What do you think has changed the most about the school environment in Lincoln?

The Cardinal Times asked the staff who have been at Lincoln for a decade or more, this question. These are their responses:

Jim Peerenboom:

For me, it’s a tie between technology and anxiety. 

Technology: About 20 years ago I had a field trip where a bus broke down—only 5 students on that bus of 50 had a cell phone to call home (and I did not have one at the time either). People’s ability to communicate through phones/social media etc has had a significant effect on students and the environment. Teachers are expected to stay current with new technology yet often are not trained properly.

Anxiety: In the last 10 or so years I have noticed a significant rise in the number of students and staff who suffer from anxiety/depression. Key ways I’ve seen it manifest is students crying in the hall (even when there’s a large number of people in the hall), students unable to complete work or even make it to class, and teachers frustrated with their work-load/what is expected of them within a single workday or workweek.

Lilly Windle:

The biggest change I have seen in schools in the last 10 years has been the exposure to technology and immediate information. Technology has changed the way we view learning and connection to humanity. I don’t think these things are unique to Lincoln but are more widespread.

Chuck Slusher:

For me, the biggest change in the environment is the growth of student voice. Students have more freedom and agency to voice their needs and feelings. This is a positive change as students should be at the center of the school and, thus, should have the greatest voice. The only drawback to this is, as we have transitioned to this new environment, students are still learning how to use this freedom in a positive and responsible way. 

Barbara Brown:

I started teaching here in 2002, so of course have seen many changes. Among things that are very different are the schedule. When I first came it was a modified block. Kids took six classes that met 4 times a week – three short classes (MTF) and one block class (Wed & Thurs). There was an end of the day flex every day but Friday. Another huge change is the level of stress and anxiety that plague so many students and so profoundly. The teen years are always hard, but they seem to be getting a lot harder for many. But one of the biggest- and to me, most unfortunate changes- is the loss of racial and cultural diversity that was so much more a part of Lincoln when I came. There are doubtless many factors at work, including overcrowding of our campus, district transfer policies, lack of affordable housing and gentrification. Nevertheless, I think a lot of us miss the chance we had to teach and learn in a more diverse community.

Mary Johnson:

Students have more knowledge about the global world and also how they as individuals impact the world.

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