Meeting Minutes

Early Learning Council

August 7, 2012

Approved: September 19, 2012

Present: Barb Yates, Denise Mayotte, Patty Nordahl, Art Rolnick, Carolyn Smallwood, Dianne Haulcy, Maria Erlandson, Mary Vanderwert, Mariam Mohamed, Karen Cadigan, Sara Carlson, Barb Fabre, Fred Senn, Jackie Cross, Donna Henning, Mary Orr for Erin Sullivan Sutton, Scott McConnell, David Counoyer, Jeanne Ayres and Carol Miller.

Unable to Attend: Senator Terri Bonoff, Victoria Campoverde, Sue Hoeft, Representative Jenifer Loon, Molly Reike, Representative Nora Slawik, Jill Timm, Senator Pam Wolf, Yeu Vang and Michelle Zadra.

Public Members: Diane Smith, Kathleen Annette, Fran Frethwisch, Kelly Monson, Jackie Dion, Autumn Baum, Nancy Jost, Amy Beckius-Johnson, Robert Durant, Susan Rydell, Dave Ellis, Ann McCully, Sue Heisler, Kim Lage, Lyn Burke, Vicky Grove, Teri Steckelberg, Mary Frank, and Margaret Aho.

Welcome and Goals for the Meeting: Barb Yates welcomed the group and called the meeting to order. Barb thanked the conference leadership for hosting the meeting.

Minutes of the May and June Meetings: Fred Senn made a motion to approve the minutes. Denise Mayotte seconded. The motion carried.

Meeting with the Children’s Cabinet: Dianne Haulcy reported that council members met with the commissioners of education, health and human services at their Children’s Cabinet meeting. The group provided background on the council’s work and that the council is recommending access to high-quality care for the most vulnerable children as the critical issue for this legislative session. The commissioners were supportive of this priority.

Art Rolnick made a motion to approve the access committee’s recommendation to ask the governor to include funding in his Fiscal Year 2013-2014 budget to ensure access to high-quality early education for children from low-income families. The access committee’s discussions will be used to frame the request. Carolyn Smallwood seconded the motion. Motion passed.

White Earth Transformation Zone: Leadership from the White Earth Transformation Zone gave a summary of their work with the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant to date. Examples include: an advisory group made up of a variety of stakeholders is being formed; presentations to area school boards are planned to provide information on Title I incentives; child care providers are getting ready to be rated as part of Parent Aware. As challenges are encountered, the leadership team has been working with staff at state agencies to problem-solve. The White Earth Nation tribal council has been supportive and will continue to be involved in efforts focused on early childhood.

Preparing for the Legislative Ask: Denise Mayotte reported that the Start Early funders group and other advocates plan to support the council’s focus on access to high-quality programs for vulnerable children. There are two committees working on this effort. One will focus on developing a campaign and one on the content of the ask. Start Early is contributing resources to support publicity, a campaign manager, polling and grassroots work. Initial plans are to ask for $150 million of permanent funding.

Rural and Special Populations Committee: Sara Carlson will chair a committee which will focus on populations that have unique circumstances to be addressed in recommendations coming from the council. The committee will advise and assist other committees using this lens.

PreK-Grade 3: Karen Cadigan and Bobbie Burnham (Minnesota Department of Education) will give an overview of the work being done on preK-grade 3 issues at the September council meeting. The information will include preK t-grade 3 structure or models and ways communities support prek-grade 3.

Committees: Committees to date include: Access, Work Force, Rural and Special Populations, Accountability and Prek to Grade 3. Following discussion, it was decided that for the September meeting each committee will report what they believe their charge ought to be. They will also make recommendations regarding how the committee will get its work done and who will be involved. The council will then formally make the charge to the committee.

Most committees will be time-limited. Each committee is tasked with conducting both diagnostic and prescriptive work. Committees will research their charge, determine what the full council needs to know, present information to the council and make recommendations around action steps to be taken. As new issues arise, the council will determine if it fits into an existing committee or if a new committee needs to be formed.

Public Comment: Nancy Jost, West Central Minnesota Initiative Foundation, asked for clarification regarding how access was being defined when talking with the governor and Children’s Cabinet. Barb Yates stated that access is broadly defined at this time. Nancy also asked if the rural and special populations committee would address issues unique to special education and mental health. Sara Carlson said the scope of this group will be discussed at its next meeting. Nancy reminded the council that the early childhood collaborations located in communities throughout Minnesota can assist in getting messages out in rural communities.

Adjourn: Sara Carlson made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Patty Nordahl seconded. The meeting was adjourned.

Please note: Council expenses for to travel to Mahnomen were reimbursed by the Minnesota Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems grant.

The Early Learning Council is an advisory body appointed by Governor Dayton. The council receives staff support and technical assistance through the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). Documents written for or by the council do not necessarily represent Minnesota Department of Education policies.