Newsbits
February 16, 2016
Issue No: 
24

Contents

ELL Corner

Do you have a culturally responsive classroom? Culturally responsive instruction connects a seemingly rigid curriculum to the knowledge and experiences of the diverse students in our classrooms. Culturally responsive teachers validate family backgrounds by using the literacies and experiences found in their students’ homes as a starting place for instruction. Strategy example: During discussion, elicit dictation from individuals or the group. Write students' suggestions on the whiteboard using the students' exact words without corrections or changes. Point out strengths first then with the students, read and revise for academic English. This strategy allows students to opportunity to see and hear their own and others’ errors, thus developing critical eyes and ears. This strategy is particularly useful for students struggling with the development of academic English. For more strategies and information on how to support the development of academic English and culturally responsive classrooms, contact:
Lisa Jahraus, Title TSA, x6028
Irina Payne, ESL Teacher, x6056

 

Discovery Grant Applications Now Open

The Great Falls Public Schools Foundation is pleased to announce that Discovery Grant applications are now open. Individuals can apply for a maximum of $3,000 per grant. The Foundation will award $60,000 for Discovery Grants this year.

This grant program provides opportunities for teachers to purchase equipment or books that will enrich student education. Additionally, individuals can apply for funds to teach students in new environments and facilitate social and academic out of school experiences. These are just a few examples of funded Discovery Grants.

Applications are currently being accepted and will close on March 4th, 2016. The winners will be notified by April 4th. You can find the application here.

If you have any questions regarding the online application process, please contact Lyndsay Lettre at 268-7401 or at foundation [at] gfps [dot] k12 [dot] mt [dot] us. General questions about the grants can be directed to Dave Crum at 268-7340 or at dave_crum [at] gfps [dot] k12 [dot] mt [dot] us.

 

Lesley University Graduate Program in Great Falls

 Integrated Teaching through the Arts Curriculum & Instruction, M.Ed.
We are ready to start a new cohort this spring!
Don’t put off improving your retirement!!
Program is designed for all K-12 educators
Project based – no GRE required
Skills that transfer to your everyday lessons!
Move up on the Salary Schedule as you go!
Financial aid and payment plans are available.
Regionally and nationally accredited
Financial Aid Counselor to assist Student Loan Process!
Deferred Student Loan payment 6 months after completion of your degree!
Nineteen weekends total! The entire program is completed in less than two years
$5000 Loan Forgiveness is available! $50 application fee waiver!
Face-To-Face teaching one weekend a month: Saturday & Sunday 8am – 5pm
Contact: Cathy Kuntz
406.899.7308
ckuntz [at] lesley [dot] edu

Notice to Members of MPERA-Administered Retirement Systems

On May 2, 2016, the Montana Public Employee Retirement Administration (MPERA) is implementing a new computer system that will improve customer service for employers and members. With the implementation of the new system there will be some impacts to our members. Please be aware of the following:
If you want to retire effective April 1, 2016
• April 14, 2016 – This is the last day we can receive your completed retirement application (including all required paperwork) for you to receive a retirement benefit on the last working day of April.
If you want to purchase any type of service
• March 1, 2016 – MPERA will stop processing service purchase requests. We will do our best to process your request by this deadline. If your request to purchase service is not processed by March 1, 2016, it will not be calculated and mailed to you until the new system goes live in May of 2016. Please be assured that you will not be charged any additional interest due to this short delay.
• May 2, 2016 - Service purchase requests received after March 1, 2016 will be processed as quickly as possible in the new system.
Employers will begin using the new computer system in May. Later this year MPERA will implement a web-based Member Self Service Portal that will provide account access to all of our members. Watch our website for more information about the Member Self Service Portal.
If you have any questions, please contact MPERA at 1-800-275-7372 (or 444-3154 in Helena).

 

TEACHER RETIREMENT INFORMATION

 

In order to be eligible for severance pay, teachers choosing to retire at the end of the second semester must submit a letter of resignation by March 1. Please refer to Article 8, Section C of the Teachers’ Collective Bargaining Agreement for further information.

While the deadline noted above is March 1, the Human Resources Office would very much appreciate notification as early as possible. The earlier we know, the earlier we can start the recruitment process for open positions. An early start will help us with the difficult task of replacing the experience and expertise of our much appreciated retiring staff and also allows us to get top notch candidates to be your colleagues.

If you are even close to considering retirement (5 years or less) please contact the Teachers’ Retirement System and setup an appointment. The more you know the better you can prepare for retirement. TRS may be contacted at 1-866-600-4045. It is very important to note that the Irrevocable Election Form must be completed and submitted to TRS a minimum of 90 days before your retirement date. (March 11, 2016 is this year’s deadline.) For more information on the recommended timelines click this link to the TRS Retirement Timeline.

Additionally, you can log into your TRS account to view information on wages and contribution history, purchasable service, and your current beneficiary. Click here to enter your TRS Account. You can also update your contact information or request an estimate of benefits.

For more information TRS has provided a handbook that can be accessed via this link TRS Member’s Retirement Handbook or on their website at https://trs.mt.gov/.

If you have additional questions about retirement, deadlines, paperwork, etc. please contact the Human Resources Department at 268-6010.
 

 

Building Elementary Leaders

 

PAYROLL INFORMATION FOR FEBRUARY 2016

Substitute Para timesheets are due by the 2nd of each month. Substitute Teachers should verify all assignments are correct in AESOP by the 2nd of each month.

Teacher timecards and Class Coverage sheets are due in the Business Office the morning of Friday, February 12th. Reconciling should be done daily. Please verify all absences are reconciled by the 12th.

All other timecards are due in the Business Office the morning of Monday, February 22nd. Please e-mail any absences for the 22nd to BoPayrollLead [at] gfps [dot] k12 [dot] mt [dot] us. If you know in advance an employee is going to be gone, please have them mark it on their timecard rather than waiting to email.

All time cards are due on the above dates. Do not put them in the school mail any later, as it will be impossible to pay them on this pay period. All time cards must be signed by the employee before pay checks will be released.

All federal time cards are due to federal programs office two days before the dates listed above.

Secretaries, please review your time card check-off list and be sure all employees have turned in their time cards.

TERMINATING EMPLOYEES

Any employee terminating their employment with the district must send their timecard to the business office immediately upon termination (DO NOT wait for the end of the pay period). If the employee will be terminating shortly after the end of the pay period those days can be added to the current time card.

Substitute Para timesheets are due by the 2nd of each month. Substitute Teachers should verify all assignments are correct in AESOP by the 2nd of each month.

Teacher timecards and Class Coverage sheets are due in the Business Office the morning of Friday, February 12th. Reconciling should be done daily. Please verify all absences are reconciled by the 12th.

All other timecards are due in the Business Office the morning of Friday, February 22nd. Please e-mail any absences for the 22nd to BoPayrollLead [at] gfps [dot] k12 [dot] mt [dot] us. If you know in advance an employee is going to be gone, please have them mark it on their timecard rather than waiting to email.

All time cards are due on the above dates. Do not put them in the school mail any later, as it will be impossible to pay them on this pay period. All time cards must be signed by the employee before pay checks will be released.

All federal time cards are due to federal programs office two days before the dates listed above.

Secretaries, please review your time card check-off list and be sure all employees have turned in their time cards.

TERMINATING EMPLOYEES

Any employee terminating their employment with the district must send their timecard to the business office immediately upon termination (DO NOT wait for the end of the pay period). If the employee will be terminating shortly after the end of the pay period those days can be added to the current time card.