Department news

Stay up to date with the Multilingual Learning newsletter
The March 18 issue of the Office of Multilingual Learning newsletter is now available.

Students invited to participate in Earth Day art contest
In celebration of Earth Day, SPPS is partnering with Walters Recycling & Refuse on a student drawing contest with the theme “Every Day is Earth Day.” Students may submit artwork showing how they can take actions every day to be environmentally responsible. The winning drawings will be selected by Walters Recycling & Refuse to be featured on the side of their waste and recycling collection trucks. Students with the winning drawings will also receive a savings bond, and additional prizes will be given to honorable mentions. All students in grades K-12 are invited to submit one drawing between March 2-31. For more information, view the attached flier or contact Rachel King at 651-744-2704 or

Working with on-call interpreters during spring conferences
During spring conferences, our schools will have interpreters working with classroom teachers and school staff. Please review the following suggestions to make sure we can provide a positive experience to our non-English speaking families.

Working with interpreters:

  • Make sure the interpreter is seated next to the parent.
  • Remember that you are having a meeting with the parents. Make eye      contact with them, not the interpreter.
  • Allow time for the interpreter to introduce himself/herself. Interpreters will introduce themselves with the following: "Hello, my name is _____________ . I will be interpreting for you today. I will repeat everything that is being said here. If there is something you do not want me to interpret, please do not say it out loud. Please make sure you speak in first person. To ensure accuracy, please keep your sentences short. If I raise my hand like this (stop signal), please pause. Finally, I will keep everything confidential."
  • Avoid side conversations with the interpreter. Remember that everything being said will be interpreted.
  • Make sure that only one person speaks at a time.
  • If you have worked with the interpreter in the past, do not tell him/her to explain the report card or other information as he did in a previous session. His/her role is to interpret. The teacher's role is to lead the conference.
  • Speak with plain language in a concise manner. It is very difficult to interpret sentences that do not finish a complete thought or idea.
  • Pause every three to four sentences and avoid use of education jargon.
  • Pause frequently to ask the family if they have any questions.
  • Use first person language (say: "I have been reading with Andrea" instead of "tell the mom that I have been reading with Andrea")
  • If you would like to talk to the interpreter, please wait until the parents leave the room and the meeting has ended.

After the session

  • After the parents leave, you can have a conversation with the interpreter and ask opinions, if necessary.
  • If there's time, allow the interpreter to ask you questions to explain ideas or any words that were not clear so that you can avoid future communication problems.

If you have questions, contact Alejandra Bosch, Translation Services coordinator, at

Learn about the SPPS Wellness Policy
Learn about the SPPS Wellness Policy, and the work happening to support it, at The SPPS Wellness Policy covers topics such as classroom celebrations, recess and school fundraisers. It was revised in 2013, and is rooted in two laws: the 2004 Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act and the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. These two pieces of federal legislation require schools to establish wellness policies and to promote staff and student wellness.