Action items

All staff: iPad and Personalized Learning Updates

All staff: Office of Personalized Learning to offer iPad classes on Saturday
The Office of Personalized Learning is offering a series of five in-person classes featuring key iPad apps and tools. In response to teacher requests, sections have been added on Saturday mornings. Additional sections will be added throughout the second semester in response to interest. Please note that for a section to take place, at least 12 staff members must enroll.These courses are open to SPPS teachers, paraprofessionals, and guest teachers.

Remember to bring your iPad and to download the required apps before to the session:

  • Creativity Apps (GarageBand and iMovie)
  • Productivity Apps (Pages, Keynote, Numbers)
  • iBooks Author
  • iTunes U

School staff: Register your school's events for National African American Parent Involvement Day (NAAPID) by Jan. 23
It's time to prepare for National African American Parent Involvement Day (NAAPID) on Monday, Feb. 9. NAAPID is an excellent opportunity for schools to reach out to African American parents and build closer connections with them. Please submit information about your school's plans by completing the NAAPID Registration Form by Friday, Jan. 23.

This information will be shared on social media and the NAAPID web page. A flier is now available for download. For more information and a list of ideas and resources, visit NAAPID 2015 or contact Brandi Cavalletti,, 651-767-8181.

Secondary principals and teachers: Don't forget to use new Campus gradebook
All secondary teachers need to be using the new Campus gradebook by the second semester. Teachers who still need initial training can find it here. Teachers who need refreshers on using the new Campus gradebook can find a link to short videos describing the new tools on their Campus homepage. The Campus Support Team also is available for additional on-site support. Contact Kristen Lynch with questions or requests at

Teachers: Consider attending 'Innocent Classroom' racial equity workshop
The Office of Equity is offering an “Innocent Classroom” workshop for up to 60 teachers.

During the workshops, teachers and staff come to understand the way society has burdened our children -- especially children of color -- with the weight of low expectations, stereotypes and negative narratives. The Innocent Classroom provides solutions and responses to this reality.

School teams and participants who work with students daily in the classroom will receive priority. The training takes place over a total of six sessions, which meet after school. The first session is 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. The remaining five sessions are two hours each. Click here for the schedule.

Clock hours and a $100 stipend is offered. Contact to register for this workshop or if you have questions.

All staff: Online 'Beyond Diversity' training now available
“Beyond Diversity” is the foundational racial equity training at SPPS. This two-day seminar is a challenge to attend for many classroom teachers, department staff and building staff.

SPPS is offering an online option in partnership with Pacific Educational Group and Knowledge Delivery Systems. Participants will receive online coaching, clock hours and an option for graduate credit. This session will meet the Beyond Diversity requirement.

Register for the Online Beyond Diversity Spring 2015 session. If you have trouble registering, contact Jennie Lahlum in the Office of Equity at

School staff: Sign up for Saint Paul Saints Education Day on May 19
Saint Paul Saints Education Day will be Tuesday, May 19. The Saints have created a curriculum that provides teachers with some unique lesson plans to make the game of baseball educational. Student tickets are $6 each and chaperones are free (one for every 10 students). View the flier for more information. If you have questions, contact Chris Schwab at the Saints at 651-288-9895.

Secondary paraprofessionals: Participate in mental health training on Jan. 23
Secondary paraprofessionals are invited to attend Youth Mental Health First Aid from 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.

Staff in any job -- not just special education -- are encouraged to attend. The course is designed for any adult who regularly interacts with young people. The eight-hour class will teach you how to differentiate between behavior and mental health problems, and how to help adolescents ages 12-18 who are struggling with mental illness or addiction, regardless if they have been diagnosed and are receiving care.

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

SPPS 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. For the training, the grant provides substitute teachers and hourly payments to staff. 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.

All 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 opened Jan. 13 and will continue through 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.

Teachers: View the Saint Paul Teachers' Retirement Fund Association newsletters
The Saint Paul Teachers’ Retirement Fund Association winter newsletter is now available. Read the most recent edition of SPTRFA Pension News. If you are a licensed educator for SPPS, you are automatically a member of the Saint Paul Teachers' Retirement Fund Association, a nonprofit corporation established for the sole purpose of administering pension benefits for members.

Elementary principals, 3rd and 4th grade teachers: Mark your calendar 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 Kathryn Mommaerts at

All 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.

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.
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 learn more about grant opportunities. 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 an individual or group 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.