Subject: Metro ECSU - March 2020 edNews

March 2020, Vol. 27, No. 3
edNews is a quarterly publication of the Metropolitan Educational Cooperative Service Unit
Metro ECSU - 2 Pine Tree Drive, Suite 101 - Arden Hills, MN 55112
Front desk: 612-638-1500

edNews Editor: Colleen Feller
Still time to register for SBC's 30th Annual Young Authors Conference!
Over 3,000 students are registered for the 2020 Young Authors Conference (YAC), but it's not too late to register your school group.

Conference dates: May 26-29, 2020 (May 27 is sold out)
For: Students in grades 4-8
Location: Bethel University, Arden Hills
Keynote: Kevin Kling
Details: Students attend a keynote, 3 breakout sessions led by professional Minnesota writers, book fair, live music, and open mic.

"The Young Authors Conference sparked my love for writing."
-2019 participant

Questions about YAC? Contact Colleen Feller at 612-638-1511 or
Searching for a STEM experience for your middle school students?
Bring them to STEMLink at Century College!
Join us on May 21, 2020 for a day of STEM career immersion at Century College in White Bear Lake. Fifth and sixth grade students will attend a keynote presented by H2O for Life and spend the day attending three different hands-on sessions learning about careers in the STEM fields. Led by STEM professionals and Century College professors, students can build a prosthetic leg, write code, program a robot, experiment with solar energy, explore the Fab Lab, and more! Learn more

Discover STEMLink!
In 2019...
  • 95% of students agreed that STEMLink provided them with real-world examples of STEM work and workers.
  • 90% of students who attended STEMLink said that each session they attended could be described as interesting, hands-on, and challenging.
  • 89% of students said that STEMLink helped them understand how studying math and science can lead to exciting careers.
The cost per student is based on Metro ECSU membership status: $30/student for Metro ECSU members, and $45/student for nonmembers. 

Middle Grades Knowledge Bowl students camp out at state meet
Thirty-three teams of 6th through 8th graders from 10 Minnesota middle schools competed at the camp-themed Middle Grades Knowledge Bowl State Meet on February 22 at Cologne Academy. This was the fourth-annual Middle Grades Knowledge Bowl State Meet held in the metro region and sponsored by Success Beyond the Classroom. Teams that traveled the farthest to competition were from Hillcrest Lutheran Academy, Fergus Falls; Lincoln Park Middle School, Duluth; and Monticello Middle School, Monticello. It was an in-tents day of knowledge and fun!

Final Standings:
1st place: Minnetonka MS West Alpha
2nd place: Lincoln Park Team 2 (Duluth)
3rd place: Minnetonka MS West Delta
4th place: Minnetonka MS West Beta
5th place: St. Francis MS Kool Aid Clan

Special Award Winners:
Spirit Award: South St. Paul Secondary Off-Brand Doritos
Movin’ on Up Award: Lake Harriet Team 1
Rookie of the Year Award: Minnetonka MS East Team 2
The Triple Team Award: Minnetonka MS West teams, Alpha, Beta, and Delta. (pictured below).
Learn more about Middle Grades Knowledge Bowl at
SBC's Creativity events ignite curiosity and  empower students to explore new ideas
Success Beyond the Classroom hosted over 2,000 students at this year's Creativity Festival and CreativeCon on January 7-9, 2020 held at the University of Minnesota.

The Creatives left students with "enough to spark interest for further exploration and wonder," according to an accompanying teacher.
Teachers and 5th-8th grade students alike were pleased with the variety of real-life applications that CreativeCon explored.

93% of CreativeCon students and 98% of teachers attending the event recognized the real world examples of how to apply creativity while problem solving!

92% of 3rd-5th graders who attended Creativity Festival learned that creativity is a skill that can be practiced and strengthened.
Our Creativity Festival and CreativeCon engineering sessions, such as The Science of Roller Coasters, encouraged out-of-the-box thinking. One teacher remarked, "It shows creativity is in every part of our lives."
Others participants were challenged to express themselves in a safe space through the art of dance, folk art, and storytelling. One student recognized that Songwriting and Beat Boxing allowed them to feel like themselves, free of judgment. Each student's creation had a unique, personal twist!

Save the dates for 2021!
Creativity Festival (grades 3-5): January 5-6, 2021
CreativeCon (grades 5-8): January 7, 2021 
At Success Beyond the Classroom, we’re powered by two things.
First: Volunteers. Let us know you have an interest in helping fuel our success, and we’ll be in touch. We need people who are motivated and excited to help children, and no experience is necessary. Learn more:
Second: Giving. One of our largest challenges is keeping our programs affordable to schools. It’s easy to make a donation today. Spread the word!
Help Me Grow initiative continues to aid parents and caregivers of young children
The Region 11 Interagency Early Intervention Committee (IEIC) is responsible for Help Me Grow public awareness and child find efforts in the seven-county metro region for infant & toddler early intervention and preschool special education services. Our goals are to increase knowledge of developmental milestones, to help parents and caregivers know when to refer a child if there are delays, and to provide easy access for making referrals online.

New Data on Referrals
During the 2018-2019 school year, we collected data from school districts that gave us information on whether a child was found eligible for services or if the parents could not be contacted or refused screening, evaluation, or services. This data assists us in understanding whether we need to provide better guidance for parents and professionals on when or why to refer a child and how professionals could better explain the rationale to parents for making a referral so that parents would be willing to have their child evaluated.
New Resources
Region 11 received additional funds from MDE to revise and update the Help Me Grow brochure. The revised brochure is available in English, Hmong, Spanish, Karen and Somali. 

A board book, Baby’s Busy Day, was developed by the CDC for parents to read with babies. It’s available at no cost to schools and agencies within the seven-county metro area. 

A Resource Request form to order the free Help Me Grow resources can be found on the Help Me Grow website.
Mom Enough Podcasts
Help Me Grow partners with Mom Enough to produce podcasts on a series of relevant topics. Here are links to our podcasts in the past year:
Training Stipends
Funding up to $1000/event is available to local school districts and other agencies to help defray costs when hosting training workshops about Help Me Grow and child development. Contact Kathy McKay at for more information.
Evidence-based Quality Intervention Practices (EQIP) rolls out across the state of Minnesota!
Evidence-based Quality Intervention Practices - EQIP (formerly Family-Guided Routines Based Intervention) is an evidence-based initiative supported by the Minnesota Centers of Excellence for Young Children with Disabilities (MNCoE). This initiative is for Early Intervention practitioners and is based on the work of Dr. Dathan Rush and Dr. M’Lisa Shelden.

EQIP teams are learning about this approach to early intervention, which incorporates evidence-based practices to build caregiver capacity and embed intervention into daily routines using coaching interaction practices. There are four guided trainings included in EQIP innovation:
     Family-Centered & Culturally-Responsive Practices
     Natural Learning Environment Practices
     Coaching Interaction Practices
     Resource-based Practices

To learn more about the EQIP Innovation and the Minnesota Centers of Excellence, please visit
New opportunity to join a Literacy CoP
This fall at Metro ECSU Low Incidence Projects, we initiated an exciting new opportunity to build capacity across Minnesota to support the work of Literacy Camp by creating a Literacy Community of Practice (CoP).

So far, the Literacy CoP has met three times this school year with in-person and virtual participation options for greater Minnesota.The final meeting for 2019-2020 will take place on April 30. The meetings provide guidance and resources across the state to areas attempting to implement literacy with struggling readers with low incidence disabilities. Our overarching goal is to increase Minnesota educators’ ability to implement conventional and emergent literacy practices with fidelity.

The CoP group has identified key problems from the field as areas of focus for the year which include access to evidence-based instructional strategies, trainings for special education teachers on comprehensive literacy, and time for collaborating with others.

The Low Incidence Projects are providing up to two individuals from each district within Region 11 the ability to attend any Community of Practice meetings free of charge and receive sub coverage reimbursement as designated District Representatives. We have collaborated with the Minnesota Department of Education to seek out Literacy Camp alumni and are calling on all educators working with low incidence disabilities who are passionate about literacy to indicate their interest from across the state.

If you would like to learn more or join the group please contact Kayna Plaisted at or 612-638-1538.
Take advantage of Metro ECSU's Health & Safety Program Opportunities!
The following topics will be covered at the monthly Metro ECSU Health and Safety meetings for member districts. The meetings are hosted at our Arden Hills location and start at 9:00am. Donuts and light refreshments are provided.
  • March 5, 2020: Opioids with Keith Narr and Stephanie Devich
  • April 2, 2020: Indoor Air Quality with the EPA
  • May 14, 2020: Playground Inspections with Marissa Bauer & Mara Peterson
  • June 4, 2020: MDE Town hall with Sarah Miller
Additionally, the following professional development events are being held at Metro ECSU:
Health and Safety - Did you know?
Employers are required to post five state-mandated workplace posters where employees can see them. These posters (available in 5 languages) can be ordered at no cost from the Department of Labor and Industry.

For more information, contact Bianca Virnig at
Save time and money using Cooperative Purchasing Connection
Nonprofit Senior Services Manager at Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Alicia Berhow, started her career at Tri-Valley as the administrative assistant. One of her first tasks was finding an office supply provider and ordering the supplies. The new service needed to be streamlined, easy to use, carry both every day and specialty items, and most importantly, be a service that was a good fit for the Tri-Valley team.
After sifting through several options, Alicia found Express through Cooperative Purchasing Connection (CPC). Alicia states, “I love that the program is easy to use, and you can form it to meet your needs. We have many sites within Minnesota, and it was very easy to get them set up within the program (Express). Ordering is quick, easy and very reliable.”
Last year, Tri-Valley Opportunity Council completed a 120-day price comparison study and reported that they saved over $1,000 a month on orders by utilizing Express and CPC.Tri-Valley’s Administrative Office is moving to a new location this year and Alicia says that throughout the moving process they have worked with several CPC vendors who “secured discounts and were great to work with!”
CPC is proud of the service that was provided to Alicia and continues to strive for success stories such as hers. Read the full interview and register for Express at
Hooray for spring!
Metro ECSU, 2 Pine Tree Drive, Suite 101, Arden Hills, MN 55112, United States
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