Denver School of the Arts teacher, Tess Peterca, has a new co-worker -- her dog (and class mascot) Frida.
April 30, 2020
S potlight on Open Enrollment: Explore Your Supplemental Options and Learn More about Self-Funding
Benefits open enrollment is happening now through May 8 . Click here to enroll and be entered for a chance to win $50. The earlier your enroll, the more chances you have to win -- so take action today! As a reminder, benefits-eligible team members who do not log in and either enroll in or waive benefits during open enrollment will be automatically enrolled in the Aetna 3500 plan, a Health Savings Account (HSA) and Sick Leave Bank.
DPS Offers More than Just Medical Plans
Accident, critical illness and hospital indemnity plans can provide extra peace of mind when paired with one of our medical plans. Learn more about these supplemental options on The Commons , then log in to the benefits enrollment site to explore your options and choose the plans that work best for you.
Answering Your Questions about Benefits' Self-Funding Model
As we shared last month, DPS and our Benefits Board decided to move to a “self-funded” model in order to save on administrative costs, fees and money paid to our insurance carriers. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about this change:

  • How does this change save employees money? Employees enrolled in DPS medical plans will save money through smaller premium increases year-over-year.

  • Does this mean DPS will have access to my private medical information? DPS will not see individual medical records, and all privacy is maintained for employees. Our insurance vendors (Kaiser and Aetna) will continue to review and approve any medical procedures and claims.

  • Can I continue to choose my own medical provider? Yes, employees will continue to see their preferred providers with Aetna and Kaiser. They will then review and approve medical procedures and claims, and DPS will pay the claims that Aetna and Kaiser approve. Individuals are still responsible for copays, coinsurance and deductibles according to their plans.
Reminder: Complete Your Health Risk Assessment By May 8 and Earn $200
For team members enrolled in DPS health plans, it is easier than ever to complete the online health risk assessment and earn a $200 HSA credit or paycheck stipend.

As we work together to protect ourselves and our community in response to COVID-19, and because of limited access to health care clinics,  we will be waiving the preventive screening requirement with your health care provider for the 2019-20 school year.

To access the  Well Aware Program  and complete your online Health Risk Assessment by  May 8, please   visit the  Kaiser Permanente  or  Aetna  employee portals. If you have any questions, contact the  Employee Wellness Program . Upon completion, please allow four to six weeks before the $200 is applied to your HSA account or paycheck. 
Top 5: Funny 'Co-Worker' Stories From Home
We asked Team DPS to share how it's going with new office mates -- from children to family to pets! Meet some of the new honorary members of Team DPS:
5. "My co-workers Lucy Lou and Schroeder are very busy napping -- unless we are doing a staff or teacher Zoom meeting. When Schroeder hears the teachers, he jumps into my lap to attend. He fell asleep during one the other day!"
-- June Frances Anderson,
Stephen Knight Center
4. "My dog, Ziggy, likes to bring me toys when I'm working. I was sitting on the floor when she put this toy on my shoulder, and then patiently waited for me to throw it."
-- Connie Rose-Swackhamer,
Garden Place
3. " My dog and class mascot, Frida, insists on leading our live classes during remote learning. What a ham!" -- Tess Peterca, Denver School of the Arts
2. "My husband is a software engineer and is always on his computers or on conference calls. I came upstairs, and I found he had changed his appearance because he desperately needs a haircut! He likes to call this look 'the modern man.'" 
-- Allison Hicks, Colfax
1. "My cat Max has video-bombed a few of my lesson recordings. While he seems to enjoy having me at home more, he doesn't understand why I can't just spend 100% of my time 'serving' him." -- Veronica Cruz, Johnson
Top 5 Callout: Show and Tell - Online Classrooms and Work Spaces

As we continue to provide remote learning to our students, we know our classrooms and offices have changed quite a bit as so many of us are now working from home.  What does your virtual classroom or remote office look like? Show off your photos and share your stories here .  
Sign Up for Stress Management and Resiliency Offerings
In support of the Whole Educator, the Employee Wellness team is providing learning opportunities for Team DPS on mindfulness and stress management.  

  • "Taste of Mindfulness" workshops will provide three, 90-minute Zoom workshops May 5-7. These experiential workshops will offer ways to show up in positive and productive ways and introduce a variety of mindfulness practices to help relieve stress. Each session is limited to 30 participants. Sign up here.

  • "Keep Stress in Check" webinar from noon-1 p.m. on May 6 will offer participants help in identifying and managing everyday tension and provide ideas to keep the body and mind relaxed. No registration required. Join here and use password THRIVE123.
Poll: What Was Your Favorite Subject in School?  
With Teacher Appreciation next week and in honor of all the amazing educators out there, think back to your time in school and the subjects that inspired you most. Did firing up a Bunsen burner bring a smile to your face? Or did you prefer to have your nose in a good book?
What was your favorite subject in school?
History/Social Studies
World Languages
Physical Education
English/Language Arts
Virtual Meeting: Understanding and Responding to Xenophobia
During these challenging times, there have been reports of those from the Asian community being treated unfairly and unjustly amid the COVID-19 outbreak. To help counter this xenophobia (which is prejudice against people from other countries), we are hosting a virtual discussion to share ideas to stop the rise of xenophobia and share culturally responsive resources.

During the meeting -- held from 11 a.m.-noon Friday, May 1 -- participants will work toward increasing understanding around the pandemic and the importance of treating others with compassion and care, while defining xenophobia and discussing basic cultural norms and myths surrounding our students, families and educators of Asian heritage. This virtual discussion will include guests Priscilla Shaw Rahn, 26-year veteran educator and Chairperson for the DPS Asian Education Advisory Council; and Zoe Zhu, a DPS math teacher. Please click here to register.
Living Our DPS Honorees
With so many team members stepping up during these times, we will be showcasing two Living Our DPS honorees each week to spotlight all the amazing work happening across the city. Team DPS is rising to the challenge and living our Shared Core Values like never before. Congratulations and thank you to this week’s honorees! 

Thelma Smith and Danny Shea
Teachers, John H. Amesse

"I nominate Thelma and Danny for living our Shared Core Value of Fun for coming up with the idea of a car parade and making it happen with personalized banners for students. When I pulled into the parking lot at John H. Amesse Elementary. Teachers and staff were taping signs to cars, painting messages on windows and giving social-distance air hugs. The lot was buzzing with the energy of a staff that had not seen each other in weeks. As the parade started, horns blared and people cheered.

We waved and shouted to our students, their families and neighbors t hroughout the Montbello neighborhood. Seeing students' faces and families on their porches, waving signs and taking pictures, with kids shouting to teachers and teachers shouting back -- "Well I'm not crying, you're crying." There was also an impromptu dance party. I left with my teacher heart full, and my people heart even fuller."

-- Jeffrey McMahon, John H. Amesse
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