Action items

All Staff: Review Personalized Learning updates

1:1 iPad course teacher FAQ
Over 1,550 teachers have attended 80 sections of the district's Establishing a 1:1 iPad Classroom Environment course so far. Many of the questions asked during this course are now collected and posted with answers on the Personalized Learning website. Visit this link for the FAQ.

More 1:1 course opportunities available
The current round of 1:1 iPad course sections has ended, but more will be offered in the near future. For teachers at year one iPad sites who have not taken the course, additional sections of the 1:1 class will be scheduled and an online version is under development. Information will be posted in The Bridge and PDExpress as it becomes available.

Teachers at year two iPad sites will have the opportunity to take the course this spring and summer.

Personalized Learning essentials - Module 3 Student Voice and Choice
The third of three modules on the Essentials of Personalized Learning for SPPS teaching staff is now available on the Moodle eLearning website. Teachers should complete the module within a PLC session or in another collaborative setting. The purpose of this session is to provide a rationale, overview and examples of student voice and choice, as well as give teachers an opportunity to utilize a planning template for structuring lessons that result in a personalized learning environment. This module, as well as the previous two, should be completed by teaching staff no later than Dec. 31.

List of iPad apps ‘not allowed’
The preliminary list of apps not allowed on district iPads is now available on the Personalized Learning website. The process for requesting to add apps to the “not allowed” list is under review and will be established by the end of November 2014.

Parent iPad resources now available online and for use at conferences
All translated versions of the Student and Family iPad Handbook (available in Hmong, Karen, Somali, Spanish) are available on the Personalized Learning website, along with an “iPad Basics” video for families (available in four languages). Links are on the right sidebar.

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.

Principals and PreK-1 teachers: Schedule free Minnesota Children's Museum field trip
SPPS has a contract with the Minnesota Children's Museum that pays for all PreK, kindergarten and first-grade students to attend a field trip to the Minnesota Children's Museum. The PreK and kindergarten trip includes the “Magical Math Tour” and the first-grade tour includes the “Community Faces and Places” museum class.

To schedule a field trip, contact the Children's Museum at 651-225-6000. To schedule busing, submit the regular Field Trip Order Form within two weeks of the trip and in the “budget number” section, enter "Insect Trunk Grant."

The contract for PreK, kindergarten and first grade covers the cost of buses up to $7,500. After SPPS has met that limit, schools may still schedule a field trip free of charge, but will have to pay for buses from individual school budgets.

All staff: Teacher Development and Evaluation Oversight Committee seeks help updating evaluation tools
The Teacher Development and Evaluation (TDE) Oversight Committee is looking for people in the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers bargaining contract to help update evaluation tools for:

  • Audiologist
  • Counselor
  • Early Childhood Family Education
  • Early Childhood Special Education
  • Liberian/Media Specialist
  • Nurse
  • Occupational Therapist/Physical Therapist
  • Social Worker
  • Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Teacher– Adult Basic Ed
  • Teacher on Special Assignment

Those interested can contact Amy Steele at amy.steele@spps.org for next steps.

All staff: 2014-15 SPPS Winter Weather Plan now available
The winter weather season is right around the corner. Please prepare yourself for the upcoming snow and cold weather by reviewing the 2014-15 Staff Winter Weather Plan, where you’ll find information about winter weather terminology, who is considered an “essential employee” during weather-related closings, and snow day compensation.

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, 186 SPPS staff members have given $65,529. Donate today to help us reach our goal of raising $150,000.

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 two remaining CRT sessions include:

  • Relevance: Wednesday, Nov. 12
  • Realness: Wednesday, Dec. 10

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.

All staff: Give to the Max Day is Thursday, Nov. 13
Be sure to support your favorite school at GiveMN.org this Thursday from 12 p.m. to midnight. Many schools have matching grants this year, including Cherokee, Riverview, Bruce Vento, Linwood-Monroe Arts Plus, Battle Creek Middle School, and Harding Senior High. Contributions made at those six schools will be matched up to $2,000 per school by the Saint Paul Public Schools Foundation and Ecolab. Every contribution made through GiveMN.org on Give to the Max Day is eligible for an hourly drawing that could bring a “Golden Ticket” -- worth an extra $1,000 to your school. Use your social media networks to encourage friends and family to support schools at SPPS and PTAs. 

Teachers: Apply for education scholarships
The purpose of the scholarship fund of the Saint Paul Retired Teachers, Inc., is to support staff with scholarship opportunities. 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.

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. 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 Dec. 19
Lillian Wright Author in the Schools endowment
All SPPS elementary schools are invited and eligible through the Lillian Wright & C. Emil Berglund Foundation to submit an application for a visit from a children’s author or illustrator.

Five elementary schools this year will receive grants up to $1,000 to fund their author or illustrator visit. Grants will be awarded on the strength of the applicant’s plan to use the author/illustrator’s visit in support of the school’s literacy program. Special consideration will be given to authors and illustrators who support our district racial equity initiatives. Schools that have not received a grant in previous years will be given first consideration. Deadline for the application is 4 p.m. Dec. 19. Grants will be announced by email the week of Jan. 9.

Applications available at http://thecenter.spps.org/elemlit.html. If you have questions, contact Sheila Arrington at sheila.arrington@spps.org.

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 havethree 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.