St. Paul (Minn.) schools looking to ease concerns about discipline, disorder

Lauren Williams's picture
Monday, June 30, 2014

At times, the 2013-14 school year was a tense one for the district. Behavioral issues arose in schools forced to adapt quickly to big changes: junior highs becoming middle schools, and special-education and English Language Learner students moving into regular classrooms. At year’s end, Superintendent Valeria Silva and school board members were challenged publicly by five teachers seeking consequences for students who misbehave and disrupt classrooms.

Silva, in a recent e-mail to the teachers, acknowledged it had been a “difficult year.”

But this summer, the district is opening up conversations to improve the climate in its schools, and the five teachers — who helped spur a standing-room-only turnout at the school board meeting in May — now are optimistic, they say.

During a recent sit-down with Silva, the teachers were heartened by the superintendent’s repeated support of “high standards of student conduct,” said Ian Keith, one of the teachers and a former president of the St. Paul Federation of Teachers.

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