7 SPPS Students Named 2016 National Merit Semifinalists
Seven students in Saint Paul Public Schools have been named 2016 National Merit semifinalists by the National Merit Scholarship Program. Audrey McCarthy, Jaleh Shambayati and Theodore Walker of Central High School; Keith Eicher and Tuomas Sivula of Como Park Senior High School; and Keiko Hilmo and Leah Kanihan of Highland Park Senior High School were all named semifinalists for the National Merit Scholarship.

The National Merit Scholarship Program named about 16,000 nationwide semifinalists in September. These academically talented high school seniors have the opportunity to compete for about 7,400 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million. All winners of Merit Scholarship awards are chosen from the finalist group based on their abilities, skills, and accomplishments, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference. The program will select finalists in April through July to receive a Merit Scholarship award.

Anne McInerney receives Minnesota School Social Workers Association Career Achievement Award
Anne McInerney recently received the 2015 Career Achievement Award from the Minnesota School Social Workers Association (MSSWA). McInerney is working as the Supervisor for Project REACH and Fostering Connections, programs that serve homeless and highly mobile children and families, as well as youth in foster care.

McInerney began her school social work career in SPPS in 1998 at American Indian Magnet School and World Cultures. She also worked as a team lead at Maxfield and RiverEast.

In addition to her work with SPPS, McInerney has logged countless volunteer hours serving on boards of the local and national school social work professional organizations. She has served as MSSWA president and the Midwest Council for School Social Work vice president. She has been involved in the School Social Worker Association of America Board of Directors since 2006 and is currently the board’s president.

Washington Tech, Riverview host National Safe Routes to School trainings
Washington Technology Magnet School and Riverview West Side School of Excellence hosted national Safe Routes to Schools trainings in October. Community members, city workers, district council and nonprofit representatives, and SPPS staff attended the day-long workshops where they discussed ways to make school grounds and their surroundings safer and encourage more students to walk or bike to school.

During the workshops, the group met with the principals and students of each school, who shared the challenges their buildings face and factors that could be incorporated or changed to promote more walking and biking.

Harding Girls Tennis Player Earns Athletic Scholarship for University of California, Berkeley
A 12th-grader at Harding Senior High School has earned an athletic scholarship to the University of California, Berkeley where she’ll play Division I tennis.

Students and staff held a party at Harding for Alexis Nelson on Nov. 11 -- National Signing Day -- where she signed a letter of intent to play tennis at the University of California, Berkeley.

“Coming to Harding has been one of the best decisions I’ve made,” said Alexis during the event. “It’s just been such a great learning experience here.”

Alexis’s 2015 record was 31-6, according to Tennis Recruiting Network.

Firefighters Donate 400 Winter Coats to Riverview Students, 2nd Coat Donation at SPPS
Four hundred children from low-income families were outfitted with brand-new winter coats on Nov. 11 thanks to Saint Paul Firefighters Local 21. Firefighters partnered with Operation Warm, a national nonprofit that has provided new coats to 1.5 million children in need.

The coat donation on Nov. 11 at Riverview Elementary School was the last firefighter coat donation of the season in Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS). Last month, firefighters donated about 650 coats to students at Paul and Sheila Wellstone Elementary.

SPPS staff featured last week in ‘I Am SPPS’
The “I Am SPPS” campaign shares photos and quotes from SPPS students, staff, families and supporters. The campaign can be found on Facebook, Twitter and spps.org/iamspps.

Last week “I Am SPPS” featured:

  • Ty, eighth-grader at Hazel Park Preparatory Academy
  • Ashley, a student at Hazel Park Preparatory Academy, pictured with specialist Carolyn Roessler
  • Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton