ACNW Authorizer Update — August 2016. 
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Authorizer Update
August 16, 2016

Dear School Leaders and Board Members,

The 2016-2017 school year is in full swing for a few of you, and just around the corner for the rest! We hope the school year has started or will start well for all of you.

We had a great time connecting with staff from many of your schools at our recent Environmental Education Teacher Workshop. We hope this helped energize everyone to implement a new year of Environmental Education in their classrooms and schools. 

There are two pieces of information to highlight in this month's Authorizer Update. First, please save the date for our 2016 Leaders Retreat on November 11th and 12th at the Audubon Center. We will send out more detailed registration information in the coming weeks. Second, a new website requirement was added in the last legislative session related to testing and assessment for all public schools, including charters. Please see below to make sure your school meets these requirements. 

Finally, we will be sending out a survey about the Authorizer Update next month to gather your input and feedback on how to make these emails most useful to you. 


David Greenberg & the ACNW Charter School Team
ACNW Charter School Division
43 Main Street SE, Suite 507
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55414
(612) 331-4181

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Save the Date: November 11 & 12 – Leaders Retreat

All schools are required to send representation to this conference per your charter contracts. More details will be provided in the coming weeks. 
Deadlines & Announcements

The Annual Report and World's Best Workforce Report is due November 1. Visit the Strategic Support section of our website for updated template. 
In this Authorizer Update:
(Click a heading to go to that section. May not function on mobile version.)
Website Requirement Update

Following the most recent legislative session, schools are now required to post a calendar of standardized tests to be administered during the school year, which must include the rationale for administering each assessment. The calendar must also indicate whether the assessment is a local option or required by state or federal law. The calendar must be posted before the first day of the school year. Further information can be found on the updated ACNW Charter School Division website guidance document.

Districts should follow these guidelines from MDE: 

  • Provide the subject matter for each assessment.
  • Provide information on the purpose and use of each assessment. Include the source of the requirement for administering the tests.
  • Include the amount of time students will spend taking the assessment.
  • Post the testing windows for each assessment and the dates when the majority of students will be testing for each grade and subject. This information must reflect your school testing schedule, not just the dates of the state-designated testing window.
    • Alternate assessments (MTAS and Alternate ACCESS) should be included. Because they are administered individually, windows may be longer.
    • OLPA testing windows must be included if your school is using this assessment even though it is an optional test administration. 
  • Testing schedules should be updated as changes are identified.
  • Include the timeline and format for disseminating results.
MDE will be working with an ESSA assessment workgroup to define these requirements in more detail, as well as to discuss and develop samples of how to provide this information. 
Non-Licensed and Community Expert Waivers

Charter schools that request waivers from the Board of Teaching (Non-Licensed Community Experts, Innovative Program Waivers and Discretionary Variance Requests) are required to notify the authorizer of the request. Please notify ACNW of any requests of this nature via Epicenter. For more information on these special permission requests, see:

  1. Log into Epicenter. From the home page, select Document Center in the upper right corner.
  2. Select the Upload Submission button from the lower left corner of the screen.
  3. For Entity Type, select School.
  4. For Submission Type, select Special Permissions for Classroom Teaching, which can be found in the MDE Filings section.
  5. Use the Add Files button to attach the completed Special Permission Request Notification, which is attached to the task as a submission resource. 
  6. Once the file is attached, select Submit.
Request for New Charter School Proposals
The Audubon Center of the North Woods aims to expand learning opportunities for students in Minnesota; therefore, we seek new school proposals from individuals and groups who have the skill, capacity and vision to initiate and sustain high quality, innovative public charter schools. We ask that you pass on this request to individuals or groups that might be interested. ANCW’s Charter School Division may be contacted at 612-331-4841 or by email at More information can be found on the new schools page of our website. 
Girls Who Code Club Launching Next Month

Girls Who Code is a national nonprofit organization working to close the gender gap in technology and engineering. Girls Who Code – University of Minnesota, launching September 2016, is a no-cost program open to 6th through 12th grade girls interested in developing skills in graphic art, video game design and mobile app development, among other technology topics. No previous programming experience is required.

Girls Who Code – University of Minnesota centers on a fun, collaborative 40-hour curriculum designed to teach a wide range of skill sets through multilevel content. Project-based modules include graphic art, video game design, mobile app development and cryptography, and culminate in a final project of the student's choosing that will benefit her community. Click here for more information about Girls Who Code clubs. 

The club will meet on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 7:30pm, September through March, on the UMN Twin Cities campus (222 Pleasant Street SE, Minneapolis 55455). For more information or to register now, contact Ashley Arthur at
Professional Development Opportunities
  • Board and Staff Partnerships Webinar: August 16
  • Epicenter – Basic Training Webinar: August 18
  • Board Training by MSBA: October 15
More training opportunities and events can be found on our website.

Board and Staff Partnerships Webinar: August 16
Great leaders are the hallmark of the most successful nonprofits, but what about when your leaders are at odds? Our most frequent calls for help come from board members or executive directors who are frustrated with each other, or worse – at the end of their ropes! This webinar is designed for nonprofit leaders who have gone through bumpy times due to the unique governance and management structure of nonprofits (hint: everyone).
Participants will learn about:
  • Why boards are necessary to nonprofits
  • Governance and management responsibilities, authority, and division of labor
  • “Peace through Policy and Procedure”
  • How the size and type of nonprofit you are impacts your responsibilities as board members and staff
This session is appropriate for board members and executive directors. It is presented in partnership with Maryland Nonprofits and the Standards for Excellence Institute.
Please register through Maryland Nonprofits’ website. For information regarding the training, contact Maryland Nonprofits at 410-727-6367 or Use the discount code, “MN_Nonprofit Assoc.” to receive the Maryland Nonprofits member rate.

Epicenter – Basic Training Webinar: August 18 
Are you new to using Epicenter or in need of a refresher on the basic functions? If so, the Epicenter Support Team will be hosting online webinars to provide you with the information to be successful and to answer any questions you may have. The webinar will occur twice on Thursday, August 18, from 10am to 11am CST or from 6pm to 7pm CST. Click here to register

Board Training by MSBA: October 15
The Minnesota School Boards Association provides training designed to meet statutory requirements for new charter school board members. Check out their website for more information.
Grant Opportunities
A small sampling of the many possibilities that are out there.

Captain Planet Foundation Grants – Application due September 30, 2016

The mission of the Captain Planet Foundation is to give the next generation of environmental stewards an active understanding of and love for the natural world in which they live.

The Foundation distributes grants between $500 and $2,500 for activities that conform to their mission and meet the following requirements:
  • Must be project-based
  • Projects must be performed by youth
  • Project must have real environmental outcomes
  • Must be based in the United States
Grants are intended to provide hands-on environmental stewardship opportunities for youth, serve as a catalyst for getting environment-based education in schools and inspire youth and communities to participate in community service through environmental stewardship activities. 

For more information on the application and on grant restrictions, click here

Dare to Dream and Let Me Play Grants – Ann Bancroft Foundation
Application due October 1, 2016
The Ann Bancroft Foundation aims to create a world where every girl has a chance to live her dream and reach her full potential. Since 1997, the foundation has awarded Dare to Dream and Let Me Play grants to more than three thousand Minnesota girls — connecting them to mentors, funding and encouragement to help them reach for their highest goals.
  • Dare to Dream: Grants of up to $500 are awarded to girls between the ages of ten and high school graduation in support of art, cultural, leadership, educational and outdoor/wilderness experiences that enable them to begin exploring the outside world and recognize their own abilities, values and strengths in the process.
  • Let Me Play: Grants of up to $500 are awarded to girls between the ages of ten and high school graduation in support of sport, athletic and dance equipment or participation fees to give them the opportunity to be part of a team, build strength and confidence, and push themselves further, on and off the field.
To be eligible, an applicant must be a girl who resides in Minnesota and has an adult mentor (not an immediate family member or the activity provider) who can guide her through the application process. Visit the Ann Bancroft Foundation grant website for complete program guidelines, stories about past grantees and application instructions.
Please continue to reach out to your colleagues for resources, learning and sharing. The following link provides contact information for directors and board chairs of all schools authorized by ACNW: ACNW Directors and Board Chairs
Please contact Mike if you have updated contact information or need help using the document.

Eastern Phoebe chicks under the eaves of the Audubon Center's barn.
Copyright © 2016 Audubon Center of the North Woods Charter School Division, All rights reserved.

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