Ready for Kindergarten!!
More Minnesota children -- 72.8 percent -- are ready for kindergarten than ever before! Kindergartners demonstrated increased proficiency over previous years in all five learning domains of school readiness: physical development, the arts, personal and social development, language and literacy, and mathematical thinking. "Students who have access to high-quality early learning are more likely to start school fully prepared and then stay on track academically," said Commissioner Cassellius. Read the study.
Investing in Early Learning!
To celebrate key financial investments in early learning opportunities for Minnesota children -- Read-It invested time -- by sharing one of his favorite books with a tiny new friend! Did you know that the Early Learning Scholarships Program will increase access to high-quality early childhood programs for three- to five-year-old children with the highest needs? The 2013 Legislature appropriated $23 million for FY 2014 (July 1, 2013-June 30, 2014) and $23 million for FY 2015 (July 1, 2014-June 30, 2015) for the Program. Visit Early Learning Scholarship page to learn more.
Focus on Family Engagement
The Minnesota Department of Education recently hosted a day-long conference, Engaging Somali Families for Student Success: Schools and Special Education. MDE partnered with the PACER Center and the Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota to present the conference, which included sessions on Special Education, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and Positive Behavior Support. School leaders who work with Somali students—who often have unique needs—gathered to learn how to better serve this growing segment of Minnesota’s school-age population.
Statewide Support for Schools
Successful school improvement requires a strong system of support and Minnesota's just doubled! The Regional Centers of Excellence have expanded from three locations to six. Staffed by specialists in reading, math and other content -- the centers utilize a combination of professional development and technical assistance to help school leaders create and implement plans to narrow achievement gaps, increase graduation rates and ensure students are career and college ready. Read news release.
Higher Scores! Closing Gaps!
The 2013 National Assessment of Education Progress—known as the "Nation's Report Card"—indicates that Minnesota students are among the top in the nation! Additionally, Minnesota is making tremendous progress, especially in the early grades, in narrowing achievement gaps. “Today’s results are a testament to the incredible work of teachers who know that every child matters,” said Commissioner Cassellius. Read news release. Visit NAEP website.