January 13, 2022

Issue #11

 Message from Deputy Superintendent of Academics - Dr. Marion Smith Jr  
Goal + Purpose + Mission = Focus

Happy New Year and welcome back!

We have a GOAL: To educate children. We have a PURPOSE: To teach scholars requisite academic and life skills. We have a MISSION: To demonstrate, by aligning what we say with what we do and what evidence reveals, how to work collectively to best support each other in our efforts to best serve children each day.

As a community of learners and teachers, our goal is the what of our work. The goal is not the place we begin. It is the place we end up. Our purpose is the why of our work – why we as individuals are moving toward the goal, the end result. Our mission is the how of our work. Once we are clear about the what, the why and the how, we have a clear focus.

As we end the first two weeks of Quarter 3 of this academic school year, I reiterate what I shared at the SLPS Board of Education Meeting this week: “It’s been said that when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. Here in SLPS, when we are handed lemons (due to all things COVID and the continued impacts and implications to our work) we make chocolate cake.” This speaks to the inherent ‘magic” of our instructional staff who work daily to remain focused on the instructional core (scholar, teacher, content).

As you may, or may not, be aware to assist with staffing issues in certain schools due to quarantines, Academic Office staff members, including myself, have been providing in-school supports daily. Upon reviewing my notes from each day and speaking with leaders in the Academic Office who continue to stand ready to serve and support schools in this way, a reoccurring theme emerged. It was the concept of WAITING.

Waiting on a shift or change process to manifest is a good thing. However, there are times when we must know HOW to wait. Sometimes we wait in fear, wringing our hands and checking over our shoulders. Sometimes we wait in arrogance, patting our feet with our hands on our hips. We may wait in indifference, shrugging our shoulders and rolling our eyes. At times, we wait in anger, huffing, puffing and pounding our fists on the table. Then there are the times we wait helplessly, hopelessly, with our heads bowed and hands in our pockets. HOW we wait is just as important as what we are waiting for as a system (across all classrooms, schools, and central office).

Our collective journey of waiting, taking strategic action and seeing positive impact continues!
Marion.SmithJr@slps.org | Office: 314.345.2205
Special Shout-out
High School + STLCC Classes = Achievement: Meet Zoraya Piedra, McKinley Classical Leadership Academy
St. Louis Community College News has a new four-part series called "High School + STLCC Classes = Achievement".  These are stories that highlight how students are benefitting from early college experience at STLCC.  The first installment was just released, and it is about one of our McKinley ECA seniors, Zoraya Piedra. Click here to learn about Zoraya and her experience. 
Network Spotlight:

Network 1 & 2
Project planning withMs. Rice, Hickey’s Healthy Schools Wellness Champion, DeniseStrehlow, InterimDirector for BJC School Outreach and Youth Development, and Leanne White, Directorof AIM Initiatives..
Hickey Elementary Seating Project
Hickey Elementary, named as one of America’s Healthiest Schools by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation for the 2019 through 2021 school years, is continuing to expand its “Healthy Footprint” by participating in the Outdoor Seating Project sponsored by BJC School Outreach and Youth Development Department, Gateway Greening and SLPS AIM Initiatives. 

The Outdoor Seating Pilot Project is in response to the need and desire for expanding a school’s healthy environment.  An outdoor learning space provides opportunities for students and staff to be outdoors, expanding the traditional classroom beyond the four walls, desks, and chairs.

Research conducted by Children & Nature Network indicates that Outdoor Classrooms and Green Schoolyards can:

  1. Improve academic outcomes
  2. Improve mental health benefits
  3. Increase physical activity
  4. Encourage beneficial play
Mallinckrodt - Amusement Parks of the Future (Roller Coasters/ZooKeeper) 
4th and 5th-grade scholars spent the quarter learning about force and motion through amusement park rides and games. Scholars collected data using Hot Wheels tracks and other data collected at the skate park.  At the end of the unit, scholars used what they learned to design plan, build, and improve a model of an amusement park ride or game. The learners were excited to put what they learned about force and motion to the test in real-time.

Subject Area Spotlight:

Physical Education & Health Literacy
Health Literacy in an Outdoor Learning Space at Patrick Henry

SHAPE America, the national organization for Physical Education and Health defines Health Literacy as “an individual's capacity to access information, resources and services necessary to maintaining and promoting health.”  Patrick Henry is promoting the very definition of Health Literacy for both their scholars and teachers and they are promoting Health Literacy in an outdoor learning space.  

Patrick Henry is participating in three (3) Academics in Movement (AIM) Initiatives - Healthy Schools Movement, the AIM Zone Project, and the Outdoor Learning Environment Project.  

As part of the Outdoor Learning Environment Project, the team members of the Outdoor Learning Environment Work Group created an Outdoor Toolkit. The Outdoor Toolkit is an instructional resource, to help scholars explore their outdoor surroundings while being physically active and engaged in nature.  The Outdoor Learning Tool Kit contains educational items such as magnifying glasses, rain gauge, seat cushions, jump ropes, chalk, etc.  Scholars have the opportunity and resources available to research items in the garden such as a grasshopper, a tomato, bean or leaf. 
In line with the expansion of the traditional classroom to the "outdoors", the SLPS Academic Office, specifically the science curriculum specialist team, has developed a Standards-Based SLPS Outdoor Curriculum and Resources.  

Both the toolkit and the PK-2 Outdoor Education curriculum were introduced to Patrick Henry, as a pilot project during the first semester of the 2021-22 school year.     

As the pilot school for the Outdoor Learning Toolkit and the PK-2 Outdoor Education Curriculum & Resources, SLPS teachers will be looking to Patrick Henry teachers to share their working knowledge of “Promising Practices” about Outdoor Learning Environments, Outdoor Toolkits, and the Outdoor Education Curriculum & Resources. 

Learn more about these programs and more about Patrick Henry:https://fb.watch/9mvYS0AEF2/
A Rockin' Good Time at Woodward
Woodward Elementary School was able to purchase refillable water stations and a rock climbing wall with funds received from the Healthy Schools Healthy Communities partnership. During School Spirit Week, scholars learned about the importance of exercising and heart health. Each day there were different incentives and activities including dressing like superheroes to celebrate heart health. As a culminating activity, scholars exercised their hearts while climbing on the rock wall. Woodward scholars raised $490 during Spirit Week to donate to the American Heart Association.

Department Spotlight: Curriculum & Instruction

Continuous Learning Kits (CLKs) are Standards-Based Enrichment Packets developed by Curriculum & Instruction (C & I) Department curriculum specialists and are available to access each month of the school year for scholars who need to quarantine or isolate and, due to unforeseen circumstances, may not have access to technology outside of the instructional day
  • You must be logged on the SLPS Intranet to access CLK documents.
  • Schools are responsible for printing, distributing, collecting, and grading all CLKs. 
  • CLK Answer keys are available in grade/content Microsoft Teams. 

The Curriculum & Instruction (C&I) Team is finalizing virtual lessons, resources and activities in the form of a digital playlist for different content areas. These Digital Playlists are interactive PDF forms that will allow scholars access to Standards-Based digital instructional lessons and learning experiences. Each playlist is aligned to Priority Standards and will be available for all core content areas (ELA, Math, Science and Social Studies) by grade level.  The Standards-Based Digital Playlist for Quarter 3 will be available Friday, January 28th. Quarter 4 Digital Playlists will be available on Friday, March 11th.

  • You must be logged on the SLPS Intranet to access the Digital Playlists. 
  • Schools are responsible for distributing, monitoring scholar engagement and assessments.
  • If you need further assistance with navigating the Digital Playlists, please contact the respective content area curriculum specialist. 

For more guidance about Curriculum and Instruction, please contact Dr. Kimberly Moody, Director of Curriculum & Instruction - Kimberly.Moody@slps.org

Department Spotlight: Blended & Virtual Learning

Quarantine Extra Service Pay
  • The only virtual learning scenario in which a staff member is available for extra service pay is in the event only a portion of the class is quarantined, while the remaining portion of the class is still learning in person. 
  • If the entire class, school, or district cancels in-person learning, all instruction will be virtual. Extra service pay is not applicable for these scenarios because the virtual instruction and support does not occur outside of the instructional day.
  • Beginning January 2022, in order to receive extra service pay all teachers will be required to provide a link on the weekly timesheet to the Teams classroom(s) that they are providing additional quarantine/virtual support for. No exceptions. 
  • For scholars without access to technology outside of the instructional day, no-tech learning materials/resources must be provided. Teachers may utilize the SLPS Continuous Learning Kits (CLK) or provide their own Standards-Based aligned classwork. 
For additional information on virtual learning, click here to access the 2021-2022 Virtual Learning Playbook.
Click here to access the complete Virtual Learning Scenarios & Extra Service Guidelines guidance document. 
You’re Invited: SLPS Nearpod Training Webinars
The following virtual PD sessions have been designed exclusively for St. Louis Public Schools and will be facilitated by a Nearpod certified trainer. Start at Nearpod 101 or join Nearpod 201 depending on your Nearpod experience level!

(Note: the same sessions are being offered twice per evening to accommodate schedules)

January 18 - 
Learning with Nearpod (Nearpod 101)
2:45 pm- 3:45 pm CST
CLICK HERE to register (all SLPS staff welcome. Registration required)

January 18 - 
Learning with Nearpod (Nearpod 101)
4:00 pm- 5:00 pm CST
CLICK HERE to register (all SLPS staff welcome. Registration required)
January 19 - 
Creating with Nearpod (Nearpod 201)
2:45 pm- 3:45 pm CST
CLICK HERE to register (all SLPS staff welcome. Registration required)

January 19 - 
Creating with Nearpod (Nearpod 201)
4:00 pm- 5:00 pm CST
CLICK HERE to register (all SLPS staff welcome. Registration required)

Additionally, St. Louis Public School staff is invited to Nearpod’s District Cohort Webinar Exclusive: Top 3 Advanced Strategies to Boost Engagement with Nearpod. There are several webinar dates available.
CLICK HERE to register (all SLPS staff welcome. Registration required)

For more guidance, please contact Natasha Mitchell, Director of Virtual Learning - Natasha.Mitchell@slps.org

Department Spotlight: Professional Development

Districtwide Professional Development 2022
We heard you, and we will continue to listen so we provide professional learning / professional development supports based on your needs.  We understand from our survey feedback that there is more support sought in high-impact teaching practices (academic and trauma-informed) and implementing our new PK-8 reading curriculum resource through Savvas.  

We would like to remind you that there are Tiered Professional Development available to continue to assist in navigating and efficiently implementing the Savaas resources, lessons, and assessment tools.  Please bookmark the Savvas Professional Learning Support Plan linked HERE and attend offerings that are available to best meet your specific learning and teaching needs.  You may also be interested in 24 hour, on-demand, virtual training at My Savvas Training linked HERE which can be accessed and used by anyone with an SLPS email account, including substitute teachers and support staff.  We are here to support all your teaching and learning expectations.

Upcoming Districtwide Professional Development Day:
February 18, 2022 
Central Office-facilitated (8-11 AM)
Site-based facilitated (12:30-3:30 PM)

For more guidance please contact Dr. LaTisha A. Smith, Director of Professional Development -  LaTisha.Smith@slps.org

Updates Around The District

2022 SLPS Educator of the Year

It is time again to nominate one of the many amazing educators in SLPS for the Annual SLPS Educator of the Year 2022.
Please click the link below to nominate an educator in one of the respective categories identified at the bottom of this message. No nominations will be accepted after the nomination period closes at Friday, January 21, 2022. 

Please nominate using THIS LINK
All nominees will receive an optional application packet, by Close of Business, on January 21, 2022, which must be returned, fully completed, by 5:00 PM on January 31, 2022 for consideration for the award category to which they are applying.
The respective categories are:
 6-12 MATH 
 6-12 SCIENCE 

For more guidance please contact Dr. LaTisha A. Smith, Director of Professional Development -  LaTisha.Smith@slps.org
Black Teacher Project Fellowship

Join the 3rd cohort of the Black Teacher Project Fellowship launching March 8th, 2022! Applications are due Monday, February 7th; submit yours today!

Click the picture to learn more about BTP Fellowship and to apply.
2022 SLPS Teacher Fellow Program
The HR Recruitment and Selection Team has launched the spring 2022 application for R&S Fellows, teacher leaders who support the teacher selection process from February-July. Fellows will conduct interviews, support recruitment efforts, and work with potential candidates as we hire new teachers for fall 2022. Fellows typically complete 4-6 hours/week of work and earn stipends up to $1,500 for the semester. Click this link to review eligibility requirements and apply. Interested applicants should apply by January 14th, 2022, but applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis
Teaching Certification Pipeline for Non-Certificated Employees
The HR Recruitment Team sponsors several pipelines to support our non-certificated employees in securing their teaching certification. Since 2018-19, we have hired over 100 new teachers through these pipelines! If you are interested in becoming a certified teacher on TeamSLPS, consider these two things:
  • Complete this form to tell us you're interested and receive more information.
  • Save the date for our Certification Opportunities Information Session: January 18th, 2022 @ 3:30pm-5:30pm (register here)
* Please note that to be eligible for one of our pipelines, you must already hold an undergraduate degree and have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.75.
Employee Referral Program
SLPS is looking for talented individuals to join our team for the 2021 – 2022 school year!   Know someone?  Refer them to the Recruitment TeamIf your referral is hired for one the following positions, you will receive a referral payment

Instructional Care Aide, Teacher Assistant, Custodian, or Safety Officer - $100
Teacher - $250

The first 50 people to refer a candidate will get a free T-shirt, regardless of whether their referral is hired.
For more guidance about the Employee Referral Program, please click here or contact Danielle Jackson - Recruitment Associate - Danielle.Jackson@slps.org
ITEF - Innovative Technology Grant Opportunity
ITEF funds projects that are innovative, and which elevate learning and exploration. Click on their logo, look around their website and read about past recipients. Be creative and think BIG.
Please take a moment to review the technology grant information below. If you have an interest in bringing innovation and technology to your building/classroom, this is the PERFECT opportunity. The application is designed for teachers.

The grant link is accessible here: Innovative Technology Grant | Innovative Technology Education Fund (innovteched.com)

  • Annual grant opportunity for educators who want to innovate their teaching and student learning. ITEF wants this grant opportunity to elevate projects through innovation. Engage students, push teachers, generate excitement and enthusiasm for learning.

  • This is an opportunity to fund that project for which you have not had the funding before. This can include computers and iPads but envision beyond basic equipment. Consider STEM equipment, software for reading, history or math enhancements. The list of technology possibilities is long. Plus, the readers of your proposal will want to hear/feel your vision. 

  • Optional: The successful application can include professional development (PD) that relates to the implementation of new technology. The Professional Development line item should not exceed 25% of the total request.

  • A desire to increase innovation, but have a need for the technology to bring your teaching and learning ideas into your school/classroom.

The grant window to submit an application is NOW through - Jan. 31, 2022: Innovative Technology Grant | Innovative Technology Education Fund (innovteched.com)
SLPS Wellness Newsletter: Winter Edition 
In the Winter Edition of the SLPS Wellness Newsletter: 
  • 2022 Rally Registration
  • SLPS 2021 Awards and Participation
  • 2022 Wellness Calendars and Journal
  • January Wellness Topic: Preventive Health
  • Peloton Subscription
  • Featured Recipe
Click here to view the SLPS Wellness Newsletter: Winter Edition
SIOP Training Options 
Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) Training is returning to SLPS this semester but in a virtual format!  

The objective of the SIOP model of instruction is to make content comprehensible for all students, in all grade levels, and at all language proficiency levels. 

The ESOL Office is offering four different SIOP course options for classroom/content area teachers, ESOL teachers, and school administrators to continue to build SIOP capacity in the ESOL center schools. Each course’s content is designed to meet a specific need based on the role the participant plays in the support of an English Language Learner’s academic success.  

All courses are a mixture of live, virtual sessions and self-paced asynchronous sessions.  

For more information and to express interest in any of the SIOP training options, please Click Here
Principal Meyers at Woerner Elementary is excited about Woerner’s bilingual library cart.
Bilingual Books
Earlier this month, the ESOL Office presented elementary ESOL center schools with a mobile bilingual library cart. Each school received more than 100 bilingual books in Arabic, Dari, Farsi, Nepali, Pashto, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, and Vietnamese. 

Promoting literacy is one of the ESOL Program’s top priorities. Having access to bilingual books in school will provide district scholars with yet another way to develop literacy in English and in other world languages.  Bilingual books empower ELL scholars to share their language and culture with their peers and their teachers. In addition, reading bilingual books is one of the stepping-stones to earning a Pathway to Biliteracy Award in PreK-4, 5th, and 8th grade.   
Standards-Based Learning Corner
Click here to explore past topics related to Standards-Based Learning and Grading in SLPS.
For more guidance, please contact Dr. Kimberly Moody, Director of Curriculum & Instruction, Kimberly.Moody@slps.org
Curriculum Specialists:
  • Dr. Esther Palsenberger, Elementary ELA, 314-779-5939
  • Judine Keplar, Secondary ELA, 314-532-6427
  • Zehra Khan, Secondary 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
  • Dr. Taresa Wright-Fraser, Elementary Math, 314-943-5266
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