Member Newsletter
  September 2016  

Read the Fall 2016 Professional Development Catalog.  

We have a wide variety of workshops and trainings scheduled throughout the region. 

Click the image at right to view the catalog.

View the most up-to-date listing of trainings 
and workshops at www.swsc.org/workshops.
  

Administrative Updates
PERA - Coaching on Coaches' Pay
The start of a new school year is a good time to huddle and revisit coaches' pay.
By definition, the seasonal exclusion applies only to employees whose sole employment is a seasonal position with a duration limited to 185 consecutive calendar days or less in each year of employment. If a single coaching season or the total of two consecutive seasons is less than 185 days, the coach is excluded regardless of earnings, as the annual threshold does not apply for employees who meet another valid exclusion.

An employee who is solely employed to coach one sport with a season length fewer than 185 calendar days is excluded as a seasonal employee. However, when an employee holds two positions with a single employer, such as one permanent and the other seasonal, the seasonal exclusion does not apply*. In this instance, compensation from both positions must be added to determine whether the employee will exceed the earnings threshold. This is a commonly seen when a school district employs a person as both a part-time paraprofessional and a coach.

If there is at least a 30 calendar day break between the two coaching positions, then each job is considered separately and the seasonal exclusion applies as long as each position lasts fewer than 185 calendar days. However, if the break between the two jobs is fewer than 30 days, the entire employment period is evaluated - from the start of the first position to the last day of the second season. If the total length exceeds 185 days, salary must be considered to determine eligibility.

When one or more coaching position(s) will exceed 185 consecutive calendar days, the employee must be enrolled if annual earnings have or will go over the annual threshold. If you are unsure, Provisional Enrollment is an option. See the Annual Earnings Threshold FAQ for more information about Provisional Enrollment.

As a final reminder, coaches found eligible under current rules and those who were previously enrolled because they met the eligibility in effect at the time must remain in the plan until termination of service.

More information about coaches and the seasonal exclusion is available in Chapter 3 of the PERA Employer Manual, the Seasonal Employees FAQ and by contacting the PERA Employer Response Line.
* The rules discussed here are in regards to coaches who do not also hold teaching positions with the same district. In those cases, TRA statutes apply.

Cooperative Purchasing Connection Update
CPC has recently added several contracts that feature instructional resources for teachers at discounted prices. New contracts include: 
  • ONEder - a cross platform software developed specifically for special education.  The founders of ONEder created a system unlike any other to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of special education.
  • Lakeshore Learning - One of the most popular educational companies in America is now a partnered vendor with CPC.  Lakeshore Learning can be found in the Express online marketplace (www.cpcexpress.org)
  • Lego Education - Early childhood educators will be thrilled to learn they can now save on LEGO Education products!  CPC is the only consortium to offer a discount on LEGO Education preschool products.
  • Motion Math - Math as a game!  What concept!  Far more interactive and challenging than worksheets or computer-based practice programs, Motion Math successfully merges game play with learning.
  • Really Good Stuff - Really Good Stuff creates products that help teachers make a difference in student lives!  This new CPC partnered vendor offers a wide range of supplemental curriculum materials aligned to state standards for:  early childhood, elementary, intermediate, and middle grades.
  • School Health - School Health caters to the needs of special education and early childhood by providing a wide variety of products.

Complete information about all of these contracts and more can be found at www.purchasingconnection.org  If you have any questions, please contact Shareen.Neumann@swsc.org

 
FLSA Rule Changes
The Department of Labor (DOL) issued changes that substantially increase the minimum salary requirement for certain exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The final rule will take effect on December 1, 2016.
 
The FLSA requires covered employers to pay "non-exempt" employees at least the minimum wage for each hour worked as well as overtime pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek. While most employees are non-exempt, the FLSA includes exemptions for certain administrative, professional, executive, highly compensated, outside sales, and computer professional employees.
 
As of December 1st, 2016, to be considered "exempt," these employees must generally satisfy three tests:
1.      Salary-level test: Employers must pay employees at least the current minimum salary per week.
-This is $913 per week (or $47,476 per year)
-Exceptions: Teachers, Academic administrative employees, Professional and administrative employees
2.      Salary-basis test: Employee is paid on a salary basis.  The employer must pay employees their full salary in any week they perform work, regardless of the quality or quantity of the work.
3.      Duties test: The employee's primary duties must meet certain criteria.
-The DOL did not make any changes to the duties test for the administrative, executive, professional, or highly compensated employee exemptions.
Resources for additional information:
US Department of Labor www.dol.gov


Mark Your Calendar - March 12-13, 2017 - Pipestone
Education Updates
There are many professional development opportunities this fall in SpEd and T&L. You can see the full list at www.swsc.org/workshops.  

Student Activities Updates
More information about all the activities listed below can be found on our website at

Hurry, register students from grades K-8 for the Conference for Young Artists andcome join the fun on October 26, 2016 at SMSU. The Southwest MN Arts Council and the SWWC invites Bud, Rona & Camas Johnston from Pipestone to share Native America culture, artifact and music during the keynote presentation. The day begins with refreshments and a keynote, then students attended three enriching  sessions on a variety of topics related to the visual and performing arts such as; bucket drumming, pottery, watercolor & acrylic painting, floral design, cartooning, portrait drawing, abstract art, theatrical makeup and much more. Students are able to expand their imaginations and creativity, learn new techniques and broaden their perspective about art. Find session topics and more information on our website. Register online by September 28 - final deadline is October 5.

An exciting way to compete as an elementary or middle school student is in a spelling bee. Spelling bees helps promote literacy, builds confidence and gives students a goal to work towards. In addition, it improves spelling, aids children in learning concepts, improving comprehension and developing study skills. Register your school today to give students in grades 5-8 a challenge on spelling words. Enroll with Scripps by October 14 AND with SWWC by November 1.
Four winners will advance to the Multi-Region State Spelling Bee in Fergus Falls on February 21, 2016 with that winner participating in the National Spelling Bee in Washington, DC in May. For more information, visit our website. 

Encourage the love of reading and inspire students to write and illustrate. TheSWWC Student Activities Department has invited Julia Cook and Gordon Fredrickson to travel around and visit your schools. Presenters will walk through their journey of how they create ideas for books and illustrations; explain what it takes to be an author or an illustrator and show the end result; getting kids excited about writing. Register your school to give K-6 elementary students an opportunity to use their imaginations to start creating their own book. This program is available for a half day, full day or multiple day residencies. Days will fill up fast, so get your registration in by November 3. The full brochure and registration form is on our website. 

Mark Your Calendars!
Creative Writing Contest - Submission Deadline is January 20, 2017.
Conference for Young Writers - January 4, 2017.
Science and Nature Conference - May 10, 2017.
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