Minnesota Teacher of the Year: LEAP High School’s Amy Hewett-Olatunde
Amy Hewett-Olatunde, an ELL teacher at LEAP High School, was named the 2015 Minnesota Teacher of the Year by Education Minnesota on Sunday, May 3.

Riverview Elementary wins preservation award
The renovation of Riverview Westside School of Excellence (formerly Roosevelt) is a winner of the Saint Paul Heritage Preservation Award by the Saint Paul Heritage Commission and the American Institute of Architects - Saint Paul Chapter.

The three-story building, constructed in 1928, was structurally sound but had numerous issues ranging from obsolete mechanical and electrical systems to building code violations and accessibility challenges. During renovation, the SPPS Facilities Department, project architects and contractors worked to retain original features of the building, including the exterior brick, interior woodwork and original terrazzo floors.

The prestigious industry award will be presented at Saint Paul City Hall on May 19. View additional project information, including before and after photos.

Hazel Park's authorized as IB World School for PYP
The International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme for grades PreK-5 at Hazel Park Preparatory Academy has been authorized to become an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School by the organization.

For the past three years, all staff at Hazel Park have received training to prepare for the rigor, challenges and engagement of learning offered through the program’s instruction. The school's Middle Years Programme currently is in its second year of preparation to be an International Baccalaureate World School.

Murray's Junior Honor Society participates in Spring Environmental Volunteer Project
The National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) at Murray Middle School braved the cold and snow on April 21 to participate in their annual Spring Environmental Volunteer Project. This year, the group helped restore a former farm into a nature preserve by removing more than 400 pounds of debris, including glass, metal, tires, cinder blocks, plumbing and building materials.

Each year, around Earth Day, advisors Erin Dooley and Carrie Newman bring the students to a local destination for an environmental clean up project. NJHS students in grade 8 must complete 30 or more hours of community service. Past years, Murray students have picked up trash at parks and cleared invasive plants at the Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom.

120 students transform landscape at Washington Tech entryway
A group of 120 students transformed the landscape at the front entryway of Washington Technology Magnet School on April 18 during the Free the Children Youth Summit.

Chuck and Hope Lea volunteer 10K hours for SPPS at Belwin Outdoor Science
Chuck and Hope Lea recently received the Sustainable Saint Paul Award for Exceptional Environmental Stewards at Belwin Outdoor Science, volunteering more than 10,000 hours over the past 23 years for Saint Paul Public Schools.

Since 1992, the Lea family has improved science learning for nearly 40,000 students with weekly, hands-on environmental education programs at Belwin. For the past 22 years, they have monitored more than 40 bluebird nest boxes and are responsible for 1,600 birds fledging from those boxes including: 738 bluebirds, 258 chickadees and 604 tree swallows.

Chuck has monitored a weather station at Belwin for the Science Museum of Minnesota for 20 years, and has spent countless hours maintaining this database. He also tracks the phenology (blooming times) of more than 80 species of flowers at Belwin, which will yield valuable insights for University of Minnesota researchers on climate change impacts for our region.

Hope is a retired principal from SPPS. She served at Dayton’s Bluff and Saint Anthony Park elementary schools. Chuck is a retired engineer from 3M.

American Indian Magnet's Big Urban Woods 4-H Club awarded 'Most Humorous/Fun' documentary
The Big Urban Woods 4-H Club at American Indian Magnet School was awarded "Most Humorous/Fun" for its documentary “The Making of a Dodgeball Tournament.” The club, which received the award at the Urban 4-H Showcase on April 18, received a free trip to present at the 2015 Urban 4-H Day at the Minnesota State Fair.

2 SPPS seniors semifinalists for 2015 US Presidential Scholars Program
Two Saint Paul Public School students have been named semifinalists in the 2015 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program.

Erin Kennedy, a senior at Central High School, and Ellen Purdy, a senior at Como Park Senior High School, have been named semifinalists for the award.

They were chosen by a panel of distinguished educators who reviewed their essays, self-assessments, descriptions of activities, school recommendations and school transcripts.

Eight semifinalists from Minnesota are among 565 semifinalists across the country. The semifinalists were selected from more than 4,300 candidates on the basis of superior achievements, leadership qualities, personal character, and involvement in community and school activities. The Commission of Presidential Scholarships, which will announce the finalists in May, will select one young man and one young woman from each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and U.S. students living abroad. The commission also will select up to 20 students representing the visual, literary and performing arts; and 15 at-large students.

Scholars will travel to Washington, D.C. in June to receive the U.S. Presidential Scholars medallion at a recognition ceremony and to participate in activities and events in their honor.

HPPA students honored for participating in Twin Cities Regional Science Fair
Hazel Park Preparatory Academy students were honored on April 15 for participating in the 2015 Twin Cities Regional Science Fair. More than 30 students presented projects ranging from environmental science to physics to elephant toothpaste.

3M Science Club coordinator Dr. Richard Streeper and Anne Sequest from 3Mgives presented the students with awards and prizes. HPPA science coaches Karn Matthews, Carlottia Davis, Angela Phillips and John Weimholt hosted the event, with support from Principal Dr. Delores Henderson and IB Coordinator Mae Schunk. Students from the 2014 regionals and the 2014 University of Minnesota Monarch Lab Insect Fair also were recognized.