MDE Weekly Superintendent Mail

November 21, 2013

Commissioner’s Dialogue with Superintendents

Thank you to all of you who were able to participate in yesterday’s conference call.

Superintendents are invited to participate in these conference calls scheduled the third Wednesday of each month from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Future dates are:

· December 18, 2013

· January 15, 2014

· February 19, 2014

· March 19, 2014

· April 16, 2014

· May 21, 2014


World’s Best Workforce – Informational Sessions, Planning Guide, Updates

NEW! In response to the number of inquiries from districts and stakeholders, an e-mail box has been set up to field questions around the World’s Best Work Force (WBWF) plan. If you have questions you would like to see addressed, please send them to

Reminder: There is NOT a set due date for the district plan as it is NOT to be submitted to the department. However, districts should be in the planning stage now to be prepared to begin communicating how the district meets the legislative intent with stakeholders beginning in January. Districts that are planning to submit an application for integration funding need to align that application with the WBWF plan and submit the integration plan by the March 15 deadline.

Again, a planning document is available for development of your district’s WBWF plan. This tool is to help drive formative conversations within school districts as they develop their WBWF plans over the next several months. Access the planning document. Watch for future WBWF updates each week in this newsletter.

See the latest updated schedule of informational sessions regarding the World’s Best Workforce (WBWF) legislation. For additional details and registration information, visit the organization websites indicated on the schedule.

Pathways to Postsecondary – Regional Leadership Summits – UPDATE

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU), and the Office of Higher Education invite you to assemble a secondary or postsecondary team to explore opportunities for new or expanded partnerships between our systems that will better prepare our continuum of learners to be career and college-ready, and to deepen your common understandings of newly enacted legislation.

Five regional leadership summits have been scheduled in December for Pathways to Postsecondary: Aligning systems through postsecondary partnerships for student success. NOTE: The December 17th summit at North Hennepin Community College in Brooklyn Park is full and we are unable to accept any additional participants due to the capacity limits of the venue. Because this is funded through grant dollars, we are currently limited to offering these five locations only at this time. If you have not yet registered and are interested in attending, please consider one of the other four locations (Duluth, Fergus Falls, Brainerd and Rochester). We are unable to add additional dates or locations at this time. We are encouraged by the level of participation across the state and look forward to providing future opportunities to connect our systems in the future.

· December 2 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. Lake Superior College – Duluth
· December 10 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. Minnesota State Community and Technical

College – Fergus Falls

· December 11 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. Central Lakes College – Brainerd
· December 16 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. Rochester Community and Technical

College – Rochester

Sign up your teams using online registration on the MnSCU website.

For assistance with questions, please contact Paula Palmer, Minnesota Department of Education, or contact Jessica Espinosa, Minnesota State College and Universities Systems.

Technology Plans and Telecommunications/Internet Access Equity Aid

Please see the November 21 memorandum from Tom Melcher, director of school finance. To qualify for Telecommunications/Internet Access Equity Aid, school districts, charter schools and intermediate districts are required to have a current technology plan on file with the Minnesota Department of Education by December 31, 2013.

Technology plan questions should be directed to

Telecommunications/Internet Access Equity Aid questions should be directed to


Ensuring Healthy Nutrition Environments in Schools

Please read the October 2013 letter from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Thomas J. Vilsack. This letter was sent to all state education commissioners regarding the new school meals nutrition standards and additional information about ways to ensure a healthy school environment. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently published the “Smart Snacks in School” standards for all foods sold in school outside the school meals programs. See the Federal Register rule on the U.S. Government Printing Office website. Also, see information about Let’s Move!—a federal initiative to promote increased physical activity, and dedicated to solving the problem of obesity within a generation. Visit the Let’s Move website.

School Facilities Financing Work Group – Full-Day Every Day Kindergarten and Early Learning Programs Survey

The School Facilities Financing Work Group established by the 2013 Legislature is asking for your feedback related to school districts’ facility needs related to Full-day Every Day Kindergarten and Early Learning Programs. The work group will be developing recommendations to be shared with the 2014 Legislature related to funding of facilities. It is important that we understand the facility needs related to these two very important areas that are being expanded in Minnesota.

Please complete the Full-Day Every Day Kindergarten and Early Learning Programs survey by December 4, 2013. Superintendents and charter school directors are requested to complete the brief survey of 22 questions.