April 14, 2021 | Volume 1 • Issue 29
A Message from Superintendent Osei
Over the past couple of days I have engaged in a couple of conversations and received a couple of emails about making a statement regarding the tragic killing of Daunte Wright on Sunday in Brooklyn Center. This is normal as there are always members of our community looking for me or the school district to make a statement on the heels of tragedies that occur locally, nationally, and internationally. While I understand the importance of clearly expressing one's beliefs and demonstrating conviction on matters impacting our community, I am exhausted by the performative nature of this persistent cycle (person of color killed by law enforcement, mourning and outrage, prayers for peace and demands for justice...) that has become too familiar.  

This is not a performance for me; it is traumatic and very real. Having to continually witness racial discrimination and the absence of humanity toward Black people, people of color and indigenous people in this country pushes me outside of my productive zone of disequilibrium. This type of racialized trauma that I experience and that is experienced by people of color and indigenous people on a daily basis must stop.

As a school district we are committed to implementing proactive measures to ensure that 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 years from now we are not still engaging in this vicious cycle. As a school district, we are committed to interrogating our practices to ensure that we are creating the conditions to produce racially conscious, globally-minded contributors to society.  

St. Louis Park Public Schools is committed to seeing, inspiring, and empowering each learner to live their brilliance in an environment that centers student voice and experience to create racially equitable learning that energizes and enhances the spirit of our community. 

We know students are experiencing the events that are occurring here locally and across the country differently. Some students are greatly impacted and are needing space to express their emotions. In response, our staff has created space for students to process what they are experiencing. We recognize that while we have and will continue to create spaces for students, some may not find these opportunities to be sufficient and desire other pathways to express their beliefs, feelings, and values.

We anticipate that over the next couple of months students across the country will organize in different ways to express their beliefs about things that are occurring.  St. Louis Park Public Schools supports students’ rights to free speech and peaceful assembly, so long as doing so is not disruptive and is done in accordance with district policies. We believe students need safe space for reflection and discussion. This spring, if there are student organized protests/walkouts that occur, we will do our best to work with students to ensure their safety.  Student safety is critical and we would like to prevent situations that put students at risk. 

Below I am am providing some information that students, families, and staff should be aware of regarding potential walkouts/protests:

  • When we become aware of potential walkouts/protests we will engage students to see if there are ways we can work collaboratively to create safe ways for students to express their beliefs and process their emotions.

  • When students leave school property during the school day to engage in non- school district sponsored activities, schools are no longer responsible for their supervision and safety. Our goal is to keep students on district property and to keep students safe. 

  • The District’s Attendance Policy will apply to students leaving school during the school day.

Thank you for your continued support of St. Louis Park Public Schools and please take care of yourselves and each other.  

COVID-19 Testing for Students and Families
There are many options to get tested, depending on your needs, and each option is available to you at NO COST. You can even schedule appointments for the whole family at the same time.

There are COVID-19 community testing sites across Minnesota, in addition to local hospitals and clinics. You can make an appointment ahead of time or walk in. You can also use the COVID-19 test at home program.

For more information about scheduling group appointments for your family at a community testing site, visit COVID-19 Community Testing.

If you have a student participating in the Vault at home program, the next drop off date is Thursday, April 22.
Vaccine Information for 16- and 17-Year Olds
The Minnesota Department of Health has created a resource with information about COVID-19 vaccines for 16- and 17-year-olds.

At this time, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is the only COVID-19 vaccine that has been studied and authorized for use by 16 and 17 year olds. Data from Pfizer vaccine studies show the vaccine is safe and effective for this age group. Other vaccine manufacturers are also studying their vaccines in younger age groups but have not yet received authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Important Messages from Health Services
New Quarantine Guidance for Fully-Vaccinated Individuals

If someone has completed COVID-19 vaccination (two doses in a two-dose series or one dose in a one-dose series) and is exposed to COVID-19, they do not need to quarantine if BOTH of the following are true:

  • The COVID-19 exposure was at least 14 days after their vaccination series was fully completed.
  • They do not currently have any symptoms of COVID-19.

If a fully vaccinated person develops symptoms at any time they will continue to follow exclusion guidelines set forth by MDH. They may return to work after either isolating for 10 days OR receiving a negative COVID test result OR an alternate diagnosis from a health care provider.

Fully vaccinated individuals should still continue to stay distanced, wear a mask that fits well, wash their hands often, and follow other precautions.

Information Regarding Allergy/Cold/Flu Season 

Some symptoms of general illnesses such as seasonal allergies, colds, and/or flu overlap with symptoms of COVID-19. If a parent/guardian believes their student has any illness, which displays the same symptoms as COVID-19, the student and other household members are not allowed to attend school until:

  • The symptomatic student tests negative for COVID-19.
  • An alternative diagnosis is received from the student’s health care provider. 

If the student with symptoms does not test for COVID-19, or receive an alternate diagnosis from their health care provider, they would need to isolate at home for 10 days and household members would follow the 14 day quarantine protocol.
Updated COVID-19 Dashboard
The dashboard will be updated every Wednesday and can be found on the District's COVID-19 News & Updates page at www.slpschools.org/covid19.
Reminder: Masks are Required for Students on Bus and In School
COVID-19 Bus Safety Precautions:

  • Disinfecting high-touch areas regularly
  • Disinfecting entire bus after each bus route
  • Limiting the number of students on the bus
  • Social distancing students seated on the bus
  • Seating charts for each bus
  • All students are required to wear face coverings at all times while on the bus

Parents and guardians - please help your student understand the importance of these safety precautions to keep everyone safe!
Erin Brousseau Named 2021 Athena Award Winner
St. Louis Park High School senior Erin Brousseau has been named the school’s Athena Award winner for 2021. Brousseau earned a total of 13 varsity letters during her high school career in three different sports including cross country, hockey, and lacrosse.

“Participating in athletics at St. Louis Park High School was a positive experience for me because of the lasting relationships I formed with coaches and teammates, as well as the unanimous competitive and spirited culture I found on every team at SLP,” Brousseau said. “Through my experience in St. Louis Park High School athletics, I learned the importance of individual accountability and having unity within a team. It is because of my positive experiences in St. Louis Park HS athletics that I will enter my collegiate hockey career and the next chapter of my life with learned skills in communication and leadership.” 

In hockey, Brousseau is a five-time letter winner, a two-time captain, and led her team in scoring three times. In Cross Country, she is a five-time letter winner and a two-time captain. In lacrosse, she is a three-time letter winner. 

“I believe all of my coaches throughout my participation in St. Louis Park High School athletics have influenced me in a positive way. However, I believe my cross-country coaches, Christopher Nordstrom and Kelson MacKenzie have been particularly instrumental in my success,” Brousseau said. “Coaching me for five years, I found that at each practice or meet they never failed to push me to be the best athlete I could be. Although I will not be running cross-country next year, the resilience they instilled in me as an athlete and as an individual has propelled me throughout the entirety of my athletic career at St. Louis Park.”

Outside of high school athletics, Brousseau is an Echowan staff member, the French Club President, a visual art and photography show exhibitor and volunteers as a St. Louis Park Youth Hockey Association coach. She is a member of the National Honors Society, a three-time academic all-conference selection, and will graduate this spring with highest academic honors. 

Brousseau will continue her hockey career at Syracuse University next fall where she plans to study International Relations. 

Established in 1972, the Athena Awards annually recognize an outstanding senior female athlete from each of the Minneapolis city, suburban and private schools for their achievements in one or more sports.
High School Theatre Program to Stream Working: A Musical, April 23-25
Based on Studs Terkel's best-selling book of interviews with American workers, Working assembles a chorus of professionals whose toils and triumphs represent the backbone of this country. These small slices of life are told through stories and songs, featuring music by Craig Carnelia, Micki Grant, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mary Rodgers, Susan Birkenhead, Stephen Schwartz, and James Taylor.

Due to COVID restrictions, the pre-recorded performance will be virtually streamed for $10 per viewing. Performances will be aired in real-time: April 23 and 24 at 7:00 p.m. and April 25 at 2:00 p.m. Click here to purchase streaming tickets in advance at. Tickets cost $10 per viewing. St. Louis Park Public Schools staff and students can purchase discounted tickets for $5.

For more information contact Theatre Director Jodi Schifsky by email at schifsky.jodi@slpschools.org or by phone at 952-928-6221.
Support the Class of 2021
Show support for the class of 2021 and the Park Public Schools and Community Foundation with a lawn sign! Proceeds from lawn sign sales will help make the 2021 Senior Party free for all students and will help fund future innovative classroom grants for St. Louis Park students for years to come.

Lawn signs are available for a $25 donation. Click here to order yours today!
High School Prom is On: Save the Dates
St. Louis Park High School will hold separate Prom events for juniors and seniors this year due to the latest COVID-19 guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health on large gatherings.

Junior Prom: Friday, May 14
Senior Prom: Saturday, May 15

Both events will take place at the ROC. More details will be forthcoming in the High School's 6425 Newsletter.
District Seeking Principal for Aquila Elementary School
Due to the retirement of Aquila Elementary School Principal Shelley Nielsen at the end of the 2020-21 school year, St. Louis Park Public Schools is seeking a new elementary principal. The position is posted internally for current staff to apply and externally for new leaders seeking to join the school district.

The school district is committed to a selection process that is both rigorous and objective. The selection timeline follows:

  • April 5 - The Aquila Elementary School Principal position will be posted internally and externally. The position will be posted on the school district website and on external job posting sites through April 29.  
  • April 12-23 - The District will gather information from Aquila stakeholder groups (staff, students, parents and community members) regarding desired characteristics for the next principal. 
  • April 12-23 - Interested stakeholders are invited to sign-up to be part of the interview team. CLICK HERE to complete the Stakeholder Sign-Up Form 
  • May 5 - First round interviews with the Stakeholder Team.
  • May 6 - First round interviews with the Stakeholder Team.
  • May 13 - Second round interviews with the Stakeholder Team.  
  • May 20 - Final interview with Superintendent.
  • May 24 - Final selection will consider evidence collected throughout the full selection process and be made by the Superintendent. The goal would be for the Superintendent to be able to bring a recommendation to the Board Meeting on May 24.

Updates will be shared throughout the process via school district communications channels.
School Board to Hold April 20 Listening Session
The St. Louis Park Public Schools School Board will host a Listening Session at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 20 in the Aquila Elementary School Media Center. Please note that capacity will be limited to what is safe in the space based on current social distancing guidance.

All stakeholders are invited to attend St. Louis Park School Board Listening Sessions to ask questions and have a conversation with school board members. Up to three school board members will attend to listen to stakeholders. It is not an official meeting and no official action will be taken. Please be aware that the school board members will end the listening session 30 minutes after the posted start time if there are no stakeholders in attendance.

Anyone who is not comfortable attending this Listening Session in person, but would still like to engage in conversation with school board members can either call the School Board hotline at 952-928-6040 or email all seven board members at schoolboard@slpschools.org.
Upcoming Listening Sessions with Superintendent Osei
As a part of the process to hear stakeholder perspectives, Superintendent Osei will be hosting Listening Sessions over the course of this school year for students, parents/guardians, and staff to better understand the impact of the implementation of the District's educational delivery models. 

PLEASE NOTE: The following dates were changed from April 20 to April 19 so the Superintendent's Listening Sessions wouldn't conflict with the School Board's Listening Session.

April 19 | Parents/Guardians - English | 5:00-6:00 p.m. | Zoom Link
April 19 | Parents/Guardians - Spanish | 6:00-7:00 p.m. | Zoom Link
The Week of the Young Child is April 10-16
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Week of the Young Child on April 10-16, 2021. The NAEYC is the world's largest early childhood education association, with nearly 60,000 members and a network of 51 affiliates.

The purpose of the Week of the Young Child is to focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs.