MDE Weekly Superintendent Mail

February 20, 2014


State Posts Highest Graduation Rate in a Decade

Across the board, more Minnesota students are graduating from high school. Read February 19 press release.

How to Understand Graduation Rate Calculation

Read this document for detailed information regarding how our graduation rates are calculated. They are calculated the same as they always have been for the state rate. Please note for two technical changes due to superintendent feedback and our waiver that may impact your district rates.

1. We are now reporting graduation rates for each student subgroup with a cohort (n) size of 10 or more, and rates are now included for each subgroup with an n size of 10 going back to 2003, so everything is comparable.
2. School classifications 70 through 79 (care/treatment/correctional facilities) are no longer included in the district rates, which may result in small adjustments your previous years’ graduation rates.

It is important to note that all graduation rates going back to 2003 have been recalculated so that they are comparable to the newly released 2013 rates.


World’s Best Workforce Update

WBWF Question of the Week: One of the goals of the legislation is to address school readiness for all students. What kind of help is there for districts to be able to assess “school readiness?”

Answer: Through the Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge, Minnesota is revising its School Readiness Study, or assessment at kindergarten entrance. Based on feedback from administrators and teachers, the study is being revised to include a menu of assessment tools that are developmentally appropriate and align to the Early Childhood Indicators of Progress (ECIPs) and the Kindergarten Academic Standards. This will allow districts to align one of the kindergarten entrance assessment tools on the menu with other district level efforts. By aligning these assessments to the standards, it will ensure that students are assessed on what they are expected to know and do. Once aligned with the district’s curriculum, teachers can use the assessment results to inform their instruction and inform decisions on professional development for staff. Read the Early Childhood Indicators of Progress (ECIPs). Access the Kindergarten Academic Standards.

Soon, a Frequently Asked Questions document and a one-pager will be made available to answer any additional questions. The second phase of the pilot study will be launched in the fall of 2014 and will determine how well assessment tools align to one another. Participation in the study is voluntary and invitations to districts will be forthcoming this spring. If your district is interested in learning more, contact Amanda Varley ( or contact Megan Cox (

A planning document is available to help drive formative conversations within school districts as they develop their WBWF plans over the next several months. Access the planning document.

A PowerPoint presentation on the WBWF legislation is available that can be used by districts to inform staff, parents and other stakeholders. Access the PowerPoint presentation.

Watch for future WBWF updates each week in this newsletter. Any questions regarding the World’s Best Workforce initiative can be sent to

Needs Assessment Survey for Teacher Development Evaluation

The Minnesota Department of Education, in partnership with Education Minnesota and the Minnesota School Boards Association, is conducting a needs assessment survey regarding teacher development and evaluation. We request that a district superintendent or designee, on behalf of the school board, complete this survey with the president of the exclusive representative of teachers or a designee, on behalf of teachers, so that a joint perspective is offered in the response data.  While joint agreement is not required for charter schools, we encourage charter directors to complete this survey in collaboration with teacher leadership.

Read the memorandum and access the needs assessment survey. Please submit your response by Friday, March 7, 2014.

For assistance with questions, contact Tyler Livingston.

State Fiscal Year 2013 Federal Requirements for Maintenance of Effort for Special Education Services

Annually, the Division of School Finance, Special Education Funding and Data Team, reviews the maintenance of effort of each Local Education Agency, which includes each local school district, charter school and special education cooperative. Access the February 20 memorandum from Carol Hokenson, assistant director of school finance, that summarizes the IDEA requirements used in that review.

For assistance with questions related to this memorandum, please contact Michael Brooks at 651-582-8240 or

Please Review District and School Site Contact Information

So that school districts and charter schools can be informed of important information from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), the site verification coordinator from each school district and charter school are asked to review and update their school and district contact information in MDE’s MDE-ORG database. It is important that superintendent and charter school director names and e-mail addresses are correct as this database is used for informing you of time-sensitive information.

To update contact information for your district or school, visit the District and School Site Verification Web page. If you have questions, please e-mail or contact Mary Pat Olsen at 651-582-8624.


Minnesota Board of Teaching Licensure Actions

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

· Flieth, Douglas (FF# 387771) On February 14, 2014, the Board of Teaching adopted a Stipulation Agreement suspending Mr. Flieth’s teaching license for a period of two years.
· Frank, Kendra (FF# 461721) On February 14, 2014, the Board of Teaching adopted a Stipulation Agreement suspending Ms. Frank’s teaching license for a period of three years and until she can meet other requirements by the Board.
· Gisselquist, Paul J. (FF# 356893) Pursuant to the Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order adopted by the Board of Teaching on February 14, 2014, Mr. Gisselquist’s application for a teaching license is denied for a period of one year and until he can meet other requirements by the Board.