Action items

Teachers: Process to 'push out' approved apps for SPPS iPads has started
More than 200 apps have been approved for the SPPS App Store (Self Service) by academic leads and are being "pushed out" to student and teacher iPads over the next few weeks. Once approved, each app must be pushed out one at a time to almost 27,000 iPads, a time-intensive process from a technical standpoint.

The estimated dates of completion for this process by grade level are:

  • 9-12 grade (10,363 students) is complete
  • 6-8 grade (5,299 students) in progress with estimated completion by April 25
  • K-5 grade (11,004 students) completed between April 26 and May 25

After these apps are processed, an estimated 200 additional teacher-recommended apps that are pending review and approval will be pushed out to iPads over the summer. Once this high volume of apps has been distributed, the app-approval process will happen much more quickly as we process smaller batches of apps in the future.

If you have questions, contact Jeff Rahman at jeff.rahman@spps.org.

Year 2 iPad teachers: Sign up for iPads for Educators event
Teachers at Year 2 iPad schools who recently received an email invitation from Assistant Superintendent Kate Wilcox-Harris should sign up for the April 17 “iPads for Educators Event” through PDExpress. Please come prepared to the event.

This is one of two sessions before the end of school to collect your iPad and/or MacBook and go through orientation. Other opportunities for this orientation will be available the first week of May, and over the summer. If you have not yet received an email invitation, please check with your principal to verify if you are on the list of eligible staff.

All staff: Participate in statewide tornado drill on April 16
All schools in SPPS and staff at 360 Colborne will participate in a statewide tornado drill on Thursday, April 16. It is strongly recommended that all administration buildings participate. The first drill at 1:45 p.m. allows schools, businesses and hospitals to practice their weather shelter plans. The second drill at 6:55 p.m. gives families an opportunity to practice at home.

Teachers: Save the date for Tech HOOPLA
The Tech HOOPLA (Hands On Office of Personalized Learning Academy) is scheduled for August 13-14. This two-day event will offer resources on educational technology integration by showcasing the practical application of technology in the classroom. Educators of all technology ability levels are welcome to attend one or both days.

Do you a skill you'd like to demonstrate? This event relies on sharing what you have experience with, and how you have successfully used technology to teach students. Anyone interested in presenting during the HOOPLA event should fill out this form.

Email any questions to Jessica McMahon at jessica.mcmahon@spps.org or Nick Kurtz at nick.kurtz@spps.org.

All staff: What to do during lockdown
Recently there have been a few questions regarding what should and should not be done during a lockdown. Here is a simple matrix to help guide you through the process. You can find more detailed information in your yellow Emergency Planning Binder.

Principals, assistant principals: Preparing to write your 2015-16 School Continuous Improvement Plans
The planning and revision process for the School Continuous Improvement Plans (SCIP) for the 2015-2016 school year will be starting soon. Focus and Priority school administrators and their leadership teams will receive invitations to SCIP writing sessions beginning Tuesday, April 7. These half-day sessions will bring together a school’s leadership team, school improvement specialists, team leads, content specialists and other departments in a collaborative process of identifying goals and strategies for the 2015-2016 school year.

For all other schools, two general support sessions will be held Monday, April 20 for any administrators seeking SCIP support. Meetings are scheduled from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. and from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Administrators and designated staff who are interested in attending one of these sessions should sign up through PDExpress. Additional support materials are on the SCIP website at scip.spps.org. If you have specific questions, ask your team lead, school improvement specialist or a member of the Title I team.

Schools should begin the collaborative process early of identifying goals and strategies for the 2015-2016 school year SCIPs planning process.

The deadline for submitting school SCIPs is June 1.

All staff: Allina Health's annual New Shoes, Healthy Kids event in April 18
Allina Health will be giving away 10,000 new athletic shoes to children in need at multiple sites across the metro. The annual New Shoes, Healthy Kids event at John A. Johnson Achievement Plus Elementary School will be 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 18.

Teachers: Schedule a visit to the Como Planetarium
If you are a first or third grade classroom teacher, or an eighth grade earth science instructor, and have not yet scheduled a field trip to Como Planetarium this school year, schedule your program here.

3M has fully funded the transportation costs for attending the planetarium’s standards-aligned, first and third grade programs. Follow your building's procedures for scheduling buses, and be sure to use “SSEI” as the budget code for your bus.

If you have questions, contact John Iverson at John.Iverson@spps.org.

All staff: Share CDF Freedom Schools flier and registration with families
Students in grades K-8 have the opportunity to spend part of their summer with Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom Schools in SPPS. This six-week program strengthens academic skills in reading and math and provides access to two nutritious meals each day. Through the summer, students participate in field trips, celebrate their cultures through music and books and expand their views of the world.

Freedom Schools has two Saint Paul Public Schools locations and runs 7:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m., five days a week from July 13 through Aug. 21.

Please share the CDF Freedom Schools flier and registration with families. Space is limited. Families are encouraged to apply by the priority registration deadline of Wednesday, April 15.

If you have questions, contact Darcel Hill at 651-744-1259.

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. See all course offerings and register for courses on PDExpress.

Teachers: Schedule a Minnesota History Center field trip for 'We Are Hmong' exhibit
The Minnesota History Center exhibit "We Are Hmong" is open now 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:
  • 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. 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
Contact the museum’s field trip scheduling at 651-259-3400, hcfieldtrips@mnhs.org or visit http://education.mnhs.org/field-trip-request.

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 to hcfieldtrips@mnhs.org certifying the school’s current year enrollment in FRPL.

Elementary principals and teachers: Free field trip to plant flower beds at State Capitol
Fourth and fifth grade students are invited to participate in the annual SPPS community service project to plant 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 julie.richards@spps.org.

All staff: S-Term information now available
Now is the time to start thinking about summer. Guidebooks and registration forms are now 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 March. School counselors will work with students in grades 9-12 who need to catch up on credits.

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.

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: 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 lisa.vandersteur@spps.org 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.

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