MDE provides update on new ESSA accountability system

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As reported in the MSBA Weekly Advocate last month, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) presented an update on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) on July 11.

Since that meeting, MDE has added or modified components to the new ESSA accountability system (the North Star system). As a reminder, MDE will publicly report on school performance on August 30 using the North Star system.

Visit https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/MNMDE/bulletins/200febc for an update from MDE Chief Accountability Officer Stephanie Graff on ESSA accountability and recognition.

Included in the MDE update is the new criteria used for recognizing schools, a mock-up of the Minnesota Report Card, and more details on the indicator data and identification process.

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Gov. Dayton orders flags at half-staff on July 26 for corrections officer

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In honor and remembrance of Minnesota Corrections Officer Joseph Brian Gomm, Gov. Mark Dayton has ordered all United States and Minnesota flags to be flown at half-staff at all state and federal buildings in the state of Minnesota, from sunrise until sunset on Thursday, July 26, 2018.

Officer Joseph Gomm was killed in the line of duty at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Stillwater on Wednesday, July 18, 2018. At the direction of the governor, Minnesota flies its flags at half-staff following the death of Minnesota first responders fallen in the line of duty, on the day of interment.

See http://mn.gov/gov-stat/pdf/2018_07_26_Corrections_Officer_Joseph_Brian_Gomm1.pdf for a copy of Gov. Dayton’s proclamation.

Visit https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/MNGOV/bulletins/200b91e for the complete press release.

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U.S. House subcommittee to hold hearing on Workflex in the 21st Century Act

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On Tuesday, July 24 (at 10 a.m. EDT), the U.S. House Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions will hold a hearing on H.R. 4219, “Workflex in the 21st Century Act.” The hearing will take place in Room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

Visit https://edworkforce.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=402926 to view the complete press release.

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NSBA launches Cyber Secure Schools resource

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The National School Boards Association (NSBA) recently announced the launch of its Cyber Secure Schools initiative at https://www.nsba.org/cyber. This webpage is a key source of information, tools, and resources, to help districts and schools enhance the security of their networks and data systems, and reduce cyber-vulnerabilities.

“Technology continues to change rapidly and with those changes comes emerging and significant cyber-threats,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, NSBA’s Executive Director and CEO. “Today’s school leaders must be able to familiarize themselves with the ever-evolving cyber threat landscape and take proactive steps to secure sensitive student and staff data and district operations.”

School districts often utilize a variety of technology tools including “free” file-sharing or cloud storage websites, or personal email accounts; all of which can make them vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Potential risks increase even further when an individual uses personal or multiple devices to access school networks or online forums where student data and other confidential or sensitive information may be housed or posted.

The informative articles, survey data, tools and promising practices available at Cyber Secure Schools (https://www.nsba.org/cyber) will aid districts and schools in identifying threats and recognizing vulnerabilities in their cyber-security policies and practices so that they can make better informed, forward leaning decisions and reduce the likelihood of a hack or cyber-breach.

Visit https://www.nsba.org/newsroom/nsba-launches-cyber-secure-schools-initiative to read NSBA’s full announcement.

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School Board Input on Lunch Regulations Requested

Recently, the U.S. House passed H.R. 2, also known as the federal farm bill  This legislation includes an amendment requiring the Secretary of Agriculture to:

  • review the federal regulations, which sets nutrition standards that stem from the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010;
  • issue new regulations for school lunch and breakfast programs that will provide greater flexibility to school districts to serve foods that students want to eat without added unfunded mandates;  and
  • consult with local school leaders – specifically school board members.

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is working to ensure the school nutrition amendment is included in the final version of the farm bill. However, they need your help. If your district has specific examples of how the current school nutrition regulations are negatively affecting your school meal programs or student participation, please send them to Denise Dittrich. Comments will be forwarded to NSBA to help them advocate for the inclusion of the school nutrition amendment and ultimately securing the long-term flexibility desired for school districts.

The U.S. Senate has passed its own version of the farm bill, but it does not include this school nutrition amendment.  A conference committee will likely be convened to iron out the differences between the two houses and produce final language of the farm bill.  Reach out to Minnesota Senators Klobuchar and Smith and ask them to advocate for the inclusion of the House school nutrition amendment in the the final farm bill.

(Note: The U.S. Department of Agriculture administers school lunch and breakfast programs.)

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Applications for school safety grants open on August 29

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This summer, $25 million in grants to improve school safety will be available for school districts and charter schools through the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). Gov. Mark Dayton and the 2018 Legislature passed school safety grants this spring, to be used for building improvements related to violence prevention and facility security.

MDE will begin accepting applications online on Wednesday, August 29, 2018.

School districts, charter schools, intermediates and cooperatives interested in receiving a school safety grant may submit separate applications for each school site, for grants of up to $500,000 each. The funds may be used to predesign, design, construct, furnish, and equip school facilities, including renovating and expanding existing buildings.

The grants will be awarded based on criteria to be set by the commissioner, in collaboration with the Minnesota School Safety Center at the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, and on a first-come, first-serve basis. It is strongly recommended to submit your applications on the first day applications are accepted.

Find more information on the application process, an upcoming webinar (scheduled for July 24) and resources for additional questions at https://education.mn.gov/MDE/DSE/MDE074493.

School districts or charter schools can contact MDE.funding@state.mn.us with any questions or comments.

Visit https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/MNMDE/bulletins/1ff9c84 for MDE’s original press release.

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Blandin Foundation hosting broadband webinar on July 19

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The Blandin Foundation is hosting its next Blandin Community Broadband Program (BCBP) Webinar at 3 p.m. Thursday, July 19.

The webinar topic is “Leveraging Federal CAF II Dollars to Bring World-Class Broadband to your Community.”

Click here to access registration for this webinar.

In 2018 Blandin Foundation commissioned a study entitled, “Impact of CAF II-Funded Networks: Report of Lessons From Two Rural Minnesota Exchanges Left Underserved.”

Access the report on the Blandin Foundation website.

During this webinar the report’s lead researcher, Bill Coleman of Community Technology Advisors, will present the report’s key findings, and ways CAF II funding can help bring broadband to rural communities.

Can’t make the date for this webinar? The webinar will be recorded and posted to the Blandin on Broadband blog. A full list of links to past webinars is available on the BCBP website.

For more information about this webinar series, contact Mary at memagnuson@blandinfoundation.org.

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