Early Education Student

TO: School District Superintendents

Charter School Directors

Business Managers

Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE)/School Readiness (SR) Coordinators

FROM: Jessie Montano, Deputy Commissioner

SUBJECT: Assignment of State Student Identification Number for Early Learners

DATE: April 17, 2014

The purpose of this memo is to clarify the responsibility for assigning the state student identification number for children participating in the Early Learning Scholarship Program, Early Childhood Family Education, Head Start and other public preschool programs. The Early Learning Scholarship program provides access to high-quality early childhood programs for 3-and 4-year-old children to improve school readiness. View information about the Early Learning Scholarship Program.

To effectively administer the Early Learning Scholarship program and ensure the integrity of the funds, children receiving scholarships must be identified and validated before scholarship payments can be made on their behalf to a participating early childhood program. This means that a scholarship cannot be awarded to an individual child until a unique State Student Identification (SSID) number has been assigned and submitted to the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) Student Validation System.

The statewide student identification number will provide a mechanism for identifying children participating in Early Childhood Family Education and School Readiness and is critical to the discussion around the alignment of preschool programs and funding to K-12 data. Assignment of state student identification number and validation of the student identification number for early learners participating in these programs will be the responsibility of the resident school district.

In making this policy decision, MDE understands that in some cases, this may create a small additional burden for the school districts. However, MDE determined that the resident school district would be the best source for the assignment and registration of this number in order to maintain the integrity of the assigned student identification number consistently throughout the child’s educational career. It is also important to note that in many cases, the resident district may have already assigned an SSID to early learning participants at the time the child received Health and Developmental Screening or Early Childhood Special Education

Every district already has assigned at least one staff member in the SSID Maintainer role with access to the MDE secure systems to assign SSIDs and report problems with SSIDs. The superintendent typically determines how this responsibility is assigned within their schools and how many staff will have this assignment. If it is determined that the additional function requires another staff person to function as an SSID Maintainer, you may complete the “Student Identification Validation User Agreement” posted to the Student ID Validations website. View the Student Identification Validation User Agreement.

To make the assignment and validation of SSIDs as efficient as possible, MDE is currently working on a “batch upload” process similar to the one that already exists for uploading SSIDs for all students in the district. This will eliminate the need to manually enter the early learners’ SSIDs to the Student Identification Validation System. MDE staff are currently testing this feature and anticipates it will be available by mid-May. An announcement of its availability and training on this feature will be made through the Superintendents Mailing, MARSS Coordinators, Business Managers and the ECFE/SR listservs.

Districts that are not already doing so are encouraged to begin assigning the SSID to your resident early learners. If a district has a small number of SSIDs to submit to the Student Identification Validation System for validation, you may want to continue to submit through the manual data entry process. If you have a large number of SSIDs to submit, you may want to wait for the batch upload feature to be available. Whatever process you use, it is important that these numbers are assigned and validated in a timely manner. This will expedite the SSID requirement in the Early Learning Scholarship System for children eligible for the Early Scholarship program.

MDE Resources

Contact Lisa Barnidge (lisa.barnidge@state.mn.us), 651-582-8849, regarding questions about the Early Learning Scholarship System.

Contact Roxann Neu (marss@state.mn.us), 651-582-8486, regarding questions about the batch SSID upload process.

Contact Vicky Sarvela (mde.student_id@state.mn.us), 651-582-8258, regarding questions about using the Student ID Validation System.

Contact Avisia Whiteman (avisia.whiteman@state.mn.us), 651-582-8329, regarding questions about using the Early Education Student Data System.