December 2018

Transitional Transfer News

November 30, 2018 is the last day for parents to submit Transitional Transfer (TT) Requests. These requests are specifically for students going from 5th grade to 6th grade and to 8th grade going to 9th grade during 2019-2020. As of November 27, 2018, We had a total of 537 TT request forms submitted.

Next steps for building staff is as follows:

KEY DEADLINES for Principals and Secretaries

  • TT forms received after 4:30 p.m. Friday November 30, 2018 deadline must be declined. The parent will receive an email informing them of the status of their request.

· CAUTION: There is no such process as a wait list for TT requests. They should be approved during the appropriate time frame. (November 1, 2018 through November 30, 2018). A principal should consult with their Directors prior to denying any TT requests.

  • Friday November 30, 2018 at 4:30 p.m. – This is the LAST day TT Request Site Building Principals should approve or deny TT requests. Principals were able to accept TT Requests on Thursday November 1, 2018. Early approval for these requests can cut down on confusion later.
  • Friday December 14, 2018 by 4:30 p.m. - If parent receives more than one TT acceptance, should make selection of which school they desire for their child. IF there are parents who have not contacted their choice TT request school by Monday December 17, the Administrative Services Office will call all parents to finalize their decision.
  • Friday December 21, 2018 by 4:30 p.m.- This the LAST day for a secretary for 5th or 8th grade students should code all accepted TT students accordingly in eSchool, and attach TT request form in the student eSchool paperclip. A secretary should start recording students in eSchool upon principal approval as early as day one.

*FYI and CAUTION, if a parent misses the deadline for a Transitional Transfer Request form, encourage them to complete an Immediate Transfer Request form for the future school year. Be aware that parent’s child cannot be approved over other requests for that upcoming school year. The process for Immediate Transfers is based on a first come, first serve basis. Any deviation from this establishes the basis for allegations of discrimination.

The SPS Volunteer Program News

We are half way point in our school year. Our volunteers have done great things in our buildings sites and departments. We value their efforts that allow certified staff more time providing positive learning experiences for our students.

Our volunteers have logged over 1000 more service hours this year compared to this same time period last year. Our Site Volunteer Coordinators have done a wonderful job encouraging their volunteers to sign in and log their hours.

Volunteerism offers many benefits not just for the school, but also for the volunteer. A current volunteer explained to me that they felt like family at the school where they volunteered. What was begun as a few hours a month commitment to volunteer at a local school near their home turned out to be life changing. The volunteer explained I thought I was giving time to help someone else, but my life has benefited, too. I have met interesting staff members, helped new students acclimate to a new school, greeted parents, and I someone is expecting me on Monday mornings. There are many stories just like this one.

We sure are thankful for our volunteers and the service they provide. We are glad too, it is a two way street.

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Give 5 and SPS Volunteer Program

Did you know that 10,000 baby boomers are retiring daily across the United States? What an amazing piece of data! Springfield Public Schools has worked with the non-profit GIVE 5 organization to open the eyes of retirees to the positive possibilities of volunteerism.

What is Give 5?

Give 5 is a newly created social program that matches innovative volunteer opportunities with retired (or almost retired) baby boomers ages 60+ who live in Greene County. Each Give 5 Class meets 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., once a week for five weeks, visiting nearly two dozen nonprofits over the course of the program. Expect to have fun, make new friends and learn about volunteer opportunities that match your talents, passions and personality.

What if there was a program in Springfield and Greene County that would ...

  • match baby boomer retirees with unfilled volunteer opportunities in our community;

  • address the issues of isolation, purpose, and relevance that retirees often confront by celebrating them and their contributions in a fun and social manner;

  • introduce Boomers to new people and new ways of thinking via a shared experience and the bonding that occurs as a result, thus strengthening our community’s “bridging” social capital; and potentially, as a by-product, link individuals with their true passions within our community’s menu of non-profit organizations?

Do you know a retiree who might benefit from learning about GIVE 5? Direct them to the GIVE 5 website.

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Guardian, Guardian, Who is a Guardian?

A guardian as defined by the dictionary is a person who looks after and is legally responsible for someone who is unable to manage their own affairs, such as a child. Most often this is the role of parents, but in some cases, a guardian is assigned by the courts.

Recently, the question of who is a guardian came up when an unaccompanied minor was enrolled at a school. Did the adult who signed the McKinney-Vento Caregiver Authorization form get listed as a guardian or as an emergency contact? The correct answer? The adult who is the caregiver for an unaccompanied minor needs to be listed as the #1 guardian on the student contacts. The McKinney-Vento Caregiver Authorization form does not remove the parents rights but does move the caregiver to the #1 status because the child is living with them. This opens the door for school staff and the caregiver to communicate on all levels of need.

Another question about guardianship came when a father wanted his girlfriend added on the contact list as a guardian so she could attend teacher conferences and/or discuss the child with the administrators. Most schools, if a parent wants increased access for non-guardian or parent will code that person as a guardian. Do not confuse the term guardian in this situation with a court's definition.

One more...educational affidavits issued by the Eschool/Student Records Office allow a guardian to give their child to another adult in a compelling situation. For example, if a parent is going to a rehabilitation center, and needs a caring adult to care for their child while they are gone, they complete an educational affidavit. The person who is caring for the child in lieu of the parent while they are absent is coded as the #1 guardian with the educational affidavit.

Got questions? Call 75430...

Customer Service During Stressful Holidays

Customer Service is the process of ensuring customer satisfaction for a product or service provided.

As the Manager of Administrative Services for the past 14 years, I have noted an increase of unhappy callers to my office between the time just prior to Thanksgiving and runs through the month of December. Over the years, the skills below have assisted me in having more positive outcomes than negative ones during what is advertised as some of the happiest times of the year, but for many can be stressful.

You can find these strateiges listed on almost any website dealing with custormer service, but warrant a friendly reminder if you deal with parents, staff or students or people in general.

1. Patience- This one is a must. Seek to understand what the person is saying and wanting. A frustrated person might need you to be patient enough to allow them time to express themselves. Hang in there with them.

2. Active Listening- This is different from just hearing the words. As a listener, you should make eye contact, and listen for key topics of concern...what is the heart of the matter. If you can paraphrase so you can capture the key elements of their concern.

3. Use positive language- Language is a very important part of communicating you understand the persons' goals in communicating with you.

For example: When a parent's child has been involved in a discipline involving other children and want to know what consequences the other children received.

Negative response: "I can't tell you that." An angry parent will feel you are hiding something from them or you are being secretive.

Positive response: There are Federal privacy laws that protect your child's right to keep their consequences private. The same applies to other children's rights.

4. Empathy- Your ability to understand the feelings of another person. A dose of care, concern, and understanding will go a long way to supporting someone who is upset.

5. Goal-oriented focus- The outcome in mind. Ask the customer what would they like to have as a result of their call. Tell them you will research the information and give them a call back in a timely manner with information that could assist in a resolution to their concern.

Even the in the toughest of calls, an upset person will appreciate you taking the time to investigate-research their concern and return their call.

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Smiling: Did You Know?

Each time you smile, you throw a little feel-good party in your brain. The act of smiling activates neural messaging that benefits your health and happiness.

Smiling is contagious. If you are smiling at someone, their brain coaxes them to return the favors.

Excerpt from Psychology Today

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Holiday Smiles

QUESTION: What does the Gingerbread Man use to make his bed?

Answer: A cookie sheet.

From all of us in the Eschool-Student Records Office to all of you, we hope your holidays bring you some smiles, time to relax, and happy moments.