'I Am SPPS' campaign continues on social media, SPPS website
The “I am SPPS” campaign shares photos and quotes from SPPS students, staff, families and supporters. Topics will vary but could range from personal stories to experiences at Saint Paul Public Schools. Photos and quotes will be posted on Facebook and Twitter, as well as archived on spps.org/iamspps.

Last week “I am SPPS” features:

  • Ty Thompson, principal at Battle Creek Middle School
  • Lee Yang, father of Murray Middle School student
  • Dr. Carla Hines, principal at Creative Arts Secondary High School

Washington Tech teacher receives Norma Rowe Model UN Teacher Award
The United Nations Association of Minnesota recently announced that Gina Lesser, a social studies teacher at Washington Technology Magnet, is a recipient of the Norma Rowe Model UN Teacher Award.

Each year the Norma Rowe Model UN Teacher Award is given to recognize an outstanding teacher in the Model UN program. Lesser's commitment to UNA-MN by developing an ELL accessible curriculum has been instrumental in ensuring high levels of instruction for all students. She will be featured on the UNA-MN website and in the organization’s annual report.

Linwood Monroe Partners with Keys 4/4 Kids
Linwood Monroe Arts Plus (LMAP) music educator Annelise Dale has been working with Keys 4/4 Kids to bring a baby grand piano to the school auditorium. The baby grand piano, which has been played since 1926, will get new life when it’s donated to students and staff at LMAP.

The partnership began after a Keys 4/4 Kids staff member with a personal connection to LMAP noticed a need for a new piano in the auditorium. The organization contacted Principal Bryan Bass and the wheels were set in motion to provide the school with the piano.

Central teacher selected as finalist for Presidential Awards for Excellence in Math and Science
Lisa Houdek, a Physical Science and AP Environmental Science teacher at Central High School, is one of three Minnesota finalists for the 2015 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching are the nation's highest honors for teachers of mathematics and science.

Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education. Nominations are currently being reviewed by a national committee. One math and one science teacher from each state will be selected for the award. Houdek will be recognized as a finalist at the Minnesota Science Teachers Association conference on Feb. 26.

Photos: Volunteers build new Riverview playground
Riverview West Side School of Excellence is celebrating a new playground thanks to volunteers from the community who helped renovate the playground on Sept. 12. Kaboom, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting play, and Foresters, an international financial services provider, helped with the project.

Video: Bruce Vento partnering with U of M
This year, Bruce Vento Elementary School is participating in the University of Minnesota's Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, Healthy Learners partnership between Extension's Children and Youth & Family Consortium.

The following video offers a concise summary of various parts of the project, including the partnership with Family Innovations and the creation of the school-community garden and calming room.