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LINCOLN -- Lincoln Consolidated School District provided its annual Report to the Public in a different fashion this year because of covid-19 concerns.

In past years, school principals and other administrators would share about each building face to face with the board and any other members of the public who attended the meeting.

This year, the board is meeting each month through the Zoom video app, with some members on site for meetings and others attending virtually.

For the 2020 Annual Report to the Public, each principal pre-recorded their report and the videos were shown at the Dec. 14 School Board meeting.

Mary Ann Spears, superintendent of schools, opened the meeting saying how proud she is of the district's team this year.

"They've done amazing things in our buildings and met our kids where they are," Spears said.

The district's goals have remained consistent this year as schools have used on-site classes, blended instruction and totally virtual instruction because of covid-19, Spears said.

Goals for the district include a safe, nurturing and positive learning environment; personalized learning paths; highly trained staff; collaborative community relationships; and fiscal stability.

"We're really concentrating on personalized learning paths," Spears said.

A snapshot of the 2020-21 school year shows Lincoln schools have an enrollment of 1,010 students for kindergarten-12th grade.

The district has 42 pre-kindergarten students, 87 certified staff, 46 classified staff and four teachers who are National Board Certified. The district's average teacher's salary is $45,640.

A breakdown of the student population shows 18% are enrolled in special education services; 10% are involved with the gifted and talented program; 7% are English Second Language learners; 71% qualify for free and reduced meal program; 31 students are classified with a homeless status.

Spears said the number of students classified as homeless has increased from 19 last year to 31 this year. She said she attributes the increase to the effects of the pandemic.

For the 2020-21 school year, all meals served under the National School Breakfast and Lunch Program are free to all students, regardless of income.

The food nutrition department served about 205,000 meals while schools were closed during the pandemic.

In addition, Lincoln is providing a free dinner program for children 18 years and younger. Since August, this program has served almost 3,000 meals.

For technology, the district has added 200 new Chromebooks to replace old devices and 100 laptops for high performance needs. It also has added 90 hotspots to help those in need and installed additional outdoor wireless kits to offer reliable internet access.

The district has 22 buses in its fleet and reduced the routes from 10 to nine this year. Buses have new radios to help with GPS tracking and to reduce the number of deadspots.

Students have continued to participate in sports during the pandemic, said Deon Birkes, athletic director. This year, more than 175 students in grades seventh-12th have participated in fall sports.

Other highlights from the Annual Report:

Lincoln Elementary

For 2020-21, the elementary school has 240 students on-site and 61 students attending school virtually, with two teachers assigned for the virtual students, according to Principal Tracy Birkes.

The school has one-to-one computers for all students in kindergarten-third grade. All teachers have been trained in the RISE reading initiative or are in the process of being trained.

The school is distributing more than 80 snackpacks weekly for students to take home over the weekend. School-wide events in the fall included an Apple Festival and Fall Festival.

The elementary's plan for growth includes character education, a monthly celebration to highlight school and student success, training staff in new online programs and weekly meetings among professional learning communities to foster collaboration and evaluate data.

Lincoln Middle School

The middle school's vision is to "empower all to find their voice, their purpose and their why."

The school's beliefs:

• School should be a safe place where kids can explore and develop their own talents.

• Life skills, citizenship, character, socialization, and respect are important for kids' future success.

• All teaching and learning should have a purpose for each individual student.

The middle school has 62 virtual students in grades 4-8 and 310 students on-site. The school developed a separate website to support its virtual students.

"We're really proud of that website," Principal Michele Price told board members.

Price said testing at the beginning of the year enabled the school to determine students' needs and to then help them grow from that level. Future assessments will be used to set teacher and student goals for each year, Price said.

The middle school's 2020-21 goals are to increase students' level of proficiency in reading and math and for teachers to actively seek a knowledge of their students so as to highly intellectually engage students.

Lincoln High School

The high school has 96 students enrolled in virtual instruction and 254 students attending school on-site, according to the annual report.

The school's mission, which was developed through collaboration from both staff and students, is to continue to "build a culture full of pride in who we are, dedication to what we do, and resilience to not just make it through, but to thrive during our time together."

High school Principal Stan Karber said the staff has gone "above and beyond" to ensure that all needs for both virtual and on campus students are being met.

"They have dedicated themselves towards the pursuit of meeting all emotional, physical, and educational needs of our students," Karber said.

The high school has started "Mentor Fridays," and every student has a mentor teacher.

"We've tried to increase and improve communication in the building," Karber said.

In addition, the school has two virtual math and English teachers for students to use as a resource for their classes. So far, Karber said, that has been a "really good success" for the virtual students.

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