2012 Superintendent Mail


TO: Superintendents

FROM: Dr. Brenda Cassellius, Commissioner

DATE: March 29, 2012



• “One Voice” Campaign – Keeping Youth in School

Each year more than 10,000 youth in Minnesota disengage from school, and Minnesota’s academic achievement gap has grown to one of the largest in the nation. The “One Voice” Campaign, uniquely created by youth, for youth, communicates the importance of experiencing success in school, work and life – both now and in the future. The project was initiated by Minnesota Alliance With Youth and Twin Cities Public Television (tpt) in collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Education. Read March 19 press release. Watch the videos.


• The Center for Engineering, Mathematics, and Science (CEMS) – Preparing Now for Postsecondary

The Center for Engineering, Mathematics, and Science (CEMS) is a specialty program within Blaine High School. Students seeking an integrated and in-depth mathematics, science and engineering program are encouraged to enter as ninth-graders and follow the plan through their senior year. As seniors they are eligible to enroll in CEMS Research. In this capstone class, students work in teams to invent a new product or improve an existing one. Teams must secure community mentors to assist them with their product development. Read more. View KARE11 video.

• 21st Century Community Learning Centers, Cohort 5 Grant Opportunity – April 23 Deadline

See the attached memorandum from Assistant Commissioner Elia Bruggeman, and Carol Thomas, director of the Division of Safety, Health and Nutrition, regarding the above-mentioned grant opportunity. The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), Division of Safety, Health and Nutrition, is soliciting applications for 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) programs from all eligible applicants.

Applications must be received in hard copy format on or before Monday, April 23, 2012, 4:30 p.m., Central Time.
Access the application packet. For more information, contact Eric Billiet at 651-582-8425.

• Special Education Parent and Family Training Grant Opportunity – April 25 Deadline

See the attached memorandum from Assistant Commissioner Elia Bruggeman, and Barbara Troolin, director of the Division of Special Education, regarding the above-mentioned grant opportunity. The purpose of this funding opportunity is to develop and provide training to parents and family members of children birth-grade 5 with identified disabilities and developmental delays who are at risk for poor literacy outcomes.

Applications are due by Wednesday, April 25, 2012, Midnight, Central Time. Access the application packet.
For assistance with questions, contact Debra Price-Ellingstad at 651-582-8568.

• Safe Routes to School Grant Opportunity –April 27 Deadline

The Minnesota Department of Transportation invites Minnesota elementary and middle schools and their partners to apply for Safe Routes to School grant funds for projects that will help more children safely walk and bicycle to school. Schools may apply for grants in two categories:

• Planning Assistance – Schools will receive expert assistance to complete a Safe Routes to School plan, which will analyze existing conditions, gather public input and identify potential infrastructure and non-infrastructure solutions.
• Implementation Grants – Schools will receive grant funds to support education, encouragement, enforcement or evaluation activities related to safe walking and bicycling to school.

Minnesota has $1.2 million available in these categories for 2012-13. Access application information. For assistance with questions, contact Lisa Bender, Minnesota Department of Transportation, at

• It’s About Time! – Alternative School Calendars Conference – May 7, 2012

Register now for the Minnesota Department of Education’s “It’s About Time! – Alternative School Calendars” Conference. The conference will be held Monday, May 7, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Minnesota Department of Education, with optional open houses at school sites working creatively with time on Tuesday morning, May 8, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Cost for the conference is $35.

Keynoters include:

City of Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman on the Second Shift Commission and Sprockets Out-of-School Time Network;

Eli Kramer of Hiawatha Academies, a charter school offering 40 percent more learning time than most schools.

Stillwater Public Schools technology and mathematics faculty on Flipped Classrooms and Flipped Professional Development.

Breakout sessions include Flexible Learning Year, out-of-school time models, mindsets about time at great schools, evaluation and goals, and getting referendums passed.

Optional open houses on Tuesday, May 8, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., are at:

• Harambee Elementary School in Maplewood. Harambee is a multidistrict elementary school using a 45-15 model. The tour will be on a day that intersession activities are occurring.
• North Branch Area Public Schools, a district using a four-day week calendar.
• Hiawatha Learning Academies in south Minneapolis, a charter school providing much more instructional time than most schools.

The conference is an excellent chance for Flexible Learning Year programs, charter schools, alternative learning programs and other interested programs and individuals to learn from one another. All welcome. Space limited.

Additional information and registration is available through the following link. Also, remember to print a hard copy of your registration and mail with your $35 registration fee to the Department of Education, 1500 Highway 36 W., Roseville, MN 55113. Register Online. (https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FD7X878)

For more information, contact Cindy Jackson at the Minnesota Department of Education, 651-582-8572, cindy.s.jackson@state.mn.us.