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Guest Post: Celebrate Keeping the Lights on Afterschool

 
Published: October 23, 2014
H - Minnesota's I-35W Bridge Glowing Gold to Celebrate Lights-On Afterschool Day

Today is Lights On Afterschool, a nationwide celebration that shines a light on the vital role afterschool programs play in a young person’s life. As 7,000 sites across America—90 of them in Minnesota—join in the 15th year of this annual celebration, it’s clear that there’s something about afterschool learning opportunities that communities and young people deeply value. New data from the America After 3 PM report confirms this, finding that 82 percent of Minnesota parents support public funding of afterschool programs. So what exactly is the power of a high-quality afterschool and summer learning experience? Read more.


2015 U.S. Senate Youth Applications Due October 24!

 
Published: October 22, 2014
Photo of 2013 U.S. Senate Youth Minnesota delegate Tim Bergeland

Reflections on the U.S. Senate Youth Program from Tim Bergeland, Delegate from Minnesota in 2014
The U.S. Senate Youth Program was a life-changing experience for me. We heard from a diverse set of top-ranking government officials. Their speeches gave fascinating insights on different areas of government, but what I remember most their passion for helping others. Their selfless spirits were contagious and have inspired me to pursue a career as a public servant. My favorite speech was from President Obama. He implored us to approach politics with a spirit of idealism instead of cynicism. Read more of Tim's story.


Announcing the Results of the Charter School Best Practice Mini-Contract Competition!

 
Published: September 26, 2014
Best Practice Blog Photo

Last month, we invited you to vote for your favorite charter school best practice on our Facebook page. And vote you did! We were overwhelmed by the support for these top-performing charter schools. See the results.


We've Been Nominated for a Tekne Award!

 
Published: September 24, 2014
MDE Collaborates with The Works at State Fair

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) has been chosen as a finalist for a Tekne Award! We are one of three finalists in the Collaboration for Community Impact category for our work in partnership with The Works Museum. Read the full story.


Kudos Detroit Lakes QWERTY Robotics FIRST Team 3278!
(FIRST = For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology)

 
September 22, 2014
QWERTY FIRST Robotic Team

Twenty-five serious competitors imagine, design, build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks. A FIRST Robotics Competition combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources and time limits, teams are challenged to raise funds, design a team brand and pit their robot against the competition. The QWERTY team raises about $15,000 per year. Team members gain teamwork, critical thinking, and presentation skills while learning and using sophisticated design and engineering software and hardware. Read full story.


Meet Bill Mack

 
Published: September 11, 2014
School Safety Technical Assistance Center Director Bill Mack

Bill Mack is the new director of the School Safety Technical Assistance Center here at MDE. Read the interview to find out his advice for teachers and students about staying safe at school.


Developing the Next Generation of Rocket Scientists

 
Published: September 8, 2014
Group of Young Scientists in the Making

Over 500 Minnesota students, grades 4-6, were engaged this summer at STARBASE as they engineered missions to Mars and designed systems to sustain life while there! STARBASE is a nonprofit organization, whose mission is to educate and inspire youth in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Since 1993, the program has provided over 48,000 students with a high quality, STEM experience through partnerships with state and federal government and strategic relationships with the local business community. Read full post.


Minnesota is going back to school!

 
September 2, 2014
First Day of School Blog Photo

For most Minnesota students, today is the first day of school. Pencils are sharpened, textbooks will be covered with brown paper bags (do kids still do that?), dorm rooms are set up, and parents are wiping away tears saying goodbye, whether it’s just for the day or for the semester. Minnesota’s hard-working teachers have been cleaning, prepping, and decorating their classrooms for weeks getting ready for the big day. They’ve been planning lessons and writing syllabi. They know the important role they play in getting kids excited about learning and ready for the challenges ahead. Read more about Minnesotans going back to school.


Best Practice Competition – Vote Today!

 
August 18, 2014
Best Practice Blog Photo

The first Best Practice Mini-Contract Competition for High-Quality Charter Schools (HQCS) is now underway! Three of the state’s high quality charter schools applied and are in the running to receive $2,000-4,000 to create replicable materials that will be used to make their identified “best practices” available to all public schools in Minnesota.

Below you will find information on best practices from three charter schools. Read through each one and then go to MDE’s Facebook page to “Like” your favorite! Your vote could help one of these schools receive funds to better support their students. Read more about the programs.


Teachers Learn New Skills at Literacy Camp

 
August 4, 2014

At Camp Courage, educators think about literacy differently. Located in Maple Lake, Camp Courage is a camp for children and adults with disabilities. For one week every summer, Camp Courage hosts a professional development session where educators learn new strategies to support literacy skills for students with significant disabilities. Read more about Camp Courage.


Minnesota's Future is in Good Hands!

 
July 9, 2014
Future Problem Solvers Blog Photo

Minnesota students recently participated in a competition to test their problem-solving skills. The International Conference of the Future Problem Solving Program hosted over 2,500 students representing 42 states and fifteen countries. Read more about this program and see pictures of Minnesota students who participated.


Commissioner Cassellius: Congrats Class of 2014

 
June 27, 2014
Photo for Commissioner Blog: Congrats Class of 2014

Congratulations! Graduating high school is not an easy feat. It is the culmination of many years of hard work- years filled with classes, homework, athletics, extra-curricular activities and after-school jobs. All that time and effort has finally paid off and you are now prepared to take on your next adventure as you start college or a career. Read more of Commissioner Cassellius' note to 2014 graduating seniors.


Guest Blog: Do You Have a Library Card

 
June 25, 2014
MDH_Ehlinger Head Shot

Even though I’ve lived in Minnesota for over 3 decades and have been involved with myriad literacy and reading programs, I didn’t know that Minnesota had a state librarian until about a month ago.  I knew we had a state demographer, a state economist, a state forester, and a state climatologist, but it took Elmo from Sesame Street to introduce me to Jennifer Nelson, Minnesota’s State Librarian. Read more from guest blogger, Commissioner Ehlinger.


School is Out – What Happens to Children Relying on School Meals?

 
June 20, 2014
Blog - Family Accessing Free Summer Food Service

Children are ready to enjoy summer, but for too many, summer means missing meals when school meal programs are unavailable. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) ensures children and teens under age 18 have access to free, safe, nutritious meals. Through the program, meals are provided at schools, faith-based organizations, parks, pools, community centers, apartment complexes and non-profit programs. These meals help children in eligible high-need areas get the proper nutrition they need during the summer when schools are not in session. Read complete post.


Photo Blog: Class of 2014

 
June 18, 2014
Class of 2014 photo

This month, students from across Minnesota are celebrating a tremendous accomplishment: graduating from high school. These students will take the knowledge they have gained over the years and start a brand new journey, whether they go on to start their careers or attend post-secondary. Here are a few photos from graduation ceremonies throughout the state.


Commissioner Cassellius Talks Early Learning with Staff, Parents in White Bear Lake

 
May 30, 2014
White Bear Lake Blog Photo

This morning, Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius was in White Bear Lake, visiting the district’s early education program. Commissioner Cassellius toured the program, taking some time to interact with the kids, before sitting down with staff and parents to discuss the state of early learning and implementation of the state scholarships. Read more and see photos from the visit.


Senator Franken, Commissioner Cassellius Recognize Student Poets

 
May 27, 2014
Poetry Contest Blog Photo

This year marks the third annual student poetry contest held by Senator Al Franken. The contest, which coincides with Memorial Day, asks youth in grades K-12 to submit a poem honoring veterans. This year’s theme was “Celebrating the Veteran in My Life,” and students from across Minnesota took to their notebooks, penning moving poems about their own personal heroes. Read more about the contest and see the winning poems.


A Momentous Moment in the History of Flight

 
May 21, 2014
Lindbergh Blog Photo

While Orville and Wilbur Wright may have invented the airplane, this week marks the 87th anniversary of another pioneer in aviation, Charles Lindbergh. His successful trans-Atlantic flight may have only lasted 33 hours, 30 minutes and 29.8 seconds, but it paved the way for how we travel today. Also, he was only 25 when he made the journey! Read more about his historic flight.


The Future is Out There Waiting: Explore, Plan and Apply!

 
May 16, 2014
College Blog Post Photo

Applying to college is the result of careful exploration and planning. Don't wait to investigate programs, consider majors and visit schools that fit your academic and career goals. Get organized and start gathering the documents you need to complete college applications. Investigate financial aid and scholarship options. A wealth of resources are available to help you explore, plan and apply! Read more about how you can get ready for college today and hear from real Minnesotans talking about what higher education means to them


National Children’s Book Week: Reading Recommendations from Brimhall Elementary

 
May 13, 2014
National Children's Book Week Blog Photo

In case you did not know, May 12-18 is National Children’s Book week. We here at blogg[ED] thought there was no better way to celebrate than to reach out to students at Brimhall Elementary in Roseville for some book recommendations. Read what the students, ranging from kindergarten to second grade, had to suggest.


A Few Words from Tom Rademacher, the 2014 Minnesota Teacher of the Year

 
May 12, 2014
Tom Rademacher Blog Photo

Today’s post is a guest blog from Tom Rademacher, who was recently named the 2014 Minnesota Teacher of the Year:

When my name was announced as the 2014 Minnesota Teacher of the Year, I was almost completely unprepared. Given the chance to speak my first words as representative of over 70,000 public, private, and parochial teachers in Minnesota, I pulled a woefully inadequate piece of paper, hotel stationery actually, with five words scribbled down the night before. I did not think I would win, could not imagine deserving the honor. Read more from the 2014 Minnesota Teacher of the Year.


Out of the Classroom and Into the Woods

 
May 7, 2014
School Forest Blog Photo

Talk about hands on. Students in the Edgewood Middle School's Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) class have taken their education out of the classroom and out in nature. The students worked with their teacher, Jim Bias, to get a nearby forest enrolled in the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) School Forest Program. Read more about the student's conservation efforts.


The History of Cinco de Mayo

 
May 5, 2014
Cinco de Mayo blog photo

What is Cinco de Mayo? Read a short history on how this holiday came to be.


Meet State Librarian, Jennifer Nelson!

 
April 30, 2014
Head - Director Jennifer R Nelson 3x4 Hi Res

Before I became the director of State Library Services, aka the state librarian, I spent the bulk of my career as a librarian at the downtown Minneapolis Public Library, working in a number of different areas—fee-based research, reference librarian in business, science and technology, children’s librarian, electronic resources librarian, immigrant resources coordinator and more.

A theme that runs through my work has been finding ways that libraries can help people improve their lives—whether it is offering story times for preschoolers, developong rich media workshops for teens, helping entrepreneurs with limited education start businesses... Read complete interview.


The School Bus: Then and Now

 
April 28, 2014
School Bus Photo for Blog

How many of you have fond memories of riding the bus to school? Did you know you were participating in a tradition that children in the United States have been doing for over a century?

The first “school hack” was made in the 1880s and was more like a horse-drawn wagon. Children entered at the back so they wouldn’t spook the horses. Read more about the history of school transportation.


Teen Poets Use their Words to Celebrate National Poetry Month

 
April 23, 2014
Night Sky_Blog Pic

National Poetry Month is recognized each year throughout the month of April as a time to celebrate poets and their craft. Last year, with support from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, Southeastern Libraries Cooperating (SELCO) began an annual poetry contest for teens called Word Flow.

The teen poetry contest was created in response to popular demand as a companion contest to their annual adult poetry contest, Poetic Strokes. Area teens, age 14-18 responded to the invitation with more than 100 submissions. Read more about the contest and two of the selected poems.


Making Progress to Close the Achievement Gap - Part 4

 
April 17, 2014

Every day this week, blogg[ED] is featuring real stories from educators who are making progress to close achievement gaps and raise achievement for every student. Today's post is adapted from a presentation given by Dan McKeon, the director of TrekNorth Junior and Senior High School in Bemidji. Read more about TrekNorth's efforts to address gaps by cultivating relationships and building trust.


Making Progress on the Achievement Gap - Part 3

 
April 16, 2014

This week blogg[ED] is featuring educators from across the state discussing their efforts to close achievement gaps. Today’s post comes from Bloomington Public School Exectuive Director of the Research and Development Department Dave Heistad, Ph.D. Read about how Bloomington is focusing on data to increase student achievement


Making Progress on the Achievement Gap - Part 2

 
April 15, 2014
Achievement Gap Blog Photo Post 2

This week blogg[ED] is featuring educators from across the state discussing their efforts to close achievement gaps. Today’s post comes from Moorhead Superintendent Lynne Kovash. Read about her insights on how Moorhead is working to help every child thrive.


Making Progress on the Achievement Gap – A Series

 
April 14, 2014
Brooklyn Center Pre-K Students

On Friday, March 21, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) engaged over 200 educators around the state in a conversation about the achievement gap in Minnesota. The summit offered clarification, explanation and ways to interpret and use the achievement gap data provided to each district. Participants received information about the wide range of technical assistance available in the areas of: English learners, special education, academic standards and data analysis from Minnesota Department of Education staff--including how to access the support available from the Regional Centers of Excellence.

Beginning today, April 14, BloggED will offer a series of guest posts from four school districts around the state who are making significant progress on closing the achievement gap between student groups. Meet Brooklyn Center Superintendent Mark Bonine. Read full story.


Building a Better Minnesota for our Students

 
April 10, 2014
Dayton Bully Bill Signing

Yesterday, Minnesota’s State Capitol was buzzing with the sounds of students, parents, educators and advocates—Minnesotans from across the state who came together to watch Governor Mark Dayton sign the Safe and Supportive Schools Act into law.

The governor was joined by the sponsors of the bill in the Minnesota Senate and House, Senator Scott Dibble and Representative Jim Davnie, superintendent of the Farmington School District Jay Haugan, and the members of the Governor’s Task Force on the Prevention of School Bullying. Read more about what the Safe and Supportive Schools Act mean for Minnesota.


Kids Design Glass

 
April 8, 2014
Two blown-glass sculptures. Left to right: Olivia the Outstanding Owl and Colorful Hearts

Meet the young artists whose drawings inspired 14 fantastical glass sculptures produced with funds from a Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage grant by East Central Regional Library (ECRL). The project began during the 2013 summer reading program, when children ages 4-10 were invited to submit original drawings of an animal or object that could be turned into a glass blown art object. Read more and view the gallery of glass sculptures.


April is the Month of the Military Child!

 
April 7, 2014
Military Child Photo

Governor Mark Dayton has proclaimed April the "Month of the Military Child." During this month, military-connected youth throughout the state will be recognized for the sacrifices they make while a parent serves in the Armed Forces. Read more about how you can be involved.


From the Office of Early Learning: “Parent Involvement” vs “Parent Engagement”

 
April 1, 2014

Early childhood programs and schools talk a lot about parent involvement but what that means is often not clear.  Head Start, the country’s laboratory for early childhood education, has long known that parent involvement is critical to its success and the success of the children they serve.  They have recently developed a framework for local programs that helps them develop environments and services that actively engage parents.  The Parent, Family and Community Engagement Framework has become a valuable guide for programs in their work with parents. Read more about the framework.


From the Office of Early Learning: Minnesota Racing to the Top in Early Childhood Education

 
March 31, 2014

Minnesota was one of the first nine states awarded the Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge funds in 2011 and the Minnesota early childhood education team has been racing ever since.  The grant laid out ambitious goals for the state and especially for four communities called “Transformation Zones” across the state.

Each community is charged with increasing the school readiness of children with high needs by improving access to high quality early learning and development programs. An assessment was just done to look at how these communities are meeting the needs of their families with young children. Reading more about the findings here


Sharon Burrell: Creating a World’s Best Workforce Plan

 
March 25, 2014
World's Best Workforce Blog Photo

During the 2013 Legislative session, the Legislature and Governor Mark Dayton took steps to ensure every student in Minnesota is prepared for college and career. The Worlds Best Workforce bill asks districts throughout the state to create a plan that alligns curriculum and works to increase student achievement.

Meet Sharon Burrell, Curriculum, Staff Development and Q Comp Coordinator for North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale Schools, and longtime elementary classroom teacher. As a member of the district's teaching and leadership plan. Sharon is part of her district's efforts to create a World's Best Workforce plan. Blogg[ED] sat down with her to talk about what that work looks like. Read more about creating a World's Best Workforce plan.


Guest Post: The Burgeoning State of Higher Education in Minnesota

 
March 21, 2014
OHE Logo_Blogged

Minnesota is not only the land of 10,000 lakes, it is also home to nearly 200 colleges and universities and over 450,000 postsecondary students. When considering numbers this large, trends can be difficult to spot – especially when you consider the massive amounts of higher education data that is collected statewide and nationally.

A recent report prepared by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education provides meaning to this data. And, in doing so, indicates some positive trends with regard to college enrollment. Read more about the current state of higher education in Minnesota.


The Benefits of Investing Early

 
March 19, 2014
Governor and Commissioner reading

Since taking office, Governor Mark Dayton has made a number of critical investments in early education. One significant investment came in 2011 when Governor Dayton and the Legislature invested $5.45 million in the Minnesota Reading Corps to expand the program and help more students gain access to one-on-one tutoring. Today, a new report shows the positive impact already taking place because of that investment. Read More.


Happy St. Patrick’s Day and March is Women's History Month!

 
March 17, 2014
Shamrock alongside example of a Minnesota 4-H Logo

Long before the shamrock became associated with St. Patrick’s Day (March 17), the four-leaf clover was regarded by ancient Celts as a charm against evil spirits. In the early 1900s, O. H. Benson, an Iowa school superintendent, came up with the idea of using a clover as the emblem for a newly founded agricultural club for children. In 1911, the four-leaf clover was chosen as the emblem for the national club program, now known as 4-H!*

The theme for Women's History Month 2014 is: Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment. Read more.


Increasing Access to the Most Important Meal of the Day

 
March 7, 2014
Adams Elementary Student Joins Commissioner Cassellius for the 2014-15 Breakfast Challenge

Breakfast has long been known as “the most important meal of the day.” This is not without reason. A healthy breakfast not only provides a kick of energy to start the day, it has been found to help with weight control, lower cholesterol, provide more strength and endurance to engage in physical activity and also improve concentration and performance whether you’re on the job or in the classroom.

Today, Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius joined Hunger-Free Minnesota and the Children’s Defense Fund at Adams Elementary in Coon Rapids to launch the 2014-2015 School Breakfast Challenge. Read More.


Offering a Great Start, One Child at a Time

 
March 5, 2014
Commissioner visits Community KIDS preschool

There has been a lot of talk about the importance of investing in early education opportunities. Last session Governor Mark Dayton and the Legislature passed bills that allow every district in the state to implement all-day Kindergarten and allocated $40 million for early education scholarships, ensuring every child has access to a great start to their education.

During those conversations, focus was often placed on experts who could present data and research about the return on investment and other long term benefits. Last week, Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius was able to visit a preschool program in Winona and see firsthand the impact the Governor and Legislature’s investments are having on children and families throughout Minnesota. Read More.


 


Want to read more Blogg[ED] posts?

 
March 1, 2014

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