Agricultural Educator Competitive Grant available through MDE

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Source: Minnesota Department of Education

The Minnesota Department of Education invites applications from Minnesota public school districts, charter schools, intermediate school districts and education districts who want to provide an approved summer agricultural program to high school students. There is $250,000 available in state funding from Minnesota Statutes, section 2016 Session Law, Chapter 189, Article 25, section 55, Subdivision 14, for this initiative.

Funds may be used to support one-half share of salary and benefits for each licensed agricultural teacher for up to three teachers in each program for a total of up to 40 days for the summer program. Applicants selected for funding must match the amount funded with the grant.

Applicants will decide if they want to offer their approved agricultural summer program during the summer of 2017, or the summer of 2018. A district may offer an approved summer program at more than one high school or for students at more than one high school. However, the program must be the same at each site. Applications are reviewed based on the type of program offered. If a district wishes to provide a different approved summer program, they must submit a separate application.

Applications could serve students in many areas, such as: (1) leadership development activities, (2) service learning, (3) experiential learning, (4) career exploration, (5) farm safety, and (6) program development.

The grant opportunity documents and announcement is available at https://w1.education.state.mn.us/EGMS/searchAllActiveGrants.do (under “COMPETITIVE – STATE – AGRICULTURAL EDUCATOR GRANT”).

Questions are due to Joel Larsen, AFNR Program Specialist, at joel.larsen@state.mn.us or 651-582-8395.

Applications must be received by (not postmarked by) 3:30 p.m. October 17, 2016.

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MDE releases “Transition to ESSA” document

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Source: Minnesota Department of Education

On December 10, 2015, President Barack Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which replaced No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and changed many portions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

The U.S. Department of Education has issued some guidance for a clear and orderly transition during the 2016-17 school year.

The Minnesota Department of Education has prepared the Transition to ESSA document to provide Minnesota-specific information to help ensure a smooth transition for schools.

Visit http://www.mnmsba.org/Portals/0/PDFs/ESSA-MinnesotaTransitionPlan.pdf to view MDE’s transition document.

See MDE’s ESSA web page at http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/dse/essa for more information. If you have any questions, contact mde.essa@state.mn.us.

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Minnesota expands access to ACT to more than 17,000 additional students

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Source: Minnesota Department of Education

According to data released today, approximately 100 percent of Minnesota’s high school graduating class of 2016 took the ACT college entrance exam as an 11th or 12th grader. In total, 64,145 students—an increase of 17,283 students or 37 percent over the class of 2015—took the exam, which historically is an important access point to postsecondary opportunities. Especially notable were the significant increases in the number of students from groups that are traditionally underserved.

Minnesota’s average score of 21.1 exceeds the national average of 20.8, with more Minnesota students meeting each of the four benchmarks—English, reading, math and science—than did students across the country, 29 percent compared to 26 percent nationally. While the state’s score dropped from last year, the state’s education commissioner Brenda Cassellius indicated that other states that had opened access to more students had seen similar drops.

“I will gladly celebrate greater equity and opportunity for Minnesota kids any day of the week,” said Cassellius. “We anticipated that our statewide average score might decrease as we opened up the ACT to all students, but we are opening doors and raising the bar for all kids, especially those we have left behind before.”

This year’s results place Minnesota students first among the 18 states that provided the ACT to all students. Minnesota spent 10 years atop the list of states providing the ACT to more than 50 percent of their 12th grade students. In the 2014-2015 school year, the state provided the ACT to all Minnesota juniors at no cost to families, putting the state in a different cohort of peers for comparison. In recent years, Minnesota has seen between 74-78 percent of 12th grade students taking the exam, and the students left behind were often the same students caught in the state’s persistent achievement gap.

Further analysis of the data also shows a disproportionate number of under-represented students did not take advantage of fee waivers that 12th graders can use to retake the test to improve their scores, a number Cassellius indicated she would like to see increase in future years.

“This is about equity,” said Cassellius. “It is a point of pride that our students do so well on the ACT, year after year. But when we see the number of American Indian students taking the exam more than doubling, Hispanic students increasing by two-thirds, and black students increasing by almost 40 percent, it tells me we are removing barriers and creating more opportunities. We will continue to forge ahead.”

The national and state ACT Condition of College & Career Readiness 2016 reports can be viewed and downloaded at: http://www.act.org/conditionreport2016.

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Advocate for education at State Fair’s House of Representatives booth

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Source: Minnesota House of Representatives Public Information Services

Fairgoers are invited to weigh in on hot political topics and meet with legislators during their visit to the House of Representatives booth at the Minnesota State Fair.

Record your visit on social media with a photo as you stand behind of a replica of the House speaker’s desk. Complete with flags and the Abraham Lincoln portrait, the display gives you a feel for what it is like to stand in this position of power. Be sure to find out the fascinating history behind the portrait.

The annual House opinion poll draws the attention of around 10,000 participants and will, once again, be available. Fairgoers can let their opinions be known on a number of issues including this fall’s ballot question on who should set legislators’ salaries; a requirement for individuals to use restroom and locker room facilities in schools and businesses based on biological sex, as defined at birth; and criminal background checks for all gun purchases.

Poll results should be available on the House website Sept. 6, the day after the fair closes.

The House of Representatives exhibit is located in the Education Building on Cosgrove Street, just north of Dan Patch Avenue.

The following is a list of representatives planning to attend (as of noon, Aug. 22):

Thursday, Aug. 25
10 a.m. to noon: Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL-South St. Paul), Rep. Mike Sundin (DFL-Esko)
Noon to 2 p.m.: Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL-South St. Paul)

Friday, Aug. 26
10 a.m. to noon: Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL-South St. Paul), Rep. Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska)
Noon to 2 p.m.: Rep. Kathy Lohmer (R-Stillwater), Rep. Melissa Hortman (DFL-Brooklyn Park)
2 p.m. to 4 p.m.: Rep. Duane Quam (R-Byron), Rep. Abigail Whelan (R-Anoka)

Saturday, Aug. 27
10 a.m. to noon: Rep. Jennifer Schultz (DFL-Duluth), Rep. Duane Quam (R-Byron)
Noon to 2 p.m.: Rep. John Persell (DFL-Bemidji)

Sunday, Aug. 28
10 a.m. to noon: Rep. Jerry Newton (DFL-Coon Rapids)
Noon to 2 p.m.: Rep. Linda Runbeck (R-Circle Pines)

Monday, Aug. 29
10 a.m. to noon: Rep. John Lesch (DFL-St. Paul), Rep. Barb Yarusso (DFL-Shoreview)

Tuesday, Aug. 30
10 a.m. to noon: Rep. Mike Freiberg (DFL-Golden Valley)

Thursday, Sept. 1
Noon to 2 p.m.: Rep. Drew Christensen (R-Burnsville), Rep. Diane Loeffler (DFL-Minneapolis)

Saturday, Sept. 3
Noon to 2 p.m.: Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington)

Sunday, Sept. 4
Noon to 2 p.m.: Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa)

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Apply for Internet Broadband Expansion for Students grant through September 9

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The Minnesota Department of Education invites applications from Minnesota public school districts, charter schools and education districts for projects that expand broadband access for students under the 2016 Laws of Minnesota, chapter 189, article 30, sections 24-25.

Applicants may apply for a Broadband Expansion Off-Campus Learning Grant and, if eligible to receive general education transportation sparsity revenue under Minnesota Statutes, section 126C.10, they may also apply for a “School Bus Internet Access” grant. A total of $500,000 is available for this grant opportunity and the maximum grant award is $50,000 for Grant A or, if applying for both Grant A and Grant B, $50,000 remains the maximum.

The grant opportunity documents are available on the department’s grant opportunity site at https://w1.education.state.mn.us/EGMS/searchAllActiveGrants.do. (Select “COMPETITIVE – 2017 – INTERNET BROADBAND EXPANSION FOR STUDENTS.”)

Applications must be received by (not postmarked by) 3:30 p.m. September 9, 2016.

Please contact Jennifer Nelson with questions at jennifer.r.nelson@state.mn.us. A question-and-answer document will be published on the grant site after August 24, 2016.

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MDE hosting ESSA “Twitter Town Hall” on August 25

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) is hosting a Twitter Town Hall from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, August 25, to discuss the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

The Town Hall will focus on school accountability and what makes for a well-rounded education for all students. In addition, the Town Hall will look at school support for low-performing schools.

If you have a Twitter account, join the conversation on August 25 by searching for the #ESSAOutreachMN hashtag. Also, be sure to include the hashtag with your posts.

The MDE’s Twitter handle is @MnDeptEd or visit https://twitter.com/MnDeptEd

See MDE graphic below for more information.

MDE-ESSA-TwitterTownHall

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Career and Technical Educator Licensing Advisory Task Force holds inaugural meeting

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The Career and Technical Educator Licensing Advisory Task Force held its first meeting Thursday, August 11, at the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) in Roseville.

The 2016 Legislature created the Task Force to review and make recommendations to increase the access of licensed career and technical educators for schools.

The first job was to review the Legislature’s charge of Career and Technical Educator Licensing Advisory Task Force. The task force must report its findings and recommendations to the Minnesota Legislature by January 15, 2017.

Visit http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/about/adv/active/ctelic to view documents discussed during the August 11 meeting.

The Task Force consists of 10 members appointed by the Commissioner of Education:

  • Loy Woelber — Representing: Board of Teaching
  • Jeralyn Jargo — Representing: Postsecondary Offering Board Approved Teacher Prep
  • Jim Davnie — Representing: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
  • Jessica Lipa — Representing: Minnesota Association for Career and Technical Administrators (MACTA)
  • Callon Siebenahler — Representing: Minnesota Association for Career and Technical Education (MnACTE)
  • Steve Jones — Representing: Secondary Administrators
  • Tonya Sconiers — Representing: Secondary Administrators
  • Natalie Rasmussen — Representing: Secondary Administrators
  • Troy Haugen — Representing: Perkins Consortium Leader
  • Brad Greiman — Representing: University of Minnesota – Agriculture Education

Future meeting dates are schedule for:
Tuesday, September 20, 2016 (may change)
When: 1 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.
Where: MDE Conference Center A, Room 14

Thursday, October 20, 2016
When: 1 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.
Where: MDE Conference Center B, Room 16

Tuesday, November 15, 2016
When: 1 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.
Where: MDE Conference Center A, Room 14

Thursday, December 8, 2016
When: 1 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.
Where: MDE Conference Center B, Room 15

Contact Paula Palmer at 651-582-8737 or mde.cte@state.mn.us to be included in updates (meeting agendas and minutes).

 

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