Action items

Teachers: Apply to be Consulting Teacher for Peer Assistance and Review program
Peer Assistance Review (PAR) is a collaborative program between SPPS and the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers that started in 2010. Its purpose is to support the professional growth of SPPS teachers so they become more effective practitioners.

The program is currently seeking applications in all content areas and grade levels, with full-time and on-call positions for the 2015-16 school year. The primary role of a PAR Consulting Teacher is to enhance self-directed learning through coaching, consulting and evaluation.

Consulting Teachers' work is tailored to meet the needs of each teacher. This is an extremely rewarding position that allows you to impact student learning by providing professional development and assistance to teachers. The program is designed to provide assistance and feedback to tenure-track teachers within their first three years of employment. Tenured teachers also benefit from the support as they continue the important work of educating students.

The position description is currently posted on the SPPS Human Resources website under the title PAR Consulting Teacher (998336). Applicants in all teaching areas are encouraged to apply. More information, contact Niceta Thomas at niceta.thomas@spps.org or 651-744-4207.

School staff: Distribute 2015-16 transportation request forms

Please distribute the newly updated 2015-16 Transportation Request Form to families. This form will help the Transportation Department plan each student’s transportation needs for the new school year. Families can choose to indicate alternate/daycare address information and may also decline transportation service.

Forms are customizable PDFs that include drop-down menus on the header where you can select your school name, address and phone number before printing it for distribution.

Families should return the completed form to the school office no later than Friday, May 15. All form data should be entered into Campus by June 12 or before office staff leave for summer break. Schools should complete this process for all current students even if the student will be moving to another grade level at another school in fall 2015-16.

When entering data for Fall 2015, please use the first day of school (e.g. status date of 09/08/2015 for grades 1-12; and 09/10/2015 for Pre-K and K) on a new 'RS' (Regular School Year) record on the Transportation Data Tab in Campus.

  • Families with alternate addresses, and those declining transportation services, need to have a record created on the Transportation Data Tab. Alternate addresses that were used in 2014-15 will not be carried over. Please re-enter the information for the new school year.
  • If a student will be riding from home (primary address) in the morning and going back to home in the afternoon, there is nothing that needs to be entered in Campus.

If you have any questions or want to request translated forms, contact the Transportation Department at transportation@spps.org.

S-Term staff: Attend required S-Term training on June 11
Training for all 2015 Summer Term (S-Term) staff will be 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Thursday, June 11, at Washington Technology Magnet. All S-Term staff (administrators, teachers, clerks, and paraprofessionals) must attend this paid training unless they are obligated to other SPPS district duties during that time.

Training will consist of two breakout sessions, including options for subject and grade-specific curriculum, instructional strategies, and planning to meet the diverse needs of students during S-Term. Register on PDExpress under DAE: S-Term All-Staff Training.

Teachers: Enter a 1-minute ‘We Made a Difference’ student video contest
To celebrate the community action work of all students, Community Education is launching “We Made a Difference,” a project that asks teachers to create a 1-minute video with their students to share what they did this year to make their community and/or the world a better place. Students may have planted a community garden, raised funds for a partner charity or led an anti-bullying campaign. Whatever they did - we want to hear and share their story.

How to start:

  1. Create a 1-minute video.
  2. Register and upload the video online at http://commed.spps.org/we_act by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 22.
  3. Share the link we send you and ask people to vote for your video.

Videos will be posted online Monday, April 27. Online voting will be April 27-30. Winners will be announced on Friday, May 1. Prizes will be awarded in four categories according to grade levels: PreK-1, 2-5, 6-8, and 9-12. The winner from each group will receive $200 to support their future community action efforts. Contact Shaun Walsh at shaun.walsh@spps.org or 651-487-7387 with questions.

Principals: CDF Freedom Schools Staff Training
Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom Schools servant leader interns (SLIs) and site coordinators have been hired. All first- through third-year SLIs and site coordinators are required to attend the National CDF Freedom Schools Training in Tennessee as a mandatory condition of the SPPS agreement of program sponsorship.

Those who are regular SPPS employees during the school year will be requesting time off from May 27 through June 5 or June 2-5. The Department of Alternative Education will pay their regular salaries and for a substitute if needed. Your budgets will not have to cover these costs. The appropriate staff will complete and submit their paperwork for time off, supplemental pay, and travel requests.

Please contact Fatima Lawson, principal on special assignment in the Office of College & Career Readiness, at 651-744-1366 if you have any questions regarding this request.

Staff: Register for biannual Wellness Champions Training
Register in PDExpress for the biannual Wellness Champions Training on April 23. A morning session will be 7:30 to 9 a.m. and an afternoon session will be 3:30 to 5 p.m. At the training, complete your required Wellness Policy Questionnaire and learn about your role in the upcoming Wellness Week at SPPS. Please bring iPads if you have them. If you have questions, contact Carol Grady at carol.grady@spps.org.

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 iPad hand-in talking points, handout for Secondary Schools and Elementary Schools. Note there is an iPad Cart Checklist for elementary teachers to fill out. Include iPad hand-in information in upcoming parent newsletters as you see fit. 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) estimated completion 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.

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.

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: Prepare to write your 2015-16 School Continuous Improvement Plans
The planning and revision process for the School Continuous Improvement Plans (SCIP) for the 2015-16 school year will start soon. Focus and Priority school administrators and their leadership teams received 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 2015-16 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 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 early to collaboratively identify goals and strategies for the 2015-16 school year SCIP planning process.

The deadline for submitting your school’s SCIP is June 1.

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 the 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.

Staff: Review summer professional development offerings
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.

Staff: Professional development for Year 2 iPad deployment sites
All SPPS licensed staff are requested to participate in a six-hour professional development course, Establishing a 1:1 iPad Environment. This course covers practical information that supports the transition to engaging students with technology.Topics include classroom management, digital citizenship and the use of the SPPS core apps. Teachers have the option of taking the course during the school year or in the summer.

  • District-funded substitutes are provided for courses taking place in April and May.
  • Participants in June and August will receive stipends at the contract rate. Those completing the course during this time will receive clock hour credits that count toward the technology re-licensure requirement.

Course sections are posted in PDExpress under Personalized Learning. To ensure substitute coverage in April and May, please register as soon as possible. There will be iPads available for teachers who have not yet picked up their own devices.

Elementary principals and teachers: Free field trip to plant flower beds at the 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 will takes place on the morning of Wednesday, May 20. 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.

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.

Applications will be accepted after this date. Please contact the Department of Alternative Education at 651-744-8020 with questions.

Staff: Ecolab Visions for Learning applications released
Ecolab invites teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators and other licensed staff to apply for Visions for Learning grants of up to $3,000, which reward creativity and innovation in the classroom. Ecolab prefers projects that will motivate and challenge students intellectually, raise achievement, and increase student understanding of academic content and the connection between school and life.

See the application form for instructions and items that Ecolab does NOT fund. Applications due online by June 12 by 4 p.m.

Staff: New Facebook group for SPPS grant-seekers
It’s called SPPS Grants and provides updates on grant opportunities and links to grant-seeking and grant-writing advice. Join today for a series of mini-tutorials on writing a GREAT grant to Ecolab.

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.

April

May

June

  • Ecolab Visions for Learning (due June 12)