Department news and announcements

IT Department is now Technology Services, welcomes additional leadership
Technology has changed the way we live, work, teach and learn, and the pace of innovation is not slowing down. The IT Department at Saint Paul Public Schools will build on its strengths as we expand the department to meet growing technology needs.

The IT Department, now known as Technology Services, is undergoing a multi-year transformation that will result in:

  • Expanded tech support services to SPPS staff, students and families
  • Increased strategic planning for the district
  • More support for Personalized Learning
  • A technology governance committee to facilitate technology decision-making.

Ivar Nelson, who has served as Director of Information Technology since 2010, will take on the new role of Director of Technology Support Services. Ivar will plan and implement the expanded support model that is crucial to the success of Personalized Learning. Ivar's experience as a technology integration specialist, teacher and effective department leader makes him uniquely qualified to fill this important role.

SPPS welcomes Andrea Cassleton, formerly the Chief Information Officer for the City of St. Paul, who will join the technology leadership team as the interim Deputy Chief of Technology. In order to increase Ivar's capacity to lead a support model for personalized learning, Andrea will assume overall management of the department while the search begins for a permanent Deputy Chief.

No staff reductions will occur as a result of these changes.

Coming soon: Sound testing in secondary schools
This spring, the Environmental Services Group (ESG) will visit middle and high schools to conduct sound tests for the Hearing Conservation Program.

ESG will measure sound levels and equipment noise levels in areas such as band/music rooms, cafeterias and shop rooms. If sound levels are above normal, an action plan for affected individuals will be developed that may include protective gear or yearly audiograms.

In the fall, ESG will finish tests at any remaining secondary schools and begin testing elementary schools.

If you have questions, please contact Patrick Kenneally at patrick.kenneally@spps.org or the Facilities One-Stop phone number at 651-744-1800.

Parking lot and sidewalk safety
As we transition to spring and the snow begins to melt, please be mindful of slick spots and ice on parking lots and sidewalks. If an icy spot at your site needs to be addressed, please contact your building custodial engineer.  

The melting snow will also cause parking lot sand and debris to become more visible; please note that all district parking lots will be swept in late spring.

If you have questions, please contact the Facilities one-stop at 651-744-1800.

Writing contest available to students in grades K-3
The PBS KIDS Writers Contest encourages children in grades K-3 in communities across the country to celebrate the power of creating stories and illustrations by submitting their own original pieces by March 29, 2014. Each student who enters receives a certificate of participation, and all participants and their families are invited to a free celebration with PBS KIDS on tpt at the Mall of America on May 3rd. School representatives or individual teachers can request Writers Contest packets (including forms in Spanish, Hmong or Somali) by email at tptLEARN@tpt.org or by calling 651-229-1118. TPT hopes to top last year’s participation from SPPS K-3 classrooms!

Poetry contest: Celebrating the veteran in my life
Senator Franken is hosting the third annual poetry contest in April as recognition of both National Poetry Month and Month of the Military Child. This year’s contest is open to all K-12 students in Minnesota who are interested in writing about the theme Celebrating the veteran in my life. Poems can be about a veteran or active military member who is a relative, family friend, teacher, etc. All entries must by submitted by April 18, 2014. For more information, download the letter from Senator Franken.

ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Math and Science Scholarships available
Named for the first African American to walk in space, ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Math and Science Scholarships are available to 2014 graduating high school seniors in Saint Paul Public Schools and other school districts in the Council of Great City Schools.

Four $5,000 scholarships will be awarded to two African American and two Hispanic students on behalf of the former NASA astronaut, physician and businessman, Dr. Bernard Harris. Deadline for submissions is April 7, 2014.

For students to apply, they should visit http://www.cgcs.org/Page/47.

Job posting: PAR consulting teacher
SPPS seeks Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) consulting teachers for the 2014-15 school year. Teachers in all content areas and grade levels are encouraged to apply.

The primary role of a PAR consulting teacher is to enhance and habituate self-directed learning through coaching. Other roles used throughout the school year are collaboration, consulting and evaluation. Opportunities are available for full-time and on-call positions.

Consulting teachers' work is tailored to meet the individual needs of each teacher. It is an extremely rewarding position that impacts student learning through professional development and assistance to teachers. The PAR program is designed to provide assistance and feedback to tenure-track teachers within their first three years of employment and tenured teachers as they undertake the important work of educating children.

Started in 2010, PAR is a collaborative initiative between Saint Paul Public Schools and the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers. The purpose of the PAR program is to support the professional growth of SPPS teachers in order for them to become more effective practitioners.

The job is currently posted on the Human Resources website under the title PAR Consulting Teacher (995488). Contact Amy Steele (amy.steele@spps.org or 651-744-1330) for additional information or to answer questions.