Volume 46, No. 1, August 10, 2017

Welcome back!

Student and staff member on first day of school 2017 at Wilson Elementary

Thank you for helping to ensure yesterday was a successful first day of school. We'd like to welcome our new employees and welcome back our returning employees. 

If you haven't seen our welcome back video yet, watch it here.

Incredible things are happening in our district, and we look forward to sharing them with you in Mesa Agenda, your employee newsletter. We also love to share great news with our external communities, too. That's where you come in. Help us let the district and community know about the wonderful things happening at Mesa Public Schools. If you have an award or recognition to submit, or if you'd like to tell us about a special event, please complete our good news form.

We will consider submissions to feature in an upcoming Mesa Agenda, through the district news feed or on district social media accounts (FacebookTwitter or Instagram).

If you have questions about submitting information, feel free to email Heidi Hurst or call 480-472-0224.

Plan for retirement

Planning to retire soon? Get a head start by attending a December or January Arizona State Retirement System meeting. All meetings will be held on the third floor of the Administrative Services Center, 63 E. Main St., Mesa.

Route 3 - Retiring within the next three years
Thursday, Jan. 4, 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Route 4 - Retiring within the next year
Tuesday, Dec. 12, 3:30 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 4, 2 p.m.

Register for a meeting on the human resources webpage. Employees who do not have internet access may use the computers in the human resources lobby or seek assistance at their work site. Hurry, meetings fill up quickly!

Employees hired to work at least 20 weeks and at least 20 hours per week are required to enroll in ASRS. Contributions are set up automatically through payroll deduction for eligible employees.

It is important to establish an online ASRS account to ensure your contributions are correctly posted. Enrollees can review account statements, use benefit estimation tools and manage beneficiary information. Visit the ASRS resource page to learn more and build your retirement timeline. Questions? Contact Deb Herman in human resources at 480-472-0404.

Total eclipse occurs Aug. 21

For the first time since 1918, a total solar eclipse will sweep across the United States Monday, Aug. 21. Here in Mesa, we'll experience a partial eclipse. Since this is a school day, please ensure your students are aware that looking directly at the sun during an eclipse without special glasses is unsafe.

If you have any eclipse activities planned, be sure to notify parents in advance. Please note, some students may wish to decline participation due to cultural reasons. The eclipse begins at 9:13 a.m. with maximum viewing at 10:33 a.m. It ends at noon. Learn more, and find resources, links and eclipse activities on the SSRC webpage.

Find employee offers on Peachjar

Mesa Public Schools uses Peachjar to share district information, opportunities and local business offerings with you through your email. You will also be able to view these flyers by clicking the Peachjar button on the Employee Resources webpage.

Using Peachjar ensures employees are well informed about district programs, activities and events.

Wanted: enthusiastic supporters for United Way campaign

Dr. Cowan at 16-17 United Way kickoff meetingAre you a "people person"? Do you enjoy helping others and giving back to the community? If so, we want YOU to be a Community Connector for this year's United Way campaign!

Communications and Marketing is seeking two people from each site or department to work together to design and conduct their United Way campaign, raising money that helps our own MPS families in the Mesa community. We'll give you tools and ideas and offer you all the support you need. You'll be required to attend a one-hour pre-campaign training session in late August.

To become a Community Connector, please contact Miguel Flores at 480-472-0223 no later than Friday, Aug. 18. He will tell you if your site needs a Community Connector and can sign you up for a training session.

Win prizes in the MPS Trip Reduction Program

Save on fuel and vehicle maintenance, minimize air pollution and win prizes when you participate in the district's Trip Reduction Program. Mandated by Maricopa County, the Trip Reduction Program promotes carpooling, taking the bus, walking or biking to work. You will automatically be entered in a prize drawing when you join and when you track your alternate transportation to and from work at least two days each month.

Thank you for doing your part to help clean the valley's air. For more information about the program, contact Miguel Flores at 480-472-0223.

Review statements of awareness and understanding

Board policy GBCB requires each employee to complete an annual statement of awareness, statement of understanding and, for certificated staff, disability statement of awareness. Please take time to review these documents before you sign and return them to your administrator or supervisor. New employees must return their signed documents within 30 days of hire, and the deadline for returning employees is Sept. 19. Find forms and more information on the human resources webpage.

Watch school board meetings and stay informed

The educational television department broadcasts school board meetings live and makes them available later through EdTV99's on-demand feature. The next meeting begins 7 p.m. Aug. 22 in the board room, located in the Curriculum Services Center building, 549 N. Stapley Dr. Agendas, videos, highlights and minutes are available on the MPS website.

Know a great invocational speaker?

If you know a Mesa-based faith leader who would be interested in giving the pre-meeting invocation at a future Governing Board meeting, please complete this Google Form or contact Miguel Flores at 480-472-0223.

Customer service shout-outs

This summer, satisfied customers took the time to recognize classified staff members who work all summer long to prepare for the new year. A human resources customer wrote, "Michelle was so great. I needed the same papers filled out again, and she filled them out willingly after hours on a Friday with a smile!

A property management customer wrote, "Glenn and Josh have been cleaning out the Shepherd Junior High portables, moving a bunch of stuff from here to used surplus. The portables are not air-conditioned, are dusty and dirty, and the temperatures have been record-setting HOT. That being said, Glenn and Josh were cheerful and diligent in their task, and we could not have been more impressed by their work ethic and attitude! There was not one complaint, not one grumble, just honest hard work and a pleasant attitude. Way to go Glenn and Josh!"

Need more customer service cards at your location? They're free from the warehouse — code: 9135151ESW. An online form is available on the district home page. Consider placing a link on your school or department home page. 

Cue the applause

Prinicpal James Driscoll with wife, Kristin, and daughter LennonCongratulations to 30 district elementary schools that were named America's Healthiest Schools by Alliance for a Healthier Generation. The district was recognized for healthy school meals and active learning opportunities, which create healthier school days for all students. Schools that made the list are: Adams, Brinton, Bush, Edison, Eisenhower, Emerson, Entz, Falcon Hill, Guerrero, Hawthorne, Highland Arts, Ishikawa, Keller, Kerr, Lehi, Lincoln, Lindbergh, Longfellow, Madison, O'Connor, Patterson, Porter, Red Mountain Ranch, Redbird, Sousa, Stevenson, Washington, Whittier, Whitman and Wilson.

Dr. James Driscoll, Pomeroy Elementary principal (pictured right with wife, Kristin, and daughter Lennon), received the Dr. LaVern Swain Tarkington Living Legend Award at the Arizona Alliance of Black School Educators Teacher Leadership summit in June. Driscoll was honored for his dedication and commitment to the progression of education in the African-American community.

In July, Summit Academy's Dotti Craw was named 2017 Arizona IB Primary Years Program Teacher of the Year, and Brittany Schreiber was named 2017 Arizona IB Middle Years Program Teacher of the Year. What a great way to kick off the new year for the district's International Baccalaureate program!

This summer, eight district teachers were recognized as Most Valuable Teachers by the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation. Hawthorne Elementary's Diana Bamper and Franklin at Brimhall's Ryan MacLay were June awardees. O'Connor Elementary's John LeSueur, Zaharis Elementary's Tami Pena, Bush Elementary's Molly Thede and Sousa Elementary's Janae Van Orman were July awardees. Kino Junior High's Jonathan Shotwell and Mountain View's Joshua Yasuda will be recognized at the Aug. 25 Diamondbacks game. Each MVT honoree receives a $1,000 grant for their classroom.

Send news to:

Heidi Hurst, district communications supervisor

Submit an award or recognition or tell us about a special event via our good news form.

 

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