Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016
Equity and Empowerment: The School as the Unit of Change
Dear Managers,

As we continue to empower our school leaders to make key decisions for our school communities, I want to share my vision for what this means for DPS in this document, Equity and Empowerment: The School as the Unit of Change.

I fully realize a few pages cannot capture everything about our goal of empowering schools nor clarify every question about the changing role of the district, instructional superintendents and networks. My hope is to add insight into the vision regarding the roles of school leaders, instructional superintendents and the district, as well as explain the why and provide more clarity than we have had before.

The next step is an ask for all leaders to host discussions with their teams. The goal is to ensure both our central support teams and our school-based teams have an understanding of this vision and can begin discussing implications for their work.

To assist in this, we have provided links to the document and two optional discussion protocols:
Please share reflections on implications and questions related to next steps with the senior member of your team so that, together, we can work on making progress in reaching this vision. I recognize there will still be unknowns that need to be surfaced and discussed as we focus on becoming a district in which every child succeeds.
Review Critical Dates for Lawson Upgrade  Deadline: Changes going into effect now
Ensure Team Members Verify Employee Information via Email Deadline: Email coming Nov. 1
Putting Your Team Goals Into Action
... DPSSkills Workshops Now Available
Connection: Welcome Employees Onto the Team
... Creating Connections is Coming Up!
Feedback is Not a Four-Letter Word
Are Your Employees Eligible for Overtime?
Questions about the New Federal Law ESSA?
Review Critical Dates for Lawson Upgrade, Now! 
The Infor Lawson S3 application will be updated to a new version (V10) effective Oct. 31, 2016. This update requires immediate action on your part to ensure timely processing of transactions. Please go to our  Critical Dates - Infor Lawson V10 Upgrade page to see all deadlines and restrictions for position reclassifications, purchasing and payroll related processes. Deadlines are coming up, so please pass the word and inform members of your team who might need this information.

In addition to the link to critical dates abovean upgrade outage will occur. That and other information follows:
  •  Infor Lawson (Employee Self Service (ESS) and Financials) will be unavailable Oct. 28 to Oct. 30.
  •  The new Infor Lawson application will be available Oct. 31 at 8 a.m.
  •  Global Human Resources (GHR) Talent Management WILL be available over the weekend, and this upgrade will not impact the DPS Pcard program.
You'll soon get the chance to experience these V10 enhancements firsthand when you log into Infor Lawson as a result of this upgrade:
  • New Look and Feel - The refreshed design is clean and more contemporary.
  • Simplified Navigation - You'll be able to access ALL applications for ESS, GHR Talent Management and Infor Lawson Financials from a new main page, and enhanced navigation will allow you to access your ESS and Infor Lawson Financials bookmarks from the same menu. 
  • Easy Setup - All of your access from the current version will be set up in the new version.
  • Smarter Organization - Financial Service staff and other Power Users will have additional views into related transactions.
Learn more about what's new: General User V10 Basics   or Power User V10 Basics for additional details.  
Ensure Your Team Members Verify Their Personal Information 
On Nov.1, all active DPS employees will receive an email from the Human Resources Department ( asking them to verify personal and demographic information we have on file for them. The email will include the employee's mailing address, personal email address, personal phone number(s), emergency contact(s), race and ethnicity. Note:  We are required by law to report voluntary, self-identification of race and ethnicity, which is submitted annually in November.
All employees will receive advance notification of this request in Thursday's Team DPS Weekly newsletter, which will include a sample image of the email. Please assure your team members that this email is not spam. The email request will provide links to detailed instructions on how to make updates in the Global Human Resources (GHR) system and contact information to help answer questions. 
It is critical that you encourage all of your employees to review and, if needed, update this information. Not only is this information necessary in order for us to communicate effectively, the district also needs the information to generate reports required by federal law. Thank you in advance for encouraging your team to participate and ensuring access to the necessary equipment (updates must be made using a DPS workstation).
Putting Your Team Goals into Action
As a manager, you have been working with employees to help them set their goals. And, now that those goals have been set, it's time for employees to put plans in place to achieve them. Goal Action Plans are a tool employees can use in Infor GHR to outline their plans for achieving their goals. In a Goal Action Plan, employees add steps that will be taken each quarter to achieve their results, and the plans can be exported in a PDF format to easily share during one-on-ones. Combined with regular check-ins, action plans make it easier to see when a goal is getting off track so course corrections can be made. Reminder, employees can make action plans on goals that have been approved. Be sure to connect with your employees on any outstanding goals today.

Below are a few resources to support you and your team members during the Goal Action Plan process:
DPSSkills Workshops Now Available
Speaking of goals: The DPSSkills program offers a variety of professional development workshops designed to support ALL DPS educators. During these workshops you will have the opportunity to focus on personal and professional development, and connect and share experiences with your teammates from across DPS. Participation in these workshops is a great way to demonstrate your ongoing commitment to help us reach our vision: Every Child Succeeds!

Please visit our website at to view upcoming workshops and to find out how to register.
Connection: Welcoming Employees to the Team
Remember the feeling of being the new student at school? Many of those same anxieties exist for new employees: where will I eat lunch, who will I ask for directions or help, and will I fit in? As manager, you have the potential to alleviate those concerns by making your new employee feel welcome, valued, and connected.    

Some simple steps to foster critical relationships and connections:
  • Call or send a welcome email to your new employee prior to start date
  • Take new employee out to lunch on first day
  • Introduce employees to coworkers with whom they might need to collaborate or may have some common interests
  • Designate a team member as a mentor/buddy
  • Have employee attend Creating Connections
  • Help employee connect online by introducing Commons, DPS social media, and team-specific communication methods
How have you helped your new staff get connected? We'd love to hear your suggestions! Email us at  
Creating Connections Coming Up 
One way to help new team members feel welcome at DPS is to encourage them to attend Creating Connections. This is an engaging, fun and informative opportunity to build personal and professional skills while connecting to other educators from across the district.The event allows new employees to develop a great appreciation of each other and the contributions we make to DPS. 

Please encourage new members of your team to join our next session scheduled for Nov. 16 at the PPA Event Center from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. You or your team members can find out more and sign up  here!   Please join us for this very valuable program!   
Feedback is Not a Four-Letter Word
T he word "feedback" can often evoke negative emotions, both on the part of the person giving and the person receiving feedback. Yet there are only two valid reasons to provide feedback, neither of which are negative: to reinforce and improve. When an employee is performing well, feedback lets the employee know to continue those behaviors. And when an employee has engaged in a behavior that needs to change, feedback helps clarify or redirect so those behaviors change for the better. So how can you provide feedback?

The Center for Creative Leadership developed a model to help guide the process: Situation-Behavior-Impact (SBI). Following this model, you will:
  • Describe the situation where you observed the behavior
  • Recount the employee's behavior as you observed it
  • Share the impact those actions had, particularly as you experienced them
By focusing on specific behaviors rather than generalities, you help the employee understand exactly what needs to change and why. Try this model the next time you need to give feedback -- positive or negative -- and see how it opens a dialogue about the behaviors rather than the person. 

You probably meet with your team members regularly; however, have you scheduled dedicated time to provide direct feedback? Consider putting time on the calendar quarterly devoted to delivering specific feedback. If you need to offer feedback outside those scheduled meetings, follow the SBI model to help your team member "course correct" in a timely way OR ensure they know they are exhibiting the desired behaviors and meeting expectations. 
Are Your Employees Eligible for Overtime?
Managers should be aware that the Department of Labor (DoL) issued updated guidelines effective Dec. 1 that, in addition to the other requirements, state that an employee must earn at least $913 per week to be paid as exempt (salaried). You can find additional information on the requirements here:

An employee is classified as an exempt employee if they fall within the following parameters:
a. Earns at least $913 per week (DoL exceptions include teachers)
b. Are paid on a salary basis (not hourly)
c. Performs exempt duties defined as executive, professional or administrative ("nonmanual")

All positions that do not fall under these guidelines are to be classified as non-exempt (hourly) and paid for every hour worked and overtime over 40 hours in a week. Managers with impacted employees have already been notified. Our next steps will include a
Team DPS Weekly article on Oct. 27 and call-in information sessions.  
Questions About the New Federal Education Law, ESSA?
As you may be aware, last year the U.S. Congress passed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) as a replacement to the former law known as No Child Left Behind.This fall, the Colorado Department of Education is working to develop a state plan to implement ESSA, and they are seeking local input. The plan, once final, will become effective beginning the 2017-2018 school year. Because multiple DPS teams and many of our partners are involved with the state's planning process, we've set up the following email address for DPS staff to go to with questions, concerns or suggestions: 
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