From the superintendent


Dear Colleagues:

Welcome back from our much-needed long weekend. I hope you were able to disconnect, relax, and enjoy your families or friends. The intensity of the work we do makes it especially important that we take advantage of our time off to rest, decompress and refresh our hearts and minds. Now we’re back, keeping our students at the center of our work!

We can’t keep our focus on the students without also paying attention to how we communicate with the caring adults in their lives. Study after study shows that not only are parents/grandparents/guardians a student's first teachers, their involvement is a strong indicator of a student’s ability to succeed in school.

As you know, SPPS families come in all shapes and sizes, and from all walks of life. Their diversity is the foundation for the rich diversity of our student population. A common theme in the education field, however, is that the home lives of some of our students make it impossible for us to teach them, or for them to learn.

I disagree -- for two reasons:

  1. No matter what their life circumstances, I have never met a family who doesn’t want the very best for their children. Not one.
  2. We are professionals. We know how to teach. Now we need to care enough to get to know each and every student, engage their attention, and reach them in ways that make them want to learn -- no matter what their home life.

We can do that. I’ve seen it happen time and time again.

For our part, the school district will do everything we can to eliminate obstacles to family involvement. Whether that’s offering Parent Academy, or translating information that goes home, or offering transportation or child care for important events, we will do our best to set the scene for student and teacher success.

The role of teachers is so instrumental to all that we do in Saint Paul Public Schools. Kahlil Gibran wrote something about parents that I believe can also apply to teachers:  “You are the bows from which children as living arrows are sent forth.” What a potent and honorable role to play in the life of a child.

I wish you all a fruitful three weeks of hard work until our winter break.

Your very proud superintendent,

Silva Signature


Valeria S. Silva