Volume 8, Number 1, September 2014

In this Issue: Teaching certificates and fingerprint clearance cards | Renew certificates the quick, easy way! | Workshop for student teachers | October break | Review statements of awareness and understanding | Retirement meetings | How to arrange for a substitute teacher | Notify supervisors of absence due to illness | MPS charges for badge replacements | Medical leave assistance program


October 2
Certificate renewal with ADE 

October 6-10
October Break (schools)

October 6
Retirement Planning Meetings

October 16
New Employee Orientation (certificated)

November 6
Student Teacher Workshop

November 11
Veteran's Day

Teaching certificates and fingerprint clearance cards for certificated staff

All certificated employees must have a valid Arizona certificate properly recorded with the Human Resources Department. The certification must meet both No Child Left Behind (NCLB) highly qualified and Arizona Department of Education (ADE) certification guidelines for the position for which they have been hired. Additionally, all certificated employees must possess a valid fingerprint clearance (FP) card issued by the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) Fingerprinting division.

Failure to keep a teaching certificate current will result in the termination of employment as a certificated employee and placement into a substitute status which results in the termination of all contract related benefits. An expired or invalid FP card can result in having a substitute placed in the teacher's classroom during the student day. Employees will be responsible for the cost of the substitute while waiting for the card to be updated. For details, refer to Governing Board policy, GCA and the accompanying regulation.

Human Resources will work to assist employees in tracking the status of their certificates and FP cards. However, it is the responsibility of the employee to monitor the expiration date of those items.

When you need to get your FP card updated you can bring the following items to Human Resources to process your fingerprint application:

  • A cashier's check or money order, made out to Arizona DPS for $67.00 (cash or personal checks will not be accepted)
  • Photo ID that includes demographic information (driver's license or ID issued by the motor vehicle division or passport)

Human Resources will provide the application packet, roll your prints and deliver your application to DPS. You can anticipate a 4-6 week window of time for the application to be processed and an updated card issued.

Renew certificates the quick, easy way!

To speed the certificate-renewal process, the Human Resources Department will roll your fingerprints and verify your professional development hours in advance.

  • Verification of hours and fingerprinting 
    3-5 p.m. September 23, 2014, Administrative Services Center, Room 303, 63 E. Main St., Mesa

Employees who get a head start on September 23rd may use the VIP lane at the re-certification event on October 2, 2014. That's when the Arizona Department of Education will assist with on-the-spot certificate renewal.

  • Recertification event with the Arizona Department of Education
    11 a.m.-5 p.m. October 2, 2014, Curriculum Services Center, Board Room, 549 N. Stapley Drive, Mesa

Employees may submit their completed renewal applications with the appropriate fees to ADE officials and receive their new teaching certificates immediately. Human Resources staff will also be on hand to roll your fingerprints, verify professional development activities and answer your questions on this process.

Attend student teacher workshop

Student teachers are invited to learn about application procedures and the hiring process with MPS at 4 p.m. November 6 in room 303 on the 3rd floor of the ASC, 63 East Main Street, Mesa.

Calendar includes October break

The first semester calendar includes a five-day break October 6-10. School will not be in session, and short-term contract and part-time classified employees will not work that week. The days are non-work days and are unpaid.

Administrators, supervisors and classified employees on 12-month contracts will work during October break unless a request to be absent is approved in advance. If requests are approved, they must use accruals to cover their absences.

Review statements of awareness and understanding

Board policy GBCB: Staff Conduct provides that each MPS employee complete an annual:

  • Statement of Awareness (of district policies, procedures and regulations)
  • Statement of Understanding (of the overtime requirements of the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act) There is a specific Statement of Awareness for each employee group.

There is also an addendum to the statement that is unique to each group. Unit administrators are to have these documents:

  • signed by each new employee within 30 days of hire
  • signed by all continuing employees by the end of the second working Monday in September (Sept. 15)

Please take the time to review these documents before you sign and return them to your administrator or supervisor.

Sign up for retirement meetings now

Retirement meetings have been scheduled for Monday, October 6th (during Fall Break). They will be held in Room 303 of the Administration Services Center, 63 E Main.  

  • Planning for Retirement Meetings, for those who are 1 - 3 years from retirement will be at 8:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
  • A Retire Now Meeting, for those planning to retire within the next six months will be at 10:30 a.m.

To register for any of these meetings, contact Penny Gumser immediately at pgumser@mpsaz.org or 472-0416. All meetings are limited seating and are filled on a first come, first served basis. For the Planning Meetings, please include your home email address. For the Retire Now Meeting please provide your planned date of retirement, your beneficiary's date of birth and your home e-mail address.

How to arrange for a substitute teacher

Certified staff have the ability to report their absences up to 300 days in advance. By reporting your absences in advance, you are more likely to secure a qualified substitute in the area you teach. You can report your absences either online or over the phone through SmartFindExpress. CLICK HERE to access SmartFindExpress online or call the system phone number at (480) 655-9009. To log into the system, enter your Employee Identification Number (EIN) as the Access ID. If you do not know your PIN, click on "Trouble signing in?" found under the "Submit" button. For assistance, call Substitute Services at (480) 472-0434.

If you are a new teacher and you have not registered for a PIN, please do so immediately.
Registration instructions for new teachers:

  1. Call the system phone number at (480) 655-9009
  2. Enter your Access ID followed by the (*) key
  3. Repeat your Access ID when it asks you for your PIN followed by the (*) key
  4. Record your name followed by the (*) key
  5. You will be asked to select a new PIN. Enter a PIN with at least (6) digits in length followed by the (*) key

Notify Supervisors of absence due to illness

Certified employees, administrators and classified supervisors must make a reasonable attempt to notify their immediate supervisors of any absence, and the reason for absence, at the earliest opportunity. Notification cannot be later than two hours before the start of their regular workday. These employees must also notify their immediate supervisors by 3 p.m., if possible, whether they will or will not return to work the next day.

Classified employees must notify their immediate supervisors of an absence at the earliest opportunity, but in no case later than their scheduled start time. Additionally, the employee must indicate the reason and the expected date of return. Failure to follow these guidelines may be just cause for disciplinary action, including deduction of salary.

MPS charges for badge replacements

If you lose your badge, you may contact your Kronos editor for a Badge Replacement Form. Costs:

  • first lost badge: $5
  • subsequent lost badge: $20
  • replacement badge with a new photo: $20
  • damaged badge replacement: no charge (must provide damaged badge)

Badge Request Forms are also payroll deduction authorizations to cover the fee. The employee and the site administrator must sign the form before it is faxed to Human Resources.

Damaged badges will be reprinted with photos currently on file at no charge if the old badge is sent to HR with the form. The $20 fee will apply if a new photo is requested. If you have questions, please call the Classified Human Resources Supervisor at X20457.

Medical leave assistance program

The Medical Leave Assistance Program allows qualified employees to receive donations of sick leave from other employees. Employees who earn sick leave and who will be absent from work for a minimum of four (4) weeks because of a prolonged personal illness or injury could qualify for participation in the program. For a complete list of requirements for participation in the program, please see policy GBBD-R(2).

When an employee has been approved for participation in the program, their need for sick leave will be posted at all work sites and on the Human Resources web page. All employees should know where the postings are located at their work site/s and are encouraged to check for weekly updates. The postings will be updated every Tuesday morning and will remain active for ten work days.

Employees who wish to make a donation must complete the Sick Leave Donation Form, which is available on the donation web page. The donation form must be received in Human Resources during the period of the posting and no later than 5 pm on the closing date for the posting. Employees may donate up to five (5) days of sick leave in any contract year if they currently have thirty (30) or more days of sick leave available.

To make a donation, mail or fax the completed form directly to Human Resources as indicated on the posting. Do not submit donations to your site secretary, as any delay may result in your donation being denied.

Donations must be made voluntarily and may only be directed to employees whose names are posted to receive donations. Donations cannot be solicited in any manner other than through the official posting.

Human Resources Matters is published by the Human Resources Department of Mesa Public Schools, an equal opportunity organization. If an employee feels that he or she has been discriminated against on the basis of gender, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, handicap or disability, the employee should contact the district's compliance officer, Pete Lesar, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources at (480) 472-0412.



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