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ACNW Authorizer Update

June 23, 2016

Dear School Leaders and Board Members,
 
As educational commentator A. Cooper remarks every year, “School’s out for summer!” However, contrary to his expressed desire, it will not be out forever, so be sure to take advantage of the opportunities this summer offers.

We hope this summer allows you and your school’s staff to unwind and recharge before the upcoming school year. Please feel free to share any vacation highlights or photos with us at admin@auduboncharterschools.org.
 
Our desire is for this newsletter to reach all board members as well as staff in leadership roles at all charters schools authorized by ACNW. Please forward to your colleagues and ask them to subscribe if they are not receiving these updates.
 
Sincerely,

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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Upcoming Dates
  • August 1 & 2 – ACNW EE Workshop
  • August 10 & 11 – ACNW & NEO Teacher Workshop: “Student Centered Learning – Making the Move."
  • November 11 & 12 – ACNW Leaders Retreat
See below for additional information on all upcoming events.
ACNW Charter School Division Staffing Updates

As we shared in our May Authorizer Update, we are excited to announce that the ACNW Charter School Division is now fully staffed. Rhianon Sargent joined us on June 20 in the role of Charter School Authorizing Specialist. She will be the primary contact for a number of ACNW authorized schools and will conduct site visits, board observations, school evaluations, and much more. Maggie Kane started on June 13 as our new Strategic Initiatives Fellow during FY17. This position is sponsored through our partnership with the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) and the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. Maggie will learn all the ins and outs of charter school authorizing through this fellowship. To learn more about Maggie and the fellowship, check out this press release from NACSA.

Educational Equity Conference

On Monday and Tuesday this week, the entire ACNW CSD staff was fortunate to attend the 2016 Educational Equity in Action convening at the University of Minnesota. We were pleased to see a number of charter school folks at the event, including representation from at least one ACNW authorized school. The conference kicked off with two amazing speakers, Pedro Noguera and Jeff Duncan-Andrade, who framed the challenges and opportunities in front of us related to ensuring equitable opportunities and outcomes for all students. Their presentations were so powerful that I am providing links to versions that I found on YouTube in the hopes that you will take some time to watch them and explore more of their work and ideas: “Excellence through Equity” (Pedro Noguera) and “Growing Roses in Concrete” (Jeff Duncan-Andrade).

World's Best Workforce & Charter School Annual Report

The end of FY16 provides the opportunity to reflect on this past year’s successes and challenges, which in turn can be used as fodder for your school’s FY16 World’s Best Workforce (WBWF) & Charter School Annual Report. While the report must be submitted to ACNW as required by statute, it is also a vehicle for communicating with parents, staff, and other school stakeholders about the past year.
 
The due date to submit the FY16 report to ACNW and your school community is November 1, 2016. This deadline is one month later than in previous years so that you can incorporate additional academic data that is released by MDE.
 
Additionally, we are providing an updated FY16 template and guidance document along with an FY15 report trends summary to help facilitate completion of a quality report that meets all statutory and contractual requirements. Click on the links or connect to the Strategic Support section of our website to access these documents.
 
Moreover, the Minnesota Association of Charter Schools recently reviewed annual reports of all charter schools in the state and provides the following feedback and insights:

  • Requirements for annual reports are provided by law, and they encompass more than the information required in MDE’s WBWF Summary Report Template.
  • Annual reports should be complete and posted to the school’s website in a location that is easily accessible to parents or any other member of the public. (In other words, it should be easy to find and access the annual report.)
  • Innovation is a fundamental component of the charter concept and the annual report should report on your school’s innovative practices and programs. Innovation and creativity are designed to be a means to improving achievement and helping young people fulfill their academic, career, and life goals.

ACNW will hold webinars on Tuesday, July 26 at 10 A.M. and Tuesday, August 16 at 1:00 P.M. to walk through the guidance document with you. We strongly recommend that at least one person who will be involved in completing the report participate in one of the webinars. (More info to follow in early July). Finally, we strongly encourage you to review the FY15 WBWF & Annual Report Review and Feedback that was sent to your school in December 2015. This will help ensure that your school addresses any areas that were not compliant while continuing to build on areas of strength from last year’s report.

Call for Presenters

We are looking for great teachers to share effective strategies with other charter school teachers in the upcoming Student Centered Learning conference on August 10-11 sponsored by ACNW and Novation Education Opportunities.
 
We are looking for 15-20 teachers that could demonstrate a 10-15 minute mini-lesson showcasing strategies that increase student engagement such as:

  • Guided Reading
  • Interactive Read Alouds
  • Socratic Seminar
  • Math Problem Solving
  • Gradual Release Method
  • Use of Graphic Organizers or Mind Maps
  • Innovative Use of Technology
  • Project Based Learning
  • Hands On Math Lessons
  • Inquiry Based Learning
  • Teach Like a Champion
  • Or other specific strategies or instructional approaches that are highly effective and worthy of sharing!

Guiding questions: Does the strategy encourage student interaction? Does the strategy encourage students to think? Does the strategy encourage students to own their learning?
 
Encourage teachers to submit their proposal to the Conference Director, Rod Haenke, at roderickmhaenke@gmail.com.
 
Please forward this flyer to your great teachers!

FY17 Authorizer Fee

Earlier this month we sent out invoices for the first half of FY17’s authorizer fees. Your school’s FY17 authorizer fee is determined by the following formula which is defined by statute:
 
FY17 pupil units ⨯ 0.015 ⨯ $6,067 = FY17 Authorizer Fee*
 
*Note: If the number of pupil units is less than 66.7, the authorizer fee will be the minimum ($6,067). If the number of pupil units is greater than 266.7, the authorizer fee will be the maximum ($24,268).
 
We used enrollment projections found on the Minnesota Fund Reports at the MDE website, which are based on data provided by your school to MDE, to determine the projected fee for FY17. We appreciate your prompt payment of these invoices. Thank you.

ACNW FY17 Leaders Retreat

Please save the date for the FY17 ACNW Leaders Retreat. This year we will focus exclusively on leadership and governance, as a specific EE workshop has been created in lieu of an EE track at this year’s retreat (see below).

The dates of the retreat are Friday, November 11, to Saturday, November 12, at the Audubon Center of the North Woods in Sandstone. Look for more information in the coming month.

The Sounding Board â€“ Promoting Quality Charter School Governance

Periodically, ACNW shares insights on quality governance practices through our “Sounding Board” which is designed to support effective governance at your schools. This month we share with you a document developed by Aaliyah Hodge, our FY16 Strategic Initiatives Fellow, which focuses on Board Purpose and Training.

Professional Development Opportunities

Summer is coming, and with it a plethora of professional development opportunities! Check them out below and on our website.
 
ACNW Environmental Education Workshop: August 1-2
This year’s theme will focus on environmental justice. The workshop will be held at the Audubon Center in Sandstone. ACNW expects that each school will send one teacher. We will cover the cost (meals and lodging) of up to two teachers. Additional attendees may participate as space allows at $112/person. Additional information will be forthcoming. Pre-registration is required. A registration form can be downloaded here.
 
Student Centered Learning Conference: August 10-11
Co-sponsored by ACNW and Novation Education Opportunities

This conference is aimed at teachers, teacher leaders, and leadership teams who want to develop a more student centered learning culture at their school. This will be an opportunity for practitioners to share with and learn from one another. For information on presenting and registration, check out this flyer and contact Conference Director Rod Haenke at roderickmhaenke@gmail.com or 651-329-9172.
 
Board Training by MACS
The Minnesota Association of Charter Schools has a number of training options for board members. Check out their spring course catalogue and website for more information.

Board Training by MSBA: August 9 and 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.
 
Odyssey Academy and Excell Academy Co-Host Training: August 18
Two ACNW authorized schools invite other schools to join them to participate in training and discussion focused on concepts presented by keynote speaker Jim Bearden around unleashing your staff’s capacity. The training will be held at Odyssey Academy in Brooklyn Park, and all schools that attend will be asked to split the costs equitably. Contact Mindy Crowley, Executive Director of Odyssey for more information.
 
Aligning Math Curriculum to Standards
Odyssey Academy in Brooklyn Park will be spending time this summer aligning their math curriculum to state standards. They welcome other schools to join in the process and learn from one another. Contact Mindy Crowley, Executive Director of Odyssey for more information.
 
Check out ACNW’s Charter School Division website and ACNW’s main website for other upcoming opportunities.
Grant Opportunities
A small sampling of the many possibilities that are out there.

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.
 
1) 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.
 
2) 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, applicants 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.

Karma for Cara Foundation: Youth Microgrants
Applications accepted on an on-going basis.

The Karma for Cara Foundation is a nonprofit founded by 21-year-old Cara Becker and her family while she was undergoing treatment for leukemia at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. Cara and her two brothers began volunteering at a young age as part of their family’s commitment to community service. She and her family saw a tremendous need to help support other patients and their families who were also challenged by cancer. Tragically, Cara passed away four months after her diagnosis, yet her wish to help others through K4C lives on with the support of an ever-growing circle of family and friends.

As part of an effort to promote and support youth voluntarism, K4C started a microgrant program in fall 2014 to encourage kids 18 and under to apply for a grant of between $250 and $1,000 to complete service projects in their communities. Examples of fundable projects include but are not limited to turning a vacant lot into a community garden, rebuilding a school playground, and helping senior citizens get their homes ready for winter. Grants will be distributed as gift cards to home goods stores, office supply stores, grocery food chains, and toy stores.

For complete program guidelines, profiles of previous projects, and application instructions, visit the Karma for Cara Foundation website.

Good Sports Accepting Applications for Sports Equipment Program
Applications reviewed on a rolling basis.

Good Sports helps lay the foundation for healthy, active lifestyles by providing athletic equipment, footwear, and apparel to disadvantaged young people nationwide. By working closely with teams, coaches, and community leaders across the United States, the organization is able to focus on the respective needs of each individual program and help offset the main factors causing the greatest challenges.

Good Sports is accepting applications from organizations and schools for equipment, apparel, and footwear for a wide range of sports. Organizations that are approved will have access to equipment, apparel, and footwear inventory for a two-year period. During that time, organizations can make up to six separate donation requests — as long as need is well documented, donations will be granted.

See the Good Sports website for complete program guidelines, an FAQ, and application instructions.
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.
Spike cools off on a 90 degree day in Sandstone. ("I'll take a porcupine, on the rocks.")
How many selfies would a woodchuck take if a woodchuck could take selfies?
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