MDE Weekly Superintendent Mail

May 30, 2013

Commissioner’s Dialogue with Superintendents – Friday, May 31

The May audio conference call with Commissioner Cassellius is scheduled for Friday, May 31, 9:30-10:30 a.m. Superintendents are invited to participate. The agenda will focus on a summary of the E-12 Omnibus Education bill. You were sent an email of the call-in instructions on May 29. If you have any questions, please contact Cindy Heitman, 651-582-1598. Thank you.

Minnesota Department of Education Announces Executive Team Additions

Kevin HcHenry to serve as Assistant Commissioner; Daron Korte to lead Government Relations. Read the May 30 press release.


Important Information Prior to the Release of Test Results this Summer

Please read the May 30 letter from Commissioner Cassellius to superintendents regarding important testing information relating to the release of test results later this summer. An optional letter to parents is included to assist you in communicating information explaining the transitions to new academic standards and new state assessments and how they can affect test results.

Posttest Editing Open in Test WES

Posttest Editing in Test WES is available May 28 – June 14. This is a very important window where districts can review discrepancies for the four test groups: Reading/Mathematics, ACCESS for ELLs, Science, and Written Composition. Many of the edits made in Test WES, or MARSS if appropriate, can have an impact on the district’s AYP and MMR calculations.

The last date to submit a MARSS file to affect posttest editing is Tuesday, June 11. After this point, assessment records can still be edited but any discrepancies that require a MARSS update (e.g., updating enrollment dates) cannot be made. This date may be earlier if you work with a student information service provider.

Please reference the 2012–2013 Posttest Editing User Guide for step-by-step instructions on completing posttest editing. The user guide is available on the Test WES page of the MDE website and under Help in Test. View the Test WES page of the MDE website.


Education Conversations – Check out Recent Episodes

Education Conversations is a half-hour cable TV show hosted by Commissioner Brenda Cassellius and is distributed to many community access stations in Minnesota. You can check your local cable listings to see if Education Conversations is broadcast in your area, or you can view the program from the Minnesota Department of Education website. If you are interested in broadcasting Education Conversations through your district’s community cable access station, contact Cindy Heitman (651-582-1598) to add you to the distribution list.

Message from Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management

The deadly tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, is the latest reminder of the importance and difficulty involved in keeping our children safe at school. I know you take this issue seriously which is why, as Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM), I want to inform you that federal funds are currently available for a safety option you may not have considered — safe rooms.

Safe rooms are hardened structures designed to meet FEMA criteria and provide "near-absolute protection" in extreme weather events including tornadoes. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety has funding available for eligible applicants through HSEM’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. Eligible projects can receive up to 75 percent funding from FEMA.

The Wadena-Deer Creek High School has the first-of-its-kind school-based tornado safe room in Minnesota. HSEM mitigation staff secured a grant from FEMA to construct the safe room which can hold 1,214 people. The 6,547-square-foot room is used as a multi-purpose gymnasium during the school year. The safe room’s solid pre-cast concrete wall panels allow it to withstand winds of 250 miles per hour.

During non-school hours, this safe room is available to the community, which makes it a valuable asset to everyone.

I encourage you to learn more about this opportunity. Please contact our Hazard Mitigation staff. ( For information on all grant opportunities, visit the Homeland Security website.

Sincerely, Kris A. Eide, Director, Homeland Security and Emergency Management

Inform us of Superintendent and Charter School Director Transitions

In order for us to send you the MDE Weekly Superintendent Mail and messages from Commissioner Brenda Cassellius, please inform the department of superintendent or charter school director transitions so that we can add their email addresses to our listserv. Contact Cindy Heitman (651-582-1598) with new email addresses for these communications. Thank you.