Department news


SPPS wins grand prize for float; participate in last parade of the year Sept. 20
Saint Paul Public Schools recently was awarded the grand prize of the 2014 Rondo Days Grande Parade for the best float. Special thanks to the Office of Family Engagement & Community Partnerships, Transportation Department and all the leadership, staff and families who participated in six parades this summer. There's one more chance to be part of this winning team in 2014. Please join your colleagues and the SPPS float in the Payne Arcade Harvest Parade on Saturday, Sept. 20.

The parade starts at 12 p.m. The route is along Payne Avenue, starting near Phalen Boulevard. There will be a shuttle bus for participants, leaving from the 360 Colborne parking lot at 11 a.m. and returning after the parade. Contact the Office of Family Engagement and
Community Partnerships
at 651-767-8347 for more information.

Learn about digital citizenship 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 will be “digital citizenship." Contact Jessica McMahon with questions at or tweet her at @SPPS_McMahon.

Lead students through social justice projects with research
A new training is designed to help staff members learn how to work with youth to implement participatory action research as a methodology of community action, impact and social justice.

Youth Participatory Action Research is an approach used by researchers to conduct participant-driven data gathering projects on systems of oppression. The approach builds agency and mobilizing power for young people to address the issues in their research findings.

In this training, teachers will learn how to:

  • Identify goals for organizing projects
  • Develop research questions
  • Gather, analyze and report data in clear, accessible ways.
  • Through participatory action research, students will:
  • Participate in games, music, theater and advanced interview techniques
  • Use deep introspection, expression and empathy
  • Learn rigorous research methodology
  • Ignite and support groups working for social justice

The training will be from 3:30-5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 1 in the Multicultural Resource Center at Washington Technology Magnet. You can register through PD Express. If you have questions, call Community Education at 651-487-7383.

Fall Feast, Drum Blessing, Academic and Attendance Awards, and Powwow
Join the Indian Education Program for its annual Fall Feast, Drum Blessing, Academic and Attendance Awards, and Powwow on Friday, Sept. 26 at American Indian Magnet School. All are welcome.

  • The drum blessing and welcoming begins at 5:30 p.m., with the Fall Feast to follow.
  • The powwow is from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
  • The awards are at 7:30 p.m.

American Indian Magnet School will hold numerous powwows this year, from 6-8 p.m., on the following dates:

  • Friday, Oct. 24
  • Friday, Nov. 14
  • Friday, Jan. 16, 2015
  • Friday, Feb. 13, 2015
  • Friday, March 13, 2015

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 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. Complete program details are available at

Principals: Remember to assign Mentor/Mentee Program; fall trainings set
The Mentor/Mentee Program is individualized, differentiated and flexible to meet professional growth goals for employees entering the field of education or those coming to SPPS with previous experience.

All probationary staff are required to participate in the Mentor/Mentee Program in their first year of employment if they are not working with a Peer Assistance and Review Consulting Teacher. Building principals and supervisors are responsible to find a mentor.

Saint Paul Public Schools Mentor/Mentee Program goals include:

  • Provide effective transition into the teacher career in Saint Paul Public Schools
  • Provide support for instruction such that all students have a premier education
  • Promote reflective practice
  • Build a collegial culture within the school and across the district
  • Increase professional success

Mentors will either earn a stipend or in-service credit for their collaborative support for a new colleague over the course of the school year. If you have been asked to serve as a mentor please check out next steps at

Mentors will need to participate in one fall and one winter training. Registration for fall training is available on PD Express with course title Mentor: Mentor Teacher Training.

Fall training dates are:

  • Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2:45 - 4:45 p.m.
  • Thursday, Sept. 25, 4:30 - 6:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Sept. 27, 9 - 11 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 8, 4:30 - 6:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 9, 2:45 - 4:45 p.m.

Grants available for transportation to Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Grant money is available for transportation to bring K-8 grade students to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts for guided tours this school year. Submit the online application by Wednesday, Oct 1.

Now hiring licensed teachers for new homebound programs
This school year, the Office of Specialized Services is offering an alternative to traditional homebound services for students in grades 6-12 who are recommended for suspension for more than five school days. The program will have four licensed teachers on site at Journeys Secondary School from 3:30-6:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. The teachers will provide academic programming, which includes assistance with homework, academic enrichment activities (math, reading, science and social studies) and project-based activities in a small group setting.

The program is currently seeking qualified applicants who have a current Minnesota teaching license in the areas of math, reading, social studies or science. Current teachers and retired teachers are encouraged to apply.

Applicants will be required to work a minimum of two days per week and will be paid their current hourly rate of pay. The program is expected to begin in mid- to late-September. If interested in one of the teaching positions, please contact Dan Wolff at, 651-226-9625 or Becky Hicks at, 651-632-3788.

Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) information coming soon
In order to receive federal funding to support internet access costs, schools are required annually to teach lessons on digital citizenship, online safety/privacy and cyber bullying at all grade levels. SPPS CIPA guidelines are changing this fall for all schools, not only those in the Year 1 schools for 1:1 iPads. More information will be provided. For questions please contact

SPPS is a member of Science House: A resource center for educators
SPPS will continue to have a district membership to the Science House for the 2014-15 school year. Science House is a lending library of materials at the Science Museum of Minnesota. Educators can check out classroom sets of hands-on materials for their students. All SPPS teachers are entitled to unlimited use of the resources and materials found at Science House. Benefits include:

  • Unlimited check-out of instructional, hands-on, STEM materials. The collection is valued at $500,000. Some of their most popular items are electronic snap kits, a large collection of skulls, anatomical models and dissecting microscopes. Search the online catalog.
  • After-school workshops.
  • Informal consultation with Science Museum Professional Development staff.
  • Use of Science House for small planning meetings.
  • Free parking during Science House open hours.

For directions, information about where to park for free, and how to receive your Science House library card, please go to

iPads and MacBooks for teachers at Year 1 schools
If you are a qualifying teacher in Year 1 school and missed one of the iPads for Educators events in August, there will be another opportunity to pick up your iPad or MacBook on Sept. 16 from 2-6 p.m. at 1930 Como. Please sign up on PD Express.

Rondo Days Grande Parade Awards SPPS Float Prize