Say What? Annual Workshop


“Say What” is a Lincoln Public Schools Communication Festival-featuring a roster of LPS presenters-offering a broad variety of tips and suggestions to improve, modify, create communications and engagement efforts in our schools and departments. This year’s sessions include: Communicating through a crisis, communicating through generational differences, dealing with our critics, podcasting, team building, branding, political messaging and plenty more.

Join us on Friday, June 21, from 7:30 a.m. to noon at the Lincoln Public Schools District Office (5905 O Street).

How to Register

Lincoln Public Schools staff can register here. Attend all of the sessions, some of the sessions, or one of the sessions that interest you! If you are an LPS staff member, please register on Performance Matters. Non-LPS attendees can send your rsvp to Julie Dansky at

2019 Evaluation Survey

2019 Schedule

Registration and Refreshments (7:30 to 8:30 a.m.)

*Front Lobby all morning: Graphics Department Kiosk
Stop by anytime to see a sample of what the LPS Graphics Department can do for you! We’ll have examples, handouts and will be available to answer any questions you may have. Plus, we’ll be by the refreshments, so that’s another good reason to stop by!

Welcome and Introductions (8:30 to 9:00 a.m.)

  • Steve Joel, Superintendent of Lincoln Public Schools
  • Doug Dickeson: Bloopers
  • Mary Kay Roth: Welcome and directions

Session 1
Presentations (9:10 to 9:45 a.m.)

Joe Wright, Mary Kay Roth and Brenda Leggiadro

LOCATION: Board Room

Another school year, another list of calamities and predicaments, another year of essential emergency communication. Let’s have some fun remembering back over a year of successful crisis communications (and perhaps a couple that didn’t quite work).  

Tim Hahn

LOCATION: Room 101

There are so many ways to share web content online that it can be confusing. We have two specific strategies in LPS for doing so – LPS Profile and Synergy LMS Pages. We expect all district staff to enter information in the LPS Profile to attain an LPS presence for their role in the district. This LPS Profile page serves as your LPS business card of sorts. If teachers also have sections of students in Synergy, having an LMS Page connected to each section is important for consistent communication to students and families. This session will demonstrate each platform and explain the ‘why’ around the ‘where’.

Mindy Burbach, Caitlin Lukin and Brian Fitzgerald (on the road in Scottsbluff)

LOCATION: Conference Room C/Lower Level

Grocery stores, weight rooms, gyms, sports field and on the road … everywhere you look people are plugged in to their podcasts! How can you tap into this trend and share beneficial information with the masses? Our communications team will share their tips and tricks on equipment and content. To demonstrate just how mobile you can be with production, Brian will be joining us on the road during Tour De Nebraska in Scottsbluff.

Session 2
Presentations (9:55 to 10:30 a.m.)

Kay Byers, Nicole Regan and Robbie Seybert

LOCATION: Conference Room C/Lower Level

Understanding the intricacies and key differences among generations is important as we navigate an ever changing economic and political landscape.  Come hear what motivates and drives the three largest generations in today‘s workforce.  Presented from the unique and entertaining perspective of Kay Byers (Boomers), Nicole Regan (Gen Xes) and Robbie Seybert (Millennials).

Mary Kay Roth, Mindy Burbach, Jason Keese

LOCATION: Room 101

When you have a great story to share (or a negative story to defuse) – unraveling the mystery of finding the right communications platforms (web, social media, video, podcast, news media).  We offer several school/department stories and the many ways we spread the word.  

Brenda Leggiadro, Ursula Vernon-Hansen

LOCATION: Boardroom

Dealing with the death of a staff member or student – may be one of the most difficult moments in the life of a school and surely one of the most challenging times to communicate.  We’ll help you chart your course during this difficult time in communicating with students, families and staff members – in understanding our guidelines related to memorials and memorial services – and in dealing with news media.

Session 3
Presentations (10:40 to 11:15 a.m.)

John Neal  

LOCATION: Board Room

Political activity is an important and essential responsibility of all citizens, but complications arise when those citizens are employees or students of a public school system.  Having and communicating clear guidelines for political activity and speech can help employees and students be confident in their actions and avoid political complications.  This session will talk about common issues that arise from the mix of politics, schools and work place and will provide practical guidelines and sample language that can be shared with staff and the community. 

Chris Warner, Mindy Burbach, Kathleen Dering, Sam Bash

LOCATION: Room 101

A brand is more than just your logo or motto.  It is also about the perception your school creates in the minds of your students, parents and neighborhood when they see your name and logo.  Every school has a story, and everyone who comes in contact with your school comes away with that story. So what story does your school tell?  Learn ways to keep your image consistent so your brand can be immediately recognizable. We’ll give you some quick fix ideas as well as some long-term goals to solidify your school’s brand in-house and in our community.

Lisa Hopkins and Olivia Rejda

LOCATION: Conference Room C/Lower Level

The portal for parents and students to access our student information system is called ParentVUE/StudentVUE. It is the gateway to school information such as teacher emails, current grades, attendance, upcoming assignments and class websites. New this year, custodial parents/guardians with a ParentVUE account will be able to update student records using the Online Registration module. The former census form is replaced with this new feature. Lincoln Public Schools believes in the partnership between home and school to maximize student success. It is important for all of us to be aware of what is available through the portal and how to encourage and support families in using it. This session will highlight features of the portal and the process parents use to acquire an account.

Session 4
Gold Mine Sessions (11:25 a.m. to noon)

We offer two discussion sessions with a facilitator – no presenter – to give conference participants an opportunity to talk among themselves and discover a “gold mine” of information from one another.

Facilitators: Jason Keese, Joshua Genrich
Recorder: Mary Kay Roth

LOCATION: Board Room

Effective internal communication helps empower all members of the school, department or organization and ensure they are working collaboratively towards a common goal. Let’s talk through how your schools and departments tackle internal communications.  How do you build a team? How do you boost morale?

Facilitator: Mindy Burbach
Recorder: Caitlin Lukin

LOCATION: Conference Room C/Lower Level

Social media and other digital communications allow us to find out in real time when a crisis – real or perceived – is at hand. The downpour of negative messages can be overwhelming, and misinformation can flood the community before you have a chance to get the facts. When should you sound the alarms or head to the shelter and hope it passes? What are the best plans to help you weather the threatening storm?