Action items

Fourth grade teachers: Register students for letter writing contest
Registration is underway for the Twin Cities Postal Consumer Advisory Council’s (TCPCAC) annual Fourth Grade Letter Writing Contest. The topic for this year’s letter writing contest is “What Respect Means to Me, and Why.” The letters must be one page long, handwritten, properly formatted and addressed to Ted Kueppers.

Each class will have first, second and third place winners. The Postmaster and a TCPCAC member will visit classes to award prizes. All letters will be returned to teachers.

The deadline is Feb. 28 to return the registration to Lisa Sunderland at Download the registration form here, and read the RESPECT flyer here. After registration is received, TCPCAC will send the envelopes for students to use.

Teachers and paraprofessionals: iPad professional development courses available
Teachers and paraprofessionals are invited to take advantage of the multiple after-school and weekend iPad courses now available through PDExpress. The courses show teachers and paraprofessionals more ways to use iPads in the classroom and cover iOS 8, Apps and iTunes U. Participants receive clock hours and stipends for completed courses.

Educational assistants: Review iPad startup guide
Educational assistants who have questions about using iPads in the classroom can use many resources available on the SPPS website. This Startup Guide includes helpful links to iPad set up, use and basic features. Educational assistants will receive iPad training on April 17. Please contact site tech TOSAS for additional assistance.

School staff: 2015-16 school transfer information now available
Teachers, counselors, social workers and school nurses who wish to transfer to another site for the 2015-16 school year can now apply for posted vacancies on the SPPS Careers website. Teachers should check this site regularly for newly posted positions or sign up to be automatically notified of new postings via email. See the Teacher Transfer Processes document for eligibility and more information on the Placement and Interview and Selection Process.

Teachers: Review sabbatical leave information
Application for a 2015-2016 sabbatical leave must be received in the Human Resources Department by April 1, 2015.

The following priority areas for 2015-16 sabbatical leaves have been identified by the Professional Development Advisory Committee, in collaboration with the SPPS Human Resources Department:

  • Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Hmong and French language fluency at the elementary level
  • French language fluency at the secondary level
  • Special education
  • Math and science
  • Montessori certification. Work toward certification with a 50 percent sabbatical leave while teaching 25 percent.

Information on sabbatical leaves is available under Article 11 in the teacher’s bargaining agreement. Contact Peggy O'Neill at 651-767-8202 or with questions. Additional information along with the application form is available on the Human Resources website.

AVID teachers and coordinators: Stay up-to-date with AVID Monthly Moment
This month’s issue of AVID Monthly Moment features good news, upcoming events and the culturally relevant teaching strategy of the month.

Staff: 'Beyond Diversity' training now available online
“Beyond Diversity” is the foundational racial equity training at SPPS. Finding time for this two-day seminar can be a challenge for many classroom teachers and other 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

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.

Two Grants Due THIS FRIDAY, Feb. 13
If you are applying for the Minnesota State Arts Board Arts Learning Grant or Lowe’s Toolbox for Education and have not contacted the SPPS grants department, please email or call Lisa van der Steur, 651-767-8108, before Wednesday, February 11. This is essential to make sure your application is approved and submitted to the Board of Education.