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ACNW Authorizer Update

September 16, 2014

Dear School Leaders and Board Members,
 
The first day of fall is only a week away, and the feel of autumn is noticeably in the air. We hope your school year has started stupendously and we look forward to hearing from you about your school’s September successes. Please take time to review this Authorizer Update closely, and as always, let us know if you have any questions or comments about its contents.
 
We are attempting to include all board members of all charters schools authorized by ACNW. Please reach out to your colleagues to get them signed up if they are not receiving our updates. Thank you.

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.
Leaders Retreat
Thursday, November 13, starting at 12:00 PM, through
Friday, November 14, ending at 4:30 PM

 
We are looking forward to a great retreat to build on last year's success. This year we will emphasize training in the areas of governance and environmental education in addition to offering learning opportunities in other areas. As a reminder, you are required to send representation from your school to this event. As in the past, we ask that each school send a member of its leadership team, the board chair or another officer, and its EE contact.
 
As we did last year, the first day will focus on EE. While all are welcome to attend Day 1, activities and discussion are geared towards improving your school’s capacity to implement environmental education programming. Day 2 will be focused on leadership and governance.

Please register (one registration per participant) at your earliest convenience. The deadline for registration is Friday, October 24.
 
Relevant documents are available at these links: Leaders Retreat Flyer, Draft Agenda, and Registration Form
Annual Report and World's Best Workforce Annual Report

On Friday, September 12, Commissioner Brenda Cassellius sent an e-mail to all superintendents and charter school directors regarding the World’s Best Workforce (WBWF) Report. In the e-mail she indicated that:
 
Prior to the 2013-2014 school year, districts were required to submit the ”Annual Report on Curriculum, Instruction, and Student Achievement” to the commissioner by October 1 each year. That report is no longer required. The 2013 legislature passed a law that replaced the “Annual Report on Curriculum, Instruction, and Student Achievement” with the current reporting requirements under the World’s Best Workforce (WBWF) statute. Under WBWF, districts are now required to send a summary of their WBWF report to the commissioner “in the form and manner the commissioner determines.”
 
Please note that the “Annual Report on Curriculum, Instruction and Student Achievement” is different from the Charter School Annual Report. Charter Schools are still required to complete the Annual Report per MN Stat. 124D.10.
 
ACNW has provided guidance on completing this report. To further support the development of quality annual reports that serve the school, public, and authorizer, we held a webinar on August 13 which was recorded. If you would like to watch the recorded version of the webinar, please contact Mike .
 
Consistent with the Commissioner’s message in her September 12 e-mail, we would like you to include your Multiple Measurements Rating (MMR), Focus Rating (FR), and accompanying designations in your Annual Report and WBWF Report. In addition, MCA growth data, proficiency index data and other AMAO, NCLB or other relevant academic data should be included.
 
As such, we are extending the deadline to submit your Annual Report. To ensure your board approves the Annual Report prior to its submission to ACNW, we have moved the deadline to October 17, 2014 or the day after your October board meeting (whichever is later).  

Furthermore, as per statute, 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.
Safe and Supportive Schools Act: Anti-Bullying Policy

ACNW is requiring that all schools provide to ACNW a policy that meets statutory requirements by December 1, 2014. This must be uploaded to Epicenter. MDE has now completed this draft model policy which is subject to approval by the School Safety and Technical Assistance Council at their first meeting on Tuesday, September 16. 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 encourage you to communicate with students and families regarding this new policy as soon your school board has approved it.

Please contact David if you have questions.
Professional Development Opportunity
This opportunity was passed on to us. You may find it interesting.
 
Ready for the Rigor of Grade Three:
Ensuring That All Children Learn to Read
A complimentary professional development seminar with breakfast and lunch
Tuesday, October 21: 9:30 AM – 1:00 PM
 
Location: Pazzaluna Urban Italian
360 St. Peter Street
Saint Paul, MN
Free valet parking available
 
This presentation addresses how literacy develops, what brain-based research tells us about reading, and what we can do to teach all students to read. It will be followed by an overview of Superkids, a highly motivating K–2 reading program with proven results. Presented by Jane Vallin and hosted by Mary Eret.
 
Space is limited. Please RSVP by October 15.
www.rowlandreading.org/rsvp/stpaul
 
Questions? Ask Colette Heiser:
colette.heiser@rowlandreading.org or 855-871-5404
Scam Alert!: Scholastic School Supply

Be on the lookout for false invoices from Scholastic School Supply. Schools across the country, including at least one school authorized by ACNW, have received false invoices in the amount of $647.50 for a bulk purchase of paperback workbooks that were never requested or received. Schools that receive the invoice are urged to contact the Federal Trade Commission at (877) 382-4357 or www.ftc.gov and the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org, as well as the Minnesota Attorney General at www.ag.state.mn.us and your local postal inspections office.

Scholastic School Supply has no connection to Scholastic, Inc.
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.
 
The Ag Literacy Grant Program’s overarching goal is to provide cash awards to K-12 practicing educators to encourage them to bring agriculture and food systems education “to life” by effectively integrating related content into their classroom or school. Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom (MAITC) is a unique public/private partnership between the MAITC Foundation and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. For 2015 they have budgeted $10,000 for grants. First time applicants will have priority for funding. Grants can be used for field trips but MAITC does not pay for student entry fees to field trip sites. Due January 15, 2015.
 
Target Corporation is accepting applications from education professionals for the Target Field Trip Grants program. Grants are intended to fund visits by K-12 students to art, science, and cultural museums; community service or civic projects; career enrichment opportunities; and other events or activities away from school that provide a demonstrable learning experience for students. Grants are available for field trips taking place between February and December 2015. Visit the Target website for complete program guidelines and to access the application form. Applications are due by noon, September 30.
 
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 and helping them reach for their highest goals.
  1. Dare to Dream Grants are awarded to girls between the age of ten and high school graduation to help cover the costs of art, cultural, leadership, educational, and outdoor/wilderness experiences that allow girls to begin exploring the outside world and their own abilities, values, and strengths in the process. 
  2. Let Me Play Grants are awarded to girls between the age of ten and high school graduation to fund sport, athletic, and dance equipment, or participation fees and give them the opportunity to be part of a team, build strength and confidence, and push themselves further — on the field and off. 
Visit the Ann Bancroft Foundation for complete program guidelines, stories about past grantees, and application instructions. Deadline October 15.
 
The Lowe's Charitable and Education Foundation has announced the opening of its Spring 2014 Toolbox for Education, which supports projects that encourage parent involvement in local schools and build stronger community spirit. One-year grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded in support of projects that have a permanent impact on a school community such as a facility enhancement (indoor or outdoor) or landscaping/clean-up project. In addition, Toolbox grants can be used as part of a large-scale project like the construction of playground as long as the funds are used to complete a phase of the project within twelve months of the grant award. Complete application instructions and program guidelines, as well as lists of past grant recipients, are available on the Toolbox for Education website. Due October 15, but if you’re interested, act fast! The application process will be closed after fifteen hundred applications have been received.
 
Project Learning Tree advances environmental literacy and promotes stewardship through excellence in environmental education, professional development, and curriculum resources that use trees and forests as “windows on the world.” PLT is accepting applications from schools and nonprofit organizations for environmental service-learning projects through its GreenWorks! grants program, which helps students make their schools greener and healthier by, for example, implementing recycling programs, conserving water and energy, improving air quality, establishing school gardens and outdoor classrooms, and integrating these projects into the curriculum. The deadline to apply is September 30.
 
You can subscribe to the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Minnesota Grant Alert for ongoing updates regarding Minnesota grant opportunities. In addition, you can review the Minnesota Council on Foundations website for upcoming opportunities.
AmazonSmile
Register with AmazonSmile to receive donations generated by your school’s supporters every time they shop with Amazon.
 
AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon that lets customers experience the same shopping features of Amazon.com, the difference being that when someone shops on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to the eligible charitable organization of his or her choice. Encourage your school’s supporters that use Amazon.com to start using AmazonSmile, designating your school as the charity of their choice.
 
In order to receive these donations, your school must be registered with AmazonSmile (a few schools are already registered). For more information on how to register, visit the AmazonSmile Org Central website.
Networking & Sharing

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

Congratulations to the following schools as they begin these milestone years of serving students in Minnesota:
  • 10 Years – Metro Schools (Minneapolis)
  • 10 Years – Northern Lights Community School (Warba)
  • 10 Years – Swan River Montessori Charter School (Monticello)
  • 15 Years – Aurora Charter School (Minneapolis)
  • 15 Years – Crosslake Community School (Crosslake)
  • 15 Years – Riverway Learning Community (Winona)
And special congratulations to the World Learner School, entering its twentieth year of operation since opening in 1995!
  • 20 Years – The World Learner School (Chaska)
In other news...

AFSA High School (Vadnais Heights) has been selected as a National Chapter Finalist, Model of Innovation -Student Division at this year's 87th Annual National FFA Convention. AFSA is one of eleven finalists for this award out of hundreds of applicants across the nation. The National Chapter award recognizes a chapter's excellence in the standards of development as outlined by the National FFA. In order to become a finalist for this award, a chapter must show significant student development in the areas of Leadership, Healthy Lifestyles, Career Success, Scholarship and Personal Growth. AFSA will also be awarded the 3-Star Chapter Award by the National FFA Organization. AFSA will be recognized on stage at the National FFA Convention this October in Louisville, KY.
 
Excell Academy (Brooklyn Park) was one of only twenty-five schools awarded a recycling grant from Hennepin County. The school has set up a waste disposal station in the lunch room where each student separates his or her waste into a bin for compostable items and a bin for trash items. The students are currently being monitored by a trained adult, but Excell plans to have the students learn what items can be composted so they can eventually take ownership of the process.
 
Two Riverway Learning Community (Winona) students were honored at the inaugural “30 Seconds in Winona” film festival on August 23 – a “mini” film festival consisting of 30-second films made by members of the Winona community. The pair created a 30-second stop motion film using LEGO toy bricks. Their film, “The Race,” won first place in the “14 & Under” category, and also won the overall People’s Choice Award.
 
Please let us know about any great things happening at your school that we can share with others.
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 fall. Additional events can be found at the main Audubon Center of the North Woods website.
Sunsets on Grindstone Lake are always stunning, but are especially impressive with rain on the horizon. We hope the sunsets will be equally impressive during the Leaders Retreat.
Spike the Porcupine poses with some donated zucchini, while his keeper enjoys some zucchini bread. Spike seems a little more interested in the bread than the slice of zucchini.
Copyright © 2014 Audubon Center of the North Woods Charter School Division, All rights reserved.
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