Action Items

Staff: Do not upgrade SPPS iPads, iPhones to iOS 9.1
Staff iPads and iPhones should not be upgraded to iOS 9.1, the newest mobile device update from Apple. Technology Services has identified a compatibility issue with Lotus Notes Traveler, the source for email on Staff iPads and iPhones. Upgrading iPads or iPhones to iOS 9.1 will prevent staff from receiving email through Traveler on the iPad and iPhone.  

For the iPad we have a work-around. You will be able to see your email by logging into the email website spps8.spps.org through Safari on the iPad only. This work-around is unreliable for the iPhone and we do not recommend using this method for the iPhone.

If you have upgraded your district iPad or iPhone, you will not be able to downgrade to iOS 8.4.1.

If you have any questions about this, please contact the Service Desk at 651-603-HELP (4357) or it.spps.org.

High school staff: Recruit students for Youth Advisory Team
The Board of Education voted unanimously Sept. 22 to recruit a pilot Student Advisory Team to increase student voice in decision making at the Board level.

In the pilot year, this group of students will work to develop the long-term vision and structure of the Youth Advisory Team, as well as work on issues important to them and on issues assigned by the Board and administration for greater student engagement in decision making.

Please identify and recruit students who are passionate, creative and critical thinkers, as well as those who traditionally identify as leaders or are emerging leaders. Some students may need encouragement and support through the application process.

More information and the application be found on the SPPS Family Engagement website. The deadline for applications is Thursday, Oct. 15. Students can submit their application in the language they feel most able to express themselves.

Staff: Register your building by Oct. 5 for Walk/Bike to School Day
This fall’s Walk/Bike to School Day will be Wednesday, Oct. 7. SPPS will join children and adults worldwide on that day to celebrate the benefits of walking and biking to school.

Administrators, wellness champions and staff should register their building for the event:

Stickers that read “I walked or rolled” will be available for distribution at registered schools. Schools with a high percentage of students who ride the bus, or are driven to school, may participate in the event through organized walks during the day, such as a coordinated recess event or classroom physical activity break. The building with the highest percentage of participating staff and students will host the Walk ‘n’ Roll Traveling Trophy for the next seven months.

Principals and staff development coordinators: Complete MDE Staff Development Report by Oct. 12
SPPS is required by the Minnesota Department of Education to report all professional development activities that occurred both at the district and building levels during the 2014-15 school year. The reporting deadline is Monday, Oct. 12.

You will be asked to provide data on your school’s student achievement goals, advisory committee membership, staffing, staff development activities and the impact of these activities on teaching and learning.

For complete instructions, read this memo from Stacey Gray Akyea, Director of Research Evaluation and Assessment.

Staff: Professional Development opportunities available to learn about children's mental health issues
There are several voluntary, professional development opportunities on PDExpress for SPPS staff to learn about children’s mental health issues. If you have questions or need additional information about these courses, contact Kathy Lombardi, Mental Health Coordinator, at Kathy.lombardi@spps.org.

Descriptions for two of the courses are below:

Question, Persuade, Refer
Two Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) courses are listed on PDExpress (SPED0887-15-16). QPR is a one-hour suicide prevention workshop offered by the National Alliance on Mental Illness and is the most widely-taught gatekeeper training program in the United States. QPR covers the three steps to help prevent suicide. People trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis, answer how-to questions about suicide, and learn how to persuade and refer someone to help.

Youth Mental Health First Aid
There are seven Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) courses listed on PDExpress (OAYMHFA-15-16). YMHFA is for adults who regularly interact with young people. This eight-hour course will teach you how to help adolescents, ages 12-18, who are struggling with mental health or addiction.

The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development and teaches a five-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations.

Topics include:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • substance use
  • disorders in which psychosis may occur
  • disruptive behavior disorders (including ADHD)
  • eating disorders

SPPS received a federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the Department of Health and Human Services to provide hourly payments to staff for trainings and substitute teachers. Paraprofessionals will be paid for eight hours of training if they attend on a non-duty day. For licensed staff, this training will meet re-licensure requirements for “Early Warning Signs.”

Staff: Participate in Minnesota Children's Museum's statewide 'Day of Play' on Oct. 7
The Minnesota Children’s Museum is inviting SPPS staff to participate in a “Day of Play” on Wednesday, Oct. 7, to help promote the benefits of play and its important role in learning. The special day coincides with the groundbreaking on a major expansion and renovation project at the museum’s downtown St. Paul location. On Oct. 7, the museum is asking Minnesotans to make time for spontaneous play and to share photos and videos with the hashtag #PlayMoreMN.

The museum, which will remain open during most of the expansion period, is creating entirely new galleries and exhibits – specifically designed to foster the type of open-ended, imaginative and immersive play that is most beneficial to children.

To participate, do something fun, creative or surprising on Oct. 7, take a photo or video, and share it on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #PlayMoreMN. Learn more at PlayMoreMN.org. Reminder, any students photographed or filmed must have media permission to participate.

Teachers: Schedule a free science field trip for students
The 3M Foundation has once again funded a science experience for every student in first, third, fourth, fifth and eighth grades at Saint Paul Public Schools.

Teachers will need to schedule transportation at least two weeks in advance of the trip(s). Schedule your trip soon to make sure you reserve the date you want. The field trips have been aligned with the state science standards at each grade level. Let your students’ science teacher know once you have scheduled an experience. This will help connect student learning across classrooms.

3M Funded Experiences

Eighth grade Earth science teachers: Please align this Planetarium visit with your astronomy unit. Transportation for your trip must be scheduled at least two weeks in advance.

When registering and scheduling transportation for these experiences, please reference the Strategic Science and Engineering Initiative (SSEI) grant to ensure the correct budgets are charged.

Target and Travelers fund zoo field trip for third-graders
Target and Travelers are funding an additional third grade field trip to the Minnesota Zoo.

When registering and scheduling transportation for this, please identify your group as part of the Third Grade Saint Paul Zoo Safari Program to ensure the correct budgets are charged.

All of these grants cover admission and transportation costs. It is expected that every student in these grades will have the opportunity to participate. If you have questions, contact Molly Leifeld, District Science Specialist, at molly.leifeld@spps.org or 651-744-1371.

Third grade teachers: Request free dictionaries for your students by Oct. 5
The Saint Paul Chapter of Rotary International will once again be providing a dictionary for every third grade student in Saint Paul Public Schools. Rotary members enjoy delivering the dictionaries in person and meeting the students who benefit from this project.

Interested schools should sign up as a group and, if possible, have all third-graders in one area for the presentation. Rotary members will take a few short minutes to explain Rotary before handing out the dictionaries to students.

Saint Paul Rotary members are available for school visits anytime from Friday, Oct. 9, through Friday, Nov. 20, except from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesdays.

The deadline to sign up for Rotary visits is Monday, Oct. 5. To register, contact Kathy Weyandt in the Office of Communications, Marketing & Development at kathy.weyandt@spps.org with the following information:

  • School
  • Contact person
  • Requested date
  • Best time
  • Number of third-graders

If you have questions, contact Kathy Weyandt at 651-767-8373 or kathy.weyandt@spps.org.

Teachers: Register to participate in 'We Act'
We acted and we made a difference. Last year, we almost doubled the number of SPPS students who participated in We Act and made a positive contribution to the world. We Act is a program organized by Free the Children and has resources to help teachers build a global and local service project with their students.

The 2,650 SPPS students who participated last year tackled amazing projects that impacted our community, globe and the students themselves. We think SPPS can double participation again.

Additional Resources

If you have questions, contact Kathryn Mommaerts in Community Education at kathryn.mommaerts@spps.org.

Staff: Celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day on Oct. 12
The Office of American Indian Education and the Multicultural Resource Center are collaborating for Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Monday, Oct. 12. The city of Saint Paul recently passed a resolution declaring the second Monday of every October Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Resources, mini-grants and other support are available for K-12 teachers to provide opportunities for students to celebrate and learn more about indigenous people. The proposal deadline is Monday, Sept. 21. For more information, visit http://indianeducation.spps.org/ or http://mrc.spps.org.

Staff: Give to the Max Day is Thursday, Nov. 12
Every SPPS school has a GiveMN.org fundraiser page through the Saint Paul Public Schools Foundation, linked from the DONATE link on your school website.

Donors with credit cards can give to your school via this link year-round. Murray Middle School generated almost $60,000 this summer using GiveMN.org! Many schools and other organizations do a special publicity push for Give to the Max Day, which is Thursday, Nov. 12.

If your school is interested in raising funds on Give to the Max Day, a staff member or trusted volunteer can update your fundraiser page with new text, photos and video. Visit the GiveMN.org toolkit to get started. For information on logging in to your GiveMN.org page, contact Brandi Cavalletti in the Office of Communications, Marketing and Development, brandi.cavalletti@spps.org