Every year, elementary students within Lincoln Public Schools have the opportunity to create a banner that will be displayed throughout the community, a work of art not only meant to highlight students’ creativity but also to shine a light on what makes their school special.
This year, for the first time, students at Don D. Sherrill Education Center are creating a banner. It’s titled “Coco and the Stars,” and it combines a painting of the school’s therapy dog - Coco - with a backdrop of stars - the school mascot.
Coco was the perfect choice to be front and center on the banner, said Don Sherrill art teacher Katie Samson.
“Coco is kind of the center of it all right now. She’s there to serve all the students, kind of like how our staff is there to serve all of the students, even if it’s someone from a different classroom, if you’re a specialist, if you’re a therapist - we’re always there to make sure everyone’s got what they need,” Samson said. “I think Coco encompasses that and the kids really agreed.”
Don Sherrill is a program for elementary-age students who struggle to manage their behaviors at their home school and require more structure and support systems to succeed. There are similar programs for middle school students - Nuernberger Education Center - and high school students - Yankee Hill Education Center. Each education center’s ultimate goal is for students to return to their home school.
Samson has been working with members of Don Sherrill’s student government group to create the “Coco and the Stars” banner. Students are chosen to participate in student government by earning positive ratings for their behavior over a sustained period of time. They’re considered leaders and are asked to assist their classmates in numerous ways.
“It means I can help students succeed and get back to their home schools,” said Landen, one of the student government members who is working on the banner.
Landen and his fellow student government classmates are great examples of the potentially powerful impact of Don Sherrill.
“Often times when they arrive, they’re feeling a little defeated, feeling like they weren’t very successful in their home school environment,” said Don Sherrill psychotherapist Jaime Brooks. “I really notice that when you take a student when they first come here and you are able to watch them through their whole transition to when they graduate, they feel capable, they feel that they have some hope...and they know that they have a whole school of people standing behind them that is proud of them, that knows they can be successful.
“It’s a good place for them to come back to find themselves again.”
The Annual Lincoln Public Schools Traveling Banner Exhibit includes banners created by students from LPS elementary schools. The traveling exhibit starts in March at the Wells Fargo Center in downtown Lincoln, followed by stops at Energy Square, Morrill Hall, Gateway Mall, Lied Center for Performing Arts and Lincoln City Libraries.
Published: January 8, 2019, Updated: February 21, 2019