ACNW Authorizer Update

ACNW Authorizer Update

February 14, 2013

Dear Directors & Board Chairs,

Here is our first, redesigned authorizer update. Please review for important and timely information. I hope you were greeted by the same beautiful morning that I experienced after our snowfall last night.


David & the ACNW Charter School Team
ACNW Charter School Division
43 Main Street SE, Suite 238
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 331-4181

Networking & Sharing
We often receive questions about how other schools and boards do things. We hope that you will reach out directly to directors and/or board chairs of other schools. To help facilitate that networking, we are providing you with the contact information for each school director and board chair of schools authorized by ACNW: ACNW Directors & Board Chairs.

At the bottom of this Google spreadsheet, you will notice two tabs: one for School Directors and one for School Board Chairs. We will continually update this document. Please advise us if you notice any errors for your school.

Please contact Erin with any questions regarding this document, or how to use it.
Early Learning Programs
Does your school current have a pre-school or other early childhood program? Or is your school interested in developing one? MDE has recently announced guidelines for schools and authorizers who wish to seek official MDE recognition of their instructional programs for three- to five-year-olds. Upon official recognition by MDE, a charter school may be eligible to receive additional funding for these programs. These guidelines outline, among other things, that any such program must be part of the charter school board’s written contract with the authorizer, and depending on the type of program it must be approved by MDE as part of the Charter School Authorizer Affidavit. Both must happen by June 30, 2014. Please find additional information on the MDE Charter School WebsiteIn addition, you will find information about a Webinar that MDE is hosting on February 19.

If your school does run an Early Learning Program currently, please contact Erin so we can update our database and plan for any needed supplemental affidavit submissions to MDE.
Teacher Relicensure Committee (CEU Committee)
A number of individuals have indicated an interest in serving on this committee and it looks as though it may re-form. Additional information will follow in the next week or so.
Academic Performance Evaluations
ACNW is currently completing academic performance evaluations for each of the schools we authorize. Many of the schools have already seen either a draft or final version of this evaluation, and some have had presentations to their board. We hope to complete all evaluations and board presentations by March. These evaluations are meant to provide information to ACNW and the school as to how the school in performing in relation to its contract goals and expectations.
Academic Goals
Through the process of performing the academic performance evaluations, we have found that many goals in the contracts between schools and ACNW are unclear. These goals are critical as they form the basis for making charter renewal decisions, and should form the basis upon how a school reports on its academic performance. In some cases these goals are: a) outdated; b) unmeasurable; c) vague; d) not SMART; e) not reported on by the school; or f) otherwise hard to use as a basis for evaluation. In the academic performance evaluation report provided to your school, you will see indication of any updates or improvements that may need to be made to your school’s goals. In the case of goal changes, we will have to amend the contract between the school and ACNW. We will provide specific next steps regarding goals to each school in the coming weeks.
Financial & Operations Performance Evaluations
Now that FY12 audits have all been submitted, ACNW has begun financial performance evaluations for each of your schools. You will see drafts of these in the coming weeks. In addition, we will be doing operations evaluations in the spring that will include a site visit. Like the academic performance evaluations, the financial and operations performance evaluations are meant to provide information to ACNW and the school as to how the school is performing in relation to expectations.
FY14 Contract Renewals
Twenty of the 34 schools authorized by ACNW will be in their renewal year in FY14. We will be holding a workshop for these schools this spring to ensure clarity about the process and expectations. More information to come.
Document Submissions
Please ensure that all documents you submit to ACNW (Annual Reports, Board Documents, Financial Reports, etc...) are in PDF format, for two reasons. These documents are part of your school’s archive and should not be editable, and PDFs are smaller files so they save room on our server. If you have questions about how to do this, please email Erin.
Environmental Education

EE Teacher Training Opportunities
  • The Jeffers Foundation will come to your school, without charge, and train your staff. Visit their website for more information.
  • Volunteer to assist at the Audubon Center of the North Woods summer youth camp, Forkhorn II, July 29 though August 1, 2013, and earn contact hours as you train! FREE. Training, meals, and lodging provided.
  • Participate in the Steger Foundation Summer Institute, June 16-18, 2013, at the Audubon Center, $70 all inclusive. 

Funding Opportunities
  • St. Paul area schools have access to Eco Lab scholarship funds for a visit to the Audubon Center. Contact Melonie for an application. 
  • All charter schools, as announced at the Leaders' Retreat, can apply for up to $500 in funds to use to meet their EE match on any approved field trip, activity, or supplies. Contact Melonie for details beforehand.

EE Contact for Each School
Each school has been asked to designate an EE contact for the school. This can be a staff member, teacher, volunteer, or parent who will coordinate and lead the EE match efforts. This may include:
  • Serve as the direct contact for all standalone EE information from the Audubon Center;
  • Report EE efforts to the Audubon Center, e.g. photos of field trips taken, approval of EE grants, newsletters showing stewardship messages passed forward, etc.;
  • Coordinate the administration of the environmental literacy assessment;
  • Facilitate the school's efforts in completing the EE Mission Match elements the school submitted and approved on the EE mission match chart;
  • Write the EE section of the school's annual report;
  • Represent the school and supply information on any collaborative EE grants that the Audubon Center collectively writes and in which the school chooses to participate;
  • Attend one day of EE-related training provided at the Audubon Center in the future.
Your one stop shop for all things EE related is the Green Schools Coalition website.

Your school will be evaluated on meeting the EE mission match during your annual site visits and self-reporting in the annual report. This evaluation will be based on the EE mission match chart. If you have questions, or would like to receive a copy of the chart, please contact Melonie.

At the Leaders Retreat in November, each school received a Wildlife Counts program. In order to use the program, you must enter the code found on the back of the CD envelope.

To book an EE program at the Audubon Center, please contact Clarissa Ellis, the Center K12 coordinator. For questions related to EE or EE mission match, please contact Melonie. The Charter School Division Field Office (David, Shane, & Erin) oversee all other elements.
Copyright © *|2013|* Audubon Center of the North Woods Charter School Division, All rights reserved.
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