Dear SPS Families: 

Happy Autumn!  The 2016-2017 school year is well underway with students engaged in many enriching learning experiences.  I have enjoyed seeing so many parents and guardians at the school Open Houses that were held throughout September.  We are so fortunate to have engaged and supportive families.  Your involvement and support benefits all students!
To facilitate academic and social-emotional growth for all students, SPS goals are focused on enhancing our capacity to meet the needs of learners in our community.  We purposefully embark upon initiatives that are intended to benefit all students.  Our first goal is centered on enhancing inclusive educational practices.  To the SPS team, the term "inclusive" means that we consider the full range of student needs including students who require support, those who are considered "at grade level" and those who require additional challenge.  We are committed to challenge all learners to achieve growth each school year.   This school year, in particular, we will convene an educator working group to discuss challenge opportunities (in and out of the classroom) for all learners.  In addition we are redesigning our program for students with language learning disabilities.  As part of the redesign both general educators and special educators are participating in joint training to acquire new skills that will meet a wide range of student needs in both special education and general education classrooms.
The second goal focuses on enhancing social-emotional learning.  It has been such a pleasure visiting classrooms to see the thoughtful activities that SPS teachers have implemented that contribute to social-emotional as well as academic learning.  Students are sharing their thinking, taking risks with problem solving, and learning new skills that facilitate cooperation and a respectful school community.  In each of our schools you will see purposeful messages regarding growth mindset (check out some of my tweets at:  SPSSupt).  Not only do we see the visual messages, we hear language used in classrooms and observe learning activities that allow for students to think independently, take risks to try new things, work cooperatively, persevere, and share their thinking.  Challenges are things we are not accomplished at "yet"! Students are routinely asked to share their thinking and to understand that there are many ways to think about an issue or to solve a problem.  SPS is proactively focused on social-emotional learning as well as academics.   Strategies employed and learning opportunities implemented are intended for all learners so that each student grows both academically and socio-emotionally each school year.
A quick and interesting read regarding skills needed now and in the future workplace indicate the need for a focus in education on problem solving and social-emotional learning is linked here:
In future newsletters I will expand on each of our district goals.  The 2016-2017 District Goals may be found here:  SPS 2016-2017 Goals  
I look forward to seeing you at the many exciting events during this school year.  Thank you for all you do to support the efforts of our exceptional staff as they work tirelessly to provide an enriching educational experience for all students.  Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have a question, comment, concern, or compliment!
Anne Wilson
Superintendent of Schools