MDE Weekly Superintendent Mail

May 22, 2014


Minnesota High School Students Honored for Exemplary Levels of Performance

Last weekend, 38 distinguished Minnesota high school students were honored at the annual Scholars of Distinction award program in the areas of Science, STEM, Mathematics, Social Studies, Leadership and Theater Arts. Read May 19 press release.


ESEA Title Program 2014-2015 Applications

The 2014-2015 Title applications have been released in SERVS Financial. Preliminary awards for Title IA and D (FIN 401 and 406), Title II (FIN 414) and Title III (FIN 417 – for districts individually generating over $10,000) were loaded into SERVS Financial and the application rollover was completed overnight on Friday, May 16. Note that these are preliminary award amounts and are subject to change (up and/or down) when updated awards are loaded in late June or early July.

Superintendents and charter school directors initiate the application process by accepting or declining the award in SERVS Financial on the Manage Allocations / Competitive Awards tab. Once the award is accepted, the 2015 application appears under the Manage Applications and Budgets tab and is available here for completion by September 1. All districts are encouraged to accept or decline the 2014-2015 awards by June 30.

Questions may be directed to John Moorse, director of Student Support, at or 651-582-8649.

Training and Implementation Support for Minnesota State Teacher Development and Evaluation Model – Information Requested by June 15

Please read the May 15 memorandum from Assistant Commissioner Steve Dibb available on the Educator Evaluation Web page. Minnesota statute requires that districts and charter schools begin implementing teacher development and evaluation plans in school year 2014-2015. Districts that have not reached joint agreement with their exclusive representative of teachers on a local plan must implement the state model. Charter schools that do not have a local plan must also implement the state model. Please note the information that is requested in the memo by June 15. This information is needed so that we can plan training and implementation support for districts and charter schools using the state model.

For assistance with questions, contact Tyler Livingston at or 651-582-8427.

Educator Development and Evaluation Listserv

Educational leaders from districts and charter schools, as well as other stakeholders, may benefit from subscribing to the Minnesota Department of Education’s new Educator Development and Evaluation Listserv. The value in subscribing to this listserv is in remaining informed when important information regarding principal and teacher development and evaluation occurs.

Please share this invitation with other leaders in your district or charter school who support the work of educator evaluation so that they can be informed of new information as well.

Access the instructional guide for subscribing to the Educator Development and Evaluation Listserv.

For more information about Educator Development and Evaluation, visit the Educator Evaluation Web page.

For assistance with questions, please contact

New Smart Snack Nutrition Standards

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA) requires USDA to establish nutrition standards for all foods sold to students on the school campus during the school day. This includes the school lunch and breakfast programs as well as any food sold a la carte, through vending machines or fundraisers. The new Smart Snack nutrition standards will affect many groups and organizations on the school campus and in the school community, including the food service department and school groups and organizations that rely on food items for fund raising purposes. This interim final rule, also known as the “Smart Snacks” rule, is effective on July 1, 2014. Read more information about the new guidelines.


Cradle to Career: Education for a 21st Century World – August 6-7, 2014

The Education Forum “Cradle to Career” is a two-day seminar that will focus on Education for the 21st Century World and will answer these questions: How should we nurture the next generation from cradle to career? How and when should we use 21st century technology to assist this process? Come join the discussion with education experts from Finland and the U.S. and create an action plan to address the needs of the next generation. Keynote speakers and presenters include:

- Krista Kiuru, Finnish Minister of Education
- Dr. Brenda Cassellius, Minnesota Commissioner of Education
- Dr. Pasi Sahlberg, Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education
- Peter Vesterbacka, CMO of Rovio Angry Birds
- Dr. Karen Seashore, Professor, University of Minnesota, Organizational Leadership, Policy and Development
- Dr. John Moravec, Founder of Education Futures

The forum will be held at the Ted Mann Concert Hall at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. CEUs for teachers and administrators will be available. Please forward this announcement to your principals and teachers. For more information and registration, visit the FinnFest USA 2014 website.

Minnesota Assessment Conference – August 7, 2014

Registration is now open for the Minnesota Assessment Conference on August 7 at the University of Northwestern. Details, including a full brochure of the day’s sessions and online registration (or a paper registration form to register by mail or fax), can be found on the Minnesota Assessment Conference Web page. View the conference Web page ( Early bird registration ends June 11, 2014.


College Knowledge Month – Explore. Plan. Apply!

October is College Knowledge Month in Minnesota. Participation in this initiative is one strategy schools can implement to help meet legislation requirements according to Minnesota Statutes, section 120B.125 (Planning for Students’ Successful Transition to Postsecondary Education and Employment). Register your school by the preferred deadline of June 15. Access online registration.

Sponsored by a network of K12, higher education and nonprofit partners, the goal of College Knowledge Month is to provide every graduating high school senior with the preparation, opportunity, and support needed to apply for college. A month-long effort allows students to do more than just submit an application. Applying is only one step of the college application process — the result of thoughtful exploration and planning.

The College Knowledge Month steering committee will provide resources, materials, support and training for registered sites to assist with their programming. Training dates have been announced and include options for new and returning site coordinators in May and September. Access training dates on the Office of Higher Education website.

View further information on the College Knowledge Month Web page.

Questions about College Knowledge Month? Contact Beth Barsness (651-582-8336).