Department news and announcements

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National School Bus Safety Week is October 21-25
National School Bus Safety Week is an active and evolving public education program designed to promote school bus safety. Recognize National School Bus Safety Week with students and families by using the following tools:

  • Use this article on your school’s website or in a newsletter to families. Translations are available in Spanish, Hmong, Somali and Karen.
  • Post one tip from the article every day to your school’s Facebook or Twitter page.

Open Enrollment timeline and website update
Open Enrollment for employee benefits will be held November 4 through November 15, 2013, for the 2014 plan year -- which will be effective January 1, 2014.

Employees should have received the 2014 Employee Brochure via U.S. mail to their home addresses last week. This brochure includes an overview of the 2014 Benefit program options and enrollment process. If you have not received your brochure, one is available for pick-up at the Human Resources office at 360 Colborne Street.

In addition, the Benefits website has been updated with new 2014 Benefit and Open Enrollment information available for your reference and review.

Timeline

October 14, 2013

1. Open Enrollment information is mailed to employees’ homes.

2. Benefits website is updated with 2014 information.

November 4 – 15, 2013

1. 2014 Open Enrollment period; no online health assessment required at this time.

2. Open Enrollment Meetings and Flu Shots.

3. Online Enrollment Hotline is available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (651-744-1030).

January 1, 2014

2014 Choices benefits plan year begins.

Continue to check The Bridge for more Open Enrollment information.

Elementary fall and spring conference and reporting calendar
The elementary fall and spring conference and reporting calendars are available on the Office of Teaching, Learning and Leading website. Highlights include:

Fall 2013

  • Monday, September 9: Grading Window Opens
  • Monday, October 28: Conference prep
  • Wednesday, October 30 at 7 a.m.: Grading window closes
  • Monday, November 11: Schools pick up reports from 345 Plato from 3-4:30 p.m.
  • November 12-15, 18-21: Conference date options

Spring 2014

  • Monday, December 2: Grading window opens
  • Monday, March 3: Conference prep
  • Wednesday, March 5 at 7 a.m.: Grading window closes
  • Monday, March 17: Schools pick up reports from 345 Plato from 3-4:30 p.m.
  • March 18-21, 24-27: Conference date options

Limited transportation available for field trips
Minnesota is experiencing severe shortages of buses and bus drivers, especially during the hours of 6 – 9:45 a.m. and 1:30 – 5 p.m., when field trips are frequently scheduled. Due to the shortage, schools must request buses as early as possible. Please note the fees for trips will be higher than in the past.

Field trip costs are based on the availability of buses from our contractors and bus charter companies that have carrier authority, insurance and available drivers. Due to the shortage, prices can vary greatly. This is especially true when we exhaust our local resources and have to place trips with companies that bring buses from terminals as far away as Northfield, Redwing, Farmington, Burnsville, Fridley and Hastings. When you contact us, we will be able to provide you an estimated cost range for your trip.

To date, we have not had to cancel any athletic or field trips that were ordered well in advance, but we are aware that other school districts have had difficulty securing buses.

If you have any questions, please call the Transportation Department at 651-696-9600.

Learn ways to support youth and schools at Every Body’s In event
"Every Body's In" is an event for educators, families, and community members to meet and discuss examples and collaborative actions that support youth and schools with Dr. Patricia Moore Harbour, the author of "Community Educators: A Resource for Educating and Developing Our Youth.”

  • When: Saturday, October 26, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • Where: Minnesota Department of Education, 1500 Highway 36 W., Roseville, 55113

Clock hours and administrator CEUs will be available. For questions or to RSVP, call 612-564-4858, ext. 1, or email info@youthprise.org

Office of Alternative Education Update
The Office of Alternative Education has exciting new developments for students in Extended Day Learning (EDL) and Out of School Time (OST). This fall:

  • September 16: High school credit recovery and online opportunities began at Evening High School and the Eastside Learning Hub at Harding.
  • October 7: OST programming began at Battle Creek and Riverview afterschool collaborative sites, which serve 400 students from Highwood Hills, Battle Creek, Cherokee Heights and Riverview.
  • October 7-8: Elementary and middle school EDL programs started at 54 sites, with 4,200 students in grades K-5 and over 1,000 students in grades 6-8 participating in academic and enrichment (applied academic) courses.
  • November 5: Additional ELL and ACT test prep courses will be offered at high schools.

Please see your building's program site leader for information about how to enroll students in EDL. Learn more in the memo from Jon Peterson or at http://extendedday.spps.org.

Como Planetarium presents Star Party
The Como Planetarium is hosting a free Star Party on Tuesday, October 22, from 7-10 p.m. A Star Party is an opportunity to look through a telescope and see objects in our night sky and enjoy a free program in the planetarium. Drop by anytime from 7-10 p.m. If it looks like it will be cloudy we will re-schedule for Thursday, October 24. Check the Planetarium website the morning of October 22 to confirm the event day and time.