As we started the work of putting together this Newsletter, I sincerely struggled with what my message to you would be. We put together some tips for working remotely, some areas where we can help, and some new product offerings coming down the line. But I really just want to take a moment to THANK all of you!
To our Educators and Administration staff, you simply amaze me. Your ability to transform the educational model in two short weeks is nothing short of astounding. Many of you have taken on new roles, filled in where necessary and generally stepped up and made sure our kids continue to get the best education possible in this challenging time. You will be remembered for years to come. Our children will tell the story to their children of that time they had to stay home and do their school work. I predict it will be a little like the “I had to walk uphill for miles to and from school.” At the end of the day I hope we all come to appreciate the community that our local school district provides to us. I can promise you, I will never again complain about waiting in a pickup line, or sitting in a hot crowded gym for a school event.
I also want to take a moment to thank my team. They have worked tirelessly to continue to provide the best possible support and assistance while moving to a remote work environment. They continue to find new and frankly exciting ways to connect and engage with our customers. From our weekly COVID webinars, rolling out online curriculum in our learning management solution, to the vast number of times I have been asked what can we do to help, the staff at cmERDC has solidified my belief that what we provide to schools is much more then just products and software.
Please take a moment to be proud of what you have accomplished, check in on your extroverted friends and colleagues (they are not ok!), and take care of yourselves. We will get through this together.
Click a section below for news and updates.
Emergency Payroll and Finance Services
The Administrative Services team at cmERDC continues to serve our clients during these difficult times. Some of our staff have been working remotely, but our helpdesk phones and e-mails are still fully staffed and providing the same level of service that you expect. In addition to software, UFARS, MARSS and other support, our team is able to assist districts with key payroll and finance functions in the case of district office employee absence.
Some of the emergency services we can provide include:
- Payroll services from start to finish including state, federal and other reporting
- Processing accounts payable invoices
- Printing and/or mailing checks for payroll or accounts payable
- Entering receipts
- Reconciling bank accounts and balance sheet accounts
- Preparing financial reports for administration and board
We hope that all of our users are staying safe and healthy during these unprecedented times. Should your district need assistance with finance or payroll on an emergency basis, our experienced staff are here to serve you. Please contact Tracey Fiereck at email@example.com or (320) 257-1924.
A Message from the Human Resource Office at cmERDC
It’s never a boring day in the Human Resource office! We take everything the government throws at us: ACA, Wage Theft, and now the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Wow! These new employee benefits have come out very slowly, and honestly, very unclear. Districts have done a great job navigating this and reaching out to cmERDC staff when questions arise. We have been conducting weekly webinars to help clarify pieces of these employee benefits. We’ve had roughly 72 participants each week. We hope you find them helpful. If you haven’t joined us, we encourage you to do so. We limit our time to one hour—as we know you guys are very busy; and we reserve at least half of our time for your questions. We know the tracking of the Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and the Expanded Family Medical Leave Act (EFMLA) will be extremely time consuming. Please let us know if there are effective tools you are using and we’ll be sure to share with the group—let’s not keep recreating the wheel! Stay safe!
New Features and Reports Coming to Viewpoint
Viewpoint Data Warehouse stores a district or charter school’s formative and summative assessment results, amongst other data. In the wake of Covid 19, most schools are not state testing this spring. The US Department of Education is offering waivers for states in this area. Most schools are not administering spring formative or benchmark assessments either. Since Viewpoint houses historical assessment results, many districts are configuring custom data walls and Viewpoint’s placement reports using available historical data to prepare for future needs. If you would like to explore ideas, please contact Mary McGrane at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Viewpoint teams are currently working on a few development projects that are sure to please district and school teams. In the next release, Viewpoint users will be able to upload two new assessments: Teaching Strategies (TS) Gold data for preschool students and WIDA English Learner Screener data. This increases our available tests for upload to 92 across all customer states.
Viewpoint users will also be able to use two new reports on the At a Glance Reports Tab. Both reports offer a By Teacher view of formative and summative assessment data as shown in the images below. We are currently testing both reports at two customer sites. Once testing is complete, these reports will be available to all Viewpoint districts/charter schools. Image A shows formative or state assessment results by all teachers for a chosen season/year. The report is configured to show FAST, MAP, STAR, and state assessment results by proficiency category. If a district uses a local custom performance scale, the scale applies to these reports. Image B shows state assessment results by teacher as a two- year comparison. We plan to expand these reports for formative assessment growth results in the future. We hope the new reports will save school teams time in compiling and analyzing assessments results by teacher.
Supply Update and Resource to Help Students with Distance Learning
We continue to stay in close contact with our multiple supply partners on the availability of sanitizing products. While availability remains scarce, we take comfort in knowing that as inventory is available, product is being allocated to critical services including health care and first responders.
With distance learning plans effectively underway, we continue to see a high need for paper, particularly at the elementary level. cmERDC does have a strong supply of various papers in stock. Please reach out if we can help.
Innovative Office Solutions has created product lists that can help your schools and teachers put together basic supplies kits to provide students with items to support distance learning.
The four lists include:
- Elementary Essential Products
- Middle & High School Essential Products
- Distance Learning Folders (for all grades)
- Paper and Plastic Bags (to create individual student kits)
If you are interested in learning more, you can find additional information and list details on our website by clicking here.
Also, feel free to call us or reach out to your Innovative Account Executive to learn more.
cmERDC has an open position for a seasonal, summer warehouse associate. Work schedule is Monday – Friday, 40 hours/week. This is the perfect summer job for teachers or college students. If you know someone living in the greater St. Cloud area who may be interested please forward this link:
We love to help!
cmERDC Cooperative Purchasing Team
Tools and Resources to Help with Distant Learning
We are here to help! As schools are in the midst of extended remote instruction, cmERDC would like to offer our services to help schools ease the transition into remote instruction and learning. To help schools we have prepared a sheet of resources that offer tools and instructional curriculum to help you plan the remainder of this school year and to keep students engaged in learning no matter where they may be.
Digital Learning Tools Resource List
Many businesses have pooled together to offer free tools and services that will help districts manage teaching and learning in a remote setting. cmERDC has been offering digital learning services for over 10 years. We have staff that can help you establish an infrastructure that supports online learning. In addition, we offer hosted Moodle instances from single courses to large scalable systems. If you are an educator, and need a place to develop your online presence, please reach out to us and we can help. From providing the online learning environment to help in preparing staff to teach in a completely online environment, we are here. In addition, we also partner with many different organizations that help provide free digital resources and curriculum.
Read More About Building An Online Classroom
During this uncertain time, we would like to extend our services to our members and Minnesota districts to help you continue to educate our students. We know the daunting tasks that have been laid upon you, and we want you to know we are here to help!
Thank you for all you do!
Digital Learning Product Manager
Meeting IEP Requirements, IDLP’s, and Medical Billing
With the recent closure of schools and the need for districts to develop distant learning plans, Minnesota’s special educators have been referring to the state for guidelines on ensuring students with IEPs are still receiving [FAPE]. Many districts who use the Student Plans’ IEP software have chosen to implement an Individual Distant Learning Plan (IDLP) for their students in special education during this unprecedented time. In order to assist our customers, the Student Plans’ team quickly developed and implemented a new IDLP document within the Student Plans’ software.
As most of you are aware, the Student Plans software has an Electronic Medical Billing Module. The Student Plans team has been working with districts along with the guidance from MDE and DHS to ensure students are receiving appropriate services through Telemedicine.
As we all move forward, the Student Plans Team continues our commitment to providing support for our districts.
If you have questions about any the services Student Plans provides, please contact Kim at email@example.com or call (612) 286-8942.
Transition Resources for Distant Learning Compliance and Best Practices
With all the changes that have happened in the first part of 2020, many special educators are facing challenges with delivering meaningful instruction through this distant learning time.
To help teachers and students, Ten Sigma has donated over 1,000 licenses to our Foundations Transition curriculum to 75 teachers across the country. If this is the first time you’ve heard about this opportunity, we apologize and you can make sure you stay updated by visiting TransitionTuesday.org. When you visit the page, you’ll get free access to over 130 Transition related videos and we’ll also update you each week during the school year on Transition related topics.
We realize that teachers are facing challenges with IEP meetings, compliance, and curriculum. Now more than ever, it’s important that teachers have access to tools and programs that meet these demands. Below you’ll find a list of Ten Sigma’s Transition resources, how they can help, and the available discounts we’re offering through June 1, 2020:
- Foundations – an introductory Transition curriculum that’s great for younger Transition age students. Editable PDF licenses are available for $6.95 per student (normally $13.95 per student).
- Fast Track – a comprehensive Transition curriculum that’s great for older Transition age students and young adults. Editable PDF licenses are available for $9.95 per students (normally $21.95 per student)
- Assessment surveys – an age appropriate Transition skills assessment that can be completed online. These assessments are easy for students, parents, and IEP team members to complete and the results are automatically scored and graphed. Click here to learn more and take a FREE 14 Day trial you can receive a discount through the free trial if you’re interested in using the surveys.
If you have any questions about our programs or to order at these discounted prices, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Kim at (800) 657-3815.
Keeping Copier and Printer Operation Panels Clean and More…
We have received a few requests for guidelines on cleaning machine operation panels. Here is information you can share with staff.
Clean by wiping all surfaces with a disinfectant wipe. Avoid products containing bleach. If only spray cleaners are available, spray them on a clean rag to use. Do not spray the panel directly.
A more detailed guideline document is available here:
If you are concerned about touching the machine there are applications available that can minimize the need to use the device panel. Kyocera offers MobilePrint. Users can print and scan from their mobile device.
Information is available here – https://www.kyoceradocumentsolutions.com/support/mobileprint/index_en.html#general
There is also a YouTube video available here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xx1cfilcAL4
Kyocera MyPanel can be used to perform actions on a device operation panel using a mobile device. Information is available here – https://www.kyoceradocumentsolutions.com/support/mypanel/index_en.html
A video is available here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFX27x7-Ivc
Both Apps are available in the Apple and Android App Stores at no charge.
Please do not hesitate to contact us for any support and assistance you may need to get these Apps up and running.
If you do not subscribe to cmERDC’s Document Imaging Services, reach out to your provider, we are confident they will have similar solutions for you.
cmERDC Document Imaging Team
General Tips from the cmERDC Technology Team
- Try and maintain your regular work hours
- Have a dedicated workspace
- Take breaks and walk around
- Continue to talk with co-workers
- Attend virtual meetings
- Make sure your workspace is “respected” and lay down ground rules
- Ask if you need equipment
Security Concerns from the cmERDC Technology Team
- Follow your employer’s security guidelines
- Ensure your antivirus/antimalware software is up to date
- Run updates to make sure your Windows/MAC operating system is up to date
- If using Wi-Fi at home make sure encryption is enabled
- Be sure to store sensitive information on work servers versus personal computers
- Use a VPN or other secure means to access work resources
- Know who to call with security questions or issues
SMART Systems Partners with PlanSource Online Benefit Enrollment
cmERDC is excited to announce that we have partnered with PlanSource to provide SMART customers with an integrated solution for managing employee benefits in your district. As a SMART customer you will receive significant discounts on annual license fees, and implementation from PlanSource.
We are working on developing the integration between the two systems, which will include employee demographics, deduction/benefit setup and single sign on from SMARTeR. We are looking for a couple of clients who are interested in working with us on testing the integration. We are specifically looking for a client with an insurance plan through PEIP. If you are interested please reach out to a SMART team member.
Keep an eye on the SMART Support Site for additional information in the coming months.