News and Updates

 

Jackson Preparatory Magnet students provided Target and The Heart of America Foundation with what they hope will be included with the new library.
Jackson Preparatory Magnet selected for library renovation
Jackson Preparatory Magnet was selected to receive a library renovation from Target and The Heart of America Foundation. The renovation will include new paint, flooring, shelves, furniture, books and computers. In addition to the library renovation, each student will get seven books for their home library.
 
The redesigned library will be unveiled the week of April 19.

Ramsey Junior High becomes first AVID National Demonstration School in upper midwest

After a full day site visit to Ramsey Junior High School, the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) Center National staff named Ramsey Junior High School as the 112th AVID National Demonstration site. Ramsey Junior High School is the first AVID school in Minnesota and the surrounding area with a National Demonstration status. They are now a model of a successful AVID implementation for other sites to replicate. School staff, administrators and Travelers Companies joined together to celebrate the honor. There are roughly 4,700 AVID schools internationally.
 
Else Thorsen(m) and Pa Nhia (r) after receiving their spelling bee trophies.
Two SPPS students advance to regional spelling bee
Students from 20 SPPS competed in the 2010 Districtwide 4th through 8th Grade Spelling Bee on Saturday, Feb. 20 at the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. This year, fourth graders participated for the first time in the competition making this the largest districtwide spelling bee event to date. Students earned their spots in the contest by competing in individual competitions held at each school.

The 16-round spelling bee featured 39 students vying for one of two seats representing SPPS at the 2010 Minnesota Seven County Metro Area Regional Spelling Bee. Elsa Mundt, an 8th grader at Capitol Hill Gifted and Talented Magnet took first place with the winning word ahimsa. Pa Nhia Moua, a 6th grader at Eastern Heights Elementary took second place with the word kasha. Thorsen Cramer Bornemann, a 6th grader at Horace Mann School is the alternate.

Mundt and Moua will compete in the 2010 Minnesota Seven County Metro Area Regional Spelling Bee on Saturday, Mar. 13, beginning at 12:30 p.m. at the Minnesota History Center – 3M Auditorium, 345 West Kellogg Blvd. in Saint Paul.

Photos of the spelling bee can be viewed online. The competition will also be broadcast on Saint Paul Cable Channel 16 on Mar. 5, 6, 9, 12, 13 and 19, at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Thank you to Gifted Services for providing the space and the refreshments for the competition.

For more information about the SPPS Districtwide Spelling Bee, contact Theresa Benke at 651-744-1327
 
 
Series of community meetings focused on budget forecast and academic audit scheduled
As discussions surrounding the budget forecast for Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) continues, the District is hosting three opportunities beginning next week for community members to learn more about the budget process.

Community members can learn from where the District’s funds come, where they are spent and reasons for anticipated shortfalls in the coming years. There also will be a chance for community members who are seeking clarification about the process to ask questions at each of the meetings. In addition, there will be discussions on the recent Academic Audit Report process, including its impact on the budget and what the report will mean for SPPS families.

Each meeting will begin at 6 p.m. and is scheduled to conclude at 7:30 p.m. The sessions will take place at the following sites:
 
March 3: Harding Senior High School
1540 E. Sixth St.
St. Paul, MN 55106

March 8: SPPS Administration Building
360 Colborne Street
St. Paul, MN 55102

March 15: International Academy – LEAP
631 Albert St. N.
St. Paul, MN 55104

 
SPPS provides 2010 Census information to students and families
SPPS' Center for Professional Development, English Language Learner Department, and Office of Community Relations are supporting the 2010 Census. Saint Paul families will be receiving 2010 Census materials the third week in March mailed to their home. Translated guides and census information is available online.
 
Families can also contact the Census call center at:
  • 1-800-923-8282 (English and other languages)
  • 1-866-928-2010 (Spanish)
March 1-5 is designated as Saint Paul and Minneapolis School District Census week. Social studies teachers will be incorporating curriculum in their classrooms throughout the week and Mississippi Creative Arts Magnet is hosting the kick-off rally during the week. Schools can receive census materials for students including backpacks, notebooks, pencil cases and pens through the Center for Professional Development. Contact michelle.bierman@spps.org to order materials for your school.

SPPS staff have presented, and will continue to share information about the 2010 Census including purpose and examples of forms at districtwide parent advisory group meetings and other events to encourage parents to participate in the Census.
 
 
City officials learn more about President Obama's Promise Neighborhood initiative
Mayor Chris Coleman and Council Member Melvin Carter visited Washington D. C. to meet with federal officials to learn more about President Obama's Promise Neighborhood initiative. During the course of their trip, they met with Peter Groff, Executive Director of the Education Department's Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. As a result of their conversation, Director Groff and his staff came to visit Saint Paul Feb. 17-19, to learn about what existing community partnerships, opportunities around expanded learning time and to review the planned overhaul of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (also known as No Child Left Behind). The purpose of their visit was to explore forming a first-in-the-nation pilot partnership to support our efforts to expand learning time for students. Superintendent Silva and School Board members participated in the visit which resulted in a commitment from the City, County, and the District to convene further conversations regarding this issue. Director Groff and his team visited Maxfield Magnet and Jackson Preparatory Magnet while they were in town and spent time with Superintendent Silva to learn more about her priorities and where the district is headed. Director Groff and his team will be returning to Saint Paul for a follow up visit in early April.
 

State report shows positive results for SPPS alternative learning
The Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor recently completed and released a report for the Legislature and the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) regarding Alternative Education programs. SPPS Alternative Learning Center (ALC) K-8 Targeted Services programs such as Extended Day and Summer Session were included. The report contains provides positive results about SPPS, including:
  • Recruited and retained low achieving students (as measured by MCA's, NWEA, or other standardized measures)
  • Emphasized the need for focus – on two major areas of need – math and reading
  • Supported schools with a standards based curriculum and instructional program
  • Organized for effort and efficiency
For the complete report, click here.
 
 
ARRA Report
At the February 16 Board of Education meeting Acting Chief Accountability Officer Matt Mohs provided an update on American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding and implementation in SPPS, including:
  • Review of the progress of the ARRA initiative.
  • Description of the District’s plan to measure the implementation of the seven major initiatives.
  • A series of short-term outcome measures.
To view the complete presentation, click here.
 
 
Employee Resource Groups
SPPS currently has two Employee Resource Groups (ERG) – Hmong, with a Mission for Outreach, Network and Growth (H.M.O.N.G.) and Advocates for Achievement (AFA) – are a group of staff who are linked by social factors such as ethnicity, gender or a common interest. The ERG's are inclusive and open to all SPPS staff.

H.M.O.N.G.
SPPS' H.M.O.N.G. ERG is a group of staff that share resources, enrich professional growth and connect with SPPS Hmong staff, students, families and community. Members of the group learn and grow from each other as well as build camaraderie.

Being an active member of the H.M.O.N.G. ERG will give you the opportunity to:
  • Expand your network with other staff in the district whom work with Hmong students, families and community
  • Develop personally and professionally
  • Share talents, skills and knowledge
  • Have a place to provide a diverse and expert voice to SPPS decision-making
  • Gain a sense of achievement/accomplishment, by doing something beneficial such as: Establishing a systematic process/venue where staff can share resources and providing a place to belong and feel valued by fellow peers.
Meetings are the first Wednesday of the month. Contact hmongresourcegroup@spps.org for more information and the meeting location.

AFA
The AFA ERG held their first AFA leadership team meeting the week of Feb. 22. The AFA ERG recently voted for their leadership team. Their mission is to unify all African/African American staff, students and families to eliminate the achievement gap. The leadership team is planning for a spring kick off event.

Contact afaresourcegroup@spps.org for more information.
 
 
Making Learning More Accessible Through Universal Design for Learning
Schools know that a one-size-fits-all approach to education simply does not work. But, it can be challenging for teachers to respond to multiple individual needs simultaneously. Universal Design Learning (UDL) is an approach to teaching diverse student populations with the addition of utilizing technology to engage and challenge students. UDL differentiates instruction on the front end for an entire class with lessons provided in multiple ways to meet the needs of all learners. With UDL, fewer adaptations are needed for individual students because from the moment a lesson is being planned, the needs of all students in the class are considered. UDL is planned throughout the lesson, from introduction through guided and independent practice to assessment.

In fall 2009, using ARRA funds, the Special Education Department provided several UDL opportunities for teachers to infuse technology into special education and special education/general education co-taught classes. Participants received technology equipment, professional development and follow-up coaching. The professional development builds staff capacity to engage students in learning within the general education curriculum. The K-12 special education technology initiative included 77 teachers at 31 SPPS sites. The Early Childhood Special Education technology initiative included 34 teachers/therapists at seven sites. Additionally, 106 teachers/therapists (53 general education/special education pairs) from 20 schools have received sets of five Netbooks, along with corresponding professional development and coaching.

For more information, visit the Center for Applied Special Technology Web site.
 
 
Examples of PSB implementation available at Arlington Senior High School
The PSB coaching team has set up a gallery in House 42 of the fourth floor of Arlington Senior High School where school staff can see examples of PSB implementation from SPPS school sites. Examples include school signage for positive behavioral expectations, matrices for behavioral instruction, student and staff recognition systems, family involvement systems, implementation checklists and action plans, as well as disciplinary data collection and analysis and reporting systems. School administrators and site teams are encouraged to make an appointment with their PSB coach, or the PSB district coordinator, to tour the gallery and discuss ideas for increasing the depth of PSB implementation at their school site.

For more information or an appointment, please contact Tom Delaney at thomas.delaney@spps.org or 651-285-1537.
 
 
 

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