From the Superintendent: In these clearly challenging times, we must keep talking


Dear Colleagues:

As I watched and listened to both local and national news reports this past week, I was reminded again that the United States civil rights era did not end in the 1960s. It continues today.

I am also reminded of the four agreements for Courageous Conversations about race:

1. Stay engaged.
2. Experience discomfort.
3. Speak your truth.
4. Expect and accept nonclosure.

Every single one of these agreements can be difficult during volatile times like those our country now faces, and every single one is critical.

We must keep talking.

I am very proud that SPPS is addressing racial equity on many levels, including how we provide resources to students, teachers, and schools. By rolling out iPads to all our schools, for example, we are addressing one of the many gaps that contribute to the racial predictability of achievement in Saint Paul – the digital gap. We know that lack of digital technology not only puts students at an educational disadvantage, it ultimately contributes to their economic disadvantage.

Knowing that our students are digital natives, or as Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvahlo calls them, “hyper-connected, multi-tasking, rapid consumers of information,” we must engage them in the ways that they live and learn. No one believes that iPads will magically solve societal inequity, but when our teachers thoughtfully guide and model iPads as tools for learning, that can only help each student feel they can access the knowledge and develop the skills necessary to thrive in our world.

By getting iPads into the hands of each student, we are getting closer to doing that in Saint Paul Public Schools.

If you’ve been one of the many committed employees who have volunteered to help during iPad distribution, you’ll know that our students welcome technology at many different levels. I have seen students in our schools swiping screens for the first time in their lives -- and I am more than grateful that Saint Paul Public Schools is giving them that opportunity.
Our next challenge will be to find a way to connect all students to the internet outside the school day. Limiting learning, instruction and education to the school day is not sufficient.

No, our work never ends. Thank you for everything you do for our students.

Your very proud superintendent,

Silva Signature



Valeria S. Silva