The Pulse

February 2016

Welcome to this Issue!

Welcome to the February edition of The Pulse! Now that January is behind us who wants Spring to come early?

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 Sondra Winter (

Spotlight: Angie Walker

Angie Walker is our newest team member on the central operations School Quality & Program Implementation team. She is responsible for supporting schools with their term transition planning, creating and delivering Shared Practice and Operations Manager Leadership sessions and is managing our new Operations Manager Onboarding and Mentoring programs.

Angie brings over seven years of experience within our schools to her new position. She helped launch UTVA in 2008 and held several positions including Instructional Coach, K8 Lead Teacher, High School Department Chair and English teacher until 2013 when she moved to LAVCA as the Data Manager. At LAVCA she created tools and reports to help teachers and administrators review and analyze their school data and provided training on using their metrics to inform instructional strategies.

In a small town in northern Utah called Plain City, Angie lives with her husband and three daughters. They enjoy spending time in the mountains and camping together. Angie also serves as a youth leader in her church and has recently taken up archery as a sport. She loves baking and is famous for her chocolate chip cookies and Thanksgiving pies.

Living in a small town with one gas station and no stop lights fits Angie just fine. You can’t beat working in an office all day with a view of the Wasatch Mountains!

Picture of Angie with her family: Alan, Angie, Haley (15), Corinne (13) and Anna (10).

My Favorite Things: Kristin Jarvis

Meal: Mac and Cheese

Hobby: Reading, planning my next trip to Disney World, and crocheting

Ice Cream Flavor: Strawberry

Last Book Read for Pleasure: Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon

Person in the News: I don't watch the news - too depressing

TV Show: Bones

Music: Fuel, Red, Breaking Benjamin

Animals: I am not an animal person

Your Least Favorite Thing: Conversations that go nowhere

School of the Month: Insight Oklahoma (ISOK)

Grade Levels Served: 7-12

Enrollment: 260 students

School Logo: Phoenix: RISE TO THE CHALLENGE

Highlights: ISOK’s focus is on the student and how to support their social/emotional and academic growth. They practice “GRIT”. Grit is working hard to achieve your goals. It may not mean you are the best or most talented in a certain area. If you have grit, you can be successful in whatever you choose to do. Your ability to learn can change and grow. Failure is not permanent. At ISOK, if you do not do well on a quiz, you can retake the quiz. If you are failing a class, ISOK staff work with you to develop a “GRIT” plan. ISOK wants all of their students to be “gritty” and is celebrating success one student at a time. They will provide wrap around services for students who are struggling with their education an alternative academic program to help them stay in school, achieve a high school diploma, and be prepared for success in college, work, and life. Although ISOK will serve students at all ability levels, it will focus on providing at-risk students a fresh educational start in an innovative virtual learning environment based on collaborative partnerships, individualized instruction, high-quality curriculum delivered on and offline, community support, student-focused initiatives, and career pathways.

Featured Report:

This month’s featured report is the Teacher Backlog Report.

About this report: This report shows a list of any Online High School (OHS) assignments that have not been graded four or more days after student submission.

Where the data comes from: This report populates from the OHS grade book.

What is shown on this report: Student, assignment, date submitted, classroom, and teacher.

Why schools might want to look at this report: With 2nd semester off to a fresh start for most schools, this report can help keep your teachers on track with their grading to make sure they do not fall behind. Also, keeping this report as small as possible means that your school’s passing rate is accurate. If your report only has headers and a time stamp but no data, that means that your teachers have no backlog.

How to get it: The report is refreshed daily at approximately 11 a.m. EST.




Upcoming Events:

Production Support Open Office Hours:

  • K8 OLS, TV, Engrade, and BB Collaborate Hosted by Sondra Winter Tuesdays @ 2pm EST | Click here to join
  • SET Hosted by Angie Walker Wednesdays @ 2pm EST |Click here to join
  • Onboarding Hosted by Angie Walker Tuesdays @ 3pm EST | Click here to join
  • Online High School & BB Connect Hosted by Skye Roemer Fridays @ 2pm EST | Click here to join
  • Re-Registration Open Office Hours with Cindy & Kristin Mondays @ 3pm EST| 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:

Encrypting Documents **New Feature**

Whenever you upload a file or screenshot to Service Now be sure to check the “Encrypt Content” box to encrypt the file. Checking this box will encrypt the file as well as keep it from being added to emails that go out from Service Now.

February Reminders:

New School Year Set-Up/YET

  • Complete your school's default courses ticket in Service Now.
  • Confirm optional HS materials selections for the upcoming school year.
  • Update your Registration ticket in Service Now to include your school's registration selections.
  • Confirm Registration dates on you school's Systems Timeline.
  • Review and verify current year K8/HS School and Course Start/End Dates.

State Testing

  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.

Regional Highlights: Central Region

The CR team met this past week in Carlsbad, CA to reinforce our mission and vision for the region. Our mission is to provide each school with exceptional support and resources to maximize academic, operational, and financial success in support of the K12 mission. Our vision is to support every school by creating a culture of purposeful collaboration, identifying and implementing best practices, maintaining a level of responsiveness, and to develop strong leaders to ensure success for tomorrow. During our time together in California we focused on the Academic Plan, the CR master calendar, and our upcoming summit.

We will be holding the CR Academic Leaders Summit in Herndon on February 29 – March 3. The theme this year is “Solve the Mystery of the Academic Plan”. Attendees will include Head of Schools, Academic Administrators/Principals, Special Populations Managers, Operations Manager, Data Managers and one teacher per school. Our primary focus will be building the 16-17 SY Academic Plan to ensure that we are providing our school leaders with a framework for best instructional strategies and standards. The standards include Staffing, Instructional Cycles, Assessment, Data Driven Instruction, Observation/Evaluation/Feedback, Professional Development and Culture.

Compliance Corner

When a new student enrolls, we get a lot of data about that student from a lot of different places. There’s the info that comes in from the Parent Portal along with data that is captured using specific forms that families have to fill out. There’s also all the information that comes in the student’s cumulative file after enrollment. It’s a lot to go through! But go through it we must! We all know that information coming from all those different places doesn’t always match up.

One specific data set that often shows up in multiple places is the Home Language Survey (HLS). It’s super critical to capture all possible versions of the answers to this survey because they will drive your school’s efforts to identify students who need ELL services.

It’s a good idea to make sure that everyone involved in reviewing student enrollment information is aware of where to escalate any mismatches or ‘yes’ answers to the HLS questions. Sources to be aware of:

  • Actual Home Language Survey forms or enrollment forms with HLS questions that are filled out by families hard copy or online
  • The student’s cumulative file – Any previous HLS forms or evidence of ELL services received

A couple questions to ask:

  1. Does your school’s ELL coordinator rely on receiving information about the HLS from operations, enrollment, or student records support staff?
  2. Does your school’s enrollment process documentation include steps to monitor all sources of the HLS listed above and escalate that information to the ELL coordinator

Covering all of these data sources and getting everyone on the same page will ensure that all versions of this important HLS information get to the right place so that students can be assessed for ELL and your school’s processes will be defensible and compliant.

Remember to complete your K12 trainings asap. Let's get to 100% by next Thursday's ops call, February 11! !

Secret Phrase: The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.

Recipe of the Month:

This recipe for "The easiest, BEST French bread ever" came to us from Janice Gruneberg, Vice President of the SMS Ops team.

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


    • 4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
    • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast (from a 1/4-oz package)
    • 1 2/3 cups warm water (105-115°F)
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • Special equipment: 2 (17-inch-long) French bread pans (preferably dark nonstick); a razor blade or very sharp knife


      • Pulse flour, salt, and vinegar in a food processor to combine.
      • Stir together yeast and 1/3 cup water in a small bowl until yeast is dissolved, then let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn't foam, discard and start over with new yeast.) With motor running, pour yeast mixture and remaining 1 1/3 cups warm water into flour mixture in processor, blending until dough forms a ball and pulls away from side of processor bowl, about 1 minute.
      • Cover processor feed tube and let dough rise until it fills bowl, about 1 hour. Pulse several times to deflate dough.
      • Generously oil bread pans with olive oil.
      • Turn out dough onto a work surface and divide in half (dough will be very soft). Press 1 half into a 10- by 8-inch rectangle and fold in the 2 short outer sides to meet in the middle, pinching edges together. Turn over (seam side down), then roll and stretch into a 15-inch-long irregular loaf. Put loaf, seam side up, in bread pan and turn to coat with oil, leaving loaf seam side down.
      • Repeat procedure with remaining dough. Let loaves rise, uncovered, in a warm draft-free place 30 minutes.
      • Put oven rack in upper third of oven, then put a large roasting pan with 1 inch of water in it on bottom of gas oven or on lowest rack of electric oven. Preheat oven to 450°F.
      • Make 3 shallow diagonal slashes down length of each loaf with razor. Bake loaves 30 minutes, then carefully remove pan of water from oven. Remove bread from pans and turn upside down on upper oven rack, then bake until golden and crusty all over, about 5 minutes more. Cool loaves on a rack.

      Training Reminders:

      Ops Training Reminders

      During the month of February, please strive to reach 100% training completion. The ops training catalog is comprised of 65 modules and job aides, all located on The total time needed to complete all content is roughly 14 hours.

      Visit the ops SharePoint site to view the most recent version of the ops training report, and to view your pending training assignments.

      Reach out to Kristin Jarvis ( with questions or concerns. Happy Training!

      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:

      Please join us in congratulating Traci Orlandino from Newark, January’s raffle winner! Traci earned raffle entries by completing ops trainings and Mindbenders, reading The Pulse, and participating in Quiz Bowl. Congratulations, Traci!