The SLP Public Schools Foundation is pleased to present the recipients of the 2019-20 Innovative Classroom Grants.
Nineteen grant awards totaled $58,264.15 and focus on STEM, Reading, the Arts, and Transitions.
Middle School Band Instruments
Several new band instruments will be purchased to replace some of the oldest equipment currently in use at the Middle School. These instruments will enhance the musical experience of the band students.
Headphones/Audio for MS Struggling Readers
The grant will be used to purchase 50 sets of audio/headphones for students in 6th and 7th grade. These will be used to assist students who are below grade level readers, English Language Learners, or students on Individualized Educational Plans. Students are currently expected to provide their own headsets.
Having headphones available will benefit students who may not be able to purchase their own earbuds or headphones.
Project Lit Community
Peter Hobart students in grades 3-5 will have an opportunity to participate in Project Lit. This is a grassroots literacy movement reaching students across the U.S. with the goal of increasing access to high-quality, culturally relevant books to promote a love of reading through both book discussions and service projects. The grant funds the purchase of books from the Project Lit Community book list. The funding allows for the purchase of class sets of the books. Students will read the purchased texts and attend a lunch session to discuss their reading.
Multicultural Classroom Books/Guided Reading Books At Aquila
The SLPPSF grant will be used to purchase multicultural fiction and nonfiction books sets for guided reading instruction as well as individual titles of multicultural fiction and nonfiction books for leveled classroom libraries. Multicultural fiction and nonfiction texts allow students to see themselves on the book cover and within the pages of the books. All books we choose will support our first school wide International Baccalaureate (IB) Planner as well as the 5 additional IB planners we teach within the academic year.
Teaching Vital Social Skills Through Books
SLPPSF funds will be used to purchase a number of books with themes related to social skills. Groups in the social-emotional learning classroom, resource room, and DCD classroom will benefit. This will be used for grades K-5 at Susan Lindgren. Teaching students social skills through the use of books is empowering! It gives the opportunity for students to explore different social situation using a different outlook. In many cases, students do not even realize that they are being directly taught social skills!
Growing Primary Readers at Peter Hobart
Grant funds will be used to provide sets of books for second grade book clubs. Students enjoy the opportunity to collaborate and discuss books with their classmates. These sets of books for students to read during book clubs will be at a variety of reading levels. 10 different books book sets can be provided as well as well as books on CD for listening stations.
Supporting a Smooth Transition to New PSI building
This grant will fund three initiatives to support students moving from the old PSI site at Central to the new PSI at Cedar Manor. A "Buddy Bench", a "Sensory Path", and a school wide art project will be installed using grant dollars.
The bench is a place for students to go when they are in need of a friend or someone to play with on the playground. This bench is taught about each year during bully prevention lessons in the counseling curriculum. A sensory path in the hallway will help with student self-regulation, feel more at ease, and can help with focus. The schoolwide art project is a way to commemorate the first year in the new building. This artwork gives each student a way to leave his or her mark on our new school in a positive and lasting way.
Latinx Student Association Cultural Resources Field Trip
The Latinx students at the high school benefit from the support and information provided by Centro Tyrone Guzman about local and national government and provides Latinx advocacy.
Grant funds will allow students to deepen this connection with a field trip to the center. This will allow students to connect with a this important Latinx community resource and will help our students transition from high school to adulthood. The resources aid in planning for the future by providing information about scholarships, education, health care and parenting. A celebration of culture and community will culminate with a lunch at El Burrito Mercado located at 175 Cesar Chavez Street in St. Paul. The celebration will include a tour of the store in addition to the dining experience.
TI Hub and Rover at the High School
The grant will provide funds to purchase 12 rovers and 12 hubs. A TI instructor will train teachers for a day and set up SLP as a testing site.
Students will be exposed to code without having to take a full semester long programming class. This may spark an interest in coding for students who are not able to take the semester long course or inspire students to take the programming class the following year.
TI (Texas Instruments) has made the programming very accessible so that all teachers in our department are able to use the equipment to do different programming activities.
Strengthening Successful Transitions for Students Through Support and Retention of Staff of Color
This grant funds continuation of the work of the Racial Affinity Group. There are 41 teachers of color in the district, and approximately 16% of the District’s employees are staff of color working in roles that impact students at multiple grade levels. These people of color have relationships with students and help provide foundation and consistency for students in all schools. Keeping those employees in their jobs, investing in their careers, and ensuring they feel supported and valued, is a critical aspect of student success.
The time to connect and share experiences, resources, and to build relationships is important. These training and development opportunities make an investment in our staff of color to strengthen their abilities and to deepen their commitment to the St. Louis Park School District. Robust professional development opportunities tailored to our staff of color will help set SLP apart from other districts that are competing to recruit and hire talented staff of color.
“Literacy L.I.F.T. Club”
The innovative classroom grant will fund expenses for the creation of the L.I.F.T. program at Susan Lindgren. L.I.F.T. (Linking Imagination, Fun and Text) is an opportunity for approximately 15-20 fourth- grade English Language Learner students to engage in meaningful, authentic literacy activities designed to promote literacy, oral language development, cultural and ethnic pride and appreciation for diversity and uniqueness.
The “Literacy L.I.F.T. Club” is a before, during and after-school program for fourth-grade English Language Learners, centered on Linking Imagination, Fun and Text. Students participating in the Literacy L.I.F.T. Club would meet 1 hour/session, twice per month from October to April (14 meetings total) during 2019-2020 school year. Meetings would be held before, during and/or after school.
Students will work with mentors and an author/artist in residency, as they collaborate with peers on a project or presentation idea. The Literacy L.I.F.T. Club finale will involve students sharing their work with family members, the school community and peers.
Physical Science Digital Data Project
An upgrade of the equipment used to acquire physical data in the science department at the high school is possible using SLPPSF grant dollars. The current equipment is out of date. New technologies such as the PASCO devices can connect to our existing iPads and student devices. The new equipment will be used primarily in the Physics department but can be utilized in Life Science and Chemistry classes as well.
Look Before They Leap: Early Childhood Support for a Successful Transition to Kindergarten
This grant will be used to develop transition support from our district’s Early Learning/Preschool programs to our Kindergarten classrooms. The system will
give teachers in the Early Childhood Special Education, Early Learning and Kindergarten programs the opportunity to collaborate with each other.
Teachers will have observation time within classrooms multiple times during the first half of the school year. Early Learning and Early Learning Special Education teachers will go into kindergarten rooms. They will learn about the expectations, routines and learning experiences that happen from September – December. This information will allow them to restructure their teaching so that students are more academically, socially and emotionally ready for the start of kindergarten school year.
Kindergarten teachers will observe in the preschool classrooms at the end of the school year. This supports the collaboration and transition.
A Family Night in January will be an event where families can come, share a meal and learn how they can support their child in this process. Families will go home with practical strategies and ideas they can use with their child that are directly related to kindergarten readiness skills.
St Louis Park Public Schools Family Engagement Event: 'Angst' Viewing and Wellness Fair
A public screening of "Angst", a documentary film about the condition of anxiety, will be held in St. Louis Park in the early fall. Any St. Louis Park Public Schools staff, families and their children will be invited to attend, as well as any interested community members. There will be a wellness fair prior to the screening. The evening will include a panel discussion to share community support services and resources for families with an in-person discussion following the screening. The money provided by the SLPPSF will enhance learning about the condition of anxiety for all of our St. Louis Park Schools students and their families.
Peter Hobart Maker Space
This grant will purchase materials to create a “Makerspace on wheels” extension of our Media Center. Students and staff members will use a large variety of unique tools and materials to collaborate, tinker, create, and explore. This mobile Makerspace will enhance our International Baccalaureate Primary Year Programme (IB PYP) to foster differentiated, inquiring, open-minded, and balanced learning to ignite student curiosity. Creating hands-on experiences help build problem solving skills in science, math, and technology. This way of learning easily transfers to reading, writing, and social studies as well.
Diverse Literature to Reach all Readers
The grant will be used to purchase new books in a variety of formats for 5th Grade students at Susan Lindgren.
Piloting Handwriting Program for Kindergarten
Grant funds will purchase materials from the Handwriting Without Tears (HWT) Kindergarten curriculum. One teacher from the Kindergarten team at each elementary school will implement the HWT curriculum as a pilot.
Handwriting is closely linked to reading and academic success. This curriculum is developmentally appropriate, fits the social and cultural context in which our students live, incorporates a multi-sensory
approach, can be easily and consistently implemented, supports transitions between grades, and is evidence-based.
The HWT pilot program will provide information for the curriculum review to determine if a structured handwriting program will be effective.
Bridging the Gap: 5th to 6th grade
5th grade teachers will meet with 6th grade teachers to develop knowledge to help students transition between elementary and middle school. This continues the work between Susan Lindgren and Middle School teachers that began in 2018. A wide range of staff will share experiences and expertise and the resulting information will be shared.
Year 2: Supporting Early Literacy in Transition to Kindergarten
This grant provides every child with a book about ABC’s when they come to pre-school screening and a fact sheet “Tips for Reading with Children” in the families primary language from the Minnesota Humanities Center.
Providing a book to every family will ensure that children have at least one book in their home to help them be better prepared for kindergarten.
HBCU College Tour
This grant will provide field trips to culturally relevant events, speakers, enrichment activities, and a culminating trip in the Spring of a Historically Black College Tour. The participants will be a select group of African American students, Hispanic/Latino Students, and Native American Students along with all the students' families.