Prepare to apply for school safety grant on August 29


School safety grant instructions are available on the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) website at

MDE will accept applications starting on Wednesday, August 29, through Survey Gizmo. The Survey Gizmo link will be available on the MDE Grants Page, but not until the application date. Until then, a Word version of the Survey Gizmo application worksheet is available for applicants to complete in order for them to copy-and-paste their answers into Survey Gizmo on the day of application.

Grants may be used to predesign, design, construct, furnish, and equip school facilities for improvements related to violence prevention and facility security for a qualifying school building. This includes renovating and expanding existing buildings and facilities.

The grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Further information on specific criteria for the grant, an outline of how MDE will award projects, and how to apply will be available in the instructions.

Please contact Tim Larson at 651-582-8451 or for further information.

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MDE provides update on new ESSA accountability system


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 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


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 for a copy of Gov. Dayton’s proclamation.

Visit for the complete press release.

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


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 to view the complete press release.

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NSBA launches Cyber Secure Schools resource

Cyber Scurity_FB

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) recently announced the launch of its Cyber Secure Schools initiative at 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 ( 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 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


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

School districts or charter schools can contact with any questions or comments.

Visit for MDE’s original press release.

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