Months after a teacher and a special projects coordinator were put on leave and investigated for controversial Facebook posts, the St. Paul School District is making clear its expectations of employees when it comes to social media.
A policy proposal being presented at a school board meeting Tuesday advises employees to be respectful and professional with their online postings "whether for professional or personal use."
Obscene, profane or vulgar language is off limits when referring to the district and its schools, students, employees, communities, programs and activities, under the proposed policy, which will receive its first reading Tuesday in anticipation of final action in August.
Earlier this week, the proposal was discussed briefly at a committee meeting without any mention of actual cases that may have inspired it.
As for potential penalties, the proposal states: "Employees who violate provisions of this policy are subject to consequences, including termination."
Minneapolis district joins My Brother's Keeper
The Minneapolis School District will join the My Brother's Keeper Success Mentors Initiative.
The program, an initiative of the White House, aims to address chronic absenteeism in public schools.
It connects mentors with students who are at risk of becoming chronically absent.
Minneapolis will be one of 30 cities participating in the program.
The program does not provide schools with additional funding but provides research-based training to schools.
"We are looking forward to expanding this to additional districts as others ramp up their capacity to take on the work," said Raymonde Charles, the deputy press secretary for the U.S. Department of Education. "There will be guidance and virtual trainings offered to any district that is interested in learning more about this model."
Construction to begin on Ham Lake charter school
In July, construction will begin on a new DaVinci Academy, taking the charter school from its current home at a repurposed hardware store in Blaine to a 105,000-square-foot facility with the latest learning tools.
The new school in Ham Lake will be more than twice the size of its 40,000-square-foot predecessor and accommodate twice the students, said Debra Lach, executive director.
The new digs are necessary to accommodate growing enrollment. Kindergarten alone has a 100-student waiting list, and applications overall have nearly doubled at the K-8 school, Lach said.
"We have a lot of small group teaching going on. We're teaching in the hallways," Lach said. "Program-wise, we've outgrown the school."
Families are drawn to the school because of strong state test scores and word-of-mouth from other parents, Lach said.
The Ham Lake facility will accommodate 1,000 students and have a separate auditorium, gym and cafeteria instead of one space used for multiple purposes, as in the existing school. Also planned are more classrooms, including gifted and talented and special education rooms.
The eight-year-old charter school will move in August 2017. The project was funded by a bond issue through the city of Ham Lake.
For five years the state has deemed DaVinci Academy a Reward School, recognizing the top 25 percent of Title I schools in Minnesota. Title I schools have high percentages of children from low-income families.
A groundbreaking ceremony is planned for 5 p.m. Monday at 532 Bunker Lake Blvd. in Ham Lake.