March 8, 2018
PREP Academy's Nicholas Walker, center, shares his love of fitness and well-being with students.
Benefits Changes: We're Partnering with Aetna
We are excited to announce a new DPS health care partner, Aetna, which will be available to enroll in during the April 23-May 11 Open Enrollment period. This new option is designed to save you money while offering high-quality health care choices.  Faced with rising health care costs across the country, the DPS Benefits Board voted to explore partnerships with other major medical carriers to better meet the needs of our team members.  Aetna proved to be the best option for Team DPS, alongside our lasting partnership with Kaiser. 
Effective July 1, DPS will offer four Aetna plans -- three Consumer-driven Health Plans (CDHPs) and one Deductible HMO (DHMO) plan. We will no longer offer Denver Health Medical Plans. 
We understand this is a change for some of Team DPS. But, as health insurance rates in Colorado and the United States continue to rise, we're making this change as part of our ongoing effort to provide DPS employees with the most affordable, high-quality health care choices available.
All benefits-eligible employees will have an opportunity to enroll in an Aetna or Kaiser plan during Open Enrollment, April 23-May 11. Current DHMP members should have received an email yesterday with information on how to find a doctor in Aetna's network and navigate transition-of-care coverage. 
Why did we choose Aetna?
The DPS Benefits Board selected Aetna to provide employees with access to more than 1,200 primary care physicians and 5,900 specialists. Aetna's plans are about 15% more expensive than what DHMP members are paying now, but they're significantly less expensive than DHMP's proposed plans for 2018-19. 
We'll be sharing more about Aetna, Kaiser and Open Enrollment in Team DPS Weekly and on The Commons soon. Remember: All benefits-eligible team members must take action during Open Enrollment this year. Stay tuned!
Top 5: Your Favorite Creating Connections Memory
The last Creating Connections of the year is March 21. We asked you to share memorable moments from your Creating Connections experience. The Top 5 are below, and congratulations to our giveaway prize winner, Theophilus McGary in Facilities

5. " My favorite part of Creating Connections was being together with my DPS peers at every level, shoulder-to-shoulder, learning about the mission that we all fight for. It is powerful to look across a room and see facilities, bus drivers, substitutes, school support folks, senior leadership and, most importantly, teachers together as one #TeamDPS." -- Alex Maddock, Professional Learning Team

4. " It was wonderful to see how every employee connects their work to our students -- everything we do helps our kids succeed! I'll never forget what we were told that day: Every student will succeed. Not some -- all!" -- Katrina Moore, Goldrick Elementary

3. " I still remember the cheer our team created. It is the way I remember our values. The most important thing I realized is that we are a team and every single person that works for DPS is a needed member of that team." -- Brenda Secosky, West Early College

2. " I loved the team building exercise. It is so much fun to see how all of the individual groups approach teaming and tackling this task!" -- Lisa Young, Human Resources

1. "My favorite  memory was the uplifting overtures of Leslie Juniel sharing the  importance of our Shared Core Values and how they -- if you believe in them -- can impact our students and everyone at DPS to make and maintain our innovative culture." -- Theophilus McGary, Facilities

Top 5 Callout: Parent Teacher Home Visit Photos
We're wrapping up Parent Teacher Home Visits, and it's a reminder of the critical role our families play in our kids' success. Send photos from your parent teacher home visits to, and share a short caption that tells why the visit was impactful, fun or helpful. We'll publish the Top 5 photos in next week's newsletter, and one person will win a giveaway prize!

Use Fewer Words: Say More with a Graphic
Icons -- also known as images or symbols -- are a great way to communicate your message. They draw attention, quickly sum up an idea and increase readability by breaking up content. As part of our efforts to strengthen and unify the DPS brand, we've developed an icon library where you can view and download dozens of icons in multiple colors that all fit the DPS style. Next time you're putting together a PowerPoint or lesson plan, pick out a graphic from our Google Drive and let us help you say more with fewer words. 
We'll continue adding new icons to the library. If you need a specific icon created in the meantime, email us at
Suspicious Activity? Call Ext. 33911 for Safety's 24-hour Communications Center
If you see suspicious activity on district property after hours, immediately call
 the Department of Safety's 24-hour communications center at  720-423-3911. Do not call  720-423-3475 -- it is a recorded message and Safety officers will not respond in a timely manner. The sooner Safety's officers are aware of an incident, the faster they respond and take appropriate actions.  The communications center (ext. 33911) is staffed 24 hours a day year-round.
Know a Great Team? Celebrate Them with a Nomination

DCIS at Ford's Social and Emotional Justice Team was recognized at the 2017 Night of Honor with an Excellence in Team Award.
Team DPS is made up of hundreds of small and mighty teams, each one working hard to accomplish goals and make a difference in the lives of our students. Recognize the teams you've seen making a difference for the Excellence in Team Award. These teams of three to 12 people are able to successfully achieve goals with impactful results while bringing the Shared Core Values to life.
Whether it's a school's grade-level team, departmental team, project team or cross-functional team, please take the time to recognize an amazing group of people you work with by submitting a nomination for the Excellence in Team Award. Nominations are due Friday, March 23. Questions? Email

Giveaways: The Countdown to Creating Connections Continues
Have you registered for Creating Connections on March 21? We are counting down the days with celebrations, giveaways and more! 
  • Refer a Team Member Week (March 4-10): Send an email to and copy (or "cc") your team members to refer them to the event. If one of them registers, you'll both be entered to win a prize.
  • Register before Wednesday, March 14, to be entered to win a giveaway prize, which will be presented to the winner at Creating Connections.
This week's Team DPS Trivia: What does the DPS lamp symbolize? Send your answer to One winner will be announced in next week's newsletter.  Congratulations to last week's trivia winner, Cat Williams with Financial Services To register and see the full countdown schedule,  click below. 

Living Our DPS Honoree
Joanna Langston
Teacher, High Tech Early College
"As a special educator, Joanna supports students in one ninth-grade science class by providing scaffold supports and small group teaching. Unfortunately, the science teacher this year had an extended absence and students were left without updated grades or consistent lessons. Joanna decided to support not only her students in her push-in class, but also the students in ALL the nin th-grade science classes. She worked with other science teache rs to write meaningful lessons and differentiated assessments while giving up her planning time to support the science guest teacher. Joanna organized a group of teachers to grade students' work and put the grades in the gradebook. She even made sure that students made up their missing work, so they could bring up their grades. Ninth -graders came back from Thanksgiving break with accurate grades and engaging lessons!"

-- Suzanne Pait, High Tech Early College

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