Department news

Community Giving Campaign charity spotlight: Donate to Saint Paul Public Schools Foundation
The Saint Paul Public Schools Foundation supports student success in SPPS by providing quality tutor training and grants to teachers, and by supporting other efforts that provide services for students, including a coat drive for students who are homeless and free eye exams for students with follow-up care through the Phillips Eye Institute.

Here’s a story about the impact the Foundation had on a 2014 SPPS graduate:

My name is Deeh Chah and I am a former Washington Technology Magnet School student, class of 2014. I am now a sophomore at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities with an intended major in elementary education.

I want to thank Saint Paul Public Schools Foundation for supporting students, teachers and schools in Saint Paul. The tutoring programs, the funds for educational opportunities, and the engagement of communities in conversation to support teacher and student success have significant impact.

I was eight years old when my family came to live in Saint Paul, and English was not my first language. Let me tell you, it was not fun being unable to communicate with others. And that’s why I was fortunate to have tutors throughout my elementary and middle school years. Outside the classroom, tutors helped me with my English. It was valuable because I was able to help, and be my parents’ translator and interpreter. This is why I appreciated the tutoring programs that the Foundation provides.

I want to be an SPPS teacher -- like I always wanted when I was in elementary school.

Learn about updates to accessing YouTube, Lotus Notes on iOS 9
The Office of Technology Services thanks you for your patience as they work to improve SPPS information technology infrastructure. There have been updates in the district's bandwidth and using Lotus Notes with iOS 9.

Bandwidth:
As of today, Nov. 23, streaming media access will be turned on for all district sites connected to the SPPS network. Sites will then be able to access YouTube and other streaming services.

Lotus Notes and iOS 9:
The Office of Technology Services has developed a solution for using Lotus Notes on devices that have been updated to Apple's iOS 9. Please use these instructions to enable Lotus Notes on your iOS 9 updated device. Please keep in mind that this procedure requires an uninstall and reinstall of our Traveler software.

If you need help with this update, please call our Service Desk at 3HELP (34357) if you’re inside the district, and 651-603-HELP (4357) if you’re outside the district. If you have additional questions, contact Idrissa Davis at idrissa.davis@spps.org

Participate in free staff yoga classes in December, complete your 2016 Wellness Program
Take advantage of free on-site Staff Yoga Classes. This is a great way to reduce stress and develop health and sustainable self-care practices. If you attend all three classes in the series, it will count as your 2016 Wellness Program for the 2017 Health Care Savings. To register please use the following links:

Battle Creek Elementary
Class one: 3:30-4:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 7
Class two: 3:30-4:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 14
Class three: 3:30-4:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 21

Washington Technology Magnet
Class one: 4-5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2
Class two: 4-5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9
Class three: 4-5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16

Equity in the Classroom Series: Unlearning Whiteness with Ryan Williams-Virden
Creating Equity through Culture is a workshop aimed at beginning to equip teachers with the tools to foster culture in themselves and their classrooms. Ryan Williams-Virden is an educator, cultural worker and fellow at the Cultural Wellness Center. 

  • 4:30-6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 10 at the Multicultural Resource Center at Washington Technology Magnet School
  • Sign up on PD Express

The workshop is open to everyone. Contact michelle.bierman@spps.org with questions.

Winter Weather Plan now available
The 2015-16 Winter Weather Plan is now available. New this year, the windchill limit has been adjusted to 35 degrees below zero to better align with the National Weather Service threshold for issuing a wind chill warning.

Cold
School will be canceled if the forecast for 6 a.m. the following morning shows:

  • Windchill below -35 degrees Fahrenheit OR
  • Air Temperature is below -25 degrees Fahrenheit

Decision will be made by 6:30 p.m. the night before a cancellation.

Snow
The decision to cancel school for snow or hazardous driving conditions will continue to be made by 5 a.m. the morning of a cancellation.

Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) Support available for tenured PreK-12 teachers
Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) is a program of SPPS and the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers to support teachers in developing and refining instructional practices. PAR consulting teachers are able to coach, consult and/or collaborate. This is a reflective and intensive support model based on your individual needs. Requests will be filled based on availability of PAR consulting teachers.

PAR can help teachers:

  • Reach professional goals
  • Adjust to a new school
  • Adjust to teaching a new grade level and/or content area
  • Reflect on instructional practices in the classroom

Register on PD Express with the title PAR: 2015-2016 Tenured Teacher Coaching/Collaboration and then contact PAR Lead, Beth Gregor, at Beth.Gregor@spps.org to set up an initial appointment with a PAR consulting teacher.

Equity in Action Series at the Multicultural Resource Center
The Multicultural Resource Center (MRC) will show the film “Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity,” with facilitated discussions to follow.

The film will be shown in three segments – join us for one or all. View clips from the series.

  • Monday, Nov. 16: Social Determinants: History, Identity & Culture
  • Monday, Nov. 30: Internal Components: Bias, Privilege, Internalized Racism
  • Monday, Dec. 7: External Relationships: Interpersonal, Institutional, Structural

All sessions will be held at the MRC at Washington Technology Magnet from 4:30-6:30 p.m. This series is free and open to the public.

Register on PDExpress under MRC or contact the Multicultural Resource Center at mrc@spps.org or 651-744-2635.

Sign Up for the 2015 Holiday Weight Challenge by Nov. 23
As the weather gets colder and our calendars fill up with holiday events and other obligations, it is important to remember to take care of ourselves. This can be a challenging time of year for maintaining a healthy weight. Join the Holiday Weight Challenge to help you stay on track and avoid the holiday weight gain this season.

The six-week challenge runs Nov. 23 through Jan. 1. Participants will receive weekly emails for motivation and ideas to help them maintain their weight through the holidays. Register for the challenge by Monday, Nov. 23.

If you follow all six weeks of the program, you will be entered into a drawing to win a FitBit. For more information on this program, visit: http://employeewellness.spps.org/holiday_weight_challenge_2.