ACNW Authorizer Update

May 7, 2013

Dear Directors and Board Chairs,

Happy spring (for real this time)! Please review this email for important and timely information from your authorizer. We're gearing up for site visit season and looking forward to seeing some of you soon. As the school year winds down, we hope the final weeks are productive and successful.

Sincerely,

David & the ACNW Charter School Team
ACNW Charter School Division
43 Main Street SE, Suite 238
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55414
(612) 331-4181
TEACHER RELICENSURE COMMITTEE (CEU COMMITTEE)
You should have been receiving information regarding the CEU Committee and the process for submitting documents from Peter Scholtes, a teacher at Academic Arts High School. For more information, email Peter.
FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE EVALUATIONS
As indicated on previous authorizer updates, we are continuing our work on financial performance evaluations for all schools. These are based on FY12 financial audits along with monthly information we collect from boards and schools directors. You may receive correspondence requesting information or clarification if you have not already.
OPERATIONS PERFORMANCE EVALUATIONS AND SITE VISITS
Your school liaisons are beginning work on the Operational Performance Evaluation. This may include a site visit for your school if your liaison has not yet visited you this year (or even if your liaison has visited your school). Follow this link to view the evaluation document we will be using. This document is based on what we did last year, with some updates. Expect to hear from your liaison soon to schedule a visit or to request information.
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 the document collection more efficient for both. Developed by authorizers and charter schools in Michigan, Epicenter streamlines school and authorizer reporting. Specifically, ACNW will work with Epicenter to develop a master calendar of reporting requirements that aligns to MDE requirements and notifies school leaders and board chairs of deadlines. It is going to be awesome! Not only does it provide the master calendar you have always wanted but never had, but also it will ease transitions for new staff (at the school and ACNW) and help schools and ACNW find the documents we are looking for quickly and easily. In addition, it will help you manage your board processes. And all at no cost to your school!
 
As the Charter School Division moves through the process of implementing the system this spring, we will ask for volunteers to prototype and provide feedback on the setup. We are planning to be fully up and running by the beginning of next school year. To learn more about Epicenter, visit www.epicenternow.org.
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.
FY14 BUDGET
As you know, MN Statute requires that your board approve an FY14 operating budget by June 30, 2013. Please be sure to send that approved budget to your liaison once it is approved. In addition, please ensure that the budget includes information on the projected ADM on which the budget is based.
FY14 AUTHORIZER FEES
We will be preparing and sending out invoices for your FY14 authorizer fees in the next week. We have been waiting for any legislative updates that may impact the fees for the coming year. As you work on your FY14 budget, we encourage you to project a fee that is similar to your FY13 fee.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
The legislative session is scheduled to adjourn no later than May 20, 2013.
The education omnibus bills in each house include a number of elements that could impact charters including but not limited to: the funding formula, all-day kindergarten, early education funding, special education funding, state testing for high school students, 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 house version is HF630 and the senate version is SF453. The bodies have indentified members for the conference committee to negotiate the final bills for each house to vote on. You can follow the progress on these bills by click on the HF and SF links.
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.
 
Best Buy Community Grants: Through the Community Grants program, Best Buy teams across the United States select non-profit organizations that give teens access to opportunities through technology to help them excel in school and develop 21st century skills. 
 
The World We Want Foundation: The World We Want Foundation promotes and supports Young Global Citizens making positive social change in their communities and around the world. The Foundation provides micro-grants to support young people design and conduct Social Action Projects.
 
The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation: The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation keeps music alive in our schools by donating musical instruments to under-funded music programs, giving youngsters the many benefits of music education, helping them to better students and inspiring creativity and expression through playing music.
Environmental Education News & Updates
Reminders
 

The Environmental Literacy Assessment Tool was distributed last week to all volunteering schools to test drive before Earth Day. Thanks to school's EE contacts for helping out with this valuable benchmark measure. Jess Harguth is leading this project; please contact her with questions.

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
Biology 1002: Humans in the Ecosystem
Offered by the Audubon Center of the North Woods, this 2-credit field science course is a week-long trip to the three major biomes of Minnesota: deciduous forest, coniferous forest, and prairie. Visit the Inver Hills Community College website for more information or to register.
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.

Object-based Learning Teacher Workshop
Offered by the National Eagle Center, this day-long workshop will focus on creating place-based and nature focused learning opportunities through experiential and environmental education, even in schools where concrete abounds. Visit the National Eagle Center website to register.

The Jeffers Foundation will come to your school, without charge, and train your staff. Visit their website for more information.
Participate in the Steger Foundation Summer Institute, June 16-18, 2013, at the Audubon Center, $70 all inclusive. Visit their website to register.
Copyright © 2013 Audubon Center of the North Woods Charter School Division, All rights reserved.
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