Department news

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, call 612-341-7556 or email Bookings also are available online at Mention the scholarship when booking.

Learn about Empowering Students 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 Empowering Students. Contact Jessica McMahon with questions at 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.

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
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

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, or 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