Jan. 31, 2022 | Stories from St. Louis Park Public Schools

The SLP Communicator, published monthly, centers the stories and voices of students, staff, and our community. District-level news and information will be shared in school newsletters.

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Message from Superintendent Osei

Black History Month | Minnesota School Board Recognition Month

Superintendent Dr. Astein Osei

Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. In St. Louis Park Public Schools, we are committed to celebrating the accomplishments and contributions of Black Americans in this country. Each year, I appreciate the attention on Black history during the month of February and I know that we must strive to create educational environments where the history of Black Americans is taught in a culturally relevant manner throughout the entire school year, not just in the month of February.  

I am thankful to work in a district where we are in pursuit of making Black history and the history of all of our students a part of the learning experience throughout the entire school year. 

Additionally, each February, the Minnesota School Boards Association (MSBA) has sponsored Minnesota School Board Recognition Week (Feb. 17-21) to recognize school board members for their commitment to Minnesota’s public school students. This year, MSBA will devote the full month of February to School Board Recognition. I am thankful for our School Board as they are often asked to make difficult decisions on behalf of students, families and staff. They spend many hours studying education issues and regulations in order to provide leadership and governance that supports the healthy development of every learner in the district. 

Please take a moment to reach out to our School Board at [email protected] and send them a note of appreciation for their commitment and service to St. Louis Park Public Schools.

Thank you for your continued efforts to see, inspire, and empower 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.

In community,


Astein K. Osei, Ed.D.


Share the Mic Podcast with Erika Scott on Building a Sense of Belonging with Families of our Youngest Learners

Erika Scott leads Early Learning programs at St. Louis Park Public Schools. For many families, early learning programs are the first touch point and introduction to St. Louis Park Public Schools. One of Erika's biggest priorities is building a sense of belonging, trust, and relationships with families.

Subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Share the Mic Podcast

Honors-Level Literacy: Unlocking Student Potential in Every Classroom

Over the past two years, St. Louis Park Public School literacy specialists have been building the capacity of teachers in two areas: the science of reading and culturally relevant literacy. Professional development in these areas has led to a monumental shift in literacy instruction - all teachers across all disciplines are to be strong teachers of reading and writing. 

Under the new approach, all students get research-based, rigorous reading and writing instruction focused on enrichment and inquiry, regardless of the classroom they are assigned. In past practice, only a handful of teachers were responsible for literacy instruction and practices included some that were remedial and segregated, contributing to unsatisfactory outcomes for students. Although pull-out remediation may seem like an easier way to get the results we want, literacy outcomes are complex. A student’s literacy identity is connected to expectations that we have for them as a reader and writer, as well as their success in literacy and the ways they see themselves in the curriculum.

We invite you to learn more about the approach to literacy in St. Louis Park Public Schools. View our new webpage for information about:

  • The Science of Reading and Culturally Relevant Literacy
  • The 5 Pursuits
  • Elementary Literacy and Enrichment
  • Secondary Literacy and the Redesign of the Middle School Experience
  • Early Indicators of Progress
  • FAQs (submit a question)
Literacy Webpage

One of St. Louis Park Public Schools' literacy principles is making sure all students have access to high interest books that they are able to read. Special attention is given to culturally relevant practices and those that maximize gifts and talents of all of our students. The approach provides more student choice of materials and how students show their knowledge, a staple of enrichment programming.

So, what are some of our students’ all time favorite books?

Maeve, 2nd grader at Park Spanish Immersion, says her favorite book of all time is Goddess Girls by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams. It’s a series about Greek mythology and gods. What does Maeve like most about reading and writing?

“I kinda like that you get to make up your own stories and kinda the stories bring you into your own world," she said. "Some books are really difficult and you don't get 'em all right, but sometimes it can kind of help you read better.”

Krychell Smith is an 8th grader at St. Louis Park Middle School. “When I was really small I felt like reading was a burden and that reading was taking time away from fun things, like playing with my friends. Now, reading and writing are more of a learning process for me and are interesting compared to what it was before. Reading is really fun for me and helps me learn different things about the world,” she said. Krychell’s all time favorite book is an LGBT realistic fiction book, They Both Die in the End by Adam Silvera. 

Krychell’s middle school Language and Literature experience helped her realize her love for writing, which is why she enrolled in Creative Writing this year. “I feel like when you're reading or writing you can find yourself in the situation and really feel something that's different...it can change your mind, like if you are not in happy place, you can find yourself in such a happy situation that makes you genuinely happy.”

Susannah Israel is in 9th grade at St. Louis Park High School whose reading and writing experience at the High School has helped change her perspective on the world.

"There are so many books I have read that have made me think differently, cultures I didn't know about, background knowledge I didn't have and it made me expand my thinking. I've become more open minded" she shared.


Susannah’s favorite book of all time is A series of Unfortunate Events by Daniel Handler under the pen name Lemony Snicket. “I'm actually considering writing my final essay about how this series shaped my life,” she shared.

“I've been challenged to write in different ways and sometimes different writing methods,” Susannah expressed about their experience. “I have a set way that I like to write, but sometimes I'm told I need to write more poems or include more similes, metaphors, or personification. Even though I'm not used to writing that way, I'm being asked to broaden my horizons. Sometimes we write in a group and that can be challenging because I like my writing to be my own, so initially I am reluctant to consider other ideas, but upon further analysis I really appreciate different writing structures.”

SLP Staff Spotlight: Jodi Miller

Early Childhood Special Education Teacher, Ages 3-5

Jodi Miller's why for working in SLP 

What brings me joy and fulfillment is watching the children learn and grow. Not only do I get the satisfaction of teaching new skills, but I have the ability to make school a fun place to be. Early childhood educators are a family's first introduction to the school system. I want families to feel that their children are loved, accepted for who they are, and have the ability to learn-no matter their background, abilities or learning styles.

The SLP core value Jodi most resonates with: 

The brilliance of ourselves and others. Everyone has the capacity and responsibility to foster the growth and brilliance of others.

As a teacher, I feel it is important to always seek different ways to understand others and find a way to reach them. I love to watch kids think and I like the challenge of figuring out how they learn best in order to help them be successful. I realize that I always have something to learn from families, coworkers and the children themselves. We can all learn from each other and give each other new perspectives, no matter our age. I think that a great educator inspires kids to love learning, experience new things and more importantly to know how amazing they are!

Getting Ready for the Next Step:

College and Career Readiness

Angel Aguilar is a senior at St. Louis Park High School. He is a part of Cultura en Vivo and enjoys physics. He has been thinking about his future, and stopped by the Career and College Center for the first time. 

“I like working with people and helping out in some way. It is very motivating to feel good about doing something. I’m looking at Mankato, and I’m just trying to figure out what I want to do,” Aguilar said before his meeting.

The Career and College Center was developed to serve as a resource for students to learn more about the skills they need to find, acquire, maintain and grow within a job or career. Whether students are looking to move on to college or try something in the trades, the Career and College Center is a great place for students to learn more. Not only can students schedule appointments like Aguilar, but there are many other services they can use to prepare for their futures.

Kara Mueller has been with St. Louis Park Public Schools for 30 years and is the coordinator of the career and college readiness program. Over time, she moved around the district with a strong mission of helping students to learn more about themselves and what types of career paths they could pursue.

“Career and tech education (CTE) is awesome. CTE is an opportunity to bring reality of what the work world looks like into our classrooms, but it also gives us the opportunity to create work-based learning opportunities outside of the classroom,” Mueller shared. 

Two teachers committed to receive additional licensure in CTE to prove industry credentials and knowledge. As a result, St. Louis Park High School has been able to provide hands-on opportunities for students to get active in a certified nursing assistant program, health science, engineering and more.

Solar Projects, New High School Dining Experience, and More: SLP Construction Projects

We sincerely thank the St. Louis Park voters for their support of the 2022 bond referendum to restore, repair and update facilities, which passed with 70.46% percent of the vote last August. 

The $135 million bond referendum focuses on facilities projects that will enhance the daily lived experience of students, stabilize costs and conserve energy, maintain core operations, and improve safety and security. The bond referendum also includes projects that received voter approval in 2017, and were unable to be completed due to pandemic related construction cost increases, supply chain shortages, and regulatory requirements that added millions of dollars to project costs. These projects were important in 2017 and they remain vital to our student experience.

Our facilities team will be working with Knutson Construction, our architecture partners and other long-term vendor partners on facilities projects that will enhance the learning experience in our schools.

We invite families to visit the new facilities improvements webpage to stay updated on the construction projects:

  • Facilities Projects by School (summary and timeline coming soon)
  • Submit FAQs
  • Watch previous construction presentations
  • Beginning in February, we will provide a monthly construction update from Knutson Construction through school newsletters. 
SLP Construction Projects

Two high interest projects currently on the docket include the solar projects and the High School kitchen renovation, which will help improve the dining experience for students.

Solar Projects

Over the past five years, St. Louis Park Public Schools has worked on the installation of solar panels across district buildings. Once complete, 30% of the district’s energy will be generated from solar panels, resulting in millions in cost savings over time. For example, if the district spends $6 million on electricity today, it would be $2 million less once solar panels are installed. It is one of the best investments to reduce energy and save money.  

The solar projects put St. Louis Park Public Schools well on its way to supporting two of the City of St. Louis Park’s renewable energy goals:

  • Achieve 100% renewable electricity by 2030
  • Reduce energy consumption in large commercial buildings 30% by 2030

Did you know that St. Louis Park High School students were behind the City’s carbon neutrality efforts? In 2016, students involved in the SLP High School Roots and Shoots Club and iMatter presented a Youth Climate Report Card and asked the St. Louis Park City Council to adopt a Climate Inheritance Resolution demonstrating the city's commitment to protect the future and the lives of generations to come. That Climate Inheritance Resolution passed and led to the City’s Climate Action Plan.

By summer of 2024, nearly all St. Louis Park Public School buildings will have solar panels. While some panels have already been installed, most of the installation will begin this summer. Two district buildings, Aquila Elementary School and Lenox, do not have proper roof structure to apply solar panels. The life of a solar plan spans about 25 years.

High School Dining Redesign

St. Louis Park Public Schools is redesigning the dining experience at the High School. We want families to ask their students, “So, how was lunch at school today?” and for students to respond excitedly about healthy meal options, colorful plates, and meaningful conversation with their friends.

Our redesign process will include updates to the physical space in the cafeteria, a renovated kitchen with updated equipment, and changes that will improve the overall dining experience, like healthier meal options, expanded seating, community-building and time with peers, and more.

Nutrition Survey Results

This fall, we surveyed students and caregivers about the district’s School Nutrition program. The following are the highlights from the survey results:

  • The school nutrition staff in the kitchens and cafeterias get very positive ratings from both students and parents/guardians.
  • Most students very much see their lunch period as a time to connect with their friends. 
  • The results from the question about “find meals I like to eat” is about 60 positive and 40 negative, which indicated opportunities to change how meal options are described and presented.
  • Close to 50 percent of parents/guardians disagree or strongly disagree about the availability of healthy options for students in the cafeterias. This also presents an opportunity to share messages about healthy meal options and what is both required and offered as part of meal service.

Additionally, over the next several weeks, we hope to work with student interns to hold focus groups with their peers to understand what changes they’d like to see in the high school dining experience. Their findings will be shared with District Nutrition staff and the Construction Steering Committee with the goal of centering student experience in the redesign process.  

New Dining Experience

What can students expect in the new dining experience once it’s complete in 2024?


  • The renovated kitchen will enhance our capacity to have healthy and delicious cooking on-site. We’ll have the ability to prepare meats and vegetables in a variety of ways using braising pans to cook, grill, and fry foods, and the Rational oven to roast and steam foods. A fresh salad bar or veggie bar will be offered at every meal.
  • Continued seasonally fresh produce like potatoes, zucchini, squash and carrots from our Farm to School partners. Did you know we get our Delica squash from the Yang family farm in New Prague, Minnesota?
  • Taste testing new meal options and opportunities for students to share their feedback on their favorite meals. We definitely want to know what’s most popular with students. Some of our cooks come up with their own menu items, and we also share recipe ideas with other school districts.
  • Dedicated cooks who receive training from professional chefs at Good Acre, one of SLP’s Farm to School partners, and other partner chefs. There will also be professional training with the kitchen equipment manufacturers on how to optimize our kitchen and make delicious foods.
  • Expanded seating capacity, new furniture, and visually a better dining experience 
  • Fewer lunch sections to make the whole day run more smoothly.

Our Nutrition Services team will be testing out new menu items this school year, so we encourage families to check out our recipes and meals items through our online meal menus.

Cold Bento Box Meals During Construction

We want to make high school families aware that the kitchen redesign is a major construction project that will disrupt the regular lunch schedule at the high school for about 18 months, beginning in March, 2023. During this time, students will eat meals in the activity center and we will only be able to offer cold bento box options for breakfast and lunch. 

Examples of cold bento box meals include sandwiches, wraps, and salads that come with fresh whole fruit and veggies. The bento box meals will be satisfying portions that will be prepared and assembled at the kitchen at the Central building, the satellite kitchen for the High School during the renovation.

Other construction projects at the high school include classroom renovations, greater parking capacity, and improvements to music, physical education, and community-use spaces. Visit our Construction web page for regular updates on our facilities projects.

Learn about Property Tax Relief Programs

You might have noticed an increase on your property taxes. In addition to the impact of the voter-approved (in August 2022) bond issue and technology levy increase, taxpayers also experienced the inflationary impact of the voter-approved operating referendum. The good news is that, similar to other metro area districts, the funding approved by voters in 2017 acknowledges the impact of inflation. This means that this particular formula will calculate a higher revenue amount for the district when inflation pressures are present in the marketplace. It also means that because last year’s levy (2021) should have been higher due to inflation, it will be added to this year’s inflationary increase (2022). Thus, the inflationary increase accounts for two years, which made the levy impact higher than usual. 

We encourage families to use the resources below to explore property tax relief options:

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February Dates

  • Black History Month
  • School Board Recognition Month
  • Career and Technical Education Month
  • 2 - 6th Grade Virtual Information Night,
  • 3 - No School E-12, Professional Development Day
  • 5-6 - Tu Bishvat/ Tu B’Shevat (Jewish)
  • 6-10 - National School Counseling Week
  • 15 - Last Day for Teacher Lane Change Requests
  • 17 - No School E-5, Conferences
  • 17 - Random Acts of Kindness Day
  • 20 - No School E-12, Presidents’ Day
  • 22 - Beginning of Lent (Christian)
  • 23 - School Bus Driver Appreciation Day
2022-23 Calendar

6425 W 33rd St | St. Louis Park, MN 55416

Phone: 952-928-6000 | Fax: 952-928-6020

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