Solutions in Action works toward improve school climate

By Superintendent Valeria Silva and SPFT President Mary Cathryn Ricker

Earlier this year, a group consisting of representatives from the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers, Saint Paul Public Schools, the Minnesota Minority Education Partnership, the Saint Paul Black Interdenominational Ministers Association, and other community leaders began meeting in order to get to the bottom of why SPPS has a higher rate of referrals and suspensions for our African American / Black students than any other group, and ultimately to find common ground on the best conditions and school climate for learning.

The result is a project called Solutions in Action – an effort to ensure engaging, rigorous, equitable and safe schools for students and staff.

Members of the Solutions In Action project team will be contacting students, families, community members, teachers, staff, and administration to set up the first step in this effort: listening sessions and surveys. Teachers and building staff, in particular, will have the opportunity to participate in both.

Solutions in Action tools will help us gain critical multiple perspectives on the work we’re doing. Feedback will inform action plans that can lead to fair and equitable responses to inappropriate behavior, as well as allow us to advocate for and/or implement equitable, supportive discipline processes and practices for students and staff. In the end, we will create the kind of learning environment in which students can learn, staff can teach, and families feel welcome.

It is imperative that we continue our efforts to gain multiple perspectives from students, families, community members, teachers, staff, and administration to focus on how we can work together to effectively transform discipline in our schools to help improve behavior and responses for everyone. We cannot do this work without you. Your perspective is vital to finding solutions, putting them to action, and succeeding.

Thank you in advance for your deep dedication and commitment to the students and families of Saint Paul Public Schools, and thank you for everything you do to interrupt and end institutionalized racism and bias, so that we can provide a premier education for all of our students here in Saint Paul.

Please contact michelle.bierman@spps.org or  rev.hillstrom@spps.org for additional information or with any questions.