It's National Libraries Week!
Here in Minnesota, State Library Services is helping public libraries to create warm, welcoming and literacy-rich playful environments. With grants funded by the federal Library Services and Technology Act grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, public libraries have been able to create in-library interactive play spaces, connect with community partners and train staff about the importance of play in child development.
Investing in Children and Families
Governor Mark Dayton released his supplemental budget which focuses investments on chidren, education, and working families. His budget would invest $895 million in preK-12 education, offering free, universal pre-kindergarten for all 4-year-olds and increase funding for every K-12 public school in Minnesota. Today, Commissoner Brenda Cassellius issued a statement on a new federal report on Increased Need for Access to High-Quality Preschool. Read the statement.
Minnesota Flexibility Request Approved
Minnesota's request for renewal of flexibility under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was approved for the next four years! The federal ESEA review noted that with the renewal, Minnesota will be able to continue implementing its plans to promote innovative, locally tailored strategies that improve educational outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps, increase equity and improve the quality of instruction. View the approval letter. Read news release.
High Fives for Head Start!
Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius visited the Head Start program she attended as a child --the Glendale Early Childhood Family Development Center. She was joined by Head Start Mpls. Executive Director Alyce Dillon and Director Rico Alexander. Head Start promotes school readiness for low-income children by enhancing their cognitive, social, and emotional development, and by providing their families with health, educational, nutritional and other services. Read news release.
Minnesota Graduation Rate Rises
In 2014, 81.2 percent of Minnesota students graduated from high school, up from 79.8 percent in 2013. In addition, every student group showed an increase from the previous year. “It is incredibly heartening to see our graduation rates continue on an upward trend,” Commissioner Cassellius said. “Over the past four years, we have doubled down on our efforts to better support students on their path from K-12 to career and college, and these data show it is working." A wonderful testament to all of the dedicated and hardworking teachers in our state. Read news release.