Action items

Staff: Review iPad and Personalized Learning updates

School staff: Complete survey on technology integration practices
As part of Apple’s Distinguished Leadership training, licensed school staff who work directly with students will be asked to complete an Educational Technology Profile survey. The goal of the survey is to identify the levels of technology integration practices at each site so leaders can create action plans based on their site’s specific needs. “Technology integration” is based on the SAMR Model.

An email with a link to the survey from your site leaders will be forwarded to licensed school staff on Tuesday, Jan. 13. You have until Jan. 26 to complete the survey.

Staff: SPPS transportation launches new MySPPS Bus status app, websites
MySPPS Bus, the new bus status App and website technology, is now available on all school websites for school and public use.

MySPPS Bus, a service for families and students, provides bus status information through an app and on school websites. The MySPPS Bus app is available through Google Play and the Apple App Store. This will help the Department of Transportation provide information about bus delays directly to school staff, families and students.

Later this week, schools will receive informational fliers for students to take home to their families. Also, the SPPS Department of Communications, Marketing and Development will email all SPPS parents directly with information about this service, as well as promote the service via social media and other digital means.

To view the app:
Download the app via your mobile device’s respective app store by clicking the links below, or searching the app stores for “St. Paul Schools Bus App,” “SPPS Bus App” or other keywords.

Link: Apple App Store: Saint Paul Public Schools Bus App

Link: Google Play: MySPPS Bus App

To view online:
School bus delay information also will be available on every school's website. Go to the school's website and enter “/bus” at the end of your website address. For example: A list of all school bus routes can be found at

What this means for schools:
Please note that this new app does not replace direct communications to families when a bus is significantly delayed. Though we anticipate MySPPS Bus will reduce phone calls from families, you should continue using Connect 5 to inform them about school bus delays.

Currently, the Department of Transportation receives reports from each bus company when a specific route is running behind schedule. Transportation staff then alerts schools about the delay. Beginning the week of Jan. 12, most communications to schools about bus delays will instead rely on the MySPPS Bus app and each school's dedicated bus status webpage. Please know that the Department of Transportation will continue to call schools with transportation issues that require special attention.

Good to know:

  • Bus status information on each school’s website is the same as what will be displayed in the MySPPS Bus app.
  • This page will refresh every three minutes with updates, so if users keep this page open on their desktop, it will automatically reload the bus statuses. The app must be manually refreshed.
  • MySPPS Bus is NOT a GPS tracking system.
  • This technology will not identify the users, route stops, or the passengers on any route.
  • Parents and families who do not know their child’s route will be directed to contact the office of each respective school to learn this information.
  • The webpages work best on Google Chrome or Safari browsers, and are not optimized for use on the district's current version of Firefox.
  • Currently, reports of bus delays depend on multiple bus contractors at SPPS informing the Department of Transportation. This will not change, but Transportation is working directly with the contractors to ensure they report all delays as promptly as possible.
  • Bus routes are marked "Delayed" if they are more than 10 minutes behind schedule.
  • This service is meant to only communicate a delay at the time it was posted. The school bus could make up that time during its route and end up back on schedule. Families should still plan to be at the bus stop at the designated time unless more specific information is communicated.

For more information, contact Digital Media Manager Troy Melhus at 651-744-5670 or

Secondary paraprofessionals: Participate in Mental Health Training
Secondary paraprofessionals are invited to attend Youth Mental Health First Aid 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 23 at 1930 Como. If this is a non-duty day, you will be paid to attend. Sign up on PD Express (Course ID: OAYMHFA).

Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) is designed primarily for adults who regularly interact with young people. This eight-hour course will teach you how to help adolescents, ages 12-18, struggling with mental illness or addiction.

The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical  adolescent development, and teaches a five-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. Topics include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Substance use
  • Disorders in which psychosis may occur
  • Disruptive behavior disorders (including AD/HD)
  • Eating disorders

Saint Paul Public Schools has received a federal grant from the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration of the Department of Health and Human Services to provide this course many times over the next two years. The grant provides substitute teachers and hourly payments to staff during training. Paraprofessionals will be paid for eight hours of training if they attend on a non-duty day. For licensed staff, this training will meet re-licensure requirements for “Early Warning Signs.” Substitute teachers are available using event code 39050.

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. 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, 2014.

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

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 Tuesday, 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 free busing to the Science Museum of Minnesota for a presentation of "Cryogenics - The Big Chill," learn about Winter Carnival history from senior royalty and visit the celebration firsthand.

Available dates are Thursday, Jan. 29 or Friday, Jan. 30. The program will run twice each day, from 10-11:30 a.m., and from 11 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. To request a spot for this experience, complete the online survey. Spots will be scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. 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:

  1. Go to:
  2. Click on The ACT tab.
  3. Click on the “Training” heading.
  4. Click on the “Test Administration Training” link.
  5. Select your city, and school.
  6. 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:

  • 9 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 20, at
  • 1 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 22, at

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 change 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.
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.