It's On!!!

Distance Learning! ----September 8, 2020

TPlus Family

Seeing the TPlus Family together in a virtual space this past week has made my heart happy. We have such an amazing family that cares deeply about each other and our students. The only thing that would have made this better would have been in person without COVID precautions so we could share hugs.

As we welcome students into our virtual rooms and virtual spaces, I want you to think of what made you feel welcomed and what made you feel like you belonged in the spaces you've been in the past couple of weeks. Try to replicate those positive feelings for our students and families. Let's have a great week !

This Week in BIPOC History

Here it is for you to share with your students so we start changing history by sharing multiple perspectives of history.
Big picture

First Week Details… Some things to know

  1. Change google class naming format to firstname.classname.tplus so it is most specific to least specific instead of other way around, and uses our first names, which students are far more familiar with. So Accuplacer class would be: patricia.accuplacer.tplu

  2. Have all teachers put either the period a class meets, or the time a class meets in the "section" field under settings for each class. If we do that the periods or times appear under the class name when the student is looking at their GC home page

  3. We made a list of things we think all students should review or be taught on September 8 in Advisory.

    • Difference between MPS google account not personal account

    • How to mute microphones/etiquette

    • Creating new tabs

    • Back and forth between tabs

    • Logging into student email

    • Responding to classroom invites (teachers should send invites before 9/8)

    • Replying to an email

    • Composing and sending new email

    • review their schedule (case managers should email before 9/8)

    • features of and navigating google classroom

    • How to share your screen in a google meet (I have a screencast I will upload to google drive)

    • setting alarms on phones etc. to get to online classes

    • Case manager and SEA email and google voice number (if CM/SEA using google voice)

    • How to access the onestop thing if it can be created

  4. ESP’s if you are interested in leading a group during advisory time please contact Aria Campbell:

    • Engage students during advisory that may not have needs on that particular day

    • Examples: Social Groups, Music, Crafts, Games, etc.

School Counseling Updates

Here we go! I know that I am not alone in the anxiety and anticipation I am feeling about the beginning of this school year. You all have been working so hard this week and it is such a privilege to work with such a committed group of educators and friends. Thank you for your positivity, thoughtfulness, and innovation!

  • In addition to email, I will also be available by Google Meets during the first week of school for anyone (student or teacher) to log on and alter schedules, schedule new students, or problem-solve in any other way. The code for this ongoing meet will be TPlus Counselor. I will have the link available between the hours of 9:00am-12:00pm, 1:00pm-3:00pm.

  • Here is the link for the SY21 Distance Learning Schedule for Quarter 1. .

  • Here is the link for the Course Selection sheet to share with students and families.

  • Here is the link for the scheduling request Google form. Please complete this form if you have new or unscheduled students. If you have schedule changes, please email me directly at

  • Here is the link for the SY21 Course Guide. This document contains course descriptions for all of our TPlus courses, including many that are not currently offered during distance learning.

  • If you have questions or issues regarding Gradebook, please contact me before you submit an e-ticket to IT. Typically they are issues I can resolve myself.

A Note from the TPlus Social Work Team:

Please check out our new TPlus Virtual Calm Room for students, staff, and families.

It is a designated supportive environment to assist in proactive self-regulation by offering opportunities for coping and relaxation. Participants can experience calming visual, auditory, and tactile stimuli, as well as both mindfulness and de-stressing activities.

T-Plus Calming Room - Link it in your Google Classroom or Seasaw Room

Work Based Learning for Fall, 2020

Hi everyone,

We want to provide some information about what to expect regarding Work Based Learning at Transition Plus as we start the year on a virtual basis. Please keep in mind that we are short handed but will doing our best to serve students.

Team 1 –Ben is setting up Work Experience Sites that will open when we move to phase 3. He will be talking to students and case managers to determine who has a resume needs and who is ready for work experience. He will also be attending IEP meetings and sharing information about VRS, work based learning and DT & H options. In addition, Ben will be co-teaching Career Awareness with Molly.

Team 2, Team 3 and Team 4. Dana will be serving Team 3, Trish will be serving Team 2 and Team 4. Both will be meeting with students to help develop resumes and assist with job search efforts. We will prioritize students who are in their last year with Transition Plus. Please let us know about any students on your caseload that you would like us to support. We will also be attending IEP meetings and working to get students connected with VRS. In addition, we will be working to set up Work Experience Sites to open when we move to phase 3.

Olivia and Michele will be working with Dana and Trish to assist students on Team 2, 3 & 4 with Career Interest Inventories and interview practice.

ECBC –New this year, our Employment Capacity Building Cohort will focus our efforts on students from multiple disability areas, not just DCD. We are working toward integrated competitive employment for these students

Teacher schedules must be set to “Anyone with link”

Thank you to all teachers and other staff who have responded to the District’s request to update your contact information to make it easier for students and families to connect to staff during distance learning.

While many teachers have already responded to the form and provided links to their schedules, some of those schedules built in Google docs/sheets cannot be viewed by students and their families as the document’s default viewing restrictions need to be changed to “Anyone with link.” To do this, click on the blue Share button in the upper-right hand corner of the document and when the drop down menu pops up, select “Anyone with link”; see screenshots below.

As we shared in the previous email, schools and teachers may determine on their own the format of these daily schedules and what platform the schedules are published on as long as the schedules are publicly accessible; however, it is strongly recommended that schedules be published using Google Docs.

Also, please ensure the following:

  • That schedules are ADA compliant in that they are posted in a text-based format and not hand written or posted as an image.
  • That schedules are publicly accessible by being uploaded to the internet and thus live and accessible to students/families (if a Google doc, make sure it is Shared via “Anyone with a link can view.”)

Please speak to your school principal for more information on expectations around daily schedules and for a schedule template which has been provided through the Distance Learning Principals Handbook.

Note: If other non-teaching staff want to provide students/families with their daily schedules, they are also welcome to do so; simply provide the link to your schedule in the designated field on the form.

Again, thank you for helping create systems that make things easier for our students and families!

Big picture

Voice Mail

With Distance Learning, we would like to ensure that families are connected with teachers when they call T-Plus.

For those of you who have Voice Mail set up, here are the directions to access your Voice Mail remotely.

The directions also let you know how you can set up your voice mail. For teachers new to T-Plus, if you know your VM number let Traci know what it is. If not, she can find out, or can have one set up for you. For returning teachers, if you need to know what your VM number is, let Traci know.

We would like to publish these numbers on the website as an easy reference to families.

Phones — The Source

In the summer of 2018, MPS IT Services upgraded our district phone system to maintain reliable supported phone service. With the new system, you may notice minor changes to the way your desk phone functions.

Trans Students + Google Meet

Students can request to have their name changed in Google Meet if we request it through an eTicket to IT. This will change their name in Google Meet but not their other documents. Google Meet is not a legal document and not having the correct name for the student may prohibit them from joining our classes so a name change form is not required.


Hello All,

Hope you’ve had a chance to breathe a bit over the weekend. Self-care will be critical to our success as we embark on this new journey.

There is a Google classroom set up for SEL resources. It’s titled SEL Resources for Teachers. I believe I’ve invited all teachers and related service people. If you want me to add an SEA let me know. I will be continuing to add resources as I find them. If you find a great resource please share it with the rest of us.

I intend to start doing circle groups after we get going a bit. If you know of a student who would benefit from participating in a circle, let me know.

In the meantime, please let me know if I can be of any assistance.


Attendance and Absences

During Distance Learning, the top priority is that students are engaged in learning every day. As such, the definition of an absence is when a student, or parent/guardian for elementary students, does not have contact with the teacher (or designee) on an instructional day.

Click here to review the attendance process.


As we start the 2020-21 school year, please see the attached updates for reserve teaching and student teaching


Reserve Teaching

● Long term absences: MPS will continue to provide long call subs as needed.

● Daily absences: MPS will not provide short-call reserve teachers given the challenges of filling daily

absences (access to technology, access to the virtual classrooms, privacy concerns, limited relationships

in a virtual environment etc.)

● The attached document contains additional details about the process for determining coverage for daily


Student Teaching FAQ Overview

● MPS will continue to host student teachers this year. During phase two of the reopening plan, student

teachers will not work in person in order to limit exposure for staff and student teachers.

● Student teachers will continue to complete the registration and background check process as in prior


While student teachers are not eligible for MPS email accounts because they are not employees of the district, they are eligible for systems access to all MPS online systems that are relevant to student teaching. Additional guidance to request access is included in the linked Student Teacher FAQ.

Latest Updates from ILT

In order to help students stay organized, include the following when labeling classes in google classroom:

  • Teacher
  • Name of Class
  • Period



Schedule for the first week of school

Tuesday, Sept 8 will be a day to connect with your students. At 9:30, all students meet with their advisory group. Once advisories have connected as a group, the rest of the morning could be dedicated to connecting individually with students or continuing as a group. It depends on the needs of the group. Advisories will meet again as a group at 1:00. TEACHERS INFORM YOUR STUDENTS AHEAD OF TIME TO JOIN ADVISORY AT 9:30 BECAUSE IT IS NOT THEIR REGULAR SCHEDULE!!

Wednesday&Thursday = normal class schedule.

Daily Class Schedule:

  • 9:30 - 10:25 - period 1
  • 10:30 - 11:25 - period 2
  • 11:30 - 12:25 - period 3
  • 1:00 - 1:55 - Advisory (period 4)
  • 2:00 - 2:55 - period 5
  • 3:00 - 3:55 - period 6

Students have the same classes Monday - Thursday. Fridays will begin with Advisory at 9:30, then offer virtual community/peer connections for which the students will sign up according to their needs/interests. We need people to lead CBI options.


Google Classroom: If you have not had a chance, please complete the form so that we can help communicate with families and students so they are able to connect with their case managers and advisories.



Calling all Tplus staff! Tplus is working towards building some peer/community connections into our Fridays again. The schedule would be:

  • 9:30 - 10:00 : Advisory
  • 10:05 - ? : Activity
  • 1:00 : Dance Party and Bingo

The 5-week module format will remain the same as last year. One difference: Activities will only last as long as makes sense - If the activity only needs 1 hour, then it only lasts 1 hour. Need 3 hours? You got it! Once the activity is finished, students will be "off" until dance party/bingo in the afternoon. Once we get a group of teachers/staff that want to lead/co-lead activities, we will put together a spreadsheet of the available activities. Once a student chooses an activity, the leader would invite them to join the activity on google classroom.

Activities that require materials are possible if

  • a) students are able to pick up 4 weeks worth of materials from Tplus (1st week would be dedicated to pick up, which leaves 4 weeks for activity)
  • b) a staff is willing to drop materials off at students' houses.

Some CBI ideas to get the creative juices flowing:

  • Chrome games
  • apples to apples
  • upstream arts
  • guest speakers/ted talks
  • random skills students want to learn
  • creative writing
  • virtual cultural celebrations
  • online bracelet making class
  • chat with Nurse Emily about Covid questions
  • arm knitting
  • transform junk into art
  • language learning
  • resume building
  • yoga/fitness
  • baking
  • budgeting
  • more!

Email with your interest or questions. Colleen is still working out the details and is happy for your input/feedback!

Hello Beautiful Staff at T Plus

Hennepin Healthcare is continuing to offer flu shot clinics to schools in MPS. I am curious to know how many of you would still be interested in this. A few caveats are: the clinic would need to be conducted outside--likely the parking lot at T-Plus, and participants will need to wear a mask and wait in their cars until it is their turn. I will see if we can do it on the Wednesday of MEA, October 14. Students and families are also welcome. As before the vaccine is free to those without insurance. If you have insurance they do ask for it, but generally speaking most insurances will cover vaccination as part of preventative care. Some insurances require the vaccine be administered by a specific HMO, so please check if you are unsure.

Let me know if you would be interested by completing this quick anonymous survey. You will need to be logged in to your district account. T Plus Flu Clinic Survey 2020


Emily Norton, RN

Important Staff Info

THE SOURCE - Teachers

The SOURCE is your 'go to' to find tutorials on many of MPS platforms that are used. Gradebook, Google Classroom, SeeSaw, Distance Learning Resources, AESOP, etc.

Please bookmark for future reference.- Teacher Resources — The Source

Great! Check out the New Teacher Resources page to make sure that all of your technology and systems are ready to go for your first day in the classroom.

Time Entry for ESP Staff

Staff who attended PD sessions on September 3rd & 4th need to enter regular hours on ESS for the hours they participated on those days. Remember, these are REGULAR hours, as your official start date was September 3rd. If you receive an email that your time was not approved, you need to check to see if there were errors. Please refer to THE SOURCE, where you will find helpful tutorials for entering time and checking to see if your time was approved.

Monday, August 31st was the first day of this pay period which ends on September 11. Time for each pay period must be entered by the end of the day on the Monday following Friday pay day. You can find the pay schedule on the ESP Google Share Drive and on the T-Plus web page>For Staff

HOLIDAY PAY - Remember, you must use the drop down box to add Holiday on paid Holidays.

You will not get paid for holidays if you don't do this.

Please bookmark- Employee Self Service (ESS)

Let Traci know if you need assistance with time entry

Time Off Requests - An email was sent to licensed and non-licensed staff for the online Time Off Request form that is on Microsoft Forms. Please bookmark.

Here's the link to the form "Non Licensed Staff Absence Request Form":

Here's the link to the form "Diploma Request Form":

FERN UPDATE - Sometime since March, Fern, the resident deer that lives at the Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery across the street from school gained a companion. I don't know if the companion has been officially named. When they are resting, they always look like this....

Big picture

Calling all talented staff!

I will be hosting a live open mic style CBI for the whole first quarter. The plan is to invite community experts (yourselves included) to share talents and skills!

Do you have a special talent? Music, poetry, dance, theater arts, any arts, tricks, trade skills, more? Friday mornings 10:05-11:25am is your chance to shine and share! As we begin to engage and increase more student involvement, the “stage” will be an open invitation to all. So come and share your talent, your story, and your skills! This does not mean you need to attend one or all of the Friday mornings, or even stick around for the whole session if you have other responsibilities or tasks. Come for your mic spot, come for them all, and let’s celebrate each other and encourage our students to do the same!

Contact Christina for a specific Friday date or time if you are interested!

Who Can Help?

If you need help in understanding technology or need support in figuring out certain programs - here are some staff you can reach out to . I've always gone by the thought, if it takes me more than 10 minutes to figure something out, reach out to someone fro help. Here are staff who have agreed to help out.

Teachers to support technology

  • Molly
  • Greg
  • Brad
  • Adam

ESPs to support Technology

  • Aria
  • Bryan
  • Karl
  • Mina


Share the songs that help pump you up or calm you down. We can all use a little music to keep us going during these dynamic times.