Insight News

Oct 10th


Chile honors SPPS chief, Valeria Silva

Chile honors SPPS chief, Valeria SilvaSaint Paul Public Schools Superintendent Valeria S. Silva was recognized with two awards from her homeland of Chile.

El Mercurio, the newspaper of record in Chile, selected Superintendent Silva as one of the top 100 Female Leaders for 2010. The award has been given for nine years to women who make differences in various fields, such as education, politics and business. Readers nominated more than 600 candidates before a panel narrowed the list to 100.

"I am truly honored and deeply humbled to be mentioned along with such outstanding women in my homeland," Silva said. "I hope that this will further show our students here in St. Paul and children in my home country that with hard work and dedication, they can reach beyond their wildest dreams."

Among others who received the recognition this year are former Chilean President and current United Nations Secretary Michelle Bachellet and current Chilean First Lady Cecilia Morel.

Jimmy Kennedy: Viking extraordinaire

Jimmy Kennedy: Viking extraordinaireTelevision and newspapers have been focused on all the woes of the Minnesota Vikings. To hear them talk, the reader would think that there is nothing good about the football organization. Contrary to popular belief, one of the best things about the Vikings is defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy.

At 31, Jimmy Kennedy is not only a successful football player, but he is also a college graduate with a degree in Rehabilitation Services and minors in African American Studies and Sociology from Penn State University. He is also a business owner with a plethora of businesses which include real estate and several laundry mats.

Teaching children how to deal with bullies

Teaching children how to deal with bulliesStoryteller Danielle Daniel entranced an audience of over 100 young listeners at Southside Family Charter School on November 17. After an introduction from Executive Director Laura Matanah and two young Rainbow Rumpus readers, Meg Thomas from aMaze opened the event by having a large doll engage the audience in a brief back-and-forth about name-calling. Daniel then told stories about characters who found ways to deal with bullies.

Young people who were surveyed said that the stories gave them ideas about how to deal with name-calling. They also said they loved the event, which was clear from their dancing, singing, and shout-outs in response to Daniel’s cues. Daniel was accompanied by drummer Tony Paul and nine student drumming volunteers. The free event drew over 30 community members, including several area child care centers, in addition to the student body. It was presented in conjunction with the National Association of Black Storytellers, and cosponsored by aMaze, Black Pride, and Southside Family Charter School.

What's for lunch? Nutrition in schools

Most of us will splurge on our diets for a day or two during the holiday, but it's the food offered to Minnesota school children every day that has such organizations as the American Heart Association (AHA) concerned. They join more than a thousand groups that sent a letter to Congress urging them to pass the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which would improve nutritional standards for school lunches. The current guidelines were put in place 15 years ago and are seen by many as in need of updating.  

With one in three American children overweight or obese, Rachel Callanan, regional vice president of advocacy for AHA in Minnesota, explains why changes are needed.  

"This law will make a big difference in helping our kids meet those recommendations and hopefully start to reverse that trend of childhood obesity," said Callanan. 


Nettie & Friends: Increasing learning opportunities for students

Nettie & Friends: Increasing learning opportunities for students“It tickled when the goat ate food out of my hand.” With wonder in his voice, a young kindergarten student told his Dad about the experience which was part of the first field trip he’d ever taken. Luckily for Dad, he helped chaperone that trip so he could be part of that magical moment for his son.

Food for the goats, chaperones, treats, even the bus ride to the apple orchard came complements of Nettie & Friends, a small non-profit that works to increase the learning opportunities for students at Maxfield Elementary School and Maxfield Learning Center in St. Paul.

Last year, Learning Center students went to the Horse Expo. That was a chance to come face-to-face with a real live horse. (Those animals are really big, especially when you’re only three feet tall yourself.) Students have built gingerbread houses, carved pumpkins, published the stories they wrote and taken swim lessons. Kindergarten students sewed the cover for a pillow they took home to their families. For any student who needs it, there are warm jackets, snow pants and boots so they can join their classmates on the playground during recess.

Connecting with our families

Connecting with our familiesWe value the dedication that our families have to our schools and students and we are always looking for ways to strengthen that connection. Three times a year, we hold conferences with our families and their children to check in on each student’s academic progress. The most recent parent – teacher conferences were November 4 and 5. Conferences serve as a great opportunity for us to come together to recognize each student’s strengths and needs. By connecting, our teachers and our schools can work with families to assess how we can build on student strengths and best support student needs in the classroom and at home.

Florida Memorial University Board of Trustees selects new president

 Florida Memorial University Board of Trustees selects new presidentThe Florida Memorial University Board of Trustees has selected Henry Lewis III, Pharm.D. to serve as Florida Memorial University’s new president. The announcement was made during an afternoon meeting attended by nearly 300 faculty, staff and students anticipating an introduction of the new president-elect by Charles W. George, chairman of the Board of Trustees.

After being introduced to the campus family, Lewis expressed his appreciation to the Board for their confidence in his leadership and stewardship, and his enthusiasm to instill confidence and competence in each prospective Florida Memorial graduate. “I see a diamond in the rough in Florida Memorial University, and I am confident that the institution can be the greatest institution it can be,” he stated.
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