MDE Weekly Superintendent Mail

June 12, 2014

Summer Learning Opportunities for Students

Research shows that students can lose important math and reading skills over the summer months, so it is essential that students find ways to further their learning during the summer.

The department has partnered with MetaMetrics® to provide tools that make summer learning easy. These tools offer exciting and fun challenges to help students retain the math and reading skills they learned this past school year, while ramping up their skills for next fall. From creating a summer reading list that is tailored to expand a child’s reading comprehension to daily math puzzles and activities, these challenges are free, self-directed opportunities that parents and students can have fun with together.

Summer Reading Challenge:

· Visit Find a Book, Minnesota ( to sign up.
· Enter your child's Lexile measure, or let the system easily walk you through determining the right level of books for your child.
· Help your child select categories of interest.
· View and refine your search results, and add books to your child's reading list.
· Some lucky readers will win $25 Barnes & Noble gift cards.

Summer Math Challenge:

· Visit Summer Math Challenge ( to enroll your child.
· Starting Monday, June 23, check your inbox for daily emails with fun math activities and resources.
· Check back every day to read about the weekly math concept and earn badges.
· When the program ends on Friday, August 1, print an award certificate to celebrate your child’s summer accomplishment!

Read more about these Summer Learning Opportunities on the Minnesota Department of Education website.


St. Louis Park Honored by ACT for Efforts in College and Career Readiness

St. Louis Park High School was one of four organizations in the country recognized by ACT for their efforts to prepare students for career and college. Read June 6 press release.


Training and Implementation Support for Minnesota State Teacher Development and Evaluation Model – Information Requested by June 16

Please read the May 15 memorandum from Assistant Commissioner Steve Dibb. Minnesota statute requires that districts and charter schools begin implementing teacher development and evaluation plans in school year 2014-2015. Districts that have not reached joint agreement with their exclusive representative of teachers on a local plan must implement the state model. Charter schools that do not have a local plan must also implement the state model. Please note the information that is requested in the memo by June 16, 2014. This information is needed so that we can plan training and implementation support for districts and charter schools using the state model.

For assistance with questions, contact Tyler Livingston at or 651-582-8427.

Request for Feedback to Shape Minnesota’s School Construction and Siting Guidelines

The Minnesota Department of Education’s Guide for Planning School Construction Projects in Minnesota (the MDE Guide) is used by school administrators and school architects/designers when schools are built or remodeled. The Public Health Law Center and Wilder Research are partnering on a project that will inform the revision of the MDE Guide to incorporate guidelines that support and encourage student health and wellness. Your responses to these questions will be used to understand how schools and communities work together and to develop recommendations to improve the planning process. Your feedback is important, as it will help shape the recommendations made to MDE and the revision of the MDE Guide.

You can help influence future school construction and siting guidelines in two key ways:

· First, please share your feedback by clicking the link below to access the online survey. It will take approximately 10 minutes of your time to complete. Please complete the survey no later than Friday, June 27. Complete online survey for superintendents.
· Second, you can help us reach others in your district. To learn more about school design features and programs that support physical activity and healthy eating, we have developed a separate survey to be sent to school principals. However, we need your help to reach them. Please take a minute to forward the link below to principals in your school district and encourage them to complete this survey to offer feedback that will influence future school construction and siting guidelines. (A separate survey will be sent directly to school food service directors.)

Principals are invited to complete the following survey on or before Friday, June 27. Online survey for principals.

We know the timing of this request comes at a very busy time of year. Thank you in advance for taking the time to respond to this survey!

This project is funded by the Health Impact Project, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts, with additional support from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation. If you have additional questions about this project or survey, please contact Melanie Ferris at Wilder Research (651-280-2660 or

Annual Verification of District and School Site Information for FY15 – Note June 30 and August 31 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


Invitation to Explore eBooks MN – Webinar June 19

State Library Services, a division of the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), is offering Explore eBooks MN, a series of programs that connect public, academic, school and special librarians and educators in a statewide effort to create a foundation for integrating eBooks in Minnesota’s libraries. Combining Minnesota’s internal expertise with perspectives from eBook innovators nationwide, this collaborative effort fosters an understanding of how eBooks and eContent impact libraries and provides an opportunity for librarians and educators to come together to create consensus around the direction of eBooks in Minnesota.

The next webinar is eBooks in Libraries: Consortial Models, presented by Jo Budler, Kansas State librarian, on Thursday, June 19, 2014, 1–2 p.m. In this webinar, Budler will address how unique licensing agreements and purchasing models reflect the particular needs of academic, public and K-12 libraries, and the concerns that may be addressed in a consortial agreement. Attendees will get an overview of the most common business models used by a consortium. Attendees will also develop a deep understanding of the eBook market and innovative approaches to address the challenges that impact academic, public and K-12 libraries in a consortium. In 2013, Budler was named Librarian of the Year for her work with the eBook consortium in Kansas and the stand she took regarding that consortium’s ownership of those eBooks.

To register and/or find more information, visit the eBook MN website (, or contact Jennifer Verbrugge (, 651-582-8356.

FREE GIS Workshops for K-12 Teachers – June 16 through August 1

To help develop skills for teachers to utilize in their classrooms, the Department of Education is partnering with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) professionals at the local, county and state level. These GIS professionals will teach a three-hour workshop, Introduction to ArcGIS Online. The workshops will contain the same material and will be offered at various locations and dates in June and July, 2014.

Attending a workshop will provide a teacher with the basics of spatial thinking, what is GIS and how ArcGIS Online can be used by teachers and students. The workshop will include hands-on exercises and Continuing Education Credits will be provided.

For information about a workshop near you, please visit the Minnesota Department of Education GIS in K-12 Web page.


ED Review – A U.S. Department of Education Newsletter

ED Review provides a biweekly update on U.S. Department of Education initiatives and activities. See the latest ED Review posting on the U.S. Department of Education website.