Department news

Ebola information available on Student Wellness website
The outbreak of Ebola in West Africa has people concerned around the world, including staff, families and students at SPPS.

SPPS is in regular communication with epidemiologists at both the Minnesota Department of Health and Saint Paul – Ramsey County Public Health to ensure the safety of all our students. Whenever any communicable disease is reported, each case is handled individually according to the needs of the affected student and family and the safety of all staff and students in that school.

As we work together to address this health issue, please consider that this is a difficult time for staff and students who come from or have relatives in countries affected by Ebola. Please take care to balance safety with compassion and understanding.

Information about Ebola is available on all school websites, as well as in the news feed on The latest Ebola update also is available in Hmong, Spanish, Somali and Karen.

Schedule American Indian Education classes and activities at your school
The American Indian Education Program is available to bring American Indian activities and classes to your school.

Randolph Heights fifth-graders recently got a hands-on lesson about the drying process of Indian Corn. The students shucked corn, which was boiled while students listened to a corn creation story. The students then used a spoon to pluck each kernel off the cobs. After that, the corn dried for four days, and then students tasted Indian Corn soup.

The activity taught students how American Indians use oral stories to pass wisdom down through generations.

If schools, families and teachers are interested in hosting American Indian activities and classes in their building, contact the American Indian Education Program at 651-293-5191.

SPPS, Arc Greater Twin Cities offer support groups for Hmong families who have children with disabilities
Saint Paul Public Schools is partnering with Arc Greater Twin Cities to offer support groups for Hmong families who have children with disabilities. The first group is scheduled to meet 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 5 at Phalen Lake Elementary. A meal and childcare will be provided. For additional information contact: Mai Chang at 952-920-0855.

Read more information about the support groups.

Open enrollment brochure coming soon
The 2015 SPPS Employee Open Enrollment Brochure should have arrived at your home last week via postal mail. If you do not receive the brochure by Monday, Oct. 27, contact Human Resources at 651-767-8212.

The brochure includes an overview of the 2015 benefit program options and enrollment process. Open Enrollment is Nov. 3-14.The plan will be effective Jan. 1, 2015.

Attend an Open Enrollment Information Session
Learn more and ask questions about the SPPS medical plan choices and new dental carrier during five information sessions next month.

The informational sessions will be held:

  • 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 4, at 930 Como Ave. in the Blue Room
  • 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 6, at 360 Colborne St. in Room B
  • 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Monday, Nov. 10, at 360 Colborne St. in Rooms A & B
  • 3 p.m., 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 13, at 360 Colborne St. in Rooms E & F
  • 3 p.m., 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14, at 360 Colborne St. in Rooms D, E, & F

Flu shots will be available at all sessions. If you can’t attend one of these sessions in person, the same presentations will be available on the Human Resources website.

The information sessions are not intended for online enrollment completion. If you would like to complete your open enrollment online after your questions are answered, Human Resources staff will be available to assist you, and the computer training lab will be open.

Continue to check The Bridge for more annual Open Enrollment information.

Peer Assistance and Review available for tenured preK-12 teachers
Do you have a professional goal that you would like support in reaching? Have you switched schools and need assistance adjusting? Are you teaching a new grade level and/or content area? Do you want to reflect about instructional practices in the classroom?

Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) consulting teachers are able to coach, consult and/or collaborate. Peer Assistance and Review is a program of SPPS and the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers to support teachers in developing and refining instructional practices.

Requests will be filled based on availability of PAR consulting teachers. Register onPD Express with the title PAR: Tenured Teacher Coaching/Collaboration and then contact Niceta Thomas at or 651-744-4207 to set up an initial appointment with a PAR consulting teacher.

Learn about Personal Learning Network during Monday's Tweet Chat
Discuss education topics on Twitter every Monday at 7 p.m. with the Office of Personalized Learning. Log on to Twitter and participate in the chat by using the hashtag #sppschat. This week's topic is Personal Learning Network. Contact Jessica McMahon with questions at or tweet her at@SPPS_McMahon.

Applications now open for 2015 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards has kicked off its 20th annual search for young people making a difference through volunteer service. Students in grades 5-12 who have volunteered in the past 12 months are invited to complete an online application at and by Tuesday, Nov. 4, and then submit it to a middle school or high school principal. Youth volunteers will be honored at the local, state and national level. Program details are available at

Host a flu shot clinic at your school's event
Homeland Health Specialists and the Minnesota Visiting Nurse Agency (MVNA) provide flu shot clinics in schools for families and the surrounding community. Interested schools are invited to schedule flu shot clinics. If you have a family night or other event scheduled and expect at least 200 attendees, consider hosting a flu shot clinic. For more information, contact Brenda Johnson at 763-746-8060, Jeanne R. Portoghese at 612-617-4512 or, or Kohl's and Children's Hospitals and Clinics sponsor the flu shot clinics in schools.