December 2, 2021

Network Spotlight: 
Consortium Partnership Network (CPN)
Spotlight on Place-Based Learning
Teachers and scholars have finished their first science PBL unit.  We investigated bees and pollination in our neighborhoods, created shade for our playgrounds, and considered what our community could be if we were able to design it with quality of life in mind.  We even held a light and sound show to showcase energy waves in 4th grade!

Teachers each received monthly feedback and support throughout their units and are currently making edits for future years.  This will make the projects more robust and will align to MySci for next year’s learners.

The design focus has now shifted to social studies.  Teachers are in their initial planning stages and hold professional learning conferences to discuss bringing history and social studies to life in our classrooms.  

Teachers are putting together kits of resources including small group research and reading books, podcasts, videos, and neighborhood/city-based historical artifacts.  At the end of each unit students will be able to answer the question, “How did history change my community, and how will today impact our future?”
Spotlight on STEM Labs
Using Dash Robots and other resources scholars at Meramec and Ashland are getting a strong introduction to the basics of coding and other STEM-related activities. As each school continues to build out the labs with the appropriate staffing, resources, furniture, and design elements the response to parent and scholar feedback for more STEM-related work is being taken to heart. Teachers and staff are living into the mission of preparing our scholars for the 21st century. Thank you for all the work being put in!
Spotlight on STAR Investment
Winter STAR testing begins in December and CPN scholars, teachers and staff are gearing up for the assessment. Each scholar will have a goal-setting conference to discuss their current progress and future goals prior to taking the Winter STAR assessment.

Teachers will also discuss their overall class progress so far o STAR and review classroom-level performance and goals on STAR. At the start of the school year, Meramec, and Ashland with the support of CPN’s Data Strategist launched a “Grow the Green!” campaign to help motivate overall class improvement on STAR from Fall to Winter and Winter to Spring. See the example of a scholar goal setting sheet here
For more guidance please contact Jay Hartman, Network Superintendent, CPN - 
Department Spotlight:
Early Childhood Education
Saint Louis Public Schools is the district of choice for families in the St. Louis region, that
provides a world-class education and is nationally recognized as a leader in student
achievement and teacher quality.

Our Mission is to ensure that all SLPS Pre-K scholars are ready for Kindergarten and beyond.

Partnership Updates
Ready Readers- The Ready Reader Organization has been approved to return to in-person visits to classrooms. Volunteers have met the district’s vaccination requirements are eligible to interact with students following COVID guidelines.  More detailed information is forthcoming directly from Ready Readers.

Professional Development Opportunities
Session:  Project Construct for Pre-K Educators
Date: Saturday, December 11, 2021
Time: 8:00am-11:00am
Location: Virtual
Description: Participants will be introduced to the foundations of Project Construct through discussion and hands-on activities. We will review Jean Piaget’s theory of development as it relates to our expectations for children and for the experiences we offer to them in the classroom environment. Participants will have a working understanding of the Guiding Principles of Project Construct as well as the importance of fostering opportunities for autonomous thinking in the learning community.
Finally, we will explore the benefits of play from a constructivist’s viewpoint. Participants will engage in discussions related to their role in developing children’s ability to play cooperatively and collaboratively.
Compensation: $25.52/hr Extra Service Rate

Teacher Leadership Advisory Committee
The Early Childhood Teacher Leadership Advisory Committee is a special initiative that seeks to ensure that educators are involved in a collective effort to design and support a high-quality Early Childhood program within St. Louis Public Schools. The advisory committee will support needs assessment efforts, consult on department-identified projects, provide feedback on current programming, and support future program design efforts and professional development needs.  This committee is powered by the generous support of the Saint Louis Public Schools Foundation.

Congratulations to the new Teacher Leadership Advisory Committee Members!
 Stephanie Winters- Gateway Elementary
Ericka Watson- Woodward Elementary 
 Christina Thompson- Adams Elementary
 Tracey Stanton- Mason Elementary 
 Linda Smith- Dewey International Studies
 Albert Sanders- Adams Elementary
 Elvisa Salesvic- Hodzic- ESOL Intinerant Teacher
 Felishia McCowan- Classical Junior Academy
 Michelle Lee- Stix
 Susan Kulka- Mullanphy
 Abriella Jones- Meramec Elementary
 Kelly Hahn- Wilkinson
 Marla Finley- Dewey International Studies
 Elizabeth Cummings- Fenton
 Jennifer Cornelius- Shaw Elementary

For more guidance please contact Dr. Samantha March, Director of Early Childhood Education -

Professional Development Spotlight

Annual Training: Dyslexia and Other Related Disorders
Annually, the district provides opportunities for educators to learn about dyslexia and other related reading disorders.  Click HERE to access this professional learning. Additional dyslexia resources can be found on DESE's website.

Subject Area Spotlight:

Social Studies

“The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.” –Friedrich Engels
"Nothing capable of being memorized is history." — R. G. Collingwood
Within the last year, a giant of teaching real history died. James Loewen (award-winning sociologist) inspired countless teachers and community members with his books, but none is more informative than his seminal work “Lies My Teacher Told Me:  Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong.” Loewen spent years reviewing textbooks that are routinely purchased by school districts across the country. These textbooks become the main, if not sole focus, of our teachers as they conveyed the stories of the past. In addition to presenting a critical analysis of the ways in which history is written about in the texts used in classrooms across the country, he was also critical of the way in which textbooks and their resources are labeled as critical thinking resources when so many of the resources do not involve critical thinking. For our scholars to be successful in social studies, we must be critical consumers of information and encourage them to think about solutions and not memorize “facts.”
Given the state of the conversation in our communities surrounding so many social issues, it is imperative that social studies and critical thinking be a part of the learning experience for our scholars. This is a social justice issue that is largely denied by the belief that a narrowed curriculum focused on math and ELA will create better scores on tests. This is simply not true. A robust social studies experience increases scholar background knowledge, encourages critical thinking and improves reading scores of scholars according to the Fordham Institute. History is the act of connecting events and seeking a greater understanding of how those events connect to us in the present. Scholars have the capacity to analyze primary sources and focus on the context of secondary sources. They are engaged in inquiry at all times.
Effective history teaching has seven key components according to Lee Formwalt. Component #1 is to have enthusiasm. When you are excited and question the subject, it encourages kids (and adults) to do the same. Component #2 is to rely less on the textbook. These books may be dull, boring, and leave out the stories of groups marginalized by historical systems, policies, and practices. You can use the book as a source, but it should not be the only source. Component #3 is to use well-written (and peer-researched) secondary sources for contextualization and making sense of primary sources. Component #4 focuses on using a generous amount of local history to teach American and World History. What is the role of St. Louis in historical events? The answer may be in your neighborhood, or even at your school. Component #6 suggests using music and film to appeal to the senses of scholars not stimulated by reading alone. It does not mean you should show all of a film, but spotlight key portions of it, as the film may take artistic liberties with facts. Finally, Component #7 says that teachers need to embrace technology and use it as a tool and resource. With a community of educators available and a litany of resources around, there is no shortage of available materials and suggestions for teaching social studies that present a holistic picture of our world.
I am here to help and support you as you prepare lessons and create an opportunity for our scholars to engage in the work of social studies.
"History does not refer merely, or even principally, to the past. On the contrary, the great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do." - James Baldwin

Social Studies Highlights
  • Liberty Lives Forever has donated pocket Constitutions to our government classes. They will be sent directly to the schools in time for the Bill of Rights Day on December 15. Attorneys from the Missouri Bar are offering their services to speak to government, or law classes virtually. Please contact Glenn Barnes if interested. 
  • Podcasts have been in the works at several schools. Aside from Gateway STEM HS and Metro, students at Dewey created podcasts on their favorite Missouri landmarks and destinations. Thanks to Margaret Lu and her students for engaging in this process. Students researched their locations, wrote reports, created a PowerPoint and did their speaking portions via the podcasts. This experience highlights the interdisciplinary nature of doing podcasts, while also building skills in ELA.
  • Special thanks to Parsons-Blewett for funding twenty teachers to attend the National Council for the Social Studies annual conference virtually. Sessions offered include everything from teaching a specific subject area to ways in which teachers can build up community in their classrooms and schools. Due to the virtual nature of the conference, teachers have access to the videos of sessions until April 2022!

Social Studies Insight
  • As I make my way through classrooms, my main ‘Look For’ is whether implementation of the curriculum is happening. While I may be called by schools to do walkthroughs with leadership teams, curriculum implementation and intentional planning and instruction are the areas of focus for me. Please be sure to use the common language and instructional framework shared with you during the October PD session. Presentation is in the Grades 6-12 Social Studies Team.
  • More details will be released about upcoming textbook adoptions for Advanced Placement and Electives. Please be ready for the call to be a part of the review committees. Even if you are not a teacher of one of those subjects, you could teach it in the future. Your participation and voice matter in this process.
  • Last month, I met with the AICs of the elementary schools and spelled out the case for social studies every day based on the research of Nell Duke from the University of Michigan. When we do not include social studies, we are negatively impacting the reading and writing abilities of our scholars. Social studies provide a compelling context for teaching reading and writing. If you lack relevant knowledge related to what you are reading, it can be very difficult to comprehend it. Comprehension, depends in part, on your knowledge related to the text. One warning that Duke makes is that “content-rich” ELA curricula is no substitute for time spent on social studies. Why? ELA curriculum was not written by those who are experts in social studies. Many grade-level standards are not addressed and processes involved in social studies are not included/ Those processes include interviewing, causation, correlation, corroboration, making inferences, and sourcing of information.
  • Please be sure to utilize the Teams for unpacked standards, proficiency scales, curriculum plans, and grade-level units for elementary.
  • Common formative and summative assessments are provided via Scantron for Grades 3-11. The formative is a pre-assessment and the summative is looking for growth. I shared a video in Teams to help you with making sense of the data.
For more guidance, please contact Dr. Glenn Barnes, K-12 Social Studies Curriculum Specialist - 

Updates Around The District

Dr. Martin Luther King Essay Contest 2022
Each year, on the third Monday of January, we celebrate the life, dream and courage of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Our community faces serious challenges. Sometimes people say that we cannot change things. Dr. King was living proof that we can. The Throwing and Growing Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Essay Contest is open to all St. Louis City Public High School scholars.  The first-place winner ($250 prize) will read their essay at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Committee Annual Program on January 17, 2022, on the steps of the Old Court House, 11 North 4th St., St. Louis, MO 63102. 

Second and third place winners will receive prizes of $150, and $100 respectively, at their schools. 
Click here for the teacher flier. 
Click here for the student flier.
There’s only one session left of COSEBOC’s Virtual Institute: Toward a Standard of Exemplary Care for Boys and Young Men of Color, a 4-part, online series of practitioner and partner convenings focused on reopening schools more intentionally and equitably for boys and young men of color. The 4th and final part of this series is happening Thursday, December 2nd from 6:00 pm-8:00 pm ET. 
This special, youth-led session will continue previous conversations on TACTICS (Trust, Authenticity, Culture, Truth, Inclusivity, and Care in School) by inviting several rising leaders to discuss what has enabled them to overcome challenges and obstacles in pursuit of their own agency, empowerment, and visions for success. Participants will also have the opportunity to learn more about some of the great work our partner organizations are doing to advance the social, emotional, cultural and academic development of boys and young men of color. 
We’re so grateful for all the wonderful speakers we’ve had in previous sessions and we can’t wait for the exciting conclusion to this impactful online series. You won’t want to miss out on all the insights the institute has to offer. Register here to attend part 4 of COSEBOC’s 2021 Virtual Institute.
We hope to see you there! 
Register to Attend
St. Louis Symphony Orchestra - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Concert
Join Music Director Stéphane Denève, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, and members of the entire SLSO musical family for a concert honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 
Programmed by Stéphane Denève with SLSO chorus directors Kevin McBeth and Amy Kaiser, this concert honors the legacy of Dr. King through music, including the narration of his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in Adam Maness’ Divides That Bind.
Monday, Jan 17, 2022 @ 7:00PM
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Concert

This one-hour concert is FREE, but ticket reservations are requiredClick here to reserve seats for this inspirational event!
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 Team.  If 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 -
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,
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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