From the Superintendent: Waiting on the Legislature; preparing for summer

2015_suptheadshot_final_may.jpg

Dear Colleagues,

Late last week, Governor Dayton vetoed the education bill. This action is not a surprise as he promised to reject the bill if the House and Senate did not move closer to his spending proposals. Parents United for Public Schools offers an excellent recap of the events that led to the Governor’s veto, including how he offered to remove his demand for universal preK. The stunning lack of action at the state level has delayed our district’s ability to finalize budget decisions. We simply will not know how much money we have until the legislature finishes its job it began 5 months ago. The Governor is expected to call a special session in early June. There is still time to contact your legislators to ask them to adequately fund our schools using the Governor’s spending targets.

While we wait to know more about state funding, we are moving ahead with our summer programming. This year’s Summer Term (S-Term) is shaping up to be the biggest summer in SPPS to date. S-Term is a fantastic opportunity to prevent summer slide and keep our students engaged during the summer months. Providing quality summer learning experiences is a key way to narrow the achievement and opportunity gap so we want to enroll as many kids as we can.

Last year we registered more than 15,000 students, and this year’s goal is to increase that number by nearly one third, to19,500 students.

I ask everyone in the district to reach out to students who can benefit from S-Term. We have room to register about 900 students for the first summer session (June 15 - July 9) and 6,800 for the second summer session (July 13 - August 6).

As you talk with prospective S-Term students and their families, be sure to share the great pride we take in offering a stellar summer program. What makes it so great? First and foremost, it’s you: the teachers and staff! My heartfelt thanks to all of you who will be spending part of your summer with our students. For anyone who hasn’t yet decided if they will teach S-term, we still need high school science and math instructors!

S-Term at SPPS also maintains a great balance between academics and enrichment. K-8 students get boosts in math, reading and writing. Through electives and other enrichment activities, they can refine their leadership abilities, develop socio-emotional skills, and -- in grades 5 and 8 -- prepare for the transition to middle school or high school. Students in grades 9-12 stay on track for graduation with credit recovery. And everybody receives breakfast and lunch at no charge.

Most of all, S-Term offers an element that some kids don’t necessarily think of when they think of summer school: it’s FUN. The feedback we heard most often after last summer’s program was simple: “We wish it lasted longer!”

Your very proud Superintendent,

Silva Signature

 

Valeria S. Silva