MDE Weekly Superintendent Mail

April 24, 2014

We Day is November 12, 2014 – Sign up Now!

Now is the time to sign-up for We Act and We Day Minnesota for the 2014-2015 school year!

We Act is a year-long educational program that empowers young people to discover local and global causes they are passionate about while preparing and motivating them to take action. Find out more about We Act!

We Day is an educational event that celebrates the power of young people to make positive change in their local and global communities! We Day is a free, day-long event that gathers celebrities, cultural heroes, and leaders together on stage with young change-makers. Find out more about We Day!

Last year, 450 schools from throughout Minnesota took part in We Act where they committed to taking one local and one global act of service. At Minnesota’s first ever We Day event last fall, Queen Noor of Jordan, Martin Luther King III, the Jonas Brothers, Governor Dayton and more joined in as we celebrated your incredible ability to change the world! It was such an exciting experience and we are going to do it again on Wednesday, November 12, at the Xcel Center.

If you did not participate in We Act and We Day last year, now is the time to sign up for the 2014-2015 school year. Even if you were enrolled in We Act this year and went to We Day last October, in order to participate, you have to re-commit to We Act for the 2014-2015 school year to take on one local and one global act of service of your choice.

Registration is now open for the 2014/2015 school year. Signing up and committing or re-committing is simple and easy. Visit the Free the Children website.

For assistance with questions about We Act and We Day, please contact Caitlin Dunham at, or (416) 925-5894 ext. 218 at Free the Children.

See you at We Day!


New Video Series Features Minnesota Youth and Families Discussing Importance of College

The series — “Shaping Your Future: Why Minnesota Families Choose College” — aims to inspire high school students to consider pursuing higher education, while providing them with important tips and lessons learned about how to prepare for and afford college. These videos are available on the Minnesota Department of Education YouTube page, and educational institutions may request a DVD by emailing Read April 23 press release.

Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius Issues Statement Regarding Minnesota Green Ribbon Schools Award Honorees

Forty-eight schools and nine districts across the United States were honored, including Five Hawks Elementary School in Prior Lake, Chisago Lakes Middle School in Lindstrom and Waconia Independent School District. Winners were recognized for their exemplary efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, promote better health and ensure effective environmental education, including civics and green career pathways. Read April 22 press release.


Read Well by Third Grade Data Submission

Please read the memorandum from Beth Aune, director of Academic Standards and Instructional Effectiveness, regarding data submission information on reading proficiency for all students in kindergarten through grade two. The template for annual data submission is now available. This data will assist the Division of Academic Standards and Instructional Effectiveness in determining offerings of professional development and supports to districts in the coming school year in reading. It will also help districts meet their goals for students reading well by third grade as part of their World’s Best Workforce plan by providing feedback data to assist in district decision-making. The data is due by July 1, 2014.

Visit the Reading Well by Third Grade Web page.

Visit the Reading K-3 Data Upload Web page.

For assistance with questions regarding content support, contact Cory Stai, reading specialist, 651-582-8615. For assistance with questions regarding technical support, contact Katherine Edwards, data analytics specialist, 651-582-8285.


Full-Day Kindergarten Implementation Seminar – May 20, 2014

More than Hours: Creating Differentiated Kindergarten Environments that Build Knowledge and Skills for All Students

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) is hosting a seminar May 20, 2014, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., featuring Dr. Sharon Ritchie from the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina. The goal is to assist school districts and charter schools on effective practices for full-day kindergarten implementation, with a special emphasis on working with culturally and linguistically diverse students and students in poverty. This seminar will focus on research-based practices for scheduling and designing an optimum learning environment for full-day kindergarten. Key strategies for maximizing effective learning, including using a blend of teacher facilitated, child initiated, and peer-to-peer learning across content areas will be presented.

Registration information is posted on the MDE Calendar of Workshops, Trainings, and Meetings. Registration deadline is May 13. CEUs will be available for participants. For additional information, contact Debbykay Peterson (


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).