From the superintendent


Dear Colleagues:

We’re three weeks in and I continue to tell everyone I meet: I’ve never seen a smoother start to the school year! Please take a moment to pat yourselves on the back, because we just moved 17,000 students to new sites. This is the largest, most complex change within Saint Paul Public Schools in 25 years – and you all made it happen. Thank you.

And while you’ve all been doing the heavy lifting, I’ve had the pleasure of countless conversations like the one last week with a first-grade boy:

Him: You’re like the president of the schools??
Me: (Laughing) Yes, well….kind of!
Him: (Eyes wide open) For REAL? But you’re a GIRL!
Me: It can happen!

Treasures like these came out of the mouths of students at every school I visited. Now the hard work starts.

We are in the third year of Strong Schools, Strong Communities. The plan is as vital today as it was when the board adopted it in March 2010. I remember how much work it took to prepare for the board vote – and now I look back on all that we’ve done since then!

  • More students are going to school closer to home.
  • Kindergarten enrollment is above projections for two years.
  • Classes and curricula are more aligned across the district.
  • Middle schools have replaced junior highs.
  • All buildings are open.
  • All school websites have been updated and are easier to navigate.
  • 14 articulated programs are available to students.
  • Reflecting St. Paul has made schools more diverse.
  • A middle school Montessori has joined our ranks.

There’s more and you can find it here.

The plan is called Strong Schools, Strong Communities for a reason – and an event coming up this week exemplifies our impact on the broader community. We’re cutting the ribbon on the new East Side Learning Hub@Harding on Thursday, Sept. 19, at 4 p.m. The Hub@Harding is a sparkling new community site where both students and adults can build academic skills for high school completion, post-secondary education, career transition, and English language acquisition. This new East Side building complements the Hubbs Learning Center on University, making adult and family learning accessible across the city.

We are always considering the impact our resources will have on the entire community, and finding ways to leverage those resources and grow our enrollment. I’ll be talking more about that in next week’s Bridge. Until then, keep up the fantastic work. Thanks, everyone! 


Silva Signature


Valeria Silva
Proud SPPS Superintendent