Photos: Families participate in 2015 NAAPID Events at SPPS
SPPS students performed Feb. 9 at several school events honoring National African American Parent Involvement Day. NAAPID is a national call to action to get parents, particularly those with children of African descent, more involved in their children's education. The purpose and intent of NAAPID is inclusive, not exclusive. ALL parents are encouraged to participate. 

Murray students create virtual tour of school using iPads, technology
Students at Murray Middle School are showing what they love about their school to prospective families and students with the help of iPads, videos and technology.

The school’s first-semester journalism class headed the project by making nine short videos of different parts of the school to create a virtual tour. The class then used QR codes on posters throughout the school to connect visitors with the videos.

MnDOT awards SPPS $7,000 in grants to promote 'Safe Routes to School'
Saint Paul Public Schools has received a $7,000 grant as part of the Safe Routes to School initiative from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT).

The grant, awarded Feb. 10, will be used to install bicycle racks at up to eight schools district-wide. Any remaining funds will be used to promote “Bike and Walk to School Day” events and to purchase bicycle helmets for students.

A list of the schools that will receive the funding is still being finalized.

Celebrate Chinese New Year on Feb. 20 with Jie Ming Mandarin Immersion, Highland Park schools
Families are invited to celebrate the 2015 Chinese New Year with Jie Ming Mandarin Immersion Academy and Highland Park Senior High and Middle schools.

This year’s Chinese New Year celebrates the year of the sheep and goat.

The celebration takes place 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 20, at Highland Park Senior High School, 1015 S. Snelling Ave. The event will include student performances, a carnival and light refreshments.

Linwood Monroe fourth-graders create, perform opera for 20th year 
For the 20th year, fourth-graders at Linwood Monroe Arts Plus School are creating their own original Fourth Grade Opera. “Electric Catastrophe: Save the Energy!” will be shown at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 19; and 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 20, at the Monroe Campus Auditorium, 810 Palace Ave. in St. Paul.

For 17 days, students create an original story, compose songs, choreograph movement, design sets, audition, rehearse and perform their own opera. This arts residency is an annual rite of passage for fourth-graders at Linwood Monroe who collaborate with classroom teachers, art specialists, community volunteers, composer in residence Stephen Houtz and visual artist Malia Burkhart. The Twin Cities Opera Guild, the Save Our Schools Nonprofit Organization and the school’s PTA help fund the project.

What makes this production unique is that it is created and performed by fourth-graders at Linwood Monroe. 

Kathy Kittel receives Special Needs Provider of the Year Award
Kathy Kittel, SPPS Career and Technical Education Program Manager, recently received the Special Needs Personnel Outstanding Career and Technical Direct Service Provider of the Year Award from the Minnesota Association of Career and Technical Education. The award recognizes a person who has made a major contribution to the development and/or growth of career and technical education for students with special needs. Kittel has worked with  students and families at SPPS since 1991. Kittel will be presented with the award on Feb. 26.

Adams Spanish Immersion community packs more than 30,000 meals for children in Liberia
The Adams Spanish Immersion community isn't just talking about hunger -- it's doing something about it. On Jan. 30, Adams Spanish Immersion students, parents, teachers, administrators and community volunteers joined to measure and pack ingredients for 30,144 meals to feed children in Liberia. The group also raised $5,189 to pay for the ingredients and shipping costs. Students from Open World Learning Community also helped with the cause. Students in grades K-5 (with the help of students from  Open World Learning Community) transformed the school cafeteria into a food packing? factory.

Lt. Cmdr. Byron Toole elected president of North End Business Association
Lt. Cmdr. Byron Toole, the Senior Naval JROTC Instructor at Washington Technology Magnet School, was recently elected as president of the North End Business Association. The Washington Tech NJROTC cadets have been active for many years in community events and service in the North End of Saint Paul, including during Rice Street Days, Saint Paul Oktoberfest and activities at area schools. The North End Business Association meets monthly to promote the quality of life in the North End of Saint Paul. Association members include local leaders from business, schools, the city and Ramsey County.