ACNW Authorizer Update — February 2017
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Authorizer Update
February 16, 2017

Dear School Leaders and Stakeholders,
 
Happy February! We hope you have been taking advantage of the unseasonably warm weather to spend time outdoors with your students and to talk with them about the importance of protecting our environment. If you are looking for ways to gain skills in effectively communicating about climate change, we invite you to join Climate Generation for their Institute for Non-formal Climate Change Education on March 13­–15, 2017 at the Audubon Center of the North Woods. ACNW will reimburse the $180 registration fee, which includes room and board, for up to two teachers from each of our authorized schools. We will also contribute up to $200 of the cost for a sub. See more details about this opportunity below.
 
This edition of the Authorizer Update also includes several examples of exemplary annual reports from our authorized schools. These reports vary in style and length, but all meet the statutory requirements for annual reports and provide comprehensive overview of the schools’ 2016-2017 academic year. If you are in the process of revising your school’s annual report, these may provide helpful examples of how to approach certain sections. Additional annual report resources can be found in the strategic support section of our website.


Thank you for all that you do,

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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In this Authorizer Update:
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Check out ACNW's 2016 annual report exemplars 

ACNW has identified several schools as having exemplary annual reports from their 2015–2016 school years. These reports communicate information using a variety of different approaches and layouts, but all succeed in painting a picture of their school's academic year and meeting all statutory requirements for annual reports. If you're currently in the process of revising your school's annual report and are looking for examples, check these out on the strategic support section of our website. They will also remain up on our website through the year and will be available in the fall when it comes time to prepare 2016–2017 annual reports. 

Does my school have to respond to data requests from SmartProcure?

Staff at the Minnesota Association of Charter Schools have been receiving inquiries about if and how schools should respond to data requests being sent from a company in Florida called SmartProcure. The short answer to the question is yes, but how to respond depends on the nature of the request and the information available.



Does our school have to respond to the data request from SmartProcure?
The short, long and legal answer is YES. Charter schools are subject to Minnesota’s Data Practices Law (MN Statute 13). It does not matter what organization or individual submits an Official Data Request, an institution subject to the Statute must respond.
 
How do we deal with the SmartProcure request given that we do not have the information available electronically and it would take an enormous amount of time to get the data together and put it in electronic format?
If the information is readily available, the school must send the information requested. If the information is NOT readily available and the school would have to spend time to gather the information and put in it a format that could be electronically transmitted, the school can respond to the request by sending SMARTPROCURE an estimate of the cost to gather the information and formatted so it can be electronically transmitted. The estimate can include staff time (# of hours x compensation) and reasonable copying charges.Once the estimated cost is sent to SmartProcure, it is their decision whether to pursue the Data Request. If they do, then the school must follow through in fulfilling the request.

 
If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact Eugene Piccolo.
Title compliance and monitoring tools available

ACNW encourages schools that receive funding from and implement activities related to Title I-A and Title II-A to review MDE’s Compliance Guide and Monitoring Tool, which is available on MDE’s website. MDE periodically reviews schools for Title compliance, and taking time to look over compliance systems and processes now will help to make that process go as smoothly as possible if your school is selected.

Professional Development and Learning Opportunities More training opportunities and events can be found on our website.


MACS Winter Board Training
The Minnesota Association of Charter Schools (MACS) has posted its winter 2017 board training schedule. Topics covered include Charter School Finance, Governance, and Employment. We encourage you to check out the schedule of classes here


Institute for Non-formal Climate Change Education
Join Climate Generation to learn skills for effectively communicating about climate change at the Audubon Center of the North Woods. The Institute for Non-formal Climate Change Education is geared toward anyone interested in learning skills on how to communicate about climate change in non-formal educational settings. You will engage in climate change activities and workshops, and get a chance to explore the beautiful north woods (as well as 24 clock hours). One full day will be presented by NNOCCI, National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation. 
 
ACNW will reimburse the registration fee ($180 per individual, which includes room and board) for up to two teachers from each of its authorized schools, as well as up to $200 of the cost for a sub. To be reimbursed for the sub and registration fee, you must submit a copy of the Institute invoice, documentation that a sub was hired, and a one-page reflection outlining how you plan to share what you learned with other educators, and how you will use what you learned in your classroom. These must be submitted by June 30, 2017.


Contact Climate Generation if you have questions about the Institute; contact Erin if you have questions about the reimbursement process.

Webinar: The Rights of Students with Disabilities in Charter Schools
The National Charter School Resource Center has uploaded a recorded webinar on the rights of students with disabilities in public charter schools. Key areas covered include recruitment, admission and enrollment, accessibility, and free and appropriate education in the least restrictive environment under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Act. The webinar was hosted by the Office of Innovation and Improvement, with partnership from the Office for Civil Rights and the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services and is based on guidance released in December 2016.
Grant Opportunities
A small sampling of the many possibilities that are out there.

Directpackages.com Classroom Technology Grants
Applications due February 24, 2017 at  10:59pm CST
The way we learn and experience things is ever changing. As technology rapidly introduces and expedites new ways of learning, classrooms often find it difficult to keep up. Directpackages.com is distributing $1,000 grants to three teacher to spend on classroom technology to promote learning. For more information and the application, click here. Recipients will be announced by 10:59pm CST on March 10, 2017.


Fender Music Foundation Instrument Grants
The Fender Music Foundation awards instruments and equipment to music programs, including in-school music classes. The organization is currently distributing lightly used or blemished acoustic guitars, electric guitars, acoustic-electric guitars, bass guitars and related equipment. Other musical instruments, including woodwind instruments, brass instruments and keyboards sometimes become available. For full eligibility information and instructions on submitting a proposal, visit the Foundation’s website. Grant proposals are reviewed throughout the year.  

Voya Foundation STEM and Financial Literacy Grants
The Voya Foundation seeks to ensure that youth have the STEM expertise necessary to compete in the 21st century workforce and the financial literacy skills to make smart decisions that lead to a secure retirement. Through its grant program, it funds a range of activities including strategic partnerships aligned with K-8 STEM education and K-12 STEM teacher training, and grade 9-12 financial literacy with a focus on life’s financial milestones. For more information, visit their website and review their grant guidelines. Grant proposals are reviewed throughout the year.  
Resources
Did you know immigrant children cannot be denied a U.S. public education?
In June 1982, the Supreme Court issued Plyler v. Doe, a landmark decision holding that states cannot constitutionally deny students a free public education on account of their immigration status. By a 5-4 vote, the Court found that any resources which might be saved from excluding undocumented children from public schools were far outweighed by the harms imposed on society at large from denying them an education. Read more about it in this fact sheet. For more support see the Guide for Educators and School Support Staff working with Immigrant and Refugee Children.

Teaching Tolerance Spring Webinar Series
Teaching Tolerance’s spring semester webinar lineup is here! The schedule includes the four-part Equity Matters series, which includes discussions about empathy, family engagement, implicit bias and equity literacy. They will also continue the conversation they started in the fall about the Black Lives Matter movement with a webinar on the movement’s education platform and information about how to bring the topic into the classroom.

  
Equity Matters: Confronting Implicit Bias
Tuesday, February 21, 2017—3:30pm (45min)
 
Equity Matters: Understanding Equity Literacy
Tuesday, February 28, 2017—3:30pm (45min)
NETWORKING AND SHARING
 
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.


Athena the Barred Owl is ready for her closeup.
Copyright © 2017 Audubon Center of the North Woods Charter School Division, All rights reserved.


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