Action items

All staffSchool staff | Principals |  Teachers

All staff: Attend Board Listening Sessions
The SPPS Board of Education wants to hear from you! Families, students, staff and community members are invited to speak directly with Board members about any question, comment or concern. The Board is excited for this opportunity to have an informal conversation with the community. Join us Thursday, May 8, 7-9 p.m. at the ​Conway Community Recreation Center, 2090 Conway Street, St. Paul.

There is no need to make an appointment to speak with the Board during a Listening Session. We look forward to hearing from you! Learn more at spps.org.

School staff: Register for We Act by Wednesday, April 30
Join an international movement to empower young people to take action in their communities! Register your school for We Act by April 30.

In 2013, SPPS joined other school districts in Minnesota to partner with Free the Children in a year-long service learning program called We Act. This year more than 500 youth in our district discovered causes they care about and took action to make a difference in their communities and the world through We Act.

Be part of engaging more youth in 2014-2015! We Act participants will commit to working on and completing one local and one global service project. Registration for the 2014-2015 We Act Program is open now and will end on April 30, 2014. School contacts/lead educators who are interested can register online.

Schools who register for We Act may be eligible for tickets to We Day on November 12, 2014 at Xcel Energy Center.

If you have questions about We Act, We Day or how to register your classroom and school, contact Ginny Newman at the SPPS Community Education Service Learning Program at 651-325-2668 or ginny.newman@spps.org.

School staff: Ecolab Visions for Learning grants offer up to $3,000
Ecolab’s Visions for Learning grant program for school educators -- teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators and other licensed staff -- encourages and rewards individual educator creativity and innovation in classroom learning. Grant funding provides opportunities that will motivate and challenge students intellectually, raise student achievement, and increase their understanding of academic content and the connection between school and life.

This funding program provides grants up to $3,000 for purchase of materials. Proposed projects must be student interactive and improve thinking skills. Materials requested must be part of a curriculum plan that helps meet specific learning goals. Funds/materials purchased will be the property of the school.

Ecolab will not fund computers, laptops, computer hardware, Smart Boards, staff or substitute time, professional development, Ecolab product donations, or projects that do not directly impact students. If you are applying for technology equipment, software or online subscriptions, please include specific information on how it will impact student achievement.

Visions for Learning proposals will rank more highly if they are:

  • distinct. Identical proposals from different teachers will not rank as highly. Teachers from the same school may request complementary funding for the same project, but the proposals MUST be distinct and in each teacher’s unique voice.
  • detailed. Provide background and depth in your narrative. If possible, include web links to the items you wish to purchase. Include shipping/handling costs in your grant budget. Proposals that request round numbers -- “$3,000 for books” -- will not rank as highly.
  • grammatically and mathematically correct. Proofread your narrative and numbers, then ask someone else to do the same.
  • from first-time applicants. A few teachers have won multiple Ecolab grants, and good projects are always welcome. Even if you have never applied for a grant, you have ideas for classroom projects -- let us help you craft your proposal!

If you’d like assistance with your application or just need another pair of eyes on your proposal, email lisa.vandersteur@spps.org or call her at 651-767-8108.

To apply: Submit your proposal in this Word document format. Note that this application has been revised since the 4/14 Bridge.

Deadline: Proposals must be received via email to ecolabfoundation@ecolab.com by 4 p.m. on Friday, May 23, 2014. Applicants will receive award notice by mail to their school in late August and funds will be sent to the school district business office so that funds can be spent shortly after school starts.

School staff: Continue recruiting students for S-Term
The Summer Term (S-Term) deadline has passed but registrations are still being accepted. Updated flyers have been printed and were delivered to schools through inter-office mail. Please hang them where students will see them.

The flyers are meant to increase the visibility of S-Term to all students, and we will not deny students who wish to participate in S-Term. However, please focus recruitment efforts on the students who will benefit most from additional academic support.

Elementary schools will also receive a flyer promoting the importance of summer reading. Help students avoid summer learning loss by reminding them to read when they are not in school.

Principals: Administer NWEA web-based MAP test
The purpose of the MAP test is to have a clear understanding of students’ growth in order to adjust and intervene instructionally. The web-based MAP testing window is May 7-23. The following grades and students will take the tests:

  • Math: Grades 2 and 9
  • Reading: Grades 6-9, and grade 10 students performing at or below 8th grade level.

The School Assessment Coordinator (SAC) will continue to serve as your school’s contact for testing, but it is advisable that two staff members be trained to maximize the expertise and support. Schools taking a team approach have a smoother and more effective MAP test administration.

For questions, please contact Robin Lane at 651-767-8257 or robin.lane@spps.org.

Teachers: Grant deadlines in May
Contact Lisa van der Steur, 651-767-8108 or lisa.vandersteur@spps.org, to talk through your ideas, for assistance with your proposal, and for district approvals (as needed). Let her know before you begin your application so she can advise you on timing and other factors to consider.

  • Due by May 22: The Dollar General Literacy Foundation Youth Literacy Grants support schools, public libraries, and nonprofit organizations that work to help students who are below grade level or experiencing difficulty reading.
  • Due by June 1NEA Foundation Student Achievement Grants ($2,000 or $5,000) may be used for resource materials, supplies, equipment, transportation, technology, or scholars-in-residence. Although some funds may be used to support the professional development necessary to implement the project, the majority of grant funds must be spent on materials or educational experiences for students.
  • Due by June 1NEA Foundation Learning & Leadership Grants provide grants ($2,000 for individuals and $5,000 for groups engaged in collegial study) to support public school teachers, public education support professionals, and/or faculty and staff in public institutions of higher education for one of the following two purposes: Grants to individuals fund participation in high-quality professional development experiences, such as summer institutes or action research; or grants to groups fund collegial study, including study groups, action research, lesson study, or mentoring experiences for faculty or staff new to an assignment.

Teachers: Schedule Belwin Outdoor Science field trip
2014-2015 field trip registration for 3rd and 5th grade classrooms and secondary science teachers begins on Thursday, May 1, at 7:30 a.m. and ends Friday May 16 at 3 p.m.

Please call Belwin Outdoor Science at 651-744-7120 or email Geoff Urban at geoff.urban@spps.org to schedule your field trip date(s). Schedule early to reserve your preferred date. Belwin’s capacity is two classrooms or 60 students per day. Reservations made before the scheduling period will not be accepted.

Please include the following information:

  • School name
  • Grade level or subject taught
  • Teacher name(s)
  • Preferred date
  • Alternate dates

For over 40 years Belwin Outdoor Science has provided meaningful outdoor learning experiences promoting life-long awareness toward the care and respect of our world to over 500,000 SPPS students. All Belwin Outdoor Science classes have been aligned to meet science standards tested on the Science MCA III.