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ACNW Authorizer Update

October 13, 2015

Dear School Leaders and Board Members,
 
We hope that you have hit your stride, that students are engaged in meaningful learning both inside and outside the classroom, and that staff will be taking advantage of the upcoming MEA days for some impactful professional development that supports both adult and student learning.
 
October is a very busy time for us. Many of you are participating in the Authorizer Evaluation process by participating in the interview with School Works. Thank you. We will also be engaged in interviews with School Works this month. Additionally, our entire staff will be at the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) conference in the Denver area from October 19-22, so our office will be closed during that time. Please note, that David Greenberg will be out of the office from October 13 through October 28, so during this time you can direct any questions to Holly Garnell at garnell@auduboncharterschools.org or Mike Schultz at schultz@auduboncharterschools.org.
 
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.
 
Enjoy the fall colors!
 
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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Upcoming Dates
  • November 13 & 14 – ACNW Leaders Retreat: See below for additional information.
ACNW FY16 Leaders Retreat

We are accepting registrations for the FY16 ACNW Leaders Retreat scheduled for Friday, November 13 and Saturday, November 14 at the Audubon Center of the North Woods in Sandstone. This year we will emphasize training in the areas of governance and board efficacy, in addition to offering learning opportunities in other areas. Session topics in planning include: running an effective board meeting, school leader evaluation, becoming an effective board member, goal writing, marketing, and board evaluation.

Unlike in past years, Day 1 will focus on leadership, making connections with other leaders, and understanding and defining your school's relationship with the authorizer. While all are welcome to attend Day 1, activities and discussion are geared towards improving your school leader’s capacity to lead more effectively. Day 2 will be focused on leadership and governance. 

As a reminder, you are required to send representation from your school to this event per your charter contract. As in the past, we ask that each school send a member of its leadership team and the board chair or another officer. The ACNW Charter School Division will cover expenses for up to two attendees. Each additional attendee is $100.00 per person. 

Please register (fill out one registration for each participant) at your earliest convenience. Registration materials are available at this link. The deadline for registration is Friday, October 30. Drop-ins are not allowed. Completed forms can be emailed to admin@auduboncharterschools.org. We hope to see you there!
Epicenter

Thanks to everyone that completed our Epicenter survey. Many schools have taken the opportunity to customize their school’s list of compliance requirements and utilize Epicenter’s “auto-posting” feature. If you didn’t participate in the survey but are interested in learning about Epicenter customization for your school, please contact Mike at your earliest convenience.
Charter School Law: MN Statute Chapter 124E

Minnesota has recodified the charter school statute. Formerly 124D.10 and 124D.11, the statute is now 124E and is reorganized to be more comprehensible and user friendly. The online version is available here. A pdf of 124E is available here.
 
We strongly encourage boards and school leaders to review this recodified document and use it as a training tool in order to ensure a level of comfort with all information in the statute.
World's Best Workforce Report

On Thursday, October 8, 2015 ACNW was CC’d on an email from Commissioner Cassellius that went to each school leader and board chair regarding World’s Best Workforce Data Profiles. We are beginning to review this data to better understand it and encourage you to do the same.
 
The email also reiterated information about WBWF annual reporting. It articulated that MDE collects brief summaries of WBWF annual reports from all districts. You may use data that MDE provided to you in completing these summary reports or data that you provided in your Annual Reported submitted on October 1. In her email, the Commissioner also reiterated the following:

The summaries are due by December 1, 2015 and should be submitted to MDE.WorldsBestWorkForce@state.mn.us.  All districts are required to use the summary template posted on the MDE World’s Best Workforce webpage. There will also soon be a rubric on this webpage for you to utilize as you put together your summaries, and this rubric will be used by MDE reviewers for providing feedback to districts.

With legislative changes this past session, MDE is now required to report to the legislature the districts that do not submit the WBWF summary as well as the districts not making progress toward performance goals. Please make certain that your summary is submitted by the December 1, 2015 deadline.


We have set up an Epicenter task with a due date of December 1, 2015 for the WBWF summary report submission to MDE. Please be sure to submit these on time. We are shooting for 100% on time reporting for all ACNW authorized schools.  
Board Rosters and Reporting to ACNW

For schools that have charter contracts that were executed after July 1, 2014, the charter contract clearly outlines the school’s responsibility regarding changes in board composition:
 
Section 6.20. Board Data.  The School agrees to notify ACNW, via an updated board roster, of any resignations or additions to its School Board within ten (10) business days of such change.
 
To notify ACNW of change in board composition, please do so via Epicenter.
  1. Log into Epicenter. From the home page, select Document Center in the upper right corner.
  2. Select the Upload Submission button from the lower left corner of the screen.
  3. For Entity Type, select Board.
  4. For Submission Type, select Board Roster, which can be found in the Board Member Information section.
  5. Use the Add Files button to attach the revised board roster. A template board roster is attached to the task as a submission resource.
  6. Once the file is attached, select Submit.
Failure to update ACNW of board roster changes is a violation of the charter contract.
 
Schools that have charter contracts executed prior to July 1, 2014 are also expected to provide ACNW with an updated board roster via Epicenter as outlined above.
Resources Focused on Equity and Justice

Teaching Tolerance is an initiative dedicated to reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations and supporting equitable school experiences for our nation's children. They provide free educational materials to teachers and other school practitioners in the U.S. Resources include their biannual e-magazine, curriculum kits, and other materials for the classroom. For more information or to access resources for your school, please visit their website.
 
Rethinking Schools is a nonprofit publisher and advocacy organization dedicated to sustaining and strengthening public education through social justice teaching and education activism. Their magazine, books, and other resources promote equity and racial justice in the classroom. They encourage grassroots efforts in schools and communities to enhance the learning and well-being of our children, and to build broad democratic movements for social and environmental justice. Consider reviewing their website and checking out their teaching and professional development materials.
 
Minnesota Education Equity Partnership is a non-profit organization and a leading voice for race equity in education in Minnesota. Formerly MMEP, MnEEPenvisions a state where all students, regardless of race, have equitable opportunities to succeed in the classroom and beyond. Our ideas may be big and bold, but they can be achieved through collaborative and persistent efforts, and most importantly, a commitment to racial justice in education. Sign up for their listserv and consider attending their conference later this year - Minnesota’s Pathway Forward: Deepening Race Equity in Education - scheduled for Thursday, February 25, 2016.
Professional Development and Training Opportunities

Check out ACNW’s Charter School Division website for upcoming opportunities.
Grant Opportunities
A small sampling of the many possibilities that are out there.

Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries Accepting School Library Grant Applications
Applications due December 14, 2015
 
The mission of the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries is to help school libraries encourage and foster a love of reading, support student learning, and make books and reading materials available to students who otherwise would not have access to them. Grants of up to $7,000 will be awarded to help libraries in schools where 85 percent or more of students qualify for free or reduced lunches expand, update, and diversify their book collections. For complete program guidelines, an FAQ, and application instructions, visit the Laura Bush Foundation website.
 
Captain Planet Foundation Offers Grants for Hands-On Environmental Education Activities
Applications due January 31, 2016
 
The mission of the Captain Planet Foundation is to promote and support high-quality educational programs that engage children and youth in active hands-on learning experiences focused on the environment in their schools and communities. Grants are intended to serve as a means of bringing environment-based education to schools and to inspire youth and communities to participate in community service through environmental stewardship activities. The foundation will fund unique and innovative projects that do not precisely match the grant guidelines but otherwise promote the foundation’s mission of hands-on environmental activities. Visit the CPF website for complete program guidelines and the online application form.

“The power is yours!”
 
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. 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.
Learning Opportunities at the Audubon Center

Visit the Audubon Center of the North Woods website to find out more about the learning opportunities, family programs, and other events offered by the Center this fall and winter.
Spike the Porcupine om-nom-noming on some delectable donated zucchini. 
Meet the newest member of the team – Onyx the Rock Snake Pokémon Common Raven!
Copyright © 2015 Audubon Center of the North Woods Charter School Division, All rights reserved.
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