Como Park Elementary principal honored with leadership award
Como Park Elementary Principal Christine Vang received the 2015 Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association (MESPA) Division Leadership Achievement Award. The award honors principals whose exemplary leadership and sustained efforts have made noteworthy contributions to the operation of effective school learning programs -- improving education, their communities, and their profession, according to MESPA. Vang is a representative on the MESPA Saint Paul Division Membership Committee. She was recognized by colleagues statewide on Feb. 5 an awards banquet during the annual MESPA Institute, the statewide convention of Minnesota’s elementary and middle level principals.

Hazel Park students perform with LGBTA chorus for school
A group of students at Hazel Park Academy Middle School recently sang and spoke during a school performance with OneVoice, a LGBTA mixed chorus nonprofit group. For about six weeks, OneVoice has been working with Hazel Park Academy students as they learn about gender through song, art, skits and conversations.

The mission of the “Out in Our Schools” program is to build community and create social change by raising student voices in song. “It gave the students a sense of pride and acknowledgement within their school environment,” said Misti Germundson, who works with the students as the Gender, Sexual, Alliance coordinator at Hazel Park.

EXPO students take third place at Destination Imagination tourney
Congratulations to EXPO Elementary’s Destination Imagination team, the Sneaky Foxes, for its excellent performance at the Affiliate Tournament
 on April 11 at Jackson Middle School in Champlin.

The team earned third place and is the alternate to go to the Global Finals in Knoxville, Tenn. The team includes students Allison Alden Pope, Evelyn Bassett, Mallory Garafalo, Elsie Newburg, Lucy Schweiss, McKenzie Welch and Whitney Zeitchick. The coaches are Heather Alden and Mark Mueller.

Capitol Hill teacher selected for history fellowship in Washington D.C.
Mark Westpfahl, a teacher at Capitol Hill Gifted and Talented Magnet, has been selected as a Catherine Reynolds Foundation Civil War Washington Teachers Fellow. In July, Westpfahl will travel to Washington D.C., where he will join up to 25 teachers to learn about Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass and the city of Washington during the Civil War.

The fellowship is hosted by the Civil War Washington Consortium: Ford’s Theatre Society; Frederick Douglass National Historic Site; Tudor Place Historic House and Garden and President Lincoln’s Cottage. The Ford Theatre recommended that Westpfahl apply for the honor after taking his class to the theatre during a 2014 spring break trip.

“I am beyond excited and feel very honored to be given this opportunity,” Westpfahl said. “I will be traveling to historic sites, accessing historic archives, and learning from curators, directors, and some of the best and brightest educators in our country! We will also be sharing and developing new curriculum that we will be able to share with our students for years to come.”

10 Schools at SPPS Compete at Renewable Energy Challenge
Congratulations to student teams who competed at the Renewable Energy Challenge (REC) on April 11 at Washington Technology Magnet. During the REC, teams designed and built wind turbines, which they placed into a wind tunnel to learn how much electricity they could generate. The teams also participated in other challenges, such as building a solar water fountain for renewable energy. Congratulations also to the team coaches and staff who participated.

The following schools competed:

  • Adams Spanish Immersion Elementary
  • American Indian Magnet
  • Battle Creek Middle School
  • Capitol Hill Gifted and Talented Magnet
  • Como Park Elementary School
  • Farnsworth Aerospace (5-8)
  • Highland Park Middle School
  • Parkway Montessori and Community Middle School
  • Washington Technology Magnet
  • Wellstone Elementary

Two SPPS students receive scholarships to IB World Student conference
Lucero Ramos, a student at Harding Senior High School, and Nelson Moroukian, a student at Central High School, have been selected to receive $1,500 scholarships to attend the International Baccalaureate World Student conference on Information Technology in a Global Society. The conference will be in July at the Ramon Llull University in Barcelona, Spain.

The scholarships were sponsored by the Minnesota Association of IB world schools. The selections were based on academic records, extracurricular activities and community service. Lucero and Nelson, who are juniors, are IB Diploma Programme candidates.

Nine elementary schools participate in yumPower School Challenge
Congratulations to nine SPPS elementary schools that recently participated in the annual yumPower School Challenge. By challenging students and staff to eat more fruits and vegetables, enrolled schools can earn funding for their wellness programs based on overall school participation rates.

Linwood Monroe teacher selected for LearnZillion’s 2015 Dream Team
Nicola Turner, a fifth grade teacher at Linwood Monroe Arts Plus, has been accepted to join the LearnZillion’s 2015 Dream Team. The team creates content for LearnZillion, a company that creates free math and English language resources -- developed by expert teachers directly from the Common Core State Standards -- for grades 2-12.

Turner and 139 other teachers nationwide were chosen from nearly 4,000 applicants to serve on the team with the goal of creating resources to benefit teachers and students worldwide. Turner will create materials for grades 3-5 in the summer.

Governor Mark Dayton visits SPPS
On April 14, Gov. Mark Dayton and Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius visited Expo Elementary School. The visit was part of the governor’s efforts to promote early childhood education and universal pre-kindergarten for all Minnesota 4-year-olds. The group spent time with Pre-K teacher Emily Campbell’s classroom before moving to the library for a press conference where the leaders and Saint Paul Public Schools staff discussed the benefits of investing in quality early childhood programs.