I was honored last week to present my fourth State of the District address to stakeholders of Saint Paul Public Schools.
The members of our Board of Education joined State Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius, along with representatives of Mayor Chris Coleman’s office, faith organizations, non-profit organizations and the broader community to hear good news about what we have accomplished in the last three years – and what we are planning for the next three years.
The program had fabulous bookends: SPPS students! The Capitol Hill Singers had to get up very early to join us, but you have never heard more enthusiastic ambassadors for our district. They introduced themselves, then knocked everyone’s socks off with the “St. Paul Rouser” – one of my personal favorites. It was very cold outside, but this tremendous group warmed the room up very quickly. My thanks to director Grace Raymond and principal Patrick Bryan, and to every one of the singers who performed.
I also want to thank Imogene Silver, an eighth grade student, who was “LIVE from Farnsworth Aerospace” when she introduced me via video streaming technology. Imogene also helped to close the program by introducing members of the Farnsworth Marching Band, who closed the event by playing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” My gratitude to these early-rising young people, along with director Patricia Larkey and principal Hamilton Bell, for being on hand to provide such an exciting finale to the program.
I often talk about how proud I am to be the Superintendent of this district where I have spent more than two decades of my professional life. More often, I am humbled by the great responsibility I share with all of you: to use our resources wisely, to ensure equity for every student, and to prepare our young people for a world we can barely imagine.
At this year’s State of the District event, our young people demonstrated, more powerfully that any slide presentation or speech, that our district is in a very good place. And yet I say, with humility, that while we have made excellent progress in this district, we have more to do. I feel confident that our Strong Schools, Strong Communities plan is a clear road map for moving forward in the years ahead.
An important part of each year’s State of the District event is gratitude. I want to tell you now that we have come as far as we have because of you. Staff members of Saint Paul Public Schools, I thank you for all you have done and continue to do on behalf of our beautiful students and their dreams for our future.
Valeria S. Silva