Message from Deputy Superintendent of Academics
Dr. Marion Smith Jr
In April, we bring awareness and celebrate School Library Month, National Autism Acceptance Month and National Arab American Heritage Month.
School Library Month | April is School Library Month, and this week (April 3-9) is National Library Week. The annual celebration highlights the valuable role libraries, librarians, and library workers play in transforming lives and strengthening our communities. SHOUT OUT to all SLPS librarians! Learn more about School Library Month HERE.
Autism Month | Autism Acceptance Month, previously named Autism Awareness Month, aims to celebrate and promote acceptance for the condition that occurs in one in every 54 children as of 2020 in the United States. Learn more about Autism and Autism Acceptance Month HERE.
Arab American Heritage Month | In April 2019, President Biden signed a resolution to recognize the contributions of Arab-Americans to the United States as National Arab American Heritage Month. This move acknowledges the contributions of individuals of Arab descent to the United States. The Arab World consists of 22 countries in West Asia and North Africa, including Algeria, Bahrain, the Comoros Islands, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. This group of nations is also full of rich religious diversity that includes individuals from the Christian, Druze, Jewish, and Muslim faiths.
END OF SCHOOL YEAR TESTING BEGINS
It’s that time of year again!
Time for our scholars to ‘show what they know’ on different end of year assessments. Amidst the backdrop of a continued global pandemic that has interrupted learning and teaching in many different ways, school-based staff have remained focused on learning and teaching to support each of our scholars. Our scholars are ready, thanks to each of you!
A quick SHOUT OUT to Network 3 (ZEN) led by Network Superintendent, Dr. Zitta, for the information below shared yesterday via her weekly Network newsletter:
We have 7 more instructional days until the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) state test officially begins. HERE are the MAP Grade-Level Assessment Blueprints to help school-based staff understand what might be tested and the range of emphasis.
See additional information in this Newsletter for upcoming end of year assessment dates.
First, thank you to everyone who submitted their name to be entered into the drawing to have me serve as a Guest Teacher in their classroom.
At the most recent Academic Office Directors Meeting, four (4) names were selected through a random drawing.
Congrats to the winners:
Dawn Johnson | Washington Montessori Elementary School | Grades: 2/3
Terrell Mobley | Vashon High School | Grade: 9-12 English Special Education
Caleb Smith | Nance Elementary School | Grade: 1
Linda Smith | Dewey International Studies Elementary School | Grade: PK
I look forward to learning and teaching with the scholars in each of these classrooms.
“Key 3”: STRENGTHEN THE INSTRUCTIONAL CORE
REMINDER: As a result of Semester 1 and Quarter 3 school learning walks, both formal and informal, and a review of multiple sources of data, three (3) key learning and teaching strategies have been identified that will serve as our collective academic focus and priority as a school district for the remainder of SY 21-22, anchor our summer professional development/professional learning (PD/PL) and launch our Fall 2022 PD/PL. These strategies, when effectively implemented in 100% of our classrooms, will create the conditions for us as a school district to continue to close opportunity and achievement gaps.
The Key 3:
- Check for Understanding Practices
- Data-Driven / Data-Informed Lesson Planning (PBTE #9)
DOK Questioning (PBTE #22)
More information forthcoming outlining additional supports, resources, and professional learning available to assist 100% of classroom educators to develop and/or deepen their practices in the “Key 3.” For now and for direct support with engaging these strategies in your daily instructional practice, please review the implementation strategies list linked HERE and/or contact a Curriculum and Instruction Team Member for additional support.
FINAL THOUGHT TO PONDER
"Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
- Maya Angelou
Your partner in education,
Marion Smith Jr, EdD
Deputy Superintendent of Academics
Collegiate School of Medicine & Bioscience (CSMB) Debate Team
At this year’s Eastern Missouri national qualifying district tournament, held on March 17-19 at Ladue Watkins-Horton High School, where over 30 schools competed, three SLPS scholars, Lilley Halloran, Sifa Wangia, and Silas Bloch made history becoming the first scholars ever to qualify for NSDA Nationals from Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience and SLPS.
Seniors Lilley and Sifa took the district championship title in policy debate and Freshman Silas Bloch qualified in Congress. In addition, the team also qualified to take two more scholars, Juniors Chloe Ong and Gracie Ebenhoh, to compete in supplemental events.
It is a great accomplishment and milestone for both CSMB and St. Louis Public Schools as a whole. The team of 40 scholars is led by Head Coach Josie Johnston and Assistant Coaches Dana Fisher and Sara Chamberlain.
Network Spotlight: Network 1
The Future is Now – Dewey Elementary Robotics Club
Dewey scholars have had many opportunities to engage in activities to help them celebrate their love of learning. Scholars in the Robotics Club using their coding skills to build a snowplow. They had a competition to see which snowplow robot could collect the most cotton “snowballs”.
Black History Living Museum at Dewey Elementary
Fifth grade scholars researched famous African Americans and created a Black History Living Museum. Our fifth graders were excited to dress up, use props and share what they learned when scholars in each grade visited.
Oak Hill’s Spring Fling Celebration
Oak Hill scholars have been working hard on their PBIS expectations. To celebrate, we threw a Spring Fling event!
Each classroom had a different activity set up, from paper airplane competitions, bracelet making, Minute to Win it games, puzzle races, Lego building and more! Scholars who followed PBIS expectations throughout the month, spent time in each classroom having fun, enjoying snacks, and celebrating their reward for positive behavior.
Every day at Oak Hill Elementary, we practice Respect, Responsibility, Self-Control, and Safety. We are proud of our scholars!
Subject Area Spotlight: Social Studies
Over the last year or more, our community has encountered many world and local events that continue to challenge us. Even in the face of adversity, our teachers have come through to lead classes through some difficult issues. Last year, we identified a list of suggestions on how to talk to kids about difficult subjects:
- Encourage open dialogue (Moderate these conversations.)
- Ask open ended questions (Every situation does not need a defined answer.)
- Admit when you do not know something (Very important! Offer to help find information/learn together.)
- Consider the complexities of difficult subjects (Nothing is easy. Most of the situations have layers which go very deep.)
- Share your values (i.e.: compassion for others, helping those who are suffering, etc.)
- Talk about “their” news (Where are they getting their information? Is it reliable?)
- Ask about what they would do in a really difficult situation (Center their response on empathy and/or compassion.)
Get them to consider solutions (Not warranted all the time, but something to aspire for. While they may not be able to solve the problem, maybe they want to take action to address the problem.)
As we look over these suggestions, a reminder to consider remains at the center of our thinking: There is a difference between being informed and getting traumatized again. Sometimes we visualize our self and it brings up a lot of unprocessed things from experiences we may have had in the past. Having boundaries is important.
We say all of this as a reminder to you as we encounter news events that challenge us (Ukraine, Supreme Court decisions, local events, anything political, etc.). Consider how your scholars are processing what is going on around them. Also, consider how you are processing the images projected. Our kids see a lot of things happening around them and may not know how to process global and local events. Thank you for being a steady force in the lives of all our children. Your guidance, stability and honesty is what helps children start to make sense about the world around them.
As we continue to engage in the SY 22-23 Textbook Adoption. We conducted AP Textbook reviews and looked at HS Social Studies materials on April 6-7, 2022. Thank you to those of you who have helped in this process.
- I am accepting applications for teachers to apply for the Social Studies Standards Based Grading (SBG) Summer Work Group. The application is on Teams. Please email Dr. Glenn Barnes with any questions you may have.
MO Constitution, US Constitution, and Citizenship test results need to be submitted to school leadership teams, counselors, data processing, and Dr. Glenn Barnes. Since this is a high school graduation requirement, tracking is essential. Please let me know if you have any questions.
For more guidance please contact Dr. Glenn Barnes, K-12 Social Studies Curriculum Specialist - Glenn.Barnes@slps.org
Department Spotlight: English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
Book and Blankets
150 ELL scholars participated in the ELL Book Club called Books and Blankets. The goal of this book club was to promote the love of reading. Each scholar received 9 culturally relevant books, a blanket, and a book bin. Six ESOL teachers met with scholars on Teams weekly and read a book aloud, introduced vocabulary, provided interactive review games, and facilitated lively discussions. Ms. Belinda Quimby, principal at Humboldt Academy of Higher Learning stated, “It was a great opportunity for those scholars to connect with one another and form good habits of reading along with and developing their love and enjoyment of reading."
“I liked The Proudest Blue because it was about my culture.”
Lillian, Edmentum Scholar
"I want to do it again! It made reading fun and I liked when the teacher read to us”
Skarleth, Buder Elementary
English Language Learner (ELL) Events
During teacher professional development days this year, ELL scholars were invited to participate in several events.
ELL Scholars are published authors!
The Bilingual Parent Library at the ESOL Office already features more than 20 books written by SLPS ELL scholars. This year, more than 25 books written by ELL scholars will be added to the library collection. ELLs and their families were invited to engage in shared literacy experiences and co-author a book in English, in their first language, or a bilingual book. Supports for the book-writing process included a writing guide, a video tutorial, and a live writing session on ZOOM. An Author’s Chair event will celebrate our ELL writers in May.
ELL Math Hour
ELL Families are learning math concepts!
The entire ELL family is engaged in discovering various math topics using fun math kits during ELL Math Hour. Math kits for ELL scholars in kindergarten through eighth grade are picked up by appointment at the ESOL office. During the ELL Math Hour, ELL families can access narrated tutorials on the ESOL Office website. Tutorials are offered in multiple languages. Our ELL scholars are now ready to take on fractions, decimals, and measurements on upcoming MAP sessions!
ELL Science Hour
ELL Families discovers Science!
During ELL Science Hour, ELL families get an opportunity to engage with a variety of Science topics. Science topics for Kindergarten through 4th grade include magnets, motion, the human body, earth, and matter. 5th through 8th grade ELL scholars participating in this event received volcano kits. ELLs and their families worked together to combine compound and composite materials and explore chemical reactions to create eruptions.
Department Spotlight: Early Childhood Education
Early Childhood Education Updates
Intent to Return Confirmation Forms
It is requested that each P3 and P4 scholar have an Intent to Return Confirmation Form completed for scholars currently enrolled in the Pre-Kindergarten Program by April 15th. All returning scholar registration will occur at school sites only.
All sites have been sent list of scholars with completed forms on file, current as of March 28th. Please continue to reach out to families that are not listed in the spreadsheet and request they complete the Intent to Return Confirmation form on the ECE website. This helps to obtain the most accurate information for seat availability.
This form may be completed by school staff or a family member:
New Pre-K Registration Inquiries and Updates for Neighborhood Schools
Please direct all families interested in enrollment for the upcoming school year to complete the Pre-Registration Form online. After submission, an ECE Team Member will reach out to schedule a registration appointment. Here is the direct link: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=az3jCFSmakiA4yCxkK4i12zPinRfRUBNr7ZSU2GGmMFUMklKVDA0MTdKWjZaWUhMQkJGTkcwU0ZTSi4u
IMPORTANT NOTE: Starting August 1, 2022, registration for general education scholars will occur at school sites only. Special Education and ESOL scholar registration will remain centralized. The 22-23 registration structure is outlined here. Be on the lookout for upcoming registration training for neighborhood school secretaries and leaders.
For more guidance contact Dr. Samantha March, Director of Early Childhood Education - Samantha.March@slps.org
Curriculum & Instruction Spotlight
Spring 2022 Textbook Adoptions
SLPS is anticipating Spring 2022 textbook adoption for all Secondary ELA content, AP Science, and AP Social Studies. Our new adoption process consists of a three-step review process that includes a preliminary overview to determine if the product meets the expectations of the initial request, an intense review of print materials and vendor presentations with time for a question-and-answer component. Educators, Scholars, Scholar-Families, and other District Stakeholders were invited to participate in our selection process to ensure that we are fair and consistent in our selection process, and that every decision is made in the best interest of our scholars. Please review our 6-year textbook adoption cycle HERE.
If you would like to learn more about our textbook adoption process or if you are interested in getting involved with our district's curriculum committee, please contact Dr. Kimberly Moody, Director of Curriculum & Instruction, at Kimberly.Moody@slps.org
Summer Learning – Camp SLPS | June 6 - June 30, 2022
This year Summer Learning will look, feel and sound different! Welcome to Camp SLPS 2022 where scholars will create their own summer learning adventure. Camp SLPS is designed around a new, digital learning platform personalized to your scholar’s interests! Each scholar is surveyed, and an assessment is created and, much like a digital “playlist,” it is specific to the needs and passions of that scholar. At the core are standards-based academic learning activities, lessons and experiences to help build strength in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) areas. Additionally, each Friday scholars will experience field trips, outdoor events and guest presenters.
Learn more about Camp SLPS HERE
For more guidance about Curriculum and Instruction, please contact Dr. Kimberly Moody, Director of Curriculum & Instruction - Kimberly.Moody@slps.org
Updates Around The District
MAP/EOC Testing Snacks
The Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) Department would like to offer School Administrators the opportunity to purchase MAP/EOC Testing snacks for your school.
By purchasing these snacks through the FNS Department, you will be able to accomplish the following:
- Save time and a trip to the store to purchase snacks
- Have the snacks delivered directly to the school
Provide healthy snacks that meet the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) guidelines
For more guidance contact Althea Albert-Santiago, MPH, Director of Food and Nutrition Services - Althea.Albert-Santiago@slps.org
ESSER II Guidance
The deadline to enter requisitions for ESSER II for this school year is May 6, 2022. As a note, schools can make ESSER II purchases next year, but we are strongly encouraging the following purchases for this year:
- Furniture purchases: Schools are encouraged to work with approved furniture vendors for quotes ASAP.
Licenses, supplemental materials, professional development, and other key initiatives that begin in Summer 2022 or BOY 2022 should be purchased in this fiscal year.
For more guidance Dr. Claire Crapo, Director of Implementation - Claire.Crapo@slps.org
Getting Smart - EduCatered: Elizabeth Herbert
We are thrilled to bring you a new podcast from Getting Smart called EduCatered: A Podcast That’s Catered to Educators.
On this episode of EduCatered we’re joined by Elizabeth Herbert, the Social Studies Department Chair at Gateway STEM high school in St. Louis Public Schools.
Say Something, Do Something
Say Something, Do Something is an interactive and immersive program that uses participatory theater techniques to build critical thinking, decision making, and interpersonal skills to help scholars think about how to resolve conflicts without resorting to violence.
Scholars witness a recreated scene based on real-life situations they experience, then have the opportunity to actively help the target of the scene’s conflict. Scholars interview characters to develop a deeper understanding of what influences people to make these negative choices. They are invited to replace the actors, re-play the scene, and improvise their own strategies for a more positive outcome. After this rehearsal for real life, scholars will be better equipped to recognize potential conflict in their schools and take action to create a culture of non-violence.
Celeste Grayer, School Social Worker, St. Louis Public Schools, said, “Say Something, Do Something provided a new perspective and gave the children a chance to practice and have an open discussion. The scholars loved that they were able to interact and be a part of the conversation. They all learned something new and were able to see it in action.”
This program is primarily designed for 4th - 6th grade scholars, as studies show that building resiliency around issues of violence at this age is optimum to achieve long-term success. However, the program has been adapted for other age groups upon request.
If you’re interested in bringing Say Something, Do Something to your school, contact Eleanor Marsh at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spring Into Fitness
With the chill of winter fading away and spring weather right around the corner, the SLPS Parent Action Council and Go! St. Louis are proud to invite you to the inaugural Spring Into Fitness 5k & 1.5 mile Family Fun Run.
The family friendly event will be held on Saturday, April 23 from 9 am. - noon and will begin at Ashland Elementary School.
Visit the Spring Into Fitness webpage by clicking here.
Any questions? Please e-mail Gloria.Nolan@slps.org or call 314-345-2485.
Standards-Based Learning Corner
Click here to explore past topics related to Standards-Based Learning and Grading in SLPS.
For more guidance, please contact Elsie Krueger, MTSS Specialist, Elsie.Krueger@slps.org
- 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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