From the superintendent

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Dear Colleagues:

When I was a little girl in Chile, I was undoubtedly asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. Every child is. I think we all enjoy watching a child’s expressions as her mind reaches into the future to identify sparkling hopes, dreams and possibilities. Could she be a doctor? A chef? A computer programmer ? (I always hope they say, “teacher.”)

Just as important as identifying those dreams is identifying the path toward achieving them. By 2018, 70% of Minnesota jobs will require a Bachelor’s degree or higher. This is 7 percentage points above the national average. Our students -- beginning in pre-k -- must understand how important post-secondary education is to their futures.

Instilling an expectation for study after high school is the goal of activities planned for our youngest learners during October’s College Knowledge Month.

We’ll kick off the month on October 4 by wearing college/trade school gear (hats, t-shirts, jackets) to work. If you work in a school, the Office of College and Career Readiness encourages you to talk with your students about what you studied after high school and where, and why you chose that school from among other options. Encourage your students - especially the little ones - to consider all sorts of careers and think about all the possibilities.

I’m very proud that we’re setting these high expectations our youngest learners. SPPS has been a leader in early learning in many ways:

  • We have offered all-day kindergarten since 2006, funding it through referendum dollars before the legislature joined us in this work.
  • We have expanded our pre-k program this year to enroll an additional 286 students in seven full-day and two half-day classrooms, thanks to new early learning funding from the legislature this year.
  • We have redesigned our kindergarten classrooms so that students who enter kindergarten ready to learn don’t slow down their progress.

The end-goal for all these actions is college and career readiness, even though that’s many years away. We need to plant the seeds of inspiration in the minds of our students from an early age so we change the dialogue from “if I go to college” to “when I go to college.”

I am confident knowing that every one of you is doing everything you can to help our students prepare for college and a career. The evidence is clear:

  • ACT scores are up 16% since 2007.
  • Student post-secondary enrollment is up 7% since 2007.
  • Graduation rates are up 10% since 2008.

Happy College Knowledge Month!

Your very proud superintendent,

Silva Signature

 


Valeria S. Silva