April 2017

National Volunteer Recognition Week April 23-27, 2017

Celebrate National Volunteer Week

National Volunteer Week was established in 1974 and has grown exponentially each year, with thousands of volunteer projects and special events scheduled throughout the week.

Why not plan to celebrate the impact of change-makers in your school community, and inspire others to serve?

Recognize Volunteers in Your School

National Volunteer Week is an opportunity to shine a light on the people that assist and support our schools with time and resources. This can be very simply a note about Volunteer Appreciation on school signage, banners in the hallway, special notes of thanks, handwritten or using a message board, school website, newsletter or social media. or other means in front of school, a banner in the hallway, message board, website, newsletter or using social media.

Martin Luther King, Jr was quoted as saying, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?" The volunteers in our schools so far this year have donated in excess of 12,228.30 hours of service for our students, staff and community. Recognizing this is important.

Share what you are planning to do for your volunteers at this link, and we will share out ideas for the future.

Volunteers Needed For Explore!

This is the time when parents are excited about enrolling their children in the Explore! program for summer learning. Volunteers are needed, too!

Let your volunteers know that they are welcome and needed in the June and July Explore sessions. Some parents have more free time during the summer months and really appreciate the opportunity to make a difference at their chlid's school.

The process is easy.

If a exisiting volunteer wants to continue to volunteer, all they have to do is complete a volunteer application, and select Summer Explore and the building where they would like to assist. Ann White or Linda Lemmon will be managing all the summer volunteers. If they were approved as a volunteer during 2016-2017, then their background check will still be valid for June and July 2017.

If a new volunteer wants to help out, they should complete a volunteer application which is available electronically from the SPS Main Webpage under the families heading. This new volunteer should complete the form, select Summer Explore, and pick the building where they wish to volunteer. If they need a background check, they will receive another email with a link to begin the background check process. It takes 3-5 business days to complete. There is no charge to the volunteer for this.

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SPS Volunteer Program -Volunteer Hours

Site Volunteer Coordinators have done a terrific job of encouraging our volunteers to log their volunteer hours. As of March 22, 2017, there has been a total of 12,228:30 hours logged by our dedicated volunteers. Thank you so much!
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Tip from Site Volunteer Coordinators

Cindy Beach, the Site Volunteer Coordinator for Truman Elementary shared what one of her teachers (Tatiana Stout) created for the teacher's newsletter for the parents in her classroom. Using WeVideo, this teacher created a cleverly done promotional advertisement for parents of her students to sign up to volunteer at school or chaperone field trips.

Take a look - share with your staff, or maybe create one of your own for your website. Way to go Truman team! Thank you Cindy for sharing.

SVCs, got a great tip or idea to share. Send them to for future newsletters.

2017-2018 Immediate Transfer Requests

On May 1, 2017, the 2017-2018 Immediate Transfer Requests for grades 6-12 will open up for principals to accept or decline for the coming school year. We open secondary requests earlier in order to align with activities, athletics, and scheduling purposes.

2017-2018 Elementary Immediate Transfer Requests will open on August 1, 2017 as per the guidelines.

A friendly reminder: Buildings can accept transfers ONLY if there is no effect on the 2017-18 FTE Staff Allocation approved by Elementary and Secondary leaders. Please refer to the transfer guidelines which can be found at this link: Immediate Transfer Guidelines

Professional Learning and Secretaries

Secretary training held on Friday March 10 was attended by secretaries and Administrative Assistants from all over the district. Secretarial staff first met in Job-Alike groupings. Principal secretaries, Middle school and High School secretaries, and Administrative Assistants were asked five key questions, and were given time to process these as individuals and as a group. These are the questions asked.

1. What is going well in your job?

2. What barriers do you face in your work?

3. What tips and hints could you give to a new person in your role?

4. What training would you like to have in the coming year?

5. What District topics would you like to know more about?

The Job Alike sessions went for 45 minutes and were led by Dr. Brady Quirk and Ann White. After the Job Alike session, secretaries were given the option to attend a basic google drive training or go deeper in their learning from the October 2016 secretary training. The Blended Learning Team assisted in the Google training. Debbie Hammer, Amelia Horras, Jeremy Charneco-Sullivan, and Cheryl Baxter were able to provide differentiated training and support for each group.

Finally, we collected feedback from the secretaries that attended. Overall, secretaries agree they have positive relationships with their colleagues, and appreciate their co-workers. They provided great tips and hints for new secretaries coming into the job for the coming school year. Be kind, smile, be a good communicator, and ask for help when you need. Timely and detailed communication was identified as an area for improvement to assist secretaries in their roles. It is an important variable to address in the future for us all.

· Job-Alike meetings were well received and will continue in the future based on this feedback. A variety of requests for professional learning were suggested and will be shared with Department leadership for future secretarial training with an eye for specific job needs.

· Secretaries hope to know more about District programs and initiatives, such as: IGNITE, Blended Learning, Choice Programming, EXPLORE!, Facility Renovations and roles of district leadership. Having a working knowledge of district programs is important to our secretaries because they are often the first people to greet families coming into their buildings. Our team will ensure that secretaries will have the opportunity to delve deeper into these topics.

· The goal for Department Leaders who provide training for secretaries is to offer relevant, meaningful and personalized learning opportunities for them. The feedback garnered from them on March 10 will influence plans for future trainings.. We are continuing to examine methods to improve communication to support secretaries and their work using a variety of means. At this time, Canvas contains all our secretary training documents/slides, forms, guidelines for a variety of topics and other materials organized by Departments. It is a one stop shop to find information. It is easy to access. Just go from the SPS Main page>Canvas (find it in FIND IT FAST) and click on the folder that has Secretary / Administrative Assistant Training. If you have not been in Canvas recently, use your employee ID number and the last four of your social security number. If you receive a prompt that your password is invalid, click on the get a new password link. Almost instantly, you will have an email that will allow you to create a new password, and you are on your way to Canvas. Save it as a favorite.

Professional learning opportunities provide staff with common practices, policies and procedures that streamline and simplify our work and create a common standard of work. With a district as large as Springfield Public Schools, a common understanding of these is vital. We value and appreciate all of our secretaries and what they do for our students, families, staff (building and department) and the Springfield community.


A friendly reminder from your SIS team of Tina-Deidre-Amy.

1. Please keep entering your ‘Pre-Registered’ students as soon as you receive their application and paperwork. Please do not hold them or delay putting in the immunization records.

2. Students leaving the district – if they’re enrolled in Explore, please check with the family to see if they are still planning on attending. If not, please use the Explore website to remove the student from the Explore classes they were scheduled in.

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What is SAFE at HOME?

Since 2007, the Safe at Home address confidentiality program has helped survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, rape, human trafficking or stalking in their efforts to stay safe by providing a designated address to use when creating new public records. These services keep survivors’ confidential addresses out of the hands of their assailants. Safe at Home has expanded to serve survivors of human trafficking.

Springfield Public Schools has had several families involved in this program. Here are some helpful tips.

1. The family should provide the school with a Safe at Home Card

2. Connect with Lynn Schirk, the SPS Homeless Liaison, as soon as possible. Her phone number is 417 523-1134.

3. Use the school address as the residential address for the family. The pop-up will identify the family as clients for the Safe at Home program and put the Jefferson City Post Office Box address on the pop-up.

4. It is also helpful to request the parent provide a password to be placed on the pop-up in case the perpetrator is searching for the family. It adds an extra layer of protection for the student, family and for school staff.

What if a student whose family is in the program has poor attendance?

Attendance advisers should not be asked to make home visits in these situations. It is more appropriate to contact Lynn Schirk for next steps.

Law Enforcement

According to Revised Missouri Statute 589.669, state and local agencies and the courts shall accept the designated address as a program participant’s address when creating a new public record. This includes all state and local law enforcement agencies.

The substitute address must be used in place of a home, work or school address on all new records created by a law enforcement agency such as:

  • incident reports
  • citations
  • witness statements
  • arrest reports
  • correspondence
  • any document or database entry regarding a Safe at Home participant

Once an officer is aware that someone is a Safe at Home participant, the officer cannot require the participant to disclose his or her confidential address. Program participants are responsible for informing officers that they participate in Safe at Home and are requesting address confidentiality. Officers may request to see the participant’s authorization card to verify participation.

Questions regarding the use of the authorization card may be directed to the Safe at Home toll-free number: (866) 509-1409.

Safe at Home Newsletters are available at this link and contain many helpful ideas and suggestions if you have a family enrolled in the program.

Burning Question of the Month

A school secretary recently asked me to clarify the difference between the need for a McKinney Vento Affidavit and a Statement of Student Residency.

That is a great question!

The Mckinney-Vento affidavit is one created in-house for those students (minors) who are not accompanied by a parent or guardian, and who is under the care or supervision of an adult who obtained physical possession of the child due to some life circumstances, and qualify for resources under the McKinney -Vento Act. In fact, the sub-title of this affidavit actually states "unaccompanied minor."

The Statement of Student Residency form is used when a family is living with another family. The family living with another family has one or more legal guardians with their children living with another person or family in the same residence. We use this form when people are doubled up for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Family just moved to town and are house or apartment hunting and the situation is usually temporary. Often times, these families do not qualify as homeless. Check the McKinney-Vento criterion and examine the enrollment forms.

  • Family has lost their home, can't afford their own place or had a fire or other circumstances that left them homeless. These individuals most likely qualify for resources offered with McKinney-Vento.

  • Family has moved into a person's home to become that person's caregiver. This is happening more often as aging loved ones require more than part time care. Again, each situation needs to be assessed against the criterion listed in McKinney-Vento prior to coding the family homeless.

In any case, using the Statement of Student Residency form, this is what needs to happen next.

1. The person who owns/rents the residence can come to school with proof of their residency, and sign the form saying they agree to and are aware of the family living with them.

  • If they are unable to come to school, have them provide a copy of their ID (driver's license, or other identification with picture, a proof of residency and a copy of the Statement of Student Residency (school will provide to student family if requested). This will need to be notarized and sent back to school.
  • If those two methods do not work, and the circumstances require, an attendance advisor can verify through a home visit. Of course, using your attendance advisor to verify this is a last resort method.

2. If the homeowner comes in person, then the school secretary will notarize the form.

3. If the family qualifies for McKinney Vento resources code them doubled up in eschool.

4. The last step: the secretary will put the address of the home owner as the family address and code eschool with full pay, reduced, or free lunch as per the financial ability to pay for lunch. The Statement of Student Residency should be uploaded and placed in the student paperclip.

Kids Say the Cutest Things

Over Spring Break, my grandsons visited me and told me the following joke.

Question: Why would you never allow Elsa to hold your helium balloon?

Answer: Because she would "Let It Go."

Honestly, don't children make you smile?