We began the 2017-18 school year with a visit from U.S. Secretary Betsy DeVos, and closed the year this past weekend with successful graduation ceremonies at all six high schools. Today we can finally breathe easier, reflect on what was another excellent year at Lincoln Public Schools and start looking ahead to 2018-19.
The completion of the renewed LPS Strategic Plan will give us a road map for the next 3-5 years as we continue to improve on the educational outcomes for students and staff – with plenty of cutting edge opportunities. Although 18 percent of the 21st century is already behind us, we (and most school districts across the country) continue to focus on the “21st century” skills necessary for students to be prepared for their futures. In the next year, we will roll out even more “project based learning” experiences.
The work of the LPS High School Task Force over the past year has now set the stage for significant planning by the Lincoln Board of Education to address what the Task Force recommended: building a seventh traditional high school that would house around 2,000 students. I anticipate a great deal of discussion regarding exact number, size and location for that high school. I also anticipate excitement over our continued research into additional focus- or theme-based high school programs with the potential for increasing student engagement around future careers. We have had some interest expressed in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math), Agriculture, Performing Arts and Dual Language.
As we move into the fall, we will begin formation of the Superintendent’s Facility Task Force (SFAC), a group of LPS and community citizens who will research and consider our school district’s future building needs. Growing more than 4,000 new students in the last five years (and more to come based on community growth patterns), the Task Force will consider the entire K-12 landscape and make recommendations on next steps to me and the Board of Education. This is a broad-based group – with representation from across Lincoln – that has been essential for LPS over the last few decades. If you have an interest in serving, please contact the superintendent’s office.
We also would like to remind you that our school district is open to any and all questions, concerns or suggestions through an online service called, “Connect Now” located on our website at https://www.lps.org/connect/now/ . Traffic on this site has grown, but our average response time only runs about 24 hours as we remain transparent and convenient to our stakeholders.
These days the months of June and July seem to go by very quickly for our school district. Please have a safe and enjoyable summer. We look forward to 2018-19.