The GIPS Cast

The GIPS Cast

The official podcast of Grand Island Public Schools in Nebraska. The GIPS Cast is a conversation-based podcast exploring the world of public education thru the voices of one of Nebraska’s largest, most diverse school districts. #WeAreGIPS


February 20, 2024 48 mins
Please note this episode contains discussion about depression, suicide, and seeking support for those struggles.


Wellness matters.

Dr. Summer Stephens, GIPS Associate Supt., and Rebecca Duran Meyer, Elementary School Social Worker, join The GIPS Cast hoping to break the stigma surrounding mental health and wellness. Whether it's breaking down barriers of access to support, or simply stepping-up to be a trusted adult...
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"What is the best way to help our students grow and how can we best ensure student success?"

Matt Fisher, GIPS Superintendent, was invited to speak at the annual State of the City event held on February 9th, 2024.

He shared insights into the growing academic performance across our schools, a budget reduction snapshot, and updates on the newly relaunched Academies of Grand Island Senior High.

We're pleased to share Mr. Fisher's full m...
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Success is defined by finding your passion and pursuing it.

Angel Velasco (GISH Class of 2015), joins the "The GIPS Cast" to share how Career Technical Education changed his life. Along the way, he speaks about the importance of finding construction opportunities in high school, how two teachers saw his potential, and how cool it is seeing the community enjoy his work in downtown Grand Island.

Because there's a lot to be proud of wh...
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More than just achievement — it's about something bigger.

Sage McCallum (GISH Class of 2022), Sophomore & Midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy, joins the "The GIPS Cast" to share her story of blazing new trails. Along the way, she salutes teachers who changed her life, speaks to her commitment to service, and vision for the future of life in the Navy after college.

Because it takes a village to help you reach your goals.

GUEST: ...
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Teaching, Learning, and Leading.

Bianca Ayala (GISH Class of 2005), Principal at Gates Elementary, sits down with "The GIPS Cast" to share her journey of classroom EL teacher to school Principal in the public school district that raised her. Along the way, she shares her passion for student advocacy, her experiences working with student immigrants, and why public education matters.

Because every single student deserves access to ed...
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How do you unlock creativity and critical thinking? Poetry might be the answer.

Every year 5th Graders across the district explore a Poetry Unit as part of our English Language Arts Curriculum. And it’s really cool to see our students explore poetry — many of them for the first time.

At Stolley Park Elementary, they take it to another level.

For three years running now, the 5th Grade classes at Stolley Park host a Poetry Night. Famili...
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November 21, 2023 31 mins
How do you build champions for life? By raising expectations.

Jeff Tomlin, GISH Football Head Coach, sits down with "The GIPS Cast" to share his mission for inspiring student athletes. With over 30 years of coaching and education under his belt, he knows what it takes to build a team and it starts by choosing not to focus on wins and losses. As Coach T. puts it, "We're building young men, not just playing football". Anyone that's go...
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How do you change the world for the better?... One student at a time.

Abel Covarrubias (GISH Class of 2010), Director of the Nebraska College Preparatory Academy through UNL, sits down with "The GIPS Cast" to share how his time at Grand Island Senior High changed his trajectory. Along the way, he shares his experiences as an early cohort member in NCPA at GISH, what inspiring first generation university students looks like, and why ...
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Students are capable of great things... all through the power of words.

Joaquin Zihuatanejo, Dallas Poet Laureate & Educator, shares why he wanted to visit Grand Island Senior High to inspire students to find their voice through pursuing college. Amber High and Shalee Lindsey, GIPS GearUp program, join the conversation to unpack what it means to show-up every day and help high school students see everything they could be. And th...
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Budget season is here!

Matt Fisher, GIPS Superintendent, and Virgil Harden, GIPS CFO, unpack the notable updates and historic developments with the 2023-24 district budget. Along the way, they discuss the district's first lowering of the tax levy in over twenty years, why maintaining staffing support is important, and how the district will be strategic in spending going forward.

Because it's about spending only what is necessary to ...
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Teaching is an adventure.

Jessica Whitmire, GISH Financial Management Pathway Teacher, shares her unconventional story of how she ended-up in the classroom with a bunch of teenagers. Along the way, she emphasizes the importance of seeing every student, why classroom creativity matters, and what it's like to be honored as a teacher of the year.

Because the best teachers are the ones that connect with their students.

GUEST: Jessica W...
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It's all about the "why".

The 2023-24 school year has arrived and we're hitting the ground running and welcoming students and families back into our schools.

One thing we do at Grand Island Public Schools is we pick a theme for each school year. A phrase that helps set the stage for our 1,500+ staff to confidently step into another school year ready to engage our students as they learn, discover, and grow.

This year’s theme is: “Our ...
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Every student deserves to feel like they belong at school.

Mrs. Selena Valentine, Principal at Starr Elementary School, joins the "The GIPS Cast" to share why public schools are a place where everyone is welcome. Along the way, she shares how her counseling background fuels her approach to education, what supporting teachers actually looks like, and why it's important to celebrate students.

Because public education shapes both today...
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For many students, high school is about finding your voice and discovering your passion.

Jackie Ruiz-Rodriguez, GISH Class of 2023, joins the "The GIPS Cast" to talk about how she found herself exploring student journalism almost by chance. Along the way, she shares how she found her voice through writing, why everyone deserves to have their story told, and how she balanced writing for the Senior High newspaper, city newspaper, and...
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Creative expression can be a meaningful thing for a student.

You’re going to hear from four Grand Island Senior High students. Specifically, student poets.

Jayson, Analee, P.J., & Marissa

These four high school students have discovered the power of poetry. Through the Senior High Poetry Club and other opportunities like our GearUp program’s annual poetry slam – these students have found their voice.

You’re going to hear their words...
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Investing in the next generation of leaders means providing opportunities.

Mrs. Tamisha Rose-Osgood, Stolley Park Elementary, and Mrs. Tausha Jones, Wasmer Elementary, join the "The GIPS Cast" to share their expereinces with the Tri-City ASCEND school leadership training program. Along the way, both Tamisha & Tausha share the philosophies of school leadership; the underrated impact of everyday decision making; and why relations...
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Why public education? Because there's meaning in the good work.

Mr. Matt Fisher, GIPS Interim Superintendent, joins the "The GIPS Cast" to dive deep into where the district is headed and the state of public schools across the country. Along the way, he shares the "how" of GIPS is found in its people; why building trust is vital; and how our staff, students, and community can work together to elevate public education above the politi...
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Why entrepreneurship?... Because you can make pretty much anything!

Mr. Adam Zlomke, Entrepreneurship Pathway Teacher at Grand Island Senior High, joins the "The GIPS Cast" to share how creativity fuels both his students and his teaching. Along the way, he unpacks the innovative approach of IncubatorEDU, some of the unique ways his students are aiming to solve problems in the world, and why investing in high school students is abou...
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Why is literacy important? Because it's everything.

Dr. Brittney Bills, GIPS K-5 ELA Curriculum Coordinator, and Mrs. Brianna Nelson, Gates Elementary 2nd Grade Teacher, join the "The GIPS Cast" to chat about literacy and how it shapes the lives of our students. Along the way, they unpack the difference between reading and literacy; how literacy curriculum contributes to all subject matter learning; and why students deserve to drea...
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Summer learning [and summer fun] has never looked like this before.

Miss Bianca Ayala, Barr Middle School EL Teacher, and Miss Hannah Luber, Starr Elementary 2nd Grade Teacher, join the "The GIPS Cast" to share excitment for the upcoming Power Camp Summer 2023. Along the way they share what Power Camp looks like for 2nd - 5th Graders, the fun hands-on learning opportunities they'll experience, why investing in students brings them b...
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