From the superintendent

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Dear Colleagues:

Our final full week of school brings its own brand of stress. Not only are we finalizing budgets, giving tests, and grading students – but we’re all also thinking about what’s next.

For some of our students, “next” means vacations, summer camps, and relaxation. For many others, no school means the loss of much needed structure and sometimes not enough food.

I’m grateful to the many staff members who pay close attention to student concerns, and who take the time to direct students to additional summer resources. St. Paul Parks and Recreation is always a good resource for both affordable activities and free meals to qualifying students.

With the changes announced this past week about our Personalized Learning, I know “what’s next” is also on the mind of many SPPS teachers, administrators and staff.

Much has changed in the technology field since we began this aggressive initiative, and I commend staff who recommended the difficult decision to move away from a customized approach. I also commend our friends at Dell, who not only agreed with our decision, but were generous enough to essentially refund our investment so far through a product donation that will update SPPS computer servers long in need of such attention.

I want to make very clear that the time we’ve spent with Dell over the past year has resulted in multiple benefits that will guide us going forward:

  • A full inventory of existing technology to determine which schools met minimum technology standards as of spring 2013
  • Upgraded technology at 14 schools that did not meet minimum standards for online testing in time for the start of classes in Fall 2013
  • Improved digital security
  • Engaged teachers offered ideas for the design of the personalized learning initiative
  • Another 50 teachers were involved in initial testing of the platform to determine the degree that it met their needs in supporting personalized learning.

With this move toward Apple, we’re not just offering individual devices to students and staff. We’ll also be working closely with Apple to instruct recipients on how to maximize the tools available through those devices. We hope to have a roll-out plan available in the next few weeks, so you may want to check your email from home even if classes are over.

Let me say again:  Even though we’re moving away from a customized digital platform, Personalized Learning continues as a central strategy to our future teaching and learning. In an environment that encourages innovation, shifts like we’ve taken in Personalized Learning are commonplace. This is how we learn and grow.

Thank you to those taking us down the road toward innovation.

Your very proud superintendent,

Silva Signature


 

Valeria S. Silva