The traditional open houses offered by Lincoln’s public high schools to help eighth graders decide whether they want to be Spartans or Silver Hawks, Links or Gators, Knights or Rockets will be held virtually this year.
For years, Lincoln Public Schools have had open enrollment in high school, which means students don’t have to attend the school in the attendance area where they live.
And for most of those years, the high schools have held open houses to let students learn about the high schools and decide which ones might be the best fit.
“It’s basically a way to showcase the school,” said Pat Hunter-Pirtle, director of secondary education. “It has two purposes; one is to talk about curriculum and what’s available there, but it’s also to allow kids to see the opportunities.”
Coaches are typically there to talk with students, clubs have tables set up and representatives available, as do other groups — speech and debate, dance clubs, show choirs.
Eighth graders also get tours of the school.
When Hunter-Pirtle was principal at Southeast, the band played outside as students arrived.
The open houses were well-attended — hundreds of students filling the school gymnasiums, often visiting more than one school.
Because of COVID-19 restrictions this year, students will be able to see prerecorded programs that will go live through Jan. 21. They will be available on the school websites, as well as the district site. The LPS site also offers links to the forms to fill out to attend a high school outside a student’s attendance area and a video about ways students can prepare themselves for high school.
The deadline for applying to attend a school outside a student's attendance area is Jan. 31 — and that's a hard-and-fast deadline for three overcrowded schools: Lincoln High, East and North Star.
Students will get much of the same information this year, but it won’t be the same as walking the halls, meeting people face-to-face, seeing what other students are considering that school.
“Given what we’re dealing with, it’s a great opportunity to be able to find out about the school,” Hunter-Pirtle said. “But it won’t be the same as being there.”
Education in an upside-down year: Rough times for seniors
Listening to high school seniors describe how they felt about missing the milestones of their senior year made the early impact of the pandemic very real.
Education in an upside-down year: Stepping away from school
Southeast Principal Brent Toalson’s heartbreaking -- but ultimately hopeful -- decision to retire rather than put his son at risk illustrated the hard decisions many educators faced.
Education in an upside-down year: Learning at home
When schools closed last spring, parents faced the herculean task of working from home, watching their young children and supervising remote learning.
Education in an upside-down year: Shortage of substitutes
As the pandemic wore on, teachers had to juggle new technology, in-person and remote learners -- a job that kept getting harder as a substitute shortage put more stress on teachers and threatened the ability of schools to stay open.
Education in an upside-down year: An outbreak
A fascinating look at a COVID-19 outbreak in an early childhood program that put teachers on edge and illustrated the challenges of tracking the virus.
Reach the writer at 402-473-7226 or email@example.com.
On Twitter @LJSreist