Reflections on the U.S. Senate Youth Program from Tim Bergeland, Delegate from Minnesota in 2014
The U.S. Senate Youth Program was a life-changing experience for me. We heard from a diverse set of top-ranking government officials. Their speeches gave fascinating insights on different areas of government, but what I remember most their passion for helping others. Their selfless spirits were contagious and have inspired me to pursue a career as a public servant. My favorite speech was from President Obama. He implored us to approach politics with a spirit of idealism instead of cynicism. Read more of Tim's story.
Last month, we invited you to vote for your favorite charter school best practice on our Facebook page. And vote you did! We were overwhelmed by the support for these top-performing charter schools. See the results.
The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) has been chosen as a finalist for a Tekne Award! We are one of three finalists in the Collaboration for Community Impact category for our work in partnership with The Works Museum. Read the full story.
Twenty-five serious competitors imagine, design, build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks. A FIRST Robotics Competition combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources and time limits, teams are challenged to raise funds, design a team brand and pit their robot against the competition. The QWERTY team raises about $15,000 per year. Team members gain teamwork, critical thinking, and presentation skills while learning and using sophisticated design and engineering software and hardware. Read full story.
Bill Mack is the new director of the School Safety Technical Assistance Center here at MDE. Read the interview to find out his advice for teachers and students about staying safe at school.
Over 500 Minnesota students, grades 4-6, were engaged this summer at STARBASE as they engineered missions to Mars and designed systems to sustain life while there! STARBASE is a nonprofit organization, whose mission is to educate and inspire youth in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Since 1993, the program has provided over 48,000 students with a high quality, STEM experience through partnerships with state and federal government and strategic relationships with the local business community. Read full post.
For most Minnesota students, today is the first day of school. Pencils are sharpened, textbooks will be covered with brown paper bags (do kids still do that?), dorm rooms are set up, and parents are wiping away tears saying goodbye, whether it’s just for the day or for the semester. Minnesota’s hard-working teachers have been cleaning, prepping, and decorating their classrooms for weeks getting ready for the big day. They’ve been planning lessons and writing syllabi. They know the important role they play in getting kids excited about learning and ready for the challenges ahead. Read more about Minnesotans going back to school.
The first Best Practice Mini-Contract Competition for High-Quality Charter Schools (HQCS) is now underway! Three of the state’s high quality charter schools applied and are in the running to receive $2,000-4,000 to create replicable materials that will be used to make their identified “best practices” available to all public schools in Minnesota.
Below you will find information on best practices from three charter schools. Read through each one and then go to MDE’s Facebook page to “Like” your favorite! Your vote could help one of these schools receive funds to better support their students. Read more about the programs.
At Camp Courage, educators think about literacy differently. Located in Maple Lake, Camp Courage is a camp for children and adults with disabilities. For one week every summer, Camp Courage hosts a professional development session where educators learn new strategies to support literacy skills for students with significant disabilities. Read more about Camp Courage.
Minnesota students recently participated in a competition to test their problem-solving skills. The International Conference of the Future Problem Solving Program hosted over 2,500 students representing 42 states and fifteen countries. Read more about this program and see pictures of Minnesota students who participated.
Congratulations! Graduating high school is not an easy feat. It is the culmination of many years of hard work- years filled with classes, homework, athletics, extra-curricular activities and after-school jobs. All that time and effort has finally paid off and you are now prepared to take on your next adventure as you start college or a career. Read more of Commissioner Cassellius' note to 2014 graduating seniors.
Even though I’ve lived in Minnesota for over 3 decades and have been involved with myriad literacy and reading programs, I didn’t know that Minnesota had a state librarian until about a month ago. I knew we had a state demographer, a state economist, a state forester, and a state climatologist, but it took Elmo from Sesame Street to introduce me to Jennifer Nelson, Minnesota’s State Librarian. Read more from guest blogger, Commissioner Ehlinger.
Children are ready to enjoy summer, but for too many, summer means missing meals when school meal programs are unavailable. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) ensures children and teens under age 18 have access to free, safe, nutritious meals. Through the program, meals are provided at schools, faith-based organizations, parks, pools, community centers, apartment complexes and non-profit programs. These meals help children in eligible high-need areas get the proper nutrition they need during the summer when schools are not in session. Read complete post.
This month, students from across Minnesota are celebrating a tremendous accomplishment: graduating from high school. These students will take the knowledge they have gained over the years and start a brand new journey, whether they go on to start their careers or attend post-secondary. Here are a few photos from graduation ceremonies throughout the state.
This morning, Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius was in White Bear Lake, visiting the district’s early education program. Commissioner Cassellius toured the program, taking some time to interact with the kids, before sitting down with staff and parents to discuss the state of early learning and implementation of the state scholarships. Read more and see photos from the visit.
This year marks the third annual student poetry contest held by Senator Al Franken. The contest, which coincides with Memorial Day, asks youth in grades K-12 to submit a poem honoring veterans. This year’s theme was “Celebrating the Veteran in My Life,” and students from across Minnesota took to their notebooks, penning moving poems about their own personal heroes. Read more about the contest and see the winning poems.
While Orville and Wilbur Wright may have invented the airplane, this week marks the 87th anniversary of another pioneer in aviation, Charles Lindbergh. His successful trans-Atlantic flight may have only lasted 33 hours, 30 minutes and 29.8 seconds, but it paved the way for how we travel today. Also, he was only 25 when he made the journey! Read more about his historic flight.
Applying to college is the result of careful exploration and planning. Don't wait to investigate programs, consider majors and visit schools that fit your academic and career goals. Get organized and start gathering the documents you need to complete college applications. Investigate financial aid and scholarship options. A wealth of resources are available to help you explore, plan and apply! Read more about how you can get ready for college today and hear from real Minnesotans talking about what higher education means to them.
In case you did not know, May 12-18 is National Children’s Book week. We here at blogg[ED] thought there was no better way to celebrate than to reach out to students at Brimhall Elementary in Roseville for some book recommendations. Read what the students, ranging from kindergarten to second grade, had to suggest.
Today’s post is a guest blog from Tom Rademacher, who was recently named the 2014 Minnesota Teacher of the Year:
When my name was announced as the 2014 Minnesota Teacher of the Year, I was almost completely unprepared. Given the chance to speak my first words as representative of over 70,000 public, private, and parochial teachers in Minnesota, I pulled a woefully inadequate piece of paper, hotel stationery actually, with five words scribbled down the night before. I did not think I would win, could not imagine deserving the honor. Read more from the 2014 Minnesota Teacher of the Year.
Talk about hands on. Students in the Edgewood Middle School's Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) class have taken their education out of the classroom and out in nature. The students worked with their teacher, Jim Bias, to get a nearby forest enrolled in the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) School Forest Program. Read more about the student's conservation efforts.
What is Cinco de Mayo? Read a short history on how this holiday came to be.
Before I became the director of State Library Services, aka the state librarian, I spent the bulk of my career as a librarian at the downtown Minneapolis Public Library, working in a number of different areas—fee-based research, reference librarian in business, science and technology, children’s librarian, electronic resources librarian, immigrant resources coordinator and more.
A theme that runs through my work has been finding ways that libraries can help people improve their lives—whether it is offering story times for preschoolers, developong rich media workshops for teens, helping entrepreneurs with limited education start businesses... Read complete interview.
How many of you have fond memories of riding the bus to school? Did you know you were participating in a tradition that children in the United States have been doing for over a century?
The first “school hack” was made in the 1880s and was more like a horse-drawn wagon. Children entered at the back so they wouldn’t spook the horses. Read more about the history of school transportation.
National Poetry Month is recognized each year throughout the month of April as a time to celebrate poets and their craft. Last year, with support from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, Southeastern Libraries Cooperating (SELCO) began an annual poetry contest for teens called Word Flow.
The teen poetry contest was created in response to popular demand as a companion contest to their annual adult poetry contest, Poetic Strokes. Area teens, age 14-18 responded to the invitation with more than 100 submissions. Read more about the contest and two of the selected poems.
Every day this week, blogg[ED] is featuring real stories from educators who are making progress to close achievement gaps and raise achievement for every student. Today's post is adapted from a presentation given by Dan McKeon, the director of TrekNorth Junior and Senior High School in Bemidji. Read more about TrekNorth's efforts to address gaps by cultivating relationships and building trust.
This week blogg[ED] is featuring educators from across the state discussing their efforts to close achievement gaps. Today’s post comes from Bloomington Public School Exectuive Director of the Research and Development Department Dave Heistad, Ph.D. Read about how Bloomington is focusing on data to increase student achievement.
This week blogg[ED] is featuring educators from across the state discussing their efforts to close achievement gaps. Today’s post comes from Moorhead Superintendent Lynne Kovash. Read about her insights on how Moorhead is working to help every child thrive.
On Friday, March 21, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) engaged over 200 educators around the state in a conversation about the achievement gap in Minnesota. The summit offered clarification, explanation and ways to interpret and use the achievement gap data provided to each district. Participants received information about the wide range of technical assistance available in the areas of: English learners, special education, academic standards and data analysis from Minnesota Department of Education staff--including how to access the support available from the Regional Centers of Excellence.
Beginning today, April 14, BloggED will offer a series of guest posts from four school districts around the state who are making significant progress on closing the achievement gap between student groups. Meet Brooklyn Center Superintendent Mark Bonine. Read full story.
Yesterday, Minnesota’s State Capitol was buzzing with the sounds of students, parents, educators and advocates—Minnesotans from across the state who came together to watch Governor Mark Dayton sign the Safe and Supportive Schools Act into law.
The governor was joined by the sponsors of the bill in the Minnesota Senate and House, Senator Scott Dibble and Representative Jim Davnie, superintendent of the Farmington School District Jay Haugan, and the members of the Governor’s Task Force on the Prevention of School Bullying. Read more about what the Safe and Supportive Schools Act mean for Minnesota.
Meet the young artists whose drawings inspired 14 fantastical glass sculptures produced with funds from a Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage grant by East Central Regional Library (ECRL). The project began during the 2013 summer reading program, when children ages 4-10 were invited to submit original drawings of an animal or object that could be turned into a glass blown art object. Read more and view the gallery of glass sculptures.
Governor Mark Dayton has proclaimed April the "Month of the Military Child." During this month, military-connected youth throughout the state will be recognized for the sacrifices they make while a parent serves in the Armed Forces. Read more about how you can be involved.
Early childhood programs and schools talk a lot about parent involvement but what that means is often not clear. Head Start, the country’s laboratory for early childhood education, has long known that parent involvement is critical to its success and the success of the children they serve. They have recently developed a framework for local programs that helps them develop environments and services that actively engage parents. The Parent, Family and Community Engagement Framework has become a valuable guide for programs in their work with parents. Read more about the framework.
Minnesota was one of the first nine states awarded the Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge funds in 2011 and the Minnesota early childhood education team has been racing ever since. The grant laid out ambitious goals for the state and especially for four communities called “Transformation Zones” across the state.
Each community is charged with increasing the school readiness of children with high needs by improving access to high quality early learning and development programs. An assessment was just done to look at how these communities are meeting the needs of their families with young children. Reading more about the findings here.
During the 2013 Legislative session, the Legislature and Governor Mark Dayton took steps to ensure every student in Minnesota is prepared for college and career. The Worlds Best Workforce bill asks districts throughout the state to create a plan that alligns curriculum and works to increase student achievement.
Meet Sharon Burrell, Curriculum, Staff Development and Q Comp Coordinator for North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale Schools, and longtime elementary classroom teacher. As a member of the district's teaching and leadership plan. Sharon is part of her district's efforts to create a World's Best Workforce plan. Blogg[ED] sat down with her to talk about what that work looks like. Read more about creating a World's Best Workforce plan.
Minnesota is not only the land of 10,000 lakes, it is also home to nearly 200 colleges and universities and over 450,000 postsecondary students. When considering numbers this large, trends can be difficult to spot – especially when you consider the massive amounts of higher education data that is collected statewide and nationally.
A recent report prepared by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education provides meaning to this data. And, in doing so, indicates some positive trends with regard to college enrollment. Read more about the current state of higher education in Minnesota.
Since taking office, Governor Mark Dayton has made a number of critical investments in early education. One significant investment came in 2011 when Governor Dayton and the Legislature invested $5.45 million in the Minnesota Reading Corps to expand the program and help more students gain access to one-on-one tutoring. Today, a new report shows the positive impact already taking place because of that investment. Read More.
Long before the shamrock became associated with St. Patrick’s Day (March 17), the four-leaf clover was regarded by ancient Celts as a charm against evil spirits. In the early 1900s, O. H. Benson, an Iowa school superintendent, came up with the idea of using a clover as the emblem for a newly founded agricultural club for children. In 1911, the four-leaf clover was chosen as the emblem for the national club program, now known as 4-H!*
The theme for Women's History Month 2014 is: Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment. Read more.
Breakfast has long been known as “the most important meal of the day.” This is not without reason. A healthy breakfast not only provides a kick of energy to start the day, it has been found to help with weight control, lower cholesterol, provide more strength and endurance to engage in physical activity and also improve concentration and performance whether you’re on the job or in the classroom.
Today, Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius joined Hunger-Free Minnesota and the Children’s Defense Fund at Adams Elementary in Coon Rapids to launch the 2014-2015 School Breakfast Challenge. Read More.
There has been a lot of talk about the importance of investing in early education opportunities. Last session Governor Mark Dayton and the Legislature passed bills that allow every district in the state to implement all-day Kindergarten and allocated $40 million for early education scholarships, ensuring every child has access to a great start to their education.
During those conversations, focus was often placed on experts who could present data and research about the return on investment and other long term benefits. Last week, Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius was able to visit a preschool program in Winona and see firsthand the impact the Governor and Legislature’s investments are having on children and families throughout Minnesota. Read More.
If you're looking for past Blogg[ED] posts, check out our archives!