ACNW Authorizer Update — September 2016. 
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Authorizer Update
September 20, 2016

Dear School Leaders and Board Members,

We hope you're settling into the school year! Our 2016 Charter School Leaders Retreat is just around the corner, and we are looking forward to seeing many of you at the Audubon Center for this in November. 

This Authorizer Update includes several important pieces of information related to laws and statutes. Requirements for World's Best Workforce reporting have changed, so be sure to look below for specifics and MDE's new rubric. We are also sharing information about Open Meeting Law. To ensure that your board is properly following this law, please review the overview we have included. 

Finally, we will be sending out a survey about the Authorizer Update this week. If you don't receive a copy, feel free to take it here. Please submit only one response. 


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

This year's conference will focus on mission-informed leadership. See below for more details and registration links.
Deadlines & Announcements

The Annual Report and World's Best Workforce (WBWF) Report is due November 1st. See below for more information on changes to the WBWF reporting requirements, and visit the Strategic Support section of our website for an updated template. 
In this Authorizer Update:
(Click a heading to go to that section. May not function on mobile version.)
Registration now open for the 2016 Charter School Leaders Retreat!

This year’s Leaders Retreat (November 11 &12) will emphasize mission-informed leadership and governance. Sessions will be rooted in the statutory purposes of charter schools, which are designed to promote innovation and quality academic outcomes for all students. We look forward to building on last year's successful event and convening school leaders and board members from 33 ACNW schools!

As a reminder, you are required to send representation from your school to this event per your charter contract. As in the past, we ask that each school send a member of its leadership team and at least one board member. (The EE coordinator is not expected to attend.) The ACNW Charter School Division will cover expenses for up to two attendees. Each additional attendee is $100.00 per person. Please submit your registration materials by Friday, October 28th. Registration packets were sent by email, and can also be accessed through our website.
The dates of the Leaders Retreat are Friday, November 11 to Saturday, November 12 at the Audubon Center of the North Woods in Sandstone.

MDE rolls out website update

The Minnesota Department of Education has recently made some updates to its website in an effort to better organize their work and present it in a way that is easy for you to find and use. We hope you visit them and take some time to familiarize yourself with the reorganized site:

New requirements for World's Best Workforce Annual Reports

Under Minnesota Statute, school districts are to develop a WBWF Annual Report and report summary for each school year. Revisions to WBWF legislation in 2016 resulted in adjusted reporting requirements for certain areas. A Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) document provides detail on these changes, as well as contact information for submitting questions about each section.

The district annual report and summary still include the WBWF student achievement goals that were established last year, the strategies and initiatives that the district engaged in to meet the goals, and the subsequent progress made on those goals by the end of the school year. Districts must post their annual reports on their websites and submit the summary report to the MDE each year. A template format for districts to use to create their 2015-2016 WBWF summary has been posted to the WBWF website. Summaries using this template should be submitted by December 15, 2016, to
The WBWF website also has a rubric that the department will use to review the summaries and provide feedback to districts. Districts should use this rubric as a guide when completing the summaries. Please contact with any general questions related to the WBWF.

ACNW's five-year authorizing plan approved by MDE

MDE approved the five-year authorizing plan (AAP) submitted by our office in July. This lays out the policies and procedures that ACNW will follow with regards to authorizing activities. For more information, explore our AAP website page and take a look at the different parts of the plan. 

Important Board Information: Open Meeting Law

Charter school boards are public bodies subject to MN Open Meeting Law. As a reminder, in accordance with this law, a board member may participate and vote in a meeting in which s/he is not physically present only if:

  • All board members can see and hear one another (e.g., via Skype)
  • The public can see and hear all discussion and votes
  • At least one board member is physically present at the regular meeting location
  • Each location where a board member is present is open and accessible to the public
If the above conditions cannot be met, the board member is not considered present at the meeting for the purposes of determining a quorum and participation in board proceedings (i.e., voting).

Other meeting items: 
  1. Open Meeting Law requires that at least one printed copy of the board packet be available in the meeting room for public inspection.
  2. Before closing a meeting, a public body shall state on the record (on the agenda and in the minutes) the specific statutory grounds permitting the meeting to be closed and describe the subject to be discussed.
  3. We strongly encourage schools to post on the front door of the school on the day of the board meeting the time and location (room number) of the meeting. Members of the public who come to the school should be able to find the meeting with no trouble.
  4. Consider the date and time of your board meeting, and how it advances the spirit of transparency and an open public meeting. Can parents and community members attend at the scheduled time, and does the meeting time support parent and community board member participation?

Consider taking time during a board meeting to review as a group the information provided here and on our website, as well as other information related to MN Open Meeting Law.

Website Compliance

Following the most recent legislative session, schools are now required to post a calendar of standardized tests to be administered during the school year, including 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. See our website for an updated guide from ACNW

MN Statutes 120B.301(c): A district or charter school, before the first day of each school year, must publish on its Web site a comprehensive calendar of standardized tests to be administered in the district or charter school during that school year. The calendar must provide the rationale for administering each assessment and indicate whether the assessment is a local option or required by state or federal law.

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.
Professional Development Opportunities
  • MDE Discipline Scenarios:
    • Fall Pre-Session: September 21
    • Webinar Series: Ongoing September through November
  • Helping More High School Students Earn Free College Credit: November 5
More training opportunities and events can be found on our website.

MDE Fall Discipline Scenarios Webinar Series
This webinar series will use stories based on real-life scenarios as a model for exploring challenges traditionally thought of as discipline issues. Presenters will consider discipline in the context of challenges currently facing our schools, like suspension alternatives; achievement gap closure; and diversity, equity and restorative justice. The series will begin with a pre-session, and continue with sessions in September, October and November on different topics. Read more about these sessions here

Pre-series—Expulsions and Exclusions: The Process, Policies, Appeals, and the Minnesota Supreme Court Ruling in the Matter of Expulsion of AD (Minnesota 2016)
Wednesday, September 21 from 11:30am to 12:30pm (Registration)

Fall Discipline Scenarios 1: Short-term Disciplinary Removals
Wednesday, September 28 from 11:30am to 12:45pm (Registration)
Wednesday, September 28 from 3:30pm to 4:30pm (Registration)

Fall Discipline Scenarios 2: Nondiscriminatory Administration of School Discipline
Wednesday, October 12 from 11:30am to 12:45pm (Registration)
Tuesday, October 25 from 2:30pm to 3:30pm (Registration)

Fall Discipline Scenarios 3: Compliance with Title IX, Gender Inclusion Policies
Wednesday, November 9 from 11:30am to 12:45pm (Registration)
Thursday, November 17 from 3:30pm to 4:30pm (Registration)

Helping More High School Students Earn Free College Credit
Saturday, November 5 from 10am to 2pm at the Wilder Foundation in St. Paul
Looking to learn more about dual credit programs and increase participation in these programs at your schools? Join the Center for School Change, Minnesota Rural Education Association and partners to gather more information and to develop a plan to ensure more students, especially low income students and students of color, have access to these opportunities. Registration is required and lunch will be provided. 

Grant Opportunities
A small sampling of the many possibilities that are out there.

Target K-12 Field Trip Grant Program
Application due October 1, 2016

Target Corporation is accepting applications from education professionals for the Target Field Trip Grants program, an annual program designed to introduce, through field trips, K-12 students in the United States to museums, historical sites, and cultural organizations. For more information on this opportunity, 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.

A 2016 Teaching Tolerance survey of teachers found the rhetoric of this fall’s presidential campaign is causing fear and anxiety for students of color, immigrants and Muslim students, as well as making it difficult to effectively teach about civic engagement and political campaigns. Teaching Tolerance has put together a collection of materials on countering bias, civil activities, and respectful debate and discourse, among other relevant topics. Check it out here

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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