Action items

School staff: Apply for scholarships to Dodge Nature Center
The Dodge Nature Center has received grant funding to cover the transportation cost for students who would otherwise not be able to attend field trips that provide hands-on environmental education experiences for Minnesota students. Scholarships also are available for the cost of the classes.

Resources:

The Dodge Nature Center is scheduling visits Nov. 3 through Dec. 19. The Dodge Nature Center will have bus transportation and scholarships available for winter classes in January and February 2015. A list of winter classes will be available for registration Dec. 1. To schedule classes contact Julie Allen at 651-789-5215 or jallen@dodgenaturecenter.org.

All staff: Donate to your PTA, place of worship, child's school or ANY charity through Community Giving
Each year, SPPS staff may elect to donate money from their paychecks to support causes that mean the most to them. Some choose to give to the United Way, others give to their places of worship, and others give back to the school where they work. Visit giving.spps.org to explore the eight charities directly involved in the campaign, and learn how to give to any 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization.

So far this year, 107 SPPS staff members have given $30,000. Donate today to help us reach our goal of raising $150,000 by Dec. 18.

All staff: US Department of Education Office of Civil Rights offers bullying guidance to schools
As part of National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights has issued a letter of guidance to schools reminding them that bullying is wrong and must not be tolerated.

All staff: Tips for preventing iPad, MacBook theft
For any staff or student using a district iPad, it is important to follow these basic safety tips to help prevent theft:

  • Do not leave or store the iPad and or MacBook in a vehicle, especially when it is visible from car seats or back windows.
  • Do not use the iPad or allow it to be visible when waiting at a bus stop or train station, riding a public bus or light rail train, or when walking in the community.
  • Always carry it in a backpack, book bag or satchel when outside.
  • Never leave the iPad unattended.
  • Don't leave your MacBook unattended for an extended amount of time.
  • Protect your iPad from the weather. Avoid exposing your iPad to extreme temperatures by keeping it in its case at all times.

Read the Student and Family iPad Handbook for additional tips, information and the various safety strategies the district has regarding Online Safety in a Digital World.

Title I principals and parent liaisons: Hold Title I annual meetings by Nov. 21
Remember to hold your school's Title I annual meeting by Friday, Nov. 21. You can find key talking points and this year's Title I presentation available on the Title I website. Remember to keep sign-in sheets, event flyers and handouts from the Title I Annual Meeting for the D3 section of your Title I Accountability folder. If you have questions, call 651-632-3790.

Teachers: Put Culturally Responsive Teaching into practice
Join us for Culturally Responsive Teaching sessions to create a safe school community and deepen our understanding of racial equity.

During the sessions, you will explore the "four Rs" of culturally responsive teaching; develop strategies for building relationships; establish relevance by bridging content to students’ lives and experiences; and reflect on our own thinking, practices and systems that marginalize students in the classroom.

You may attend any or all sessions. Each session meets from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at the Multicultural Resource Center, Washington Technology Magnet, 1495 Rice St. Light snacks and clock hours are provided.

Register under Racial Equity on PD Express (SPPS employees) or by contacting the MRC at mrc@spps.org or 651-744-2635. Contact brian.white@spps.org or janice.mandell@spps.org with any questions.

The topics of the three remaining CRT sessions include:

  • Rigor: Wednesday, Nov. 5
  • Relevance: Wednesday, Nov. 12
  • Realness: Wednesday, Dec. 10
Teachers: Register for We Act today

Community Education is working to increase the number of SPPS youth having a positive impact in the community by participating again this year in We Act. Last year, 1,500 youth participated; this year we want more than 2,500. 

Many of you are already working with students to positively impact the community through school gardens, reading buddies and recycling programs. We want more SPPS staff to join in the effort.

Here’s how to participate:

  1. Register for We Act today at http://www.weday.com/we-act/we-act-program.
  2. Do service, service learning and/or community impact projects with your students.
  3. Report what you did.

To help support the work of SPPS students, Community Education has created the We Made a Difference initiative. By participating in We Act and reporting through We Made a Difference, your class will be eligible for funding to support their work.

For more information about these initiatives, go to http://commed.spps.org/we_act or contact Caritza Mariani at caritza.mariani@spps.org or 651-744-2873.

School staff: 7th annual Shop, Ship and Share event is Nov. 21-22
The American Legion invites students to participate in the Packages for Our Military community project in November to help send packages for the holidays to deployed Minnesota military members.

Students, groups or classes can donate items, write letters or draw pictures that will fit in a flat-rate box, supplied for free by the U.S. Postal Service. A list of the most needed items will be supplied.

Last year, 47 schools helped the American Legion send more than 900 packages overseas. This year’s goal is to send 1,000 boxes.

To participate, contact Lisa Sunderland at 651-225-6175 or at Kristine.k.nahl@usps.gov. Include the name of your school and class, contact information (phone, address and email) and your principal’s name in the message.

School staff: EDL canceled on parent-teacher conference days
Extended Day Learning (EDL) will be canceled if parent-teacher conferences fall on scheduled EDL days. If school sites want to offer EDL programing on conference days, you can make transportation arrangements by contacting Fatima Lawson, the Department of Alternative Education POSA, at Fatima.Lawson@spps.org.

All staff: Attend a retirement insurance session
Human Resources at SPPS is sponsoring a series of monthly meetings regarding the district’s retirement insurance benefits, personnel policies and severance program. All meetings will be held at 360 Colborne St.

Meeting dates and times are:

  • 4-6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 18, rooms A and B
  • 4:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 14, rooms A and B
  • 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 24, rooms A and B
  • 4-6 p.m. Wednesday, April 15, room A
  • 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, May 12, room A

Reserve a spot at one of the meetings by emailing megan.jonesarko@spps.org. You will receive an email confirming your reservation. Please indicate your name (and spouse’s name if s/he will attend), employee ID, title and which meeting you plan to attend. More information is available here.

Teachers: Need extra funding? Apply for grants now
Click the links below to go directly to the funder’s website. Before you apply, visit the SPPS teacher grants web page to find basic grants how-to, a School Grant Pre-Approval Form and a helpful School Grant Checklist.

In most cases, you must send grant applications to the Office of Communications, Marketing and Development (CMD) before submitting them to the funder. If you wait until the grant is awarded, it could take up to four weeks or more to receive the funds. CMD wants you to (1) get the funding you need, and (2) use it as soon as it arrives. Contact Lisa van der Steur at 651-767-8108 or lisa.vandersteur@spps.org with questions.

Save Our Schools
APPLICATION FORM NOW AVAILABLE AT LINK ABOVE. Save Our Schools (SOS) is a Twin Cities-based nonprofit organization that helps fund programs and projects that champion collaboration between students and staff. SOS wants to hear ideas that will help you empower your students, build their self-esteem, and improve student attendance and performance. If your online application is approved, you’ll need to provide photos or video, which will be posted on the SOS crowdfunding platform. Crowdfunding is the funding of a project or program through many donations and many different vehicles (internet, mail, fundraising, competitions, various partnerships, etc.).

Due November
National Science Teachers Association (various grants and deadlines):

Vernier Technology Award
Vernier Software & Technology and the National Science Teachers Association is offering seven awards to recognize the innovative use, or potential use, of data-collection technology (like probes or sensors) interfacing with a computer, graphing calculator or handheld in a science classroom. Awards will be presented in these categories: one elementary award (grades K–5); two middle level awards (grades 6–8); three high school awards (grades 9–12); and one college award. Applications due Nov. 30.

SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment Outstanding Environmental Educator of the Year
The SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment Environmental Excellence Award recognizes outstanding efforts of students, teachers and community leaders nationwide, who are working at the grassroots level to protect and preserve the environment. The award is $10,000 and an expense-paid trip to attend the NSTA National Conference. Application deadline is Nov. 30.

Due Nov. 7
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (various grants available by grade level and topic):

To apply, you must be a current full individual or e-member of NCTM on or before Oct. 15, or teach at a school with a current NCTM pre-K–8 school membership on or before Oct. 15. Visit the website for details.

Due Nov. 19
Air Force Association: Aerospace education
Each school year, the Air Force Association awards grants of up to $250 to projects that significantly influence student learning. A committee comprised of aerospace education experts will review qualified grant applications and make recommendations on funding. The Educator Grant program promotes aerospace education activities in k-12 classrooms with a goal of encouraging the development of innovative aerospace activities within the prescribed curriculum.

Due Dec. 12
Education Minnesota classroom grants
The grants are for licensed personnel who work with students and wish to improve their practice and student achievement. You may request up to $3,000 for a project you design now and implement in the next school year. Licensed personnel include classroom teachers, guidance counselors and others who require a license for their jobs. Education Minnesota  prefers projects that: address the needs of diverse students or students at risk of failure, involve partnerships, and are replicable.

Education Minnesota: National Board Certified Teachers Scholarship
Education Minnesota members who are licensed to teach and have three years of teaching/counseling experience are eligible to apply for a scholarship to help offset the costs of becoming a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT). The scholarship is meant to encourage motivated members; therefore, initial NBCT applicants will receive preference over those who have already completed the program.

Due Jan. 29, 2015
Fund for Teachers
Fund for Teachers (FFT) invites SPPS teachers to design a summer learning experience that builds on their interests and benefits their students. Funded through the Saint Paul Public Schools Foundation, Fund for Teachers grants are intended to enrich the personal and professional growth of teachers by supporting them as they identify and pursue opportunities around the globe (or at home) that will impact their teaching practice, the academic lives of their students and their school community. Grants are $5,000 to individuals and up to $10,000 for teams. Each grant cycle, the Foundation awards a total of $50,000. Notification of grant awards will occur by April 3, 2015.

Applicants must be licensed educators working for SPPS (PreK-12), and must have three years of teaching experience. They also must spend at least 50 percent of their full-time position in the classroom or a classroom-like setting in direct instruction with students. Teachers can apply as individuals or as a team.

To apply, visit www.fundforteachers.org to view the FFT guidelines and scoring rubric, as well as to access the electronic application. Contact Emily Lamberty, development coordinator, at Emily.Lamberty@sppsfoundation.org for questions about FFT and the application process.
 
Teachers also can learn more in early December:

Fund for Teachers Information Session
5:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 2
SPPS Foundation Office
101 Fifth St. E., Suite 2400 (the 24th floor of the U.S. Bank Center)

Dinner will be provided at the session. Register here.

Teachers: Apply for education scholarships
The purpose of the scholarship fund of the Saint Paul Retired Teachers, Inc., is to support staff with scholarships opportunities in efforts to provide quality education for the students of Saint Paul Public Schools. Scholarships are paid directly to the college of the staff member’s choice for graduate-level coursework. Applications are available at staff.spps.org/scholarships and are due no later than Jan. 31, 2015.