The Pulse

January 2016

Welcome to this Issue!

Welcome to the January edition of The Pulse! We hope you all had a wonderful holiday season, and are refreshed for the new year!

Thank you to the SMS Operations team for putting together this issue! If you would like to contribute to an upcoming addition of The Pulse, or have topic ideas you would like to see included, please email Skye Roemer (

My Favorite Things: Sabina Bologna

Meal: Sushi!

Hobby: Tie between bike riding and snowboarding

Ice Cream Flavor: Anything fruit flavored (right now I’m stuck on Breyer’s Raspberry Cheesecake Gelato)

Last Book Read for Pleasure: It was a cookbook!

Person in the News: I rarely watch the news.

TV Show: Once Upon A Time

Music: I still love 80s hair bands!

Animals: I love looking at the beautiful deer that come by our house in the evenings looking for food.

Something that Makes You Smile/Laugh: Linda DeWyke cracks me up on a regular basis.

Your Least Favorite Thing: Negativity

School of the Month: CASC

Grade Levels Served: K-11 (will be adding 12th next year)

Enrollment: 950 students

School Logo: Blue Heron - According to North American Native tradition, the Blue Heron brings messages of self-determination and self-reliance. They represent an ability to progress and evolve. The long thin legs of the heron reflect that an individual doesn't need great massive pillars to remain stable, but must be able to stand on his/her own.

Highlights: CASC offers a statewide blended learning option for students looking for a unique learning experience.

Featured Report:

This month’s featured report is the Family Income Report. This report will be useful during your school’s enrollment and registration periods.

The Family Income Report shows family income information on both student applicants and active, enrollment approved students.




Upcoming Events:

Production Support Open Office Hours:

Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, 12-1 pm ET | Click here to join.

Weekly SMS Ops Call:

Every Thursday, 3:30-4:30 pm ET | Click here to join.

Service Now Tip of the Month:

Accessing the Enterprise Service Desk

In addition to contacting the SMS Operations team using Service Now, the Enterprise Service Desk can also be accessed from your account. To access the Enterprise Service Desk, click on “Enterprise Service Desk” from the left-hand navigation bar. This will take you to the Self Help Portal. Go to "Get Help" to create a new ticket, or go to "Menu" to view the status of a previously reported ticket.

January Reminders:

  • Complete SET tasks in your school's Service Now project plan.
  • Update/verify these fields on your current Systems Timeline: Spring default OLS termination date/course end date.
  • On classroom start date, a best practice is to have teachers confirm that the total number of students in the TotalView School course classroom matches the total number of students in the OHS classroom.
  • Mail out transcripts for high school and/or report cards for K-8.
  • Reminder: Build all classrooms in advance to ensure that teachers have ample time to perform classroom set-up.
  • Begin the Registration planning process by hosting a kick-off meeting, including Marketing, ROM, HOS and School-based Operations staff.
  • Gather necessary documents for your school's registration portal and attach them to the current year Systems Timeline.
  • Complete your school's Registration tab (located in the current year Systems Timeline) in Service Now.
  • 45-day screenings/health screenings are due, if applicable.
  • Continue to closely monitor Special Programs compliancy: ensure that all files (IEP, RTI, McKinney Vento, and Title I) are up to date in preparation for count day/audit.
  • Conduct midyear reviews with staff and add milestones, as needed.
  • Review your school's annual reporting calendar.
  • Prepare metrics for board meetings.
  • Ensure staff have completed all required Operations trainings.
  • If enrollment is open, communicate course offerings with the placement teams.
  • Discuss EPR open and close dates with the Enrollment and Marketing teams.
  • Ensure your school's testing plan is on track, and that communications are sent out to staff and families.
  • Begin budget planning for February presentations; work with your HOS to outline plans for initiatives.
  • Reconcile K12 student IDs with state student IDs.
  • Communicate with families regarding state testing.
  • Complete your new school year Systems Timeline (K8 and HS Course/School Start and End Dates are required fields).
  • Confirm student addresses.
  • Confirm Learning Coach addresses and email addresses.
  • Confirm teacher addresses.

Regional Highlights: Blended Region

As we enter into 2016 and the start of semester two, we are so excited to begin the new year with a full operations team at each one of our schools. This school year started with the hiring of two new Operations Managers, Kyle Knudson at our brand new school, MN Flex, and Traci Orlandino at Newark Prep. We also filled an opening at our Pittsburgh school, HHPA, hiring on the newest member of our team, Sharon Zaborowski. Sharon comes to us with years of state reporting and charter school experience; we are thrilled to have her in the K12 family!

The Blended Region is working hard to get staff up-to-speed on all things Office 365, and continues to discover and learn new tricks on the new high school platform. We had a very successful roll-out on the new platform and have had positive reviews from students and staff within the blended models.

The Blended Region is also looking forward to getting together for a regional summit this coming semester!

Compliance Corner

When a family notifies a teacher or registrar of their intent to withdraw a student from your school, it sets many things in motion. The teacher may fill out an online form to notify the Operations team of the withdrawal request. A team member may verify that a records request has been received to ensure that the student’s withdrawal date is correct. The student withdrawal request may be verified by the counselor or by a registrar. All of this leads to the student being withdrawn from all systems of record and set to an inactive status. Whew!

So the question is, does your school have all of those moving parts written down? Is there clear documentation that outlines what happens, what order it happens in, and who does it? Some things to include:

  • How do teachers or other staff members notify the right person about a family’s request to withdraw a student?
  • How does the Ops team verify the student’s correct end date?
  • Who does the actual system withdrawal? Is there more than one system? Is there a checklist to ensure that all progress and necessary attendance data has been captured before the student is deactivated?
  • What happens to the student’s cumulative file upon withdrawal?

Clear documentation and a thorough data trail will help the school in many cases, including withdrawal tracking, membership reconciliation between other schools in the state, and efficient student records practices. As you update these processes as part of this month’s Ops focus, take a moment to think of every moving part involved in a voluntary student withdrawal, and ensure they all get written down.

Recipe of the Month:

This recipe for Zuppa Toscana (sausage, potato, and kale soup) came to us from Lori Whittam on the SMS Ops team.

If you have a recipe to share in an upcoming issue of the The Pulse, please email Skye Roemer (


  • 1 pound bulk sausage - spicy, if you like
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 medium potatoes, cut into 1" cubes
  • 1 package real bacon bits, or 4 slices of bacon cooked and chopped
  • 32 ounces chicken broth
  • 1 bunch kale, de-stemmed and chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch, heaping


  • Brown the sausage with the onion and garlic.
  • Place cooked sausage and potatoes in a slow cooker. Add the broth and just enough water to cover the sausage and potatoes.
  • Cook on high for 3-4 hours (low 5-6 hours) or until potatoes are soft.
  • 30 minutes before serving: Dissolve the cornstarch in 2-3 tablespoons of water. Add to the cream, and incorporate into the liquid in the slow cooker. Add the package of bacon bits and chopped kale.
  • Cook on high for 30 minutes or until broth thickens slightly.
  • This recipe serves 8.

Training Reminders:

Please complete these trainings during the month of January:

  • SMS Operations: Re-Registration SY15-16
  • SMS Operations: Systems Timeline SY15-16 (Coming Soon!)
  • SMS Operations: Preparing for Year-End Transition (Coming Soon!)

Please complete these school lifecycle trainings, if you haven’t done so already:

  • SMS Operations: Bulk Student Data Tool (TVS)
  • SMS Operations: Turnitin
  • SMS Operation: Respondus Lockdown Browser
  • SMS Operations: Staff and School Materials
  • SMS Operations: ORN010: Online Learning Course Overview
  • SMS Operations: Introduction to High School Online Learning Course Overview

Raffle Participation:

Participate and earn entries into a drawing! The prize and winner will be announced on the Ops Call at the end of each month.

Want to earn an entry today?

  • Read the newsletter: email Kristin Jarvis the secret phrase (located somewhere in this newsletter)
  • Complete a training
  • Attend a best practices session
  • Participate in the quiz bowl
  • Bring a question to open office hours
  • Complete a morning mind bender survey

Earn double entries:

  • Earn a point for your region in the weekly quiz bowl
  • Win the quarterly quiz bowl
  • Complete all morning mind bender surveys in a calendar month

Raffle Winner:

Congratulations to Allison Yawn, the December raffle winner! Allison earned 7 entries, by completing operations trainings, participating in Quiz Bowl and the Mind Bender, and by reading The Pulse. Way to go, Allison!

Secret Phrase: Knowledge will bring you the opportunity to make a difference.