From the superintendent


Dear Colleagues:

Here at Saint Paul Public Schools, we are fortunate to have 3,135 teachers -- grades prek-12 -- who care so deeply about the lives of every student. Our teachers have held strong during a time of significant change, because they believe that they have the power to positively influence the next generation. And they do. I see the same dedication in our classrooms today that I did 27 years ago when I was in the classroom as a teaching assistant.

Teacher Appreciation Week is May 5-9, and Teacher Appreciation Day is May 6. With our lives flying by at 100 miles per hour, we often forget to stop and tell the people we see every day how much they matter. Appreciation weeks remind us of what we should be doing all year long -- stopping to admire the inspirational people in our lives. When you see a teacher this week or any week, please tell them how much you value their presence and their dedication to our students, our schools, and our community.

I’d also like to share that on May 2, leaders from the school district and the teachers union met again to finalize plans for a teacher development and evaluation (TDE) system for SPPS. I believe the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers has been sharing with educators the fact that state law requires school districts to begin a three year evaluation cycle for every licensed staff, beginning in fall 2014.

Working together, we are doing our best to meet the requirements of the law without creating an additional burden for our teachers and administrators.

Here are three elements of TDE that both SPPS and SPFT agree will each occur over the course of the three year cycle:

  • Classroom observations, completed by trained peer observers and administrators
  • Student surveys, which are written to be culturally- and age-appropriate
  • Student achievement, measured by common assessments identified in PLCs (not standardized tests).

TDE is about creating an opportunity for teachers to set goals for themselves and work towards those goals. The new system is not designed to target teachers whose students do not score proficient on tests, or to micromanage teachers’ work in the classroom. I hope you will learn more about TDE at (coming soon) and at

We have proven in the past that SPPS and SPFT can work together to create systems that support all students and teachers, and we are excited to continue our partnership in developing an effective teacher development and evaluation system.

This week and every week, thank you, educators. YOU are the heart of Saint Paul Public Schools.

Your very proud superintendent,

Silva Signature


Valeria S. Silva