Department News

Annual Open Enrollment dates announced
Open Enrollment for benefits will be Friday, Oct. 23, through Friday, Nov. 6, 2015 for the 2016 plan year. The benefits 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.

PDExpress Building Contact Trainings announced
If you have been designated as your school’s PDExpress contact, there will be trainings offered in October. You only need to attend one session.

Register on PDExpress for the session you plan to attend. This course is titled OTL: PDExpress for Building Contacts and the course ID is OTL200.

The dates, times, and locations of these trainings are:

  • Thursday, Oct. 1 from 8-9 a.m. at 345 Plato in Training Room II
  • Thursday, Oct. 1 from 3-4 p.m. at 360 Colborne in Conference Room B
  • Thursday, Oct. 8 from 7:30-8:30 a.m. at 345 Plato in Training Room II
  • Thursday, Oct. 8 from 4-5p.m. at 345 Plato in Training Room II

Racial equity training opportunity for instructional staff
The Office of Equity is offering two Innocent Classroom Cohorts for SPPS staff.
Priority is given to school teams and participants who work with students daily in a classroom setting.

  • Cohort II is available for up to 40 secondary staff members. This session is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8. Substitutes are paid by the Office of Equity. Read additional information about Cohort II.
  • Cohort III is available for up to 40 elementary staff members. This session begins Tuesday, Oct. 6 with a four-hour immersion session from 4-8 p.m. The remaining five sessions are two hours each. Clock hours will be given and an option for in-service hours is available. Read more information about Cohort III.

What is the Innocent Classroom?
In the Innocent Classroom workshops, teachers and staff come to understand the way society has burdened our children - especially children of color - with the weight of low expectations, stereotypes and negative narratives. The Innocent Classroom provides solutions and responses to this reality.

In the workshops, educators learn how to overcome the barriers that interfere with their capacity to establish strong, productive relationships with the children they teach. It is a training that creates a unique and transformative approach to each child in the classroom. It is not designed as a cultural-proficiency program, but as a relationship-training program that will increase educators’ ability to form intentional and authentic relationships with every child in their classroom, resulting in an environment that leads to increased engagement.

If you are interested, please sign up now, because space is limited. Contact Nicole Bates at or Michelle Bierman at to register for this cohort or for more information.

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.

Applications being accepted for Extended Day Learning Instrumental Music Program
Applications are currently being accepted through the Human Resources website for Extended Day Learning (EDL) Instrumental Music teachers and instructors.

EDL Instrumental Music provides instrumental music instruction to fourth- and fifth-grade students at all elementary schools and students in grades 4-8 at K-8 schools.

The Instrumental Music registration forms have been delivered along with the Extended Day Learning registration forms to all elementary schools with translations available to copy as needed.

If you have questions about the EDL Instrumental Music Program may be directed to Robin Lorenzen at 651-744-4019 or by email at

For more information, visit the EDL website.

Federal report highlights White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics recently released a report, a set of data plans and federal commitments in an effort to strengthen the link between the federal government and the nation’s Hispanic communities.

These three initiatives are the result of efforts by the Federal Interagency Working Group on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, which is comprised of senior officials from 29 federal agencies and White House offices.

About the Federal Agency Investing in Hispanic Education Report

  • This report features a sampling of programs, grants and/or initiatives that support and invest in the educational attainment and improved life outcomes of all students, including Hispanics.
  • View the report here.

About the Federal Agency Data Plans

  • These plans outline the funding provided, and efforts led, by federal agencies that made information and resources available and accessible, supported activities, and investments made that have benefitted all students, including Hispanics, in key priority educational areas: early learning, family engagement, college access, STEM education, Latino teacher recruitment and postsecondary education.
  • View the data plans here.

About the Federal Agency Commitments to Action

  • These commitments to action are “concrete investments” made by 10 federal agencies that will invest in increasing educational outcomes and opportunities for the Hispanic community.
  • View the commitments to action here.

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. 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 Technology Magnet
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