What’s Your Specialty?

One big reason students choose St. Paul Prep is the opportunity to earn an American high school diploma, which makes acceptance to an American university that much easier. At SPP, we take things one step further.

Our students have the opportunity to choose a specialized diploma, meaning students take classes in a specific area. At SPP, we offer STEM, Visual Arts, Global Leadership, and International Business specialized programs. Below is a breakdown of what students can expect from each field of study.

STEM

 

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Want to master your critical thinking and problem solving skills? Already an expert in these areas? Then our STEM option is for you! This rigorous course of study will prepare students to succeed in a 21st century workforce, at college and beyond!

Featuring advanced classes in math, science, engineering, and technology, this diploma option is open to all students.

International Business

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This diploma specialization introduces students to the complexities and relationships between different countries’ political, economic, and business practices and policies. Courses in this diploma path look at everything from the impact of international business to ethics to import/exports.

The curriculum prepares students for university-level business courses, and gives our students a leg-up on the highly competitive and constantly changing global economic environment.

Visual Arts

 

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Create products with a purpose with the Visual Arts diploma specialization. Featuring a studio, kiln, local and national art competitions, art lab, and an expansive art curriculum, our art program is a standout in the established art community in downtown St. Paul.

Open to students of all skill levels, this option assists students in preparing an art portfolio, help students discover new art mediums, and learn the history and techniques of different art forms.

Global Leadership

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The newest specialized diploma, the Global Leadership option provides students with an advanced look at oral and written language, cultural understanding, and the commonalities and differences throughout various cultures of the world.

This option prepares students for further studies at the university level in majors such as International Relations, Diplomacy, Education, and more. The Global Leadership special diploma gives students a head start on success in a global society.

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Wanna Blog?

Are you a current or soon-to-be St. Paul Preparatory School student? Do you enjoy taking pictures, writing, or making videos? Want to share the awesomeness that is St. Paul Prep with the rest of the world?!

WE WANT YOU!

If you’re looking for a creative, fun way to document your time at SPP, let us know! We’re seeking a new batch of student writers for the SPP Blog for the upcoming semester/year!

Want to know more about this opportunity? Message us on Facebook or Instagram, or send an email to skoob@nacelopendoor.org and let us know you’re interested!

Not sure if it’s for you? Check out some posts (here, here, here, here) by Valeria from Venezuela, who wrote for the SPP Blog last spring.

Summer STEMmin’

While our regular student body is off exploring every nook and cranny of the planet and spending the summer with their families, there’s still plenty happening around the halls and classrooms of St. Paul Preparatory School.

During the month of July, we’ve got students from Taiwan and France taking part in a Summer School Program at SPP as part of Nacel Open Door’s Short Term Program. Students have been experimenting in the lab, learning in the classroom, and taking part in field trips around the Twin Cities.

Noodle Towers

One of the first lab challenges of the STEM class was building towers out of noodles in order to hold up a single, fat marshmallow. Students could use tape, but couldn’t anchor their towers to the table. The highest tower was over 100 centimeters!

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Interstate State Park

Located just 49 miles from downtown St. Paul, this state park is known for it’s “potholes” formed by glacial meltwater at the end of the last Ice Age, along what is now known as the St. Croix River.

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Rollercoasters

Back in the lab, students had to make a “rollercoaster” out of foam tubing, marbles, and duct tape, with requirements that the coaster have one loop-de-loop and a second hill. Gravity and physics won the day!

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Drone Programming

St. Paul Prep students have all sorts of opportunities to take classes and participate in projects that not only pique their interests, but provide hands-on learning with some of the best teachers around. That means more time doing meaningful and relevant projects.

Below are photos from projects that are part of our STEM grant.

Connecting to Bangladesh Students Through Art

Last December I was one of five teachers selected from across the United States to participate in an exchange program through World Savvy and the U.S. State Department. I took 30 high school students to Bangladesh to study the environmental, social, economic, and political impacts of climate change. Teachers and students spent one month living with host families and participating in research and service projects with local Bangladeshi students. I lived in Rayer Bazar, a slum in Dhaka – the fastest growing city in the world, fulfilling my service project through the interviewing and documenting of local climate refugees. The mass influx of “climate refugees” is due to citizens in the outlying areas fleeing their flooded coastal lands that are left uninhabitable or too saline-contaminated to support crops.

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During the days, I walked through the streets of Rayer Bazar interviewing climate refugees with the aid of a translator. The majority longed to go back to their farmlands which had been sadly transformed into flood plains. These transplants now lived in indescribable squalor; slums of a thousand people per square kilometer. Cooking for 100 people was shared over three open gas flames along with one squat toilet for a public bathroom. Children filled the shadows yet their access to education was nonexistent. In the evenings, I would sleep on the floor at the only school in the slum, Jaago. Nearly all of the 560 students who attend Jaago come from parents who are climate refugees.

Now that I am back home I want to keep spreading the information about Jaago and climate refugees so I have built it into my portrait unit in my drawing and painting classes here at SPP. We started by learning about Bangladesh, Climate Change and Climate Refugees. We then focused on drawing/ painting portraits. Our final project was drawing the portrait of the students who attend Jaago rather than drawing themselves. These students at Jaago do not have an art program due to funds and do not have a photo of themselves. It took us four months to get the photos from Imran, a volunteer who sent them to us from Jaago.

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Our final paintings were sent back over to the children. On the backside of the artwork will be the original photo. Our amazing SPP students suggested we write them a letter describing themselves and our surroundings to educate them about our culture. It was a great idea and SPP students put so much time and effort into each part of our project! We have laminated each of the drawings and paintings to protect the artwork from any pollution or weather that could be damaging. Imran (the volunteer at Jaago) said the students were so excited for the day when their artwork arrives!! I am really proud of our art students as they have been equally excited to create their artwork and have become so passionate about climate change and climate refugees.

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The artwork has recently arrived and their students love it! I got tears in my eyes when I saw these photos and our SPP students are so proud to see their work in Bangladesh!!

– Ms. Kate Woolever-Martinez

This story was featured in an article in the Pioneer Press!

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A Day at the Capitol

IMG_20140313_085411 We arrived at the capitol this morning bright and early, eager for our busy day of observing the legislative session in full swing. We began our day with a tour of the Capitol building, given by the Minnesota Historical Society. Split into two groups, we were able to learn about the remarkable architecture and history of the Capitol building, in addition to viewing the chamber of the House, Senate and the Supreme Court. Then, Mr. Wiggin gave the whole class a supplemental tour to see the governor’s wing and the governor portraits.

At 10:00 am, we went through the tunnels to the State Office Building and observed a committee meeting addressing a bill proposed on student multilingual certification in K-12 schools. The school was recognized mid-way through the committee meeting by Representative and Committee Chairman Carlos Mariani.

After our visit to the committee, we went to the Senate and observed the session. After calling to order, the Senate made several motions, but adjourned the meeting after only ten minutes. Students were a little disoriented when they realized it was over, because the senators never really came fully to order or even sat down before the session was adjourned.

After lunch, we went to more committee hearings. Students could choose from a variety of committees including Education, Environment and Energy, Judiciary, Elections, or Taxes. For example, a few students and myself went to the Senate Education committee to see consideration and testimony addressing native and English language development of English learners. The bill promoted the use of native language in the continual development of English language and provided for educator professional development in best bilingual lesson delivery practices and cross-cultural competency.

Finally, we attended a political rally in the rotunda addressing independent private schools. Two students from SPP – Mary S. (Poland) and Virginia V. (Italy) – gave short speeches on the value of their unique experience at St. Paul Prep, supported by their classmates who filled out more than half of the chairs in the rotunda. Other speakers continued to honor our school in their own speeches and the last speaker finished the program by reiterating his wholehearted support of school choice for Minnesota students.

The trip was incredibly enriching for many students. Tanisa K. enthused that she learned so much about Minnesota culture by learning the history of the capitol building. Daniel T. made connections to the content he is learning in AP US Government and Politics class. “For example, when we have the test of the chapter ten and eleven and I was reading about the Sunshine Act,” he said, “I didn’t really know what it was about. Today, I was questioning myself why we can go to all the rooms and hear what they were talking about. I thought it would be all private but even as a foreigner, I could see. I thought that these kinds of meetings were private and just for people with special rights or privileges. I didn’t realize what this Sunshine Act really was about until we went here.” Nicole Rivera added, “I really enjoyed the last committee we received because they [the lawmakers] were fascinated with the international students. I also learned about architecture and I really loved that part.”

–  Kara Redding, Social Studies Teacher

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Press Release: A Lesson From Obama

St. Paul Preparatory students received a lesson on infrastructure from President Obama

ST. PAUL, Minn – Among the throng of Minnesotans crowded into the Union Depot Wednesday afternoon to hear President Barack Obama speak was a group of international high school students.IMG_2386

The group of about 50 students, together with a few teachers and staff members, walked just a couple blocks from the downtown campus of St. Paul Preparatory School.

The students were ecstatic at the president’s charisma. An Afghani student excitedly reported, “So my favorite part was that I said ‘Hi!’ to him and he waved back!” A student from Venezuela said, “It was amazing! It was something from another world. Getting to see a president so close – it’s like WHOA.” A Pakistani student told of her highlights, “I have many favorite parts but one of the favorites was when he did thumbs up. Then, when he was talking – seeing him talk was so exciting! He was always on the TV but seeing him live was so exciting and great.”

Yesterday’s speech from President Obama sparked a great dinner conversation topic for the international students and their American host families. The topics of his address – infrastructure and transportation – are of great significance for St. Paul Prep students, as almost all of them rely on public transportation every day to get to and from school.

A Hungarian student stated, “It was good to show up on this event because it was an amazing experience to see the President of the United States. I was excited about everything because this is my first time in the U.S.” A student from Colombia said, “It was a good experience because he’s doing reform for more opportunities for jobs here in Minnesota.”

St. Paul Preparatory social studies teacher and Model UN advisor Kara Redding had the idea Monday to walk her class down to the Union Depot to wait in line for tickets to hear the president speak. A few other teachers joined along with their classes. After waiting in the long line for a few hours, each student walked out with a ticket.

Ms. Kara Redding, chaperone and social studies teacher, reflects on the experience:

I was overjoyed to see how eager and excited the students were this morning. We took almost fifty students to the speech and many of them dressed for success by donning their best suits and fanciest dresses. Every single student who got a ticket on Monday came on time and ready to leave, carrying lunches and cameras. It was clear from the outset that every single student understood what a rare opportunity this was and how lucky they were to participate.

We stood in line outside of security for almost two hours and spent another hour and a half waiting inside the Depot for the President to arrive. Throughout the wait, students never lost their positivity, chatting with each other and engaging in the ever-present cultural exchange. We also met many community members excited to hear about our school and to learn from our students about their unique experiences and what brought them to the speech. I think our greatest accomplishment today was making a positive impression on our community.

Before the Pledge of Allegiance, students were eager for me to teach it to them so they could participate and they were fascinated with the singing of the Star Spangled Banner, insisting they must learn the words to that as well. It was very difficult to see in the standing room only section, where people with our tickets were designated to stand, but my group was able to get near the railing at the far side of the stage, which ended up being where the President emerged. We were perhaps seven feet from him as he entered and our students were overwhelmed with excitement to see him so close. Throughout his speech, our students waved American flags and applauded his jokes about the cold Minnesota winter. It seemed his speech was so short, after waiting all that time, but many of the students were bounding out of the Depot, excited to share their photos and stories with each other.

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