From the Superintendent: Addressing School Climate Can't Wait

Superintendent Silva

Colleagues:

As we consider the climate issues that face some of our schools, we have no time to lose in creating new safety measures and strengthening those already in place. Saint Paul’s students can’t wait.

In its article “Youth Violence: Risk and Protective Factors,” the Centers for Disease Control points out that among factors that help reduce youth violence are “school climates characterized by intensive supervision, clear behavior rules, consistent negative reinforcement of aggression, and engagement of parents and teachers.”

SPPS can strengthen each of these factors in our schools, and Saint Paul’s students can’t wait until the next teacher contract is final. That is why, effective immediately and as detailed in a letter to SPFT Leadership, I am:

  • re-assigning additional district administrators, including members of my Cabinet, to spend a portion of their day at specific sites where fighting-related suspensions are most prevalent.
  • urging all staff to reread and recommit to the shared expectations -- agreed upon by both the district and SPFT -- in our Rights and Responsibilities Handbook.
  • deploying district coaches at OEL, OTL, MLL and OSS to designate a portion of their day to an assigned building.
  • advocating for the use of PLC time to help students and provide behavioral and academic interventions. Building administration will work with any teacher requesting to meet with students in lieu of a PLC meeting and ensure that such interventions are documented.
  • ensuring that all staff supervise students in the hallways during passing and transition times as well as before and after school.

I also remain committed to working with SPFT leadership to develop consistent and sustainable restorative practices across the district and have sought collaboration from SPFT leadership since October to begin this work. While not a cure-all, I believe that restorative practices are a powerful tool in fostering positive, productive learning environments when implemented with fidelity and with school-wide support.

Saint Paul’s students can’t wait for contract mediation to run its course in order to improve school climate. I believe that SPFT leadership feels the same way. Saint Paul’s students and their families need to know that everyone who works at SPPS upholds safety as our top priority.

Your very proud superintendent,

Silva Signature

 

 

Valeria Silva