Department News

Equity in the Classrooms training series begins Oct. 26
Are you looking for ways to integrate equity tools in your work with students? Compass 4 Kids is a five-part series that will engage, deepen and sustain conversations and learning around using The Compass with students.

Elementary building teams are invited to apply to Cohort I, which begins Monday, Oct. 26.

Please apply by Wednesday, Oct. 21. One in-service credit is available upon completion of the course. If you have questions, contact the Multicultural Resource Center at mrc@spps.org or by phone at 651-744-2635.

Applications for Educational Benefits/Free or Reduced Price Meals due Oct. 21
Students who are not directly certified for free lunches or haven’t submitted a complete application for Educational Benefits/Free or Reduced Price Meals this school year will change to Full Pay status on Wednesday, Oct. 21. This may result in negative account balances at non-Community Eligibility Provision (non-CEP) schools.

Even though students who attend CEP schools receive lunch at no charge, it is still critical that applications for Educational Benefits/Free or Reduced Price Meals are completed and submitted as these applications also are used to determine Compensatory Revenue.

To date, more than 18,800 students have been directly certified for free meals. In addition, Nutrition Services has processed more than 6,000 applications.

Parents can complete applications online at https://mealapp.spps.org/ or submit a paper copy. If your main office needs additional paper copies, you can request them from your Nutrition Services Cafeteria Supervisor. Reports and labels of students that are not directly certified, and do not have a completed application on file, can be run in Campus.

If you are eligible to use the Free and Reduced website, you will see a FRAM link on the left side of the Campus home screen. Under FRAM, click on “Elig Reports & Labels.” Eligibility statuses of TF (temporary free), TR (temporary reduced), TP (temporary paid) and N (current application needed) means that the student is NOT directly certified and Nutrition Services has NOT received an application for that student yet.

As a reminder, students enrolled in your school who complete applications through early December will be included in the final December MARSS report submitted to MDE, which will be used to calculate Compensatory Revenue amounts for your school for the 2016-2017 school year.

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 take 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.

Staff: Attend pre-retirement seminars in October
If you’re considering retirement, SPPS Human Resources is sponsoring a series of pre-retirement seminars in October.

The seminars consist of five different sessions listed at the following link:

These seminars are open to all employees and their spouses; however, space is limited and reservations will be taken in the order they are received. Email megan.jonessarko@spps.org to reserve a spot at one or all of the seminars.

Please indicate your name, if a spouse will be attending, employee ID, title and dates you wish to attend. Phone reservations will not be accepted. You will receive a confirmation email with your reservation. Phone reservations will not be accepted.

PDExpress Building Contact Trainings announced
If you have been designated as your school’s PDExpress contact, there will be training this week. 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:

  • 7:30-8:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 8, at 345 Plato in Training Room II
  • 4-5p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8, 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 Innocent Classroom?
In 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 nicole.bates@spps.org or Michelle Bierman at michelle.bierman@spps.org to register for this cohort or for more information.

SPPS to Host Honeycomb Technologies to support Chinese students with disabilities
SPPS will host Honeycomb Technologies, a group that works closely with a Chinese government agency to support students with disabilities.

Honeycomb Technologies is a Chinese distributor of assistive technology solutions developed and provided by a local company, AbleNet. The China Disabled Person’s Federation has requested that Honeycomb Technologies visit schools in the United States to observe how U.S. students with disabilities benefit from the use of assistive technology in the classroom and school community.

On Oct. 5, Honeycomb Technologies will visit Bridge View and Focus Beyond to observe how these schools use Ablenet. The goal of the visit is to bring that knowledge back to China to share and help their country better support Chinese students with disabilities.

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 and the Extended Day Learning registration forms have been delivered to all elementary schools, with translations available to copy as needed.

Questions about the EDL Instrumental Music Program may be directed to Robin Lorenzen at 651-744-4019 or robin.lorenzen@spps.org. For more information, visit the EDL website.

Monthly Health Observance: Avoid colds and the flu
It is easy to get sick. By following a few simple guidelines, you can limit your exposure and stay well this winter. Take steps to avoid colds and the flu.

Online coaching for stress management
Virtual coaching on HealthPartners.com/wellbeing offers you the option to learn about and manage your stress. The program consists of three online sessions that will help you learn more about how stress is affecting you and provide guidance on developing techniques to manage your stress.

If you complete all three sessions by Friday, Oct. 23, this will count as your wellness program for your 2016 Health Care Savings.