From the Superintendent: Don't Lose Sight of Why We Are Here



It is an extraordinary privilege to be in so many buildings and classrooms every week. I am able to see, firsthand, the incredible work happening. I see the smiles, the high fives, the hugs, the love of learning. I also see the realness and unpredictability of serving in a large urban school district - the frustrations, the tears, the heartache of working with so many young people living in a variety of trauma.

That trauma, though, does not define our students. When serious incidents arise and capture the headlines as happened last week, we must ensure your good work and the brilliance of our young people are not overshadowed.

This is an apt moment to reflect on a selection of positive events -- a few bright spots among the hundreds of good things happening in SPPS every single day.

  • The Como High Women’s Basketball team made it to the state tournament for the first time ever.
  • Third grade students at Linwood Monroe Arts Plus worked for two weeks with renowned Japanese Taiko musician Iris Shiraishi before performing two Taiko drum concerts.
  • The Creative Arts Hip Hop Dance Crew performed on the outdoor stage at Raspberry Island. Students audition to make the dance crew, and work hard every Wednesday to learn choreography and improve their hip hop dance abilities.
  • Noah Kong, a fifth-grader at Farnsworth Aerospace, read his original story at a sold-out event on Feb. 4. The audience included award-winning authors as well as hundreds of people interested in helping local young authors. Kong's story will be featured in the soon-to-be published book "Up, Up and Away."
  • A group of Highland Park Senior High School students recently signed and brought a banner to Central High School to show their support in the midst of difficult times.
  • First grade two-way Hmong Immersion students met with Senator Foung Hawj at Phalen Lake Hmong Studies Magnet. As part of a letter-writing unit, Xib Hwb Mos's first graders each wrote a letter to Senator Hawj in Hmong. During his visit they asked him questions about his childhood, education, and job.

Every day you can read positive stories in “SPPS in the News,” delivered to your inbox. Three times a week, via the social media feature “I AM SPPS,” you can hear directly from students and staff who are excited about school. And each week The Bridge devotes a section to Kudos for students and staff.

A tiny portion of what happens here dominates the news and, sometimes, our psyches. Take a breath and remember that most of our students -- the great majority by far -- find our schools to be places of opportunity, stimulation, affirmation and safety. And they are doing wonderful, remarkable things -- as are you, our staff members.

Please remember this as we count down to Spring Break.

Your very proud Superintendent,

Silva Signature

Valeria Silva