Action items

Staff: Review Personalized Learning updates

SPPS experiencing bandwidth issues, YouTube access halted
As many of you know, the district has turned off access to YouTube due to its significant impact on bandwidth. Many staff and students have been experiencing slow Wi-Fi connections lately that are related to the widespread use of YouTube. Because the district has a finite amount of bandwidth available, when thousands of staff and students are using devices (iPads, smart phones, computers) at the same, this slows the Internet connection.

Under our current infrastructure, we do not have the ability to limit usage of video streaming across the network on a per device basis; rather, we only have the ability to either block YouTube across the entire district or provide YouTube access by site.

Technology Services is working diligently with vendors, such as Apple, Cisco and CenturyLink, to come up with a viable solution. In the meantime, we are looking at other alternatives for video streaming. However, identifying the best solution may take a few months.

In the meantime, here are some alternatives to using YouTube on a wireless network:

  • Use a computer with an ethernet connection.
    • We realize newer MacBooks Pros don't have ethernet ports and we are working on a solution.
    • Wired connections should work, if they do not, turn off the Wi-Fi on the computer and restart the computer. If that does not work, please put in a Service Ticket.
  • Download videos instead of streaming them live, using either an ethernet connection or a Wi-Fi source outside of the SPPS network. The advantage to downloading is videos will work regardless of how the Internet is functioning (copyright issues may apply).
  • Post your video to another site, such as EduVision.

In this digital age, it is important that we remind one another that bandwidth is a limited and shared resource. Over the past year, we have doubled our capacity, and then doubled it again. Please help on the demand side by asking students and staff to use their smartphones and iPads in Airplane Mode, when possible.

As we continue to roll out iPads for our 1:1 learning initiative, there may be times when we run into technology challenges that will not have an immediate remedy. Thank you for your patience and support as we work as fast as we can to resolve this matter.

Teachers: Review the new Ebola fact sheets for educators
Education Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Department of Education have collaborated to produce a fact sheet for educators containing frequently asked questions and links to additional information.

The fact sheet encourages frequent hand washing and use of alcohol based hand sanitizer when hand washing is not feasible; however, SPPS has discontinued the use of hand sanitizer.

Staff: Plato's 4th annual blood drive is Dec. 18
The staff at 345 Plato is hosting a blood drive 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 18, for SPPS employees and friends. To schedule an appointment, call Laurie Brazman at 651-744-1359, email laurie.brazman@spps.org or schedule an appointment online at www.redcrossblood.org by using the Sponsor Code: 0177627.

Staff: Deadlines for fiscal year 2014-15 expenditures now available
In an effort to assist schools and programs in planning their workload and expenditures, the Business Office has published fiscal year 2015 financial deadlines earlier than in the past. Click here to see the details and the deadlines.

AVID teachers and coordinators: Review this month's AVID Monthly Moment
This month’s issue of the AVID Monthly Moment features good news, upcoming events and the CRT strategy of the month.

Staff: Donate to Project REACH's 5th annual Blanket and Coat Drive
The fifth annual Project REACH Blanket and Coat Drive for families experiencing homelessness will start Dec. 1 and continue through Jan. 16.

Project REACH identified more than 2,000 students who were experiencing homelessness last year, and continue to see new families -- who have never experienced a loss in housing -- calling for assistance each day.

Project REACH is asking members of the SPPS community to donate new blankets, bedding and winter coats. Items can be donated at 1021 Marion St., or call 651-744-2565 to arrange for a donation pickup. For more information, contact the Title I Project REACH office at 651-744 2565.

High school staff: Consider sharing MLK video contest opportunity with students
The University of Minnesota’s Office of Equity and Diversity is inviting high school students to join its annual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by creating videos that honor his life, leadership and legacy. Students are encouraged to illustrate King’s tenets of justice, peace, service and hope. The contest also encourages young leaders to contribute to advancing and promoting “The Dream.”

The deadline to upload the video to Youtube is Dec. 31. The winning video will be announced and shown at the MLK Tribute Event on Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015 at the Ted Mann Concert Hall on the West Bank campus in Minneapolis. Prizes will be awarded.

Here is a flier with more details. For information, contact Ralph Blanco at 612-625-8680 or rblanco@umn.edu.

Principals: Review updated school counselor meeting dates
View an updated calendar of school counselor meeting dates, professional development opportunities and professional learning community plans.

Teachers: Apply for education scholarships by Jan. 31
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.

Ongoing

December

January

February

  • Arts Learning, Minnesota State Arts Board (due February 13). Please note: This is a complicated proposal for which you should begin planning now. Contact Lisa van der Steur at 651-767-8108 to talk through your project before the winter break.