Action items

Principals and teachers: Create a culture of attendance at your school
September is Attendance Awareness month. SPPS has teamed up with Saint Paul Children's Collaborative and GradNation on an Attendance Matters campaign urging all schools to:

  • Continue to increase awareness about the importance of school attendance and the connection between consistent attendance and academic achievement
  • Improve attendance, particularly for students with the highest levels of chronic absence
  • Build a culture of attendance in all schools

Letters, flyers and posters have been delivered to all schools to promote consistent attendance for all students. More Attendance Matters resources, including fact sheets and ideas for classroom activities, are available in the School Marketing Toolkit.

Staff: Update student enrollment data in Campus
Help provide an accurate count of our student enrollment. In order for the district to make the most efficient use of its resources, accurate student enrollment counts are needed as soon as possible.

Please ensure that all “no-show” students are added to the Missing Students List by Monday, Sept. 14. Please also complete new student enrollments by Friday, Sept. 18. This will allow time to verify all enrollments prior to budget adjustments. Enrollments as of Friday, Sept. 25, will be the basis for fall budget adjustments.

Instructions for completing these tasks are available.

All official student counts will be based on data taken from Campus. Students will not be counted if they:

  • Have been marked absent almost every period of every day, or
  • Do not have a valid schedule

To derive accurate student counts it is necessary to complete the following three tasks regularly at the building level:

  1. Find students that are enrolled but not scheduled (ghosts).
  2. Identify students that have enrolled and have a schedule, but have not attended (are missing), and remove them using the Missing Students Report in Campus.
  3. Evaluate student absences to determine if they should be identified as missing (low-show).

We will post daily counts on the Data Center website beginning Tuesday, Sept. 15 so you can check that your enrollment data is up to date.

Principals: Important information about Title I and school improvement
With the new school year underway, please review important Title I and School Continuous Improvement work information, including Title I meeting dates for clerks and principals.

Please use this timeline to guide your School Continuous Improvement work in both Title I and non-Title I schools. (Non-Title I schools will not be required to do the activities specified for Title I schools.)

The Leadership Team Rubric is a tool that can guide and inform the development of a strong school-based leadership team. Please use this team development guide.

Important information for Title I schools:

Documentation of Implementation Folder (Accountability Folder): This folder will be online for all schools this year. Click here for instructions and training videos (15 minutes total) to guide you through the installation process and how to use the program. Contact Jessica Kaul at 651- 632-3782 if you have any problems with the program.

School clerks: A Title I meeting for clerks will be Monday, Sept. 21. SPPS strongly encourages  all Title I clerks to attend due to changes in federal requirements. Clerks may sign up in PDExpress for the morning or afternoon session. 

Principals: Title I meetings for principals will be Thursday, Sept. 24, and Monday, Sept. 28. (New principals should attend the morning session on Monday, Sept. 28.) Principals are strongly encouraged to attend one of the four meetings because of the new online folder system and other changes. Sign up in PDExpress for morning or afternoon sessions.

Title I School Support: Your school’s Office of Title I federal programs staff member may have changed this school year. View this document to find out your school's Title I support person and their phone number. They will be contacting your school throughout the year.

Teachers: Encourage your students to enter the Saint Paul Sidewalk Poetry Contest
Teachers can help their students enter The Saint Paul Sidewalk Poetry Contest, organized by Public Art Saint Paul. Winners will receive a $100 prize and their poem will be printed permanently on city sidewalks. Here are a few tips for your entry submission:

  • Write short poems — fine rhymes, quirky quatrains, happy haikus
  • Make poems creative and well-written
  • Use unique voices

Contest dates are Sept. 14 through Oct. 16. The contest is open to anyone who lives in Saint Paul. The entry process for schools is free. The contest is available for grades four to 12.

Learn more here. If you have questions, contact Mary Johnson, education director, Mary@publicartstpaul.org, 651-290-0921.

K-8 principals: Identify school coordinator for Cognitive Abilties Test
For the 2015-16 school year, all schools need to provide the name of the person(s) who will coordinate Cognitive Abilities Test or Screener version 7 (CogAT7/CogAT Screener). Research, Evaluation and Assessment (REA) will provide training in administering the test.

Training for school coordinators of CogAT/CogAT Screener is Monday, Sept. 14. Complete the following steps in this spreadsheet for the 2015-16 School Assessment Coordinator assignments:

  1. Find your instructional level on the tabs at the bottom. Please note that multi-level schools can be found on the tab that denotes the higher level (for example, American Indian Magnet School with grades PreK-8 can be found on the middle tab).
  2. Find your school. Schools are listed in order by school number.
  3. Enter the name of the person(s) who will serve as the CogAT7/CogAT Screener coordinator.

The CogAT testing window is Oct.13-29 for students who have not been previously identified in grade 2, and nominated students who have not been previously identified in Grades 1, 3, 4 and 5. The CogAT Screener testing window is Nov. 9-12 for kindergarteners.

Please contact Robin Lane at 651-767-8257 or robin.lane@spps.org with questions.

Principals: NWEA MAP district-wide test administration for 2015-16 school year
The Northwest Evaluation Association’s (NWEA) Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) online mathematics test will be administered district-wide to all second grade students. The purpose of the MAP is to have a clear understanding of students’ growth in order to adjust instruction.

The MAP will be administered district-wide on the following dates:

  • Sept. 14-25
  • May 16-27

Please enter the name of the person you have assigned as your MAP school assessment coordinator in this Google docs form.

If you have questions or concerns, email Robin Lane at robin.lane@spps.org.

Principals: Send Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act notification to students, staff
Pursuant to the Minnesota Parents Right-to-Know Act and the federal Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA), notifications must be sent to employees and students annually regarding pesticide applications and asbestos inspections.

Please distribute these two important documents during the first week of school:

If you have questions, call Facilities at 651-744-1800.

Staff: Name/gender change form available at Student Placement
The Name/Gender Change Form is available through the Office of Student Placement. Parent/guardians may submit completed forms to school offices or directly to the Office of Student Placement.

Staff: Update your phone contact information
There's a simple way to make sure you receive important SPPS messages by phone and text messaging. Update your primary phone numbers in PeopleSoft through payroll.spps.org -- the same system you use to view your pay statement.

If you have questions, contact the Human Resources Department at 651-767-8200.

Staff: Read the Office of Specialized Services monthly newsletter
The Office of Specialized Services Principal’s Newsletter is available for September 2015.

Staff: Review CIPA mandatory reporting requirements and recommended iPad behavior expectations
The Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) provides federal funding for our district's Internet infrastructure. It requires K-12 schools and libraries to use Internet filters and other tools to protect children from harmful online content. It further requires school districts to educate every student on digital citizenship, online privacy and safety, and appropriate online behavior every year in order to continue receiving E-rate funding.

  1. Please use this link by Monday, Oct. 12 to provide the name and email address of your school's contact.
  2. Please use this link by Monday, Oct. 19 to submit your school's plan to teach the lessons, who will teach them, and when instruction will be done.
  3. Please use this link to report when lessons have been taught to all students, including those who were absent during initial instruction. Lessons should be completed by Monday, Nov. 30.

Contact Chris Turnbull at chris.turnbull@spps.org with questions.

Teachers: Participate in Personalized Learning Professional Development
There are many options for staff to learn more about iPads, apps and personalized learning. Please see the Personalized Learning Professional Development web page for dates and other details. Sign up for sessions through PDExpress.

  • All licensed teaching staff are expected to participate in the foundational “Establishing a 1:1 iPad Environment” course. New sections are available throughout the fall.
  • In-person classes are available after school for these core apps: iMovie, GarageBand, Keynote, Pages, Numbers, iBooks Author and Google Drive.
  • Attending iPad Cafe sessions on the first Thursday of every month is a great way to personalize your learning through networking, sharing apps and projects, and tailored instruction.
  • Participate in online learning opportunities through iTunesU courses.
  • Other resources and materials are posted on the Personalized Learning Resources for Teachers site at http://personalizedlearning.spps.org/resources_for_teachers.

Staff: Promote MySPPS app to families, community
Please promote the new Saint Paul Public Schools MySPPS app to families and your school community. The app provides a new way for families to communicate with their school and the district throughout the year. All schools can download and print a one-pager on how to use the app at spps.org/myspps (available in English, Hmong, Spanish, Somali and Karen).

Reminder for schools: Please keep your school website up to date. News posted on your website will directly feed the app's "newsfeed." Families will be able to follow your school's news and social media accounts, school calendars, breakfast and lunch menus and much more. If you have questions or suggestions, contact Troy Melhus, digital media manager, at troy.melhus@spps.org, or 651-744-5670.

Principals: Promote your school on Twitter and Facebook through MySPPS app
School accounts for Facebook are available through the Office of Communications, Marketing and Development (CMD). The account will include your school’s logos and colors.

For Twitter, CMD will help schools create Twitter accounts by providing the school’s logo and colors in the correct size for profile and header images. Schools should use a general email and password when creating these accounts. This will ensure that school leaders will continue to have access to the accounts if staff members leave the school or district.

Maintaining Facebook and Twitter accounts for your school is especially important for the 2015-16 school year because of the new MySPPS app, which will promote posts from your school’s Facebook and Twitter posts. Promoting your school’s positive news, student and teacher accomplishments and successful programs on social media and through the app can help boost your school’s community engagement! Posts should direct families back to your school website.

If you’d like to start your school’s Facebook account, contact Shawn Hogendorf, digital editor, at shawn.hogendorf@spps.org or 651-744-5207. To create your school’s Twitter account, contact Maricella Miranda, digital editor, at maricella.miranda@spps.org or 651-744-5216.

Already have a school Facebook, Twitter account?
If your school already has a Facebook and/or Twitter account, please send the account’s access information (school name, staff administrator for the account, email, password and username) to communications@spps.org, and/or give access rights to the CMD Office. Sharing account access with CMD ensures that your school will not lose access to its accounts if staff members leave the school or district. CMD will not interfere with or actively manage your social media accounts when given account access.

Teachers: Apply for fall grants now

September 30th deadlines

October deadlines

Teachers: Apply for Saint Paul Public Schools Foundation’s Inspired Educator Grant
The goal of the Inspired Educator Grant program is: 1. To enrich and broaden educational experiences for students through projects that employ critical thinking, problem solving, and artistry; and 2. To give teachers an opportunity to implement creativity and innovation in their teaching practices that would be otherwise not available. You can find a video, links to guidelines and an application form available here. The grant is due via email by Monday, October 12.

Teachers: Walk-in grant writing clinics to take place in each Attendance Area
A school near you will be hosting a walk-in grant clinic this month. Come with ideas and projects that need funding and get help planning your grant application. See next week’s Bridge for the full lineup, with clinics beginning Tuesday, Sept. 15. Scheduled so far:

  • Area E: Wednesday, Sept. 23, Chelsea Heights -- 3:15 to 5 p.m.
  • Area F: Thursday, Sept. 24, Groveland Elementary -- 4:15 to 5:30 p.m.

Teachers: Apply for transportation grants to the Minneapolis Institute of Art
Admission to the general arts collection at Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA) is always free. Now the museum’s complimentary guide-led tours, paired with transportation grants from “Friends of the Institute,” enable your K-12 students to experience the museum at no cost.

Grants of $175 per bus (two buses per school maximum) are need-based and awarded to schools within 25 miles of MIA. The 2015-16 application deadline is Thursday, Oct. 1.

Assistance with your grant applications is a phone call or email away. The grants team in the Office of Communications, Marketing and Development can direct you to potential grants and help you make the strongest case for your project. We also make sure your proposal is SPPS School Board-approved so you can spend your funds as soon as you receive them. To schedule a grants workshop at your school, or for individualized help, contact Lisa van der Steur at 651-767-8108 or lisa.vandersteur@spps.org.