From the Superintendent: Thank you for your commitment, professionalism through our weather challenges


Dear Colleagues:

Congratulations on another high-quality School Choice Fair and a great first week of the new year. Mother Nature has been putting on quite a show, hasn't she? We live in Minnesota, so I guess we shouldn’t be surprised.

I have to tell you that weather-related decisions are really tough, because you can’t make everyone happy. Thank you for your understanding and willingness to make the best of the situation. I know that you, great professionals that you are, found creative approaches to maximize the opportunities presented by smaller class sizes last Wednesday.

A couple of EL teachers told me about their amazing day with four Karen students who were so much more relaxed and willing to speak up in English with a class half its usual size. After a truly engaging day of learning, the students themselves exclaimed about how much they’d learned.

A math teacher I spoke with talked about splitting her 15 students into two groups for some hands-on practice and ultimately hearing one student cry out, “I finally got it!”

A science teacher took the opportunity to have his students work on their new iPads to view molecular activity that he hadn’t had the chance to access with his full class. The students were spellbound. 

Not only did learning happen in Saint Paul Public Schools on that bitterly cold Wednesday, but approximately 18,000 students had the opportunity for a healthy breakfast and lunch at a time when money may have been a little short in some homes. That’s not the story for many of us, but it’s something that we mustn’t forget about some of our students.

This is just the beginning of our harshest weather of the year, friends, so there’s every possibility that we’ll face more days like this. I know the educators in SPPS will continue creating even more engaging learning opportunities when that happens.

As you know, every one of our students deserves and must have the opportunity to access education. It is our job to provide that. In turn, I will make sure our families and students better understand that an excused absence should only be used if there is a safety issue due to the extreme weather.

To close or not to close? To excuse absences or not? We tried a middle-of-the-road solution geared to keep students learning. We all have to find a better way in the future to make this work.

Thanks again to everyone who helped make our School Choice Fair a success. Let’s enjoy the week of learning we have ahead of us.

Your very proud superintendent,

Silva Signature



Valeria S. Silva