2012 Superintendent Mail



TO: Superintendents

FROM: Dr. Brenda Cassellius, Commissioner

DATE: October 4, 2012


Tony Wagner Presentation for School Leaders WEBEX Session – October 16, 2012

Tony Wagner, keynote speaker at the annual leadership conference in August, will be back on October 16 to continue the discussion about how to advance meaningful education reforms in our state. Although registration has closed for attending the presentation in person at the Minnesota Department of Education, a WebEx session will be available (see below). Unless you have heard otherwise, your RSVP for attending in person is confirmed.

Superintendents and charter school directors are invited to participate in a WebEx session of the presentation on Tuesday, October 16, 1:00-4:00 p.m. In order to make arrangements for the WebEx, we need to know how many participants to expect. If you would like to participate in the WebEx session, please RSVP to Cindy Heitman at Cynthia.heitman@state.mn.us or 651-582-1598 by Wednesday, October 10, 2012. Following that date, registration instructions will be sent to those who have responded.


New College Preparation Website “Ready, Set, Go” Launches

The Ready, Set, Go MN website provides resources to students, parents and educators for navigating the path from high school to higher education. Visit the website. See the October 3 press release.

Minnesota Department of Education Appoints Director of American Indian Education

Dennis Olson Jr. will serve as the new director of American Indian Education for the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). This key position further strengthens the department’s efforts to better serve Minnesota’s American Indian students through a stronger relationship with each of the state’s eleven tribal nations. See the September 28 press release.


Commissioner’s Monthly Dialogue with Superintendents – October Conference Call has been CANCELLED

The October Conference Call has been cancelled due to the education reform presentation that will be held October 16th for superintendents. The next conference call is scheduled for Monday, November 19, 9:30-10:30 a.m. School district superintendents are invited to participate in this monthly dialogue via audio conference call. Call-in instructions will be e-mailed to you two days prior to the conference call. All calls will be held 9:30-10:30 a.m. Conference Call Schedule:

• Monday, November 19
• Wednesday, December 19
• Wednesday, January 16
• Wednesday, February 20
• Wednesday, March 20
• Wednesday, April 17
• Wednesday, May 15
• Wednesday, June 19

Teacher Evaluation Process Survey – Due Wednesday, October 17

In reference to the September 20 notice in the weekly superintendent communication, the district teacher evaluation survey is now available. This survey has been utilized in other states to study teacher evaluation processes and is designed to provide information to the MDE and the MDE’s Teacher Evaluation Work Group as they develop the state default model for teacher evaluation. The survey includes questions regarding information about what districts currently have in place, what districts need to implement evaluation requirements found in statute, and what districts intend to do relative to implementing the state’s default model or designing/refining local models.

Take the survey. The survey is intended to be completed JOINTLY by the superintendent or his or her designee and the president of the local teacher bargaining unit or his or her designee. MDE is requesting that the surveys be completed and returned electronically no later than October 17th.

Consolidated State Performance Report Part I Survey – October 24 Response Deadline

Minnesota districts and charters that received Title I funding in School Year 2011-12 are being asked to report information about their Title-funded education programs through an electronic survey that was distributed to Title I directors at the district level on Tuesday, October 2, 2012, via the Title I listserv. It is the first of two surveys that will be distributed concerning SY 2011-12.

The survey data assists the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) in completing the federal Consolidated State Performance Report (CSPR). The majority of the information reported through the CSPR comes from data that schools and districts report through the state’s data systems but there is some information for which the only source is this survey. Each year MDE must collect survey responses from districts and charters on a number of issues to meet the federal reporting requirements. The data is extremely important to the receipt of federal funding.

Superintendents and charter directors are requested to follow up with staff to assure the timely input of data by Wednesday, October 24, 2012. Questions about the CSPR Part I survey may be directed to Sarah K. Smith: sarah.k.smith@state.mn.us or 651.582.8629. Thank you.

General Education Revenue Disparity Report

Please see the memorandum from Commissioner Brenda Cassellius regarding the general education revenue disparity report required by Minnesota Statutes, section 127A.51. For assistance with questions concerning this report, contact Bob Porter, Division of School Finance, at 651-582-8851, bob.porter@state.mn.us; or Tom Melcher, School Finance Director, at 651-582-8828, tom.melcher@state.mn.us.


2013 United States Senate Youth Program Applications Available – Deadline October 19

The U.S. Senate Youth Program is a nationwide program that brings high school students to Washington D.C. for an onsite introduction to the functions of the federal government, particularly the U.S. Senate.  Students will spend the week of March 9-16, 2013, in Washington (all expenses paid) learning about the Senate and meeting with political leaders.  The selected students are also eligible for a $5,000 scholarship. Students are eligible for consideration if they hold an elected office (student government, civic, community, etc.) that will continue into the 2012-2013 school year or will hold an elected position in the 2012-2013 school year. The program is sponsored by the U.S. Senate and completely funded by The Hearst Foundations.  For more information, visit the U.S. Senate Youth Program website. Access the application form.

Minnesota Computers for Schools – Monthly Promotion

Minnesota Computers for Schools (MCFS) refurbishes donated computers and provides them to schools at a minimal charge. See their Special Deals for October.