The Pulse

December 2015

Welcome to this Issue!

Welcome to the December edition of The Pulse! As the year comes to a close, we would like to wish you all a wonderful and relaxing holiday season with your loved ones.

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 Skye Roemer (

My Favorite Things: Sondra Winter

Meal: Any Mexican food!

Hobby: I love to read a good book.

Ice Cream Flavor: Chocolate Chip

Last Book Read for Pleasure: The Quiet Game (Book 1) by Greg Iles

Person in the News: I honestly don’t follow anyone in the news. I’ll confess I am one of those people who never watches the news.

TV Show: Once Upon A Time

Music: Any Michael Jackson songs, Dierks Bentley, and most country music.

Animals: Elephants- Thailand allows pet elephants why not the US!

Something that Makes You Smile/Laugh: My six month old daughter, Avery, makes me laugh and smile every day.

Your Least Favorite Thing: People who have an excuse for everything…oh and brussel sprouts, yuck!

School of the Month: WYVA

Grade Levels Served: K-12

Enrollment: 570 students

School Logo: WYVA’s logo is a cowboy hat, which is an icon of the Cowboy State’s slogan “Ride for the Brand.”

Mascot: WYVA’s mascot is the rising phoenix. In the school’s first year, there was a contest to pick a school mascot. The students had to write a paper as to why they chose their mascot. Part of the winning paper included the following: “The Wyoming Virtual Academy represents a new day in education for the state, so what better mascot could there be. Because our school is a virtual academy and cannot be touched in a real sense, something of myth and legend would be the appropriate model for our mascot. The Phoenix, also known as the firebird, is a symbol recognized for excitement, brilliance, and a blazing appearance. For me, this mythical creature inspires imagination, inventiveness and the desire to outshine.”

Highlights: During last year’s state testing, WYVA students out-performed the state average in:

  • Reading for grades 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th
  • Math for grades 5th and 8th
  • Science for grades 4th and 8th
  • Composite ACT reading and science scores for grade 11
  • All areas of the export test for high school students
  • All areas of the plan test for 10th grade students

Something Unique: The office holds weekly WOW meetings with staff in the office. Agenda items are: What has been ugly this week? What will make it better? What has been bad this week? Can it be changed? What has been good this week? How was it positive? How did you use Covey’s 7 Habits this week or explain a situation? What are your Big Rocks this week? Did you accomplish your Big Rocks from last week? This is a great way to breakdown the week, and improve issues in a collaborative setting!

Featured Report:

This month's featured report is the Enrollment Tracking Report.

About this report: This report shows the number of enrollments received, student demographic information, enrollment received date, and number of days old for all "not approved" students.

Where the data comes from: This report populates from TVE.

Why it's Important: With semester two enrollment right around the corner, this is a quick way to view how many students will be enrolling for the upcoming term.

How to Access the Report: The Enrollment Tracking report refreshes daily at approximately 11 a.m. EST, and can be accessed using the link below:

Upcoming Events:

Production Support Open Office Hours:

Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, 12-1 pm ET | Click here to join.

Winter Workplace Wonderland Contest: Thursday December 17th, 3:30-4:30 pm ET | Click here to join.

Service Now Tip of the Month:

Tagging Tickets:

Tags can be used to help you locate and reference specific tickets. To tag a ticket, click on a ticket number, and select the tag icon at the top of the page (this will open a text box). In the text box, type any word that will help you reference the ticket in the future. To remove a tag, click the "X" next to the tag name.

To view your tags, click on “Tagged Documents.” You can then sort your tickets based on the tag name, as well as use the pre-made tag of “Most Recent” to display tickets that were viewed most recently.

December Reminders:

  • Complete SET tasks on your school's Service Now Project Plan.
  • Update the current Systems Timeline with: OLS termination date, course end date (date grades approved in SAMS), and the teacher final grading date for each Fall tem cohort.
  • On the morning of your school's first Spring term, have teachers confirm that the total number of students in TVS matches the total number of students in your eCollege classrooms.
  • Confirm family addresses.
  • Mail transcripts to High School students, and report cards to K-8 students as needed.
  • Reminder: Teachers will have access to second semester courses 27 days before the classroom start date. Students may not appear in the eCollege classroom until the first day of the term
  • Complete 45 day screenings/Health screenings, if applicable.
  • Continue to monitor Special Programs compliancy, including: IEPs, RTI, McKinney Vento, and Title I.
  • Conduct midyear reviews with staff and add milestones to Success Factors as needed.
  • Review annual reporting calendar.
  • Prepare metrics for board meetings.
  • Ensure that all staff have completed required K12 trainings.
  • Gather necessary documents for your school's registration portal and attach to the current year Systems Timeline.
  • Ensure your school’s testing plan is on track, and that the appropriate communications have been sent to staff and families.
  • Work with your HOS to begin budget planning for February presentations, including plans for initiatives.
  • Reconcile student IDs and recorded State Student IDs in TVS.

Regional Highlights: Northern Region

As the 2015-2016 school year marches on and we find ourselves already well into December, the northern region operations team is happy to announce the latest addition to its family: Donovan Stevens at the Massachusetts Virtual Academy at Greenfield (MAVA). Donovan comes to K12 with a background in software and online coursework, and he is already proving to be a quick learner, self-starter, and contributing member of the team. We look forward to discovering his full potential in the coming years.

The northern region operations team also welcomed back a person who, for many, is already a familiar face at K12: Charneice Chatman. Charneice had previously served as the operations manager at YCCS in the blended region, and we were pleased to be able to bring her back into K12 operations as Chicago Virtual Charter School’s (CVCS’s) operations manager when Alissa Solomon took a position on Nikki Hofmann’s team. Charneice’s background in K12 operations has already served her well, because she came into her role at CVCS at a very busy time: getting students enrolled for CVCS’s second count date and preparing for a K12 site visit, amongst other things. We are impressed with Charneice’s positive attitude despite how busy she is staying, and we think she is a great fit for this position!

In other news, Nick Mahoney graciously spent time with every ops manager (and Cody) to formulate his/her SET plan and make sure that the NR schools were being “SET” up for success in late January. He will also, along with Amy Moore, be hosting a best practices session with the NR ops managers on how to reconcile K12 invoices with local data before he transitions to his new role. As you can see, the NR wants to get the most out of Nick before we lose him!

It is hard to believe that December is here and soon we will be typing “2016” on everything. The northern region wishes you and yours the happiest of holidays! May your enrollments be swift and plentiful, your processes be thorough, your reports be accurate, your trainings be complete, and your systems issues few and far between!

Compliance Corner

Picture this: You win the lottery. You drop everything and run away to Fiji to live out the rest of your days in sun-drenched bliss. That is until your mid-afternoon doze is interrupted by terrifying thoughts of…state reporting. Oh no!! Who’s doing it? Is the window still open? What about verification and that weird hitch that always shows up with the staff report? Does anyone else know how to fix that?

And now your Fijian retirement is ruined!

Imagine instead if you could sit back in that lounge chair with the confident assurance that your written state reporting processes are ON POINT. Anyone could step in, read your thorough documentation and know:

  • Who is responsible for final submissions and exactly where those final submissions go (i.e State, District, etc.).
  • When and what submissions are due throughout the entire school life cycle.
  • Where to look for the most up-to-date submission requirements and instructions.
  • What steps are taken to validate the data before submission to the K12 Internal Review team, the district, and/or the state.
  • How to reconcile anomalies or errors found during validation, and how to document any manual changes for reference during the Internal Review process.
  • When your validated submissions are due to the K12 Internal Review team.

As you update your state reporting documentation, it’s a good idea to write it as if you had to train a new person from scratch, making sure to include all of your school’s hard-earned best practices, tips, and tricks for a clean submission.

You don’t want to ruin Fiji. Write that stuff down!

Recipe of the Month:

This recipe for baked chicken with fall vegetables came to us from Lori Whittam on the SMS Ops team.

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


  • 1 medium onion, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 medium potato, scrubbed and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped (or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried), divided
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh sage leaves, finely chopped, (or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried), divided
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium, low-fat chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 3 to 4 pounds chicken pieces on the bone, rinsed and patted dry, room temperature (for a lower-fat version, remove the skin)


  • Place baking rack in the upper third of oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.
  • In a large bowl or 1 gallon Ziploc® Brand Storage Bag, combine the onion, potato, sweet potato, parsnips and carrots, 2 Tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, 1 1/2 teaspoons rosemary and 1 1/2 teaspoons sage (if using dried herbs, use 3/4 teaspoon each rosemary and sage). Mix well and place on a foil-lined rimmed sheet pan or shallow roasting pan. Pour the chicken broth over the vegetables.
  • In a small bowl, mix together remaining 1 Tablespoon olive oil, 1 1/2 teaspoon rosemary, 1 1/2 teaspoon sage and paprika (if using dried herbs, use 3/4 teaspoon each rosemary and sage). Season chicken parts with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and brush with oil and seasoning mixture from small bowl. Place chicken in pan on top of vegetables.
  • Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, baste chicken and vegetables with the pan juices and bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked. On a meat thermometer, chicken thighs should be 165 degrees F and breasts should read 170 degrees F. Let chicken and vegetables sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Training Reminders:

Please complete these school lifecycle trainings as soon as possible:

  • SMS Operations: Course Code Explanation
  • SMS Operations: Computer Rules
  • SMS Operations: Grademark Sets and Credit Values
  • SMS Operations: Preparing for Semester Transition
  • SMS Operations: Semester Transition - Tasks and Processes SY15-16
  • SMS Operations: Service Now
  • SMS Operations: Communication Plan
  • SMS Operations: Points of Contact and Troubleshooting Guide
  • SMS Operations: Systems Timeline
  • SMS Operations: Optional Materials
  • SMS Operations: Default Courses
  • SMS Operations: Course Code Explanation
  • SMS Operations: Terms and Classroom Start Dates
  • SMS Operations: Promotion Paths

If you haven’t done so already, please complete these K12 Online HS trainings as soon as possible:

  • SMS Operations: School-Wide Tools (K12 Online HS)
  • SMS Operations: School-Wide Tools Part 2 (K12 Online HS)
  • SMS Operations: Custom Reporting (K12 Online HS)
  • SMS Operations: Grade Schemes (K12 Online HS)
  • SMS Operations: Year-End Transition SY14-15
  • SMS Operations: Course Offerings (K12 Online HS)
  • SMS Operations: Non-Course Classrooms (K12 Online HS)
  • SMS Operations: Removing Inappropriate Profile Pictures (K12 Online HS)
  • SMS Operations: Withdrawn Student Grades (K12 Online HS)

Microsoft Excel: Replying to a Comment in MS Word

Did you know that in MS Word 2013, you can now reply to comments and see a thread of comments for a particular area in your document? A user can add a comment by highlighting an area in the Word document, and from the "Review" tab, select "New Comment." To reply to a comment, users can click on the comment itself and a balloon will appear, allowing for a reply to be captured:

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:

Congratulations to Nichole Peterson from AZVA, the winner of the November raffle! Nichole ended the month with 13 entries into the raffle, earned by participating in the Mindbender and Quiz Bowl, reading The Pulse, completing ops trainings, and attending leadership and best practices sessions. Way to go, Nichole!

Secret Phrase: Tis’ the time of year where Jack Frost nips at your nose.