Department News

Annual Open Enrollment dates announced
Open Enrollment for benefits will be held Friday, Oct. 23, through Friday, Nov. 6, 2015 for the 2016 plan year, which will be in effect Jan. 1, 2016.

Visit with benefit vendors and have your questions answered during the second annual Health Fair from 3-6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 22, at 360 Colborne.

More information about this year’s open enrollment and 2016 benefits will be available in the coming weeks in The Bridge.

New deadline for Pcard statements
Starting with the Oct. 15 Pcard statement, all statements will be due by the 25th of the month. Employees who do not turn in their statements with attached original receipts by the 25th will have their card suspended.

If you cannot turn in statements on time (for example, because you’re on vacation), email Peggy Cihlar at or Janet Yannerelly at Please note, if you send your statement via interoffice mail, it can take about two weeks to reach the Business Office.

Technology Services Service Desk reduced hours
Due to staff changes, the SPPS Service Desk will operate 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., closing 30 minutes earlier than the previous hours, until further notice.

Personalized Learning PD is back and better than ever
Back in your classroom and looking for more ways to incorporate iPads into your lessons? Take advantage of Thursday iPad Cafes and core apps classes offered year-round by Personalized Learning. Learn from other teachers how they are using the devices, or take classes from the Apple experts on apps like iMovie, GarageBand, iBooks Author, Pages and more!

Stay informed with Multilingual Learning newsletter
The September issue of the Office of Multilingual Learning newsletter is now available.

Take advantage of 2016 health care savings
By participating in the 2015 Wellness Initiative you can save hundreds of dollars on your 2016 Health Care Savings. The deadline for completion is Friday, Oct. 23.

Staff and their covered spouse need to complete the two requirements of the wellness initiative:

  1. Health Assessment: You and your covered spouse must both complete the online health assessment at
  2. Wellness Program: A program must be completed by the deadline. As the deadline approaches the program options will become more limited. View Wellness Programs for more information.

By completing these steps you can save hundreds on your Health Care costs in 2016, for specific amounts, click here.

Free on-site yoga courses at Battle Creek Elementary and Washington Tech
Take advantage of free, on-site yoga this fall at Battle Creek Elementary and Washington Technology Magnet. The three-class series is led by a Saint Paul yoga company. During the sessions you’ll:

  • Explore mindfulness, self-reflection and intention-setting through yoga-based movement
  • Discover breathing techniques to lower heart rate, reduce stress and increase lung capacity
  • Use yoga-based movement to deepen your connection to yourself, while increasing your strength, flexibility and stamina

No yoga experience or special equipment is necessary. Each class builds on your learning from the previous class. Last year, staff who attended classes enjoyed the teaching style of their instructor, and more than 90 percent continue to use techniques they learned in class to help manage stress.

Attending all three classes in a series this October will count as a Wellness Program in 2015, which will work towards healthcare savings in 2016. Click on your desired location below to reserve your spot today.

October series at Battle Creek Elementary- gymnasium
Class one: 4-5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 5
Class two: 4-5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 12
Class three: 4-5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19

October series at Washington Technology Magnet- room 2120
Class one: 4:30-5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7
Class two: 4:30-5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14
Class three: 4:30-5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21

Learn about Islamic Feast of Sacrifice, Eid Al Ad-ha, on Sept. 24-25
The Islamic Feast of Sacrifice, Eid Al Ad-ha, will be celebrated on Thursday, Sept. 24 and Friday, Sept. 25.

This major Islamic Holiday occurs during Hajj, also known as the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. The pilgrimage is one of the five pillars of Islam and more than 3 million Muslims gather there annually.

What you should know:

  • Muslim students may be absent from school on Thursday, Sept. 24. Like all religious holidays, this is considered an excused absence for families who follow school reporting procedures.
  • The community gathers in mosques, convention centers, and open arenas to celebrate the Eid. There is usually a huge gathering that begins with prayer and sermon followed by public greetings and good wishes.
  • The common greeting is to say Eid Mubarak or Blessed Eid.
  • Families shop for the holiday.
  • Friends and family eat breakfast together at home or in restaurants.
  • Children receive gifts and treats from adults.
  • Many families and children spend the day at amusement parks, such as the Mall of America.
  • Some students might decorate their hands with henna.

If you have questions, please contact Mohamed Hadi, Somali Cultural Specialist at the Office of Family Engagement and Community Partnerships, at 651-744-8299.