From Michelle Walker


Dear Colleagues,

What an incredibly difficult winter season we’re facing. Saint Paul Public Schools has had to cancel school only five times in the past five years -- and three of them have been this year.

I know this has been frustrating for both staff and families. Cancelling classes is always our last resort, but I think we can all agree that keeping our students safe has to be our top priority.

You should know that weather forecasts don’t look much improved for Tuesday. We’re keeping a close eye on the National Weather Service and will notify both staff and families as soon as a decision has been made about classes for Tuesday. Staff will still be expected to report to work.

Hopefully the weather will improve by Thursday’s annual State of the District address. This is our opportunity each year to share with the community our Strong Schools, Strong Communities progress to date, as well as our plans for the coming year.

There will be two State of the District presentations this year:  one to the business and non-profit community in the morning, then another for families, staff and the larger community at a more convenient time in the evening. This just makes sense. While we couldn’t do our work without the support of the business and non-profit community, the staff and families feel the impact most profoundly.

Both presentations will also include plans for Saint Paul Public Schools over the next five years, as outlined in our new proposed strategic plan, Strong Schools, Strong Communities 2.0. SSSC 2.0 picks up where Strong Schools, Strong Communities left off. Our goals will remain the same -- Achievement, Alignment and Sustainability.

Our means toward reaching those goals, however, will be more focused on:

  • Racial equity and our strategies to narrow the opportunity gap
  • Personalizing learning through technology
  • Maintaining excellent school programs and pathways from pre-K through high school
  • Ensuring that every child graduates ready for college and a career
  • Creating systems and business practices that put student needs first

I hope you’ll join us on Thursday evening for the annual State of the District address. If you can’t attend that evening, there are other opportunities to learn more about our district’s plans and to share your thoughts and ideas about implementation. Your feedback is critical. 

And remember! Remind everyone you know and work with that February 15 is our on-time deadline for registration for next year’s school enrollment. On-time registration is the best way to ensure that children are enrolled in their school of choice.

We look forward to seeing you at one of our informational Strong Schools, Strong Communities 2.0 events.


Michelle Walker
SPPS Chief Executive Officer and Acting Superintendent of Schools