May 7, 2021
May 7, 2021
PD Opportunity: REFRESH
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! 
ICYMI: ABAR with YA Author Jason Reynolds
The leaders of SLPS encourage you to watch Part 2 of the District's inaugural Anti-Bias Anti-Racism (ABAR) Virtual Mini-Conference and Speaker Series featuring award-winning author and thought leader Jason Reynolds!
About the Speaker: Jason Reynolds is the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and the New York Times best-selling author of All American Boys, the Track series, Long Way DownFor EveryoneMiles Morales-Spiderman and Stamped (with Ibram X. Kendi). He is also the inaugural Honorary Chair of 2021 Banned Books Week.
Find all of the conference recordings and watch the exclusive video of SLPS students and Jason Reynolds having a candid conversation about racism, anti-racism and you, at
This video is a MUST watch for all middle and high school students!
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
May Virtual Family Savings Night 5/11/21: College Kids/Alltru Credit Union Virtual Family Savings Night will be held Tuesday,  May 11  from 6-7 pm on Zoom. Please share this info with your families! All students in attendance will receive a $20 bonus deposit into their account. RSVP is required. Once the RSVP is completed, you will receive a confirmation email that with the Zoom link. For additional information or questions contact Barbara Davis at 314-612-1686 or Families must RSVP!
GOOD NEWS: First Lego League Explore
Last week, students from seven SLPS elementary schools participated in the First Lego League Explore. Students from Ashland, Clay, Hodgen, Lexington, Nance, Stix and Wilkinson teamed up to put their STEM and creative skills to the test. A big thank you to every student and staff member who made this event a big success. 
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: ELA, Secondary with Judine Keplar
Shakespeare, Race and Who Gets to Tell the Story 
Excitement is building throughout St. Louis for the upcoming Shakespeare in the Park production of King Lear, directed by Carl Cofield, the associate artistic director of the Classical Theatre of Harlem. The play features an all-POC company. Thought to be William Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy, King Lear remains relevant in a 21st century America wrestling with critical issues. Join us for a panel discussion with local and national theatre professionals and scholars about the role race plays in Shakespeare’s work, the ways that people of color have used his work as a vehicle for artistic excellence, and how centuries-old works can be retold to explore issues of race and equity today. 
  • SERIES: African American History Programs
  • LOCATION: Zoom Room
  • DATE: Thursday, May 13, 2021, @ 6:30 PM 
Outside Literary Magazine – Issue 5 
Issue 5 of Outside Literary Magazine is now available online! Check out the impressive collection of student artwork and literary masterpieces at
AudioSync is Back for Summer 2021! 
The annual Summer AudioSync began on April 29 and runs through Aug. 4. Anyone can download two free YA audiobooks each week and keep them forever! Check out the ELA 6-8 or English 9-12 Teams pages for promotional flyers you can share with students and families. 
General Announcements: 
  • Please make sure you are checking into the ELA Team for your grade band at least once each week. Important announcements are always posted there first. It is also a great place to ask for resources or to share resources with your colleagues. 
  • Are you looking for your Proficiency Scales? You can access all SBG Resources for ELA 6-12 by visiting our OneDrive Folder
  • Do you have feedback on the ELA 6-12 Proficiency Scales? Judine wants your input before summer revisions are made! Click here to provide feedback
Important Links: 
Curriculum Corner: Social Studies with Dr. Glenn Barnes
As teacher appreciation week wraps up, I want to say how truly blessed I am to work with the men and women of SLPS in support of our students. Thank you for all of the work you have accomplished during this difficult year. You have earned my respect many times over. 
As we start wrapping up the school year and think ahead to the future, we need to take a moment to reflect on the things that have been working and not working for us this year. Think about ways in which you have evolved and grown throughout the year. What are some of the ways in which you want to grow for the future? As Francis of Assisi said, “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” Many of you achieved this and continue to do the impossible. Thank you!
Resources Worth Exploring
  • Making of America- This is a primary source library from the University of Michigan which covers the Antebellum Period through Reconstruction. These primary sources are so important to use with students, so they can make sense of the world at the time and the impact on our world today.
  • Social Studies Central-Primary Sources- This is another primary source website filled with links to other resources which can be used in class across all spectrums and time periods.
  • Refdesk- This website has not changed the design very much over the last 20+ years, but still maintains and updates links for reference and information. Contains articles of the day, links to lots of reference materials, and a great jumping-off point for research.
SMART Goals for Social Studies: LINK
Curriculum Corner: ELA, Elementary with Dr. Esther Palsenberger
SMART Goals for Elementary ELA: LINK
Quarter 4 CSA Window: May 24-28, 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 get through the final weeks of the regular school year.
Choice Boards are a great way for students to complete a specific task but always them to choose which task to complete.
As teachers are working on the 4th Quarter report cards, sometimes it's difficult to come up with different comments for our students and parents.  Below are links to a wide variety of different report card comments and phrases that will help you through this task.
If you need to meet with Esther Palsenberger, click here for the appointment calendar.
Curriculum Corner: Visual Arts with John Grapperhaus
From the first brainstorming session to an original performance by professional actors, Mason and Shaw VPA 5th graders in the WiseWrite program learned what it takes to be a playwright — all while strengthening their literacy and writing skills.
Springboard to Learning Teaching Artists visited each participating class one day a week for a 26-week period, teaching students to craft their own plays. The student-written one-act plays are then juried to select more than a dozen that are performed by local professional actors at the WiseWrite Festival of One- Act Plays.  This year’s festival was virtual, featuring the students’ plays in videos created by professional actors.  You can see the entire festival at this link.
SMART Goals for Visual Art: LINK
Curriculum Corner: Performance Arts with Kaye Harrelson
Welcome to your one-stop for streaming jazz concerts from Jazz St. Louis. Here you’ll find information on upcoming concerts and links to all the previous streams. NO COVER CHARGE! All musicians are paid and the productions are professionally produced, to give you the best Ferring Bistro experience without being there. Click here for a list of links on STLJazz Season of Stream.
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
Assessment SMART Goal for 6-12 ScienceLINK
Curriculum Corner: Science, Elementary with Carrie Launius
The third week of Habits of Mind are:
Thinking and Communicating with Clarity and Precision: (Be clear!) Strive for accurate communication both written and oral form; avoiding over-generalizations, distortions, deletions, and exaggerations.
Gathering Data through All Senses: (Use your natural pathways!)  Pay attention to the world around you.  Gather data through all the senses, taste, touch, smell, hearing, and sight.
Creating, Imaging and Innovating: (Try a different way!) Generate new and novel ideas, fluency, and originality.
Responding with Wonderment and Awe: (Have fun figuring it out!)  Finding the world is awesome, mysterious, intrigued with phenomena and beauty
SMART Goal for Elementary Science: LINK
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Past issues are uploaded on a regular basis.
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