NEXT - Staff News


MESSAGES FROM DISTRICT LEADERS

Operating Within our Budget
05/02/2021
The cost of education has continued to outpace the funding available to fully support our operations and programming. In addition, the pandemic has created additional unexpected costs, declining enrollment and uncertainty for state funding. Our challenges are not over.
Read More about Operating Within our Budget
clear
The Gift of a Pause
04/25/2021
This is the time of year when we are all under more stress as we work to wrap up the school year and to plan for what is ahead. As we enter the last six weeks of school, I offer to each of you, the Gift of a Pause.
Read More about The Gift of a Pause
clear
Statement and Resources Following the Verdict in the Derek Chauvin Trial
04/20/2021
The verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial has brought strong emotions from students, staff and families. There is no coursework or professional learning that can replace the relationships with our students. Please take time to listen, to understand and to empathize.
Read More about Statement and Resources Following the Verdict in the Derek Chauvin Trial
clear


ACTION ITEMS

Educators: Take the Social and Emotional Learning Survey
05/16/2021
SoWashCo Schools educators are asked to complete a survey regarding the implementation of social and emotional learning (SEL) in our district. This is a follow-up survey to one sent to staff earlier this school year and the data will be used for planning and improving SEL implementation in the coming years.
Read More about Educators: Take the Social and Emotional Learning Survey
clear
Take the Annual Employee Climate and Culture Survey
04/25/2021
The survey helps the district get a consistent, systemic view of the climate and culture among SoWashCo Schools employees. The survey also gives staff an opportunity to give feedback on their overall thoughts of the district, support and training that staff is given in their role.
Read More about Take the Annual Employee Climate and Culture Survey
clear
Nominate a District 833 All-Star
03/21/2021
Nominations are now being accepted for CAPE’s 2021 District 833 All-Star Awards through Thursday, April 1.
Read More about Nominate a District 833 All-Star
clear


GOOD TO KNOW

New Websites Scheduled for the Summer
05/16/2021
South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo Schools) is in the process of changing website vendors to better meet the needs of families, staff and students.
Read More about New Websites Scheduled for the Summer
clear
Staff HotSpot to be Discontinued Over the Summer
05/16/2021
The staff HotSpot will no longer be updated and will be discontinued over the summer.
Read More about Staff HotSpot to be Discontinued Over the Summer
clear
Face Coverings to Continue in Schools Through June 4
05/16/2021
The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) has shared that the end of the statewide mask mandate has no effect on schools.
Read More about Face Coverings to Continue in Schools Through June 4
clear
Renew and Refresh: Employee Wellness Series Available Through June
05/16/2021
If you missed the Renew and Refresh Employee Wellness series with Dr. Carli Kody, the self-paced program will be available through June.
Read More about Renew and Refresh: Employee Wellness Series Available Through June
clear
Thinking of Retiring Next Year? Start Planning Today
05/16/2021
If you are thinking about retiring in 2022, now is the perfect time to start preparing.
Read More about Thinking of Retiring Next Year? Start Planning Today
clear
Health and Safety Restrictions Remain in Place for Schools
05/09/2021
On Thursday, May 6, Governor Tim Walz announced a timeline to ease restrictions related to COVID-19. Though this is welcome news, our youngest students still do not have access to a vaccine. As a result, the state has announced that Minnesota’s Safe Learning Plan remains in place for all schools through the end of the school year.
Read More about Health and Safety Restrictions Remain in Place for Schools
clear
Help Spread the Word. Student Meal Pick-up Dates Added Through the End of the School Year
05/09/2021
SoWashCo families in Virtual Learning Academy (VLA) will continue to be able to pick up free meals (breakfast and lunch) for their child from 8:30-10 a.m. on Fridays at East Ridge and Park High Schools.
Read More about Help Spread the Word. Student Meal Pick-up Dates Added Through the End of the School Year
clear
121 Benefits Expands List of Eligible FSA Reimbursement Items
05/09/2021
121 Benefits has announced an expanded list of items available for reimbursement. The CARES Act has removed the requirement for a physician’s prescription for many over-the-counter items eligible for Health FSA and HRA coverage.
Read More about 121 Benefits Expands List of Eligible FSA Reimbursement Items
clear
Guiding Values for Negotiations
05/02/2021
South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo Schools) and its employee labor groups share a common interest in creating the most effective educational experience for our students. To support this goal, SoWashCo Schools has established guiding values for contract negotiations.
Read More about Guiding Values for Negotiations
clear
SoWashCo Schools Educator Selected as Finalist for Minnesota’s Teacher of the Year
05/02/2021
Nine teachers from across Minnesota have been named finalists for the 2021 Minnesota Teacher of the Year award, including Sandra Stephens, a kindergarten teacher at Nuevas Fronteras Spanish Immersion.
Read More about SoWashCo Schools Educator Selected as Finalist for Minnesota’s Teacher of the Year
clear
“Let’s Talk,” A Mental Health Initiative in SoWashCo Secondary Schools
05/02/2021
May is Mental Health Awareness month. To help support students, SoWashCo Schools is promoting the “Stop the Stigma, Let’s Talk” campaign.
Read More about “Let’s Talk,” A Mental Health Initiative in SoWashCo Secondary Schools
clear
May is Better Hearing and Speech Month
05/02/2021
Join our district's team of 45 speech-language pathologists (SLP) in celebrating Better Hearing and Speech Month for the entire month of May!
Read More about May is Better Hearing and Speech Month
clear
REMINDER: Districtwide Professional Development on April 26
04/25/2021
SoWashCo Schools staff will participate in districtwide professional development on Monday, April 26.
Read More about REMINDER: Districtwide Professional Development on April 26
clear
Changes to Notifications for COVID-19 Exposures Considered Low-risk
04/25/2021
SoWashCo Schools is adjusting its communication protocols for low-risk exposures to COVID-19. Beginning Monday, April 26, secondary students and all staff will no longer receive an individual letter for low-risk exposures.
Read More about Changes to Notifications for COVID-19 Exposures Considered Low-risk
clear
Revised SoWashCo Schools COVID-19 Cleaning Guidelines
04/25/2021
The updated CDC and MDH guidelines support that COVID-19 is not commonly spread through surface transfer. Proper use of a facial covering also reduces the likelihood of transmission through surface transfer.
Read More about Revised SoWashCo Schools COVID-19 Cleaning Guidelines
clear
SoWashCo Schools to Honor Long-time Employees, Retirees and Education All-Stars
04/25/2021
The 38th Annual SoWashCo Employee Recognition Event will be held at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 19 at John P. Furber Historic Farm. South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo Schools) is excited to celebrate staff members who have served SoWashCo Schools for 20, 25, 30 and 35 years, to honor those leaving us for retirement and to recognize Education All-Stars.
Read More about SoWashCo Schools to Honor Long-time Employees, Retirees and Education All-Stars
clear
Statewide Student Walkout Planned for Monday, April 19
04/18/2021
South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo Schools) is aware of a group (mnteenactivists) on social media planning a statewide student walkout at 1 p.m. on Monday, April 19 in protest of racial injustice. SoWashCo Schools supports the movement for racial justice and respects the rights of students to protest.
Read More about Statewide Student Walkout Planned for Monday, April 19
clear
New Podcast to Help Teachers Navigate Questions About Race and Racism
04/18/2021
How do we talk about race, racism, equity and fairness with the youngest people in our lives? “Early Risers,” is a new podcast from Minnesota Public Radio that launches next week to explore this topic.
Read More about New Podcast to Help Teachers Navigate Questions About Race and Racism
clear
How to Respond to Student Concerns During the Chauvin Trial
04/18/2021
James Magee, Coordinator of Professional Development, and Wayne Felton, Director Achievement and Integration, discuss how best to respond to student concerns during the Chauvin trial.
Read More about How to Respond to Student Concerns During the Chauvin Trial
clear
Invitations Sent for SoWashCo Employee Recognition Event
04/18/2021
An Employee Recognition Banquet will honor staff celebrating years of service milestones and retirements. The banquet will be on Wednesday, May 19 at the Historic John P. Herber Farm in Cottage Grove.
Read More about Invitations Sent for SoWashCo Employee Recognition Event
clear
Now Hiring for SoWashCo Summer School and Kids Club
04/18/2021
Are you or someone you know looking for a summer teaching or paraprofessional position? Join us for SoWashCo Schools summer programs The Mix, YOUth Force and summer Kids Club.
Read More about Now Hiring for SoWashCo Summer School and Kids Club
clear
Virtual Learning Academy Not Planned for 2021-22 School Year
04/11/2021
South Washington County Schools (SoWashCo) is not planning to continue the VLA option next school year (2021-22). SoWashCo will continue to review any new state guidance and will make adjustments to the plan if necessary.
Read More about Virtual Learning Academy Not Planned for 2021-22 School Year
clear
Severe Weather Awareness Week April 12-16
04/11/2021
Severe Weather Awareness Week teaches people of all ages about weather hazards. It also gives children and adults an opportunity to review and practice severe weather plans both at school and at home
Read More about Severe Weather Awareness Week April 12-16
clear
Are You Getting Requests to Share Community Organization Flyers? Send them to Community Connection
04/11/2021
Community Connection is a service to the SoWashCo community that provides a space for non-profit and school groups to submit flyers that meet specific requirements for sharing online and in the Connect family newsletter.
Read More about Are You Getting Requests to Share Community Organization Flyers? Send them to Community Connection
clear
Health Information Reminder
04/11/2021
Please be respect of co-worker's privacy regarding vaccinations in large groups and meetings.
Read More about Health Information Reminder
clear
SoWashCo Now Hiring Summer Paraprofessionals
04/11/2021
SoWashCo has a number of summer opportunities for paraprofessionals. Apply today!
Read More about SoWashCo Now Hiring Summer Paraprofessionals
clear
Some Students to Begin Observing Ramadan on Tuesday, April 13
04/11/2021
Ramadan is a holy month of fasting, introspection and prayer for Muslims. During Ramadan, you may notice some students aren’t eating or drinking all day. That’s because many during the holiday do not eat or drink from sunrise to sunset. After sunset, families and friends gather to share a meal.
Read More about Some Students to Begin Observing Ramadan on Tuesday, April 13
clear
No Adjustments to Learning Models Amid Increase in Case Rates
04/11/2021
Though we’re seeing an increase in Washington County COVID-19 case rates, they are no longer the sole deciding factor for changing learning models. SoWashCo will continue in the current learning models for as long and as safely as possible.
Read More about No Adjustments to Learning Models Amid Increase in Case Rates
clear
Get to Know the SoWashCo Cultural Liaisons
04/04/2021
South Washington County Schools Cultural Liaisons work to connect the district with families and the community. They are advocates for equity and inclusion in the district and work to empower and support our families to promote academic success.
Read More about Get to Know the SoWashCo Cultural Liaisons
clear
CAPE Spring Plant and Car Wash Fundraisers
04/04/2021
Spring is a great time to do some spring cleaning and get your garden growing. CAPE can help with these by offering car wash gift cards through Mister Car Wash and plants through Gertens.
Read More about CAPE Spring Plant and Car Wash Fundraisers
clear
Annual Employee Wellness Step Challenge
04/04/2021
The annual Employee Wellness Online Step Challenge is back for all SoWashCo employees. Employees can sign-up anytime between April 6 and May 4.
Read More about Annual Employee Wellness Step Challenge
clear
COVID-19 Testing for SoWashCo Staff on Monday, March 29
03/28/2021
SoWashCo is offering free COVID-19 testing to all staff members on Monday, March 29.
Read More about COVID-19 Testing for SoWashCo Staff on Monday, March 29
clear
Teaching and Learning Outside the Lines Presentation Now Available on SoWashCo 6000
03/28/2021
Jonathan Mooney's powerful staff presentation DIFFERENT: Teaching and Learning Outside the Lines is now available to watch on SoWashCo 6000.
Read More about Teaching and Learning Outside the Lines Presentation Now Available on SoWashCo 6000
clear
Learn About Healthy Lifestyles by Completing HealthPartners Optional Health Assessment
03/28/2021
Whether you want to stress less, better manage a health condition, sleep better, lose weight or maintain your health, YouPower from HealthPartners can help you get started or jumpstart your current routine. Complete a 10-minute health assessment to see where your current health stands.
Read More about Learn About Healthy Lifestyles by Completing HealthPartners Optional Health Assessment
clear
IRS, State of Minnesota Extends Tax Deadline to May 17
03/21/2021
The deadline to file your state and federal 2020 taxes has been extended from April 15, 2021 to May 17, 2021.
Read More about IRS, State of Minnesota Extends Tax Deadline to May 17
clear
Gov. Walz Releases New Guidance, Dials Back COVID-19 Restrictions
03/14/2021
On Friday, March 12, Governor Tim Walz announced major adjustments to the dial when it comes to COVID-19 restrictions. SoWashCo is reviewing the latest guidance and will announce any adjustments as needed.
Read More about Gov. Walz Releases New Guidance, Dials Back COVID-19 Restrictions
clear
Life After the Vaccine
03/07/2021
Minnesotans are encourage to get the COVID-19 as soon as it is available to them. Even after getting the vaccine there are still precautions everyone will need to take to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Read More about Life After the Vaccine
clear
New Meal Pick-up Schedule for Virtual Learning Academy Families
03/07/2021
To accommodate students shifting learning models, there is a new meal pick-up calendar for March and April. The new calendar will start the week of March 19.
Read More about New Meal Pick-up Schedule for Virtual Learning Academy Families
clear
Utilizing “Educator Expense Deductions” for COVID-19 On Your 2020 Taxes
03/07/2021
This year, educators can deduct up to $250 of unreimbursed, qualified expenses, including some COVID-19 protective equipment.
Read More about Utilizing “Educator Expense Deductions” for COVID-19 On Your 2020 Taxes
clear
Hy-Vee Pharmacy Offering COVID-19 Vaccine to Educators
03/07/2021
Hy-Vee Pharmacy says it has partnered with the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to educators and childcare workers.
Read More about Hy-Vee Pharmacy Offering COVID-19 Vaccine to Educators
clear
Celebrating the Minnesota Native American Lives Series
02/21/2021
The Minnesota Humanities Center and the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council have partnered to publish three new books that are written for third through -fifth-grade students. This series shares the biographies of Dakota and Ojibwe leaders: Ella Cara Deloria, Charles Albert Bender and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. Register today to attend this free virtual event.
Read More about Celebrating the Minnesota Native American Lives Series
clear


STAFF SHOUTOUTS

Give a colleague a shout out by completing our submission form. Read all of this week's staff shoutouts here.