Department news

A student and her father at the We Read Saint Paul event Oct. 6.

We Read Saint Paul kicks off at SPPS
The Office of Equity and the Elementary Literacy Department have launched We Read Saint Paul, a program that connects students and families with local booksellers.

To start the program, 20 students, their families and SPPS staff gathered at the Red Balloon Bookshop, 891 Grand Ave. in Saint Paul, on Oct. 6, 2014 to read and select high-quality picture books that reflect our communities and students. The Multicultural Resource Center will purchase the selected books.

SPPS district leaders on Tuesday, Oct. 21 will read the books to students in participating classrooms. After each book reading, the book will be given to the school as part of that classroom’s permanent library.

We Read Saint Paul recognizes that only 2 to 3 percent of all children's literature is authored by people of color and American Indians. We Read Saint Paul strives to bring attention to the shortage of literature that represents our students while encouraging student voice and choice in their reading selections.

Read information and view photos from the Oct. 6 event.

Health benefits open enrollment brochure coming soon
This week, employees will be receiving the 2015 Employee Brochure via postal mail sent to their home addresses on record. The brochure will include an overview of the 2015 Benefit program options and enrollment process.

Open Enrollment is Nov. 3-14.The plan will be effective Jan. 1, 2015.

If you do not receive the brochure by Monday, Oct. 27, contact Human Resources at 651-767-8212. The brochures also will be available for pickup.

Attend an Open Enrollment Information Session
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.

The information 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.

Continue to check The Bridge for more annual Open Enrollment information.

Community Giving Campaign begins today
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 still others give back to the schools 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.

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 SPPS and the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers to support teachers in developing and refining instructional practices.

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.

Learn about Student Motivation 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 Student Motivation. 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

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. 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.