2012 Superintendent Mail


TO: Superintendents

FROM: Dr. Brenda Cassellius, Commissioner

DATE: October 18, 2012


Learning from Finland – A Discussion with Tony Wagner

Thank you to all who participated (in person and via live stream) in Tuesday’s thought-provoking and inspiring discussion with Tony Wagner.  Your feedback is invaluable as we strive to create an educational system in Minnesota that is second to none.  Please continue to share your best creative and innovative ideas with me and each other as we move forward.  I hope that this is just the first of many conversations that will lead to transformative change in the way we educate kids for the 21st century.

- Brenda Cassellius


Student Transportation Study – Survey Response Requested by October 26  

This is a request to participate in a survey about student transportation. The 2012 Legislature directed the Commissioner of Administration to conduct a study of student transportation to examine the statewide potential for regional and/or coordinated approaches to student transportation:

Student transportation study. This study must consider potential efficiencies that could result in employing a regional approach to student transportation. Consideration must be given to potential synergies between general transit and student transportation functions and must include all geographic areas of the state. The student transportation study shall be completed by November 1, 2012. (Laws 2012, Ch. 292, Art. 4, s. 17(2))

The survey is your opportunity to share your insights gained from the experience of getting students to and from school. The results from this survey will be an important part of the Department of Administration’s report to the Legislature.

An invitation to participate in the survey was sent last week to members of the Department of Education’s transportation directors listserv. If you have already completed the survey, thank you!  If you did not receive the invitation, or if you have not yet taken the survey, please do so by October 26, 2012. The survey will take about 15-30 minutes. Take the survey. The Improve Group, an independent research and evaluation firm in St. Paul, was contracted to conduct the study. If you have any questions about this study, please feel free to contact Steve Smela, Senior Research Analyst at the Improve Group, at steves@theimprovegroup.com or 651-315-8920.


Federal Grant Opportunity – Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, Strengthening Community Partnerships = Enhanced Career Development

Federal funds, from CFDA 84.028A, Vocational Education – Basic Grants to States, Award Number, V048A120023, are available for the purpose of establishing effective partnerships with secondary, postsecondary and community leaders to enhance career guidance for secondary students and enhance the development and implementation of career and technical education programs of study.

Approximately $30,000 are available to fund five (5) projects up to $6,000 each. The department reserves the right to award more or less funding or more or less than five awards contingent on the number of applications received and the application work plans. The grant opportunity instructions and application documents will be available on the All Open Grant Opportunities Web page after October 23, 2012. Access the website for open grant opportunities. (https://education.state.mn.us/EGMS/searchAllActiveGrants.do)

Submitted and signed applications are due by November 15, 2012, 11:59 p.m., Central Time.

For further information, please contact Michelle Kamenov, Center for Postsecondary Success, at michelle.kamenov@state.mn.us or 651/582-8434.

Green Schools Workshops

Presented by the Minnesota Department of Education, these FREE workshops will provide resources and networking for K-12 administrators, staff, teachers and anyone else interested in making schools more healthy, efficient, and effective. You will see, first-hand, the benefits of green schools and learn about resources available in the areas of green buildings and energy, health and safety, and environmental education.

Workshops will be held at Minnesota’s 2012 Green Ribbon Schools National Award Winners:

• Monday, October 29: St. Joseph – Kennedy Community School
• Monday, November 5: West St. Paul – Garlough Environmental Magnet School
• Wednesday, November 28: Duluth – North Shore Community School

For more information, visit the Minnesota Association for Environmental Education website at www.minnesotaee.org. Register by sending an e-mail to Terry Alvarado at terry.alvarado@state.mn.us with the date and location of workshop, your name, school and position, e-mail, and phone number.

For assistance with questions, contact Jeff Ledermann, environmental and outdoor education coordinator, Minnesota Department of Education, at 651-582-8602 or jeff.ledermann@state.mn.us.

Minnesota Board of Teaching Licensure Actions

The Minnesota Board of Teaching has taken the following licensure actions:

Blanchfield, Joel (FF 250750) On October 12, 2012, the Board of Teaching adopted a Stipulation Agreement suspending Mr. Blanchfield’s teaching license for six months.

Nelson, James P. (FF 340428) On October 12, 2012, the Board of Teaching adopted a Stipulation Agreement suspending Mr. Nelson’s teaching license for a period of one year and until he can meet other requirements of the Board.

Okstad, Eric (FF 427020) On October 12, 2012, the Board of Teaching adopted a Stipulation Agreement suspending Mr. Okstad’s teaching license for a period of nine months and until he can meet other requirements of the Board.