From the Superintendent: Celebrating Heritage — and Making Courageous Changes


Dear Colleagues,

I hope you’ll join me this month in celebrating the wonderful histories, cultures and contributions of United States citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. National Hispanic Heritage Month -- running from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 -- was created in 1968 to do just that.

While I’m pleased to recognize people who happen to be of my own heritage, this month-long celebration makes me stop and think about who we’re recognizing when it’s not Hispanic Heritage Month, or Black History month, or Native American Heritage Month. Who are our teachers and students recognizing day in and day out in our classrooms?

I’m proud to say that in Saint Paul Public Schools, we’re taking steps to better infuse all our classrooms with information and knowledge about contributions made by people from all over the world. We’re doing a better job each day of helping our students see people in their textbooks and videos who look like them and who are making (or have made) our world a better place. People like Benjamin Banneker, Sonia Sotomayor, and Kao Kahlia Yang. Doing so is increasingly important as U.S. public schools are projected this fall to have more students of color than non-Hispanic white students due largely to growth in the number of Hispanic children in our country.

On Saturday, I’m honored to sit on a panel discussion at La Familia Latino Family Festival and Expo/Education Summit being held at the Neighborhood House to mark National Hispanic Heritage Month. We’ll be talking about how SPPS is educating the people our grandchildren will be learning about in school some day -- our future inventors, superintendents and entertainers. Are we meeting the needs of today’s Hispanic students? Of all SPPS students?

Not well enough and not fast enough for me. But at SPPS, we’re talking about it out loud and we’re making courageous changes in the way we do business, even while some tell us they have a better way. I think we all know it’s not just about the test. It’s about inviting people into their deepest humanity to celebrate and educate all students, every day.

Keep up the good work.

Your very proud superintendent,

Silva Signature



Valeria S. Silva