of the lowest spending school districts in the state for per-pupil costs and has been for decades.  LPS spends less per pupil in the state than 226 out of 245 districts in state, nearly $1,000 less per pupil than the state average.

The Lincoln Board of Education stands unified with school districts across the state in supporting a more predictable, sustainable system for funding schools.

March 2018 Community News

Posted in Community News by on February 28th, 2018

February 2018 Community News

Posted in Community News by on February 28th, 2018

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: February 19, 2018

Posted in Just Sharing by on February 18th, 2018

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: February 19, 2018

 1. Safety and security at LPS – For more information: Joe Wright, jwright@lps.org

Student safety continues to be our school district’s top priority and we have many procedures and systems in place. Many of the systems have been in place for decades, however, we also continue to review and improve them each year. Our system of safety measures includes but is not limited to:

  • Regular drills to prepare for a wide range of emergencies, including active shooters.
  • Security cameras at all our high schools.
  • A solid Threat Assessment/Management Program at LPS. For more information: http://home.lps.org/threat/
  • Standard Response Protocol established throughout the district (plain language protocol for emergency situations). For more information: http://iloveuguys.org/srp.html
  • Crisis response plans at each school.
  • Partnering with local law enforcement and safety experts.

Some of these practices are required by federal and state laws, many are school level practices based on school-specific research – and some are best practices developed through lessons learned from events like the one in Florida.  We work closely with the LPS security team and the Lincoln Police Department to continuously evaluate our safety protocols and to practice with our staff and students in the event of an emergency.

2. Thank You, Lincoln! – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

Our school district is growing in numbers and in academic achievement,  success that happens when a community stands behind schools and supports public education.  As we reflect upon those who advocate for LPS, we offer a Valentine – a thank you card – to our community to express gratitude for its affirmation and support of our public school district.  https://lps.org/thankyou/

3. New five-year LPS Strategic Plan  – For more information: Steve Joel, sjoel@lps.org

The new five-year LPS Strategic Plan is now posted online: https://home.lps.org/strategicplan  The Lincoln Board of Education approved the plan last December, with themes and goals to guide the school district in the next five year.  The school district spent the last year gathering community voices and developing six themes for a new Lincoln Public Schools Strategic Plan – an initiative based on information gathered through 49 community sessions and 3,800 responses from community citizens.

4. Annual reports – For more information: Chris Warner, cwarner@lps.org

We offer a special issue of the LPS Annual Report this year – a publication required by the Nebraska Department of Education – published and distributed annually to update citizens about the school district’s academics, demographics, finances and goals. This year we feature the full text of the new LPS Strategic Plan, approved by the Lincoln Board of Education. The Annual Report will be mailed to all Lincoln residents in the coming weeks – and is posted on the LPS website, https://www.lps.org/about/annual_report/

5. State of the Schools  – For more information: Steve Joel, sjoel@lps.org

Superintendent Steve Joel presents his first State of the Schools Report, a moment for updating our community about the highlights and challenges of public education in Lincoln, as well as recognizing the community for its generous support of public schools. The 15-minute video is located:

https://www.lps.org/about/stateofschools/

6. LPS Community High School Task Force  – For more information: Liz Standish, lstandis@lps.org

LPS Community High School Task Force members continue their work, meeting at Lincoln Southwest High School on Thursday, Feb. 22.  Watch for their recommendations coming this spring.  The Lincoln Board of Education adopted a goal this year to establish a High School Task Force to investigate community options and priorities for serving high school students and to make recommendations by May 1,  More info at: https://home.lps.org/hstaskforce/

7. Science Fair  – For more information: James Blake, jblake@lps.org

The 23rd annual Zoetis-LPS-GSK Science Fair will be held 5-8 p.m. on Thursday, March 1 at the Lancaster County Event Center. The Science Fair features wonderful science experiments and demonstrations from 5th – 8th graders in Lincoln Public Schools. With more space than ever, the Fair also features displays from various local groups also sharing aspects of science in our community.

8. Board of Education  – For more information: Steve Joel, sjoel@lps.org

The Lincoln Board of Education will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27, in the Board Room at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St.  Board Vice President Don Mayhew hosts a live interview show, LPS Live, before every Board meeting starting at 5:30 p.m. – live streaming on the LPS website.  For the full agenda of the Board meeting go to https://www.lps.org/about/board/ (published the Friday before the Tuesday meeting).

 

 

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: February 5, 2018

Posted in Just Sharing by on February 4th, 2018

  1. Best and brightest spellers – For more information: Jane Stavem, jstavem@lps.org 

Pull out your dictionaries.  The 31st annual Lincoln Public Schools Spelling Bee is scheduled for Saturday morning, Feb. 10, at Culler Middle School – fierce competition among our kids.

Any LPs student in grades 5-8 is eligible to participate in this annual event, competition that typically draws hundreds of contestants.  The annual event is sponsored by LPS and the Lincoln Journal Star.

2. High school writers – For more information: Melinda Murphy, mmurphy@lps.org

Lincoln Public Schools secondary English Language Arts has been working with the Lincoln Journal Star to have monthly columns published by our high school writers.  The first column was written by a Lincoln East High School student, and the second column – by a Lincoln High School student – was expected to be published in the Monday newspaper (Feb. 5).

3. Board of Education  – For more information: Steve Joel, sjoel@lps.org

The Lincoln Board of Education will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 13, in the Board Room at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St.  Board Vice President Don Mayhew hosts a live interview show, LPS Live, before every Board meeting starting at 5:30 p.m. – live streaming on the LPS website.  For the full agenda of the Board meeting go to https://www.lps.org/about/board/ (published the Friday before the Tuesday meeting).

4. Northeast students ‘Always in Uniform’ against drugs and alcohol  – For more information: Pat Hunter-Pirtle, ppirtle@lps.org

A dedicated group of students at Lincoln Northeast High School are working to raise awareness about the dangers of alcohol and drug use. It’s just the latest effort by the club, Always in Uniform, which not only organizes activities at Northeast but conducts outreach efforts at middle schools as well.

The Always in Uniform leadership group planned numerous activities in conjunction with National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week. Senior Hailegh Lowell, a member of the group’s leadership group, said student participation has been great and thinks her fellow Rockets are feeling school pride and heeding the message from Always in Uniform: You are always representing Northeast High School, so don’t use drugs or alcohol.  “I think it’s definitely having an impact,” she said.  For full story: https://www.lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=12584 

5. Thank you to our educators – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

Last chance to nominate educators for Thank You Teacher: Deadline is Friday, Feb. 9. We are always especially short on nominations in the retired teacher category, so please share information about this annual event.

Go to: https://www.lps.org/apps/teacher_recognition_day/index.html

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: January 29, 2018

Posted in Just Sharing by on January 28th, 2018

 1. Prestigious honor for Lincoln High – For more information: Jane Stavem, jstavem@lps.org

Lincoln High School has been recognized as a “School of Opportunity” by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) at the University of Colorado-Boulder – one of only eight high schools in the country to earn the honor this year.

Lincoln High Principal Mark Larson said:  “The ‘Schools of Opportunity’ criteria align with our building’s mission and values of providing opportunities for all of our students. This award is an affirmation of the amazing work that our staff does every day. This recognition also speaks to the unique culture that has been in place at Lincoln High for many years and hopefully will continue for years to come.”

For more: https://www.lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=12549

2. LPS is green school district – For more information: Scott Wieskamp, swieska@lps.org

Lincoln Public Schools has gone green over the past decades – with the school district practicing energy efficiency in all LPS facilities, composting, recycling in general, and recycling construction waste, helping with school gardens and outdoor education, and more.

Brittney Albin, Sustainability Coordinator for LPS, recently gave the Lincoln Board of Education an update on LPS sustainability efforts.

A few highlights:

  • District-wide recycling program since 2002 (all schools):  Recycle 1.3 million pounds annually
  • Compost Program started in 2014 (currently 41 schools): Diverting over 4,500 of pounds of organic waste daily
  • Construction Waste Management (2014 Bond Issue): New guidelines for LPS projects – aimed at diverting 75 percent of materials; diverted over 4,000 tons of material from the landfill:  Wood, Metal, Ceiling Tiles, Cardboard, Concrete; generates $60,000 in revenue

The LPS Sustainability Department promotes green efforts throughout the school district and the community by implementing environmentally responsible practices in LPS facilities – while providing educational opportunities for future environmental stewards.

3. Snow days are serious decisions  – For more information: Liz Standish, lstandis@lps.org

Lincoln Public Schools cancelled classes for the second time last week due to blizzard like conditions.  “LPS does not have ‘snow days’ built into our school calendar – we have valuable instructional time that goes beyond the minimum required by the State Department of Education,” according to Steve Joel, Superintendent of LPS.  “This is a serious decision, and we have many factors involved in making a determination.”

Don Mayhew hosts a live interview show, LPS Live, before every Board meeting – live streaming on the LPS website – and recently he interviewed Steve Joel about the process for calling a snow day: https://www.facebook.com/lincolnpublicschools

4. Graduation 2018  – For more information: Pat Hunter-Pirtle, ppirtle@lps.org

The Lincoln Public Schools class of 2018 will celebrate graduation ceremonies on Sunday, May 27 – for all six high schools – with three ceremonies set at Pinnacle Bank Arena and three at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. For the schedule: https://home.lps.org/graduation/

5. High School Task Force continues work – For more information: Liz Standish, lstandis@lps.org

The LPS Community High School Task Force continues to gather information and talk about future high school needs in Lincoln – studying student enrollment, priorities and facilities – holding its fourth meeting last week at Lincoln High School,

Liz Standish, associate superintendent for Business Affairs, who is facilitating the Task Force, mapped out the plan for the work of the Task Force over the next few months. “We are hoping we will begin to draft recommendations in February,” she said.  In March, she said the goal is for the recommendations to start taking shape – and have them ready to present in the spring.

The Task Force – made up of about 70 community citizens and LPS educators – was formed to investigate community options and priorities for serving high school students.  They will meet monthly throughout this school year at all six public high schools, and will make recommendations to the superintendent by May, 2018.

 

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: January 16, 2018

Posted in Just Sharing by on January 16th, 2018

  1. First “snow day” called for brutal wind chills  – For more information: Liz Standish, lstandis@lps.org

Lincoln Public Schools cancelled classes on Tuesday, Jan. 16, in the first “snow day” of the school year.  LPS officials said brutally cold temperatures and gusting winds – forecast for Tuesday throughout the day – would create weather conditions that could be unsafe for LPS students.

“Keeping students safe is our No. 1 priority,” said Steve Joel, Superintendent of LPS.  “We are always prudent when considering valuable instructional time in our schools, but we are concerned about dangerous wind chills on Tuesday.”

2. Thank You Teacher – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

Please take time today to nominate your favorite teacher for the annual Lincoln Public Schools Thank You Teacher event.  In honor of Nebraska Teacher Recognition Day – Tuesday, March 6, 2018 – Lincoln Public Schools and KFOR/KFRX Radio are again collaborating to thank our educators with the annual Thank You Teacher contest.

For more info or to submit a nomination:

https://www.lps.org/apps/teacher_recognition_day/index.html

3. Two LPS students chosen for national program – For more information: Jason Keese, jkeese@lpsorg

Two students from Lincoln Public Schools have been selected as delegates to the 56th annual United States Senate Youth Program to be held in March in Washington, D.C., an honor that also includes a $10,000 college scholarship.  Nicole Fintel, a junior at Lincoln East High School, and Bouthaina Ibrahim, a junior at Lincoln Northeast High School, were chosen from students across Nebraska. It’s believed to be the first time that both of the state’s delegates were chosen from the same school district.

While in Washington the student delegates will attend meetings with senators, members of the House of Representatives, Congressional staff, the president and a justice of the Supreme Court. They also will tour many of the national monuments and several museums.  

4. Board considers measures related to growth – For more information: Steve Joel, sjoel@lps.org

Continued and significant student enrollment growth impacts Lincoln Public Schools in a wide breadth of ways – as evidenced by a few examples from the Jan. 9 Lincoln Board of Education meeting.

  • More school buses:  The Board heard a proposal to purchase 14 new school buses: Eight wheelchair school buses and six 72-passenger school buses.
  • Annexation:The Board considered proposed attendance areas for newly annexed city property that includes:
    • A new area near 93rdand O streets – and a new area near the LES Southeast Service Center.

The Board will vote final approval on all these issues at the Jan. 23 Board meeting.

The Lincoln Board of Education will hold its next meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23, in the Board Room at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St.  Board Vice President Don Mayhew hosts a live interview show, LPS Live, before every Board meeting starting at 5:30 p.m. – live streaming on the LPS website.  For the full agenda of the Board meeting go to https://www.lps.org/about/board/

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

Lincoln Public Schools students will talk about finding success in school at the January LPS Learning Lunch at 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23 – in a presentation called “Success with our Scholars,” featuring remarks from students and Pete Ferguson, LPS Youth Development Team coordinator.  LPS Learning Lunches – aired on cable TV, livestreamed on the LPS website and open to the Lincoln community – are held in the Board Room at LPS District Office.

January 2018 Community News

Posted in Community News by on January 3rd, 2018

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: December 18, 2017

Posted in Just Sharing by on December 17th, 2017

  1. Acts of kindness throughout LPS  – For more information: Mary Kay Roth mkroth@lps.org

Kindness can be contagious, which is why we’re collecting stories of LPS students and staff members, and their act of kindness.  Check back often as we add to this collection – and hopefully inspire others to catch the kindness bug as well. We are posting all good deeds online at: https://home.lps.org/kindness/

2. Board looks forward, approves refreshed LPS strategic plan – For more information: Steve Joel, sjoel@lps.org

After a comprehensive community engagement process over the past year, the Lincoln Board of Education last week approved a new and refreshed strategic plan to take the school district through the next five years.

“The community has really reached out and helped us decide how to guide the district in the next five years,” said Board President Lanny Boswell.  “I look forward to taking this plan forward.”

The Board determined to create an overarching vision for the new strategic plan that states: “To prepare all students to be college, career and civic-life ready with a goal of 90 percent on-time graduation.”  The new strategic plan then focuses on five major thematic areas: academic success for students, global citizenship for all students, support for educators, family and community partnerships, and growth ready facilities.

3. Difficult Lincoln High issue – For more information: Steve Joel, sjoel@lps.org.

Lincoln High School dealt with the difficult issue of sexual assault last week.  We have posted the letter to families, as well as Steve Joel’s press conference online at:  http://home.lps.org/communications/commblog/

4. Sweet moments with Unified Bowling – For more information: Jenny Fundus, jfundus@lps.org

All six Lincoln Public Schools high schools recently finished another successful season of unified bowling, capped off by a second-place trophy at state for Lincoln High School and an award-worthy musical performance at the Lincoln Southwest High School team banquet.

Unified sports pair students with disabilities (athletes) and without (partners) who compete together. At LPS, 47 athletes competed alongside 69 partners in bowling this season.

The Lincoln High team of athletes Dylan Hartshorn and Abigail Parish, along with partners Mason Pierce, Brynna Madison and Dylan McLaughlan, finished second at the Nebraska School Activities Association state championship.

“My team members are so supportive of each other during the school day and on the lanes,” said Lisa Thiessen, the Lincoln High coach and a teacher with the district’s Vocational Opportunity in Community Experience program. “They have become friends over the course of the six weeks.”

For more information: https://www.lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=12457

5. December Learning Lunch highlights LPS response to crisis – For more information: Russ Uhing, ruhing@lps.org  

The December Lincoln Public Schools Learning Lunch will happen at 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 19, and feature a presentation, “Restoring Calm: LPS Response to Crisis.” LPS Learning Lunches, open to the Lincoln community, are 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. You bring lunch, we’ll bring dessert.

Lincoln High School Incident

Posted in Just Sharing by on December 14th, 2017

Letter to Lincoln High School Families:

Lincoln High Families,

I want to inform you of a difficult and disturbing situation that we have been working on with Lincoln Police involving a Lincoln High staff member and Lincoln High student. Following a Lincoln Police investigation – that LPS closely assisted with – Marcus Perry, an in-school suspension technician at Lincoln High, has been arrested for first degree sexual assault related to an alleged incident with a Lincoln High student.

Perry is also coach of the girls varsity basketball team.  The incident did not involve a member of the athletic team, but occurred in an in-school suspension room – and was associated with his duties that include providing assistance for short- and long-term suspension programs.

After a potential problem was first reported, we immediately notified Lincoln Police and cooperated with police as they conducted their investigation.  The staff member has been placed on administrative leave and will not have access to Lincoln High or any LPS property.

We will have members of the Crisis Response Team at Lincoln High today for support of our students and staff members.  In addition, we read a statement to all Lincoln High students today to explain the situation.

We are also asking for your help.  Please take a moment to talk with your son or daughter about what to do if they or someone they know is uncomfortable in any way with an adult – either at or away from school.  We encourage our students and families to report any behavior that raises suspicion or concern – in students, staff or community members – to a caring, trusted adult.

Meanwhile, we ask that you honor and respect the privacy of those involved and let the legal system work. This is an ongoing investigation as Lincoln Police and LPS continue looking into this matter.

Our highest priority is creating a safe environment for all our students at Lincoln High and Lincoln Public Schools.

If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.

Thank you.

Mark Larson
Principal, Lincoln High School

Media event with Superintendent Dr. Steve Joel about the incident:

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: December 4, 2017

Posted in Just Sharing by on December 3rd, 2017

  1. Proposed LPS strategic plan focuses on student academics, global success  – For more information: Steve Joel, sjoel@lps.org

With a focus on academic success and global citizenship for all students, support for educators, family and community partnerships, and growth ready facilities – the Lincoln Board of Education has rolled out the proposed strategic plan for the school district going forward for the next five years.  The Board will vote final approval on Dec. 12.1.

“I’m really pleased to present this to you tonight,” said LPS Superintendent Steve Joel.  “This is a living, breathing document; this is a tremendous body of work; this is something we can be very, very proud of.

The Board determined to create an overarching vision for the new strategic plan that states: “To prepare all students to be college, career and civic-life ready with a goal of 90 percent on-time graduation.”  The refreshed strategic plan is divided into five themes – all supporting the overarching vision – with goals and action steps included in each thematic area.  The themes: future ready global citizens, support academic success for all students, support for educators, family and community partnerships, and growth ready facilities and infrastructure.

Board President Lanny Boswell was particularly impressed with the “flexibility and agility of the action steps…This was a very inclusive process…future focused….there were so many opportunities to share individual opinions, and to find that consensus…We are united in support for this plan.”

2. LPS scores, graduation rate hold steady through increased rigor – For more information: Jane Stavem, jstavem@lps.org

High school graduation rates and state student achievement assessment scores are all holding steady at Lincoln Public Schools – generally scoring above state averages – as the school district increases both rigor and student enrollment numbers.

Last week the Nebraska Department of Education released graduation rates from school districts across the state, as well as the many documents representing the 2016-17 Nebraska State Accountability (NeSA) scores (assessment based on state standards).

The LPS scores reflect many factors that result in providing quality education for LPS children, according to Steve Joel, superintendent at LPS, factors that include challenging curriculum and robust classroom instruction, quality educators and support for educators, as well as strong school and district leadership.  “We are seeing strong numbers and success stories for our students, while we also have work ahead of us with a rapidly growing student enrollment reflective of our changing demographics.”

Jane Stavem, associate superintendent for Instruction at LPS, noted LPS scores have generally stayed solid and consistent – a success when considering the dramatic growth in student enrollment and the school district’s continued focus on raising the bar. “We are graduating a high percentage of students and we are very proud of that fact.  We continue to have a high graduation rate compared to school districts of the same size and demographics.  And we have more graduates than ever before, despite increased graduation requirements and rigor.”

3. LPS Community High School Task Force continues work – For more information: Liz Standish, lstandis@lps.org.

The Lincoln Public Schools Community High School Task Force held its third meeting last week at Lincoln Southeast High School and continued committee work to study high school enrollment, priorities and facilities.

Liz Standish, associate superintendent for Business Affairs, who is facilitating the Task Force, took a moment to describe the role and process for the work of the Task Force.   “This Task Force represents the very beginning of a community conversation – you are bringing the important issues to the surface – your work is directional,” Standish explained.

She outlined the probable calendar of events that will follow the Task Force work:

  • The Task Force will make recommendations – then the Board of Education and the superintendent will take topics to the broader community, research ideas, conduct surveys and further study.
  • The past model for LPS includes a Superintendent’s Facility Advisory Committee – with subcommittees – and it is likely that a similar group would form and include a committee on high school.
  • The Board of Education will evaluate Advisory Committee suggestions matching recommendations to resources available, setting priorities, etc.

The Task Force – made up of about 70 community citizens and LPS educators – was formed to investigate community options and priorities for serving high school students.   For more info: https://www.lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=12419

4. December Learning Lunch highlights LPS response to crisis – For more information: Russ Uhing, ruhing@lps.org  

The December Lincoln Public Schools Learning Lunch will happen at 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 19, and feature a presentation, “Restoring Calm: LPS Response to Crisis.” LPS Learning Lunches, open to the Lincoln community, are 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.

5. French, German teachers honored as state’s best – For more information: Jane Stavem, jstavem@lps.org

Teachers from Lincoln Public Schools have been honored as the state’s best for French and German.  The Nebraska International Languages Association (NILA), in conjunction with the Nebraska Association of Teachers of French, named Lisa Maupin of Lincoln East High School the state’s French Teacher of the Year. NILA, along with the state’s association of German teachers, named Marissa Wanamaker of Lincoln High School the Nebraska German Teacher of the Year.

December 2017 Community News

Posted in Community News by on December 1st, 2017

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: November 20, 2017

Posted in Just Sharing by on November 19th, 2017

  1. Excellent external audit report for LPS – For more information: Liz Standish, lstandis@lps.org

The Lincoln Board of Education last week heard glowing results of an external audit conducted recently that reviewed the Lincoln Public Schools budget, internal controls, financial statements, compliance with laws and regulation, and more.

Board of Education members were pleased with the audit, performed by HSMC Orizon LLC:

  • Connie Duncan: “This was a clean audit, we were so happy to hear that…There were no adjustments or errors as well…It was a wonderful audit and we’re proud of everyone.”
  • Barb Baier: “I want to thank staff for their due diligence, there is a lot of work that goes into an audit.”
  • Don Mayhew: “The idea that…this is an unmodified opinion…no changes or problems found. When you think about the complexity of this budget – the quality of our staff for that to come out as clean as this – this is incredible work.”

Overall, the auditor issued a positive report, calling it “a clean opinion, the highest and best opinion you can have.”

2. Scottish Rite ceremony celebrates teachers – For more information: Eric Weber, eweber@lps.org

Lincoln Public Schools celebrates the 2017 Scottish Rite Teacher of the Year (Jan McKeown, an instructional and technology coach at Lefler Middle School) at a ceremony set for 4:15 p.m. Monday, Nov. 20 in the Board Room at District Office.

3. Bubba keeps our children warm– For more information: Pam Hale, phale@lps.org

More than 300 elementary school students can bundle up and stay a little warmer this winter, thanks to Bubba’s Closet. The annual clothing giveaway program held its culminating event mid-November at McPhee Elementary School, where families stood in line outside starting at 6:30 a.m. – an hour and a half before the doors opened and children could pick out a winter coat, as well as gloves, hats, scarves and other articles of warm clothing.  Lincoln Public Schools elementary principals spearheaded the collection efforts, along with other LPS employees and community members.  For more than 20 years, Bubba’s Closet has collected between 500 and 1,200 donated winter coats annually.

4. November Learning Lunch highlights social emotional learning – For more information: Jane Stavem jstavem@lps.org

The November Lincoln Public Schools Learning Lunch of the 2017-18 season will happen at 12:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 29 and feature a presentation, “Social Emotional Learning: What is it and what does it look like at LPS,” by Carrie Erks, an LPS school social worker.   LPS Learning Lunches, open to the Lincoln community, are held in the Board Room at LPS District Office, 5905 O St.  (**Please note this month’s Learning Lunch will be held on a Wednesday because of the Thanksgiving holiday.) 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. Big week with Board meeting, High School Task Force gathering

The Lincoln Board of Education will hold a regular meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 28, in the Board Room at Lincoln Public Schools District Office, 5905 O St.   For the full agenda go to: https://www.lps.org/about/board/

Meanwhile, the third meeting of the Lincoln Public Schools Community High School Task Force is set for 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30, at Lincoln Southeast High School. The group was formed to investigate community options and priorities for serving high school students.   More info: https://home.lps.org/hstaskforce/

6. Good deeds at Pound Middle School  – For more information: Chris Deibler, cdeibler@lps.org

A University of Nebraska student organization will make donations that benefit U.S. military veterans and Puerto Rico hurricane victims as a result of essays researched and written by three 8th-graders at Pound Middle School who entered the contest as part of Pound teacher Carol Patterson’s American Studies class on Constitution Day.

The contest asked for a one-page essay that identifies a community need and an organization working to address that need. Winning student essay excerpts:

  • “Some people may argue not to gift the money to this cause because 100 dollars is minimal considering what Puerto Rico needs, and this is true. The estimated cost to rebuild is well over 2 million dollars. However, we think we should receive this grant based on this underlying importance: every fragment contributes to the whole.”
  • “I believe this organization should receive this grant more than others, because they serve the backbone of America. Their patients risk their lives for us to enjoy the life we currently live and take for granted…With only 144 VA hospitals and 300 VA centers, this organization needs as much money as it can get to help those in need. This institution helps a huge population with a wide range and growing amount of services. From home loans to healthcare, this money will be put to good use.”

November 2017 Community News

Posted in Community News by on November 8th, 2017

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: November 6, 2017

Posted in Just Sharing by on November 5th, 2017

  1. Honoring Veterans Day – For more information: Mindy Burbach, mburbach@lps.org

Lincoln Public Schools students, classrooms and educators celebrate and honor Veterans Day throughout the month of November, but notably on Friday, Nov. 10.  Watch for live online conversation and complete coverage of Veterans Day activities Friday on the LPS website and social media.

2. Keeping our children warm – For more information: Pam Hale, phale@lps.org

The annual Bubba’s Closet clothes give-away – sponsored by the elementary principals of LPS – is set for 8 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, at McPhee Elementary School, 820 Goodhue Blvd.  Any elementary student, accompanied by an adult, may choose appropriate items of clothing to adopt and use. 

3. Continued work on High School Task Force – For more information:  Liz Standish, lstandis@lps.org

Dealing with a growing population of students at Lincoln Public Schools – and particularly a growing population of high school students – the Lincoln Public Schools Community High School Task Force met for the second time late in October (this time at Lincoln North Star High School).  The Task Force – made up of about 70 community citizens and LPS educators – was formed to investigate community options and priorities for serving high school students.  They will meet monthly throughout this school year at all six public high schools, and will make recommendations to the superintendent by May, 2018.

“This is valuable, important work – and the timing of this conversation is perfect,” said Steve Joel, superintendent of Lincoln Public Schools.

More info at: https://home.lps.org/hstaskforce/

4. Bringing our hearts to school  – For more information: Jason Keese, jkeese@lps.org

For Beattie Elementary School, raising enough money to buy one of the “Nebraska by Heart” sculptures required a lot of hard work, creativity – and heart.  “So many students embraced the opportunity,” said Holly Group-Weber, the school’s art teacher and one of the driving forces behind the fundraising effort.

“Nebraska by Heart” is a public art project sponsored by the Lead Up and Sadie Dog Fund organizations. Artists created 6-foot fiberglass hearts that were displayed across Lincoln for several months, then sold at auction. Beattie was one of seven LPS schools to purchase a heart at the auction, along with Lincoln North Star High School, and Morley, Cavett, Roper, McPhee and Adams elementary schools.

5. Strategic plan comes closer to final draft– For more information: sjoel@lps.org

The Lincoln Board of Education has moved closer to a final draft for a new, refreshed strategic plan for the school district – after an additional meeting late in October when Board members spent three hours reviewing possible goals and priorities for each of the major thematic areas of the future strategic plan.

The school district has spent the last year gathering community voices and developing six themes for a new Lincoln Public Schools Strategic Plan – an initiative that included 49 community sessions and 3,800 responses from community citizens.  The six themes 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
  • Facilities and infrastructure – Growth Ready

Next, the Strategic Planning Committee will distill consensus, then turn over those suggestions to the superintendent and staff to create a proposed draft.  The Board will likely vote final approval of a Strategic Plan in December.  More info at https://www.lps.org/strategicplan/

Lincoln Public Schools Hot Topics: October 16, 2017

Posted in Just Sharing by on October 15th, 2017

  1. School calendars focused on instruction – For more information: John Neal, jpneal@lps.org

The Lincoln Board of Education last week heard recommendations for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school year calendars – developed by a Calendar Committee made up of educators, parents and community members – a calendar focused on creating the best learning environment.

Bringing two calendar proposals is a milestone allowing Lincoln Public Schools families to plan further ahead – made possible by developing a consistent purpose, development and set of variables.

Main highlights of the proposed 2019-20 calendar:

  • The first day of school would be August 13 – and the last day of school would be May 21.
  • Semester break would be Dec. 20-Jan. 6 – with students returning to school Tuesday, Jan. 7.

Main highlights of the proposed 2020-21 calendar:

  • The first day of school would be August 12 – and the last day of school would be May 20.
  • Semester break would be Dec. 23-Jan. 4 – with students returning to school Tuesday, Jan. 5.

The Board will vote final approval of the school calendars at the Oct. 24 meeting.  For more information: https://www.lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=12273

2. LPS schedules second High School Task Force – For more information:  Liz Standish, lstandis@lps.org

The second meeting of the Community High School Task Force is set for 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26 at Lincoln North Star High School.

The Task Force was created to investigate community options and priorities for serving high school students, as well as study the school district’s enrollment and educational needs.   The Task Force – made up of about 70 community citizens and LPS educators – will meet monthly throughout this school year at all six public high schools.  They will make recommendations to the superintendent by May, 2018.

More info at: https://home.lps.org/hstaskforce/

3. West Lincoln Elementary celebrates renovation – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org

West Lincoln Elementary School, 630 W. Dawes Ave., holds a celebration from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22, to celebrate the completion of major renovation.  The celebration will feature school tours and refreshments, 

4. Learning Lunch serves up chili, cinnamon rolls  – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, mkroth@lps.org
The third Lincoln Public Schools Learning Lunch of the 2017-18 season will happen at 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 24 and feature a presentation, “School Meals: So much more than Chili and Cinnamon Rolls,” with LPS Director of Nutritional Services Edith Zumwalt.

This Learning Lunch features a special feature:  We’ll be dishing up chili and cinnamon rolls, served to 75 attendees on a first-come first-served basis.

LPS Learning Lunches, open to the Lincoln community, are generally held on the last Tuesday of the month 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.

5. Give to Bubba at Roca Berry – For more information: Pam Hale, phale@lps.org

Contributions of warm winter clothing will be accepted for Bubba’s Closet through Oct. 27 at any Hangar’s location.  And please remember, throughout this week (Oct. 16-22) you can donate at Roca Berry Farm – in fact, elementary principals will be at Roca Berry Farm Saturday, Oct. 21, to personally thank you for your donations.

The Bubba’s Closet clothes give-away is set for Saturday, Nov. 11, at McPhee Elementary School, 820 Goodhue Blvd.

 

October 2017 Community News

Posted in Community News by on October 6th, 2017

Contact

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

P.O. Box 82889
Lincoln, Nebraska 68501

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