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All Staff: SPPS Legislative Agenda for 2014 Session 
Do you have suggestions for ways in which our state legislators can help improve our schools?  Administration is currently working to develop the district's legislative agenda for the 2014 session.  This is a non-budget session, so the focus is policy issues, including consideration of new education policy, as well as the Governor’s request for repealing unnecessary laws. The Board will consider the legislative agenda for the 2014 session at its October 1 COB meeting with final approval on October 15.   Please send any legislation recommendations to Mary Gilbert at mary.gilbert@spps.org or Jackie Statum Allen at jacqueline.allen@spps.org by September 15. 

All Staff - Be Aware of Upcoming Jewish Holidays
Rosh Hashana begins at sundown on Wednesday, September 4, and Yom Kippur begins at sundown on Friday, September 13. Some students and staff may not be able to attend meetings and other events on these dates. A calendar of religious observances is available on the calendar website.

School Staff - Register Now for Give to the Max Day (GTMD) Training
Every SPPS school can raise money through GiveMN.org all year long, and especially on “Give to the Max Day.” This year’s online giving extravaganza is Thursday, November 14. GiveMN staff will conduct two training sessions just for SPPS on Thursday, September 26: 7:30 to 9:00 a.m. and 3:30 to 5:00 p.m., both at 360 Colborne.To register, please email lisa.vandersteur@spps.org. 

To make the most of GTMD – which enables anyone in the world to contribute to your school online – you’ll want a reasonably tech-savvy ambassador (staff or volunteer) to promote your GTMD efforts. Unlike product sales, nearly 100% of every dollar contributed on GTMD goes directly to your school. 

Look for your school’s fundraising page at www.givemn.org. If you can’t find it, call Brandi Cavalletti at 651-767-8181 or Brandi.Cavalletti@spps.org.

Teachers - Apply for Instrumental Music Positions 
Applications are now being accepted for after-school instrumental music teachers to work in the Office of Alternative Education (OAE) Extended Day for Learning Programs (EDL). Job descriptions and online applications are available online.

Any questions may be directed to Robin Lorenzen at robin.lorenzen@spps.org or 651-744-4019.

EDL Instrumental Music programs will begin the week of October 7 and for most sites will run into May. This year the program will serve students in grades 4-5 at most elementary schools, with the exception of American Indian Magnet and Capitol Hill, which will serve students in grades 4-8.

 This is a way to supplement income and a great opportunity to teach at a different school and make a difference by improving student achievement for all students.

Teachers - Schedule a Free Science Field Trip for Your Students
The 3M Foundation has once again generously funded a science experience for every K-5 student in SPPS as a part of the Strategic Science and Engineering Initiative (SSEI).These experiences have been aligned with the state science standards at each grade level. The 3M grant covers both admission and transportation costs. It is expected that every K-5 student will have the opportunity to participate in an SSEI experience. 

Please schedule a trip for your students as soon as possible. Contact information and details about each trip can be found on the Center's website. You will need to schedule transportation for your trip at least two weeks in advance.

Teachers of split grade-level classes should coordinate with their building staff and administration to select a single trip to attend.

Note: Because 6th grade has moved to the middle school, the field trip to The Works has shifted to 4th grade this year. Therefore, 4th grade students will have both a trip to The Works and two in-school visits from Bakken Museum staff. Both experiences are fully funded by the 3M grant. Sixth grade students no longer have an SSEI experience.

Please contact Molly Leifeld, SPPS Science Coach, with questions about SSEI experiences: molly.leifeld@spps.org or 651-744-1371.

Teachers - Apply for the Inspired Educator Grant
The SPPS Foundation is pleased to announce the 2013 Inspired Educator Grant cycle, which will award up to $3,000 to licensed educators working for SPPS (pre-K-12). Learn more, view the guidelines and fill out the application.

Principals/teachers - Plan Now for Grants
A list of grants open to schools and teachers throughout the 2013-14 school year has been prepared and posted by the Office of Communications, Marketing & Development (CMD).

Use this list to plan ahead. Successful grant applications are thoughtful, well-written and persuasive. You can’t crank them out overnight. Even if you could, several district leaders need to approve all grant applications before they are submitted. To accomplish this, CMD needs your completed application seven working days before the funder’s deadline.

Watch The Bridge for reminders and additional grant opportunities, and visit the CMD website to plan now.

Principals or supervisors: Please assign the tenure mentor as soon as possible, preferably within the first week of school. 
All first-year, new hires (full-time and part-time) that fall under the SPFT contract (teachers, counselors, nurses, etc.) will have the benefit of being assigned a mentor to help them “learn the ropes.” Mentors should be tenured teachers who are working in a similar grade level, subject area or program as the mentee. Mentors can choose to receive in-service credits or a stipend for their support. Please send mentor/mentee assignments to Laurie Brazemen at laurie.brazeman@spps.org.

Please assign no more than two mentees to each mentor. Mentors are expected to meet with their mentee within the first two weeks of school.

Principals - Student Behavior Handbook: Rights and Responsibilities
The Student Behavior Handbook details the SPPS positive behavior approach and provides clarity on how student behavior will be addressed. Two hard-copy versions of the handbook are available online: 

All SPPS Schools are responsible for:

  • Distributing the summary version to staff and families prior to the start of the school year. Principals are asked to order one summary version for every family in English and another in the child's home language (Hmong, Spanish, Karen, Somali). Note that Principals may order as many master version handbooks as they would like.    
  • Training and informing staff on all content. Training details included here.
  • Ensuring that staff, students and parents are informed of the content contained in the handbook. The PowerPoint presentations are available for you to use to communicate with staff and families.

Please contact Emily at emily.herman@spps.org, or 651-744-1294 Patricia at patricia.king@spps.org or 651-767-3420 with questions or support.

Principals - Prepare for Instrumental Music Extended Day for Learning Programs (EDL)
In preparation for the onset of the Extended Day for Learning (EDL) Instrumental Music programs, please note the items below:

  • Registration forms are available in English and all district-translated languages. Please send registration forms home with all students in grades 4-5 or 4-8 to provide access for all students. Schools are also encouraged to post notices of the program via school newsletters, websites, or automated phone notices, etc. Copy registration forms as needed for your school.
  • Instruments and supplies will remain in each school regardless of whether it has daytime music programming. Instruments and supplies need to be secured in a temperature-controlled space away from extreme heat or the possibility of water damage.
  • Licensed Instrumental Music Teachers will be given school assignments through the Instrumental Music Coordinator. If you have someone in mind for your school, please notify the EDL Instrumental Music Coordinator.

Questions regarding the EDL Instrumental Music Program may be directed to Robin Lorenzen, at robin.lorenzen@spps.org or 651-744-4019.

Principals - Give Families the Option to Opt Out of Military Access to Student Information
Federal and state laws require SPPS to release to military recruiters the names, addresses and telephone numbers of high school students. We are also required to give parents and/or students the option of refusing to have their information released. The signature of either the parent or student is acceptable. The Military Release Form helps us get those signatures and has been translated into Hmong, Karen, Spanish and Somali.

This form should be sent annually to all high school students and be available to students in middle school (grades 6-8) upon request. It will need to be filled out only once by parents or students who would like their information to remain private. The release will remain in effect throughout the student’s enrollment unless a change is requested. This memo and the accompanying letter are being sent now so that you will be able to plan ahead.

For complete instructions, visit the Administrators’ Bridge.

Principals - Upcoming Grant Deadlines
September 30

Principals/clerks - Provide Building Contacts to the Office of Title I Funded Programs
All schools should provide the Office of Funded Programs with a list of designated school staff to serve as contacts for:

  1. Homeless
  2. Fostering Connections
  3. Parent Involvement
  4. Neglected/Delinquent
  5. Title I

Using Google Chrome or Firefox, fill out the form on the TItle I Funded Programs website. If prompted, enter your computer login in the pop-up box. Complete all requested contact names and phone numbers, and submit the completed form to the Title I office by Friday, September 20. 

Contact Diane Brings at 651-632-3790 with questions. 

Clerks - Register for Title I Meeting
On Monday, September 23, there will be a Title I meeting that is mandatory for clerks who handle Title I orders. Principals and interested staff are welcome to attend. There will be two sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Please register for one of the sessions in PD Express by September 19. 

  • Date: September 23
  • Times: 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. or 1-4 p.m.
  • Location: 360 Colborne, room A
  • Action: Please sign up in PD Express for a morning or afternoon session.