Department news

MinnPost highlights race, equity work at Como Park Elementary

A message from Office of Equity Director Michelle Bierman:
I am always pleasantly surprised by how much school districts across the country know about our equity work at Saint Paul Public Schools. Como Park Elementary School was recently highlighted by the online publication MinnPost for the racial equity work that Como elementary staff is accomplishing every day.

SPPS is seen as a national leader in equity. While it’s great to be recognized nationally, it’s even better for us to recognize the work we’re doing in our city and for our students.

Teachers throughout SPPS are teaching and reaching students in new ways. As a community of schools, we are getting better at reflecting our students’ rich cultural and racial experiences.

We still have a lot of work to do; however, I’m inspired by the ongoing progress at schools like Como elementary. I will be checking in throughout the year, highlighting the great equity work led by staff in our schools.

2016 Online Open Enrollment system now available
The annual open enrollment period began Oct. 23 and runs through Friday, Nov. 6. During this time, you can enroll in and/or change your 2016 benefits coverage elections.

To enroll:

  • At work or home go to payroll.spps.org and click on Employee Self Service, then:
  • Enter your User ID, which is your six digit employee ID
  • Enter your PeopleSoft password
  • Click on Main Menu > Self Service > Benefits > Benefits Enrollment

For complete enrollment instructions, visit hr.spps.org > Employee Benefits > Open Enrollment.

If you would like additional help:

  • Visit the Employee Benefits website for Open Enrollment
  • Call the Benefits Hotline at 651-744-1030 Monday through Friday, Oct. 23 - Nov. 4, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and on Nov. 5 - 6 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Email Benefits at benefits@spps.org

New Vision Plan offered through EyeMed for SPPS staff
SPPS will be offering a new Vision Plan through EyeMed for all benefit-eligible employees. EyeMed's vision benefit can save money on eyeglasses, contact lenses, laser vision correction and other vision care purchases, such as sunglasses.

The vision exam will continue to be a part of the HealthPartners medical plan, and will not be covered by EyeMed. To participate in EyeMed’s Vision Plan you must enroll online during health insurance open enrollment, which runs Oct. 23 through Nov. 6. Coverage for EyeMed’s Vision Plan begins Jan. 1.

Updates from the Transportation Department
SPPS Transportation staff has conducted school bus safety meetings at all elementary schools, with the exception of a few make-up dates. School bus drivers, school administrators and transportation staff attended the meetings. The transportation department also has completed all state-mandated bus evacuation drills.

School bus safety classes resume
School bus safety classes resumed on Oct. 17. In lieu of consequences for school bus misbehavior, students and parents/guardians are required to attend these classes. Administrators must register students for the class.

To register for class, visit transportation.spps.org and navigate to the "Bus Safety Class" tab. Classes will be held on Saturday, Oct. 31, Saturday, Nov. 14, and Saturday, Dec. 5, from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at 360 Colborne.

Enter student referral forms in Campus
The Transportation Department receives copies of all school bus referrals and verifies that the referrals have been entered into Campus. However, a majority of these reports are not entered in Campus. In order to compile accurate data on bus referrals, it is vital to enter the reports in Campus.

If you have any questions, please contact Thomas Saunders at thomas.saunders@spps.org.

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.

Free yoga classes at Battle Creek Elementary and Washington Tech
Staff can take advantage of the free on-site yoga this fall. Reduce stress and develop healthy and sustainable self-care practices by attending the yoga classes 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 the 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.

November series at Battle Creek Elementary

  • Class one: 4:30-5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 4
  • Class two: 4:30-5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11
  • Class three: 4:30-5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18

November series at Washington Technology Magnet

  • Class one: 3:30-4:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5
  • Class two: 3:30-4:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 12
  • Class three: 3:30-4:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19

Bounce back! Learn how to cultivate personal resilience
Learn about and improve your resiliency at a staff workshop this fall. Resilience is the ability to adapt and recover quickly after a hardship. A resilient person is better able to sustain physical and psychological health when faced with life’s inevitable challenges.

The Sand Creek Group Employee Assistance program is proud to partner with SPPS to offer this engaging presentation on resilience in a three-part series designed to help people enhance their natural resilience, making them less likely to develop depression and other chronic diseases associated with stress.

November workshop at Hubbs Center

  • Class one: 3:30-4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3
  • Class two: 3:30-4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10
  • Class three: 3:30-4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17