From the superintendent


Dear Colleagues:

Returning home from Chile after my mother’s funeral has been an incredibly intense experience. I am overwhelmed by and grateful for the kind notes of support, the memorials, and the prayers I have received. Thank you. It was such a blessing for me to share my mother’s last eight hours of life. She died holding my hand, which meant the world to me.

I realized upon this last visit, that I have now lived outside my home country for almost 30 years. With each visit, I feel less Chilean and more Minnesotan.

That comes with mixed feelings. As much as I love St. Paul, I feel in a small way that I’ve betrayed my home country by leaving it behind.

That may also be how some of the immigrant and refugee students in our schools feel. While I’m sure they feel comfort as they become accustomed to life in Minnesota, there’s also a part of them that is leaving their home country behind. Perhaps as educators we can take the time to speak with our students about these feelings, to let them know that what they are experiencing is typical.

When explaining my job to old friends I hadn’t seen in many years, I was also struck again by all that we have in the United States, and by all that we take for granted. No where in Chile -- or in so many countries -- could a student receive the kind of education Saint Paul Public Schools provides at no cost.

In Chile, students have to pay for the high-quality teachers and schools that Saint Paul Public Schools offers each and every day. Only the wealthiest can afford a quality education.

That helped me remember again why I chose to become and remain an educator in St. Paul.

And I realized again all the power and influence educators have in the lives of our students. We are shaping the destiny and future of our city and our country. There is no more important profession.

It’s good to be home. Thanks again for all the well-wishes, and I hope you have a great week.

Your very proud superintendent,

Silva Signature


Valeria S. Silva