Action items

Teachers: Free admission to Mill City Museum for Title I schools
Mill City Museum offers a wide range of educational opportunities for Minnesota's K-12 students. The McKnight Foundation, with support from the Cowles Fund, will offer free admission to Mill City Museum and partially subsidized busing for students from qualified public schools.

To qualify, schools must:

  • Be from the Twin Cities metro area
  • Have 50 percent or more of students enrolled in the federal Free/Reduced Lunch Program
  • Visit the museum in January, February or March

For more information visit: For details or to register, call 612-341-7556 or e-mail: Book online at Mention the scholarship when booking.

Teachers: Apply for Dodge Nature Center transportation field trip grant
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. 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:
To schedule classes contact Julie Allen at 651-789-5215 or 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: 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.

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

Teachers: Reflector 2 is now available on MacBooks
Reflector 2 is now available to install on MacBooks. This software allows for a wireless link to teacher and student iPads. When the Macbook is connected to a projector, the iPad display can be shown on the wall from anywhere in the room, without a cable.

Please note: The previous Reflector version is no longer compatible with operating systems in SPPS. To use Reflector 2, you must download the new version.

Staff: Attend ‘Paper Tigers’ documentary
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: 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 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 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 or Denise Rodriguez at