May 14, 2021
May 14, 2021
GOOD NEWS: 2020-2021 Finish Line Graduates
SLPS seniors enrolled in the Finish Line initiative were recognized in a ceremony held at Harris-Stowe State University on Thursday, May 13. The ceremony was the conclusion of a 16-week dual enrollment program. Each student worked to receive college credits from HSSU. Florence Ndayisenga, a senior at Roosevelt, received a full scholarship to HSSU! The 24 seniors celebrated yesterday represented eight high schools. Click here for the list of students honored. For information on the Finish Line initiative follow this link.
QUICK Survey for Principals
The Office of Institutional Advancement will be updating the District website and school websites in the months to come. Please take this QUICK (promise, only three questions total) survey to identify your school's website liaison: SURVEY LINK
REMINDER: Upcoming Events, Activities, and Reminders
College Kids Teacher Spotlight Award: Deadline May 31: College Kids is excited to announce its College Kids Teacher Spotlight Award. With the help of students, parents, and school staff, College Kids would like to honor teachers who exemplify classroom management, leadership, and engagement. Students, parents, and school staff can nominate a teacher and submit their nominees no later than May 31st. Teachers will receive a College Kids Teacher Spotlight Award certificate and be featured on the St. Louis Office of Financial Facebook page and in its quarterly newsletter.  
To nominate a teacher, please review the attached criteria and submit the teacher's name, grade level taught, and school using this form. For additional information or questions, contact Barbara Davis at 314-612-1686 or
ICYMI: REFRESH by Creative Reaction Lab
Redesigning Education for Racial Equity and Social Healing (REFRESH) program, brought to you by Creative Reaction Lab, is an intergenerational and national civic engagement program for youth and educators. It is bringing together educators of Black, Latinx and Indigenous youth to learn and facilitate a unique youth-centered curriculum, When We Create: Building Leadership, Racial Consciousness, and Grassroots Change.
There are two cohorts of educators this year, Fall 2021 and Spring 2022. Applications close Monday, May 31. Check out Creative Reaction Lab's website for more information!  Feel free to email Jeff Perkins at if you have questions! 
Standards-Based Learning Corner
Click here to explore past topics related to Standards-Based Learning and Grading in SLPS.
Curriculum Specialists:
  • Dr. Esther Palsenberger, Elementary ELA, 314-779-5939
  • Judine Keplar, Secondary ELA, 314-532-6427
  • Zehra Khan, K-12 Math, 314-532-3574
  • J. Carrie Launius, Elementary Science, 314-934-5258
  • Dr. Valentina Bumbu, Secondary Science, 573-544-6835
  • Dr. Glenn Barnes, Social Studies, 314-934-5267
  • John Grapperhaus, Visual Arts, 314-934-5320
  • Kaye Harrelson, Performing Arts, 314-934-5445
Curriculum Corner: Visual Arts with John Grapperhaus
When kids explore nature, it supports their social and emotional development, as well as engaging in the critical thinking exercise of observation.  As the weather is becoming more “cooperative”, encourage students to get outside.  Here are 33 art activities kids can do outdoors to deepen their connection with nature.
SMART Goals for Visual Art: LINK
Curriculum Corner: Social Studies with Dr. Glenn Barnes
I have been in quite the reflective mood lately with the academic year winding down and my focus shifting to the work of this summer and the next school year. This summer, I am working with a group of teachers to organize and update our proficiency scales, assessments, and curriculum documents. We started this work last year and accomplished a lot in a short period of time and this year is going to be no different. As we shift into a more standards-based focus, it is imperative that we make the shifts in our instruction to engage our students in ways which allow them to take action and connect the subject to their life. In examining legislation around the country, a lack of social studies education is apparent and harmful to our children. I encourage you to engage students in deeper thinking that connects with them and their passions. We have so many resources at our fingertips, that it is a blessing and a curse. Our students deserve a rich, inquiry-focused experience. Lecturing and answering questions out of a textbook or worksheet will not excite them to be engaged. Conversations that are passionate about the subject are what drew many of us into this field. Our kids deserve that as well.
For Your Reading
  • 15 Ways to Make Elementary Social Studies More Exciting
  • The article HERE is fascinating, as it looks at the role textbooks play in shaping the philosophies of those in elected office. For what it is worth, the same textbook some of the senators in the article were exposed to as high school students were the same textbooks used in SLPS when I was in high school. Reading this exposes why textbook adoptions and the work of curriculum committees are so important. Thankfully, I had teachers like Margaret Campbell and Olivia White who gave me a much more enriched view of American History than what the textbook gave us.
  • Ever have students create a Spotify playlist to connect songs to a period of study and then justify their song choices? If not, HERE is a template for you.
  • Zackary Seitz is a colleague of mine from Texas and he created The Social Studies Recap, which examines some of the literature, research, and ideas shared regarding social studies education for the month. So many links to articles, journals, research, and ideas are shared by Zack. Check it out!
  • Finally… Education is about elevation. Not only of our students but of one another.  Everything we do to create better opportunities for those we serve should be cheered on and learned from, but they don’t have to be replicated in every classroom as it is. We all bring different strengths, passions, and talents to our classrooms, and utilizing them to provide great but varied experiences, is beneficial to learning. – George Couros
SMART Goals for Social Studies: LINK
Curriculum Corner: ELA, Elementary with Dr. Esther Palsenberger
SMART Goals for Elementary ELA: LINK
Update Quarter 4 (New Date): CSA Window: May 17-28, 2021

As the school year winds down,  both teachers and students need a new or different experience for the last few weeks. In this week's Academic Newsletter, I am providing some resources for teachers and students to help them reflect on the school year.
If you need to meet with Esther Palsenberger, click here for the appointment calendar. 
Curriculum Corner: ELA, Secondary with Judine Keplar
Important Links: 
Curriculum Corner: Science, Elementary with Carrie Launius
SMART Goal for Elementary Science: LINK
Curriculum Corner: Performance Arts with Kaye Harrelson
Arts Integration Strategies for Core Subjects - Music! Words! Opera! Virtual Workshop for K-8 Educators – June 28 – July 1
Opera Theatre of Saint Louis along with our colleagues at Central City Opera in Colorado host a virtual workshop for K-8 Educators led by national trainers.  Participants will learn to create and produce original works for the classroom, discover arts integration strategies for core subjects, and engage with fellow educators from around the country in a highly interactive and inspiring four days! All Des Lee Fine Arts Collaborative teachers (All SLPS schools) are invited to attend the Workshop at NO COST! To register, please contact Allison Felter directly at this email address:; or at 314-963-4250.
SMART Goal for Performing Arts: LINK
Upcoming Afterschool Booster Dates:
Contact Kaye Harrelson for more specific guidance, 314-934-5445.
Curriculum Corner: Math with Zehra Kahn
Smart Goal for K-12 Math: LINK
Curriculum Corner: Science, Secondary with Dr. Valentina Bumbu
End of the Year Lab Cleanout & Inventory: Please allocate some time at the end of the year to perform an accurate inventory of science equipment and chemicals in your laboratories and organize/declutter the labs and science storage spaces. More details coming to schools and you shortly in an email.
STEM MS Opportunity: Wondering about a fun project for your students to do at the end of the year? Have students invent or make a toy! Modeling and engineering design involve science and engineering practices that are truly unique to STEM. Consider participating in the annual contest known as "Kidventor" to celebrate innovation and originality where children ages 6-13 can submit toy inventions for the chance to have theirs manufactured and sold around the world through Fat Brain Toys. Winners receive a $2,500 scholarship, $500 in Fat Brain Toys, a trip for two to the New York Toy Fair to showcase their invention, and a license agreement to be sold through our company (royalties paid at the industry standard). Past winners and their inventions can be found here. This contest runs from May 11 through September 19, with the winner announced on Oct. 5. This is an excellent opportunity for young kids interested in STEM, and it's also a great way to keep kids intellectually stimulated in a unique way over the summer. This contest requires no money, no fancy equipment, just some creativity and one great idea.
Quarter 4 CSA windows are opening soon: MS May 17-28, for HS May 11-28. This data will help us see the student growth from quarter 4 CFA. Ensure your trackers are up to date.
Assessment SMART Goal for 6-12 ScienceLINK
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