The Source

Comal ISD Human Resources and Customer Service Newsletter

February 2016

The Source is a newsletter for all Comal ISD employees. The Source brings recognition, timely reminders and beneficial articles to the employees in an effort to provide increased communication and connection regarding human resources and customer service topics.
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In This Issue:

Summer School Applications

Transfer Information


In The Spotlight- Meet a Counselor

Work Calendar Update

1095 B and C

Health and Wellness- Heart Health

FREE Rally Rewards-

Spring Break

Customer Service Corner- Effective Phone Communication

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Summer School Applications

Considering teaching Summer School?

Summer School Applications will be available March 7-April 29.

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Are You Considering a Transfer?

The Request for Transfer of Assignment Application is now available in Recruit and Hire for campus-based personnel, specifically teachers, counselors, librarians, and nurses, who want to request a transfer to another campus for the 2016-2017 school year. Please read it carefully.

Please note:

· The transfer of assignment application must be completed by April 29, 2016 in order for your request to be reviewed.

· Requesting a transfer does not automatically mean it will be granted.

· Action on any transfers will not be taken until later this semester and into the summer.

· Please read all of the information on the form carefully.

To access the form please follow the steps below:

· Go to the Comal ISD job listing page:

· Select Comal ISD Internal Transfer (Internal Comal ISD Teachers, Counselors, Nurses, Librarians ONLY)

· Review the job posting information

· Select Apply for this Position

o If you have submitted an application in Recruit and Hire, please enter your login information

o If you have not submitted an application in Recruit and Hire, please create an account

· Carefully read the application and complete the required information

· Electronically submit the application

Please feel free to contact the Human Resources Department,, with any questions about this process or if you need assistance submitting the application in Recruit and Hire.

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Retirement Next Steps

So you have talked with TRS and made the decision that you are ready for retirement. What next?

Please notify your supervisor and HR of your retirement so we can offer support and help you with the process. Knowing about your retirement makes us aware of a need to find a qualified team member to continue your job responsibilities. We are excited for your new adventure and want to offer our congratulations and support.

Please feel free to contact Human Resources with questions about the process and Janice Sanders in Payroll with questions regarding compensation.

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We are proud of the tremendous work our almost 2,500 employees do to make our district exceptional. In order to educate our team about all the unique and vital services provided by our employees, we will highlight Comal ISD team roles in each newsletter. You are encouraged to send your stories and suggestions to for roles you wish to see highlighted in future newsletters.

This month we are highlighting the work of our Counselors.

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School counselors engage students by encouraging them to examine their abilities, strengths, interests and talents. Our counselors work in a partnership with parents and focus on positive ways to enhance students' social/personal, educational and career development. Working with teachers and other educators, they provide an educational system where students can realize their potential and set aspirations for themselves. Our counselors are certified, experienced educators with a master's degree in guidance and counseling. The combination of their training and experience makes them an integral part of the total educational program.

They remove barriers to learning by addressing students’ academic concerns, career awareness in post-secondary options and personal/social skills and help to increase student achievement and provide a much-needed resource for students, parents, teachers and administrators.

Chris Smith recommended we highlight the fantastic work of Nancy Williams, the counselor at SBMS. "Spring Branch Middle School and the entire Wrangler Community is so very fortunate to have Mrs. Nancy Williams as our counselor. Mrs. Williams has been with the Comal ISD for 27 years. Her experience, wisdom, calming demeanor and deep knowledge of the community in which she serves, makes her an invaluable member of the SBMS family. Whether she is helping students navigate the trials and tribulations of middle school life, tackling the huge tasks of coordinating standardized testing, helping to support the CISD Crisis Support Team or escorting a group of middle school students on a college tour, Mrs. Williams sets the bar very high when it comes to being a school counselor. The Wrangler staff and student body are thankful for all that she does for each of us every day!"

Thank you, Nancy!

We know you and all our counselors in the district provide a critical service for our students and help create personal connections. Thank you, counselors for your passion and dedication to our students, parents and community!

Quote of the Month

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Work Calendar Update

The School Board will be voting on the 2016-17 Academic Calendar in February. As soon as the decision is made on an academic calendar, departments will develop the employee work calendars. Work Calendars for 2016-17 will be finalized and shared after Spring Break.
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Tax forms 1095-B and 1095-C-What You Need to Know

As an Employee, you have come to expect a W-2 form for tax reporting purposes. However, this year marks the first time you will receive additional tax forms. The new forms, 1095-B and a 1095-C, are part of the Affordable Care Act and provide evidence of minimum essential coverage. Both of these forms contain the same information; 1095-B comes from the insurance company, while 1095-C comes from the District. You will receive by mail, or be able to access in the employee portal, a 1095-C from Comal ISD by March 31.

If you had health insurance coverage through the District for all of 2015 (January 1, 2015 – December 31, 2015) you will receive in the mail by March 31 a total of two 1095-B forms, one from Blue Cross/Blue Shield and one from United Healthcare (you may have received one or both already).

If you only had District provided health insurance coverage for the period January 1, 2015 – July 31, 2015, you will receive a 1095-B from Blue Cross/Blue Shield only.

If you only had District provided health insurance coverage for the period August 1, 2015 – December. 31, 2015, you will receive a 1095-B from United Healthcare only.

When you receive the forms, they should not be filed with you tax return. You should keep them for you tax records as they would be required should you be audited. Also, you can file your taxes prior to receiving the forms, as they are for your records only. When you file your taxes, you will simply indicate that you and your family members all had minimum essential coverage for each month of the tax year by checking the appropriate box on Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ.

If an you have any questions about these forms, or do not receive them by March 31, please contact Janice Sanders at

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Rally can help you get healthier, one small step at a time. Rally shows you how to make simple changes to your daily routine, set smart goals and stay on target. You’ll get personalized recommendations on how to move more, eat better and feel happier — and have fun doing it.

Start with the quick Health Survey and get your Rally Age, a measure of your overall health. Rally will then recommend missions for you: simple activities designed to help immediately improve your diet, fitness and mood. Start easy and level up when you’re ready.

Plus, on Rally there are lots of ways to earn Rally coins, which you can use for chances to win great rewards. Rack up coins for joining missions, pushing yourself in a challenge and even just for logging in every day.

Rally is available at no additional cost to you, as part of your employee benefits.


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Tips for a Safe and Healthy Spring Break!

Comal ISD observes Spring Break March 14-18, 2016.

With Spring Break just around the corner, make plans to make the time memorable by having fun and helping yourself, your friends, and others stay safe and healthy.

Be active.

During the break, take the opportunity to start a fitness program. Do a variety of fun activities like walking, dancing, playing volleyball, swimming, and more. It doesn't need to be hard to be beneficial. Avoid injury by starting any new activity slowly. Be active for at least 2½ hours a week. Include activities that raise your breathing and heart rates and that strengthen your muscles.

Plan a successful trip.

If you are going on a trip, be prepared. Are vaccinations required? Are there special food, destination, or other things you need to consider ahead of time? If you are taking medications, do you have enough for the trip? Know what's happening en route or at your travel destination.

Protect yourself from the sun.

On a long, relaxing break, it's tempting to stay in the hot sun all day. Although getting a little sun can have some benefits, excessive and unprotected sun exposure can result in premature aging, changes in skin texture, and skin cancer. Always wear sunscreen with at least SPF 15.

Eat healthy and re-charge.

Having fun takes energy and fuel. Be sure to eat a variety of foods, including plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grain products. Also include low-fat dairy products, lean meats, poultry, fish, and legumes. Drink lots of water and go easy on the salt, sugar, alcohol, and saturated fat. Good nutrition should be part of an overall healthy lifestyle, including regular physical activity, not smoking, and stress management.

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Customer Service Corner

Tips for Effective Phone Communication

As the saying goes, first impressions last.

Most district transactions start with a telephone call, and how the conversation goes often gives the customer an overall impression of Comal ISD. Thus, learning proper business telephone etiquette is important and as a Comal ISD employee the following phone tips should always be followed:

Guidelines for phone calls

  • Greet each caller with the name of the school and your name.
For example:

“Comal School. This is Mary Rivers. How may I help you?”

"Good Afternoon, Comal ISD, Communications department, Lisa speaking, how may I help you?"

"Clear Spring Elementary, this is Mark speaking. How may I help you?"

"It's a great day at Comal ISD, Lisa speaking, how may I help you today?"

  • Give each caller your full attention. If it’s an urgent call, especially from a parent, take responsibility for seeing that the issue is resolved.
  • Give callers a choice before transferring them to voicemail.
  • Return most calls within 24-48 hours.
  • Provide the number that a call is being transferred to and stay on the line until the call is successfully transferred. Ask the caller to call you back if the call goes awry.
  • Thank each caller for calling.
  • Tell people if you do not know the answer and then refer them to someone who does.
  • Recognize you cannot satisfy every customer, but you can respect every customer and listen to their needs.
  • Change your voicemail message to reflect when you are out of the school or office for 2 or more days and give callers an alternative person to call.

For example: "This is (name) of (company). I'm currently unable to take your call. Please leave your name, phone number, and a brief message, and I will contact you as soon as possible. Thanks."

Tips and Hints

  • Tone of voice

Energy level is important – you lose about 30% of the energy over the phone, put extra energy in your voice or you may sound apathetic or hesitant.

Establish rapport by adjusting your speaking rate to the customer’s.

Good body posture: sit-up straight, head-up or stand.

Voice volume– you only need to project your voice one foot in front of the receiver

  • Placing caller on hold

Always ask callers if you may put them on hold. Wait for a response.
Tell callers why they are being put on hold. Give a time frame.

Thank them for holding and resume the conversation.

Example: "Mr./Mrs.________ may I place you on hold for the next 2-3 minutes, while I ________?"

  • Transferring calls

Explain why the caller is being transferred and to whom.

Ask the caller if he or she minds being transferred.

Make sure someone is there to answer the call before you hang up.

Tell the person to whom you are transferring the call the caller’s name and the nature of the call.

Example: "Mr./Mrs.________I am not the person you should talk to about this issue. However, I do know whom you should talk to and if it is all right with you, I am going to transfer you to him/her. So that you have the correct information, his/her number is _______ and his/her name is _______."

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Comal ISD Department of Human Resources and Customer Service

If you have news, topics, or celebrations you wish to have shared in this newsletter, please send an email to Mandy Epley, Executive Director of Human Resources and Customer Service at
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