3 SPPS schools awarded $100,000 grants from United Way, Target
Como Park Elementary, Eastern Heights Elementary and Washington Technology Magnet were selected as Spotlight Schools last week, each receiving $100,000 grants from Target and the Greater Twin Cities United Way to help close the achievement gap. Forty schools were invited to apply for the grants and the 10 winners were announced May 19.

This is what the schools plan to do with the grants:

  • Como Elementary plans to expand implementation of the Collaborative Action Research for Equity process, increase teacher content knowledge and improve teaching practices.
  • Eastern Heights plans to reconfigure learning environments grade by grade, resulting in Learning Studios combining all grade-level classrooms into one space.
  • Washington Tech plans to purchase the equipment, supplies, computer applications, and software needed to offer premier classes with a focus on hands-on learning through student experimentation.

Nearly 250 students participate in Saint Anthony running club's annual race
Saint Anthony Park Elementary School's running club recently held its annual 1-mile race around Langford Park. Nearly 250 students in grades 1-5 took part in the event. Congratulations to all the runners, as well as Race Club Coordinators Karen Paulsen and Judy Roe. This was the last race for Roe, one of the running club’s original founders, who is retiring at the end of this school year.

Capitol Hill wins Walk/Ride to School Traveling Trophy for 2nd Year
Capitol Hill Gifted and Talented Magnet had great participation in the Wellness Week Walk n’ Roll to School Day, with more than 1,000 students and staff walking throughout the day. The day’s activities began with Nutrition Services staff leading some of the students in the Electric Slide. Throughout the day, staff took breaks to lead their students on walks. Capitol Hill, which won the first Bike/Walk to School Traveling Trophy last year, will be holding onto the trophy for a second year.

SPMA's Francine Parling participating in 'Minnesota Goes to Berlin' workshop
Francine Parling, an English language learners and language academy teacher at Saint Paul Music Academy, has been selected to participate in the 2015 Minnesota Goes to Berlin professional development workshop during June 12-22 in Berlin, Germany. On the trip, Francine and her cohort will focus on comparative United States and German immigrant and refugee education through school and community program visits and round table discussions with students, teachers and community members.

Several SPPS math staffers lead sessions at state, national conferences
Congratulations to six SPPS staff members who led eight sessions earlier this month at the Minnesota Council of Teachers of Mathematics Spring Conference:

  • Tom Totuskek, a math teacher at Open World Learning School, led a session titled "Eighth Grade Math Through Programming."
  • Suzanne Horne, a math teacher at Humboldt High School, led a session called "Mindset and the Adolescent Brain."
  • Heather Evjen, a secondary math specialist, facilitated a session using integer and algebra tiles titled "If They Build it, They Will Understand."
  • Terry Meryhew and Betty Wendorff, both elementary math specialists, led two sessions titled "Models to Support Subtraction with Regrouping" and "Building Number Sense."
  • Kathleen Wilson, SPPS math supervisor, led three sessions titled, "Decimal, Fraction, and Percent Equivalence Using Base-10 Blocks," "The Power of Quick Formative Assessments in Action" and "Human Bar Graphs + Other Strategies for Making Statistics."

Wilson also presented two sessions at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics annual meeting in April. Each session had more than 120 participants. The sessions were titled “Strategies for Teaching Math Facts Rather than Just Assessing Them" and " Powerful Practices That Strengthen Mental Math."

Washington senior recovers from father's death, succeeds in high school
Sue Lee, a senior at Washington Technology Magnet, remembers starting his high school career strong. But school quickly changed freshman year when his father died. Sue, whose younger brother is a sophomore at Washington, became the oldest male at home. He now lives with his brother, mother and grandmother. With his dad gone, Sue’s family began relying on him for transportation because his mother doesn’t drive.

But Sue persisted. He played soccer the first two years of high school, volunteered in a zoology enrichment project to create habitat for animals, and joined the school’s anime club, a group that favors Japanese cartoons. He also joined Genesys Works, a program that enables underprivileged high school students to work in meaningful internships at major corporations during their senior year in high school. Sue currently is interning at Land O’Lakes.

  • Read more about Sue’s high school experience.

Graduate spotlight: Washington senior adapts to new country, juggles family life and school
Ku Yang’s obligations at home haven’t stopped him from graduating from Washington Technology Magnet School this year and being accepted to St. Cloud State University. He also found time to participate in high school activities, like playing and helping coach tennis. He was president of the school’s Hmong Organization, and helps with an annual Hmong New Year celebration.

  • Read more about Ku's high school experience.

Graduate spotlight: Washington student perseveres through tough times to graduate
Senior Racquel Hawkins has made Washington Technology Magnet School her home since seventh grade. When she graduates this year, she plans to call college her new home. Racquel has proven throughout high school that she’s ready to tackle more responsibility and overcome obstacles in college.

  • Read more about Racquel's high school experience.

Students perform at 94th annual Saint Paul School Parade
The 94th Annual Saint Paul School Patrol Parade and Celebration was May 19. This year, the patrols marched east down Fifth Street beginning at Rice Park (Market and Fifth streets) and ending at the new CHS Field. Eight bands from Saint Paul Public Schools marched in the parade, and a few of them entertained the crowd at the Saints game. Patrols marched through the doors of the new stadium for the celebration. They also watched one of the first exhibition baseball games of the year, were treated to a ballpark lunch and had a chance to win door prizes.