From the superintendent

I still get goosebumps thinking about the teacher, parent and student testimonials I heard last week during a presentation to the Board of Education about our work to make Special Education services more equitable and rigorous. Their stories of success, of students learning like never before, were profound. This is all possible because of the commitment of all teachers, principals and paraprofessionals across the district.

Getting to know Jennifer Stokes and Somthavin Chounlamontry, Frost Lake co-teaching team

When Jennifer heard she would be teaching with Somthavin, she couldn’t even place a face with the name. That’s because Learning Centers operated on separate schedules from the rest of the building, and the two never had the opportunity to collaborate. Now, that has all changed. “As a teacher, you learn so much by observing other teachers in their work,” Jennifer said. “When I heard that I would have all day to collaborate and learn from my colleagues, I was really excited.”

Action items

All staff: Review winter weather plan
All staff: Review changes to Special Education programming
All staff: Update directories with new health office phone numbers
All staff: Fourth annual blanket drive starts runs now through January 17
All staff: Donate to your PTA, place of worship, your child’s school or ANY charity through Community Giving
All staff: Instructors wanted for Summer 2014 enrichment programs
School staff: Education Minnesota Classroom Grants due December 13
Elementary school staff: Apply for Lillian Wright Author in the Schools funding
Principals, assistant principals and school staff: Discipline reporting clean-up
Principals and teachers: Administer MAP tests January 7-24, 2014 (optional)
Teachers: Fund for Teachers deadline is January 30, 2014

Department news and announcements

Department name changes
Bus safety class erases student suspensions
Additional Yoga Calm training added for late-dismissal schools
Campus and Destiny upgrades scheduled for December 23
Save the date: National African American Parent Involvement Day is Monday, February 10, 2014.
SPPS apparel available for purchase
Pre-retirement planning

Employee wellness

The holidays can be a wonderful time with family and friends, but they can also be stressful. There are so many things to get done in so little time. Enjoy the holiday season this year with these tried-and-true tips to beat the stress.


Capitol Hill Magnet students collected over 1,500 pounds of food for Hallie Q. Brown Food Shelf
Rev Hillstrom featured by Great Lakes Equity Center
Brad Ollmann, teacher featured on Classical MPR
Heidi Bernal, principal at Adams Spanish Immersion, honored for leadership
Congratulations to Inspired Educator Grant recipients