Thursday, April 20, 2017
Open Enrollment -- April 24-May 12 -- is the one time each year that all benefit-eligible team members can select, change or waive benefits.
Act Fast: Open Enrollment Starts Monday, Ends May 12
It's that time of year again. Open Enrollment -- the one time each year that benefit-eligible team members can select, change or waive benefits -- starts Monday, April 24, and ends May 12. This year, DPS is offering two new Deductible HMO (DHMO) plans -- one from DHMP and one from Kaiser -- in addition to six Consumer-Driven Health Plans (CDHPs), three from each provider. 

Human Resources is providing tools and one-on-one support to help team members navigate Open Enrollment. Check out thecommons.dpsk12.org/openenrollment to review medical plans and rates in the 2017-18 DPS Benefits Enrollment Guide, use the Plan Selector Tool to find a plan that works for you and see a full list of Open Enrollment events. Here are a couple of highlights:
Please remember: If you plan to waive coverage, you must take action! You must log into Employee Self-Service (in Infor HR) and select "waive coverage." If you do not take action, you will be automatically enrolled in DPS' lowest-cost, employee-only medical plan (post tax). 

Questions? Visit thecommons.dpsk12.org/openenrollment or email Connect_HumanResources@dpsk12.org

Sport Your College Gear to Celebrate College Friday Tomorrow
According to the Colorado Department of Higher Education, by 2025, about three in four
Colorado jobs will require postsecondary education -- whether at a college, university, trade school or apprenticeship program. Through a partnership with College in Colorado, DPS high schools are celebrating higher education with "College Friday" tomorrow, April 21.

On  College Friday , DPS families and team members are encouraged to support a college-going culture in DPS by wearing apparel from their alma mater or favorite college. DPS teachers, counselors and other support staff are encouraged to share their own perspectives on college with students, and maybe even invite college representatives to speak to students about options to explore.  One of the five goals in the district's strategic plan -- the Denver Plan 2020   -- is to ensure our students graduate  college and career ready Support our DPS students as they decide to continue their education by wearing your favorite college gear tomorrow!
Top 5: What Do You Do to Preserve the Planet?
Students at Samuels Elementary explore a globe.
Earth Day is this Saturday, April 22, and team members shared how they're doing their part to preserve our planet. Congratulations to our giveaway winner,  Samantha Byrne at University Park Elementary! Read on to learn how Samantha and others are making a difference:

1. " Two students from my fifth-grade case load asked me if they could start a project. We thought about different topics and agreed on recycling. Our school already does an amazing job recycling and composting everyday waste, so we decided to look at a few different options. We discovered the Crayola ColorCycle initiative, sponsored by Crayola. After completing grade-level presentations, the students placed recycling bags in each classroom  to collect used markers . So far, the students have collected over 2,200 used markers that we've boxed up and shipped to Crayola to be turned into new markers or fuel." -- Samantha Byrne, University Park Elementary

2. "For several years, I have volunteered with Denver Digs Trees -- The Park People, a program that helps residents cultivate greener, healthier, more livable communities. I perform site inspections prior to planting, tree checks after planting, and distribution of trees in spring and fall. The work is very rewarding and has greatly improved the tree canopy in Denver." -- Donna Pierce, Department of Technology Services

3. " At Force, we have our office staff save all the bubble wrap so that we can use it when students are upset. Then students can pop the wrap as a safe outlet for their emotions." --Bridgette M. Weiss, Force Elementary

4. "To help our planet, I plant every space in my yard. Many of our plants are Colorado natives and require less water, plus we conserve water in the vegetable garden by using a drip irrigation system that goes straight to the roots and minimizes evaporation and water waste. My love for gardening has trickled down to past students and their families who helped me revive the school garden at Mitchell Elementary and begin the gardening programs at Brown and Cowell elementary schools." -- Becky Zachmeier, Portfolio Management

5. " At Westerly Creek, our art department runs on conserving as much as possible. We recycle dried out markers with Crayola, where they melt them down into fuel. We collect donations of 'junk' that get turned into amazing 3-D sculptures. This year, our kindergartners made their own imaginary friends using junk stuff, inspired by the book 'Beekle the Unimaginary Friend' by Dan Santant. We've also repurposed wooden pallets to create a fence around our 'art patio.'" -- Erin Lea-Dougherty, Westerly Creek Elementary
Top 5 Callout: Recognize Our Administrative Professionals
Administrative Professionals' Day is Wednesday, April 26, and that's our opportunity to thank our  secretaries, administrative assistants, receptionists and administrative support professionals for all the work they do to support our families, our kids, our central offices and our schools. Tell us why your office team members are the absolute best in the business, how they live our Shared Core Values and how they brighten your days! We'll choose the Top 5 responses and select one winner to receive a giveaway! Email newsletters@dpsk12.org to share your shoutouts!
Encourage Families to Use the New, Improved Portal App
The new and improved version of the DPS Portal mobile app is now available and includes new features that allow parents and students to better monitor academic progress on a deeper level. 

What's new?  If a student's school uses DPS' online gradebook, his or her family now has access to a child's current grades, assignments and assignment detail. 

Additional features include translations in 10 languages and the ability to view student schedules as well as download CMAS/PARCC results. Encourage DPS families and students to download or update the DPS Portal app (for iPhones or Androids) so they  don't miss the opportunity to monitor progress quickly and easily! 
Living Our DPS Honoree:
Mamie Howard
Sixth-Grade Math Teacher
Hill Campus of Arts and Sciences
Students First
 
" Mamie demonstrates Students First and Fun with her cheer team, who have been at almost every sporting event at Hill, cheering our sports teams to victory. Mamie takes her cheerleaders' behavior very seriously by setting high expectations for them to be academic role models. Her cheerleaders can come to her for support and guidance on how to improve their work or behavior. Many teachers have commented on the growth these girls have made and see that they care deeply about our school and cheer.
 
Mamie shows her passion for Equity by leading a typing class for students who need the opportunity to practice typing before taking the PARCC test on the computer. Mamie loves to celebrate students' growth by making sure students feel valued and get the help they need. Additionally, Mamie demonstrates Collaboration and Accountability by being on the CSC board in order to work with admin, fellow teachers, parents and students to listen to our community and promote positive change that benefits every person at Hill.
 
Mamie is living our Shared Core Values not only because she understands that these are important values in DPS, but also because these values are crucial when working with students, students' parents, colleagues and administration every day."

-- Sable Edwards, Hill Campus of Arts and Sciences

Nominate one of your colleagues to be featured as a Living Our DPS honoree.
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