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ACNW Authorizer Update

April 19, 2016

Dear School Leaders and Board Members,
 
Earth Day 2016 will formally be celebrated this Friday, April 22, but we at ACNW believe that every day provides an opportunity for individuals and communities to take action to restore and protect the natural environment. That being said, it’s also important to set aside time to recognize EE efforts at your school, celebrate accomplishments, and plant the seeds for future EE endeavors. We hope you and your schools have a wonderful Earth Day 2016. Please share photos or stories from your school’s Earth Day Celebration with us by sending them to admin@auduboncharterschools.org.  
 
For more information on Earth Day celebrations around the world, the history of the movement, and resources for you and your school, please visit the Earth Day Network website.

We are always hoping that this newsletter reaches 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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Academic Framework and Authorizing Plan Meeting

ACNW is hosting an optional meeting for school leaders to hear about and provide feedback on revisions to ACNW's Academic Performance Evaluation Framework and EE Performance Evaluation Framework as well as our next five-year Authorizing Plan.
 
Date: Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Time:  10AM - 2PM
Location: ACNW Charter School Division offices at Riverplace, 43 Main St. SE, Minneapolis
 
Lunch will be provided. The school must cover parking (on street or in ramp) and mileage. You must RSVP to admin@auduboncharterschools.org by May 1. Please include any dietary restrictions.
 
Please contact David for more information about the event.

ACNW Board Survey

If you are a board member in an ACNW authorized school, you will be receiving an e-mail from Aaliyah Hodge, our Strategic Initiatives Fellow. This e-mail will include a link to a survey which is designed to get a better understanding of board members' perceptions of their role on the board and the training that they are receiving in order to be successful. The results of this survey will be used to frame the upcoming issue of the Sounding Board, an ACNW governance resource, which explores identified needs and provides tools for continual improvement.

Your participation benefits the work of your school board and that of others as we increase our knowledge base and apply it to serving the schools within our portfolio. Responses are confidential. The survey contains 28 questions and may take 10-15 minutes to complete. Thank you in advance for your participation.

MDE District Reporting Calendar

While Epicenter helps provide your school with a calendar of many key reporting requirements, MDE has also created a calendar of reports and data submissions that are required of school districts, many of which also apply to charters. This information was provided in the April 1, 2016 MDE Superintendents Update. You may also find it useful:

A new District Reporting Calendar is available on [MDE’s] Data Submissions page. This reporting calendar lists major reports or data entry periods of significant importance that affect many or all districts, by month. When available, links are provided to web pages or forms that provide more information. Find additional forms, worksheets, questionnaires, applications and more on our website’s Forms page. This resource will be updated and improved as we receive feedback, and may not include all reporting requirements or data submissions the agency collects, as many relate to specific programs or a small subset of districts or schools.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

MDE is holding a number of stakeholder meetings over the coming months to gain feedback in preparation for the development of MN’s new accountability system now that No Child Left Behind is in our rearview mirror. Check out MDE’s ESSA webpage for information on these meetings and consider attending one or more to ensure your voice is heard.

Proposed Integration Rule

The Minnesota Department of Education was proposing new rules related to the Integration and Achievement Act that would have required that charter schools develop and implement a plan related to integration and achievement for all students. As part of the rule-making process, an administrative law judge (ALJ) held hearings in February and ruled on the proposed rule in March. In summary, the ALJ disapproved the proposed rule as a whole and to the extent that it included charter schools. She indicated that MDE exceeded its statutory authority in attempting to include charter schools in the proposed rule.

Desegregation Lawsuit

As we have already shared with you, a desegregation lawsuit was filed against the State of MN this past November alleging that state education policies, including charter schools, have created and are creating segregated public schools. Three charter schools: Higher Ground Academy (St. Paul); Friendship Academy of the Arts (Minneapolis); and Paladin Career and Technical High School (Blaine); and their parent representatives (collectively) went into court on March 1 with the goal of ensuring charter schools are protected during this lawsuit. These three schools along with the Minnesota Association of Charter Schools and others are requesting support from other charter schools to finance this legal effort. A number of charters have provided such support. For more information, please read the memo from the school leaders and Eugene Piccolo from MACS.

Technology Savings: TechSoup

Could your school benefit from stretching your technology dollars further? TechSoup may be the answer. TechSoup is a nonprofit that provides other nonprofits with software and hardware at discounted rates, including up-to-date products from Adobe and Microsoft. The mission of TechSoup is to build a dynamic bridge that enables design and implementation of technology solutions for a more equitable planet. For more information about TechSoup, check out their website.

Professional Development Opportunities

Nonprofits Assistance Fund has a number of upcoming professional development opportunities focused on nonprofit finance. While these opportunities are not specific to charter schools, they do provide valuable information on managing the finances of a nonprofit institution.
 
Upcoming trainings include a Fundamentals of Budgeting workshop on Tuesday, May 24, and a webinar on True Program Costs on Wednesday, June 15. Further details are provided on the CSD website.
 
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.

EE Mission Match Funds
ACNW is 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.
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.
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.
School Highlights

Target and UNICEF have partnered with Odyssey Academy to implement UNICEF’s Kid Power program at the school. The UNICEF Kid Power program promotes fitness and global citizenship in the classroom while giving students the chance to help others. Odyssey students received fitness bands that track physical activity which are then translated into points. The program not only benefits students by providing encouragement to exercise, but for every point students earn on their fitness bands, UNICEF will deliver therapeutic food packets to severely malnourished children across the world. Maya Moore, all-star forward for the Minnesota Lynx, was at that the kick-off event for this program, which was featured by WCCO News.
Woody the Eagle is an accomplished practitioner of bōjutsu.
Two stuffed bunny rabbits. One is filled with cotton, the other with plastic eggs.
Copyright © 2016 Audubon Center of the North Woods Charter School Division, All rights reserved.
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