2012 Superintendent Mail


TO: Superintendents

FROM: Dr. Brenda Cassellius, Commissioner

DATE: October 25, 2012

Please disseminate this information to the appropriate staff in your district.


Minnesota Department of Education Accepting Applications for National Green Ribbon Schools Recognition

The Minnesota Department of Education is partnering with the U.S. Department of Education to recognize schools that are making a conscious effort to promote energy efficiency – both in the classroom and in practice. See the October 22 press release.

Minnesota Department of Education Slashes Special Education Paperwork

Reducing paperwork will enable educators to spend much less time filling out forms and much more time in the classroom teaching children with special needs. See the October 11 Governor’s Office press release.


Dual Notice Regarding Proposed Amendment to Rules Governing Social Studies Academic Standards, Minnesota Rules, 3501.1300-3501.1345

The Minnesota Department of Education is publishing the Dual Notice related to the Social Studies academic standards rules in the State Register on Monday, October 29, 2012. This notice provides information about how individuals can submit comments on the proposed rules and request a hearing. Please review the notice for more information on how to submit a comment or request a hearing. See the current draft of the proposed social studies academic standards on the department’s rulemaking website. The Dual Notice will be available there on Friday. Further information about the social studies academic standards can be found on the Academic Standards webpage.

Peanut Butter Recall Affects Schools Twice

On September 27, USDA Recalled Sunland brand peanut butter distributed to schools through the USDA Foods program. Minnesota received 1 full truckload of the peanut butter in cases of 6-5 pound containers. Many thanks go to your foodservice staff for their cooperation and response. The amount of Sunland peanut butter received in Minnesota has been accounted for and is currently in process of destruction and replacement.

The J.M. Smucker Company has also issued a commercial recall on a number of their Uncrustable sandwiches. The peanut butter used in these products is associated with the Sunland, Inc. recall. Visit the Minnesota Department of Education website for further information about affected products.

Minnesota Common Course Catalogue (MCCC) Announcements

Because of new or changing staff assignments, many districts are submitting new MCCC Superintendent Permission to Access forms to allow additional or different staff to access the MCCC data collections. Please be aware that a new form is a replacement form and must include the names of all staff the superintendent wishes to have access to the district’s MCCC database. Access will be removed for staff who are not listed on the most current access form. The new Superintendent Permission to Access form is available on the MCCC webpage.

The MCCC team has a library of recorded WebEx information sessions for all aspects of required MCCC reporting. For vendors to create XML Staff Course Record and Student Course Record files that successfully load to the MCCC database, it is important that all district course, calendar, staff and student information is accurately entered into vendor information systems and in the district’s MCCC database. Staff newly assigned to MCCC reporting duties for a district may find these recorded sessions helpful. Please contact MDE.MCCC@state.mn.us for instructions about how to access these recorded WebEx information sessions.


Green Ribbon Schools Application Now Available

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) is pleased to announce participation in the second year of the U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools competition. The program recognizes schools that save energy and reduce operating costs, create environmentally friendly learning spaces, promote student health, and provide environmental education to incorporate sustainability into the curriculum. The application is available on the MDE website. Information and responses should be saved directly into the application in the format provided and must be submitted electronically to Jeff Ledermann, MDE, at jeff.ledermann@state.mn.us by December 19, 2012. National Green Ribbon Schools winners will be announced in late April and receive a flag, plaque and invitation to the national ceremony in Washington, D.C., on June 3, 2013. Visit the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools website.

You are invited to attend one of the upcoming FREE regional Green Schools Workshops for ideas and resources that will help prepare your school to apply. See workshop dates and registration information (http://www.minnesotaee.org/greenschools).

Questions can be directed by e-mail to Jeff Ledermann, MDE Environmental and Outdoor Education Coordinator, or by calling 651-582-8602.

Staff Development Opportunities for Family Engagement – Parent/Teacher Home Visit Project Training – November 15, 2012

Why home visits? To increase communication, trust and support between families and teachers via home visits resulting in increased student attendance rates, increased student achievement, decreased suspension and expulsion rates and decreased vandalism at school sites. Come join us on Thursday, November 15, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Minnesota Department of Education, Conference Center B, Room 16, to learn the steps, logistics and skills for building effective relationships with parents through home visits delivered by St. Paul educators and parents who are using the model. See more details and online registration.

For assistance with questions specific to this workshop, contact Nick Faber, St. Paul Federation of Teachers Home Visit Project Coordinator; or contact Debra Landvik, Minnesota Department of Education, Federal Programs.