Department news

Office of Early Learning and ECSE collaborate on professional development session
The Office of Early Learning, in collaboration with Early Childhood Special Education, is facilitating a professional development session on Friday, Feb. 12, called, “Creating Inclusive Communities to Support our Earliest Learners and Early Learning Hot Topics”.

All PreK and Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) teachers, PreK and ECSE paraprofessionals, PreK MRC members, and all licensed staff in birth-three and ECSE Inclusion will participate.  

The professional development session will be held off-site.

Here are the details for the professional development event:

  • Where: Dancers Studio, 415 N. Pascal Street, Saint Paul
  • When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (1 hour lunch on your own)
  • Registration is available in PDExpress OEL315-15-16Winter: Creating Inclusive Communities to Support our Earliest Learners (AM)   Differentiated Sessions on Early Learning Hot Topics (PM).

If you have questions or comments, contact Lori Erickson at or Brenda Natala at

Emergency Health and 504 Plans for students with health conditions and disabilities now available in Campus
A new tab in Student Information General Campus section - "504 Plan and Emergency Plan" - is available to view 504 accommodations and emergency care plans. School nurses and building 504 representatives will upload 504 plans and Emergency Care Plans (ECP) to this tab for staff to view, print and place in substitute teacher folders. All staff can view Campus information in this tab on a need-to-know basis. Staff who do not need to know health or disability information about a student to perform their job duties should not open the attached documents.

Stay up to date with the Multilingual Learning newsletter
The Jan. 20 issue of the Office of Multilingual Learning newsletter is now available.

Self Service App Store Update
The Self Service App Store has over 450 apps currently available for students to download. A multi-departmental committee has reviewed the process for adding apps and removing apps that are not being used. This leads to the following changes:

  1. The Self Service App Store has limited space and the priority for apps focuses on creation, quality and general use. The current set of apps is being reviewed to determine whether they meet these criteria. Some may be removed from Self Service, with advance notice in the Bridge. 
  2. Future apps added to Self Service will require an Apple ID password to download. This allows for a larger app store by improving the processing time for iPad set-up. The approved app list spreadsheet indicates apps meeting this requirement.
  3. To provide a clear timeframe for app additions, we are moving to a once-a-semester update of Self Service. During the 2015-16 second semester, all app addition requests must be submitted before Monday, Feb. 1. If approved, submitted apps will be added by Tuesday, Mar. 1, pending a content and security review. Any currently pending apps will also be reviewed and, if approved, added at that time. App addition requests submitted after Feb. 1 will not be reviewed or added this school year.

Access to paid apps will not be available this school year for staff or general education students.

iPad professional development opportunities available in 2016
Visit the Personalized Learning website for descriptions of upcoming iPad learning opportunities. Register for all courses through PDExpress.

Establishing a 1:1 iPad Environment
This course teaches staff the basics of using iPads and takes place during the school day. All SPPS licensed teaching staff are requested to attend. Teachers must request a sub and will receive recertification clock hours.

Course topics include: digital file sharing, classroom management, digital citizenship, the iPad Student Handbook and practical applications to teach students during the first weeks of using iPads in your classroom.

Upcoming courses:

  • Wednesday, Feb. 17
  • Tuesday, March 1

iPad Cafes
These monthly after-school sessions are geared toward the interests of participants. The Thursday, Jan. 7 session features Google Drive and Seesaw.

Other upcoming iPad Cafes sessions include:

  • Tuesday, Feb. 9: iMovie
  • Wednesday, Feb. 10: Garageband
  • Tuesday, Feb. 16: Google Drive
  • Tuesday, Feb. 23: Keynote
  • Wednesday, Feb. 24: Numbers
  • Monday, Feb 29: Pages
  • Thursday, March 3: iBooks Author

The Personalized Learning Resources for Teachers and Staff web page also includes many iPad materials, such as:

  • One-page guides on the SPPS core apps and a list of all the apps in Self Service
  • Links to lessons for setting up classroom iPad routines
  • Self-paced learning opportunities on iPad basics, Apps and Google Drive

Sign up for the yumPower Staff Challenge
The yumPower Staff Challenge kicks off on Monday, Feb. 8. The goal of the challenge is to increase the number of fruits and vegetables you eat each day.  Keep track daily with this four week challenge.

Complete your Wellness Program by attending the Resiliency Workshop
SPPS is partnering with the Sand Creek Group’s Employee Assistance program to offer a three-part series designed to help people enhance their natural resilience, making them less likely to develop problems with depression and other chronic diseases associated with stress.

Resilience is the ability to adapt and recover quickly after a hardship has taken place. A resilient person is better able to sustain physical and psychological health when faced with life’s challenges.

The Resiliency Workshop will take place at Benjamin E. Mays IB World School.

Register for the Resiliency Workshop at Benjamin E. Mays

  • Class one: 4-5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 25
  • Class two: 4-5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 1
  • Class three: 4-5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 8

Free staff Yoga classes in February
Staff Yoga classes are a great way to complete your 2016 Wellness Program. These classes focus on relaxation techniques and are open to all staff. If you have no prior yoga experience these classes are a great introduction to yoga. Classes will be held at Como Park Senior High School and Bridge View School.