March 11, 2020
March 11, 2020

Academic Office Newsletter

From the Office of Dr. Paula Knight, Deputy Superintendent of Academics

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Seal of Biliteracy
The deadline for the Seal of Biliteracy and Pathways to Biliteracy award applications has been extended to Friday, March 27, 2020. Completed applications should be sent to the ESOL Office, Attn. Erna Kadic (
About the Seal of Biliteracy:
The Seal of Biliteracy recognizes graduating seniors who demonstrate proficiency in English and any of the world’s languages. Native English speakers studying a foreign language as well as English language learners acquiring English and maintaining their native language are eligible for this award. The award becomes part of the student’s transcript. It can benefit students when applying to certain MO universities and when applying for jobs at certain MO businesses.
About Pathways to Biliteracy:
To encourage students to become biliterate and attain proficiency in English and any of the world’s languages, the Saint Louis Public Schools offers 2 Pathways to Biliteracy awards: Emerging Bilingual (available to students completing PreK-4) and Developing Bilingual (available to students completing 5th and 8th grades).
For more information about the Seal of Biliteracy and Pathways to Biliteracy, please visit
REMINDER: Spring Break Learning Loss Support
Learning loss is the loss of academic skills and knowledge over the course of long school breaks. The instructional gap that will occur over spring break, March 16-20, may result in some learning loss for our students. In an effort to combat learning loss and keep our students on track for Academic Success, the Academic Office is providing Spring Break Learning Loss Support. Curriculum Specialists in Reading, Math, Science, Social Studies and Visual Art have prepared instructional tools that can be used by students while they are away from school during Spring Break. The links to these tools are below:
Are You Sick?
Principals: The ESOL team has made translated versions of the Are You Sick? door sign provided to principals yesterday. Please visit the COVID-19 Toolkit to access them.
Water Microbiome Workshop
Bacteria are everywhere, and they can be helpful, neutral, or harmful to humans. Each person has a specific, diverse bacterial composition in their bodies called a microbiome. Did you know that our water systems have microbiomes, too? What types of bacteria are in our water?
Dr. Fangqiong Ling will discuss her research around water microbiomes in the St. Louis region. She will explain the process for collecting water samples to contribute to her research. Visit Limited to 10 teachers!
ECE Updates 
Pre-Registration and Intent to Return Online Forms
The SLPS Early Childhood web page is now available to receive intake information for new and returning families inquiring about the upcoming school year.
Families of P3 and P4 students enrolled in the district are to complete the Intent to Return form. Families of P3 and P4 students new to the district are to complete the Pre-Registration form. Click HERE for a distribution to families.
DRDP Assessments
The Spring 2020 DRDP Assessment window is now open through April 30. New classes must be created and all students on the classroom roster are to be entered, rated and locked prior to the deadline.The-step-by-step directions are HERE.
Parent Teacher Conferences
As academic highlights are shared with parents, this an ideal time to encourage parents to go on the website and complete the Intent to Return Form for the upcoming school year. Upon completion of Parent Teacher Conferences, forward sign-in sheets to the Early Childhood Office for Parental Involvement Record Keeping. 
Join Teams!
Click HERE for a helpful document on setting up Microsoft Teams for those schools and teachers who have not yet set it up. It's a great collaborative tool.
Around the world in places most impacted by the coronavirus, use of Teams has increased by up to 500% as more companies move to telework.
Summer Learning Recommendations and Possible Retention of Students - UPDATED
Dear School Leaders,
The Summer Learning recommendation window is now open.  Summer Learning is scheduled to occur June 2-26, 2020. In preparation for parent teacher conferences next week, you should begin recommending students for Summer Learning. All students who have failed high school courses, qualify for summer learning under Senate Bill 319, or who are performing below grade level in math and/or reading are to be recommended for summer learning. Please notify families of academic and other concerns that could result in retention via official academic office letter(s) (linked below). Schools should only modify parts of the letter that are highlighted.
Students who may benefit from summer enrichment at the elementary and high school levels should be recommended for the enrichment programs via the letters linked below. If translated letters and applications are needed, please contact the SLPS ESOL Bilingual Migrant Program, 1530 S. Grand, at 314-664-1066.
Parents who complete summer school registration can be entered into SIS by school secretaries beginning Monday, March 23rd. Please email with any questions or concerns about student retention. Please email with questions about summer school. 
Families may enroll by using the applications linked below:
Program Details, Recommendation Letters and Applications:
General Summer Learning
Elementary Summer Enrichment Program
High School Transition Program
High School Credit Recovery and HS ELL Language Development 
High School Enrichment and College Prep Program
Hockey Is For Everyone
On March 24, 2020, the Blues will host its inaugural Hockey is for Everyone Celebration and Watch Party at Enterprise Center.
This event will celebrate diversity, inclusion and social change through the sport of hockey, all while guests watch the Blues take on the Washington Capitals on the center-hung scoreboard in a home game-like environment. Guests can enjoy discounted food and beverage plus special on-ice and concourse activities that will highlight diversity and inclusion.
Admission is $10, but organizations can receive $5 back if they choose to fundraise. Click HERE to read over more information.
TESOL Certification
SLPS is one of the school districts that partnered with Webster University for the National Professional Development Grant that focuses on helping districts meet the needs of English Learners. The grant covers tuition for courses needed towards Missouri TESOL Certification. This is a great opportunity to build capacity to serve English Learners in your building.
In order to be considered, teachers must have a valid Missouri teaching license (not provisional), commit to a two-year program, and serve ELL students in your school as part of the practicum.
To express interest in this opportunity for cohorts starting Fall 2020, interested teachers and administrators should complete an online form.
Teachers who expressed interest in this certification program and completed the online form in the past should resubmit their form to confirm their continued interest in this opportunity.
For more information, click HERE.
If you have any questions, please contact Alla Gonzalez Del Castillo at
REMINDER: Primary Montessori Certification
Any teachers interested in pursuing primary Montessori Certification through the Hope Education Institute this summer, should contact Dr. LaTisha Smith. Teachers must commit to the entire month of June and the first few days in July with follow-up throughout the school year. The institute requires travel to St. Peters/Lake St. Louis area.
REMINDER: iPad App Recommendation Survey
Is there an app that you would like to see on your students’ iPads for the upcoming 2020-2021 academic year?  If so, please complete this iPad app survey by Friday, April 3, 2020.
Please keep in mind that all apps you suggest must be free with limited to zero pop-up ads. The Office of Accountability, Assessment, Technology Services, Student Records and Data will select a team comprised of teachers and staff who will review all recommendations submitted through the survey and make a final list for next school year.
Selected apps will be downloaded on each District iPad based on grade levels, including (PK, K-1, 2-5, 6-8, 9-12). Questions? Email
REMINDER: Fiscal Control End-of-Year Deadlines
The Finance Department will soon begin the end-of-year process as it pertains to Fiscal Control deadlines. Please click HERE to see all deadline information.
If the Fiscal Control Office can assist you in any way, please contact Beverly Foster at 314-345-2493 for Accounts Payable related issues, and contact Ronnie Martindale at 314-345-2389 for all other issues.   
GOOD NEWS: Geoplunge! 
Students from several SLPS elementary schools participated in the 3rd annual Geoplunge Tournament! Students train for six weeks to compete in the challenging geography game. At the end of many rounds of tough competition, Columbia (pictured) took 3rd place and Shenandoah took 2nd place.
Congratulations to these hard-working students and to the program's sponsors: Leidos, SAIC, CEdge, Esri and host Saint Louis University.
GOOD NEWS: MSBA’s Student Showcase 
Central VPA students Donovan Calloway and Tai Jones let their song writing and performing talents shine at the Missouri School Boards Association Student Showcase at the Missouri Capitol on Feb. 10. Along with Springboard to Learning Teaching Artist Mark Pagano the rotunda resonated with the melodies of their original songs created in the “Music Maker” residency program. The SLPS team met with state representatives, state senators, and Missouri school board members, discussing the impact of arts integration in our schools through the partnership with Springboard to Learning. 
GOOD NEWS: Real Men Read at Washington Montessori
Washington Montessori hosted a Real Men Read event to kick off Read Across America Week. Fathers, volunteers and community stakeholders read several books that had been featured in the Academic Office Newsletter! 
Did You Miss an Issue? 
There is now an archive of all issues of the Academic Office Newsletter. Yay! Click HERE or visit
Standards-Based Learning CORNER
It's Time to Be Bold!
SLPS Transformation Plan 3.0 has outlined 5 Pillars for our pathway to excellence. It is time to be bold and take a stand on behalf of the children of SLPS. The District has spent significant time creating a plan to ensure bold action is taken, and supported, toward ensuring all students succeed. Within each Pillar, there are listed “Activities Bringing Us Closer to Our Goals.” Standards-Based Learning and Grading lends itself to many of these activities. Most significantly, however, are under Pillar 4: All Students Learn to Read and Succeed.  
6. Identify, implement, and monitor the progress of students on benchmarks for K-8 progress.  
9. Increase the strength of academic interventions in our primary grades
10. Implement a systemic Response to Intervention and Instruction (RTI2) model in all schools
12. Align our academic standards to the demands of college and workforce
13. Reading standards are aligned in daily instructional plans to improve readability levels and increase student growth for all students in K-12
15. Establish clear K-12 performance benchmarks
Every teacher, staff member, leader, parent, and child wants improved outcomes for every child in SLPS. We can achieve this if we are innovative, fearless, and tenacious. We also know we have passionate and dedicated teachers, who are willing to do whatever it takes to help their students learn. This combination of passionate teachers and supportive communities surrounding those teachers will make the difference. What going Standards-Based will do for this effort is allow us to always pinpoint the successes and the needs of our students. It’s time to stop talking about scores and grades on assignments and start talking about mastery of content. It’s time to stop doing what we’ve always done and be bold in trying to change things for the better. Remember, if you are excited to begin the shift to a Standards-Based Classroom, please reach out to your Curriculum Specialists to learn about the work they are doing and what resources you might access.

Come back to the Academic Office Newsletter each week for updated information about the SLPS journey from TEACHING to LEARNING in a Standards-Based Learning System.
CURRICULUM CORNER: Secondary Science
♦ Science Fair/STEAM Quest projects drop-off deadline is Friday, March 13 by 5pm!
♦ Exciting News! Some of you have heard about the launch of ScienceTeacherTalks series where our SLPS science teachers get to show their expertise around the use of a tool, resource, instructional strategy, or practice that makes them successful in their science classroom in a bite size. The idea is to celebrate the wonderful things are happening in the science classrooms and share our success with others using the Academic Newsletter. Here are the criteria and constraints of presentation:
  1. Make a power point presentation which includes slides with: your information, details on what the tool/resource/practice/strategy is and how it works, a brief (30 second to 1 minute) video of how it works in the classroom (or pictures of student work).
  2. Download Screencast-o-Mastic.
  3. Take a video of your screen and audio of yourself as you present your slides (from your computer screen) using Screencast-o-Mastic recorder, including the 30 sec-1 min video from your classroom (encouraged) or photos of students artifacts.
  4. The overall video should NOT take more than 3 min (each slide should NOT take longer than 20 seconds to present) 
  5. Upload the video on your OneDrive and share the link:
What academic needs are not being met in 2nd grade in order for our students to be successful in 3rd grade? We want to hear your ideas and offer you a voice in change! We are looking for 2nd and 3rd grade teachers with innovative ideas and thoughts to be part of the Academic Audit. We will have an informational meeting after our spring break to discuss further details of implementation. If this is of interest to you, complete this form to be invited to our informational meeting.
If you have any questions, please contact Esther Palsenberger at 314-779-5939.
Visual Art teachers should be encouraged to provide direct instruction, examples and modelling of at least one element of art and one principle of art with every art project lesson. These can also be used in hallway art displays, specific feedback from the teacher, and during peer critique.
Elements of Art: Line, Shape, Form, Space, Color, Texture, Value
Principles of Art: Rhythm, Pattern, Movement, Balance, Emphasis, Unity
Coronavirus - Resources for Classroom Use
The new coronavirus is spreading quickly, but not as quickly as fear and misinformation about the illness. Newsela is providing resources to schools for free to help. Using the articles in the text set linked below, students can learn about the new COVID-19 virus from trustworthy, reliable sources in a language they can understand. Resources hosted at this link will be updated as new information is released and new articles are written. Newsela Text Set - Coronavirus
Strategies for Using the Articles:
♦ Use a protocol such as "I used to think...Now I think..." after reading the article(s).
♦ Ask students to write about what they already know (or think they know) about the topic prior to reading the article(s).
♦ Ask students to generate a list of questions or concerns they have about the topic prior to reading the article(s).
♦ Provide students with a writing task after reading the article(s). Consider these standards-aligned prompts:
-- Make and support a claim about why someone should read this text. What makes this text worth reading? What will a reader gain or what might a reader do after reading this? Support your response with specific details from the text.
-- Choose an event or phenomenon described in the text. Explain the causes and effects of your chosen topic, using details from the text.
-- Describe what you think the author’s purpose was for writing this text and whether they were successful in this purpose. Support your response with specific details from the text.
Please remember to provide students with exemplars of high-quality responses and a rubric for any writing task. For additional ideas surrounding the use of text sets, reach out to Judine Keplar.
CURRICULUM CORNER: Elementary Science
One way to integrate content with science is to use graphs to analyze and interpret data. Science and Engineering Practice 4
The New York Times publishes a weekly column “What’s Going On in This Graph?” free. The graphs, maps, and charts show data and give an open-ended question. Often the graph will be about something timely. This is a great way to integrate science, math, social studies and ELA.
Congratulate the Love of Learning Video Contest Winners!
1st: Hodgen “Kindness”
2nd: Bryan Hill/Columbia “Black Schools Matter”
3rd: Wilkinson “Please Don’t Litter”
1st: Gateway Middle “Drugs”
2nd: Gateway Middle “Recycling”
3rd: Gateway Middle “Stop Killing”
1st: Metro “Homelessness”
2nd: Metro “Depresso”
3rd: Metro “Pollution – Make A Change”
PD Booster Sessions Schedule
Click HERE for a full calendar of upcoming booster sessions from the Curriculum Team!
Guest WiFi Password
  • March: windy
  • April: rainy 
  • May: bloom
  • June: trips
  • July: humid
Community Visioning Workshop, Roosevelt (6-8pm)

 Mad City Money Financial Reality Simulation: FLYER 
Facing History: Building Equitable Classrooms: LINK

Shadow-a-Tech Event: LINK 

 Workshop: African American Women and the Women’s Suffrage Movement: LINK

 NIght of Guitar and Strings at CVPA: LINK

NY Times 1619 Project

 LAN (Video Game) Party: LINK

♦ Deadline to apply for CGCS-Bernard Harris Math and Science Scholarships: LINK 

 High School Actuarial Information Day: RSVP

Summer Adventure Academies: LINK

MAY 15
♦ Bright Futures Scholarship application deadline: LINK

 Summer STEM Academies for Educators: LINK 

JUNE 27-30
Emerging Leaders Conference: FLYER (English), FLYER (Spanish)
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