Department news and announcements

Testing calendar available for 2014-15
The 2014-15 testing calendar was developed by a district-wide committee in alignment with state legislation and the SPPS strategic plan. Please note the following key revisions:

State revisions:

  • MCA Modified is discontinued.
  • Grade 8 students will take the Explore.
  • Grade 10 students will take the Plan.
  • Grade 10 students who are not academically ready to take the ACT will take the Compass first.
  • Grade 11 students will take ACT Plus Writing.

District revisions:

  • MCA Reading will be administered online.
  • Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) will only be given to students in grade 2, and only in math.
  • Students will no longer take the PSAT.
  • The literacy assessments in grades 3-5 have been revised to support an instructionally driven progression in which Mondo Bookshop assessments will be administered first, then replaced in the winter with the standards-based Optional Local Purpose Assessment (OLPA) for most students.
  • OLPA will be administered in grades 6-7 for reading.
  • OLPA will be administered in grades 3-7 for math.

Personalized learning essentials
What exactly is “student voice and choice”? This handy document answers this and other questions about personalized learning as an instructional strategy.

For more information and updates over the summer, check or follow them on Twitter @SPPS_PL.

Rethinking school start times
We have heard from many families about later start times for secondary students. Research has shown that teenagers benefit from later start times with more sleep, increased school achievement and better health.

SPPS is engaging stakeholders - teachers, students, principals, community programs and more - in order to determine the full benefits and consequences of changing start times.

Please note that no decision will be made until feedback is gathered from representatives of groups that may be affected. Any changes to school start times would not occur until fall 2015.

For more information and the opportunity to take a survey, visit

EMID Summer Institute
The East Metro Integration District (EMID) is hosting the EMID Summer Institute for teachers and leaders on August 5-7, 2014, with four additional dates throughout the school year. Site-based teams of teachers, administrators and equity leaders are encouraged to attend to engage in the development of concepts and skills related to instructional excellence and cross-cultural proficiency.

EMID will partner with National Urban Alliance (NUA), Sankalpa Consulting and an instructional coaching consultant to facilitate. The Institute is provided free of charge to SPPS staff and includes breakfast, lunch and afternoon refreshments. Staff will also be compensated at the workshop rate by EMID. Please register online and contact Michelle Bierman at with questions.

Participants will learn to:

  • Support high levels of student engagement
  • Use student learning and feedback to inform high-quality instruction
  • Establish and improve instructional coaching models
  • Increase equity systemically
  • Lead equity-oriented organizational change

Have fun with colleagues at community events
Show your SPPS spirit and volunteer at community events throughout the summer. Wear your SPPS gear and invite your colleagues, friends, and family to:

  • Ride on the SPPS float
  • Walk parade routes and handout goodies
  • Staff a booth

It's FUN and everybody is welcome! RSVP at

Limited custodial services in June
On June 12 and 13, custodial service in buildings will be lighter than usual as over 200 custodial engineers will be attending Beyond Diversity training. On these days only core housekeeping will take place: trash removal, bathroom cleaning, hallway cleaning, and the opening and closing of all buildings.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation. If you have any questions regarding Custodial Services coverage at your site on these dates, please contact the Facilities One-Stop at 651-744-1800.

Custodial services restoration cleaning
Each summer Custodial Services provides a thorough cleaning of all district buildings. To ensure that all sites receive the necessary attention:

  • Staff are asked not to report back to your site until your contract stipulates:
    • August 4 for principals and lead clerks
    • August 25 for teaching staff
  • Staff who are in the buildings are asked to respect the following building hours:
    • August 11-22: 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
    • August 25-31: 6 am to 6 p.m. (elementary and middle school sites)

Thanks in advance for your corporation. If you have any questions, please contact the Facilities One-Stop at 651-744-1800.

Update: School lunch prices for 2014-15
We are pleased to announce the Minnesota Legislature recently passed a bill suspending the cost for Reduced Price Meals effective July 1, 2014.

Grade Breakfast Lunch
Elementary grades (preK-5)
No charge $2.05
Middle School grades (6-8) No charge $2.20
High School grades (9-12) No charge $2.40
Reduced price (all grades) No charge No charge
Adults $2.10 $3.75

Save the date: Personalized Learning professional development is August 14
The Tech HOOPLA (Hands On Office of Personalized Learning Academy) is scheduled for August 14. This all-day event will help teachers learn the latest in educational technology integration by showcasing the practical application of various tools. Educators of all technology ability levels are welcome. Sign up on PD Express.

Do you have something you'd like to demonstrate? Let us know how you’d like to share your knowledge with your peers.

Email questions to Jessica McMahon at