Action items

Teachers: Read about the process for collecting student iPads
Saint Paul Public Schools will be collecting student iPads for storage over the summer and to “wipe” student information so iPads will be fully optimized at the start of next school year.

A timeframe has been determined for collecting iPads from PreK-12 students before the end of the school year:

  • Seniors: Will be the first to hand in their iPads, as early as May 11, to ensure their iPads are collected before graduation;
  • Grades 6-11: The hand-in process will take place from May 11 and must be done by May 29;
  • Elementary students: The hand-in process will take place from May 26 and must be done by June 8.

The exact process for collecting iPads will be a site-level decision. For more information on the student iPad hand-in process, read the handout for Secondary Schools and Elementary Schools (note there is an iPad Cart Checklist for elementary teachers to fill out). More information will be shared with you by your principal and Technology TOSA in the coming days and weeks.

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.

Staff: Facilities Department seeks staff input on Master Plan
The Facilities Department is looking for staff input on the Facilities Master Planning to gain a better understanding of what you consider to be the key issues facing district school buildings and grounds.

Watch this 3-minute video for more background on the importance of a Facilities Master Plan or visit the website. Want to hear more about the Facilities Master Plan? Email facilities@spps.org to request an in-person presentation at your school or organization.

Staff: Reflect on your Individualized Growth and Development Plan
Throughout May and June, Teacher Development and Evaluation (TD&E) will ask educators to reflect on their Individualized Growth and Development Plan. Principals will communicate to staff the specific deadline for their school. Staff must be given at least a two-week period to write their reflection.

End of the year reflections will consist of three parts:

  1. Success: Which educator and student success indicators were met? To what do you attribute the level of success attained?
  2. Barriers/obstacles: Which educator and student success indicators were not met? What were the barriers/obstacles and how could you redirect your efforts to overcome them?
  3. Further work: What further work may be needed on your goal?

To access your Individualized Growth and Development Plan, open your PD Express account and select Plans under My Information. Select the name of your approved plan and the detailed document will open. Compose your written reflection in the comment box in the End of the Year Reflection section. You can click on the question marks to see the specific reflection prompts. When completed select save to have the reflection posted to your plan.

Principals: Read the Office of Specialized Services Newsletter
The Office of Specialized Services Principals Newsletter is available for April 2015.

Staff: Celebrate student talent during SPPS Honors Concert, Performance Art and Visual Art Exhibitions
More than 450 Saint Paul Public Schools student artists, vocalists and instrumentalists will showcase their talents during the 24th annual Honors Concert on April 14 at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts.

The showcase -- presented by the Ordway and SPPS, in partnership with the Minnesota Museum of American Art -- includes an instrumental and vocal concert, a performance by the Ramsey Drumming Ensemble and a slideshow of original student artwork.

The evening will be emceed by artist, activist and SPPS alumnus Tou Ger Xiong.

The Honors Concert will feature a performance by high school orchestra, band and choir students conducted by Dr. Emily Threinen (band), Jean R. Perrault (orchestra) and G. Phillip Shoultz, III (choir). The choir will be accompanied by Thomas Bartsch.

The event also includes a K-8 Student Showcase prior to the concert, a free event. General admission tickets for the concert and performance art event may be purchased for $5 online here or at the Ordway box office the night of the event.

The student artwork also will be shown at the Minnesota Museum of American Art Project Space in the Pioneer Endicott Building during the Honors Art Exhibition, April 23 through May 3. The exhibition is free and open to the public and will feature selected paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures and other works submitted by SPPS students.

Visit http://thecenter.spps.org/Honors_Concert or contact Jan Spencer de Gutiérrez at jan.spencer@spps.org.

Honors Concert

  • Where: Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
  • When: Tuesday, April 14
  • K-8 Showcase: 5:30 - 6:15 p.m.
  • Concert and Performance Art: 6:30 p.m.

Honors Art Exhibition

  • Where: Minnesota Museum of American Art
  • When: Thursday, April 23
  • Student Reception 5-7 p.m.
  • Awards Program: 5:30 p.m.

The exhibition runs April 23 through May 3 and is open to the public during normal museum hours (11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursdays, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays).

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.

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.

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.

Now

April

May