Friends at Pascual LeDoux Academy.
April 11, 2019
2019 CollaboRATE Results Are In -- Thanks for Sharing Your Voice!
In January, more than 8,500 members of Team DPS -- 65% of you -- shared your voice and let us know how we're doing as a district and as leaders through the annual CollaboRATE employee engagement survey. 

Typically, CollaboRATE results are released in February; however, due to the timing related to the teacher strike and the transitions that followed, this year’s release was delayed. We appreciate your patience and are excited to share that the results are in -- and they show some celebrations for Team DPS as well as opportunities to improve.

This year, we saw an increase from 82% to 85% in School/Department engagement. This means that more of our team members feel valued, believe their job has a positive impact and are proud to work at their school or department.

As part of CollaboRATE, every DPS educator gets to provide feedback on their leaders. Our central and school leaders continue to receive strong ratings; this year we saw an increase from 81% to 82% on leader effectiveness.

Along with what we're doing well, the CollaboRATE survey also highlighted areas where we need to improve. From 2018 to 2019, our engagement at the district level dropped from 76% to 70%. This is not a surprise given the transition of leadership and unique events that occurred this year.

Specifically, there was a decline in “District leadership has communicated a vision of the future that is motivating to me” and “The top priorities of DPS are likely to drive student achievement.” It should be noted that these opinions were collected while educators were still waiting to hear about Susana’s vision and priorities.

We are a learning organization and will use your feedback to guide us into the next school year. Your leaders have received their engagement and leadership results that includes team members’ valuable feedback. Thank you to everyone who participated to provide these insights and we look forward to hearing your voice again next year. 
Top 5: April Fools' Day Jokes
Thank you for sharing your fun pranks and jokes for April Fools' Day! A few our favorites are featured below. Congratulations to our giveaway winner, Sara Laughlin at Cory Elementary!
"I sent an email to my staff right before lunch requesting a large amount of data and analysis by 4 p.m. When they clicked on the link, they figured out I was up to no good. Needless to say, I was not the most popular person of the day, but it was worth it!" -- TJ Layne, Principal at Fairview Elementary
"I added some raw eggs to my dad's hard boiled eggs. He was so confused as to how the stove could fully boil some eggs and completely miss others!"
-- Nadia Saldana-Spiegel, Teacher at Kepner Beacon Middle School

"One of my students was so kind to bring me a plate of brownies on April first!" -- Alex Keldin, Teacher at Cory Elementary
"We are the Cory Cougars. When when we received new baby chicks for our chicken coop on April 1, the front office made an announcement that we would be changing to the
'Cory Chickens'! Students immediately started discussing the change and because of everyone talking, not everyone heard that it was an April Fools' Day joke! Kids were still talking about it after school and they thought it was hilarious when they realized it was all a funny joke!" -- Sara Laughlin, Teacher at Cory Elementary
Top 5 Callout: Favorite Healthy Recipes
We know one piece of supporting well-being is with healthy eating. Whether it's a yummy salad, a great post-workout meal or a fresh smoothie, share your favorite good and good-for-you recipe here and be entered to win a giveaway!
Use these Resources to Choose Your Benefits
It’s that time of year again! Benefits Open Enrollment is coming up April 22-May 10 and all benefits-eligible employees must take action. Click here to see if you are benefits-eligible.

Check out these resources for choosing the best plans for you:

  • Read answers to frequently asked questions here.

  • Attend one of five benefits pop-up fairs, featuring enrollment labs and the opportunity to meet with our benefits providers and Employee Wellness team.

For additional resources, visit
New Resource: Guidance on Religious Holidays
As you are scheduling activities and meetings, it's important to be aware of the nature and needs of the religious groups in our schools and community. To support, we have created the Guidance on Religious Holidays webpage to help in planning activities and meetings.

The page includes a list of religious holidays and dates that may affect a student, team member or community member’s ability to participate in school or district activities. Please note, this resource is not intended to be an inclusive list of all religious and cultural observances. If you have questions or would like to request an addition to this list, email
Perks at Work: Pre-Tax Savings for Health Care
Many team members have the option to enroll in pre-tax accounts -- either a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA) -- to help pay for qualified expenses not covered by medical, dental or vision insurance. Pre-tax means your contribution is deducted from your paycheck before taxes are calculated, and you are therefore only taxed on your remaining paycheck balance.

If you enroll in a Kaiser or Aetna medical plan, DPS will help you start saving by contributing $27.92 per paycheck to your HSA or applying this discount to your semi-monthly HMO medical insurance deduction.

To learn more about HSAs and FSAs, including eligibility for each plan, check out this page on The Commons and pages 45-47 of the DPS Benefits Enrollment Guide.
Living Our DPS Honoree
Gina Rascon and Christine Stemple
Paraprofessional and Teacher, Palmer Elementary

"Ms. Christie and Ms. Gina are an amazing team and live our Shared Core Value of Equity. Many of their students are non-verbal with varying developmental challenges. These ladies know and love all of their students as if they were their own, and are extremely in tune with each one. Christie and Gina strive to provide the same experiences for each student, regardless of varying developmental levels, making sure student equity is at the forefront of classroom expectations. Students are put first and their needs are met. Words cannot express how fantastic Christie and Gina are -- they are most certainly unsung heroes. Their selflessness and hard work should be shouted from the rooftops every day!"

-- Miriam Cavender, Palmer Elementary
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