• Superintendent Message about Upcoming SPFE Strike Vote

    I am writing to acknowledge the uncertainty that the possibility of a strike by the Saint Paul Federation of Educators (SPFE) is causing; and to assure you I and the District negotiating team are committed to reaching a fair and responsible contract settlement with SPFE. Our colleagues in SPFE have a very important vote this coming week. We encourage all SPFE members, Teachers, Educational Assistants and School and Community Service Professionals, to educate themselves on the proposals being discussed in mediation and participate by casting their vote. You can read about the proposals at www.spps.org/negotiations.

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  • Friday Forums: Embracing Difference as a Strength

    Attending Friday Forums I have laughed out loud at a presenter�s wit, shed quiet tears listening to speakers� experiences and felt sudden surges of anger realizing the pain placed upon our students and members of our community. The humility, strength and resilience I have witnessed at our Friday Forums also brings me great pride to be apart of a community that embraces difference as a strength; and an opportunity for growth and introspection.

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  • Column: Active Listening Helps Us Continue to Learn about Saint Paul Public Schools

    As we turn the page toward a new semester, I am reminded how quickly the days pass by. This week has been a wonderful reminder about the skill of active listening. While my colleagues and friends in the SPPS community are rarely shy, I enjoy learning and growing from perspectives that are shared with me. Part of the process of being an active listener is providing the time and space to create an environment of trust and support. One thing I am working on is leaving my cell phone behind or tucked away. I have also removed nearly all notifications from my device. In the time I�ve set my phone aside, I feel more present in meetings and conversations. This past week gave me a great chance to put active listening to the test.

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  • Promoting Positive School and District Culture

    I am sharing an update about our work to promote positive school and District culture. The work of initiative 2A in the SPPS Achieves Strategic Plan is to improve culture by using input from students, staff and families. Ultimately, the goal is to create an environment where all staff feel a sense of belonging. That means staff members are positively engaged and empowered in their work, and inspired to lead courageously. In the coming weeks, the 2A initiative team will be conducting an online pilot survey for staff at nine schools and four department sites.

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  • Welcome Back from Winter Break

    Welcome back from winter break. I hope each of you found some well-earned time to change the pace of your day-to-day routines to recharge. In these early days of the New Year I continue to be grateful for your exceptional work, commitment to our students and to each other.

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  • Please Review Our Revised Winter Weather Plan

    The early onset of blustery winter weather over the last few weeks served as an unfortunate, but important reminder about the need to prepare for adverse conditions. SPPS has revised our Winter Weather Plan for the coming season, which now includes one procedure for districtwide closures for snow or cold weather. Please familiarize yourself with the Winter Weather plan.

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  • Congratulations to New Board Members and a Survey Reminder

    Last Tuesday, our community's commitment to education was reflected in this year's school board election. Join me in congratulating our new board of education members Jessica Kopp, Director-Elect and Chauntyll Allen, Director-Elect and re-elected board members Zuki Ellis, Chair and Steve Marchese, Vice-Chair.

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  • A Survey That Will Better Inform Next Year's Budget

    I am writing today to let you know about a survey we are conducting that is designed to help us make better, informed decisions about next year�s budget. This survey is part of our SPPS Achieves strategic plan work. It will be sent via email to each staff member and will be available to SPPS families and the Saint Paul community as a whole later this week.

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  • Addressing the Social Emotional Learning and Mental Health Needs of Students

    I believe in addressing the social emotional learning and mental health needs of students. There is no better place to do this than in our schools, with expert staff members who have relationships with students, families and our community. And, while I do not believe we will be able to build this level of support immediately, we must work with available resources and create a pathway moving forward.

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  • Strategic Partnerships Help Our Students Learn, Grow and Thrive

    This past week I had a front-row seat in the unveiling of a continued partnership between Saint Paul Public Schools and the Saint Paul Public Library. The setting was at the Rice Street Branch with students from Crossroads Science and Montessori. We gathered to promote the �Library Go Program,� which gives virtual library cards to all SPPS students. Last year, more than 100,000 items including ebooks were checked out using Library Go accounts. The program brings three of my greatest passions together: my love for our students, my appreciation for our community partnerships and reading. I was fortunate enough as a child to have access to great public libraries and a summer bookmobile full of invaluable resources. I am proud to lead an effort to bring these resources to our students.

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  • Professional Development Begins with Self-care

    There is a lot of discussion about and planning about professional development (PD) in SPPS. In education, the term professional development is used to reference to a wide variety of specialized training, formal education or advanced professional learning intended to help all of us; teachers, leaders and other educators improve their professional knowledge, skills, competence and effectiveness by providing meaningful and relevant growth opportunities. That�s all well and good and I encourage all of us to seek these occasions to further our knowledge and skills. But equally important is the concept of self-care. Getting enough sleep, building in time for daily physical activity, practicing healthy nutrition are easily forgotten in the chaos of work-life balance.

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  • SPPS Achieves: Laying the Groundwork for Transformational Change

    This week I want to provide an update on the progress being made on our strategic plan, SPPS Achieves. As you know, over the last eight months SPPS staff have invested in laying the groundwork for transformational change. The impact of this work is already being felt in schools and classrooms, with increasing momentum as the school year progresses.

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  • Celebrating Partnerships, Big and Small, New and Old

    All our partnerships, big and small, old and new contribute to our students and our community. Each brings talent, expertise, and yes some bring funding; but they all bring a commitment to work together toward common goals. We are fortunate to work with these incredible allies. In many ways, the work we all do on a daily basis is a partnership; with our students, families and the greater community. Thank you for being a good partner, and for all you do for the students and families of SPPS.

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  • SPPS Achieves: A Focus on Belonging

    One focus of a positive culture is belonging. That means being respectful and treating coworkers as partners, and welcoming new colleagues in the way that you would want to be welcomed. Belonging means being respectful and inclusive when we communicate. And as leaders, it means setting clear expectations for all employees and providing support for accountability and success.

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  • SPPS Achieves: Working on a Positive School and District Culture

    One of the focus areas of our strategic plan, SPPS Achieves, is a positive school and district culture. That applies to our students and to our coworkers. Positive culture includes a workplace that provides equal opportunity, free from harassment, discrimination and retalitation. Last year I established the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity, an independent department, specifically to conduct investigations through an impartial and neutral process. What this means for staff is that investigations are conducted by an office that is outside of Human Resources.

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  • Watching the Concept of 'Team SPPS' Unfold at Every School

    I had the privilege of spending lots of time in our schools last week and beyond the sheer joy and wonder of our youngest students, beyond the confidence and determination of our older students and even beyond the smiles (and some tears) of our parents, one thing really stood out for me: The teamwork of our educators and staff.

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  • Welcome to the 2019-20 School Year

    For me, there's nothing like the exhilaration of a new school year. So many possibilities, so many new opportunities - and so many new faces! I vividly remember feeling anxious walking into my classroom as a new teacher. There were new surroundings, new colleagues, new rules and lots and lots of new expectations.

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  • How to Submit Items to The Bridge

    All submissions must be posted directly to The Bridge website. Please log in to the website with your Active Directory and Password to submit a post. If you have questions about how to submit an item, please email thebridge@spps.org.

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