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ACNW Authorizer Update

November 11, 2014

Dear School Leaders and Board Members,
 
The annual Leaders Retreat is only two days away! We hope you are as excited for this conference as tow truck drivers are for the recent snowfall. We look forward to catching up with you beneath the frosty evergreens on the Audubon Center grounds (or if frosty evergreens aren’t your thing, inside the dining hall by the cozy fireplace).
 
As always, please take time to review this Authorizer Update closely, and let us know if you have any questions or comments about its contents.
 
Sincerely,

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

Upcoming Dates
  • November 13 & 14 – Leaders Retreat: See below for additional information.
  • November 14 – Reauthorization Application Due (for schools in their reauthorization year)
  • December 1 – World's Best Workforce Summary Report due to ACNW (via Epicenter): See below for additional information.
Leaders Retreat
Thursday, November 13, starting at 12:00 PM, through
Friday, November 14, ending at 4:30 PM

 
We are looking forward to learning with and from you this Thursday and Friday. Please review the following documents to help you prepare for the conference and ensure a successful experience:
  • Driving directions and map to the Audubon Center – Please note: If you plan to use an online service for directions, we recommend Google Maps. It’s by far the most accurate.
  • Retreat agenda – You will receive a printed copy of the agenda when you arrive at the Center.
  • Packing list – This document also includes information about the Audubon Center’s alcohol, tobacco, and firearms policies. Additional items you may want to pack include: computer (laptop or tablet, for use during sessions); outdoor clothes (specifically winter gear); and comfortable shoes/boots for walking outside.
We’ve set up a webpage to aid with carpooling efforts. Please be in touch with driver/riders. Travel to and from the Audubon Center is your responsibility.
 
Additionally, we’ve applied to the Minnesota Board of School Administrators to receive administrative CEUs for the conference. Please let Mike know if you’d like to receive admin CEUs for your participation in the conference.
 
If you have questions, get lost on the road, or encounter an emergency, please call the Audubon Center Front Desk at (320) 245-2648 or Erin Anderson at (651) 788-3500.
 
See you soon!
The Sounding Board -- Promoting Quality Charter School Governance

ACNW is rolling out a new resource to support strong governance in your schools – The Sounding Board. As an authorizer of 32 schools throughout the state, ACNW is witness to larger trends in the charter school sector. Periodically, ACNW staff or evaluators will provide insights on these trends, and we plan on compiling these insights and delivering them to you through this new resource. Check out the first edition of The Sounding Board on the topic: Board Meeting Date Change or Cancelation.
World's Best Workforce Summary Report

Now that you have completed your Annual Report and World’s Best Workforce Annual Report, your school is required to submit a summary of your WBWF report to the Commissioner. While there is no statutory deadline for submission of the summary report, we are setting the date of December 1, 2014 as an Epicenter compliance task. You will need to submit this summary report to ACNW at the same time you submit it to MDE. MDE has provided guidance on creating this summary report. Once completed, your summary report should be sent to: MDE.WorldsBestWorkforce@state.mn.us and uploaded to Epicenter.
Anti-Bullying Policy

Below is a recent communication from MDE regarding the Anti-Bullying Policy:
 
Many school districts and charter schools have not yet submitted anti-bullying policies as required by the new Safe and Supportive Schools law. Please submit an electronic copy of your district’s or school’s policy to the Minnesota Education Commissioner. Please send the policy to Bill Mack.

As a reminder, the School Safety Technical Assistance Center provides a draft model anti-bullying policy. This draft model policy can provide guidance to districts. Download a draft model policy. Local school districts and charter schools may choose to adopt this policy or develop their own policy as long as it meets the criteria specified in the legislation.

We are finalizing the center’s website and will have additional resources for you in the future.


If you need help with creating a policy or other assistance, please contact Bill Mack by email or by phone at (651) 582-8406.
Teaching Tolerance

Teaching Tolerance is an initiative dedicated to reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations and supporting equitable school experiences for our nation's children. They provide free educational materials to teachers and other school practitioners in the U.S. Resources include their biannual e-magazine, curriculum kits, and other materials for the classroom. For more information or to access resources for your school, please visit their website.
EE Mission Match Funds

During the 2014-2015 school year, ACNW will again be offering up to $500.00 to each authorized school to help achieve your environmental education goals. 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. Download the application from the CSD website. Your project must be pre-approved before you can receive funding.
  2. Complete the application and return to Erin.
  3. Once approved, funds will be released to your school only 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.
Grant Opportunities
A small sampling of the many possibilities that are out there.

High School STEM/Problem-Solving Grants – InvenTeam Initiative
Initial application due Friday, February 27, 2015.
 
The InvenTeam initiative provides opportunities for high school students to cultivate their creativity, curiosity, and problem-solving abilities and apply lessons from science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects to the invention of technological solutions to real-world problems. Teams comprised of high school students, teachers, and mentors receive grants of up to $10,000 to invent technological solutions for a problem of their choice. Projects can range from assistive devices to environmental technologies and consumer goods. Applicants are encouraged to consider the needs of the world's poorest people (those earning $2 or less a day) when creating their projects.
 
Complete application and eligibility guidelines, including profiles of past InvenTeam grant winners, are available at the Lemelson-MIT Program website

Teach for the Planet Challenge – DonorsChoose.org and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation
 
DonorsChoose.org, in partnership with the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, is accepting submissions from K-12 teachers across the country for the Teach for the Planet Challenge. The program aims to support high-impact hands-on classroom projects that promote sustainability education.
 
DonorsChoose.org will choose sixty semifinalists, and an expert panel will narrow that down to three finalists per grade category (K-2, grades 3-5, grades 6-8, and high school). Finalists and their projects will be posted on Facebook in December 2014 and the public will be invited to vote for their favorite in each grade category. The teacher in each grade category whose project receives the most votes will receive a $10,000 DonorsChoose.org gift card to apply toward future project requests. Finalists in each category will receive $3,000 DonorsChoose.org gift cards, while semifinalists will receive $750 gift cards.
 
Visit the DonorsChoose.org website for complete program guidelines, an FAQ, and submission instructions.
 
School Library Grants – Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries
Due Monday, December 15, 2014.
 
The mission of the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries is to help school libraries encourage and foster a love of reading, support student learning, and make books and reading materials available to students who otherwise wouldn’t have access to them. To that end, grants of up to $7,000 will be awarded to help libraries expand, update, and diversify their book collections at schools where 85 percent or more of the students qualify for free or reduced lunches.
 
For complete program guidelines, an FAQ, and application instructions, visit the Laura Bush Foundation website.
Networking & Sharing

Please continue to reach out to your colleagues for resources, learning, and sharing. We hope you will continue to grow and will leverage the connections you will make at the upcoming Leaders Retreat. 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.
School Highlights

Noble Academy recently broke ground at their new school site in Brooklyn Park. The new facility will be over 95,000 square feet and will be able to accommodate over one thousand students (double the current school’s capacity!).

On November 7, Voyageurs Expeditionary School officially opened the school’s Middle School addition to house its middle school students. The classroom spaces the middle school students were previously using will be repurposed into Technology and Engineering classrooms.
 
North Lakes Academy will have a ribbon-cutting ceremony on November 20 to celebrate the grand opening of the NLA Husky Den – the school’s brand new, built from the ground up, gymnasium facility. Go Huskies!
Learning Opportunities at the Center and Elsewhere

Go to this link on the Audubon Charter Schools website for a number of learning opportunities available this year. Additional events can be found at the main Audubon Center of the North Woods website.
"Sunshine cannot bleach the snow, nor time unmake what poets (and charter school leaders) know."
By the end of the Leaders Retreat, you will be as wise as Athena... and probably just as snow-covered.
Copyright © 2014 Audubon Center of the North Woods Charter School Division, All rights reserved.
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