Des Moines Public Schools is committed to maintaining safe learning opportunities for students, staff and the community. The District shall assert its best efforts to protect the health and safety of employees and follow the guidance of the CDC and Iowa Department of Public Health. As the District works to implement the Return to Learn plan, everyone will need to model flexibility, creative thinking, thoughtful responsiveness, and empathy to support the social emotional learning and academic achievement of our students. The District is committed to providing clear and consistent expectations and communications focused on five main areas: health and safety protocol, employee guidelines, training and support, staffing needs and employee wellness.
Health and Safety Protocol
Health and safety are top priority. These protocols will provide clear guidance for responding to the health and safety concerns as we continue to plan for a return to school and the impact of that on staff and students. Each day we gain more knowledge and are better equipped to provide a clear and concise protocol for employees. It is foundational for employees to be cared for so they can care for the students we serve.
Guidelines involve updates or enhancements to existing policies or procedures to ensure there is clarity and consistency for employees throughout the organization. The District will continue to review outcomes and reconsider guidelines to ensure we are serving staff and students to the best of our abilities.
Instructional Learning Platforms
The District will support employees with different instructional learning platforms. This involves offering instructional support that could include online instruction, printed instructional materials or other means of instruction. Workday requirements and instructional schedules will be well-defined throughout all school levels and programs.
This involves updating existing work expectations to ensure there is flexibility and support when working remotely: from home, at a designated location or a district site. This includes updates to attendance, leave, work hours, payroll procedures and staff accommodations.
The District will provide a transparent and equitable process that ensures employees receive ongoing feedback that is responsive to the needs of each employee. The evaluation process will take into consideration the instructional learning platform(s) and compliance with state requirements.
Training and Support
The District will facilitate employees’ access to any necessary equipment, instructional materials and resources to deliver new approaches to teaching and learning. The District will make available the necessary technical support and access to instructional learning platforms. Employees will have professional development available on the use of technology and the delivery of instructional platforms. Professional development may be differentiated for specific program needs.
We are living in an unprecedented time, and certainly this coming school year will present additional challenges. The key to our success is our human capital and collective efficacy. Staff have the knowledge, skills and experiences to provide high quality services to our students. Maintaining staffing levels ensures the necessary support for instructional programs and organizational needs. We appreciate our employees’ commitment to sharing their talents, wisdom, and skills with our students, families and community.
The Healthy U Employee Wellness Program is designed to educate, encourage and enable employees to be the healthiest they can be in all aspects of health – physical, social, mental, financial and more. This is especially important during this time. The District will continue to provide ongoing support to elevate the level of well-being of employees personally and professionally. In addition, the District offers confidential services to help employees manage everyday challenges. The District Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is offered through Magellan HealthCare.