Section B – The Technology section
Section B – The Technology section
Occasionally, a potential scenario starts to pique public interest even if there isn’t a direct, local issue. This happened recently in Lincoln Public Schools related to an issue that involved a national conversation about people wearing clown costumes trying to frighten – a conversation fueled by social media – that eventually reached Nebraska.
How did we decide that it was time to send a message to the families of our students?
Here are some key points we considered:
When possible, we strive to limit rumors by providing accurate information first, while not creating an impression that danger is near. Therefore, when we believe there is no actual threat – we will not talk with news reporters on camera but will share with news reporters any messages we have sent to families.
We emailed our message through the schools to families, as opposed to a phone call. (We generally do not make phone calls unless a parent needs to take immediate action on an issue.)
In our message, we were specific in asking parents what to do: report any concerns, try to prevent their students from attempting any clown-related pranks, and do not exacerbate the problem by spreading rumors on social media.
Lincoln Public Schools has launched LPS Strategic Planning 2022 – seeking to engage citizens throughout the community to help refresh and develop a strategic plan to chart the course for the school district over the next five years. The strategic planning process involves gathering community voices through civic, school and community meetings, as well as through social media and online surveys – encouraging our citizens to dream big, imagine new ideas, help identify creative, innovative goals – necessary to write the story of our future. Our mission is to ensure LPS students experience a world-class education in preparation for college, career and life.
In addition to giving presentations to organizations and schools throughout Lincoln, there will be four opportunities to attend community-wide strategic planning sessions:
2. Naming new LPS support facility– For more information: Liz Standish, firstname.lastname@example.org
We are now asking for suggestions for naming a new LPS support facility: the current Bison facility that will house support offices and significant storage for nutrition supplies; and new professional learning spaces (smaller classrooms and conference rooms). All suggested names will be forwarded to a special committee made up of Lincoln Board of Education and community members, and the committee will make the final decision. Please help spread the word.
To offer suggestions go to: http://www.lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=11312
3. Nebraska Teacher of the Year – For more information: Jane Stavem, email@example.com
Amber Vlasnik, a math teacher at Lincoln High School, has been named the 2017 Nebraska Teacher of the Year by the State Department of Education. Vlasnik has taught math at LHS since 2011, and served as the math department chair from 2014 to the end of the 2015-16 school year. Prior to that she taught at Lincoln Southeast High Schol and at a middle school in Houston, Texas. Go to: http://lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=11307
4. Dedication of Nuernberger – For more information: Jaime Boedeker, firstname.lastname@example.org
Donning their new black and gold Nighthawks shirts with the saying “To the moon and back”, students and staff celebrated the dedication of the Nuernberger Education Center with family and community early in October. The 2016-2017 school year is the inaugural year for the Nuernberger Education Center which houses two programs – a student support program and a program that serves students sixth through eighth grades who have been referred from other middle schools within LPS.
“When thinking about speaking on this day, the one word that kept coming into my head was legacy,” said principal Jaime Boedeker. “The very existence of this building is the continuation of the legacy inherent in Lincoln Public Schools, in the community in which we live, and I believe it’s part of the legacy, if he were alive right now, Judge Nuernberger would be proud of today.”
Judge Bill Nuernberger was the first judge to serve on a separate Juvenile Court in Lancaster County. In that role, Nuernberger advocated that young people need a separate court and worked tirelessly, both in his professional and personal life, to better the lives of all children in the community.
Dedication at Nuernberger http://lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=11305
5. Summer School Update – For more information: Pam Robinson, email@example.com
Highlights from the LPS 2016 Summer School Programs:
6. Bubba’s Closet – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, firstname.lastname@example.org
Donations for an annual event called Bubba’s Closet are now being accepted for warmer winter wear for Lincoln children: Donors can drop off coats and winter clothes at any Hanger’s Cleaners location in Lincoln. Bubba’s Closet is set for Saturday, Nov. 12 from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at McPhee Elementary School, 820 Goodhue Boulevard (820 S. 15th Street) – open to all LPS children. For a podcast on the event: http://home.lps.org/podcast/
1. Final Friday – For more information: Jane Stavem, email@example.com
Student enrollment at Lincoln Public Schools again soared to historic, record highs this school year with almost 41,000 students attending the school district – a total of exactly 40,935 – growth of 987 students over last year. That’s a 2.5 percent increase compared to one year ago, a 12 percent increase compared to five years ago, and a whopping 24 percent increase in the last decade.
“We continue to be impressed, and somewhat surprised, at the rapid growth in enrollment in Lincoln Public Schools,” said LPS Superintendent Steve Joel. “We attribute much of this to a vibrant economy that continues to create jobs, a community where the quality of life is second to none – and public schools that continue to produce excellent achievement results while maintaining a sound focus on the needs of ALL students.”
** The official student enrollment count for LPS is recorded each year on the final Friday of September when numbers are reported to the State Department of Education.
More info: http://lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=11270
2. Bubba’s Closet – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, firstname.lastname@example.org
Donations for an annual event called Bubba’s Closet are now being accepted for warmer winter wear for Lincoln children: Donors can drop off coats and winter clothes at any Hanger’s Cleaners location in Lincoln.
Bubba’s Closet is set for Saturday, Nov. 12 from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at McPhee Elementary School, 820 Goodhue Boulevard (820 S. 15th Street) – open to all LPS children. For a podcast on the event: http://home.lps.org/podcast/
3. Nuernberger Education Center dedication – For more information: Jenny Fundus, email@example.com
4. LPS families support schools, district – For more information: Jane Stavem, firstname.lastname@example.org
“Perception data” for Lincoln Public Schools was presented at the last Lincoln Board of Education meeting – the results of more than 1,000 surveys completed from 25 schools.
Highlights of the latest perception data:
5. Suicide Prevention Coalition report – For more information: Russ Uhing, email@example.com
An update from the Community Suicide Prevention Coalition – formed more than a year ago to develop suicide prevention measures for youth – was presented to the Lincoln Board of Education by two members of the community group: Rose Hood Buss and John Gessert.
The group’s successes have been many.
Hood Buss noted the Coalition’s work to make the Signs of Suicide available to public and parochial schools ensuring those lessons are included in the health curriculum – as well as to familiarize schools with four key questions that help adults get a sense of a student’s feelings about potential suicide (now being piloted at four high schools).
Gessert pointed out the Coalition’s success in making sure suicide prevention signage has gone up in all the city parking garages – while continuing to work on signage at all parking garages in the community. He pointed to suicide prevention materials now available at shooting ranges, as well as lockboxes available at low cost. In addition, more than 2,000 individuals in Lincoln have taken training in what is called, “Question, Persuade and Refer…Ask a question, save a life.”
Don Mayhew, president of the Board of Education, said he remembered when the group was first created: “I remember when this Coalition was coming together…and I am proud of Dr. Joel’s leadership…and the stand that LPS took.”
The Lincoln Board of Education is moving forward with a new community-wide strategic planning initiative with a plan to engage the community and gather thousands of citizen voices to help refresh Lincoln Public Schools major strategic goals. The plan involves gathering community input – through civic, school and community meetings, as well as through social media and online surveys – to refresh the school district’s major goals for the coming five years.
Lanny Boswell, chair of the Board’s Strategic Planning Committee, explained that the process will have three guiding principles:
The Board has approved a $32,400 contract with Leadership Resources, a local company that will provide support and guidance in the strategic planning process.
2. Wysong dedication – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sally Wysong Elementary School – the newest building for Lincoln Public Schools that opened this school year in southeast Lincoln –held an official dedication last Sunday in celebration of a new beginning for students, families and staff, a celebration of community, and a celebration of the woman whose name was chosen for the school.
“Today we celebrate community,” said Lanny Boswell, the Board of Education member who represents the area of the city where Wysong is located. “Here we are on the outskirts of Lincoln with more houses appearing each and every day. This is awesome growth. And we are grateful to our community for understanding that investing in schools pays off for students, families, for our community and for our future.”
Boswell also honored Wysong’s legacy, and the many friends and family members who attended the Sunday ceremony – all wearing t-shirts that proclaimed: “Wysong…The Originals.”
3. Pride in continued strength of achievement – For more information: Jane Stavem, email@example.com
Lincoln Public Schools continues looking at a well-rounded plan for educating children – with excellence in classroom instruction, quality teachers who focus on that great instruction and take time to work with all students, strong school and district leadership, fine curriculum, professional development and continuous improvement – and the result is continued strength in achievement based on release of the 2015-16 Nebraska State Accountability (NeSA) scores, the piece of the achievement picture based on state standards.
“We are really proud that we have so many areas that have the best scores we have ever seen, and that is the result of amazing work happening every day in classrooms across our school district,” said Jane Stavem, associate superintendent for Instruction at LPS. “We’re seeing some of the highest NeSA proficiency scores we’ve ever had – especially in reading and math – in the history of our school district. There’s a lot to celebrate here…and, of course, always more work to be done.”
There are a total of 17 tests administered to LPS students grades 3-11 through NeSA, and of those: 14 overall scores either went up or stayed the same; and 11 were all-time highs, or tied for all-time highs from the last seven years.
4. LPS Live: Board Preview – For more information: Mindy Burbach, firstname.lastname@example.org
On September 13, the school district kicked off a new Facebook Live broadcast to preview the Board meeting agenda – hosted by Board President Don Mayhew. Before each Board meeting at approximately 5:40 p.m., Mayhew will sit down with a Board member and they will talk about issues that will be appearing on that night’s agenda. If you are interested in watching the first show, go to the LPS Facebook Page and click on the video, or watch our live broadcasts beginning at 5:40 p.m. before Board meetings. The next show will be on Tuesday, September 27.
5. Digital Citizenship events – For more information: Russ Uhing, email@example.com
Lincoln Public Schools will host six community events this fall centered around safety in technology and social media. LPS has partnered with Ryan Sothan of the Consumer Protection Division in the State Attorney General’s office, a state leader in best practices for the use of technology for families and students. Each presentation is the same, and all are free and open to all ages. The first program is: 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 22, at Mickle Middle School. For the complete schedule go to http://lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=11165
6. First Learning Lunch – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, firstname.lastname@example.org
Beginning later in September, the 2016-17 lineup for the annual LPS Learning Lunches series offers more “Untold Stories” of our schools with Learning Lunches open to LPS staff and the Lincoln community. Lunches 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. Please bring your own lunch – we’ll provide dessert.
The first Learning Lunch is set for noon on Tuesday, Sept. 27. The Power of Education: Tales of two waiters: Ed Zimmer will tell the stories of two long-forgotten but remarkable individuals he has encountered in his research on Lincoln’s past, Llewelyn L. (“Bud”) Lindsey and Arthur B. Moss. Zimmer is Lincoln’s historic preservation planner and former member of the Lincoln Board of Education.
The Lincoln Board of Education has approved the 2016-17 budget – a budget that slightly lowers the tax levy and provides the educational needs for significant growth in the school district.
2. ACT scores finish strong and steady – For more information: Jane Stavem, email@example.com
ACT scores for Lincoln Public Schools continued strong and steady with results from the fifth year of a pilot program in which all LPS high school juniors now take the college-ready test for free.
“Taking the ACT has become part of the culture in our school district,” according to Jane Stavem, associate superintendent for Instruction at LPS, noting that these scores mark a record for the most LPS students taking the test. “And we are holding firm in our scores with a population of students that continues to grow and change.”
As LPS student enrollment increases, more high school juniors take the test every year – 2,351 took the test last year – while the composite test score has remained steady with the same composite score over the past three years. In fact, of the states in the top third for participation in the ACT, Nebraska is first in composite scores by almost a full point.
Before the pilot program began, only about 65 percent of LPS graduates took the ACT, but now virtually 100 percent take the test, one of the most common standardized college entrance examinations.
3. Wysong dedication – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, firstname.lastname@example.org
The dedication ceremony for the new Sally G. Wysong Elementary School – a ceremony open to the public – is set for 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18. The school is located at 7901 Blanchard Blvd.
4. MOSAIC new and innovative – For more information: Chris Haeffner, email@example.com
MOSAIC will be on display this school year at Lincoln Public Schools District Office – 5905 O St. – from Sept. 6-15, open and free to the public during regular office hours.
MOSAIC is a collection of multicultural literature to help students make connections with the many different cultures from around the world. This year, MOSAIC is modernizing with more hands-on and interactive displays.
More than 280 titles will be part of the interactive displays that will include things like:
5. Go Saltdogs – For more information: Matt Avey, firstname.lastname@example.org
Haymarket Park filled with voices of excitement and laughter, music and cheers as approximately 3,000 Lincoln Public School fifth grade students attended the annual Saltdogs Game field trip early this school year. It is an annual ritual of lessons in character, sportsmanship and good fun.
“The biggest thing is we actually have an opportunity this year to bring every single school to the ballpark,” said Matt Avey, LPS curriculum specialist for Health and Physical Fitness. “We’ve done this for nine years, but it’s nice to finally get every fifth grader on the same page – all 39 schools out here enjoying the day at Haymarket Park.”
Avey: “Obviously we want the kids to have fun, but there’s some teachable moments here. We’re really trying to get the kids to understand not only the importance of physical activity, but how to participate in a positive manner as a spectator. That’s a component of the character education piece we teach our kids.”
Community News is open to advertising from nonprofit organizations promoting nonprofit events. Each issue is sent home with elementary students and mailed to secondary families who do not have an elementary student. 2016/17 is the first year we’ve mailed to high school-only families. Total print production is about 24,000 copies.
Monday, August 15, is the first day of school for students in grades kindergarten through ninth grade – students grades 10-12 begin on Tuesday. On Monday the new Sally G. Wysong Elementary School opens, as well as the new Bill Nuernberger Education Center for middle school kids. This is the second year of the school district’s three-year Instructional Technology Plan – as well as the second year for The Career Academy.
2. LPS launches second year of Citizens Academy to teach ABCs of our schools – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, email@example.com
Lincoln Public Schools is inviting Lincoln citizens to participate in the second year of an initiative called the LPS Citizens Education Academy: a series of monthly classes that include hands-on interactive experiences depicting a true, behind-the-scenes sense of LPS. Participants are asked to attend monthly meetings hosted at schools across the school district, featuring a wide variety of information and activities. Participants will have conversations with high school seniors, visit a Family Literacy class, sample an ACT test, spend time in LPS classrooms, tour the new Career Academy and the new Wysong Elementary School, and much more. The deadline to apply for this no-charge public outreach program is Friday, August 26. To find out more: http://www.lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=11071
3. Proposed LPS budget – For more information: Liz Standish, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Lincoln Board of Education held a public hearing on the proposed 2016-17 Lincoln Public Schools budget at the first Board meeting in August – and a final vote on the budget will happen on August 23.
4. Learning Lunches – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, email@example.com
The 2016-17 lineup for the annual Lincoln Public Schools Learning Lunches series offers more “Untold Stories” of our schools with Learning Lunches open to LPS staff and the Lincoln community – beginning with a program on Tuesday, Sept. 27. Lunches 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. Please bring your own lunch – we’ll provide dessert. For more info: http://www.lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=11072
5. Board approves goals and priorities – For more information: Steve Joel, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Lincoln Board of Education has approved final goals and priorities for the coming school year:
Filtering websites and online content in Lincoln Public Schools is not all that different from filtering offline content. This can mean making broad decisions about what students can see and not see while on the internet network in Lincoln Public Schools. By and large, these decisions are the same for all schools to provide consistency and fairness; but they also seek to serve the best interests of each student’s education as well as to prevent potential bandwidth issues.
Following are four general reasons, in no particular order, why online content might be blocked.
#1 – Purpose of device
Our primary goal as a public school district is to meet the educational opportunities of students and provide for the instructional needs of staff. The student devices – in this case, Chromebooks – are provided because they allow more educational opportunities and personalized education.
Therefore the purpose of the device does not change when it leaves a school.
Student devices issued by the school will be routed through the internet connection (whether at a home or a coffee shop or in a classroom) directly to the LPS filter. That means any content you can not access while at school, you will likewise not be able to watch anywhere else while you are using your Chromebook.
#2 – Classroom management and inappropriate content
Most websites and apps do not filter their own content for appropriateness. For example, a music-streaming service doesn’t necessarily filter out songs based on what could be considered crude or foul language. What’s appropriate for an 18-year-old might not be so for a 14-year-old.
In fact, there are federal requirements regarding appropriate online activity for students of certain ages, and nearly all of our student population are minors, and a large number of those are also under the age of 13.
Even content that is typically ok for students (G or PG-rated content) can serve as a hindrance to learning, and create classroom management issues for teachers. Blocking sites that offer inappropriate messaging can also limit the potential for cheating on school work.
#3 – Respecting parental concerns
Parents can choose to set filters on their home internet network. LPS tries to balance parental preference with educational value when possible.
If a mom or dad doesn’t want a child watching explicit videos at home, they wouldn’t be pleased if the student did so during a school lunch break, or worse, in class. So video-streaming services are typically blocked. (Teachers have ability to curate some types of content for class lessons and work, specifically on YouTube, for example.)
#4 – Bandwidth
Streaming music and video can take large amounts bandwidth, especially when factoring in more than 10,000 high school students. With some exceptions, that is the same bandwidth that will be used for homework, group projects, taking notes, downloading class texts, and taking tests and state assessments, for example. Our priority for bandwidth is always to meet those educational needs.
Students, teachers and parents with questions or concerns should contact their school principal.
Most Lincoln Public Schools teachers begin work on Monday, August 8 – and classes begin for students on Monday, August 15.
2. Superintendent inspires LPS leaders – For more information: Steve Joel@lps.org
Superintendent Steve Joel officially opened the 2016-17 school year at the annual LPS Leadership Day event Monday – speaking to hundreds of LPS leaders – and urging them to remember and proclaim the power of public education in our community. For more of his remarks go to: http://lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=11067
3. Independent study examines services for struggling students – For more information: Jane Stavem, email@example.com
The Lincoln Board of Education last week was presented with results of a study – conducted by an outside consulting firm, District Management Council – implemented to gain a deeper understanding of services, best practices and resources LPS provides to “struggling students” (students provided additional services and support through Special and General Education).
Highlights: LPS is proud of this report – an analysis that concludes the school district does an excellent job providing struggling students with services to offer supports that will help them succeed socially, emotionally and academically. The school district’s programs and services for struggling students have many strengths – building from a very strong foundation – with passionate, caring and committed leadership, teachers and staff. The school district is well staffed, and serves and supports a diverse range of student needs within current resources. The report also recognizes that systems can improve, providing a road map with a series of recommendations to be implemented over the next three to five years. The report suggests that LPS could: more tightly manage current staff, make sure all educators have the appropriate skills and training, provide extra time on task for struggling students and more proactively align activities to best practices.
4. Peek inside Nuernberger – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, firstname.lastname@example.org
With classrooms sparkling and ready for students to arrive on the first day of the 2016-17 school year, Lincoln Public Schools opened the doors recently to offer an early peek inside the new Bill Nuernberger Education Center – a facility designed to serve middle school students who are struggling to succeed in their current schools. The 33,455-square-foot facility, located on South 40th Street just north of South Street, is a complete, on-site renovation and overhaul – almost doubling the space of the previous facility. LPS will now have three innovative facilities that specifically deal with at-risk students struggling in their home school environments: Donald D. Sherrill Education Center, for elementary students; Nuernberger for middle school; and the Yankee Hill Program for high school students. For more info: http://lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=11044
5. Consider using LPS Speakers Bureau – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, email@example.com
LPS has a Speakers Bureau featuring a wide variety of LPS people who are happy to give presentations for civic groups and all community organizations. Please spread the word. For more information go to: http://www.lps.org/about/speakersbureau/
6. Board considers goals and priorities – For more information: Steve Joel, firstname.lastname@example.org
Later in August, the Board of Education will approve final goals and priorities for the coming school year. Those proposed goals are:
Dedications set for:
2. LPS Summer School graduation – For more information: Jane Stavem, email@example.com
For over 1,300 Lincoln Public School students, summer school provides them an opportunity to get one step closer to their goals. Approximately 95 of those students were able to obtain their high school diploma in July as the six-week summer school program closed.
Lincoln North Star Principal Vann Price told students during the ceremony when she thinks about summer school graduation, the word endurance comes to mind. “Endurance in this instance might be defined as the ability of an individual to exert him or her self and remain active for a long period of time, as well as their ability to resist, withstand, recover from, and have immunity to fatigue,” said Price.
Video, story, photos from the LPS Summer School graduation ceremony: http://lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=11032
3. New Steve Joel Blog – For more information: Steve Joel, firstname.lastname@example.org
LPS work defined as we look forward to the reality of coming school:
4. Latest LPS podcast – For more information: Zachary Baehr, email@example.com
Math class may be different this coming school year, but how much will you notice? Hear from a teacher, instructional coordinator and principal about the pilot program for math curriculum at eight elementary schools. Go to: http://home.lps.org/podcast/
5. LPS reminds families of health requirements – For more information: Marge Theele, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lincoln Public Schools is notifying and reminding families of the health requirements for the upcoming school year. Students entering school (preschool, kindergarten and transfers from out of state) need to complete and submit evidence of medical examinations and immunizations. Seventh-grade students need to complete an immunization and physical exam. For more info: http://www.lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=11037
6. Highlights of proposed 2016-17 LPS budget – For more information: Liz Standish, email@example.com
** Anyone interested in having information about the LPS budget presented to their community group is encouraged to contact LPS by calling (402) 436-1635, or emailing Liz Standish at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the planning and substantial bidding draws to a close on the 15 priority Lincoln Public Schools construction projects financed through the 2014 LPS bond issue, as well as extensive infrastructure additions throughout the school district, LPS estimates $14.5 million in funding is still available for additional construction projects.
The Lincoln Board of Education is now reviewing a list of the next tier of recommended project:
2. Changing of the guard at LPS – For more information: Eric Weber, email@example.com
For many employees retiring from Lincoln Public Schools – June 30 was their final day. Most new District Office employees begin July 1.
3. New Sally Wysong Elementary School – For more information: Randy Oltman, firstname.lastname@example.org
The new Sally Wysong Elementary School opens this fall in southeast Lincoln at 7901 Blanchard Boulevard – and Principal Randy Oltman, administrators, teachers and staff will be moving into the building sometime this summer.
4. Summer school 2016 – For more information: Jane Stavem email@example.com
Lincoln Public Schools hosts summer school programs on grade all levels at schools throughout the community and throughout the summer. For six stories of summer school, go to: http://lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=11025
The summer high school program is held at Lincoln North Star High School and culminates with a graduation ceremony for graduating seniors who attended Summer School – set for noon on Thursday, July 7, at North Star.
5. Boundary changes confirmed – For more information: Liz Standish, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Lincoln Board of Education has approved an attendance area change that will move students at Clinton Elementary School from the Lincoln North Star High School to the Lincoln Northeast High School attendance area. This change will also move the majority of Culler Middle School into the Northeast district (except for a portion that would remain in the Lincoln East High School attendance area). Currently North Star student enrollment totals almost 2,200 students, and is expected to continue increasing in coming years.
The change will become effective for the 2017-18 school year. Please note LPS would continue the practice of allowing ninth graders to attend the high school of their choice, provided they fill out the necessary paperwork by the mandatory deadline.
6. Conversation continues about proposed 2016-17 budget – For more information: Liz Standish, email@example.com
The Lincoln Board of Education has held several work sessions and several community budget forums for the continued conversation on the proposed 2016-17 LPS budget.
A few budget highlights:
** Anyone interested in having information about the LPS budget presented to their community group is encouraged to contact LPS by calling (402) 436-1635, or emailing Liz Standish at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Lincoln Board of Education has started working through the process of considering and finalizing the 2016-17 preliminary budget for Lincoln Public Schools. The Board will gather feedback and input from the community over the next months, further discuss the budget and plan to approve the final LPS budget in August.
The budget addresses a variety of factors:
Highlights of the preliminary budget include:
2. LPS to host community budget forums – For more information: Liz Standish, email@example.com
LPS invites the public into the discussion about the preliminary 2016-17 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:
3. Career Academy Update – For more information: Dan Hohensee, firstname.lastname@example.org
The LPS Career Academy boasted 125 seniors graduating from TCA in the first year. There will be 112 students returning in the fall, and close to 315 new students already registered. TCA currently has 130 business partners and more than 200 individuals that are involved as mentors or serving on the advisory committee for internships and curriculum development.
4. Podcast features LPS transportation – For more information: Zachary Baehr, email@example.com
The latest LPS podcast features a conversation with Bill McCoy, director of LPS Transportation, talking about: 11 million miles, 130 drivers, 92 para educators, 80-day inspections, new routes, relocated schools, field trips, ball games, activities, and one local and national issue: a shortage of bus drivers. So find a seat and keep your hands inside the window. Go to the LPS website at: http://home.lps.org/podcast/
5. Comments, questions about proposed boundary change – For more information: Liz Standish, firstname.lastname@example.org
LPS is proposing that the attendance area for Clinton Elementary School be moved from the Lincoln North Star High School to the Lincoln Northeast High School attendance area. If community members have comments or questions about the proposed change, please go to the Online Open House: http://www.lps.org/news/attendanceareas-2016/
Schools should seriously review how often they choose to send an all-parents phone call home through School Messenger.
The only time a phone call should be made to all parents … when the school needs the parent to act immediately. This means only call when:
That’s it. If you boil it down to the true purpose of phone calls, a school will rarely call home during a school year (and that’s a great thing!).
Schools should stop the habit of sending an all-parents phone call for announcements, reminders and other non-emergent information.
A story …
Earlier this year, a parent complained about the amount of phone calls he had received. My first thought: he was exaggerating. But no; we were way beyond our boundaries. He had received seven phone calls in a matter of six school days from two different schools. We can all agree that is way too much. The calls were about:
We apologized, notified the schools, but the practice continues in some of our schools. Looking over the list above, we can see only two of those should have been phone calls (snow days). We need to review our processes, focus on emails with information or links to our websites, and respect our parents’ time.
There are times when it is absolutely critical that we reach parents (see above reasons). If we call weekly or even more frequently, we desensitize them to the phone calls where urgent action is required. They may not answer the phone or check the voicemail, though we desperately need a parent to know that a son or daughter will not be walking home at the normal time (for example).
Some schools make an argument that parents don’t read or check emails, or have consistent access to internet. That is a different issue, and it is important that we not create another problem (desensitization or phone-call overload) in an attempt to fix it.
So we ask schools to review who is sending phone calls home to all parents, and determine how best to move forward.
The Lincoln Board of Education periodically reviews attendance areas to make sure Lincoln Public Schools is best utilizing school district facilities, and often to determine if it is prudent to make adjustments that would provide relief to schools that are serving at or over capacity.
LPS is proposing that the attendance area for Clinton Elementary School be moved from the Lincoln North Star High School to the Lincoln Northeast High School attendance area. The change would become effective for the 2017-18 school year. Currently North Star student enrollment totals almost 2,200 students, and is expected to continue increasing in coming years.
The Board is hosting an open house to present detailed information about this proposed change: 6-7 p.m. Tuesday, June 7 at Culler Middle School, 5201 Vine St. Community members can also go to an LPS online webpage – live June 7 and available through June 28 – offering a place to share comments, or ask questions. Go to: http://lps.org/go/boundaries16 or access the webpage by going to the top of the LPS home page (www.lps) – and use “Boundaries 16” as the keyword.
The Board will consider this proposed attendance area change June 15, and will vote on the issue June 28. Please note LPS would continue the practice of allowing ninth graders to attend the high school of their choice, provided they fill out the necessary paperwork by the mandatory deadline.
2. LPS to host community budget forums – For more information: Liz Standish, email@example.com
Lincoln Public Schools invites the public into the discussion about the preliminary 2016-17 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:
3. Evaluation contract for superintendent – For more information: Eric Weber, firstname.lastname@example.org
LPS Superintendent Steve Joel received high marks from the Lincoln Board of Education in his annual evaluation and contract presented and proposed recently.
Highlights of the evaluation:
“Board members were pleased with Dr. Joel’s work as a strong leader and public face for the district. Observations included that we have received ‘good comments from the public’ regarding Dr. Joel’s positive image, and acknowledged that he is ‘well respected across the community and has many leadership opportunities within a variety of groups.’ Board members also spoke to Dr. Joel’s ability to build strong relationships with the Board and with his staff…Dr. Joel ‘fosters a team spirit’ and embraces the team philosophy of Board and staff working together as a cohesive unit. This strength helps the district to establish goals, prioritize them, and help them come to fruition…Of particular note is Dr. Joel’s belief in providing ‘an education that allows every child to be successful’ and his embodiment of the idea that “all means all.”
The proposed contract for Joel in the 2016-17 school year calls for a base salary of $313,239, a 1.56 percent increase over the previous year. The Board will take a final vote on the contract June 15.
4. Great story of friendship – For more information: Zachary Baehr, email@example.com
Through the kindness of his own heart, Logan Kirk found his way into the heart of senior classmate Kaileb Webber. Logan also discovered a passion, a future career, a friend and a unique ability to communicate with his new friend at Lincoln Northeast High School.
For this sweet story: http://lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=10998
5. LPS Transportation Plan approved – For more information: Liz Standish, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Lincoln Board of Education will provide free transportation to students attending the LPS Science Focus Program (Zoo School) and the Arts and Humanities Focus Program – from high school to the focus programs and back – in approving the LPS transportation plan for 2016-17.
Board member Annie Mumgaard: “This is about accessibility…I believe it is our responsibility to make sure all our kids have access to all our programs….and this is making these programs accessible for all students.”
Board President Don Mayhew said: “We like these programs, they speak to our graduation rate, they are very valuable, I think the transportation part is something integral to the programs and I think is overdue…As we are looking for relief in our existing high schools…bus routes are much cheaper than portables….This is part of a well thought-out, deliberate budgeting process…It will be money well spent.”
The last day of classes for Lincoln Public Schools is Thursday, May 19. Watch the LPS website and LPS social media this week for our popular Final Words videos – interviews with those leaving LPS, including high school seniors and retiring LPS employees. We’ll be having a live online chat the last two days of school this year, inviting folks to send us photos and text from the last couple days of schools. And check out our Q&As with seniors – great stories! Go to: http://home.lps.org/qa/
2. Scottish Rite – For more information: Eric Weber, email@example.com
Susan Prabulos, a computer science teacher at Meadow Lane Elementary School, has won the 2016 Scottish Rite Teacher of the Year honor given annually to a teacher in Lincoln Public Schools. Scottish Rite is one of the most prestigious awards given to an LPS teacher and comes with a cash prize of $3,000. Go to http://lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=10963
3. Saving lives – For more information: Jane Stavem, firstname.lastname@example.org
LPS would add automated external defibrillators (AED) to 20 additional elementary schools if they move forward with submission of a Phase I proposal to the Community Health Endowment for up to $32,500 for the one-time purchase of AED equipment. The Lincoln Board of Education will vote final approval for submission at their May 24 meeting.
Several years ago, LPS worked with the Lancaster County Medical Society and Community Health Endowment to purchase AEDs for all secondary schools. LPS and the Foundation for LPS are working to secure funding to purchase AEDs for the remaining elementary schools and the new Marilyn Moore Middle School. According to Student Services, 596 students within LPS have a known cardiac condition.
4. Woods Park Tennis – For more information: Liz Standish, email@example.com
The Board of Education in May voted a resolution of intent to pre-pay $10,000 per year to the city – for a maximum of 10 years – for use of the Woods Tennis Center to assist with financing of a current renovation project for the Woods tennis facility. The Center is intending to undergo a renovation project to replace the indoor air structures along with other site improvements. LPS has been asked to contribute as a result of its use of the facilities. The Center is an important part of LPS programming and is used by many LPS schools and students for tennis practices, events, tournaments and related activities.
5. Hannah Huston Day Monday – For more information: Mindy Burbach, firstname.lastname@example.org
LPS celebrates Monday, May 16, as “Hannah Huston and LPS: A ‘Voice’ for All!” Hannah Huston is the Arnold Elementary School early childhood teacher who is among the finalists on this season of “The Voice.” Monday evening she will be among eight remaining contestants competing for a spot on the grand finale show. Gov. Pete Ricketts on Friday signed a proclamation designating Monday as Hannah Huston Day in Nebraska.
The Lincoln Public Schools class of 2016 will celebrate graduation ceremonies on Sunday, May 22 – for all six high schools:
The Bryan Community Focus Program will hold graduation ceremonies at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 19, at Lincoln Southwest High School.
Students attending the Lincoln Public Schools Science Focus Program (Zoo School) and the Arts and Humanities Focus Program would be offered free transportation next year – from high school to the focus programs and back – under the proposed LPS transportation plan for 2016-17.
The estimated cost for transportation for students to focus programs would be $34,640. In addition, other proposed transportation increases next year are: adding one bus route to Adams Elementary School; one route for students with special education needs to the new Sally G. Wysong Elementary School; and transportation for Humann Elementary School students to an alternate location while the school is under renovation .
“This is something we’ve hoped for as a Board for a very long time,” Board member Barb Baier noted. “I would encourage anyone…to look at those focus programs as an opportunity for their students now that transportation is available.”
2. Last day, graduation – For more information: Pat Hunter-Pirtle, email@example.com
The final day of classes for Lincoln Public Schools students this year is Thursday, May 19.
The LPS class of 2016 will celebrate graduation ceremonies on Sunday, May 22 – for all six high schools.
The Bryan Community Focus Program will hold graduation ceremonies at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 19, at Lincoln East High School
3. Wellness update – For more information: Michelle Welch, firstname.lastname@example.org
An annual “Wellness Update” for the school year was presented at a recent meeting of the Lincoln Board of Education – underlining general improvements for fitness levels in the school district.
Highlights from the year included:
4. Two more positions announced – For more information: Eric Weber, email@example.com
LPS has announced two positions have been filled: The new director of Transportation and the new curriculum specialist for Social Studies.
5. Senior Q&As – For more information: Zachary Baehr, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lincoln Public Schools is showcasing the variety of students who are graduating from high school this year, the variety of ways in which they are successful, and how their education has positioned them for the future. For senior Q&As go to the front of the LPS website: http://home.lps.org/qa/
Passing into Law by the Conclusion of the Second Session of the 104th Nebraska Legislature
|Bill#||Senator||One Liner from the Legislature||Comments||Result|
|LB710||Hughes||Change provisions relating to hazing||Removed the limitation of the previous law that applies penalties for hazing only to post-secondary situations. This change in law does not apply to school districts, and it does not affect our policy. This provides a tool for law enforcement||Approved by the Governor|
|LB713 into LB956e**||Stinner||State intent relating to appropriations for the Access College Early Scholarship Program||The bill was adopted into the budget (LB956) as an additional annual allocation of $250,000 a year to the ACE Scholarship fund to provide financial support for students who qualify for Free/Reduced Lunch – to take dual-credit and college courses.||Approved by the Governor|
|LB874e**||Murante||Change procedures for filling vacancies on school boards||Aligned the process with other political sub-divisions. The new law allows appointees to open seats on the School Board to serve until the original term expires.||Approved by the Governor|
|LB814||Friesen||Change a requirement for issuance of a school permit||Eliminates the distance requirements for a school permit, so the only determination on whether a student can apply for the permit is whether the trip to school requires going between rural and city environments.||Approved by the Governor|
|LB821||Larson||Workplace Privacy Act||Protects privacy of an individual’s social media accounts from employers, and protects employers from individuals posting private business information on social media accounts without permission.||Approved by the Governor|
|LB876||Murante||Authorize electronic voting devices for public bodies in public meetings||Allows public bodies to use electronic voting devices to record votes. Currently the Lincoln Board of Education uses a voice, roll call voting system.||Approved by the Governor|
|LB889||Mello||Adopt the School Readiness Tax Credit Act||Provides an income tax credit to individuals offering commercial early childhood and early education programs.||Approved by the Governor|
|LB930||Scheer||Change provisions relating to statewide assessments and college admission testing as prescribed.||ACT-type testing for all juniors and eliminates NeSA for high school students. Please see FAQ on lps.org||Approved by the Governor|
|LB959e**||Sullivan||Change and eliminate provisions relating to school funding, budgets, and levy authority||Eliminates minimum levy adjustment and minimum levy requirements for averaging adjustment, and lowers the QCPUF (a special environmental quality levy) to 3 cents. The bill allows all existing projects to be completed, but any new projects must be funded on levies up to, but not exceeding 3 cents.||Approved by the Governor|
|LB1002||Baker||Permit educational service unit boards to pay membership dues to associations of school boards||This allows school district Boards of Education to pay for membership to local and national associations that support the work of Boards using tax dollars.||Approved by the Governor|
|LB1066||Sullivan||Change provisions relating to education||This is the Legislative Education Committee’s technical cleanup bill meant to clarify current law, more than create new laws. 1. A great deal of the bill clarifies that school districts must establish public criteria for reaching program capacity before refusing students from entering the school district through the option enrollment process. 2. The bill asks the Nebraska Department of Education to determine the appropriate definition for textbook for the implementation of Rule 4, which provides funding for textbooks for private schools. 3. The bill provides guidance for school districts choosing to follow the Community Eligibility Provisions system for providing services to schools that have very high percentages of Free/Reduced Lunch qualifying students.||Approved by the Governor|
|LB1067||Sullivan||Change provisions relating to learning communities||Several years ago, the Learning Community was created for Douglas and Sarpy county schools to provide balanced support for all students in the counties by pooling the levy of all districts in the counties. The bill eliminates the common levy that shares these resources, and returns school districts to independent status for state aid beginning in the 2017-2018 school year. The districts are still part of a Learning Community focused on improving student achievement through the Community Action Plan process.||Approved by the Governor|
|LB1074 into LB956e**||Kolowski||Appropriate $1 million to the Nebraska Department of Education to carry out Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO).||An ELO is like a Community Learning Center, but does not offer as full a range of services. The bill was adopted into the budget (LB956) as a one-time appropriation of $250,000 – allocated for grant funds available to ELOs/CLCs in Nebraska.||Approved by the Governor|
|LB1086||Davis||Change provisions relating to student self-management of asthma or anaphylaxis||Expands the approval for self-management of asthma or anaphylaxis from those approved by a physician – to those approved by a physician as well as those approved by other health care professional.||Approved by the Governor|
** e – Bills designated with an “e” indicate that they were passed with an emergency clause.
A bill needs 33 votes rather than a simple majority of 25 votes to pass with an emergency clause. Most bills passed and approved by the governor become law three calendar months after the Legislature adjourns. However, bills may take effect before that date if they contain an emergency clause or a specified operative date.
LB874, 956 took effect immediately after becoming law.
The ninth annual BackPack Extra Mile Walk – held at Lincoln East High School April 18, a partnership initiative of Lincoln Public Schools and the Food Bank of Lincoln – raised more than $145,000 this year and donations are still climbing. That means the annual walk has raised more than $1.3 million since it began – with the goal of “Filling the Fridge” for the children of our community. The BackPack Program provides food-filled backpacks that are sent home each Friday to many LPS families in need.
2. A peek inside new Wysong Elementary – For more information: Liz Standish, email@example.com
Standing in what will be a future kindergarten classroom, local news reporters this April got a first look at the new Sally G. Wysong Elementary School set to open in southeast Lincoln in the fall of 2016.
Quick Facts about the new elementary:
The $20 million Wysong Elementary is funded through the 2014 LPS bond issue, which also financed school additions, renovations, technology and security updates throughout the community, as well as a new middle school (opening fall of 2017) and a renovated facility to house middle school students with behavior issues (opening fall of 2016).
3. Honoring our paras – For more information: Mindy Burbach, firstname.lastname@example.org
Modifying wheelchairs to help students become independent, going with a student to the eye doctor to help him get glasses, helping parents who are overwhelmed get support – these are just some of the amazing stories submitted about our paras at Lincoln Public Schools. Paraeducators Recognition Day happens in April, so LPS took a moment to thank all our paras for the outstanding work they do every day to make a difference in children’s lives. Their stories are featured on the LPS website. Go to: http://lps.org/post/detail.cfm?id=1087
4. The Career Academy – For more information: Dan Hohensee, email@example.com
Applications continue to come into The Career Academy for next school year, with an enrollment to date of more than 400 students for 2016-17. TCA has several more parent meetings scheduled in April so enrollment is expected to continue to rise. The Career Academy is a joint venture between Lincoln Public Schools and Southeast Community College with the goal of providing academic and real world experiences to high school juniors and seniors through high school and dual credit courses in 16 different career pathways
5. Controversial issues – For more information: John Neal, firstname.lastname@example.org
Earlier this month the Lincoln Board of Education discussed changes in several LPS policies including policies related to controversial issues – changes meant to reinforce the purpose of teaching controversial issues, express the importance of working with families, and expressing how the policy applies to unplanned conversations that occur in classrooms. Board members will vote final approval on these proposals at the April 26 Board meeting.
John Neal – assistant to the Superintendent for Administration and Governmental Relations – stressed that this policy only addresses one of many ways the school district communicates with parents. These proposed policy changes:
6. LPS Learning Lunch for April – For more information: Mary Kay Roth, email@example.com
Music will rock the final Lincoln Public Schools Learning Lunch of the school year when we celebrate Live from the Met: Opera Curriculum in our Schools for our April 26 gathering at 12:15 p.m. in the Board Room at LPS District Office, 5905 O St. The program will feature Judy Bush, a teacher from Fredstrom Elementary, and Joni Osborne, a teacher at Lincoln North Star High School – and plenty of music.
Mary Kay Roth
Director of Communications
firstname.lastname@example.org | 402-436-1610
P.O. Box 82889
Lincoln, Nebraska 68501