Message From Deputy Superintendent of Academics
Dr. Marion Smith Jr
March is National Women's History Month! Additionally, on March 8, 2023, we recognize International Women’s Day.
I honor and celebrate the many women in my life (past and present) and those in SLPS, who inspire, who challenge, who teach and who most importantly "TAKE UP SPACE" and refuse to be silent as they challenge the status quo, creating spaces for all in our system to thrive. Thank you for all you do for our scholars and families!
Below are a few learning and teaching resources that may be of interest to you, as we continue to bring awareness and celebrate Women’s History Month.
There is no better place to be than in the classroom! Like last school year, after our Spring Break Vacation, I will guest teach in at least two (2) classrooms in April and May 2023. I can’t wait!
ENTER THE DRAWING: If you are interested in having me guest teach in your classroom, please submit your name, school and grade/content. Your information should be submitted via e-mail to Carmelita McCray (Carmelita.McCray@slps.org) no later than Friday, March 10, 2023.
For those unfamiliar with my PK-12 teaching experiences, my teaching career began in my hometown of Las Vegas, NV. Prior to earning my undergrad degree, I served as a lead pre-kindergarten teacher in a multilingual early childhood education center. After earning my undergrad degree, I worked for the Clark County School District (the 5th largest school district in the country, enrolling over 310,000 PK-12 scholars) where I taught English Language Arts in both a Title I junior high school and middle school. I ended my time in the classroom as a high school English Literature, Language and Composition teacher and Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) teacher/curriculum specialist at the first career academies comprehensive high school in the district that enrolled over 2,700 grade 9-12 scholars.
Keeping “The Work” of the Academic Office Front and Center
The WHY of our work for School Year 22-23:
To develop and/or deepen the habits of mind and adaptive leadership moves critical to disrupt and dismantle inequities in our systems, practices, policies and procedures so each scholar thrives.
The WHAT of our work for School Year 22-23:
Strengthen the *instructional core, so each scholar has access and targeted supports to achieve Standards and to engage in deeper learning through the ‘Key 3’
Use multiple sources of data (qualitative, quantitative and perceptual) to inform decision-making
- Apply “best we know right now practices” to educate the Whole Child
*teachers’ knowledge and skills; scholars’ engagement in their own learning; academically challenging content
The HOW of our work for School Year 22-23:
“Be like a tree and let the dead leaves drop.” - Rumi
Your partner in education,
Marion Smith Jr, EdD
Deputy Superintendent of Academics
For more information, please contact Dr. Marion Smith Jr., Deputy Superintendent of Academics– Marion.SmithJr@slps.org
Network Spotlight: Learning Network 3
Network 3 Sweeps The 2022-2023 SLPS Elementary Cheer Competition
Congratulations to Adams Elementary, Nance Elementary, and Shaw VPA Elementary for taking 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places respectively on Saturday, February 25th! Gimme a Z-E-N!!!!!
Mullanphy - Botanical Gardens Elementary STEAM Lab
At Mullanphy, Fourth graders were excited to begin working in the new STEAM lab. With a partner, they were challenged to create a windmill using recyclable materials. The windmill had to be free-standing, the blades had to turn easily, and its maximum height could be 18 inches. Students did a great job at meeting this challenge and showing their creativity!
Shaw Visual & Performing Arts Elementary "Reaching Students By Any Means Necessary"
Shaw VPA is zooming in on primary students becoming brilliant mathematicians and ready readers. Knowing that they are laying the foundation for upper elementary, the teachers of primary students are strategic about the activities and work they set before students as well as providing students the opportunities to apply what they are learning.
Students are often found working in centers using different strategies to solve equations using ones and tens blocks or working independently with differentiated activities to boost foundational reading skills.
Hodgen Tech Academy Is Striving For Excellence
Hodgen Tech Academy has been busy little dragons this second semester. We opened the new year being SLPS’s first place robotics team. This allowed Hodgen Inventors to compete against 220 teams across the state, and we proudly came in 19th place.
Hodgen continues to strive for excellence as we celebrate Black History by welcoming authors Torrey Maldonado and Dr. LaTisha Smith, and other phenomenal district leaders to our Hodgen African American Read In. We look forward to growing as we read to lead and succeed!
Subject Area Spotlight: Math
Celebrating Women in Mathematics and Pi Day
As we conclude Black History Month we segue into Women's History Month as well as Pi day, let's celebrate the accomplishments of these extraordinary women mathematicians as well as Pi Day. Below are the links where you can find biographical information, portraits and some interviews that can be shared with scholars, for example Dr. Jackson and Dr. Washington among others.
EvenQuads features the below amazing 64 mathematicians - https://awm-math.org/publications/playing-cards/deck1/
Department Spotlight: St. Louis Plan
Internal Board of Review and Induction Panel
The Peer Assistants of the St. Louis Plan (Consultant Teachers and Induction Coaches) will present to the district Internal Board of Review (IBOR) which consists of central office and school-based educators. SLPS, in collaboration with the American Federation of Teachers Local 420, will hear performance reviews and recommendations for employment for 100 new teachers on March 10, 13, and 14, 2023 at the St. Louis Plan Office.
Interim Learning Associate (ILA) Summer Learning 2023
In June and July, 2022, Interim Learning Associates (ILA) participated in professional development provided by the STL Plan and SLPS master teachers. The STL Plan will again sponsor summer learning for ILAs for 2023.
- This learning experience will take place for 19 days in June 2023.
Master Teachers and former consultant teachers interested in presenting should contact the St. Louis Plan office at 314-345-2236 for more Information.
- ILAs stay tuned, more information will be provided in the April Academic Newsletter.
Checking For Understanding Booster Session
The Consultant Teachers and Induction Coaches will be providing tiered booster sessions to their New Teacher Academy workshops during the month of April 2023.
- There will be two-1hour sessions conducted in April 2023.
- All STL Plan Teachers successfully released in 2022-23 are eligible to participate.
- The 1st will be in person.
- Checking for Understanding (the district core text and resource for this work) by Fisher and Frey will be given to all 1st session attendees.
- The 2nd session will be virtual.
- Check with your Consultant Teacher or Induction Coach for more details.
Applications for 2023-2024: Consultant Teacher
Have you mentored teachers now or in the past? Would you like to support and coach a new teacher full time?
- Consultant Teachers applications for the 2023-2024 will be available in Nimble by Friday, March 3, 2023.
Applicants must be tenured with at least five years of continuous service with the SLPS.
- If you are interested and need more information, call the STL Plan office at 345-2236.
End of the Year Celebration for STL Plan Graduates:
Every year the STL Plan celebrates the new teachers who successfully complete the process. This year is no exception.
- The Continuing Your Journey to Success celebration will be held on May 18, 2023.
This celebration will include 90 minutes of relevant professional development.
- There will be guest speakers, parting gifts, and light refreshments.
- Invitations for this event will go out on May 1, 2023.
Meeting Space Available: Please remember, the STL Plan Des Peres site is available for small group professional development. You are invited to come and see what is possible at 450 Des Peres, St. Louis MO 63112. For more information or a short tour, please contact Wanda.Clay@slps.org.
For more information please contact Dr. Wanda Clay, Coordinator, St. Louis Plan – Wanda.Clay@slps.org
New Spotlight: MTSS Corner
Shifting the Framework: Data Planning
The Academic Office continues to define and to explain the purpose of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) and “how” MTSS will be implemented throughout our district. In the last Academic Office Newsletter, we discussed the purpose of analyzing data to support tiered instruction.
Before the planning stages begin, it’s important that each member of the leadership team has a clear understanding of the data analysis cycle- assessing, disaggregating the data, and data planning. Determining a data facilitator to assist in the process of data planning helps the team work more effectively and efficiently.
The data facilitator ensures that data planning is targeted and actionable for each tier of identified support. The use of a planning tool helps organize the areas of growth, action steps to improve, stakeholders involved, and measures of growth and proficiency. Progress monitoring of each action step is vital for the team. Below is a planning tool that may be helpful for teams in the data planning and progress monitoring tracking process.
In efforts to build upon our journey as a district towards Standards Based Grading (PK-5) to ensure equitable grading practices in our district, a professional development opportunity is available. Part of the professional development will include analysis of Standard Based Grading Data and identifying tiered support for scholars in each content area. If you are interested in this Professional Development Opportunity, please click here.
As we continue the transition to the MTSS framework, it is important to remember the ‘Why, What, and How of MTSS.” Below is a one pager to support our collective work moving forward.
For more information regarding MTSS and resources for each tier, please contact Ravetta Jackson, MTSS Specialist - Ravetta.Jackson@slps.org
Department Spotlight: Curriculum & Instruction
St. Louis Public Schools Parent Teacher Conference Guidance Tool
A successful family/school partnership is vital for student success. Parent-teacher conferences create an opportunity for shared collaboration between the family, student and teacher.
- The Spring Parent-Teacher Conference window is March 13th – 16th
No school for staff or students on Friday, March 17th (Central Office Staff Works.)
- Conferences should take place before school or after school (in accordance with your school’s established PTC schedule)
- The goal is 100% participation!
Maximize every minute of your conference using these best practices…
Listed below are research-based best practices for having highly effective parent conferences.
Prepare all Relevant Data/Assessments:
This includes formative and summative data, class projects/rubrics/assessments. Bring the student’s most recent STAR report, CFAs, etc. and any available longitudinal data. It is critical that the parent conference is grounded in evidence of performance on standards. Share the DESE grade/subject standards with families to ensure everyone is on the same page regarding intended outcomes. Report card grades should reflect the student's ability to show proficiency on grade level standards – NOT solely on the completion of assignments. If needed, use the SLPS letter of academic concern (see below.) ENSURE all feedback, report card comments and data points are aligned to standards.
Starting with positive comments will reinforce to the parents or guardians that you care about their child and only want the student to maximize his or her potential by enhancing strengths and minimizing challenges. Prepare Student Specific Questions
The parent-teacher conference is an opportunity for you to share information about a student with his or her parents/guardians, as well as a time for you to obtain information and insights to help you better nurture the student’s learning. For each conference, be prepared with a list of student-specific questions to ask the parents or guardians to help you further tailor the student’s learning pathway. Have Evidence to Explain Concerns
Whether your concerns are academic or behavioral, they should be grounded in evidence and based on grade- level standards. Utilize the proficiency scales in the SLPS curriculum guides to support standards-based feedback and guide conversations around students meeting grade-level expectations. By providing clear examples, parents and guardians can best understand your perspective and the reasons for your concerns and will be more willing to offer insights and discuss solutions.
End the Meeting with Clear Goals and Next Steps
Close the conference by establishing goals and action steps that should occur both in the classroom and at home to support the student’s learning pathway. At the next conference, review the collective progress toward those goals.
If needed, CLICK HERE to access a copy of the SLPS Academic Concern Letter.
Language Access Support During Parent-Teacher Conference
Remember to use language access supports to ensure meaningful communication with ELL families during Parent-Teacher Conferences. Telephonic interpretation will be used to support all district languages during Parent-Teacher Conferences.
- Use ELL Alert in SIS and ELL Family Directory to identify ELL parent language needs
For Parent-Teacher Conferences conducted between 7:00 am and 3:30 pm, continue to utilize district language access team to support your communication with ELL parents.
CLICK HERE to access the list of district translators/interpreters and their contact information.
For Parent-Teacher Conferences conducted outside of the above-mentioned time frame and for languages not represented on the district language access team, use site-specific telephonic interpretation code provided to your principal (ESOL center schools) or to your ELL contact person (non-center schools) at the beginning of the school year.
- When telephonic interpretation is used to support a conference conducted via Zoom or Teams, access interpreters using the telephonic interpretation access code and put the interpreter on the speaker phone.
When telephonic interpretation is used to support a conference conducted over the phone, access interpreters through a 3-way call.
- Report Cards will be sent home with scholars during the week of March 13th
The SIS-360 grade reporting window is now open until March 10, 2023
You may access Step-By-Step Instructions (including a video and PowerPoint resource) on how to use the SIS-360 Grade Reporting System for both traditional and standards-based grading HERE.
Standards-Based Grading Update (Grades Pre-K through 5)
For additional support and guidance with grading during our ongoing journey and transition from traditional grades to standards-based grades, please access the Standards-Based Grade Reporting Guidebook HERE.
- The current SLPS Board Policy on Gradingis linked HERE.
- The SIS Gradebook Guidance 1-Pager is linked HERE.
NOTE: In our efforts to address coherence and clarity in our communication across the school district, please be sure to use the information shared here and in the guidebook. If you have created or shared alternative information, conversion charts or crosswalks around Standards-Based Grading, please be sure to update them.
For more information about Parent-Teacher Conference, please contact Dr. Kimberly Moody - Director of Curriculum & Instruction - Kimberly.Moody@slps.org. For more information about using the SIS Grade Reporting System, please contact Matthew Haack, Student Information Systems Manager, - Mathew.Haack@slps.org. For more information about Standards Based Grading contact - Ravetta Jackson, MTSS Specialist - Ravetta.Jackson@slps.org
Camp SLPS 2023 will be held from Monday, June 5th through Friday, June 30th at sites across Saint Louis Public Schools (no summer learning on Monday, June 19th in recognition of Juneteenth holiday). Employment applications for staff and registration for students is now available!
Applications for Summer Site Leaders and staff are available at the links below:
Positions will be filled on a rolling basis beginning on March 3rd for Summer Site Leaders and March 7th for other positions. Those applications submitted after the initial deadline for their respective application will be waitlisted.
Registration for students is now available!
Please register online at https://www.slps.org/summer or use the QR codes below! A list of site assignments is also posted on the SLPS website.
Central Office College & Career Wear Day Challenge
The Inaugural DINO CUP Challenge has taken place and we are pleased to announce that two teams had 100% participation this week: Academic Office Core and Technology and Tech Services. So, our Internal Auditor, Celeste Metcalf, was put to work and the winner was drawn from a cup with both teams listed. The winner this week is Academic Office Core Team! CONGRATULATIONS to Dr. Smith Jr, Ms. McCray, Dr. Martens, Dr. Toney and Mr. Bullock!
A few clarifications on the weekly competition. Please make sure everyone on your team knows as not everyone got the initial email.
Each team should designate a captain and report your participation percentage to Cheasa.firstname.lastname@example.org and provide documentation if offsite.
As this endeavor is truly about our students and raising Post Secondary awareness, we ask everyone to keep playing as it is a weekly TRAVELING TROPHY!
One clarification for our loophole finders, there were several so we let it slide this week. Acceptable APPAREL is any university, college, trade school or military gear which includes hats, t-shirts, socks, and everything in between (THAT IS APPAREL). The idea is also that you wear the garment all day!
We have learned that the DINO CUP is a treasured prize so we ask that teams provide a time stamped photo of their people if they are not in the office. See sample. THANKS!
Let’s keep raising awareness, competing and having fun! We look forward to increased participation. You may notice that DINO is now himself wearing apparel aka a St. Louis Community College shirt! (Love it Brandon Guthrie!)
Character Plus - Champions for Character
The 2023 Champions of Character Program is open for application. This program recognizes schools who engage in service learning activities. Three schools will be recognized with Cardinals tickets, on-field recognition, and a banner for their school. The application process is easy (click here to apply). The application deadline is March 25th.
Champions of Character Website Information
UMSL Virtual College of Education Fair
This is an invitation for administrators, counselors, teachers and support staff to register for the UMSL College of Education Virtual Fair Week. The UMSL Faculty and Staff will be on hand to host virtual presentations each evening designed to provide information about our undergraduate and graduate degrees and program offerings. They are providing different presentations each night. Guests are free to join on one or all four evenings to learn more about the UMSL COE.
Registration for the evenings of March 6, 8 and 9 can be found by following this link
Registration for the March 7 Alternative Certification presentation can be found by following this link.
Monday, March 6, 7:00PM to 8:00PM
- Bachelor of Science in Sport Management
- Personal Finance Graduate Certificate for Educators
Education Leadership ME.D., Ed.S., Ed.D.
- Graduate Certificate Teaching of Writing
Tuesday, March 7, 7:00PM to 8:00PM
- Alternative Teacher Certification Programs:
- Teach Residency
- Teach in 12
- Temporary Authorization Certification (TAC)
Wednesday, March 8, 7:00PM to 8:00PM
- Higher Ed ME.D./College Access, Career Success and Student Services Leadership Graduate Certificate
- STEAM Themes Ed.D.
- Social Justice Graduate Certificate and Ed.D.
- ME.D. Programs General
- ME.D. Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling
Thursday, March 9, 7:00PM to 8:00PM
- Ed.D. and Ph.D. (Non-Counseling)
- Ph.D. Counseling
- Undergraduate Teaching Certification
- ME.D. Special Education and Ph.D. Special Education
- 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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