MDE Weekly Superintendent Mail

May 29, 2014

2014 We Day Minnesota – Register Today!

Dear Colleagues,

Currently over 450 schools are taking part in the free year- long We Act program, empowering young people to take local and global actions for the causes they care about. Together, Minnesota students in over 7000 schools have volunteered more than 9.6 million hours for over 1000 causes they have chosen.

November 12, 2014, will mark the second We Day Minnesota where youth come together to celebrate their accomplishments and get inspired for the year ahead. The opportunity to register schools for next year for both We Act and We Day Minnesota will draw to a close at the end of the month. I encourage you to distribute the information provided below in order to ensure that schools don’t miss out on this great opportunity. Now is the time for your teachers and students to engage in We Act so they can start thinking about, and taking action, before celebrating their impacts at We Day on November 12, 2014.

Visit the Free the Children website and REGISTER TODAY for the 2014-2015 We Act Program and We Day Minnesota.

For more information or for assistance registering, please contact Free the Children staff member Caitlin Dunham (, 416-925-5894, ext. 287.

Here’s to another exciting year of We Acting!



Annual Verification of District and School Site Information for FY15 – Note Deadlines

Read the May 29 memorandum from Matthew Porett, chief information officer, MN.IT@Education. Each year, information regarding schools and districts is updated in the Minnesota Department of Education master database for site organizations, which validates sites for all major MDE reporting systems such as MARSS, STAR, UFARS, etc. Please note the timeline and critical steps to maintaining accurate district and school site directory information.

For assistance with questions regarding the Minnesota District and School Site Verification process or website, please contact Mary Pat Olsen at (651) 582-8624, or email questions to

Posttest Editing in Test WES

Posttest editing in Test WES is available from May 27–June 13. This is a very important window where districts will identify demographic errors on assessment records (e.g., wrong MARSS number, special education designation is missing), find assessment records for students who are missing one, find a student’s prior year assessment record, etc. Many of the edits made in Test WES, or MARSS if appropriate, can have an impact on the district’s AYP and MMR calculations. The Test WES Posttest Editing User Guide 2013–2014 is available on the Test WES page of the MDE website. View the Test WES page (MDE website > School Support > Data Submissions > Test WES).

Access to Test WES. The people in the best position to make these edits are the district assessment coordinator, the student identity validation system coordinator, and the MARSS coordinator with some help from the special education director, the EL coordinator, or others familiar with the students. In addition, school-level users like school assessment coordinators can also complete posttest editing for the schools they have access to. It is important that the superintendent in each district make sure that these key people are authorized to access Test WES, that their logins and passwords are working, and that they will be available during the Test WES window to perform these edits. The Superintendent Authorization Form is available on the Test WES page of the MDE website. View the Test WES page.

Any questions about access to Test WES should be sent to

ESEA Title Program 2014-2015 Applications

The 2014-2015 Title applications have been released in SERVS Financial. Preliminary awards for Title IA and D (FIN 401 and 406), Title II (FIN 414) and Title III (FIN 417 – for districts individually generating over $10,000) were loaded into SERVS Financial and the application rollover was completed overnight on Friday, May 16. Note that these are preliminary award amounts and are subject to change (up and/or down) when updated awards are loaded in late June or early July.

Superintendents and charter school directors initiate the application process by accepting or declining the award in SERVS Financial on the Manage Allocations / Competitive Awards tab. Once the award is accepted, the 2015 application appears under the Manage Applications and Budgets tab and is available here for completion by September 1. All districts are encouraged to accept or decline the 2014-2015 awards by June 30.

Questions may be directed to John Moorse, director of Student Support, at or 651-582-8649.


Native Studies Summer Workshop for Educators – June 16-20, 2014

The Native Studies Summer Workshop for Educators (NSSWE) is designed to increase the knowledge, sensitivity and awareness of Minnesota educators, administrators and employees on the histories, cultures and languages of the federally recognized tribes and bands in Minnesota. This high-quality professional development program will promote a greater understanding of American Indian issues and provide opportunities to critically evaluate educational materials and resources. Participants will learn how to implement the new education mandates regarding American Indian contributions. The goal of the NSSWE is to facilitate learning among teachers, administrators, and student service providers in order to increase the effectiveness of working with American Indian students. This is an opportunity for teachers to earn 40 CEU's.

This annual workshop is in its eighth year and will be held at the Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, Cloquet, Minn. For more information and to register, visit the St. Cloud State University website.

Lodging: A block of rooms are being held at the Black Bear Casino Resort until June 2nd for NSSWE participants. To receive the tribal rate of $52.00 per day, mention NSSWE Group Room Block when making your room reservation (1-888-771-0777). Additional Lodging options can be found on the Cloquet Area Tourism website.

For more information, contact the American Indian Center at

Upcoming Full-Day Kindergarten Seminars – NEW!

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) is pleased to announce two upcoming seminars for full-day kindergarten planning and implementation. Please save the dates for the following two seminars presented by outstanding national kindergarten experts. The seminars, held at MDE, are designed for kindergarten teachers, elementary principals and directors of curriculum and instruction. More information and links to registration will be available later in June on the MDE website.

Seminar II – Monday, August 18 – 21st Century Full-Day Kindergartens: High Impact Teaching for ALL 21st Century Learners
o (Tentative) Presenter: Dr. Eva Phillips, Author of Basics of Developmentally Appropriate Practice: An Introduction for Teachers of Kindergartners and Assistant Professor in the Birth through Kindergarten Education program at Winston-Salem State University.
Seminar III – Tuesday, October 21 – Transformational Full-Day Kindergarten Teachers: Motivating the Learner in EVERY Child
o (Tentative) Presenter: Dr. Adam Holland, Investigator, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and former kindergarten teacher.

For additional information about full-day kindergarten, please visit the MDE Kindergarten Web page ( Please contact Debbykay Peterson ( regarding questions about full-day kindergarten or the upcoming kindergarten seminars.


Getting Prepared 2014: Recent High School Graduates and Developmental Courses (5/3/2014)

Getting Prepared 2014 provides summary information about how many Minnesota public high school graduates are enrolling in postsecondary education within two years of graduation, as well as how many of that group enroll in developmental courses.

The data for Getting Prepared 2014 was provided by the Minnesota Statewide Longitudinal Education Data System (SLEDS) for the first time. This system links student data from pre-kindergarten through completion of postsecondary and into the workforce. Read the report on the Minnesota Office of Higher Education website.

Achievement Gap Summit Video Available

On Friday, March 21, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) engaged over 200 educators around the state in a conversation about the achievement gap in Minnesota. The session provided an explanation of the gap data that was sent out to each district, and provided information about a wide range of technical assistance opportunities available to districts from MDE staff including support in the areas of English learners, special education, academic standards, data analysis and the Regional Centers of Excellence. Thank you to the panelists who joined us that day as well as all of the participants.

The recording of the session has been posted to the MDE website and is now available to districts for their review. View the Achievement Gap Summit presentation.