ACNW Authorizer Update

January 29, 2014

Dear School Leaders and Board Members,
 
Cold must somehow make time go faster. Before January slips past us, here is your January Authorizer Update. Please review this update closely and let us know if you have any questions or comments about its contents.
 
We are attempting to include all board members of all charters schools authorized by ACNW. Please reach out to your colleagues to get them signed up if they have not received this. Thank you.
 
Stay warm!

Sincerely, 

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

Financial Performance Evaluations

It is our intention to have a draft Financial Performance Evaluation to each school by the end of this week or early next week. Once you receive it, we ask that you review it for accuracy and completeness, and let us know within a week if you have questions or comments. Please download and review the framework: ACNW Financial Performance Evaluation.
Operations Performance Evaluations

Schools in renewal will be seeing drafts of the Operations Performance Evaluation within the next week. Other schools will see these later this spring. Please download and review the updated framework: ACNW Operations Performance Evaluation.
Board Training Opportunities

As we have discussed with many of you, either at the Leaders Retreat or at your board meetings, your board can take a varied approach not only to meeting statutory board training requirements in governance, finance and employment, but also to getting quality training that will help each board member be more effective in the critical role of governing your charter school. Here is one such example that includes either in person or webinar training that is focused on non-profit governance: Board Boot Camp.
 
In addition, MACS is again offering charter school board training. Trainings held in the Metro area are only for member schools and are included in your membership fees. Training outside the seven county metro area is free for member schools, and non-member schools may attend for a fee: MACS Charter School Board Trainings.
2014 Legislative Session

The 2014 legislative session opens on February 25, 2014, though committee meetings are taking place prior to that date. A number of bills that relate to education in general and charters in particular will likely come up, however, because this is primarily a bonding session, the number of bills will likely not be large.
Some proposals that have or are likely to come up include:
  • End of Q Comp and transfer of all funds to the General Formula;
  • Transfer integration fund to General Formula;
  • High School League eligibility for students with IEP or 504 plan who transfer;
  • Revision of “Escape Clause” provision for charter school leases;
  • Elimination of the requirement related to liability insurance for “hazardous substance release;”
  • Revise the requirement for the use of longitudinal data in determining grade or site expansions;
  • Clarify teacher evaluation law and its application in charter schools;
  • Clarify the supplemental information to be submitted with the year-end financial audit.
We will keep you posted regarding other issues that arise as well as those indicated above, and encourage you to stay abreast of the issues at the capitol. You can sign up to receive e-mail updates from the House Education Finance Committee, the House Education Policy Committee and the Senate Education Committee.
Teacher Relicensure Committee

Teachers and leaders from a number of schools authorized by ACNW have, over the past couple of years, implemented a teacher relicensure committee to serve as a resource for schools and teachers who needed this service. This committee requires active involvement by licensed teachers and administrators, in addition to an interested community member. It has been a challenge to maintain sufficient participation to make this a viable committee, therefore, the committee will cease to function. Possible resources for this service are: If you are interested in setting up a committee at your school, contact Educator Licensing at MDE.
Networking & Sharing

At the ACNW Leaders Retreat we were witness to scores of connections being made between and among school leaders, teachers and board members. We hope you will continue to grow and leverage those connections. The following link provides contact information for directors and board chairs of all schools authorized by ACNW: ACNW Directors and Board Chairs. In addition, the Leaders Retreat website offers contact information for all attendees, along with other documents and information from the breakout sessions. Connecting with your colleagues is a great way to learn, share and stay informed.
 
Please contact Erin if  you have updated contact information or need help using the document.
EE Mission Match Funds Available


During the 2013-2014 school year, ACNW will again be offering up to $500 to each authorized school to help complete your environmental education mission match. Funds may be used to buy equipment, provide a match for an EE-related grant, hire a presenter, or pay for a field trip to the Audubon Center or any other EE-based location of your choice.
 
To apply for these funds:

  1. Contact Melonie for an application. Your project must be pre-approved before you can receive funding.
  2. Complete the application and return to Melonie.
  3. Once approved, funds will be released to your school, AFTER an invoice or other proof of payment is received. Our Business Manager is diligent in sending out funds within 5-10 business days. Proof of fund use is a requirement of the Audubon Center audit and funds will not be released without this.

Audubon Adventure Program Package 
The Audubon Adventures Program package is available to any ACNW-authorized charter school with students in Grades 3-5 during this school year only. Learn more about participating: Audubon Adventures. The deadline for application is January 31, 2014.

Other Learning Opportunities at the Audubon Center

Mark these dates for easy, inexpensive, educational fun to earn CEUs and meet your EE mission match of developing/using experts in the field. All events held at the Audubon Center of the North Woods. Visit the ACNW website for details.

Food and Farms Weekend
April 4-6, 2014
Enjoy field trips to local farms to meet producers, engaging on-site workshops and classes, guided hikes, renowned keynote speakers, delicious homemade meals and comfortable accommodations.
 
All-inclusive lodging package includes:
  • 2 nights lodging
  • 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners
  • 2 social hours and appetizers
  • All keynote speakers, workshops and field trips.
$295 per person—double occupancy (2 per room)
$245 per person—increased occupancy (3-4 per room)
 
Birding Bonanza Weekend
June 6-8, 2014
With field trips led by seasoned guides, engaging on-site workshops, bird banding sessions, a live raptor presentation, renowned keynote speakers, delicious homemade meals and comfortable accommodations, this all-inclusive weekend is birding at its best.
 
All-inclusive lodging package includes:
  • 2 nights lodging
  • 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners
  • 2 social hours and appetizers
  • All keynote speakers, workshops and field trips.
$295 per person—double occupancy (2 per room)
$245 per person—increased occupancy (3-4 per room)

For more information or to register, please call the Audubon Center at (888) 404-7743 or email audubon1@audubon-center.org.
Grant & Scholarship Opportunities
(A small sampling of the many possibilities that may be out there.)
 
21st Century Community Learning Grant Program
Funding is for establishing, sustaining and/or enhancing community learning centers statewide as part of the 21st Century Community Learning Grant Program. The resources are intended to be used to provide a wide range of high-quality enrichment opportunities that complement the regular academic program of students during times when school is not in session, including before and after school, evenings, school release days and summer. This is a federal grant administered through MDE.

Lowe's Grants for Community Involvement in Education
Lowe’s Toolbox for Education grants are awarded to local schools and parent groups in support of projects that encourage parent involvement in local schools and build stronger community spirit. Grants range from $2,000 to $5,000 and are meant for projects that “have a permanent impact such as facility enhancement or landscaping/clean up.” Proposals are due February 14.

Grassroots Grants Support Community Gardens
The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company is accepting applications for grants of up to $1,500 to help bring edible gardens, flower gardens and public green spaces to more neighborhoods. Emphasis is placed on projects that increase involvement and engagement of neighborhood residents and foster a sense of community spirit. The application deadline is February 17.

Bush Foundation Community Innovation Grants
The Bush Foundation has announced the opening of a new round of Community Innovation grants for Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota. Organizations can apply for a Community Innovation Grant of $10,000 to $200,000. Communities are defined by the applicant and can be geographic, a community of common interest or racial/cultural identity. The Bush Foundation also does not have pre-defined interest areas, and are instead open to projects that address all sorts of community needs or are in various stages of the problem-solving process. Applications are due by March 13.
 
You can subscribe to the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Minnesota Grant Alert for ongoing updates regarding Minnesota grant opportunities. In addition, you can review the MDE website for upcoming opportunities.
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