Action items

Teachers: SPPS customized app store transition begins this month
Over the next several weeks SPPS will be transitioning to a new, teacher-vetted, fully-customized SPPS App Store. Beginning March 23 and into April, we will begin this transition with our senior high students followed by grades 6-8. As this transition proceeds, students will no longer have access to the Apple App Store and the icon will no longer appear on their iPads. However, approved apps already downloaded on the iPad will continue to be fully accessible. During the transition, students may experience some difficulties accessing/downloading NEW apps not already downloaded on their iPad until this change is completed.

Teachers will continue to have full access to both the Apple and SPPS App Stores to enable them to explore apps they may want to recommend for the SPPS Apps Store. At this time, there are more than 200 district-approved apps in the customized SPPS App Store (Self Service). This app list will grow as teachers and other staff recommend additional apps for review and approval. For questions about the change to the app stores, please contact the Technology Service Desk at 651-603-4357.

All staff: Review summer professional development offerings
A number of summer professional development opportunities for SPPS staff are available between June 11 and Aug. 27. See a summary of the sessions here. See all course offerings and register for courses on PDExpress.

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.

Principals, assistant principals: Review, correct discipline reporting information
The spreadsheets that list discipline reporting problems for second-quarter 2014-15 have been posted on the SPPS Data Center website. Any errors or red flags should be corrected, and all third-quarter incidents entered, by March 30.  Making these corrections is essential for providing accurate internal discipline analysis as well as the required report to the Minnesota Department of Education.

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 Jan. 25. Here are instructions to view the report

Weapons reports are reviewed on a one-quarter lag to give schools the opportunity to make corrections based on the automated feedback. If you have questions, contact Cindy Porter at 651-767-8371 or

Teachers: Schedule a Minnesota History Center field trip for 'We Are Hmong' exhibit
The Minnesota History Center exhibit "We Are Hmong" is open through Nov. 29. The Minnesota History Center has funds available for school field trips to help offset the cost of transportation and admission.

Here are steps for scheduling a field trip to the Minnesota History Center:

Step 1: Transportation

  • The Legacy Field Trip Support Fund offsets the cost of busing by $4 per student. To apply, you need:
    • The percentage of students on free and reduced lunch (which can be accessed here) at your school
    • Your school's tax identification number (available from your school clerk)
  • Apply and read more information here:
  • Schools typically book their buses and then are reimbursed by the Historical Society after their visit. The reimbursement amount is determined by how many students attended on the day of the visit. Teachers who plan to apply for the scholarship should do so as soon as possible, even before a decision is made about the date of the field trip, as funds typically run out by the end of April or May. Scholarships are granted on a first- come, first-serve basis.
  • Don’t forget to work with your office clerk to order a bus for the field trip.

Step 2: Schedule the field trip

Step 3: Admission discount based on students with free and reduced lunch

  • If at least 50 percent of students receive free and reduced lunch (FRPL), there will be a 50 percent discount. If at least 75 percent of students are on free and reduced lunch, there will be a 75 percent discount. The discount also applies to additional programming, such as a lesson or the museum’s new mobile gallery program Play the Past. A school administrator must email a letter on school letterhead certifying the school’s current year's enrollment in the FRPL to

Elementary principals, science teachers, grades 4-5: Free field trip to plant flowers at the State Capitol
Fourth and fifth grade students are invited to participate in the annual SPPS community service project to plant the spring flower beds at the state capitol. Classes will receive free busing. The event takes place the morning of Wednesday, May 20. The request is for about an hour of planting time. The rain make-up day is May 21.

To request a spot, complete this form. Spots will be scheduled on a first-come, first-serve basis; scheduling of time slots will be done based on busing. If you have questions, please contact Julie Richards at

All staff: S-Term information now available
Now is the time to start thinking about summer. Guidebooks and registration forms will soon arrive at schools to be distributed to K-5 students who qualify for S-Term (Summer Term). Eligible students in grades 6-8 should have received S-Term information via U.S. mail in mid-March. School counselors will work with students in grades 9-12 who need to catch up on credits (registration form is below).

Additional information about the new S-Term processes:

Information for families

Information for schools

The priority registration deadline is April 15. Applications will be accepted after this date. Please contact the Department of Alternative Education at 651-744-8020 with questions.

All staff: Apply for S-Term positions by April 15
All S-Term positions have been reopened for applicants, with the exception of S-Term site administrator and S-Term site leader. Teachers certified in math and sciences are encouraged to apply at this time. The application deadline is April 15.

If you have questions about the positions, call the Department of Alternative Education at 651-744-8020. If you have questions about the application process call Human Resources at 651-767-8200.

Principals: Important Children's Internet Protection Act message
Each school must designate a teacher or licensed staff member as the contact person to ensure compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). CIPA contacts will receive links and directions to the free online CIPA compliance curriculum for each grade level. CIPA contacts will also receive reporting instructions and deadlines to notify the Office of Personalized Learning when lessons are completed at each school. CIPA contacts also work with principals and leadership teams to decide how, when, and by whom the compliance lessons are taught.

Timeline for Reporting:

The following reports should be completed through these links as soon as possible. You must be logged into your SPPS Apps account (log in with your Active Directory username and password you use to log into a computer).

  1. Provide the name and email address of your school's CIPA contact.
  2. Submit your school's plan for who will teach the lessons and when instruction will be completed. If you met the guidelines with the iPad Behavior Lesson as part of the year one iPad rollout, please document this as your plan.
  3. Report when lessons have been taught to all students, including those who were absent during initial instruction. Lessons should be completed as soon as possible.

For questions, please contact Chris Turnbull at More CIPA information is available on the Office of Personalized Learning website.

All staff: Student engagement surveys will be conducted in March and April
Student engagement surveys will be conducted by educator groups throughout March and April. The Teacher Development and Evaluation (TD&E) Oversight Committee has added more than 200 questions to the Lotus Notes survey bank. The Department of Research, Evaluation and Assessment helped vet the questions, which were submitted by educators. A short video has been added to the TD&E website explaining how to include the student self-identification questions for race and ethnicity. Remember to include these questions when administering student engagement surveys. Please submit feedback about the TD&E components of the student engagement surveys here.

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.

Teachers: Review sabbatical leave information
Application for a 2015-2016 sabbatical leave must be received by 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.

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.