August 2018

Welcome Back!!

Dear Friends in the Buildings!

Welcome Back for a wonderful school year.

While you were vacationing, spending time relaxing, working EXPLORE. and having other life experiences, the AAA/RECORDS/EXPORE team have been working to develop tools to provide easy assistance with eSchool, make managing volunteers easier, and address quicker customer service for you.

What We Did

  • eSchool Help Ticket system WORKED!
During the 8 weeks of EXPLORE, the AAA/RECORDS/EXPLORE Team received and addressed over 2000 tickets submitted with a variety of requests for help. We refined the ticket processing system, adding several more staff members to work on the tickets.

These tickets ranged from low-simple requests, to the most challenging.

Being the Missouri Mule that I am, I wanted to see for myself whether or not this ticket system was efficient and effective. Boy, are they ever! From the minute a secretary clicks submit, the information pops immediately up on a spreadsheet that google forms creates from the form information. There were no fewer than 5 people at the ready to assist in the request.Most of the requests for help took less than 4-5 minutes to address. Amazing, right? No more waiting on hold on the phone for assistance!

Sometimes, the staff would need to call the secretary to get more information or additional details. The shock from EXPLORE secretaries when that happened quickly was pleasant to hear. "Hi, I am looking at your ticket and needing..." The secretary response was usually, "I just clicked submit." Customer Service and improved communication works with the ticket system We are hear to help make your job easier! Use the eSchool Help ticket!!!

RESULTS: The overall outcome was this...fewer phone calls for everyone, no time waiting on "hold"., concerns were addressed promptly. If you had been a fly on the wall in our office, you would have seen at least 5 people just waiting to help. Friendly competition occurred when more than one person tried to help with the tickets. Rest assured, one of us will be watching for your ticket at all times. The AAA staff has additional help this school year with the additional support of Amy Pointer and Brenda Swearengin, and sometime, me, Ann White.

The data collected processing tickets provided valuable information. We planned secretary training for July 27 and July 30 and added additional proactive training based on issues from the ticket system.


Building secretaries attending training July 27 and July 30 will be given a binder that has some "at your finger tip" information, as well as, a hard copy of information to be utilized when you have a PENMAC sub filling in at your building. Keep the binder handy and in an easy to find location on or near your desk.


Welcome to these new building secretaries!

  • Sharla Hawks at McBride
  • Teresa Buffenbarger at Robberson
  • Kylie Kurzmann at Weller
  • Alison Jamieson at Delaware
  • Nanette Kirkey will be a half-day secretary at Pershing
  • Shelly Howell at Jarrett
  • Elena Milholland at Summer Learning and Student Experiences
  • Phyllis Taylor at Boyd

Customer Service TIPS

These tips came from past secretary trainings from veteran secretaries

  • Greet people with a smile...they may need that smile more than you know
  • You never get a second chance to make a first impression
  • Apologize when you need to
  • Demonstrate empathy: People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care
  • Answer the phone with a makes your hello sound so very friendly!!
  • Keep a parent call list using your binder, spiral notebook or other tool. It helps when things get chaotic.
***Color code this parent notebook (green as done; red as "to do" soon; yellow as follow up, etc) Organization is a must!
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Secretary Training

Secretary training will be offered to building secretaries on Friday July 27 at the Bentley Adm. Center from 8-noon, and again, on Monday July 30 at the Kraft Adm. Center from 8-1.Secretaries will have the opportunity to learn a variety of topics which are offered multiple times during these days.

Department secretaries do not need to attend these trainings. However, if their department wishes specific training or support, they should have their department leader connect with specific area leadership to arrange this.


Administrative Assistants and secretaries, did you know almost everything you would need to know about what you need to support your students or support your building is contained in the CANVAS Secretary and Administrative Assistant Training page?

If you have not visited or ever logged into Canvas, it is simple to do. (see picture below)

Once you have accessed the click on the Secretary and Administrative Assistant Training. It truly is a one stop shop for you. This site even has access to the eSchool Help Tickets.

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Employees and Student Transfers

Did you know that SPS employees that qualify for full benefits can request a transfer for their child/children within SPS attendance area? This includes those employees that reside outside the Springfield district.

We like to have employees request these transfers from November 1-December 1, but sometimes those dates do not fit with dates of a move or life change. Tina Garrett is the contact for these transfer requests. Please email Tina and put the subject line: Employee transfer request. She will contact you with more information.

Foster Care

The information below is just a quick summary for building secretaries especially ones new to our system. More about Foster Care can be found in Canvas: Secretary and Administrative Assistant Training.
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SAFE at HOME Program

This time of year, we have families that are part of the State of Missouri's SAFE at HOME program, enroll their student at one of our school sites. If the family is participating in this address confidential program, they will have paperwork to show this and should provide it to the school secretary.

IMPORTANT: When enrolling a SAFE at HOME student, you should put the school address as where the student is residing. This will not be a problem in eSchool. DO put a critical alert on the summary screen with SAFE at HOME and the PO Box, Jefferson City, Missouri.

DO NOT ask or demand that a SAFE at HOME client tell you their address or question them about residency. Click for more information about SAFE at HOME.

Call or email Ann White if you have any concerns or questions.

Staff Phone Directory

We have Sherri Bay to thank for updating the Staff Phone Directory in a timely manner. This document is so very helpful and we thank Sherri for taking on this much needed task.

Here is the link for your convenience. Save as a favorite or on your desk top.

Did you know that you could find a name easily by clicking in any cell and use the CTRL + F key on your keyboard, then type in a name. It will show up if available.

Breaking NEWS: Volunteer Updates

A building Site Volunteer Coordinator (SVC) will have fewer responsibilities this school year. based on previous SVC feedback and survey data. As of today, we have over 1200 volunteer applications on file for 2018-2019. We sent a reminder to all of last years' approved volunteers on July 1, to encourage them to complete their volunteer applications early. BAckground checks will be conducted every five years based on board policy.

Please review the Volunteer Training available in the Secretary/Adm Assistant Training page. Review changes in module # 4.

The primary duties of a SVC are:

1. Manage volunteer list. I recommend keeping this link in an accessible or as a favorite link on their computer. It is important to be able to view their volunteers who are approved, pending approval or denied,and be able to access the volunteer's emergency information, if needed, quickly if the volunteer fails ill or needs help.

2. Explain or communicate to staff who needs a background check (see Volunteer Training Module # 3) In short, anyone who will be asked to supervise children without a certified staff member in proximity.

3. Encourage volunteers log their hours VOLUNTEER HOUR LOG. Most volunteers do log their own hours. RSVP Reading Buddies log their hours at the Council of Churches office. Some SVCs have their volunteers log in and out on a hard copy page, and then the SVC enters the volunteer hours themselves. This might work in a school with few volunteers but it is really best if the volunteers do it themselves.

Volunteer Incentives

  • Issue Volunteer lanyard to volunteers who log 10 hours with a generic VIP badge
  • Take a photo of a volunteer who has volunteered 20 or more hours of service. Email that photo to Brenda Swearengin who will make a personalize photo ID badge for that volunteer. Be sure to include the volunteer name/school.

Volunteer hours by building and volunteer will be sent out monthly from my office.

4. Assist in thanking or celebrating volunteers during April National Volunteer Week

April 7-13, 2019.

If you have questions or concerns or need more support, please call Ann White 523-0230 or 75430. I am always happy to help you.

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