Department news

Plan a class field trip to Black Storytellers Alliance
The Black Storytellers Alliance is sponsoring free storytelling concerts for school-age youth on Friday, Sept. 26. If you have a class (or several classes) that would like to attend one of these free concerts, please complete the following requirements:

  1. Make a reservation by calling 612-529-5864 or reserving online at http://www.blackstorytellers.com/schoolconcerts.html
  2. All reservations must be from a school and include chaperones for the students in attendance.

The concerts are presented by the Black Storytellers Alliance for the 23rd Annual Black Storytelling Festival, “Signifyin’ & Testifyin.” View a concert schedule here.

Student information on free and reduced-price meal applications
On Oct. 14, students who are not directly certified for Free and reduced meals, or who have not submitted a completed application this school year, will change to Full Pay status at non-CEP schools, which may result in a negative account balance.
Students who attend CEP schools automatically receive free meals; however, families must continue to submit an application to ensure other school programs receive appropriate funding. The free and reduced eligibility status is available in Campus.

  • If you are approved to use the Free and Reduced website, you will see a FRAM link in Campus.
  • Reports and labels are available by clicking the "Elig Report and Labels" link.

A ConnectEd call will go out on October 4, 2014 reminding these families to complete an application. Encourage families to apply on-line at https://mealapp.spps.org/. Paper applications are available in English, Hmong, Somali and Spanish.
As a reminder, students enrolled in your school who complete applications by early December will be included in the final MARSS report that is used to calculate compensatory revenue for the 2014-15 school year.
If you have questions, please call Business Systems Manager Stacy Koppen at 603-4945 or Director Jim Hemmen at  651-603-4890.

Free admission to Mill City Museum for Title I schools
Mill City Museum offers a wide range of educational opportunities for Minnesota's K-12 students. The McKnight Foundation, with support from the Cowles Fund, is helping offer free museum admission to Mill City Museum and partially subsidized busing for students from qualified public schools.

To qualify:

  • Schools must be from the Twin Cities metro.
  • 50 percent or more of students in the school must be enrolled in the Federal Free/Reduced Lunch Program.
  • Visits to the museum must be made in January, February or March.

Registration begins Oct. 1 for schools that did not receive funding last year. Schools that visited using the scholarship last year can register starting Oct. 15. Funding is limited.

For more information and to register, visit http://millcitymuseum.org/mill-city-mcknight-foundation-scholarship, call 612-341-7556 or email mcmschedulingoffice@mnhs.org. Bookings also are available online at www.millcitymuseum.org. Mention the scholarship when booking.

Learn about inspiration 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 “inspiration.” Contact Jessica McMahon with questions at jessica.mcmahon@spps.org or tweet her at @SPPS_McMahon.

Attend a training on improving student social justice projects
Are you doing community action, service learning or service with your students? If so, Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) can transform the way youth interact with the people they hope to serve. YPAR is a methodology where you begin by asking people what they need and what could be changed to better meet their needs. With YPAR, projects are designed with the voices of constituents instead of on their behalf. At a YPAR training, staff can learn how to use participatory action research for student service projects.

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 on Friday, Sept. 26
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.

The Indian Education Program will hold numerous powwows this year, from 6-8 p.m. at American Indian Magnet School 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 http://spirit.prudential.com and www.nassp.org/spirit 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 http://spirit.prudential.com.

Principals: Remember to assign Mentor/Mentee Program; fall trainings set
Supporting staff new to SPPS through a Mentor/Mentee Program is essential to starting a successful career in our district. 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 for teachers.

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 https://thecenter.spps.org/mentors.

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.

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.

Prevent illness in schools
The best way to prevent influenza and other infectious disease is to get vaccinated. The best ways to prevent all illness are:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Stay at home if you are ill
  • When coughing, cover your mouth with a tissue or cough into your sleeve

The School Nurse is an infectious disease resource to your school. The nurse supports students in obtaining immunizations and removing health-related barriers to learning. The Minnesota Department of Health has enterovirus information for parents/guardians available in five languages here.

Host a flu shot clinic at your school’s event
Homeland Health Specialists and Minnesota Visiting Nurse Agency (MVNA) provide flu clinics in schools for families and the surrounding community. Interested schools are invited to schedule flu shot clinics now. 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 portoghesej@mvna.org, or www.homelandhealthspecialist.com. Kohl's and Children's Hospitals and Clinics sponsor the flu shot clinics in schools.

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 Chris.Turnbull@spps.org.

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 dan.wolff@spps.org, 651-226-9625 or Becky Hicks at becky.hicks@spps.org, 651-632-3788.