Action items

Teachers: Apply for Dodge Nature Center transportation field trip grant
The Dodge Nature Center is inviting classroom teachers to take advantage of a transportation grant that covers school bus costs for students who would be financially unable to attend classes at the Center. The Dodge Nature Center offers a variety of late fall and winter classes for grades K-12, and is scheduling visits through Feb. 28, 2016.

Classes and funding are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The cost for the programs is $5.50 per student per class. Scholarship funds for rate reduction and bus costs are available and will be awarded based on financial need. A group scholarship form is available at: www.dodgenaturecenter.org/Activities/Scholarships/.
       
To schedule classes contact Julie Allen at 651-789-5215 or jallen@dodgenaturecenter.org. It is your responsibility, when arranging for buses, to indicate that this is a Dodge Nature Center Yellow Bus field trip so that the billing goes to Dodge Nature Center rather than your school.

Staff: Attend ‘Paper Tigers’ documentary for mental illness requirement
Staff is invited to attend a screening of the documentary “Paper Tigers,” which follows four teens from Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, Wash. The high school was the first in the country to integrate trauma-informed and resilience-building practices.

The school experienced an 85 percent decline in suspensions and a 40 percent decline in expulsions after implementing the practices the first year. After four years, suspensions dropped 90 percent, expulsions dropped to zero and graduation rates increased five-fold.

Participants may attend the screening as a requirement for Key Warning Signs for Early Onset Mental Illness for Children & Adolescents, (U). Certificates of attendance will be available for those who sign out at the end of the event.

Doors open for the screening at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16, at Open World Learning Auditorium, 640 Humboldt Ave.

Staff: Increase your cultural understanding of Muslims in Minnesota
The East Metro Integration District (EMID) is sponsoring a three-part series to increase cultural understanding of Muslims in Minnesota. The first session is 4:15 to 5:45 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 19 in the EMID offices at Crosswinds School, 600 Weir Drive in Woodbury.

The first session will focus on understanding interactions with Muslim parents and youth in school and work environments. The session will focus on two questions: What should we generally know about Islam? And what accommodations are required by law in schools and in the workplace? The second session will focus on understanding Somali culture and easing the transition for newcomers. The third session will focus on how Muslim men and women are portrayed in media, and how this influences our biases in schools and in our communities.

Staff: Volunteer tutors needed at four schools in SPPS
Reading Partners Twin Cities is seeking volunteer tutors for the 2015-16 school year at several schools in SPPS. The group is partnering with SPPS to help close the literacy achievement gap among students in grades K-5.

The following schools need volunteer tutors for the 2015-16 school year:

  • Benjamin E. Mays International Magnet School
  • Hamline Elementary School
  • Maxfield Elementary School
  • Phalen Lake Hmong Studies Elementary School

The mission of Reading Partners is to help children become lifelong readers by empowering communities to provide individualized instruction with measurable results. The nonprofit has a history of success working with students in grade K-5 who are reading one month to two and a half years behind grade level, boosting their reading confidence and competence.

Tutors follow a structured curriculum to help students learn specific skills necessary to become proficient readers. On average, students more than triple their rate of reading progress while in the program.

Volunteers may commit to a minimum of one hour a week, now through early June. Reading centers are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and select hours on Friday. Register at www.readingpartners.org or call 651-362-0450.

Staff: Participate in Race, Culture, and Conversations event on ‘We Are Hmong Minnesota’ exhibit at Minnesota History Center
SPPS and  Saint Paul Federation of Teachers (SPFT) are partnering to bring staff and community members together to learn and have conversations about local and national issues and perspectives. The first event will be 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14, at the Minnesota History Center’s education center.

The event, which is free thanks to contributions from the Minnesota History Center, will feature a speaker, a tour of the “We Are Hmong Minnesota” exhibit, and facilitated conversations about the exhibit and how you can bring what you learned back to schools and departments at SPPS.

Register on PDExpress, as space is limited. If you have questions, contact Michelle Bierman at michelle.bierman@spps.org or or Denise Rodriguez at denise@spft.org.

Staff: Remind families how to access Nutrition Services menus
One of the most common questions SPPS Nutrition Services receives is: "Where do I find the menu?" You can access school menus by:

  • Using MySPPS Menus on the new MySPPS app
  • Clicking on the "Menu" tab in the upper right-hand corner of your school’s homepage
  • Clicking on the "Interactive Menu" link on the Nutrition Services homepage.

All of those ways lead you to the menus at spps.nutrislice.com. You can download the school MySPPS Lunch menus app on your smartphone or tablet to keep the menu conveniently available. Also, you can still print the menus by accessing the menu page and clicking the "print menu" button in the upper righthand corner.

Staff: Review employee reimbursement update
All employee reimbursements will be done on a monthly basis beginning Sunday, Nov. 1. All claims for reimbursement must be submitted within 30 days from the end of the month, with all original, itemized receipts included on a single voucher.

Principals: SAT team member must attend Referral Process meeting
At least one SAT team member from each school, preferably the chairperson, must attend one of the SAT Referral Process meetings scheduled for Nov. 4-5.

The meeting will include a demonstration and instructions on how to use the electronic SAT referral form that has been developed by Campus. The electronic referral form will go live on Campus on Dec. 1, and the expectation is that it will replace all other referral forms previously used in all buildings across the district.

The November meetings will also include discussion on setting up building processes to effectively use the electronic referral form. Meeting times and locations are below and it is posted on PDExpress.

  • Wednesday, Nov. 4, from 7:30-8:30 a.m. or 9-10 a.m. in rooms J and K at 360 Colborne
  • Thursday, Nov. 5, from 1-2 p.m. or 2:30-3:30 p.m. in room A at 360 Colborne

If you have questions about online referral, contact Kathy Lombardi at kathy.lombardi@spps.org or 651-744-1958.