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Investment Plan to Help Address Achievement Concerns

Last fall we engaged with our students, staff, and families to learn what each group wanted their Desired Daily Experience to be here at SSPPS. While we know we are not there yet in all of the identified areas, we will continue to work hard to make necessary shifts that will better support and meet the needs and interests of our students, families and staff.

Thanks to the generous support of our community in approving both operating levy questions that were on the ballot last fall, we are excited to share the beginning of our Pathway to Packer Promise work that will:

  • Take strides in addressing our achievement concerns
  • Help us deliver the promise of investing additional funds in academic and mental health support
  • Expand programming opportunities for students

While some shifts can be made relatively quickly, there are others that will be developed and implemented over time. Here is a closer look at some of our initial work.

Redesigned Academic Framework

SSPPS leaders know we need to do something different to change the trajectory of our academic outcomes. With only 24-37% of students meeting or exceeding grade level standards in math and reading, district leaders worked to identify what we could do differently to improve academic outcomes.

After reviewing numerous data points, the district has decided to begin phasing out the Primary Years Programme (PYP) and Middle Years Programme (MYP) components of the International Baccalaureate (IB) during the 2023-24 school year. SSP High School will continue to offer the IB Diploma Programme for interested students in grades 11-12.

District leaders are still working through what the sunset of the PYP and MYP will look like in our programming next school year. We are also beginning to explore academic systems that will provide us with a framework and strategies to improve achievement levels, but also:

  • Challenge our students and provide opportunities for extension and enrichment
  • Have intervention and support structures for students that are proactive and align with best practices
  • Have more opportunities for exploration with multiple pathways toward career and college
  • Make SSPPS a place where families want to come and stay

During spring, summer, and fall of 2023, a number of stakeholder involvement opportunities will be provided to explore what programming students, families, and staff want and expect in SSPPS. We will engage in conversations with our students, staff, and families as well as explore programming provided in other schools and districts. We are excited about this opportunity for change and want this to be a collaborative effort with many voices in this work.

In addition, phone surveys will be conducted over the next few weeks, with a representative sample of current SSP families as well as families enrolling out of SSPPS. These surveys will inquire about why our families are choosing to stay or leave our district and also inquire about programming opportunities they would like to see SSPPS explore. This information will be helpful to learn and adapt our programming and support services to ensure we are meeting the needs of our SSP learning community.

Academic and Support Team

While the approval of levy question one on the ballot last fall allows us to maintain low class sizes, dollars generated from levy question 2 as well as additional state funding is allowing the district to to invest in the following additional support for our students and staff:

  • Social Workers at each of our four main sites
  • Full-time School Psychologist at each main site
  • 6th and 9th Grade Reading Interventionists
  • Elementary Interventionists and other push-in supports
  • Additional Elementary Student Support Assistants
  • K-12 Instructional Coordinator with Focus on Literacy

The Academic and Student Support Team listed below along with the added support we mentioned, will work in partnership to create an environment where students, staff, and families receive the support they need to be successful. By broadening the scope of our Academic and Student Support Team with professionals specifically trained to support academic and social-emotional needs that arise, it also implements a proactive approach to reduce barriers and circumstances that affect a student’s ability to learn

Additional Programming Opportunities

The passage of question two also enables us to explore additional programming opportunities for both elementary and secondary students.


Starting next school year, we are excited to offer band to all fifth grade students at both Kaposia Education Center and Lincoln Center Elementary as a part of their regular music class experience.

With this exciting announcement of expanding Band into our elementary schools, we are conducting an Instrument Drive in which we invite families to consider donating gently used instruments to the school district. In particular, we are looking for flutes, clarinets, trumpets, and trombones. However, many other instruments would also be useful and appreciated, including saxophones and percussion bell kits.

If you or someone you know has a gently used instrument that you/they would be willing to donate to SSP Public Schools, please consider dropping the instrument off at one of our school offices. When you drop off your instrument, please be sure to include your name and contact information so we can thank you for your donation. Please contact Jody Shannon in the District’s Equity and Learning Office at or (651) 457-9469 with any questions.


In addition to continuing the IB Diploma Programme, leaders are also currently exploring concurrent enrollment courses. Concurrent enrollment classes are college courses that will be offered at SSP High School, taught by our high school teachers, that will generate both high school and college credit from partnering institutions for our students. More to come on what those exact concurrent enrollment courses will be.

SSP High School is also exploring additional programming to be offered in-house and through Intermediate 917 at Dakota County Technical College including:

  • Introduction to Trades (SSP High School)
  • Heavy Duty Truck (partnership with Intermediate District 917)
  • Total Auto Care (partnership with Intermediate District 917)
  • Medical Careers (partnership with Intermediate District 917)

Lastly, the district is working to expand upon the current TriDistrict CAPS programming by offering an Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Sustainability Program This will be in addition to our current CAPS programming:

  • Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Sustainability Program (NEW)
  • Healthcare and Medicine
  • Transportation Business and Technologies
  • Business & Entrepreneurship
  • Information Technology/Computer Science
  • Urban Education

Watch for more information as we continue to work through these exciting programming opportunities for our students.

Next Steps

Our next step includes continuing to build out our Pathway to Packer Promise which encompasses shifts that will better support and meet the needs and interests of our students, families, and staff. We know our work does not stop here. We are thankful for the support from our community that is helping us move this work forward. We will continue to work hard and collaboratively to create a safe, supportive, and effective learning environment where our students, staff, and families can succeed.