Jeni Snyder Alcakovic, teacher at Capitol Hill, earns doctorate
Jeni Snyder Alcakovic, fourth grade teacher at Capitol Hill, earned her Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Administration from the University of Minnesota.

Over the past two decades Jeni has taught students in Philadelphia, suburban Chicago, Central and South America and the Middle East. At SPPS, she has held teaching positions at Adams Spanish Immersion, St. Paul Open School, and Roosevelt Elementary.

Jeni also holds a Master's Degree in Teaching and Educational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania.

Jessica Lance, teacher at The Heights, wins scholarship
Jessica Lance has been honored with the 2014 Martin Duffy Adult Learner Scholarship from the Minnesota chapter of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL–CIO). Jessica teaches third grade at The Heights Community School.

Jessica has been a teacher for 17 years, with experience teaching students in grades K-3. She taught in Texas, Minneapolis and Shoreview before coming to SPPS. She holds degrees from the Concordia College in Moorhead and the University of Phoenix.

Jessica plans to use the scholarship to study educational administration at Concordia University in St. Paul.

Cougar Fun Run attracts 500 students for sprint around Como Lake
On May 22, Como Park High School staged its first Cougar Fun Run, including fitness stations around Como Lake. The run was open to the entire school and nearly 500 students participated. Students were given a ‘fitness passport’ and those who completed the run and all the stations were entered into a drawing for prizes. Kudos to MaryClare Bade and her student organizers for smooth planning and execution of what we hope will become an annual event.

Board member joins 450 students and staff for Run 2 be Fit
On May 23, Washington Technology Magnet hosted students in grades 4 and 5 from Mississippi, John A. Johnson, Bruce Vento, St. Paul Music Academy and Wellstone for their second annual Run 2 be Fit two-mile run. School board member and former SPPS teacher John Brodrick served as guest starter for over 450 participating students and staff. Students returned to Washington for an outdoor fitness fair, and medals were awarded to the top five boys and girls finishers. Thanks to Michelle Leba and the wellness committee at Washington for coordinating what’s become a very popular event.

Capitol Hill kicks off Moving Matters with Commissioners of Education, Health
Dr. Brenda Cassellius, Commissioner of Education, and Dr. Ed Ehlinger, Commissioner of Health, toured Capitol Hill to kick off the Moving Matters! school toolkit. Moving Matters! is designed to help schools offer high-quality, research-based physical activity programs.

The commissioners actively participated in Breakfast 2 Go, observed 3rd grade students in a YogaCalm mindfulness session, helped with 6th grade students as they tended the school gardens, and visited with student leaders in grades 1 and 8. Thanks to Principal Patrick Bryan and Counselor Lori Sundelius for their participation and the school’s continued commitment to wellness.

Cherokee Heights celebrates student triathletes
Cherokee Heights recently held its first student triathlon with the help of an Allina Health wellness grant. Chaley Thames, physical education teacher, organized it in collaboration with the school’s wellness committee. Each student then did a portion of the race, and students who wanted to do the entire triathlon themselves were also allowed to participate. The race was a huge success and the school plans to hold the event again next year.

College bound students credit AVID for success
With the generous support of Travelers, the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program marked its seventh successful year in Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS). The AVID program helps students who are in the "academic middle" prepare for success in colleges and universities by encouraging them to enroll in rigorous course work during their school career. On May 29, more than 100 college-bound SPPS high school seniors celebrated their success during the AVID Senior Celebration.