Subject: Sept 2018 edNews - Opportunities from Metro ECSU

September 2018, Vol. 26, No. 1
edNews is a quarterly publication of the Metropolitan Educational Cooperative Service Unit
Editor: Colleen Feller
New name for MPA: Metropolitan Education Leaders Network
Metropolitan Principals’ Academy (MPA) has a new name! We are now Metropolitan Education Leaders Network (MELN). We affectionately pronounce it "melon."

Since the creation of MPA in 1984, the role of the school leader has changed dramatically; our new name reflects that change. We welcome all leaders in education to our events.

Our line-up for the 2018-2019 MELN Leadership In-Service Series promises to be insightful, useful, and valuable. You will not want to miss these sessions!

  • October 9, Yancy UngerModernizing Curriculum for Equitable Opportunities in Learning: A Leader’s Role
  • November 27, Tyrone Martinez-Black (CASEL) Uncovering Frameworks: Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Embedded in Content Area
  • January 23, Caroline HillTransitioning to an Equity Centered Design Approach
  • February 12, Jim RickabaughNurturing Powerful Learners through Personalized Learning
Both morning and afternoon sessions are available for each event. View session descriptions on the MELN calendar

For more information contact Susan Frame at or 612-638-1543.

Back-to-school with PBIS!
Fun is at the forefront when PBIS cohort school teams in the metro region begin their year of training and coaching!

SW-PBIS (School-Wide Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports) is a framework or approach for assisting school personnel in adopting and organizing evidence-based behavioral interventions into an integrated continuum that enhances academic and social behavior outcomes for all students.

In August, fifteen teams from Cohort 13 and twenty NEW Cohort 14 teams got both excited and prepared for the start of the 2018-19 school year. Teams were asked to choose a theme, get pumped, and show their energy! One way teams did just that was to select a theme song for their school; their song selections were played throughout the training to inspire and re-invigorate.
The first SW-PBIS training in Minnesota was offered to schools in 2005. As of August 2018, teachers from 688 Minnesota schools are in training or have completed the two-year cohort training. The Minnesota SW-PBIS initiative now includes 33.3% of Minnesota schools, which impacts over 335,598 students, or 38.9% of MN students.

Is PBIS a part of the culture at your school or district? NO? Contact your Regional Implementation Coordinator for the metro region, Lauren Sparr, or visit the MN PBIS website to learn more!

Lauren Sparr: or 612-638-1534
Fall workshops include Engaging All Students in Math and Co-Teaching Basics
Metro ECSU is kicking off the 2018-2019 school year with two professional development workshops:
Engaging All Students in the Mathematics Classroom
Presenter: Sara VanDerWerf
Sept 27, 2018
8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. at Metro ECSU

It is possible to engage all students in the learning of high-level mathematics no matter how diverse the needs of your students are. In this workshop, five practical ways to increase engagement of all students will be modeled to help teachers build on what they already do in their classroom.

Sara VanDerWerf is a nationally board-certified teacher who taught secondary mathematics for Minneapolis Public Schools for more than 25 years. For 5 years, she led the professional development, curriculum writing, and strategic planning for K-12 mathematics at the Minneapolis district office. She has served in multiple positions on the Minnesota Council of Teachers Mathematics board, most recently as past-President. Sara frequently speaks at the state and national levels and is active in the national mathematics community.  Thousands of educators around the world have implemented her practical ideas to empower mathematics learners.
Co-Teaching Basics with Martina Wagner
Nov 27, 2018
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at Metro ECSU

This session is ideal for co-teachers who are new to co-teaching, beginning a new co-teaching partnership, or have not yet had formal professional development on co-teaching. Bring your co-teaching partner!

Dr. Martina Wagner has served English Language learners for over twenty years in grades pre-K through adult education. Her expertise includes best practice and programming for ELs, Sheltered Instruction, Co-teaching, Special Education Identification of ELs, WIDA standards, and English Language Learning assessments and data.  Martina’s background in co-teaching spans from classroom to district implementation, professional developer, and instructional coach, as well as strategic district action planning and implementation.  Martina has conducted extensive research throughout the United States on co-teaching and currently serves public, private, and charter schools as a professional development consultant.
Metro ECSU professional networks connect educators and leaders across districts
Homeschool Liaison Network
Meeting dates:
September 26 and November 7, 2018 & January 16 and April 10, 2019
Time: 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Location: Fairview Community Center, Roseville
School district liaisons to families who are homeschooling are invited to join in the collegial sharing of ideas, resources and concerns through the Metro ECSU Homeschool Liaison Network. More information
Friday Forum Network
Meeting Dates:
September 28 and November 30, 2018 & January 11 and April 12, 2019
Time: 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Location: alternates between Metro ECSU and Bloomington Education Services Center

Collaborate with other gifted and talented professionals, to discuss current issues in gifted education. More information

Bicultural Liaison Network
Meeting Dates: October 2 and December 11, 2018 & February 5 and April 16, 2019
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Location: Metro ECSU
The Bicultural Liaison Professional network is designed to support Liaisons and Interpreters who work in schools. Bicultural Liaisons serve as bridges between staff and families. By building a strong community of professionals the network will work to address current issues and provide professional development opportunities for attendees. More information
SBC kicks off the school year with a new director!
Cathy Macdonald spent over 30 years in the field of education, 25 of those years at Metro ECSU and Success Beyond the Classroom (SBC). As SBC’s Director, Cathy has been a dedicated, creative, and insightful leader. Her energy and vision for SBC has left the organization in great shape as we welcome our new director, Gina Jacobson, effective September 1.

Congratulations to Cathy on her highly successful career in education! SBC looks forward to seeing Cathy as a “Red Shirt” volunteer at SBC events moving forward.
Gina Jacobson has been an integral part of SBC’s growth and development over the past 20 years and looks forward to her new role as director. With a collaborative leadership style, Gina will combine forces with the talented, hardworking SBC team to take the organization to new levels this coming year and into the future.

Contact Gina Jacobson at or 612-638-1512.
SBC's Creativity programs emphasize the importance of flexible thinking, self-expression & risk-taking
CreativeCon is an innovative field trip for students in 5th through 8th grades that takes place at the Science Museum of Minnesota. Students attend 3 interactive break-out sessions led by professionals in the arts and STEM fields and have time to tour the Science Museum exhibits (optional). School groups can select availability for November 13 or 14, 2018.

Creativity Festival is an eye-opening field trip for students in 3rd through 5th grades that takes place at Ted Mann Concert Hall on the University of Minnesota campus. Students attend a dynamic opening and 3 interactive break-out sessions led by professionals in the arts and STEM fields. School groups can select availability for January 8 or 9, 2019. Learn more or register

This year's session examples include:
  • The Art of Mime
  • Biomechanics
  • Political Cartooning
  • Paleontology
  • Orienteering
  • Highway/Road Design
  • Juggling and Circus Movement
  • Songwriting and Production
  • Environmental Engineering
  • and more...!
At CreativeCon and Creativity Festival, students learn:
  • Creativity is a skill that can be practiced and strengthened.
  • Creativity is necessary for higher education and all careers.
  • Creativity is an essential part of problem solving.
Testimonials (data obtained from 2017-2018 evaluations):
90% of students thought CreativeCon presenters provided real-world examples of how to use creativity and problem solving.

92% of students at Creativity Festival learned that creativity and problem-solving is a skill that can be practiced and strengthened.

We invite you to learn more!
CreativeCon (grades 5-8) contact: Betsy Narr, or 612-638-1536
Creativity Festival (grades 3-5) contact: Kelly Ascheman, or 612-638-1555.
Knowledge Bowl: A sport for the brain!
Calling all curious students in grades 6 to 8! Join us for a FUN, after-school competition that focuses on academics, emphasizes teamwork, and grows friendship.

Flex your recall, build critical thinking skills, and practice problem solving while increasing your knowledge of everything from math and science to current events and history. Go head-to-head against hundreds of other students this season and join the KB excitement! Season runs November – February.

Contact Julie to learn more.
Julie Schaal: or 612-638-1540
Attention all nerdy, quick, and competitive high schoolers! Join us at Senior High Knowledge Bowl this November – February.

Bring your friends, brush up on your math, science, and history, and compete against hundreds of other students from across the metro, and across the state.

We know you’re smart. Now prove it.

Contact Betsy to learn more.
Betsy Narr: or 612-638-1536
Into the lab with STEMLink
STEMLink is an exciting one-day field trip for students in 5th and 6th grades that takes place at 3 colleges in the Twin Cities metro area. During their day of attendance, students hear a keynote by a scientist and/or STEM professional and take part in three interactive breakout sessions in a college setting. Students are placed in teams comprised of students from different schools and districts.

A day in the life of a STEMLink student could include:
extracting DNA from a strawberry, experimenting with water filtration systems,
learning CPR, making a dental mold of students’ own teeth, learning what concrete is and how it works, designing bridges, programming and coding, and designing traffic systems.

For the 2018-19 school year, SBC is offering four dates and locations:
  • March 14, 2019 at Dunwoody College in Minneapolis
  • May 17, 2019 at Normandale Community College in Bloomington
  • May 22 & 23, 2019 at Century College in White Bear Lake

For more information about STEMLink and how your students can attend, contact Betsy Narr at 612-638-1536.
Young Authors Conference 2019
Expect the Unexpected! Where will Writing Take You?
This year's Young Authors Conference (YAC) theme will challenge young writers to discover the exciting twists and turns that lay before them once they pick up a pencil to write. Students will use the written word to explore unexpected paths and make discoveries about themselves, their capabilities, and the impact they can have on others.

The dates for the 2019 Young Authors Conference are March 22 and May 28, 29, 30, and 31. The location for all YAC dates is Bethel University (main campus) in Arden Hills.

Register for the Young Authors Conference on March 22, 2019.

Register for the Young Authors Conference on May 28, 29, 30, or 31, 2019.
March 22, 2019 Keynote: Ibrahim Hirsi

When Ibrahim Hirsi arrived in the U.S. over a decade ago as a refugee, he had one dream: to be a writer. Currently, Hirsi is a staff writer at MinnPost, where he covers workforce and immigration issues.

Before joining MinnPost, Ibrahim reported for multiple news organizations in New York, Minneapolis, and St. Cloud. For his reporting in Minnesota, Ibrahim was presented the 2018 MLK Commitment to Service Award at the MLK Day celebration in St. Paul. Ibrahim got his start in journalism at ThreeSixty Journalism, a youth program based at the University of St. Thomas. At YAC, Hirsi will share the exciting places writing has taken him.
May 28-31, 2019 Keynote: Kao Kalia Yang

Kao Kalia Yang is a Hmong-American writer and the author of The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir (Coffee House Press, 2008) and The Song Poet (Metropolitan Books, 2016). Both non-fiction books were awarded the Minnesota Book Award. In the fall of 2019, Yang will debut her first children's book, A Map Into The World (Carolrhoda Books).

When speaking about The Latehomecomer, Yang said, "My grandmother, a woman who could not read or write, never imagined that she would be the subject of a book."

Yang added, "I grew up in a community that believed we needed doctors and lawyers, not writers, and here I stand: a writer whose work is much needed by the old and the young alike."
About YAC
The Young Authors Conference, which is nearing its 30th anniversary, is an incredible field trip for students in 4th-8th grades. Students attend a keynote and three interactive writing sessions led by local authors and writing professionals. Live music, open mic, and a book fair are also part of the day. Students are encouraged and challenged to become better writers and leave YAC with a greater passion to write and a new set of strategies and ideas with which to experiment.

To learn more, contact: Colleen Feller: or 612-638-1511.
Designing resilient power grids is the theme of this year's Future City Competition
This year, Future City is asking Minnesota middle school students to respond to the issue of Powering Our Future by designing power grids that can withstand and quickly recover from the impacts of a natural disaster.
Working in a team with an educator and an engineer mentor, students present their vision of the future through a virtual city design (using SimCity™ software); a 1,500 word city essay incorporating this year's theme; a scale model of their city (built with recycled materials); and in a short presentation to a panel of STEM professionals.The Minnesota regional final will be held on January 19, 2019 at Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount. Minnesota’s regional winners then face off at the National Finals in Washington, DC in February, where they are joined by a growing roster of national and international teams, including those from Canada and China.

Students in grades 6-8 are invited to participate in the Future City Competition. Teams may be school-based or formed within a youth organization (Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H, etc.). Learn more at

To learn more, contact Colleen Feller: or 612-638-1511.
Celebrating Deb Williamson
Deb Williamson, Statewide Specialist with the MN Low Incidence Projects, is being celebrated as her official retirement date of September 28 fast approaches. Deb has been a tireless advocate and educator of children in the low incidence disability areas of Physical/Health Disabilities along with Traumatic Brain Injury for 32 years.

A significant highlight of Deb’s educational career was serving as a Statewide Specialist in three different special education categorical areas.
  • Statewide TBI Specialist: 1999 - 2017
  • Statewide PI Specialist: 2004 - 2017
  • Statewide OHD Specialist: 2014 - Present
The inspiration she provided during her tenure as a Statewide Specialist was beyond limits helping children, families, and educators rise and soar. This can be seen in the things Deb is most proud of, which includes creating the Statewide TBI Educational Network in 1999, currently known as the TBI Community of Practice.

The creation and facilitation of ten annual Minnesota Family TBI Retreats is also something that Deb is most proud of as she provided resources, connections and hope to Minnesota families who have children with TBI.

Deb has received many accolades over the years; her top two career honors include the Arc Minnesota’s Teacher of the Year Award in 2011 and the MN Brain Injury Alliance Elinor D. Hands Award in 2008.
As Deb reflects on her highly successful career, she remains humbled by the hard work, dedication, and the ability of educators to go "above and beyond" day after day, year after year. This is something she has witnessed in schools countless times over the past 32 years. Congratulations to Deb on finishing strong!
Express is the preferred purchasing platform for Minnesota schools
The new year has begun! With all of the excitement may also come the realization you need a few more desks, football helmets, or spoodles for your kitchen. Wouldn’t it be great if you could order all three from one website? You can! As a Cooperative Purchasing Connection participant, you will find tens of thousands of diverse products with one login and one password on the Express online purchasing platform.

Express is a public procurement marketplace created just for you. You’ll find special chairs for your science classrooms, quality cables at affordable prices for your media room, products for STEAM, STEM and CTE, along with kitchen smallwares, furniture and e-books.

Express integrates with SMART and Skyward finance software. It provides the ability to compare prices from multiple suppliers. Plus, there are no reference codes or quote numbers to remember. Best of all, it’s free to use.

Visit and look on the right hand side of the page. You can register today.

If you’re still not sure, email us at and we’ll share some Express experiences from schools across Minnesota.

For more information about Cooperative Purchasing Connection, contact Julie Anderson,
Metro ECSU wishes you an energetic start to the new school year!
Metro ECSU, 2 Pine Tree Drive, Suite 101, Arden Hills, MN 55112, United States
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