MDE Weekly Superintendent Mail

August 8, 2013


Minnesota Schools to Gain Access to Free Geographic Software

A new agreement between the Minnesota Department of Education and the technology company Esri will help schools integrate cutting edge technology into curriculum. See the July 30 press release.

For more information, visit the Geographic Information Systems in K12 webpage. For assistance with general questions regarding the license or software, contact Doug Paulson. To request a free software license, contact


2013 Race to the Top – District Competition

The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) announced that it has finalized the application for the 2013 Race to the Top – District competition, which will provide nearly $120 million to support local improvements that will directly focus on educator effectiveness and increase student achievement. DOE encourages all districts across the country to apply for these four-year awards that will range from $4 million to $30 million, depending on the population of students served.

DOE will hold four upcoming webinars on August 13, August 27 and September 4 to provide technical assistance to interested districts. The department strongly encourages potential applicants to submit their intent to apply by August 23. Applications are due on October 3, 2013, and grant award announcements will be made in December 2013.

Find the application and other information about the program, including the webinar registrations, on the U.S. Department of Education website.

Minnesota Early Indicator and Response System (MEIRS) Training

Providing supports to our students who are showing signs of disengaging from school is critical to increasing Minnesota’s graduation rates. The Minnesota Department of Education has developed a screening tool to assist educators in tracking and supporting student progress toward graduation from high school in four years. The Minnesota Early Indicator and Response System (MEIRS) is a tool that can be used to provide a snapshot of students in grades six and nine who are at increased risk of not completing high school in four years. Using validated research-based variables associated with dropping out of school (such as attendance, multiple enrollments, state accountability test scores and suspension/expulsion), supports can be developed and targeted to students who may need additional assistance to stay on track for graduation.

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) is pleased to offer Minnesota Early Indicator and Response System (MEIRS) training sessions this fall for district personnel who have been designated by their superintendents to have access to the data, such as, principals, school psychologists, counselors, and/or other staff who will use the data to plan interventions. A team of three is encouraged to attend. Access to the MEIRS secured site will be provided to the district designee upon successful completion of the fall training and receipt of the authorization form from the superintendent.

Visit the MEIRS Web page.

Access the MEIRS Superintendent Access Authorization Form.

Access the MEIRS training online registration process.

For assistance with questions, contact Cammy Lehr, 651-582-8563.

Early Learning Scholarships Program

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) is pleased to announce that the Early Learning Scholarships Program is available for Minnesota families beginning fall 2013. The scholarships will increase access to high-quality early childhood programs for children ages 3-5 with the highest needs in order to improve school readiness for all young children. There are two ways that Minnesota families can access scholarships for eligible children:

· Pathway I – available to families through a regional Early Learning Scholarships administrator and paid to a Parent Aware-participating early childhood program.
· Pathway II – available to families through a four-star Parent Aware-rated early childhood program in highest need school district attendance areas in each of the 13 Governor's Economic Development Regions.

Four-star Parent Aware-rated early childhood programs within selected school district attendance areas are eligible to apply as an Early Learning Scholarships Pathway II site. More information about selected district attendance areas, available scholarship funds and the Early Learning Scholarships Pathway II Application are available on the MDE Early Learning Scholarships Web page.

The deadline for the Early Learning Scholarships Pathway II application is August 23, 2013, at 4 p.m. For more information about Pathway II scholarships, contact Mike Brown.

School Indoor Air Quality Coordinator and Environmental Health Training Sessions

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is holding four School Indoor Air Quality Coordinator and Environmental Health Trainings this August. The training will prepare school officials to assess their buildings and policies, and implement plans to address identified issues. After completion of the training, attendees will receive a certificate.

Where and When:

· St. Paul: August 19, 2013, 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
· Mankato: August 20, 2013, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
· St. Cloud: August 27, 2013, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
· Bemidji: August 28, 2013, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

For more information, and to register, see the 2013 School Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Coordinator Certification Training announcement (PDF: 137KB:/2 pages).

Questions can be directed to Tina Leland, Minnesota Department of Health.