Action items

Principals and supervisors: Find a site coordinator for Community Giving Campaign at SPPS on Oct. 20
This year’s Community Giving Campaign at SPPS will begin Monday, Oct. 20. The campaign is a way to support the many community organizations that provide services to students and are actively involved in our schools. Designating someone to lead this annual effort at each building and school is key to motivating and inspiring employee involvement.

An effective site coordinator embodies the spirit and passion of the school and its students. Site coordinators can be teachers, educational assistants, administrative support staff, principals or assistant principals. Look for someone who:

  • Motivates and inspires others
  • Is actively involved in school activities
  • Is passionate about student success
  • Is a leader
  • Has a network of colleagues to call on for support.

More information about site coordinators and the Community Giving Campaign.

Trainings for site coordinators will be at the district headquarters, 360 Colborne St., and will take place:

  • 7-8 a.m. Monday, Oct. 13, room B
  • 2:30-3:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 13, room B
  • 3:45-4:45 p.m. Monday, Oct. 13, room B
  • 7-8 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 14, room A

All staff: Personalized Learning and iPad Rollout Updates
As the district prepares for Apple iPad distribution to students, the Office of Personalized Learning and the Technology Services department have several items for teachers, principals and district staff.

Teachers: Set up your iPad before ‘Establishing 1:1 iPad Environment’ course
Apple recently released a new version of the operating system for iPads, which affects the availability of Apple apps. Technology Services recommends that you upgrade your new iPad to IOS 8.

Staff: Accept iPad volume purchasing agreement 
Staff that have received iPads as part of the 1:1 Personalized Learning Project will have to accept the volume purchasing agreement terms in order to use their iPads.

Staff: Complete Personalized Learning Essentials modules 1 and 2
The Personalized Learning Essentials modules provide a baseline understanding for SPPS staff regarding the rationale for Personalized Learning, what the essentials are and how technology can be leveraged as a tool to promote Personalized Learning.

Principals and teachers: Attend Personalized Learning professional development
All teachers at Year 1 iPad schools are required to attend a six-hour professional development course called "Establishing a 1:1 classroom environment."

Principals: Designate a licensed staff member as your school’s CIPA contact
The Office of Personalized Learning is requesting that each school designate a teacher or licensed staff member as the CIPA (Children's Internet Protection Act) contact.

Secondary principals: All 6-12 teachers need training in Campus Instruction, upgrade for iPads
Campus Instruction has tools to help teachers streamline their workflow and engage their students and families in using an iPad or laptop. The Campus support team can come to your school to present at a staff meeting or in a way that works best for your school.

Third grade teachers: Schedule a free Minnesota Zoo field trip for your students
Travelers and Target are sponsoring field trips to the Minnesota Zoo for every third grade student in SPPS. The field trips are offered Monday-Friday from September to March. The program provides admission, transportation, lunch, a 45-minute naturalist-led Zoo Class, time to visit the animal exhibits for all students and one chaperone for every five students. The Zoo Class that your students will experience is Animal Heirs, which was specifically created by SPPS science specialists and is aligned to state science standards.

To learn more and to register, visit Elementary Science at the Office of Teaching and Learning website. Contact Jaime Dery at jaime.dery@spps.org or 651-744-7394 with questions.

School staff: EDL days and conferences
If parent-teacher conference dates fall on scheduled Extended Day Learning (EDL) days, please note that EDL will be cancelled. If school sites would like to hold EDL programing on conference days, email Fatima Lawson, the Department of Alternative Education POSA, at Fatima.Lawson@spps.org, so transportation arrangements can be made.

Principals: Register for Leading for Gender Inclusion training
All students must have a safe, nondiscriminatory learning environment that supports academic achievement and prepares students for college and careers. SPPS is drafting a Gender Inclusion Policy to ensure this. A two-hour Leading for Gender Inclusion training is required for all principals to learn tools and information to support gender inclusion.

The training includes:

  • Understanding the barriers to safety and academic achievement transgender and gender variant students may experience
  • Providing supports to transgender and gender variant students
  • Making connections to existing district policies and initiatives that empower principals to lead on behalf of transgender and gender variant students
  • Familiarizing principals with the supports offered within the district to assist them in their work

DETAILS: Training Sessions

Principals: Schedule an optional formal observation of your school counselor
Darren Ginther, supervisor of the Office of College & Career Readiness Department of Graduation Progress and Acceleration, works closely with SPPS school counselors throughout the year. He is available to complete one formal observation of the counselors in your building. Conducting an observation of your counselor(s) is optional. You can schedule one by having your counselor contact him at Darren.Ginther@spps.org.

Teachers: Fill out Marvelous Mitten Makers form to receive winter wear for students
Distribution time for handmade warm hats, mittens, scarves and headbands is approaching. The items will be distributed only to children who cannot afford them on their own.

Fill out the form by Friday, Oct. 17 at http://engagement.spps.org/marvelous_mitten_makers to report how many items you will need this year. Items will arrive after the volunteers do their sorting at the end of October.

If you have questions about the Marvelous Mitten Makers, if you would like to donate yarn (they always need more), or if your students would like to send thank you notes to the volunteers, contact Judy Bonnevier at 651-739-5203 or judybonnevier@yahoo.com.

All staff: Keep students healthy and safe by using soap, not hand sanitizer
During the cold and flu season, we may be tempted to use hand sanitizers. However, the Center for Disease Control and the Minnesota Department of Health recommend using hand sanitizers only as a last resort. Hand sanitizers can contain strong alcohols, dry our skin, increase allergies and give a false sense of being "germ free" when in fact hand sanitizer effectiveness is quite limited.

SPPS has opted to not use hand sanitizers. Having students wash their hands removes most germs. Hand washing is a best practice we can instill in our students to develop long-term healthy habits.

All staff: Attend a retirement insurance session starting Wednesday, Oct. 15
Human Resources at SPPS is sponsoring a series of monthly meetings regarding the district’s retirement insurance benefits, personnel policies and severance program. All meetings will be held at the district headquarters, 360 Colborne St.

Meeting dates and times are:

  • 4-6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 15, rooms A and B
  • 4-6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 18, rooms A and B
  • 4:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 14, rooms A and B
  • 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 24, rooms A and B
  • 4-6 p.m. Wednesday, April 15, room A
  • 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, May 12, room A

Reserve a spot at one of the meetings by emailing megan.jonesarko@spps.org. You will receive an email confirming your reservation. Please indicate your name (and spouse’s name if s/he will attend), employee ID, title and which meeting you plan to attend. More information is available here.

Secondary principals: All 6-12 teachers need training in Campus Instruction, upgrade for iPads
Campus Instruction has tools to help teachers streamline their workflow and engage their students and families in using an iPad or laptop. Teachers can use Campus Instruction to send documents and resources to student groups via Student Portal. It allows students to submit assignments within Portal. Teachers can also send messages to students and parents, and create assessments where scores stream directly to the gradebook. 

Kristen Lynch and the Campus support team can make a presentation at your staff meeting or in a way that works best for your school. An introductory session, which gives participants access to Campus Instruction, needs at least 45 minutes. All grade 6-12 teachers need to be trained in Campus Instruction before second semester. Please contact Kristen Lynch at kristen.lynch@spps.org to schedule a session or learn more.

School staff: Promote our Attendance Matters Awareness Campaign
Several schools have received printable, customized signs/posters as part of a community-wide Attendance Matters Awareness Campaign — a collaboration of Saint Paul Public Schools, the city of Saint Paul, the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office and the Saint Paul Children’s Collaborative.

The campaign includes posters for schools, stickers, letters to be backpacked home and more — many of which have already been distributed to schools.

The campaign also includes a social media and digital effort:

  1. Spps.org published a webpage that promotes the campaign, along with posts on social media linking to that page.
  2. The Office of Engagement has printed several “pledging” posters to encourage students — or parents of students, or teachers in the classroom (perhaps even competing with other classrooms) — to take pictures of themselves holding these posters, and then sharing these pictures on social media with the hashtag #attendancemattersSPPS.

The Saint Paul Children’s Collaborative is asking schools to incorporate the social media aspect of this campaign as appropriate.

(Note: Schools must have media permission for students before taking their photos.)

Once schools begin sharing these photos publicly, the Office of Communications will aggregate the photos into a large online photo gallery from each school, showing how classrooms and students are "pledging" to keep up their attendance.

Questions? Thoughts? Contact Christa Anders with the Saint Paul Children’s Collaborative at christa@advance-consulting.com, or troy.melhus@spps.org for additional information.

All staff: Participate in Give to the Max Day webinar on Tuesday, Oct. 21
Give to the Max Day, the major online giving day of GiveMN.org, will return for its sixth year Thursday, Nov. 13. Last year, SPPS schools raised more than $33,000 on Give to the Max Day, and SPPS parent organizations raised more than $50,000.

GiveMN will conduct an SPPS-only webinar about raising funds for your school at 7 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21. Register here. GiveMN has made some important changes this year that you need to know about. For example, you will not be able to change anything on your school page after Oct. 31. Now is the time to update your web page.

Check out GiveMN’s considerable resources for fundraisers, including sample copy, translations, and logos, here.

The DONATE button in the upper right corner of each school website links directly to its GiveMN.org fundraising page. It's easy to customize this page to highlight projects, such as playground updates, artist residencies or adding books to classrooms and media centers. Schools that have used social media have seen great results. Find out how to make the most of your school's GiveMN.org page at the Oct. 21 webinar. If you do not know how to access your school’s fundraiser page, email Brandi.Cavalletti@spps.org or call her at 651-767-8181.

Teachers: Apply for fall grants now
Click the links below to go directly to the funder’s website. Before you apply, visit the SPPS teacher grants webpage to find a basic grants how-to, an important School Grant Pre-Approval Form and a helpful School Grant Checklist.

It is vital for grant seekers to 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. Call or email Lisa van der Steur, 651-767-8108, lisa.vandersteur@spps.org, with questions.

Save Our Schools
Save Our Schools (SOS) is a Twin Cities-based nonprofit organization that helps fund programs and projects that champion collaboration between students and staff. SOS wants to hear ideas that will help you empower your students, build their self-esteem, and improve student attendance and performance. If your online application is approved, you’ll need to provide photos or video, which will be posted on the SOS crowdfunding platform. Crowdfunding is the funding of a project or program through many donations, via many different vehicles (internet, mail, fundraising, competitions, various partnerships, etc.). You can apply here.

Due October 31, 2014
Farmers Insurance Thank a Million Teachers
Most teachers spend money out of their own pocket for basic classroom supplies and programs like the National Board Certification. The Thank a Million Teachers initiative wants to help. Throughout 2014 we are awarding grants of up to $2,500 each to teachers across America that can be put towards classroom supplies or National Board Certification.

Due November
National Science Teachers Association
Various grants and deadlines, including:

Vernier Technology Award
A partnership of Vernier Software & Technology and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), this award recognizes the innovative use, or potential use, of data-collection technology (e.g. probes or sensors) interfacing with a computer, graphing calculator, or handheld in the science classroom. Seven awards will be presented in the following categories: one elementary (grades K–5) award; two middle level (grades 6–8) awards; three high school (grades 9–12) awards; and one college award. Due Nov. 30.

SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment Outstanding Environmental Educator of the Year
The SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment Environmental Excellence Awards recognizes the outstanding efforts of students, teachers, and community leaders across the country who are working at the grass roots level to protect and preserve the environment. Award: $10,000 and an expense-paid trip to attend the NSTA National Conference. The deadline is Nov. 30 for the 2014–15 school year.

Due Nov. 7
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
Various grants available by grade level and topic, including:

Applicants must be a current (on or before Oct. 15) full Individual or E-Member of NCTM or teach at a school with a current (on or before Oct. 15) NCTM Pre-K–8 school membership. See website for details.

Due Nov. 19
Air Force Association: Aerospace Education
The Air Force Association believes that one of the most significant means to affect student learning is to fund grants to meet the unmet and unfunded educational needs of students. Each school year, the Association awards grants of up to $250 to worthy projects that significantly influence student learning. The grant process is competitive in nature. A committee comprised of outside experts in the field of aerospace education will review all qualified grant applications and make recommendations on funding. Based upon the funding available, the Association will choose to invest in projects that best serve our nation’s students and support the mission of the Air Force Association. The Educator Grant program promotes aerospace education activities in classrooms from kindergarten through twelfth grades. The program encourages development of innovative aerospace activities within the prescribed curriculum.