Department news

Creative Arts awarded Knight Arts Challenge Grant for public gallery
To encourage creative expression, the new Gallery 65 at Creative Arts Secondary School will present high-quality, student-produced art and events to the public in Saint Paul.

Creative Arts sits on a busy street and features a wall of windows visible to passersby. With the new gallery, students will create the art and learn career skills, including how to set up an art show, market an event and more.

The project is part of an overall renovation of the middle and high school, which includes turning an unused pool into a performance space and new music and recording studios.

Creative Arts was one of 69 finalists and 42 winners of the first Saint Paul Knight Arts Challenge. On Sept. 29, the Knight Foundation awarded Saint Paul Public Schools and partners $5,000 for the project.

Community Giving Campaign begins Oct. 20
Each year, SPPS staff may elect to donate money from their paychecks to support the causes that mean the most to them. Some choose to give to the United Way, others give to their church, and others give back to the school they work for.

Watch The Bridge in coming weeks for more information on how you can sign up for this fast, convenient way to give back to your community.

Attend annual open enrollment information sessions
Learn more and ask questions about the SPPS medical plan choices and new dental carrier during five information sessions next month.

The informational sessions will be held:

  • 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 4, at 930 Como Ave. in the Blue Room
  • 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 6, at 360 Colborne St. in Room B
  • 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Monday, Nov. 10, at 360 Colborne St. in Rooms A & B
  • 3 p.m., 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 13, at 360 Colborne St. in Rooms E & F
  • 3 p.m., 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14, at 360 Colborne St. in Rooms D, E, & F

Flu shots will be available at all sessions.

If you can’t attend one of these sessions in person, the same presentations will be available on the Human Resources website.

Please note: These sessions are not intended for online enrollment completion. If you would like to complete your open enrollment online after your questions are answered, Human Resources staff will be available to assist you, and the computer training lab will be open.

Open enrollment is Nov. 3 - Nov. 14.

Continue to check the Bridge for more Annual Open Enrollment Information.

Office of Early Learning announces merger of Blast Off Kindergarten and Early Learning Community Partnerships
Saint Paul Public Schools Office of Early Learning has recently merged Early Learning Community Partnerships and Blast Off To Kindergarten to provide stronger pathways for kindergarten transition for Saint Paul children.

Read more about this merger, the impact on families and community partners and the history of Blast Off To Kindergarten and Early Learning Community Partnerships.

Peer Assistance and Review available for tenured preK-12 teachers
Do you have a professional goal that you would like support in reaching? Have you switched schools and need assistance adjusting? Are you teaching a new grade level and/or content area? Do you want to reflect about instructional practices in the classroom?

Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) consulting teachers are able to coach, consult and/or collaborate. Peer Assistance and Review is a program of Saint Paul Public Schools and the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers to support teachers in developing and refining instructional practices. This is a reflective and intensive support model based on your individual needs.

Requests will be filled based on availability of PAR consulting teachers. Register on PD Express with the title PAR: Tenured Teacher Coaching/Collaboration and then contact Niceta Thomas at or 651-744-4207 to set up an initial appointment with a PAR consulting teacher.

Free admission to Mill City Museum for Title I schools
Mill City Museum offers many educational opportunities for Minnesota's K-12 students. The McKnight Foundation, with support from the Cowles Fund, will offer free 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 began Oct. 1 for schools that did not receive funding last year. Schools that visited using the scholarship last year can register starting Wednesday, 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 Trends in Education 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 is Trends in Education. Contact Jessica McMahon with questions at or tweet her at @SPPS_McMahon.

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 Tuesday, 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. Program details are available at

SPPS is a member of Science House, a resource center for educators
SPPS continues 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.

The benefits include:

  • Unlimited checkout of instructional, hands-on and 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

Host a flu shot clinic at your school's event
Homeland Health Specialists and the Minnesota Visiting Nurse Agency (MVNA) provide flu shot 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 visit Kohl's and Children's Hospitals and Clinics sponsor the flu shot clinics in schools.