Bulldog Bytes

A Newsletter for Employees of the Mexico59 March 23, 2016

Congratulations to MHS Chamber Choir and Band!

Congratulations to the Mexico High School Chamber Choir, who received an "EXEMPLARY (1)" Rating, at the MSHSAA State Large Group Music Festival at Mexico High School on Friday, March 18.

Congratulations to the Mexico High School Band, who received an "OUTSTANDING (2)" Rating at the MSHSAA State Large GroupMusic Festival at Mexico High School on Friday, March 18.

The MHS Vocal Music Director is Mrs. Julie Pappas.

The MHS Band Director is Mr. Robert Cortez, Assistant Director is Wade Aldridge.


On Saturday, March 19, students from Mexico High School performed in the District Music Festival.

The following students earned an "EXEMPLARY (1)" Rating, and will advance to the STATE MUSIC FESTIVAL in Columbia on Thursday, April 28:

Grace Troesser, Clarinet Solo

Sarah Kasubke, Vocal Solo

Steven Owings, Vocal Solo

Elaina Grubb, Vocal Solo

Gracelyn Penn, Vocal Solo

Abigel Jarvis, Vocal Solo

Mexico Mixed Double Quartet - Tazshia Burgeson, Nicole Webber, Emily Chastain, Morghan Rowe, Samuel Hobbs, Ethan Musgrove, Marquis Smith, and Terresse Aaron.

The following students earned an "OUTSTANDING (2)" Rating, narrowly missing qualifying for the State Festival:

Nicholas Cortez, Trumpet Solo

Shannon Stice, Flute Solo

Grace Troesser, Piano Solo

AJ Vittone, Horn Solo

Gracelyn Penn, Clarinet Solo

Steven Owings, Saxophone Solo

Jessica Joiner, Trumpet Solo

Betsy Pascoe, Vocal Solo

Angela Walch, Vocal Solo

Grace Maddox, Vocal Solo

Nicole Weber, Vocal Solo

Catie Prater, Vocal Solo

Paige Reynolds, Vocal Solo

Emily Chastain, Vocal Solo

Madeline Strunk, Vocal Solo

Morghan Rowe, Vocal Solo

Alex Massa, Vocal Solo

Christiana Jordan, Vocal Solo

Brass Sextet - Austin Barnett,Lary Dye, Andrew Weber, Caleb Quinlan, Jordan Hagedorn, Morgan Hall

Mexico Mixed Double Trio - Elizabeth Kasubke, Madeline Strunk, Grace Maddox, Elaina Grubb, Malik Holman, JaSean White

The following students earned a "SATISFACTORY (3)" Rating:

Brianna Hayes, Vocal Solo

Elizabeth Kasubke, Piano Solo

Steven Owings, Piano Solo

Matthew Sause, Saxophone Solo

Marcus Moore, Trombone Solo

Percussion Ensemble (Ethan Prior, Dylan Goodman, Dalyn Feigenspan, Nathan Dick, Ryan Shopher, and Brooke Ransom)

No students from Mexico earned a "DEVELOPING (4)" Rating.

No students from Mexico earned an "INEFFECTIVE (5) Rating.

MSHSAA Defines the Ratings for music festivals as follows:

Exemplary (1) - An exemplary performance that consistently demonstrates true musical expression and few technical errors. The performance is worthy of the distinction of being recognized as among the very best.

Outstanding (2) - An outstanding performance of distinctive quality yet has minor defects in musical expression and fundamental technique.

Satisfactory (3) - A satisfactory performance showing accomplishment and marked promise, but lacking consistency of musical expression and fundamental technique.

Developing (4) - A developing performance indicating room for improvement in consistent musical expression and fundamental technique. Such a performance would include many technical errors, poor musical expression and ineffective use of existing instrumentation or choral voicing.

Ineffective (5) - An ineffective performance indicating obvious lack of overall preparation.

Thirty Seven Days...by Kevin Freeman

Thirty-Seven days. When we return next Tuesday, March 29th, after Easter weekend, that is how many school days are left in the regular school year. Seven and a half weeks of school. It is really hard to believe that is all that is left and the school year has gone by so fast.

Of course, all the mandated testing is coming in the next few weeks. I have no doubt you have done a magnificent job preparing kids for MAP, EOC’s, and our own end-of-year benchmark assessments (and remember my mantra – We DON’T cheat to meet!). Our kids will score well because they are prepared, not because of extra assistance. Be confident in both your prep and their abilities. If you cheat, not only do you risk losing your job, you also hurt kids.

During the coming days expect some inappropriate student behaviors. Not only is it spring and getting warmer, but for many students, the unknown of summer is looming (for seniors, it might be the unknown of facing life in the “real” world for the first time). While some of our students have appropriate family support structures in place to have a fun and relaxing summer, many do not. These students likely won’t leave Mexico this summer. No Cardinals or Royals games. No vacations. Uncertainty in where they will eat and sleep abound. Please remember to look behind the behavior for a cause. Help students to grow and learn to handle their emotions and feelings as they face an uncertain time.

Way back in August, I asked you to make a difference in the life of ten kids, or even just one kid. Where are you with regard to that ask? (view Admiral McRaven’s speech at UT for where I got that idea). Did you know that through BRIGHTfutures, with the help of the Mexico Area Chamber of Commerce and Dana Keller, we have over 120 individuals serving as lunch buddies throughout our district?! Absolutely wonderful mentoring opportunities happening for our kids. Think about these last days and what you can do to really make the days count, instead of counting the days.

And most of all, thank YOU for the energy, compassion, and hard work you put in every day for our students.

Have a wonderful Easter and a relaxing four-day weekend.

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2016-2017 Insurance information

Our health insurance consortium (MMEBG) met on March 7, 2016. At that time we received our new health insurance premiums for 2016-2017. Our premiums increased by 2.9% this year. This is extremely good as many districts are once again seeing double digit increases. Other than an increase for ACA fees, we have not had an increase in our health insurance since we changed to Anthem in 2012.

We have attached documents for you to review in making your decision for health insurance coverage for 2016-2017. At this point in time, it is merely informational. You will be contacted at a later date to make your decision and complete the paperwork needed for our records.

Mirroring the 2015-2016 school year, staff who would like to purchase the PPO plan will have to buy up for the plan difference. The amount will be $44.00 a month for the employee. The District will be covering $418 a month for employee covered insurance for the PPO and both HSA plans.

The purchase of coverage for spouse and/or family, the cost will be the difference between the cost of employee ($418) and the amount listed on the Health Insurance Rates and Benefits Summary 2016-2017 document.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. Please call Amber Henderson at x2411 with questions.

Click here to go to the folder containing all of the documents.

Anthem rewards

After the know your numbers event on Friday, we wanted to let you know more about Anthem Rewards.

All employees enrolled on the health plan are eligible for the rewards programs.

Even if you did not attend the Know Your Numbers event…….you can still get in and earn the rewards.

Please find attached the guides in the link at the bottom of this section for our HSA and PPO plan reward programs.

The HSA rewards did change slightly last year.……….more incentives are available as you earn points in the new system!

Our rewards program runs from July 1 - -June 30 . So get in now and get it completed prior to June.

Here’s how:

1. Log on now at www.anthem.com (user name and password)

2. Go to the health and wellness tab and “take my HA now”

(PPO members will see step 5 at this point)

3. HSA members - - - After you finish your Health Assessment then you will be prompted to set up your Well being Plan. BOTH STEPS need to be completed to earn the 3000 points necessary for the first $50 reward. (see attached flyer)

4. After you complete your Well Being Plan and earn your 3000 points you can keep going and earn more rewards at 5000 points and 10,000 points.

5. To access your rewards you will be mailed a letter from Hallmark / Anthem with the website and code. You will log on there and order your gift card. This letter will arrive in about 10 days from the date you complete your Health assessment (and Well Being Plan for HSA members).

If you have questions call the 24/7 nurse line number on the back of your ID card.

Click here for more information.

Bowls for BRIGHTfutures

Wednesday, April 6th, 5-7pm

639 North Wade Street

Mexico, MO

Mexico Middle School Art Department, Mexico High School Art Department, and Mexico High School FCCLA (Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America) will be hosting a first time event called "Bowls for BRIGHTfutures". The event will take place on April 6th from 5:00-7:00 pm in the Mexico High School Cafeteria. Attendees will choose a bowl handmade by MMS & MHS art students, and then eat a meal from the bowl, which is theirs to keep. For a meal, there will be soups handmade by FCCLA students and chili donated by Jackson Street Diner. Everyone is welcome to attend.

There will also be other art items available for raffle. All proceeds benefit BRIGHTfutures Mexico. For more information, contact Alicia Pigg at apigg@mexico.k12.mo.us or Jo Ann Diffenderfer at jdiffenderfer@mexico.k12.mo.us

Transfers Request Process

Teachers -- it is nearly hiring season again. There is no longer a March 1st deadline to request a transfer to another building. Instead, all openings will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Process: (Transfer requests are now done on TalentEd. No paperwork needs to be sent to the principal)

A. If an opening becomes available in your own building that you are interested in, you just need to talk to your principal about the process.

B. If an opening becomes available in a different building, then you need to fill out an internal application in TalentEd so that principal and Central Office know you have an interest.

There are no guarantees on transfer requests. Every situation is different and we will try to do what is best for kids in the long run.

Please contact Bethany Collins if you have questions on filling out an internal application. x2401.

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Bulldog Bytes

Bulldog Bytes will be available in your in box each Wednesday (with some exceptions around Thanksgiving, Christmas, & Summer break). Send items to be published to jdiffenderfer@mexico.k12.mo.us. These items can be wedding photos, birth announcements/photos, fund raisers for sports and civic clubs, and other district wide communication needs.