A “Revealing” Year for Our Schools

As an elected Saint Paul School Board member and a parent of four SPPS students, I want to start by acknowledging the enormous amount of work that our students, parents and families put forth on the homefront to support our distance learning model virtually with teachers, staff and administration leaders throughout the district. We asked our students, parents and families to rearrange their work schedule and to reprioritize health above all else. Thank you. Your work will not be lost on me as we move out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If I could sum up the last school year in one word, then it would be “revealing.” The lessons I’ve learned from COVID-19 are emphasizing a flexible learning model, mastering protocols to mitigate the spread of disease and having patience to allow reliable data to drive decision-making. 
In retrospect, COVID-19 only revealed systemic inequities existing in SPPS for decades, such as: Language barriers for English as a second language learners; lack of a reciprocal communication system to report on progress of learning models between student, parent, family, teacher and administrative leaders; and a lack of predictable student outcomes based on race.
Going into the fall, I intend to learn from COVID-19 and focus on identifying actionable data to drive decision-making. I want to promote a more effective and rapid reciprocal communication system. I want to promote learning programs and curriculum additions such as language immersion and ethnic studies that can be found in our students’ home and school life. I want to listen to and learn from families, students and educators throughout the city. You are welcome to write to me at jim.vue@spps.org.
Jim Vue is a longtime Hmong parent of four children in SPPS. After being appointed as an interim member of the St. Paul School Board after the death of Marny Xiong last June, he ran in the special election and was elected to the school board. Currently, he serves as vice-chair on the school board and is running for re-election this November.

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