ACNW Authorizer Update

June 19, 2013

Dear Directors and Board Chairs,

Congratulations on the completion (or near completion) of the 2012-2013 school year.  I’m sure this is a time for recharging as you reflect on the successes and challenges of the past school year, while wrapping up FY13 administrative/operational responsibilities and focusing squarely on the upcoming school year. Here at ACNW we find ourselves in a similar position, working to complete all school evaluations, updating information and providing reports to MDE, and setting into motion the systems and structures that we will implement in FY14. 
 
One critical improvement in FY14 will be the introduction and implementation of EPICENTER, our new document and compliance management system. Not only will this streamline school and authorizer reporting, but also it will provide a clear calendar to support your schools’ administrative and governance work. We will begin initial rollout over the next 6-8 weeks, and work towards full implementation by early winter. Ongoing communications will be forthcoming.
 
I hope you all have some time to enjoy the summer!

Sincerely,

David & the ACNW Charter School Team
ACNW Charter School Division
43 Main Street SE, Suite 238
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55414
(612) 331-4181
UPCOMING DATES
FY14 Leadership Retreat at ACNW: November 1 & 2, 2013
These dates were chosen based on feedback from you. Please put it on your calendar. As per your contract, attendance is required by your school. More information will be forthcoming.

FY14 Board Meeting Schedule
Please submit your FY14 school board meeting schedule by July 15, 2013. Be sure to update this on your school's website.

FY14 Authorizer Fees
Your school's FY14 authorizer fees are due by Monday, September 16.

FY14 BUDGET
Minnesota Statute requires that your board approve an FY14 operating budget by June 30, 2013. Please be sure to send the approved budget to ACNW and your liaison no later than July 15. In addition, the budget must include information on the projected ADM and WADM on which the budget is based.
FY14 AUTHORIZER FEES
We sent out FY14 authorizer fee invoices in late May. If the projections used for these fees are not accurate, you must update EDRS (as the authorizer fee is based on data from the MDE website) and notify Erin to watch for an update. Please contact Erin if you have questions about the invoice, or need a reissue.
EPICENTER: DOCUMENT & COMPLIANCE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
Next school year, ACNW and its authorized schools will begin to use a new tool for data collection and management. Called Epicenter, this system will simplify communication and make document collection more efficient for both. Developed by authorizers and charter schools in Michigan, Epicenter streamlines school and authorizer reporting. ACNW will work with Epicenter to develop a master calendar of reporting requirements that aligns to MDE requirements and notifies school leaders of deadlines.
 
We will be setting up training dates in late July/early August. ACNW will host two in-person gatherings – one up North and one in the Cities – during which Epicenter staff will provide training via webinar. ACNW staff also be available to work through implementation questions and concerns. Epicenter will also offer additional webinars and ongoing training and support. Again, the tool and trainings are provided to your school at no additional cost.
 
To learn more about Epicenter, visit www.epicenternow.org.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
The legislative session has adjourned and the education omnibus bill has passed. A number of elements that impact charters were changed including but not limited: the funding formula, all-day kindergarten, early education funding, special education funding, state testing for high school students, graduation requirements, loss of learning year funds and adjusting the purposes of charter schools to articulate that the primary purpose of charter schools is to increase pupil learning and student achievement. The final passed bill is HF630.

In addition, the Minnesota Association of Charter Schools has published short reference guides regarding specific legislative changes. The 2013 Legislative Changes Implementation Guidance Series can be found on the MACS website.
NETWORKING & SHARING
The following link provides contact information for directors and board chairs of all schools authorized by ACNW: ACNW Directors and Board Chairs. Connecting with your colleagues is a great way to learn, share and stay informed.
 
Please contact Erin if you have updated contact information or need help using the document.

Connecting with your colleagues is a great way to learn, share, and stay informed.
GRANT OPPORTUNITIES
We will do our best to keep you apprised of grant opportunities that come by our desk. Here are some recent ones we have seen:

All ACNW-authorized charter schools 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 an application. Your project must be approved and funds released prior to the trip.

Captain Planet Foundation: The Captain Planet Foundation primarily makes grants to U.S. schools and organizations with an annual operating budget of less than $3 million. Grants are made for activities that conform to the mission of the Captain Planet Foundation, which is to promote and support high-quality educational programs that enable children and youth to understand and appreciate our world through learning experiences that engage them in active, hands-on projects to improve the environment in their schools and communities. Deadlines September 30 for spring/summer projects and January 31 for fall/winter projects.

Project Learning Tree GreenWorks! Grant: Do you have an idea for a school/community native plant garden, a forest improvement project, a streamside restoration plan, a recycling program, or energy conservation project for your students? Grants are available in two award levels: up to $1,000 and up to $3,000 for registered PLT GreenSchools. Project proposals are due September 30, 2013.

Westinghouse N-Vision a Brighter Future Grant: This grant is awarded to schools that exhibit creativity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education of K-12 students. Four schools total (includes elementary, middle, and high schools) will be awarded $1,000 each for any creative project dealing with STEM education. The project must be completed during the school year. The winning schools will also receive an additional $1,000 to be put toward any science department enhancement for the school. Applications must be received no later than Friday, November 15, 2013.
Environmental Education News & Updates
Reminders
 

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.

To book an EE program at the Audubon Center, please contact Clarissa Ellis, the Center K-12 Education 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.
EE Teacher Training Opportunities
The Jeffers Foundation will come to your school, without charge, and train your staff. Visit their website for more information.
FREE Contact Hours, EE Training
Volunteer to assist at the Audubon Center of the North Woods summer youth camps or single-day programs. Earn contact hours as you train! FREETraining, meals, and lodging provided.
Copyright © 2013 Audubon Center of the North Woods Charter School Division, All rights reserved.
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