Vang Lo, SPPS counselor, named Outstanding Student of the Year
Vang Lo was named Outstanding Student of the Year by the counseling program at the University of Wisconsin River Falls (UWRF). Vang graduated in December 2013 and was immediately hired by SPPS. In addition to being an excellent student and intern, Vang served on the UWRF school counseling stakeholder group.

Meg King-Abraham, technology specialist at Cherokee Heights, named Digital Innovator
Technology Specialist Meg King-Abraham was named a Digital Innovator -- one of only two in the state -- by PBS Learning Media.

Meg is recognized for her creativity in facilitating technology-based learning opportunities for students at her K-5 school. Learn more on the PBS website.

Nicole Staab, science teacher at Farnsworth, to attend Space Academy in Alabama
Nicole Staab has been selected to attend the Honeywell Educators @ Space Academy this summer at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Teachers spend five days at Space Camp, learning about ways to become more effective educators in science, technology, engineering, aerospace, and math (STEAM).

The intensive professional development program brings science and math educators from around the world together to participate in a variety of classroom, laboratory and simulation experiences centered on space science and exploration. Attendees learn a wide range of new teaching techniques, activities and standards-based curriculum to share with their fellow teachers and students.

Tim Chase, science teacher at Murray, named Environmental Educator of the Year
Science Teacher Tim Chase has been selected by the Minnesota Association of Environmental Education to receive the Environmental Educator of the Year Award. This award was established to recognize outstanding, ongoing effort integrating environmental education into school curriculum. This is very evident in his work with the Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom and his Environment Inquiry Immersion course at Murray.

Dr. Betsy Garcia, school nurse at Capitol Hill, featured on MPR for breakfast research
Dr. Betsy Garcia did a retrospective study on how eating Breakfast to Go (B2G) reduced the number of student visits to the nurse's office and increased direct instructional time in the classroom.

Prior to B2G, Dr. Garcia noted 10 or more students per day with headaches and stomach aches between the hours of 9:30 to 10 a.m. Since B2G the students have the energy to remain focused and engaged during class time.

On Monday, May 12, Dr. Garcia was interviewed by MPR News along with Principal Patrick Bryan and Angie Gaszak from Nutrition Services. To learn more and listen to the segment, visit mpr.org.

Zach B. and Bridget E., students at Focus Beyond, star in musical
In March, Focus Beyond Transition Services put on a spectacular musical that included a full cast of students with disabilities. Zach B.’s and Bridget E.'s lead performances were instrumental in providing direction in vocals and choreography. Congratulations for a job well done!

Wallin awards 39 scholarships to graduating SPPS students
This year, Wallin Education Partners awarded distinctive scholarships to 39 SPPS students from the class of 2014.

The mission of Wallin Education Partners is to enable college and career success for high-potential Minnesota students through scholarship awards, advising support and collaboration with educational, business and philanthropic partners. Learn more at spps.org

SPPS students celebrate fitness day with staff and community partners
Students from Johnson Senior High, Farnsworth Upper and Lower, Hazel Park Academy, Frost Lake, The Heights, and Phalen Lake participated in Johnson’s second annual Get Up and GOvie! Fitness Day on May 9.

Students rotated through various fitness stations, such as a climbing wall, obstacle courses and Zumba, while getting the chance to become acquainted with their area high school. Thanks go out to Johnson’s Wellness Committee, staff and student volunteers, and community partners HealthPartners, Unified Martial Arts, the U.S. Airforce, PAWS for Learning, and St. Paul Urban Tennis for their collaboration and planning.

AGAPE student is first from school to study mechanical engineering at St. Thomas
Sandra M. R., student at Agape, will be studying mechanical engineering next fall at St. Thomas University. In our 56 years, Sandra is the first and only student to be accepted into this male-dominated field of study. Learn more at spps.org.

Capitol Hill students excel at History Day
Two Capitol Hill students will go on to the national History Day competition after winning top awards in the state competition.

Emma N. won first place for her website project and Emily A. S. won second place for her performance. The following students also placed very well in the state competition:

Medal winners:

  • Miranda Skinner
  • Eleanor O. Callaghan
  • Emmersyn Goetz
  • Soren Eversoll
  • Asher Bernick-Roehr
  • Grace Regala
  • Owen McCready
  • Sydney Warch
  • Roland Berg

Honorable mentions:

  • Emmalynn Williamson
  • Sawyer Johnson
  • Luke Umhoefer
  • Anna Sifferle
  • Elaea Purmalietis
  • Liam Adams
  • David Moberg
  • Jeremiah Smith
  • Joseph Kase
  • Lydia Rosenberg
  • Rosalie Kurtz
  • Ben Smith
  • Eva Langenbrunner
  • Carolina Schuster
  • Josephine Wilmes
  • Cali Rivera
  • Robert Dean
  • Yared Ansera
  • Sophie Hokanson
  • Claire Davis

Topical Prize Winner:

  • Lydia Rosenberg - "History of Women" Prize - ($100 scholarship)

SPFT to recognize historic anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education
Saturday, May 17 marks the landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court that declared state laws permitting separate public schools for black and white students to be unconstitutional.

On Friday, May 16, the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers (SPFT) will host a press conference at Obama Elementary. Speakers will include SPFT President Mary Cathryn Ricker, NAACP President Jeff Martin, and students from William Mitchell College of Law.

Presidents Ricker and Martin will also host a luncheon at the Hallie Q. Brown Community Center with special guest Mahmoud El-Kati, professor emeritus at Macalester College.

The union has asked teachers to lead a lesson for students about the ruling. For more information and resources, visit the SPFT website.

Allina Health, SPPS announce new program to support learning success
Students in SPPS will benefit from free, regular vision eye screenings thanks to a new partnership between SPPS and the Phillips Eye Institute’s Early Youth Eyecare (E.Y.E.) Community Initiative.

The E.Y.E. program provides free regular vision screening and works with families to remove barriers that might exist to treatment, including interpreter services, transportation, medical care and eyewear at no cost to the families or the school district. Learn more at spps.org.

Battle Creek Middle School wins national school breakfast competition
Battle Creek Middle School has been selected as a national winner in the It Starts with School Breakfast campaign from Fuel Up to Play 60.

Fuel Up to Play 60 is a program founded by the National Dairy Council and NFL, in collaboration with USDA, that empowers students to take charge in making small, healthy changes at school.

Twitter chat: Superintendent, R.T. Rybak, Rep. Mariani talk education
Former Minneapolis Mayor and now Generation Next Executive Director R.T. Rybak, along with and Minnesota State Rep. Carlos Mariani, discussed the state of education with Superintendent Silva on May 7 in a live Twitter chat.

They discussed K-12 funding amid the state’s budget surplus, closing the achievement gap, hurdles facing English language learners, and poverty and housing needs for students. At the end, they took some questions from the public. To see the whole conversation, visit spps.org.

Participate in future chats by following us on Twitter at twitter.com/SPPS_News.