Programs & Services

Alternative Learning Programs
Alternative Learning Programs are available for students who need or desire a learning environment that is different from a traditional school.

MULTILINGUAL LEARNING -- Embracing the Diversity of Our Students 

Saint Paul Public Schools has one of the most diverse student populations in the nation with more than 100 languages and dialects spoken by our students and their families.  Some of our students speak two, three, and even four different languages. The SPPS Department of Multilingual Learning oversees manages a variety of language programs. For questions, call 651-767-8320.

English Learners (EL)
The K-12 language program provides additional English language development and instruction for students whose home language is other than English (approximately 40% of SPPS students). Instruction focuses on increasing students’ English language skills so they can meet state and district academic standards. Learning is achieved through collaborative teaching in the mainstream classroom, accelerated language programs, and teaching core subjects in beginning English. Most commonly, General Education (GE) and EL teachers deliver instruction as a team and give students have daily interaction with fluent English-speaking classmates.  

Language Academy
Children who are new to the U.S. or need English language skills have the option to participate in Language Academy.  Students in grades 1-12 interact with the larger school community to build relationships with their English-speaking peers.  Language Academies are taught by General Education teachers together with EL teachers, who provide instruction based on student needsl.  This intensive program helps students rapidly develop the English language skills that will prepare them to succeed academically.

Language Immersion Programs
The goal of language immersions programs is for students to become bilingual, biliterate and bicultural. 


  • One-Way Immersion - students receive academic instruction in another language and become proficient in the target language.  One-way programs are offered in French, Mandarin, and Spanish.
  • Two-Way Immersion - English-speaking students and students who speak another languagel learn together. Academic subjects are taught in both languages at all grade levels. Two-way immersion programs are offered in Hmong and Spanish.

All students (grades 6-12) not currently enrolled in SPPS immersion and/or dual-language pathways or approved programs outside SPPS are required to pass a language proficiency assessment for enrollment consideration. A centralized team of District staff will oversee the assessment and enrollment eligibility is based on results of language assessment and available space. Please contact the Student Placement Center at (651) 632-3760 for additional information.


Indigenous/World Languages

Indigenous and world language instruction helps students learn to communicate with people in other cultures, expand their world view, and develop insight into their own language and culture. A variety of indigenous and world language programs are offered at many schools and grade levels.  Classes include Chinese, French, German, Hmong, Japanese, Lakota/Dakota, Latin, Ojibwe, Russian, and Spanish.

Talent Development and Acceleration Services (TDAS)
A student's need for accelerated coursework is determined at each school.  Many students benefit from content area acceleration and online course options. Grade level acceleration is the last option considered after a detailed review of a student's academic, social, and emotional need for such an option.

For elementary students, SPPS uses multiple criteria (including the Cognitive Abilities Test/CogAT 7) to identify students for TDAS, which includes advanced programming and enrollment at Capitol Hill Gifted and Talented Magnet.  TDAS is further supported through personalized learning at every school. For more information, call 651-744-5007.

Health Conditions
Families are encouraged to provide health information, medication and special procedure information to the school nurse. This information will allow the school to provide your child a safe learning environment. For more information, contact your child’s school nurse or the Student Wellness Department at 651-767-8385.

Special Education Needs
Every student has the right to a rich school experience.  Special Education in Saint Paul Public Schools recognizes the importance of designing an educational experience to meet the unique needs of each student from birth to age 21.  For more information, call the Special Education Lead Resource Office 651-293-8923 or District  Special Education Administration 651-767-8321.