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Department News: March 27, 2017

  • Fall 2017 Schoology expectations
    Starting fall 2017, secondary teachers are required to use the Schoology Gradebook for graded assignments to help families monitor and support student work. Secondary teachers received an overview of Schoology expectations for fall 2017 at their March 3 District PD sessions.   

    Highlights from the session include:

    • Secondary Schoology Expectations Overview Video, a message from Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Hans Ott;
    • Secondary Checklist of Schoology Skills (for personal use, not being reported);
    • Options for learning how to use the Gradebook include completing the Schoology Gradebook course, attending an in-person class or independent learning.

    For the elementary level, Schoology use is optional for 2017-18, and recommended as a way to share and collect assignments with students, communicate with parents, and support staff meetings and other collaboration.

    Please see PDExpress to sign up for online and in-person Schoology PD.

    Discussion on LGBTQ youth in foster care and homelessness is April 20
    SPPS is hosting a discussion on LGBTQ+ youth in foster care and/or experiencing homelessness with Ryan Berg, the author of “No Place to Call Home,” at 5 p.m., April 20 at AGAPE High School, 1037 University Ave. W.

    Ryan Berg will facilitate a panel discussion with Avenues for Youth, Face to Face, The Bridge for Youth and additional partners in supporting LGBTQ+ youth. This event is sponsored by Saint Paul Public Schools Title I Programs, Project Reach and Out for Equity.

    SPPS staff may register for the event on PD Express. If you have questions, contact Mary Hoelscher at

    S-Term 2017 information
    Grades K-5: Brochures and registration forms, including instructions, arrived at school sites the week of Feb. 27 for students who qualify for S-Term.

    Grades 6-8: Brochures and registration forms were mailed to homes via U.S. Mail the week of Feb. 27 for students who qualify for S-Term. 

    Grades K-8: Parents/guardians are encouraged to register their student(s) using iUpdate; alternately, registration forms can be mailed to Student Placement.

    Grades 9-12: Students who qualify for S-Term work with school counselors to register.

    S-Term 2017 information is located at

    The priority deadline for families is April 14, but applications will be accepted after this date. Please contact the Office of Alternative Education at 651-744-8020 with questions.

    TD&E information for educators under the teacher bargaining contract
    Educators under the teacher bargaining contract are beginning to work on the second round of TD&E Student Achievement and Student Engagement reflections. To start the reflection process, educators will need to make a copy of their mid-year reflection.

    The Schoology group SPPS TDE: TD&E contains video tutorials and a reference sheet explaining how to make a copy, name and save the reflection package. Educators should use these resources when creating their TD&E end-of-year reflection.  

    If you have general questions about TD&E, email Amy Steele at

    Attend ‘A Good Time for the Truth: Race in America’ workshop
    The SPPS Multicultural Center and Minnesota Historical Center are co-sponsoring a workshop about the book A Good Time for The Truth: Race in Minnesota from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 29 at the Minnesota History Center.

    The workshop will begin with a panel discussion and Q&A with three authors whose essays are in the book, followed by two sessions that connect the book's themes back to the classroom. The workshop is free, but registration is required. Clock hours will be provided.

    2017 Monthly Retirement Insurance Sessions
    Human Resources is sponsoring a series of meetings about district retirement insurance information, including personnel policies, retiree insurance benefits and details on the severance program. All meetings will be held at the SPPS Administration Building, 360 Colborne St.

    Meeting dates and times are:

    • Thursday, March 30 at 5 p.m. in Room A
    • Friday, April 21 at 4:30 p.m. in Room A
    • Tuesday, May 16 at 4 p.m. in Room A

    The seminars are open to all employees and their spouses; however, space is limited. If you would like to attend the seminars, reservations will be taken on a first-come basis.

    Please indicate your name, employee ID, job title, if a spouse will be attending with you, and date of attendance. Phone reservations will not be accepted. You will receive a confirmation email.   

    Self Service updates
    Twenty-two new iPad apps have been added to the Self Service app store! Newly added apps include: Music Memos, Animation Desk, Biblioboard Library and Google Expeditions. Visit the Personalized Learning website for a complete list of approved and available iPad apps.

    The SPPS Self Service iPad App List has new features:

    • “Added on” date
    • Recommended method of account creation

    Website Vetting
    In addition to iPad apps, SPPS reviews the data privacy, security policies and account creation guidelines for educational websites.The vetted list of websites serves as a resource bank for teachers seeking the best digital tools for the classroom while being conscious of COPPA and student data privacy. Vetted websites include, GoFormative and Kahoot.

    To investigate resources in support of personalized learning through technology, visit:

    Apply to be a PAR coach for 2017-18
    Are you looking for leadership opportunities to work with colleagues, support student achievement and engage more deeply with equity work? 

    We are currently considering candidates for full-time PAR coaching positions for the 2017-18 school year, particularly in the following licensure areas: Spanish Immersion, Spanish Bilingual EL, Spanish, Science, Special Education, Montessori and English Language Arts.

    PAR supports the professional growth of SPPS teachers, primarily teachers new to the district. PAR coaches provide support to teachers around lesson planning, implementing effective instruction and moving toward personalizing learning. PAR coaches support teachers in their work toward eliminating racial disproportionality and predictability of achievement. PAR coaches collaborate with administrators to provide teachers with quality, useful feedback of their performance.  

    Visit to view the posting and apply. If you have questions about the application process, contact Human Resources. If you have questions about the nature of PAR, contact Heidi Dunlap at

    Requests for Fall 2017 Self Service: iPad apps, websites, Mac apps
    Requests for next year’s Self Service iPad apps, websites and Mac apps will be accepted and reviewed from April 1 - May 15. All requests must be reviewed for content and data security.

    • Visit the Personalized Learning website to read more about the approval and security review process
    • Submit requests using the Apps Approval Ticket in the Technology Services ticketing system between April 1 - May 15.

    Approved apps will be available for student download during the fall semester. There is a limit on the number of apps Self Service can sustain. Current apps with low volume use may be removed. Not all app requests will be approved.

    For more details on Self Service App Addition requests, visit the Personalized Learning website.

    Schoology 101 professional development for teachers
    The class covers overall course design, posting assignments, using the gradebook, account settings and course updates as a communication tool. There are separate sections for elementary and secondary staff. Participants receive a stipend and relicensure credit for the technology requirement. See PDExpress to register.  

    • Dates:  April 17 or May 10
    • Time:  Secondary 2:30-4:30 p.m.; Elementary 4:30-6:30 p.m.
    • Location:  345 Plato Blvd. E, St. Paul, MN 55107
    • PDExpress Course Code: Elementary (P_L1604), Secondary (P_L1603) 

    Personalized learning through technology professional development offerings
    Are you looking to build your technology integration skills? The Department of Personalized Learning now offers both in-person and online professional development courses. Online courses are offered through Schoology.

    The following in person professional development courses are now available in PDEXpress:

    • March 29: Schoology Gradebook, Secondary teachers (P_L1632)
    • April 13: iPad Cafe  (P_L1655)
    • April 17: Schoology 101 for Elementary (P_L1604), Secondary (P_L1603)
    • Apr 19: Schoology Gradebook, Secondary teachers (P_L1632)
    • May 4: iPad Cafe (P_L1655)
    • May 10: Schoology 101 for Elementary (P_L1604), Secondary (P_L1603)
    • May 24: Schoology Gradebook, Secondary teachers (P_L1632)

    Many professional development opportunities will be available in June and August, including the popular iLearn Academy.

    Racial equity professional development opportunity
    BD and a Bite is a monthly event where people who attended Beyond Diversity have an opportunity to practice using the Courageous Conversations about Race protocol through discussions, reading articles, viewing videos and other modes. BD and a Bite provides a space for participants to further their personal and professional development in their racial equity journey.

    All SPPS staff who have completed the two-day Beyond Diversity seminar are invited to attend BD and a Bite sessions from 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. at the Multicultural Resource Center (MRC) at Washington Technology Magnet on:

    • April 20 - RE303-17Spring.B
    • May 11 - RE303-17Spring.C
    • June 1 - RE303-17Spring.D

    Register for BD and a Bite on PDExpress. Registration codes listed above.

    April Staff Yoga: Bridge View School and L’Etoile du Nord French Immersion
    Staff Yoga classes resume after spring break at Bridge View School and L’Etoile du Nord French Immersion. These classes are a great way to reduce stress and develop healthy sustainable self-care practices.

    Classes at Bridge View School:

    • Monday, April 10, 4:30-5:30 p.m.
    • Monday, April 17, 4:30-5:30 p.m.
    • Monday, April 24, 4:30-5:30 p.m.

    Register for the staff yoga series at Bridge View School.

    Classes at L'Etoile du Nord French Immersion (lower campus):

    • Wednesday, April 12, 4:45-5:45 p.m.
    • Wednesday, April 19, 4:45-5:45 p.m.
    • Wednesday, April 26, 4:45-5:45 p.m.

    Register for the staff yoga series at L'Etoile du Nord French Immersion.

    April Financial Education presentation: Planning for Long Term Care
    The April Financial Education seminar will provide an overview of various ways to protect your assets should you experience a long term care event, and discuss how to manage your savings to provide adequate income and cover potential expenses.