Volume 9, Number 1, September 2015
In This Issue: Teaching Certificates and Fingerprint Clearance Cards | Renew Certificates | Student Teacher Workshop | October Break | Statements of Awareness and Understanding | ASRS Retirement Meetings | Medical Leave Assistance Program | How to Arrange for a Substitute Teacher
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 regulation GCA-R.
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 expedite the certificate renewal process, the Human Resources Department will verify your professional development hours if needed or confirm teaching experience.
- Verification of hours and fingerprinting
3-5 p.m. September 24, 2015, Administrative Services Center, Room 303, 63 E. Main St., Mesa. Please bring your professional development hours (if needed).
- Recertification event with the Arizona Department of Education
1 p.m.-4 p.m. September 30, 2015, 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. The 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 a workshop to learn about the MPS application and hiring processes. The workshop is on September 15 at 3 p.m. in room 303 on the 3rd floor of Administrative Services Center located at 63 East Main Street, Mesa.
Calendar includes October break
The first semester calendar includes a five-day break, October 12-16. 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, employees must use accruals to cover their absences.
Review statements of awareness and understanding
Board policy GBCB: Staff Conduct requires 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 employee 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. 21)
Please take the time to review these documents before you sign and return them to your administrator or supervisor.
ASRS meetings for you on "The Road to Retirement"
Meetings with Arizona State Retirement are scheduled for employees who would like more information. The meetings will be held in room 303 on the third floor of the Administrative Services Center located at 63 East Main Street, Mesa.
Route 3 - Destination in Sight: Within 3 years of retirement
At this meeting you will learn about pension benefits, retirement calculations, annuity options and much more. This meeting is scheduled for 8:00 a.m. or 2:00 p.m. on October 15, 2015.
Route 4 – Next Exit – Retirement: Within 3 months of retirement
This meeting will help you prepare for decisions you will make when applying for retirement such as selecting your pension option, enrolling in health insurance and returning to work after retirement should that be in your future. You will receive a personal benefit estimate and instructions for completing your retirement application. This meeting is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on October 15, 2015.
CLICK HERE to register for one of these meetings. Space is limited and you will receive a confirmation e-mail if your registration is accepted. Employees who do not have access to a computer may use the workstations in the Human Resources lobby or seek assistance at their individual work site.
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 may 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 process.
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) 498-6558. To log in to 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 "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 now.
Registration instructions for new teachers:
- Call the system phone number at (480) 498-6558.
- Enter your Access ID followed by the (*) key.
- Enter your Access ID again when it asks you for your PIN followed by the (*) key.
- Record your name followed by the (*) key.
- You will be asked to select a new PIN. Enter a PIN with at least (6) digits in length followed by the star (*) key.
If an employee feels that he or she has been discriminated against on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex or gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, or marital status, the employee should contact the district's compliance officer: Pete Lesar, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources (480) 472-0412.