MDE Weekly Superintendent Mail

October 3, 2013

State’s 2013 Accountability Results Show Significant Progress for Priority and Focus Schools

Great news about Minnesota’s schools!

Based on the 2013 Multiple Measurements Rating (MMR) results, 225 schools earned the Celebration Eligible designation. Results show that 17 Priority schools, 13 of which were School Improvement Grant (SIG) recipients, made significant progress and are no longer designated as Priority. Five of these schools are now Celebration Eligible, two are Reward. Ten Focus schools saw significant progress and are no longer designated as Focus, and five of these schools are now Celebration Eligible; one is Reward.

This growth is the result of the hard work and dedication of our school teachers and staff, along with comprehensive support from MDE and our Regional Centers to schools identified as Priority and Focus. With this support, 78 percent of Priority schools demonstrated improvement, and 71 percent of Focus schools demonstrated growth on the Focus Rating. The progress made by Priority and Focus schools is an important step toward closing achievement gaps. We did see lower scores for some schools across the state, but believe this correlates to the 2013 MCA results which were impacted by a new, more rigorous reading test aligned to college and career ready standards, and a change in testing policy for the MCA math test, where students were able to take the best of three tries last year and only had one attempt this year. Read the October 1 press release.

MDE Celebration School Award – Application Available

This award recognizes the accomplishments and hard work of Title I schools across the state in raising student proficiency and growth, closing the achievement gap, and increasing the graduation rate. Eligible schools are encouraged to complete and submit an application. Application submission deadline is 4:30 p.m. on Friday, November 1, 2013. Access more information and the application.

$40 Million in Early Learning Scholarships Now Available to Qualifying Families Statewide

Investment by Governor Dayton and the Legislature expands scholarships, ensuring more than 8,000 children will have access to early education opportunities over the next biennium. Read the September 27 press release.


Aid and Tax Shift Buyback Update

See the October 3 memorandum from Tom Melcher, director of school finance. For assistance with questions, please contact Audrey Bomstad.

Zero Through 4-Year-Old Census Count by School District

See the memorandum from Greg Sogaard, division of school finance. In order to calculate revenue for the School Readiness and Early Childhood Family Education Programs, it is necessary to collect accurate data on zero through 4-year-old children. The data should reflect a count of all zero through 4-year-old resident children as of October 1 (age as of September 1). Submit data no later than December 2, 2013. For assistance with questions, please contact Greg Sogaard (651-582-8858).


October is Dyslexia Awareness Month

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton recently proclaimed October 2013 as Dyslexia Awareness Month. View the proclamation on the Minnesota Secretary of State website. Dyslexia is a life-long language-based neurological learning disability that can seriously affect students’ ability to read, write, spell and master reading comprehension. Timely identification of dyslexia and an understanding of its impact on students and families will improve many Minnesota students’ academic achievement.

In a call to action to address the needs of students who struggle with the effects of dyslexia, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) recognizes the existing best practices already in state guidance:

· Create a coherent system for identifying students early and providing them with rigorous and evidence-based instruction from preschool on.
· Adopt and teach with fidelity scientific research-based practices known to lead to positive reading outcomes for all students, but specifically for students who persistently struggle.
· Equip teachers to be able to provide high-quality and additional instruction for those most in need through a multitiered system of supports.
· Maintain high expectations and high level of accountability for all students, including those who persistently struggle with reading, writing, spelling and reading comprehension.
· Provide, within the Individualized Educational Program (IEP), standards-based goals and outcomes that align with the standards and track growth against grade-level performance from year to year.

In addition, MDE and our partners will be issuing informational papers explaining the characteristics of dyslexia, how to identify needs and provide for students with these characteristics regardless of qualification for special education, characteristics of the most effective professional development, and evidence-based practices that accelerate the rate of learning for students with dyslexia.

Parents and teachers can learn more about dyslexia and how to support students throughout October by:

· Attending events sponsored by the International Dyslexia Association: Upper Midwest Branch (view the Dyslexia Association website).
· Studying books including “Overcoming Dyslexia” by Sally Shaywitz, or “Proust and the Squid” by Mariann Wolf.

We encourage you to share this information and the proclamation with all teachers within your district.

Leadership in Reading Network – Professional Development Opportunities

Now in its fourth year, the Minnesota Department of Education, the Minnesota Reading Association and the Minnesota Center for Reading Research are again offering collaborative professional development for literacy leaders across the state.

The Leadership in Reading Network (LiRN) is announcing its 2013-2014 series titled A Focus on Learning: Making Minor Adjustments for Major Impact. Registration fee includes membership to LiRN, and three days of professional development and networking for you, plus one guest from your organization/school, and more.

Dates and Locations:

· Wednesday, October 23, Shoreview Community Center (4850 Victoria Street north, Shoreview, MN), 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Lunch will be provided. This event will be keynoted by Sharon Tabersk, author, presenter and educator.
· Wednesday, January 8, Minnesota Department of Education, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
· Wednesday, March 5, Minnesota Department of Education, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information or to register, visit the Minnesota Reading Association website.

“I Have a Dream” Youth Video Competition – Entry Deadline November 16

As part of Human Rights Week, December 1-7, 2013, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) is sponsoring a video contest to hear from youth (grades 4-12) and young adults (ages 18-25) across the state about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Dream” and what its ideals mean to them in their lives today. Finalists will be honored the first week of December during Human Rights Week in Minnesota and their videos will be showcased by MDHR on YouTube. MDHR Commissioner Kevin Lindsey will recognize the finalists at their school and discuss diversity and Dr. King’s Dream with the student’s class. The entry deadline is November 16, 2013. See the contest flyer on the MDHR website. Visit the MDHR website for contest details. For assistance with questions, e-mail MDHR.

Give to the Max Day is November 14

GiveMN is a not-for-profit website that helps people find, connect and engage with the causes that they care about, including people who care about and want to support your school. Thousands of Minnesota nonprofits have raised millions of dollars through each year. Start planning now to be part of Minnesota’s biggest day of giving. Please forward this information to your school principals. Principals can register their schools today on the GiveMN website.


Minnesota Board of Teaching Licensure Actions

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

· Johnson, Robert C. (FF 255097) On September 13, 2013, the Board of Teaching adopted a Stipulation Agreement suspending Mr. Johnson’s teaching license for one year and until he can meet other requirements of the Board.
· Shuckhart, Noel T. (FF 311473) On September 13, 2013, the Board of Teaching adopted Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order denying Mr. Shuckhart’s application for a period of two years.
· Snyder, Rebecca L. (FF 389100) On September 13, 2013, the Board of Teaching adopted a Stipulation Agreement indefinitely suspending Ms. Snyder’s teaching license.
· Tyler, Henry E. (FF 472447) On September 13, 2013, the Board of Teaching adopted a Stipulation Agreement denying Mr. Tyler’s teaching application for two years and until he can meet other requirements of the Board.

ED Review – A U.S. Department of Education Newsletter

ED Review provides a biweekly update on U.S. Department of Education initiatives and activities. See the latest ED Review posting on the U.S. Department of Education website.