LPS Superintendent's Teacher Advisory Council

Summary of October 26, 2016 Meeting

The first Superintendent’s Teacher Advisory Council of the 2016-17 school year met Wednesday, Oct. 26. The group – formed when LPS Superintendent Steve Joel first came to Lincoln Public Schools – has these goals:

  • To offer a bridge between the Lincoln Public Schools Superintendent and LPS teachers.
  • To provide valuable school district information to Council members.
  • To open up a discussion of challenges, issues, questions and successes in the school district.
  • To give the superintendent a sense of the major issues and concerns in the school district.

LPS Superintendent Steve Joel welcomed everyone to the group Wednesday, thanked them for their time – and encouraged Council members to talk with other educators in their building for questions and feedback from these meetings.

Superintendent Update

Joel talked about the advantages and challenges of working in a growing school district and living in a growing community.  “Businesses are doing well, people are coming to the community…But we have almost 41,000 kids, close to 8,000 employees, 3,200 teachers – and we are definitely not a small school district anymore.”

Quick takes from Superintendent:

  • The LPS Technology plan is moving ahead and going well:  “We’ll be asking you for more feedback in this area…but we recognize this is second-order change and many of you are making a great effort to make that change….Of course we have never said Chromebooks would replace instruction; we have said technology would augment instruction.”
  • The Career Academy enrollment is up by 100-some students with increasing interest. “One criticism we hear about Lincoln is that businesses cannot find an appropriate labor force in Lincoln…and it is incumbent on us to provide that qualified workforce…In part, that’s what The Career Academy is about.”
  • After an audit of LPS Special Education – a dramatically growing area at LPS – Joel said the work has been refined to address how we are supporting the success of “struggling students – how we can achieve better outcomes – how we can avoid having behavior problems impede the educational process.  “We need to make sure we are aligning our resources where they need to go.”
  • One of the themes of the state continues to be “lower property taxes,” Joel said, “and there will be great political pressures on funding in ensuing years…We are faced with how we maintain the integrity of our schools in that kind of environment…At the end of the day, I believe parents in Lincoln appreciate the education their children are getting.”

The Superintendent’s Teacher Advisory Council spent most of the time in the Wednesday meeting participating in a Strategic Planning session.

Joel explained that the Lincoln Board of Education conducted a strategic planning initiative when he first came to LPS, but that the community has grown dramatically and that the time is right for refreshing the school district’s major strategic goals.