Action items

Staff: Review iPad and Personalized Learning updates

New course offerings coming for Personalized Learning in a 1:1 iPad environment
New course offerings on iPad integration will be posted in PDExpress starting Jan. 5 for training sessions through March. This includes additional sections of the popular "Establishing a 1:1 iPad Environment," in an online format.  The course will take place over three weeks, with a moderator. Other opportunities will include classes featuring the SPPS core apps and the return of the "iPad Cafe."

Staff: Review discipline report, enter second-quarter incidents by Jan. 25
The spreadsheets that list discipline reporting problems for the first quarter of 2014-15 have been posted on the SPPS Data Center website. By Jan. 25, any errors or red flags should be corrected and all second-quarter incidents entered. (This notice also was emailed to principals just before winter break.) Making these corrections is essential for providing accurate internal discipline analysis, as well as the required report to the Minnesota Department of Education.

Weapons reports are reviewed on a one-quarter lag to give schools the opportunity to make corrections based on the automated feedback first (in the problems tab).

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 Nov. 4.

If you have questions, contact Cindy Porter at 651-767-8371 or

Staff: SPPS will debut new MySPPS Bus status app, websites
This week the Transportation Department will begin testing the new “MySPPS Bus” app technology and website pages, which are scheduled to become available to the public later this month. The purpose of these pages is to communicate directly the status of buses to schools, parents, families and students -- and to eliminate the need to call school clerks directly to find out if a bus is late.

Schools where the app will be piloted have been notified of the changes that will be happening to their websites this week and of the availability of the app. Once the testing phase (expected to be about one week) is complete, this technology will be shared publicly. All schools will receive direct notifications once the app is operational on all sites.

Next week’s Bridge will also include additional details on how to view the status pages on all school sites, as well as specific instructions how to download the App.

Principals and site coordinators: Complete the 5Essentials survey
Teachers, paraprofessionals and students in grades 6-12 are expected to participate in the 5Essentials survey. The window to complete the survey will be open from Jan. 13 to Feb. 13. The 5Essentials survey is a comprehensive framework and diagnostic tool for identifying strengths and challenges for school improvement. The purpose of the survey is not to determine which schools are successful, but to identify areas for improvement. Principals and site coordinators will be contacted with further instructions.

Elementary principals, 3rd and 4th grade teachers: Mark your calendars for free Winter Carnival field trip opportunity
Third and fourth grade students have the opportunity for a free Saint Paul Winter Carnival experience thanks to a partnership between SPPS Community Education and the Saint Paul Festival and Heritage Foundation. Classes will receive busing to downtown Saint Paul to learn about Winter Carnival history and see the celebration.

Available dates are Tuesday, Jan. 27, and Wednesday, Jan. 28. Programs will last about an hour and will be held in the morning. Space is limited. See the next issue of The Bridge for more information on how to register.

If you have questions, contact

Staff: ACT state and district test administration training, Q&A sessions set
In preparation for the spring ACT administration, ACT provides the following opportunities:

  1. Training manuals for review
  2. Video snippets for review
  3. Online Q&A for questions related to manuals and/or snippets.  

Building staff should review the administration manuals and then view all training snippets. If questions remain after viewing the snippets, ACT encourages you to ask them in a Q&A session.

What do the training manuals and video snippets cover?
The training manuals and video snippets cover all steps of test administration, such as:

  • planning and preparing for testing
  • identifying and training room supervisors and proctors
  • receipt and check-in of secure test materials
  • tips for a successful test administration
  • administering the test
  • procedures for return of all materials

Viewing training manuals
Take the following steps to view training manuals and video snippets:

  • Go to:
  • Click on The ACT tab.
  • Click on the “Training” heading.
  • Click on the “Test Administration Training” link.
  • Select your city, and school.
  • Enter your first and last name and click on the next button.  

Registering for a Q&A Session
To register for a Q&A session, go to the appropriate URL from the table below. You need to register by the Friday prior to the session date. After you register, you’ll receive an email confirmation.

Q&A sessions are scheduled for:

Note: Each session is tentatively scheduled for an hour.

All staff: 25th annual ADA poster and video contest submissions due Jan. 17
Submissions for the 25th annual Americans with Disabilities Act Anniversary Poster and Video contests are due Jan. 17. Posters and videos submitted should creatively address the following question: “How has the ADA impacted society in general or your life in particular?” Winning entries will be featured at the Statewide 25th ADA Anniversary Celebration on July 26, 2015.

Categories for Participation

  • Students in grades K-4
  • Students in grades 5-8
  • Students in grades 9 -12
  • Students in post-secondary education
  • Adults – Professional
  • Adults – Other

A complete list of rules can be found here. For more information, contact Andy Mosca at 651-361-7803 or

Gordon Parks staff: Start times changing beginning Jan. 26
School start times at Gordon Parks High School will change beginning Jan. 26. The new school hours will be 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. This start time is 30 minutes later to be consistent with the hours at other SPPS high schools.

School staff: Free assistance available to get students involved in environmental projects
SPPS is hosting a Minnesota GreenCorps member to improve green and sustainability initiatives within the district. The GreenCorps member will be working with schools to encourage students to get involved with environmental projects. If your school is interested in starting a green team/club or enhancing an existing team, contact Racquel Maronde at Find more information here.

Staff: Volunteers needed for new recycling program
SPPS is expanding its recycling program in cafeterias and classrooms throughout the district. To help students understand the new system, the Facilities Department is asking for volunteers the first week each school implements the program. You can volunteer at your school or any school in the district. Numerous volunteer opportunities will be available now through late May. Typical volunteer hours range from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., but vary depending on the school. If you are interested or have any questions, contact Racquel Maronde at 651-744-7324 or

Staff: Thinking about retirement?
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:

  • 4:30-6:30 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 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. 

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. 

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 and are due no later than Jan. 31, 2015.

Teachers: 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. You may also schedule a 1:1 consultation with Senior Development Specialist Lisa van der Steur. Email or call 651-767-8108.

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.