Action items

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All staff | School staff | Principals |  Teachers

All staff: Review winter weather plan
The winter weather plan is available on the SPPS website. The current plan does not address winter athletics, so please note the following:

  • The decision to cancel winter athletics due to hazardous weather conditions (cold or snow) will be made and announced by 1 p.m. the day of the cancellation. Staff should check email, websites and social media for the most up-to-date information. Families be notified via email, text, phone, web, social media and traditional media.
  • If an athletic team or teams is involved in section or state tournaments, and the tournaments are not cancelled, we will make every effort to transport the team(s) to the event so they do not lose by forfeit. This is the case even if other athletics events are cancelled at SPPS.
  • If winter athletics are not cancelled at SPPS, but neighboring districts have cancelled athletics, some SPPS teams may be affected. Staff and families should check the SPPS website and social media for the most up-to-date information.

All staff: Review changes to Special Education programming
Special education students and teachers have experienced significant changes this fall. Review the before/after comparison, glossary and frequently asked questions. If you continue to have questions or concerns, please contact your school principal or the Special Education Department at 651-767-8321.

All staff: Update directories with new health office phone numbers
Each SPPS Health Office has received a new, permanently assigned phone number that follows the format 651-888-76##. Our hope is that this will allow easier transitions as Health Office staff relocate to other buildings or retire from the district.

Please download the directory and update your school’s website, directories, family newsletters, etc. with the new phone numbers. If you have any questions or concerns, contact Mary Yackley, Student Health and Wellness Supervisor, at 621-767-8380 or at mary.yackley@spps.org.

All staff: Fourth annual blanket drive starts runs now through January 17
Project REACH is launched its fourth annual Blanket Drive for families experiencing homelessness. The blanket drive will end on January 17, 2014. Project REACH identified more than 2,000 students experiencing homelessness last year. New families ask for assistance each day. Learn how you can help below:

  • What: Fourth Annual Blanket Drive
  • When: December 2, 2013 - January 17, 2014
  • How to help: Project REACH encourages school staff to work together to collect new blankets and linens on behalf of students experiencing homelessness.

Please call the Title I Project REACH office at 651-632-3790 to have them pick up your donations, or drop them off at 1021 Marion (attached to Paul and Shelia Wellstone Elementary, south side of the building), Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

New items only please. For more information, please contact the Title I Project REACH office at 651-632-3790.

All staff: Donate to your PTA, place of worship, your child’s school or ANY charity through Community Giving
The Community Giving Campaign starts today. Each year, SPPS staff may elect to donate money from their paychecks to support the causes that mean the most to them. Some choose to give to the United Way, others give to their church, and others give back to the school they work for. Visit giving.spps.org to explore the eight charities directly involved in the campaign, and learn how to give to any 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization. Note that this is not the same as Give to the Max Day, which was November 14.

So far this year, 286 SPPS staff members have given $74,051. At this same time last year, we had given over $100,000. Donate today to help us reach our goal. We aim to raise $160,000 by December 18.

You can make a difference in the lives of students by giving to any charity. For example, the Saint Paul Public Schools Foundation’s Inspired Educator Grant program funds projects that engage students in critical thinking and problem-solving, and deepen students' knowledge of standards-based subject matter. Last year, Danielle DeLong of the SPPS Indian Education Program was awarded $2,500 for her project entitled Mino Aaji Bimaadiziwin, which means Good Changes for Life in Ojibwe. Through her project, 91 students learned about the diabetes epidemic among American Indians and how diabetes can be prevented through a healthy lifestyle that includes cooking classes, exercising, and American Indian culture. Students also heard presentations from athletes and community leaders on the importance of healthy lifestyles.

All staff: Instructors wanted for Summer 2014 enrichment programs
If you are excited to work with youth and have passion for a subject, talent or hobby, this is your chance to work with students who share your interests and want to learn from you.

Mini-grants for up to $1,000 are available for instructors. This funding cycle will support summer enrichment programs that occur between June 1, 2014 and September 1, 2014. Application deadline is January 17, 2014.

The Community Education Enrichment Fund was established to support enrichment programming for St. Paul youth and increase access to hands-on learning opportunities during the school day, after school and in the summer.

Please review the information in the Invite for Enrichment Fund Proposals document and complete a Community Education Enrichment Fund Youth Class Proposal Form. Following review of both documents, if you have additional questions or have trouble with a document, please contact shaun.walsh@spps.org or kathryn.mommaerts@spps.org.

School staff: Education Minnesota Classroom Grants due December 13
The Education Minnesota Foundation awards Classroom Grants (PreK-12 and higher education) for up to $3,000 to address particular needs for classroom innovations. Applicants must be active, dues-paying members of Education Minnesota. Funds may be used to purchase materials and services for use with students if those materials are part of a project you design now and implement in the 2014-15 school year. Licensed staff who work with students are eligible. Preference is given to projects that address the needs of diverse or at-risk students, involve partnerships and are replicable. The application consists of a one-page data sheet that must be signed by Mary Cathryn Ricker; a narrative of up to four pages; and a project budget. Your completed application is due online to Education Minnesota by 4 p.m. on Friday, December 13. Grants will be awarded by the end of February 2014 and funds must be spent by the end of June 2015.

Note: Classroom Grant winners will receive an award check made out to them and Saint Paul Federation of Teachers; SPFT serves as the fiscal agent for the award. Grantees will need to advance the funds to purchase project materials and submit receipts to SPFT for reimbursement.

Elementary school staff: Apply for Lillian Wright Author in the Schools funding
Once again elementary schools are invited to submit an application for a visit by a children’s author or illustrator of their choice through a grant from the Lillian Wright & C. Emil Berglund Foundation.

During the 2013-2014 school year, up to 12 elementary schools will receive grants of up to $1,000 to fund an author or illustrator visit. Grants will be awarded on the strength of the applicants’ plans for using the author/illustrators’ visits to support the school’s literacy program. All SPPS elementary schools are eligible to apply. Special consideration will be given to funding authors and illustrators from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds and to applications from schools that have not received a grant in previous years.

The deadline for application is December 20, 2013 at 4 p.m. Grants will be announced by email the week of January 10, 2014. Apply today.

For questions, contact Sheila Arrington at sheila.arrington@spps.org or 651-744-2833.

Principals, assistant principals and school staff: Discipline reporting clean-up
The spreadsheets that list discipline reporting problems for the 2013-14 school year-to-date have been posted on the Data Center website. By January 17:

  • Any errors or red flags from the first quarter discipline data should be corrected
  • Any incidents that occurred during the second quarter must be entered

Making these corrections by January 17 is essential for providing accurate internal discipline analysis as well as the required report to the Minnesota Department of Education.

Each school's report has been placed in the password-protected part of the SPPS Data Center website. The report includes everything entered in Campus as of November 4. Instructions are available to view the report and the new information for this year.

If you have questions, please contact Cindy Porter at 651-767-8371 or cindy.porter@spps.org.

Principals and teachers: Administer MAP tests January 7-24, 2014 (optional)
Based on feedback from building staff, the winter 2014 MAP test will be optional. The winter 2014 MAP testing window is January 7-24, 2014. Schools may not target specific grades; tests must be given to all specified grades school-wide, or not at all.

Specified grades are:

  • Math: Grades 2 and 9
  • Reading: Grades 6, 7, 8, 9
  • Math and Reading: Grade 10 students who are performing at or below 8th grade academic levels.

School administrators must indicate whether they will administer the test by contacting Robin Lane at robin.lane@spps.org by Wednesday, December 18, 2013.

Teachers: Fund for Teachers deadline is January 30, 2014
Fund for Teachers (FFT) provides educators who possess a broad vision of what it means to teach and learn with resources to pursue self-designed professional learning experiences. FFT grants can be used for a variety of projects, all designed to create enhanced learning environments for teachers, their students and their school communities. We believe that supporting teachers' active participation in their own professional growth positively impacts student learning and achievement. To learn more about the Fund for Teachers, visit: http://www.fundforteachers.org/

To apply, teachers must:

  • Be employed by SPPS full-time as a PreK-12th grade teacher at the time the grant is used;
  • Spend 100% of their work week in direct instruction with students in a classroom or classroom-like setting;
  • Intend to continue teaching in the next school year; and
  • Have at least three years teaching experience as a PreK-12th grade teacher in SPPS.

Individuals may apply for up to $5,000; teams may apply for up to $7,500 (all team members must meet eligibility criteria). To confirm eligibility, please contact Kathy Weyandt, kathy.weyandt@spps.org, 651-767-8373. The Saint Paul Fund For Teachers is sponsored by the SPPS Foundation.