The Eagle Eye
A Focus on Well-being
News & Updates
2020-2021 School Calendar Now Available
New Form W-4 Employee Withholding Certificate
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released a new version of Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Certificate. A copy of the 2020 Form W-4 has been attached here and this same form will be available in the Blank Docs section of TalentEd - Records. Instructions for updating information in TalentEd have been attached here.

Employees are not required to submit a new W-4 if they have an existing W-4 on file. However, the IRS recommends that a "paycheck checkup" be done to see if adjustments to your current withholding are needed. To conduct the checkup, you can use the IRS's Tax Withholding Estimator here. To effectively use the estimator, it is helpful to have a copy of your most recent pay stub and your most recent personal income tax return.   You can view your pay stubs on the Employee Service Portal .

Again -- you are not required to change your W-4. The income tax withholding will continue based on your previously submitted form if you do not submit a new form. If you submit a new W-4, that form will be used for payroll and you can't go back to the old W-4. The Payroll department cannot give tax advice and recommends that you consult with your tax professional or the Internal Revenue Service if you have any questions about the new form.

If you are unable to access the Employee Service Portal or TalentEd, please contact Human Resources.
As the semester moves on and we get close to the end of the year, now would be a great time to verify that your address and phone number are current in the Employee Service Portal to make sure that you get important documents that are sent out in January.

If changes need to be made, please email Melissa Smith at

The Eagle Eye: A Focus on Well-being
The Eagle Eye is now archived and available on the district website. Click Here! Find the links to past issues 24/7. Stay informed on the latest news and updates from Human Resources, find employee discount information, get wellness tips, benefits information, safety tips, and more!
Eagle Nation Benefit News
So far, we learned:
  • a self-insured health plan receives funding from employer- and employee-paid premiums
  • our combined premiums are used to pay all of our medical and pharmacy claims
  • UMR is our third-party administrator(TPA), meaning they pay our claims
  • Joplin Schools carries stop-loss insurance to protect the plan from high claim cost
  • Prescription costs vary by pharmacy. To save money:
  • request generic drugs
  • buy medications in bulk (90-day supplies - after an initial 30-day supply for new prescriptions)
  • shop around - not all pharmacies charge the same
  • UMR provides a health cost estimator tool designed to help you make informed decisions regarding your healthcare
  • Selecting the right healthcare provider may save you time and money! The ER should not be your first choice if your condition is not life-threatening, doesn't involve head trauma, signs, or symptoms of a stroke or heart condition or major broken bones. (See "Choose the right health care setting" below)
UMR - Health Cost Estimator
Your healthcare is an important investment.
And like anything else you spend your money on, it pays to be prepared. UMR offers a health cost estimator tool to research service and treatment costs at different facilities and with different providers. Make an informed decision! Click the link below and sign in to learn more!
Updated from the OCT. Issue
...and what about deductibles? di
District Medical Plan - UMR - the plan year deductible and out-of-pocket maximum starts over October 1 and continues to September 30, 2020.

MetLife Dental and vision - while open enrollment elections for dental and vision are effective as of October 1, the plan year is a calendar year. Your deductible and plan limits will start over January 1. If you changed plans from the Base Dental to the Buy-up Dental plan, you have up to $1,500 in benefits beginning October 1 that is payable by MetLife through December 31, minus any amount paid by MetLife from January 1 - September 30. Frequency limitations still apply.
Choose the right health care setting
Where you go for medical services can make a big difference in how much you pay and how long you wait to see a health care provider. Click here to learn more!
Save Money with Freeman First Care!

Or save with Mercy Convenient Care!
Freeman First Care or Mercy Convenient Care offer walk-in appointments and charge the same as a visit to your doctor's office!
July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2019
(Report of the Superintendent to the School Board)
Premiums Collected

District ------------------ $3,925,836.00
Employee -------------- $1,558,703.00
Retiree and Cobra ----- $378,643.80
Interest Earned --------- $120,750.75
Total --------------------- $5,983,933.55
Fees and Claims Paid

Admin/Teledoc ---------- $206,694.78
Insurance Premium ---- $369,179.34
Health Claims --------- $3,817,839.28
Prescription Claims - $1,338,068.96
Total --------------------- $5,731,782.36

July 1, 2019 - November 30, 2019
(Report of the Superintendent to the School Board)
Premiums Collected

District ------------------- $1,491,750.00
Employee ----------------- $601,296.38
Retiree and Cobra ------ $138,069.50
Interest Earned ----------- $44,148.31
Total --------------------- $2,296,264.19
Fees and Claims Paid

Admin/Teledoc ----------- $106,038.88
Insurance Premium ----- $177,338.85
Health Claims ---------- $1,670,308.89
Prescription Claims ------$638,885.90
Total ---------------------- $2,589,572.52
Ways to save money on prescriptions!
1. Request generic drugs
From a medical standpoint, there's generally no harm in opting for a generic version of the medication you take, and that move alone could save you a considerable amount.
2. Buy medications in bulk
If you have a medication you take on a regular basis, it pays to see whether it's available in 90-day supplies. This will save you a few trips to the pharmacy (and the gas money associated with them), but it could also save you money.  Try mail-order and use the CVS Mobile App !
3. Shop around
Did you know not all pharmacies charge the same for prescriptions? Compare your prescription cost to other pharmacies here! (The attached document shows October and November claim information)

FACT: Even though you may only pay a copay for prescriptions, keep in mind the plan pays the difference and our premiums fund the plan.

Consider this: Many drug companies offer copay cards for specialty drugs. If you pay using your insurance card and the copay card, we (yes, all of us) pay the majority of the cost, and the drug company only pays a small portion. In most instances, if you only use the copay card, the drug manufacturer pays the full cost minus your copay. Consider asking your pharmacist only to use the copay card.
Mandatory Annual Notices have been posted to the website and sent on email. You may also view here by selecting either the PPO Plan's Annual Notice or the HSA Plan Annual Notice !
What it all means.

The district's health plan is self-funded, meaning that everyone pools their money together to pay all of our medical and prescription expenses. By being a good consumer of health care and keeping costs lower, we reduce the overall costs of services, which helps to keep our premiums lower . Granted, at times, you do not want to worry about costs, but if there is a healthy and cost-effective alternative, you should consider it first.

Think about this, if you have the choice between two apples, the apples are the same except one costs $0.50, and the other costs $1.00, which apple would you buy?
SafeSchools Training
With many students returning to school with new phones, tablets, and computers, it is important to offer educators "inside knowledge" about how students really use communication technologies and how to help them avoid online dangers. Topics covered include online trends and tools, social behavior online, online dangers, and smart tips for school staff members.

  • Log in to SafeSchools
  • Click on Extra Training (left-hand side and looks like a play button)
  • Click on Information Technology
  • Click on Online Safety: What Every Educator Needs To Know

Having difficulties? Try the Troubleshooting Tips
Calendar of Events
Access our District Calendar on our website or by clicking here for the Google calendar. Stay up to date with district events.

Don't see a district-wide event on here? Email to get it added. Thanks for helping us help you know about district happenings.
Cheers & Tears
Welcome to the Eagle Family
Please join us in welcoming our newest employees to the Eagle Family!

Remembering Barbra Arnold
Barbara J. Arnold, JD, age 70, Joplin, passed away at 10:10 p.m. Sunday, December 1, 2019 at Freeman West Hospital after a sudden illness.

Barbara was born April 17, 1949 in Montebello, California to the late Larry Gordon Lester and Harriet Arthur Boettger Lester.

Barbara graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara and received her juris doctorate from Western State University College of Law, Westcliff University, Irvine, California, in 1978. Barbara also completed a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership from Pittsburg State University in 2000.

Mrs. Arnold served in the Joplin R-VIII School District Administration and taught A.P. Government and American History courses for thirty years, retiring in 2009. She then joined the staffs at Pittsburg State University and Missouri Southern State University, teaching education prep courses and educational law for several years.

Education was extremely important to Barbara. While at Joplin High School, she instructed and mentored the constitution team, winning state titles and going to the national competition in Washington, D.C. eleven times. She was a longtime member and past president of the Joplin National Education Association. Barbara was honored for her work in the Joplin School District with the Missouri Commissioners Award for Excellence in Professional learning. She was a member of the Missouri Bar Association, where she was active with the We The People education program. Barbara was a well-known presenter and facilitator all over the state of Missouri.

Even though education played an important part of her life, family was always put first. Barbara enjoyed spending time with her children, and her grandchildren were her whole world. She enjoyed crafts, scrapbooking, debating, talking politics, and studying biblical courses online. She was currently working on writing a book with her daughters, Rachel and Liz. Barbara will be greatly missed by everyone that knew her.
She married Edward Dean Arnold on April 2, 1977 in Glendale, California. He preceded her in death on January 5, 2015. 

Survivors include two daughters, Rachel Riediger and husband, John, Joplin, Elizabeth Arnold-Enslow and husband, Christopher, Joplin; a son, Nathaniel Arnold and wife, Kimberly, Joplin; one brother, David Lester and wife, Danielle, Laguna Niguel, California; and grandchildren, Abigail Riediger, Asa Riediger, Keagan Arnold, Declan Arnold, Evelyn Arnold and Theodore Enslow.
Remembering Wanda "Jean" Adams
W. Jean Skaggs Adams, age 89, of Joplin, passed away at Freeman Hospital in Joplin. Mrs. Adams, daughter of the late Owen and Emma (Hardesty) Skaggs, was born on April 28, 1930 in Tuttle, OK. She attended Oklahoma State University where she graduated with her associate degree. Soon after she attended Oklahoma University where she obtained her bachelor’s degree and then completed her master’s degree in Education at Pittsburg State University. On July 16, 1951 she was united in marriage to Robert Adams in Hindsville, Ga. Together they moved to the Joplin area in 1967. Jean was retired from Joplin R-VIII Schools as a teacher. She enjoyed crossword puzzles, dominos, games on her IPad, and was a member of the Missouri State Retired Teachers Association. She was also a member of the Byers Avenue Methodist Church where she volunteered numerous hours.

Survivors include her husband, Robert Adams, of Joplin; one son, Brad Adams, and his wife, Marian, of Neosho; one daughter, Donna Calcote, and her husband, Bill, of Houston, TX; five grandchildren; and seven great grandchildren. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by one brother, Buddy Skaggs in 2017.
Safety Tip
"There is a reason your windshield is bigger than the review mirror."

Employee Discounts

Don't forget to use Employee Discounts while shopping locally - you can find those here:   Employee Discounts .
The Eagle Eye: A Focus on Well-being is a monthly e-newsletter where you will find news, updates, reminders, wellness challenges, celebrations, etc. from the human resources department! The e-newsletter will be shared during the last week of each month. Thanks for viewing!