From the superintendent - One year after the referendum

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Dear Colleagues:

One year ago, St. Paul voters took a long-term view of investment in their community by supporting Saint Paul Public School’s 2012 request for a renewed levy of $30 million, and an expansion of another $9 million. This was a brave move as our community headed out of a very, very difficult economy -- and we promised we’d use these tax dollars wisely.

A year later, we are keeping our promise. I’m especially excited for you to know about the strides we’ve made in implementing personalized learning, our strategy to make the teaching and learning experience at SPPS student-centered, customizable and technology-enriched.

We only started receiving referendum funds this past July, but we have made great progress so far this fall:

  • 14 SPPS schools that previously had limited technology resources received 300 new computers so that all SPPS schools can confidently offer students online assessments.
  • More than 50 teachers are testing the first draft of our online Learning Platform. These teachers were nominated by their principals or involved in the Community Action Teams that gave feedback on personalized learning at the onset of the referendum. Through the Learning Platform, students have access to textbook-like content and lessons that are continually updated and relevant to their experiences.
  • Each new draft of the Learning Platform will have new features based on the feedback of SPPS teachers. Currently we’re developing a student profile with data that supports instruction. Teachers have already suggested including standardized test scores, transcripts, course information, attendance patterns and Individualized Education Program (IEP) accommodations for special education students.
  • SPPS personalized learning specialists are visiting schools to explain personalized learning, answer questions and listen to feedback from teachers. Just two weeks ago, teachers from Frost Lake discussed how personalized learning with mobile devices can help students and staff be more innovative and flexible in their learning spaces.

With all this progress, the key to success in personalized learning remains with our educators. The relationships teachers have with their students -- the knowledge teachers have about what makes each student tick -- this will help us provide the engagement and learning our students need through personalized learning. Teachers will be the ones to reach into the resources available through our online Learning Platform to find just the lessons, instruction and activities to engage each learner -- no matter where they are on the learning spectrum. 

Personalized learning is just one more tool we’re using in Saint Paul Public Schools to accelerate achievement for our lowest-performing students and increase achievement for all. The commitment, curiosity and courage of each educator will be vital.

I hope you’ll learn more by visiting: thecenter.spps.org/personalized_learning.

Your very proud superintendent,

Silva Signature


 

Valeria S. Silva