Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017
Members of the Seal of Biliteracy team were honored with the Excellence in Team Award at the 2016 Night of Honor.
Nominations for Night of Honor Awards are Now Open! 
Do you know someone on Team DPS who embodies the Shared Core Values every day? How about a successful and effective team? Recognize these individuals by nominating them for a Night of Honor award:
  • Leadership Lamp Award: Our most distinguished award honoring our Shared Core Values champions (four awards total).
  • Living Our DPS: Honoring the actions of individuals living one of our Shared Core Values (up to 50 awards total).
Also, nominate a DPS parent or family who is making a positive impact in their school communities for the  Family Leadership Award, presented at an upcoming Superintendent Parent Forum.
 
Nominations are due March 24. Check out the  2016 recap video to see last year's recognition celebration. If you have questions, call 720-423-3151 or email Our_DPSValues@dpsk12.org.
Get the Facts about the Proposal to Lower Health Care Costs
Setting the record straight:  We have received a number of phone calls and emails containing misinformation regarding health care benefits for teachers. To be clear, DPS has not proposed nor will ever propose to do away with health care benefits for our employees !

Instead, what we have clearly heard from you is concern about the high cost of health care. This is a very serious concern, not just in DPS but for school districts and other workplaces across the country. 
 
What's being discussed? It's important we bring down these costs so that health care is more affordable for our educators. DPS is one of the only districts that gives benefits money in cash to employees who don't join our health plans; other districts, by contrast, do not pay a cash benefit to those who do not elect insurance. Instead, they use that money to lower health care costs for those who do join their health plans. 
 
What does this mean?  The current system means teachers and other employees have less incentive to join a district health care plan, so we've seen employee participation fall. In turn, lower employee participation (particularly of healthier employees) means higher health care costs for those who do participate. Annually, we pay about $20 million per year to employees who don't join a district health care plan.
 
What's happening now? We've discussed this issue at length with the Benefits Board, made up of representatives of all our union partners. A large majority of the union representatives on the Benefits Board have said that for new employees only we should stop paying cash to those who do not join our health care plans, and instead use that money to lower health care costs for everyone who does join. We are in agreement that in no case should the dollars the district contributes be lowered. The question is, what is the best use of those dollars to lower health care costs for all? Our top priority is to assist our employees that have or need family coverage. 
 
Questions? Contact HR Connect.
Top 5: Best Student Jokes 
Knock knock. Who's there? Today's Top 5 featuring the best jokes you've heard from students!
And a special LOL goes out to Shannon Wood Rothenberg of McAuliffe International School, for being this week's giveaway winner.
  1. "X and y walked into a bar. The bartender said, 'Uh-oh. This is going to be a problem.'" -- Shannon Wood Rothenberg, McAuliffe International School
  2. "What did one snowman say to the other snowman? 'Hey, do you smell carrots?' " -- Jodi Mattingly, ELA
  3. "Why did the kid bring a ladder to school? He wanted to go to high school." -- Chanh Sayouth, Green Valley Ranch Elementary
  4. "What's the king of all the school supplies? The ruler!" -- Heidi Unger, Lincoln Elementary
  5. "Why couldn't Elsa keep a balloon? Because she 'Let it go, let it go...' " -- Joy CarreƱo, Smith Elementary
Have a Top 5 you'd like to see? Let us know here and it may be featured in an upcoming Team DPS Weekly.
Recommend a Student Speaker for the DPS Foundation Gala
The DPS Foundation is currently on the hunt for a student host for the DPS Foundation's annual Achieve Gala, which will be held on April 27. We are seeking a charismatic, engaging and witty student who can adapt to various situations.The student must also be comfortable speaking in front of 1,000 adults. Experience hosting events, work in improvisation or stand-up comedy, or theater skills are preferred but not required. 

This is a tremendous opportunity for a student to grow their speaking and presentation skills as well as network with elected officials, business and organizational leaders, and community members. If you know any students who should audition, please email Ashley Sanders with their name, school and contact information.
Equity Boot Camp: Bridging the Ethnic and Racial Divide
Don't miss the new session by Equity Boot Camp: "Bridging the Ethnic and Racial Divide." This session will focus on creating inclusive community activism in the midst of a changing political and social environment. In collaboration with the community, we will be discussing ways to create diverse, inclusive communities of care.

This session is open to all DPS team members. Previous and new participants are encouraged to attend. Equity Boot Camp will take place at New Hope Baptist Church, 3701 Colorado Blvd., 80205. Choose from two sessions: 
  • Wednesday, Feb. 22, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Thursday, Feb. 23, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Register here. For more information, please contact dpsequity@dpsk12.org 
Nominate an Exceptional Para for a Full-Ride Scholarship
Do you work with rock star paraprofessionals? Are they interested in completing a degree to become a DPS teacher? With the commitment to providing opportunities for paraprofessionals to grow their careers and become classroom teachers, DPS is offering full scholarship opportunities so that incredible paraprofessionals can finish their college degrees while continuing to work with our kids in the classroom. DPS has partnered with  Guild Education and Western Governors University, the nonprofit, fully-accredited college ranked No. 1 by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ).  The application deadline is March 10, so nominate a paraprofessional you work with for a scholarship today at www.guildeducation.com/nominate .
Living Our DPS Honoree:
Veronica Bradsby
ESEA Title Programs Director, Whole Child Supports
Fun

"No matter what the task, Veronica Bradsby brings our Shared Core Value of Fun! As part of the Whole Child Supports Team, her enthusiasm for everything she does is contagious. Veronica makes everyone feel welcomed and makes DPS a great place to work. She has helped lead various events, including the stair climb challenge and take your child to work day, and she supports DPS students every year by fundraising and running in the DPS Colfax marathon. She has worked for the district for more than 24 years, and we are lucky to have her!"
  -- Colleen Grandis, Human Resources

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