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Volume 63, No. 3








th 90

Putting on a Clinic



What Board Members Can Do to Get Districts (and Students) in Shape


School Board-Superintendent Relationships in Minnesota

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November-December 2010

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Articles 8



2 .............Election Day (no meetings or activities 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.) 4 .............MSBA Board of Directors’ Meeting 7 .............Daylight Saving Time Ends 11 ...........Veterans Day (no meetings) 14–20 .....American Education Week 17 ...........MSBA Pre-Delegate Assembly Meeting 17 ...........Minnesota School District Liquid Asset Fund Plus Annual Meeting 18 ...........MSBA Pre-Delegate Assembly Meeting 20 ...........MSBA Pre-Delegate Assembly Meeting 25 ...........Thanksgiving Day (no meetings) 26 ...........Optional Holiday (no meetings if declared a holiday)

DECEMBER 2010 1 .............MSBA New Board Member Orientation – Phase I, Marshall 2 .............MSBA New Board Member Orientation – Phase I, Owatonna 3 .............MSBA Board of Directors’ Meeting 3 .............MSBA Insurance Trust Meeting 3–4 .........MSBA Delegate Assembly 8 .............MSBA New Board Member Orientation – Phase I, Alexandria and Thief River Falls 9 .............MSBA New Board Member Orientation – Phase I, St. Peter and Grand Rapids 10 ...........MSBA New Board Member Orientation – Phase I, St. Cloud 11 ...........MSBA Phase II Orientation, St. Cloud 24 ...........Christmas Day Observed (no meetings) 25 ...........Christmas Day (no meetings) 31 ...........New Year’s Day Observed (no meetings)

J A N U A RY 2 0 1 1 1 .............New Year’s Day (no meetings) 3 .............Terms Begin for Newly Elected Board Members 11 ...........MSBA New Board Member Orientation – Phase I, Minneapolis 12 ...........MSBA Phase II Orientation, Minneapolis 12 ...........Early Bird Workshops 12 ...........MSBA Board of Directors’ Meeting







The MSBA Journal thanks the students of Hawley Public Schools for sharing their art with us in this issue.



COVER ART: David Teeples



OFFICERS President: Jackie Magnuson, Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan President-Elect: Kent Thiesse, Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial DISTRICT DIRECTORS District 1: Kathy Green, Austin District 2: Jodi Sapp, Mankato Area District 3: Daniel Zimansky, Tracy Area District 4: Carol Bomben, Eden Prairie District 5: Marilynn Forsberg, Spring Lake Park District 6: Kevin Donovan, Mahtomedi District 7: Roz Peterson, Lakeville Area District 8: Elona Street-Stewart, St. Paul District 9: Karen Kirschner, Mora District 10: Nancy Dashner, Frazee-Vergas District 11: Walter Hautala, Mesabi East District 12: Vacant STAFF Bob Meeks: Executive Director Barbara Lynn: Executive Assistant/Director of Board Operations John Sylvester: Deputy Executive Director Tiffany Rodning: Deputy Executive Director Greg Abbott: Director of Communications Denise Drill: Director of Financial/MSBAIT Services Amy Fullenkamp-Taylor: Associate Director of Management Services Sandy Gundlach: Director of School Board Services Bill Kautt: Associate Director of Management Services Grace Keliher: Director of Governmental Relations Katie Klanderud: Director of Board Development Gary Lee: Associate Director of Management Services Bruce Lombard: Associate Director of Communications Bob Lowe: Director of Management Services Kelly Martell: Director of Technology Cathy Miller: Director of Legal and Policy Services Sue Munsterman: MSBA Advertising Kirk Schneidawind: Associate Director of Governmental Relations Mike Torkelson: Elections/Management Services Specialist The MSBA Journal (USPS 352-220) is published bimonthly by the Minnesota School Boards Association, 1900 West Jefferson Avenue, St. Peter, Minnesota 56082. Telephone 507-934-2450. Call MSBA office for subscription rates. (Opinions expressed in the Journal are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent MSBA policy.)



Quotes of Note captures some of the more interesting statements MSBA staff have read in local, state and national publications.

Funding in tough economic times

Sharing and Cooperating with Neighboring Districts

“We all know that Minnesota faces tough economic times. However, our kids can’t put their educations on hold while we wait for the economy to improve.”

“We share the proximity, we share students, and we’re going to be able to share programs and staff in the future just because of the finances in the state. It’s about sustainability out here in rural Minnesota. Our kids are the ones that benefit.”

Parents United for Public Schools Board President Craig Roen

Dress code policies around the “I love boobies” bracelets

The state withholding money from school districts “In my opinion, this is a tax upon people for borrowing their own money.” Sleepy Eye Public Schools Business Manager Scott Nelson

Marshall Public Schools Superintendent Klint Willert

“It oftentimes becomes an issue of judgment. We as administrators and staff are saying that [the bracelets] pose potential problems in the harassment area. Because we are dealing with adolescents, we believe that asking students not to wear them to school is a reasonable course of action, but ultimately that will be judged by the public and parents.” Faribault Public Schools Superintendent Bob Stepaniak

iPads for all students “There are things we can do with this iPad that will break the traditional walls of the classroom. We want to transition from what school was, to what school can be.” Gibbon-Fairfax-Windom High School Principal Jeff Bertrang

Advertising on school lockers It is another way to raise funds and “if it keeps me out of the dunk tank, I’m OK with it for one year.” St. Francis Board Member Harry Grams

Using Edujobs Funds to add teachers “Adding classroom teachers and classroom support, and thereby improving the instructor-to-student ratio, allows teachers to build relationships with students more quickly, which is an important factor in student success. The better relationships we establish with students, the better able we are to meet their unique needs.” Osseo Area Superintendent Kate Maguire




As populations in Minnesota continue to gravitate to urban and suburban areas, your MSBA has struggled with how to balance representation on its board among the 12 director districts in the state. Our main concern was not to take away any district’s representation while making our system better reflect student populations and boards.

Bob Meeks MSBA Executive Director

We are adding representation without taking away representation from any other area. It also evens out the suburban board representation.

That is why our MSBA Board will be supporting a plan to add a 13th director district to the mix. Currently, Roz Peterson is the director of District 7, which stretches across the southern suburban districts from Hastings in the east to Watertown-Mayer in the west and goes as far south as Belle Plaine. This district, when compared to similar suburban districts, has almost double the board members and students as similar suburban areas. So instead of redrawing everyone’s representation boundaries, MSBA’s plan is to simply break Director District 7 into two parts. District 7 will continue to represent Area 16: Burnsville-EaganSavage, Dakota County Intermediate, Farmington, Hastings, Inver Grove Heights, Lakeville, Randolph, Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan, South St. Paul and West St. Paul-Mendota Heights-Eagan. But a new District 13 will now represent Area 17: Central Schools, Eastern Carver County, Waconia, Watertown-Mayer, Belle Plaine, Jordan, New Prague, Prior Lake-Savage, and Shakopee. By adding a director district, school board members across the state don’t have to worry that their representation will be changed or lessened. We are adding representation without taking away representation from any other

area. It also evens out the suburban board representation. In suburban director districts, the number of board members ranges from 16 in the urban area to 44 and 63 in other suburban director districts. District 7 had 138 board members, which will now be more in line with the 60 board members in neighboring suburban districts, including the new District 13. And the sheer number of students being represented by these board members will also equal out with other suburban areas in the state, making for a win-win for everyone in the Association. At our 90th Leadership Conference in January, you will be voting on this change in the by-laws. We think the proposal is the most fair and offers the best representation for all board members in the state. And we hope you support the proposal. If approved, the Board of Directors will appoint a person to serve for one year as a representative in District 13. The following year, the position will be open to the usual three-year term in an election. Our staff and board spent many hours reviewing different scenarios for representation based on students, board membership and overall census data. By far this is the best outcome for all school board members in the state. Along with our President and President-Elect, this will give MSBA a 15-member board that will fairly represent board concerns across the state. Our Association strives to make sure everyone has a voice. We know that adding another board member to the MSBA Board will make YOUR Association even stronger.




R Jackie Magnuson MSBA President

As a board, you have the power to influence what happens in your district and take steps to work with your community to provide the best education ever.



Recent movies such as Waiting for Superman have brought the discussion of improving education to a national debate. And while the directors of those movies offer up various things – such as charter schools – as a silver bullet solution, I know a better solution: Simply look in the mirror.

who take time to look at the big picture on various issues and make decisions with the best interests of children in mind. And I’ve worked alongside many other Supermen on my own board who have made tough decisions politically because they knew it would be best for helping our kids achieve.

You don’t need to wait for Superman. As a board, you have the power to influence what happens in your district and take steps to work with your community to provide the best education ever. In my time on my local board, MSBA’s Board of Directors and the nearly three years as president of this Association, I’ve seen many board members with the red Superman capes.

During my time in education, I’ve also seen countless teachers with a Superman cape. They come to school every day and follow the mantra of a Donald Clifton quote I have on my wall: “The greatest contribution to humankind is to make sure there is a teacher in every classroom who cares that every student, every day, learns and grows and feels like a human being.”

They are the board members going door-to-door to gather support for a school district’s operating levy so electives won’t be cut and classroom sizes can stay reasonable. They are the board members who travel to the Capitol every year to testify on students’ behalf or simply bend the ears of state and federal lawmakers. They are the board members who pore over curriculum choices to make sure everything is aligned with state standards and ensure that all students in their school achieve. They are the board members pushing for antibullying policies and following up on implementation so all students feel safe at school. I’ve heard their stories at the Leadership Conference, informally while talking to other board members. I’ve worked with 13 other Supermen at our MSBA Board of Directors table

As I write this final column for the school board Journal, I know I can’t list all of the Supermen I’ve seen in my time on the board. Many of them I haven’t met, but you may know. Many of them have an invisible cape that only their students see. Most don’t look like the muscular Christopher Reeve. And most won’t have a movie made about them on how they’ve changed their students’ lives for the better. Are there some poor performing teachers and board members? Probably. But I’ve been in too many classrooms and too many boardrooms not to know that the majority are wearing the giant, red “S” on their heart. As I step into the role of Past President for MSBA, I’ll feel good knowing that in Minnesota, I won’t have to wait for Superman. There are more Supermen on boards and in classrooms than I’ll ever know, and more than I could ever thank.

l isten.D ESI GN.deliver

Contact: Troy Miller, REFP - Phone: 612/977-3500 - NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010


Evan Haug


In a June 2010 study, 95 percent of participating Minnesota school superintendents rated their current school board relationships as “very good” or “good.” To the degree that the respondents represent all superintendents in Minnesota, school board members have much to celebrate in this study.

Dr. Mary Ann Nelson



The study’s conclusions are reaffirmed by the fact that the 213 Minnesota superintendents’ views almost mirror ratings reported by the 1,338 national superintendents in the American Association of School Administrators Mid-Decade study (Glass and Franceschini, 2006). Based on the samplings for the two studies, both sets of superintendents represent mostly small- to average-sized districts. Seventy-eight percent of the Minnesota and 64 percent of AASA participating superintendents are from districts enrolling less than 3,000 students. Nearly half (47 percent and 49 percent for Minnesota and AASA, respectively) spend “three hours or less per week” in direct board communications; both report “leadership ability” is the most important reason for hire by the school board; 99 percent

and 96 percent, respectively, report being “very effective” or “effective;” 90 percent and 89 percent report being “very fairly” or “fairly” evaluated by the board; 88 percent and 90 percent, respectively, report being “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with their current jobs; and 86 percent and 90 percent report receiving “excellent” or “good” evaluation ratings from their boards. Compared to the 95 percent of Minnesota superintendents characterizing their present board relationships as “very good” or “good,” 93 percent of the national study’s superintendents reported similarly positive board relationships. The Minnesota survey probed further for superintendent feedback about individuals on the school board. Their ratings indicate that either “all” or “most” board members demonstrate respectful treatment of each other and the superintendent (78 percent agree), respect the board’s policy-making role as separate from the superintendent’s role (70 percent agree), demonstrate understanding of individual board authority limits (70 percent agree), and are working well in serving the interests of the students and district and not being conflicted by loyalties to special interest groups (63 percent agree).

Superintendent satisfaction with overall board relationships is somewhat offset by their concerns regarding the absence of or lack of enforcement of certain board policies which they consider important. Concerns refer to situations in which “only some” board members demonstrate this or “no, this understanding is not demonstrated by the board.” High on their list is: (1) the behavior of individual board members communicating direction to staff members without advance consultation with the superintendent (36 percent report concerns and almost one-third indicate no board policy or practice is in place); (2) board members not separating their policymaking role from the superintendent’s role (30 percent report concerns); (3) board members’ lack of understanding that an individual board member authority exists only as part of a governance body (30 percent have concerns); and (4) individual board member behavior which raises questions about bias in favor of certain school or specialinterest groups in the community (28 percent report concerns). The concerns reported by superintendent participants in Minnesota are directly related to board responsibilities commonly mentioned in literature and statute. For example, Page 2 of the current Education Criteria for Performance Excellence (U.S. Department of Commerce, 2009) states, “ensuring effective governance is important to stakeholders’ and the larger society’s trust and to organizational effectiveness.” School district governance is established in law as the responsibility of an elected school board, and effective governance requires the school board and superintendent to work together. Many factors contribute to a successful board-superintendent

relationship, but “role confusion” is most often cited as a reason for poor relationships (Price, 2001). Promulgating policy is generally considered a school board responsibility and implementing policy is the superintendent’s responsibility along with the administrative team (Kowalski, 2006). A Minnesota School Boards Association (MSBA) training brochure, “Becoming a School Board Member,” (2010, p. 2) states: “The major function of the school board is to provide leadership, policy development, policy oversight, and communications. This is usually accomplished by adopting policies which the administrators and staff carry out.” Kowalski (2006) writes that role confusion may be a symptom of the increasing political nature of elected school boards, rather than being the cause of the problem. Community pressures or personal motivations may influence individual board members to invoke administrative authority beyond their legal role boundaries, to communicate with staff without notifying the superintendent responsible to report to the board, to display disrespectful behavior towards the superintendent, or to seek the approval of vocal special-interest groups. When just one or two on a school board occasionally stray into the administrative role, the impact is likely minimal. But when some, most or all board members regularly exceed board-role boundaries, conflict among the board and with the superintendent is inevitable. Glass (2010) writes that communication problems may emerge when board members initiate communication directly with principals and staff without giving prior notification to the superintendent. For example, “some board members will go so far as to directly, or by insinuation, instruct a principal or staff member. This undercuts the superintendent’s authority and creates confusion in the district. Teachers and administrators often interpret intrusion by board members to mean the superintendent lacks authority. The superintendent and other board members may take offense, and the result may be a severe strain on board and superintendent relations” (Glass, 2010, p. 3). The National School Boards Association (2010, p. 3) cites individual board member behaviors that cause conflict, such as: overstepping authority and trying to be administrators, getting involved in labor relations or budget minutia, not preparing for meetings, not being open or honest with the superintendent, making decisions based on preconceived notions, not keeping executive sessions confidential, failing to act on sensitive issues, springing surprises at meetings, having hidden agendas, and not supporting the superintendent. School communities expect all board members to meet ethical and legal requirements while dealing with political pressures related to being elected by the public, responding to constituents in a timely manner, being open to multiple perspectives, contributing their individual talents to improved governance, making effective decisions in the interests of all students, and holding the superintendent accountable for performance while working effectively as a school board-superintendent team. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010


The results of the Minnesota study indicate that school boards may benefit from four self-assessment efforts. First, is the statutory role of individual board members discussed during the orientation for new members by board leadership? Second, are there board policies in place to guide individual members in their board service? Third, if there are policies in place, are they understood, and does board leadership encourage members to cooperate with their intent as part of monitoring board ethics and legal actions? Fourth, is regular training and development in place for board members to review their own performance and work collaboratively to improve school district governance? Eadie (2006) recommends that one of the more effective strategies is for school boards to establish a joint task force of the board and superintendent to work together in identifying practical steps to strengthen the school board’s governance capacity. In closing, the views of participating superintendents in Minnesota present an opportunity for school boards to consider their own board policies and whether all individuals on the board are in full support of established board policy and practice. When board members work as a high-performing team, demonstrating a successful working relationship with the superintendent, the school district is wellpositioned to improve student learning and achieve performance excellence in service to their community. Dr. Mary Ann Nelson has 19 years of experience as a board member in education, health care, and nonprofit sector, and in September was appointed by the Governor to the Board of the Perpich Center for Arts Education. She is an education consultant, teaches education leadership courses for Capella University, is a senior examiner with the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Program, and is a judge with the Minnesota Council for Quality. Mary Ann has more than 25 years of experience in educational administration, including serving as assistant commissioner for academic excellence with the Minnesota Department of Education and superintendent of the Fridley Public Schools. She earned her doctorate degree in education administration from the University of Minnesota. She was selected in April as the 2010 Richard Green Scholar by the Minnesota Association of School Administrators. Her research findings about school board-superintendent relationships in Minnesota were presented to the MASA membership in October. Study findings and a copy of the survey results are accessible on the MASA website Nelson can be reached at



Department of Commerce (2009). Education Criteria for Performance Excellence. Gaithersburg, MD: Baldrige National Quality Program, National Institute for Standards and Technology. Eadie, Douglas C. (2006). Making a Good Board Better. School Administrator, 63, 6–7. Glass, Thomas E. School Board Relations – Relation of School Board to the Superintendent. Retrieved March 23, 2010 from /2388/School-Board-Relations-RELATIONSSCHOOL-BOARD-SUPERINTENDENT.html. Glass, Thomas E. & Franceschini, Louis A. (2006). The State of the American School Superintendency: A Mid- Decade Study. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Education. Goodman, Richard H. & Fulbright, Luann (1999). Ten Things Superintendents Can Do To Create and Maintain an Effective School Governance Team. ERS Spectrum, 17, 3–13. Kowalski, Theodore J. (2006). School Superintendent: Theory, Practice, and Cases. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Minnesota School Boards Association (2010). Becoming a School Board Member. [Brochure. MSBA, Board of Directors’ Meeting August 2010.] St. Peter, MN. National School Boards Association (2010). Dealing with Conflict. Retrieved March 23, 2010 from toolkit/Conflict.html. Price, William (2001). Policy Governance Revisited. School Administrator, 58, 46–48.

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Greg Abbott

At the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Howell Wechsler has heard all about how hard it is to increase physical education during the era of No Child Left Behind. How kids won’t eat nutritious meals. How boards and board members simply can’t do much to improve the health of children and combat the child obesity problem. He’s heard the excuses. Now, Wechsler, the director of the Division of Adolescent and School Health and a featured speaker at MSBA’s Leadership Conference, has some answers.

1950s-style phy ed where the coach comes out, throws some balls out and lets the athletes get the exercise while others hang back, your phy ed classes won’t make much of a difference.” By having a curriculum, board members know what is expected and can see what is being taught. Boards should also have physical education standards – just like any other school curriculum. And if the state doesn’t Howell Wechsler have the standards, adopt standards that mesh for your community. Then, train your instructors.

“There are many things board members can do to improve the health of children in their community,” Wechsler said. “There are many issues boards can influence related to physical activity and nutrition. And the other area board members can focus on is how the district does business structurally.”

The Direct Approach One of the first places a board member can start is with the district’s physical education program. Ask if the district has a physical education curriculum. And if so, evaluate it. The CDC has a physical education analysis tool that schools can use to judge their individual programs. “We take it for granted in other subjects, but some districts let the instructors just make it up as they go along,” he said. “If you have the old-fashioned, 12


“Board members can improve the physical education curriculum simply by asking questions,” Wechsler said. “Has the curriculum been evaluated by professionals? Has the CDC analysis tool been used? Do teachers receive training? What training do they get? Are they assessed in student performance? How do they keep all kids active to the fullest extent of the time?” Just as in any subject, Wechsler said there is a tremendous difference in programs with welltrained teachers and programs without welltrained teachers. “Find out who is doing it right at your school and reward them. Reinforce what they do and get others on board,” he said. And for districts that complain about needing more time in reading and math to meet No Child Left Behind demands, Wechsler said there is a wide range of studies that show a quality physical

education curriculum has a neutral or increased effect on student academic achievement. “It is incredibly short-sighted to cut back on physical education under the guise of student achievement,” Wechsler said. “Increased fitness and activity does have a positive effect on brain development.”

Other ways to preserve student physical activity Another way board members can improve the health of students is to be advocates of preserving recess time in the elementary and middle schools. The board can also look at other initiatives, such as walking or biking to school where possible. And the most important way to increase physical activity that is often overlooked is to make sure the district’s after-school programs are in sync with the district physical education curriculum. “Stronger after-school programs can supplement your phy ed program. Get those instructors trained and part of the athletic goals. Set them up with intramural sports programs. Let the after-school instructors know that the board has high expectations of them,” Wechsler said.

Make it Minnesota, not Minne-Soda On the nutrition side, schools – especially those in Minnesota – need to get the junk food and sugared beverages out of schools.

Structural things board members can do Once your nutrition and physical education curriculum are in place, boards should also find a way to keep progress ongoing. And the best way to do that is to institutionalize the effort by making it part of the school district’s school improvement plan. “That way it has some staying power and won’t fall apart when a board member leaves, and is not dependent on a school board member to stoke the fires and stay on the board for a generation,” he said. Make sure the school improvement plan has health goals and objectives. Those can be developed with a School Health Council – people in the community such as medical professionals, counselors, parents, health care providers, etc. Make sure the council meets regularly and gives regular reports to the board, who is then charged with following up on recommendations. The CDC provides a needs assessment called the School Health Index. It grades schools on how they are doing so districts can pick three or four areas to improve each year. “It’s also powerful for getting grants,” he said. “If you show you’ve done work on this, it’s a great way to get money.” Greg Abbott is the Director of Communications for the Minnesota School Boards Association. To comment on the article, you can reach him at

“I know it’s a little hard for you to hear, but Minnesota is one of the worst states in the nation in allowing access to junk food and vending machines,” Wechsler said. At one time states in the Southeast region of the U.S. were perennially the worst. But after years of improvement, it is the Midwest that lags behind. “It starts with nutritional standards. And if the state can’t get it done, individual school districts should come up with their own,” he said. Again, one of the more important things a board member can do is to make sure the people running the district’s school lunch program are trained and have degrees in nutrition. “More than half of the people running school lunch programs only have a high school diploma. These are the people who deal with feeding thousands of kids, hire staff, come up with budgets – it’s a highly sophisticated job,” he said. “Board members should find out the background of the person running the school lunch program. Do they have a degree? If not, can the district get them training and education in nutrition?” The easiest thing to do, Wechsler said, is for a board to see what neighboring districts have had success, and bring their people in to talk about what they’ve done to improve school lunches. “When you experience a cafeteria where kids enjoy the food and it is nutritious, you will no longer accept that the kids in your district can’t have the same.”

Jess Gibson



Putting on a Clinic Brooklyn Center Community Schools provides students with on-site health care facility

Dr. Allison Stolz examines a Brooklyn Center student at the district’s Health Resource Center in September. The center opened in February 2010 and provides medical, dental and mental health treatment.

Bruce Lombard


At one point during the 2009-10 school year, a female student at Brooklyn Center Community Schools was having severe problems, preventing her from getting work done at school and causing trouble at home. She was plagued by mental health issues, but refused to continue taking her prescribed medication because it was making her feel worse.

Conventional wisdom would assume she’d schedule an appointment at a clinic in town. Then one of her parents would have to take off from work and the student would miss important class time to attend the appointment. Also, there would probably be a long wait time for the appointment, extending her anguish that much more.

But she didn’t go across town. Rather, she went across the hall. Fortunately, Brooklyn Center Community Schools is equipped with its own medical center. The girl went across the hall to see the clinic’s doctor. The examination resulted in a prescription change – which led to a change for the better.



“It would have taken her months to get in to see the psychiatrist, and she got in our clinic the same day,” said Keith Lester, superintendent of Brooklyn Center.

A healthy start Lester isn’t comfortable being labeled the “brain trust” of the Brooklyn Center Health Resource Center, which opened February 2, 2010. But in truth, he was a key catalyst. The seeds for the facility were planted 14 months earlier at a “Healthy Communities” meeting between school district officials, several area health providers and other stakeholders with a common interest in helping students. The Northwest Healthy Communities network had been doing the background research on the need for a health clinic in the area for a few years. During the discussion, this key question was raised: Why didn’t this area – that has a high level of poverty (approximately 70 percent of Brooklyn Center’s students receive free or reduced-price lunch) – have any community clinics?

for staff, a space for large-group sessions for mental health patients, or a space for movement therapy (like yoga). The room – like the rest of the facility – is full of donated stateof-the-art technology, including an interactive white board and a Texas-sized computer monitor used for educational purposes.

How it works Park Nicollet – the health provider that convened the original meeting that started everything – handles the clinic’s medical work. But school district officials wanted more than just standard medical service for their new clinic.

“Because nobody has ever stepped up,” replied one health provider representative.

“Park Nicollet’s work has primarily been in just medical clinics in school and community settings,” Lester said. “We were asking for mental health and dental in addition to medical. The idea is catching on that if you have a more comprehensive approach, you can deal with more issues, and (the different health providers) can talk to each other. So when a doctor examines a student and see cavities all over the place, they can get them to the dentist.”

That’s when Lester did some stepping up and got the ball rolling. “Count me in,” Lester said. “I will give you a couple of classrooms, you bring us this....Once it got going, a lot of people were the brain trust.”

This more comprehensive approach brought Children’s Dental Services into the fold for dental service and two groups for mental health – North Psychology Clinic and The Family Partnership.

Lester touts the “Community Schools model” approach that helped make the project possible.

Both mental health groups even invite district officials to the table when it’s time to interview for prospective new therapists. The district has considerable influence in selecting any new mental health personnel.

“How come there isn’t one?” Lester said he asked those in attendance.

“Communication is a big part of the Community Schools model,” he said. “You have communication between the partners and everybody’s focused on one thing, and that is taking care of the kids.”

A great fit “There was a very committed group of people that attended every meeting we had,” Lester said. “Every person and every group represented at the meeting helped design it.” School officials didn’t have to look far for a place to build. Remodeling commenced October 2009 on the site of two classrooms located toward the end of the district’s junior/senior high school building. Lester said the cost to remodel that space was completely donated by contractors and suppliers. “You couldn’t believe the excitement of the contractors who were donating everything for it,” he said. The Health Resource Center looks top-notch and makes visitors feel they are in an authentic medical center. The facility has a modern appearance, a warm environment and a welcoming staff. The waiting rooms, doctors and equipment are the real deal here. “I’m so excited to work here, it’s really nice,” said Allison Stolz, one of the center’s doctors. The center even has its own portable dental X-ray machine that’s wheeled out to exam rooms. A large room in back of the clinic serves a number of functions: as a meeting room

The center is open for medical services to any student on a walk-in basis from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. “The medical care is essentially free, with no questions asked, for any child – birth through high school age – who lives or attends a school located in the city of Brooklyn Center,” Lester said. Parts of four other school districts lie within the city limits of Brooklyn Center. Lester said students attending schools in those parts are eligible to use the center, too. A number of open-enrollment students that live outside the district boundaries attend school at Brooklyn Center. Lester said those students and their siblings can also use the center. Dental service is available by appointment all day on Mondays. “The dental takes insurance but they have a sliding scale if a student doesn’t have insurance, and we have grants to help subsidize that,” Lester added. Mental health therapy is available Monday through Thursday by appointment. The clinic’s mental health providers take insurance or use grants from Hennepin County to cover treatment of uninsured patients. Another grant from Nicollet Park helps cover some mental health clients and allows therapists to meet and collaborate with school staff. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010


Park Nicollet – Medical

Lester brought Ha Truong aboard early into the clinic planning process and to coordinate, map out and implement the Community Schools model. Originally, the district was just going to contract for some of her time. Ha Truong was employed by the Northwest Hennepin Human Services Council at the time, but when Lester offered her the full-time position of community schools project manager, she gladly accepted.

Treatments for minor illnesses and medical conditions Routine physicals Immunizations Camp and sports physicals Health education

Lester jokes Ha Truong’s salary is the only expense they have for community schools projects – though they are both quick to point out, even that is a small expense to the district: Ha Truong has written a couple of grants that cover a chunk of her wages.

Children’s Dental Services – Dental

Health benefits

At your service

Putting on a Clinic

The Brooklyn Center Community Schools Health Resource Center and its providers offer a plethora of services for its student population. Below is a sampling of those services and their providers.

Dental examinations X rays Cleanings and fluoride treatment Plastic sealants Fillings and crowns Extractions

The Family Partnership and North Psychology Clinic – Mental Health Individual counseling Family counseling Group counseling Counseling for immigrant and refugee children and families Mental health diagnostic assessment

Northwest Immunization Clinic – Immunizations Off-site immunizations (Tuesdays)

Portico Healthnet – Health Insurance Provides families help with accessing health insurance on a walk-in basis Yet another grant from United Way helps pay for some project management time, outpatient pharmaceutical costs and mental health therapy for immigrant and refugee students. “In addition to those (medical, dental and mental health) services, we have Portico Healthnet,” said Julie Ha Truong, Brooklyn Center’s Community Schools Project Manager. “Portico helps families access health insurance. They are here when the doctors are here two days a week.” Ha Truong added: “We are able to see families that don’t have insurance, but we help them explore other options so they are not forever not on insurance. It’s really nice to have Portico across the hall.” 16


Lester said the Brooklyn Center School Board was onboard from the start with the health center. He also said positive feedback from parents and the community has been a big plus. “Before we opened the health center we were bracing for negative comments and we didn’t get any,” said Ha Truong of any potential misconceptions some residents might have over how the center was funded. “Most of the funds are covered by the providers. If there is a gap, then we look for a grant to fill that gap.” During the center’s early days, the doctors would have only three or four kids each day. Now, they are booked on a regular basis, seeing about 65 patients per month for medical treatment. The center also provides service for about 50 dental patients each month and is averaging 45 to 50 students per month for mental health issues. (Dental is available one day a week, though Ha Truong said a second day could be added down the road. Mental health services are available every day.) “Families can come in on their own on a walk-in basis, but a lot of our referrals come from our school staff or other providers,” Ha Truong said. “We had such a high number of referrals in the spring that we had to consider sending them to outside clinics, but the families want to be seen here. They feel more comfortable. We’ve built that relationship.” The facility’s easy accessibility contributes to that comfort factor. There’s a separate side entrance to the health center. “More parents are coming to this because they don’t have to walk through the school,” Lester said. “Before, our social workers would refer a student to a clinic a mile away, but none of the families or students would show,” added Ha Truong. “Now, we give them an office (at the school) and North Psychology has a 90 percent attendance rate.” The dental service also makes life a little easier for parents. “Before, parents had to take off of work for a

few hours, bring the kid to the dentist and go back to work,” Ha Truong said. “Now we just pull the kid out of class for 20 minutes.” The district schedules “dental days” twice a month at the elementary school if a significant amount of parents sign waiver forms. Ha Truong said the center has even caught the students’ attention. “I’ve had students say, ‘Wow, you guys really care about us, huh? You are doing all this great stuff,’” she said. “We had some former students (that had transferred to a different school) come back to tour the clinic, and then ask to reenroll here.” Brooklyn Center’s student athletes are appreciative of this care, too. While conducting physicals for spring sports, doctors discovered 70 percent of examinees had vision problems. The center provides free referrals for students with vision problems, off-site to either Park Nicollet Vision or Sears Optical. Ha Truong also noted that there’s been an upswing in the number of participating athletes because they have easier access to physicals. Also, at peak times last school year, half the student body was involved in an after-school program. Lester said it’s too early to tell if the center has made a significant impact on improving student achievement and other important measurables. “We’ve got improved attendance because we can get students their shots here, and I venture to say kids are doing better in the classroom because they are functioning better,” he said. “But we don’t have any measurable data yet, just anecdotal evidence. But we have seen more parent participation and we’ve seen some reduction in disciplinary referrals. If kids are well, they are going to be more successful in school. There’s plenty of research to show that.”

Right in front of them A recent article from the Minnesota Medical Association journal (Minnesota Medicine) stated that the Brooklyn Center Health Resource Center could be considered “the gold standard” for school-based clinics.

Lester said when he originally met with potential partners in the early stages, he never once asked for money. “I said we’d like your participation, not your money,” he said. “If you bring your service here and we provide access to the students, the students gain, we gain, you gain.” The school board passed a resolution toward the end of last school year that labeled Brooklyn Center as a “Community Schools District.” “I thought that was an important way to solidify this commitment to this program,” Lester said. “The programs and partnerships are already there. It’s part of that Community Schools model...all the partners talk things through.” Both Lester and Ha Truong said the center has been great for the school district, the district’s partners, the students and the parents. “Parents have now become more comfortable with the school (because of the health center),” Ha Truong said. “Once they have that foot in the door and feel comfortable, they are more willing to talk to us about all the other things.” “Knock on wood – it’s gone very well,” Lester said. Bruce Lombard is MSBA’s Associate Director of Communications and can be reached at

For more information Brooklyn Center School District Health Services and Students & Families Web pages Brooklyn Center Superintendent Keith Lester’s blog entry, “Health Resource Center: Meeting the Needs of Brooklyn Center” (Jan. 7, 2010) Minnesota Medicine story, “School-Based Clinics” (September 2010) CoverStorySept2010/tabid/3545/Default.aspx Brooklyn Center Superintendent Keith Lester (left) and Community Schools Project Manager Julie Ha Truong are two of several key contributors to the early success of the school district’s Health Resource Center.

Ha Truong said she’s often asked how the district was able to get this acclaimed clinic up and running in a little more than a year’s time. Lester said that most districts can parrot what Brooklyn Center accomplished. “It’s right there in front of them,” Lester said. “They all have the partners. They just need to get involved and try to get them talking to each other.” “A lot of those services and partnerships are there in other districts and communities, they’re just not connected,” added Ha Truong, noting that the city of Brooklyn Center has also been supportive in their efforts. “Once you connect them, you realize how much farther you can go with limited resources. And so many other partners are like, ‘Wow, this is pretty innovative; how can I get involved?’”





Greg Abbott


The injury to Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau has underscored the work that the Minnesota State High School League has done to toughen its policy about removing students from games if there are any signs or symptoms of a concussion.

No longer should coaches be praising athletes for getting back into the game after their “bell was rung.” As coaches have become more educated on concussions, they realize that sending someone back into a game who has concussion symptoms could be a fatal decision. That’s why, despite needing Morneau back in the Twins lineup, Manager Ron Gardenhire waited for medical professionals to give an OK – even though it meant Morneau is out until next season. That’s why the High School League is also promoting its policy and launching an improved concussion education effort. MORE COMMON THAN YOU’D THINK

During any given year, many student athletes report having brain injuries. Though football has the highest number of concussions associated with the sport, hockey, soccer and girls lacrosse also have significant numbers. Though most can recover in one to two weeks with rest and a gradual return to activity, about 10 percent of those injured may be out for several weeks or months. The High School League felt it was important to start an education campaign because adolescent brains are more likely to be at risk during a concussion, and many high school teams don’t have a team physician on the field to watch for signs and symptoms, or evaluate injured students. The League asked the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, chaired by University of Minnesota Family Medicine and Community Health Professor William O. Roberts, to come back with a proposal that had safety of student athletes as its goal. “The push for me is recognition of signs and symptoms of concussions,” said Roberts. “It’s an injury that has consequences, and the symptoms are hard to see.” IF IN DOUBT, SIT THEM OUT The mantra from the panel, the State High School League and national efforts is simple: If a student has any contact to the head, sit him or her out until the student can be evaluated by a professional and is given the green light to participate in physical activity again. At the high school level, three different sports may be offered in one season, and there is no way an athletic Hannah Juhnke



trainer will be able to be on the sidelines for every game and practice. The person who is on the sidelines is the coach. That’s why the Minnesota High School League is targeting the first round of concussion education at coaches. “The people who need to understand concussions are the players, who sometimes don’t tell anyone, parents, and coaches,” said Roberts. “If we get the coaches on board by requiring training, that’s a big first step.”

recovering from a concussion needs physical AND mental rest. That could mean pulling the student out of school for up to two weeks. No homework. Nothing. “It’s hard enough to keep kids out of sports for a week or two,” said Roberts. “But it’s going to be more difficult to get the message out that some kids need to be pulled out of school. It’s not just physical rest, but brain rest that is needed to recover.”

Roberts said that as people ask students how things are going at school, many have problems getting up to speed or Other parts are parent and player training. Morneau’s remembering what was talked about decision to sit out the playoffs this in their science or math class. “If year is a good example of they’re having trouble academically, professional athletes who are now Concussion making them go to class or do accepted for sitting out to deal with homework won’t help because they brain injuries. Cory Koskie, former won’t get much out of it until they Twins third baseman, has also gone are healed.” public with his concussion story in hopes of raising awareness and Only when a physician gives improving outcomes for young clearance for a student to return to athletes. Appears dazed or stunned physical activity should the student



“We need to see this behavior from professional athletes, and it will trickle down to kids,” Roberts said. “They realized that they had to ‘man up’ and let themselves heal – for their own safety and for the example they set for the public.” Symptoms of concussions are many. It’s a myth that concussions happen only to people who are “knocked unconscious.” Only 10 percent of concussions cause a person to become unconscious, according to national high school league statistics. That’s why it is important to look for signs and symptoms. (For a list, see the chart on this page or download the checklist at

Is confused about events Repeats questions Answers questions slowly Can’t recall events prior to or after a hit Loses consciousness Shows behavior or personality changes Forgets class schedule or assignments


athlete begin the process of a gradual return to the field. THE ATTEMPTS AT PREVENTION From the prevention side, discussion on some of the sports rules is important to emphasize that all athletes should show respect to fellow players. That includes such things as not leading with your head in a tackle and avoiding collisions into other players’ heads. National statistics show that for every 100,000 reported injuries, the sports with the highest concussion injury rates are: football (52), boys hockey (43) and girls lacrosse (39).

Nausea or vomiting If a student has any of the long list of Balance problems or dizziness “And when you look at sports with symptoms, which include headache, high concussion rates, it really makes vomiting, or failure of a balance test, Fatigue me wonder why schools sponsor sit them out. The same goes for more Blurry or double vision those sports when our primary goal is subtle signs such as confusion, getting people to learn,” said Roberts. memory loss or a stunned or dazed Sensitivity to light or noise Then again, cutting hockey and appearance. A pocket card – available Numbness or tingling football could put board members at from the CDC -- that coaches can and feathered. In risk of being tarred carry contains the best checklist for his 12 years on the Mahtomedi dealing with possible concussions. School Board, Roberts never called for an end to football And if a student displays any signs or symptoms, sit the or hockey. But he did make one attempt to prohibit body athlete out. checking in youth hockey. It didn’t get very far. RECOVERY MEANS PHYSICAL Greg Abbott is the Director of Communications for the Minnesota AND MENTAL REST An important finding from concussion research that board members need to pass along to teachers is that a student

School Boards Association. You can contact him at




Jessica Vic

Reduce Costs, Increase Effectiveness, Improve Efficiency


Carter A. Christie, Ed.D.

School board members and district administrators are well aware of the fact that their organizations are under unprecedented pressure to reduce costs without sacrificing services or compromising quality. The expectation that we can do more with less appears to be the mantra of those who resist tax increases for any reason and believe that balancing the budget is simply a matter of setting priorities and eliminating waste, fraud, inefficiencies, redundancy, and ineffective programs.

Applying free-market principles and creating competition among public schools are the purported solutions to all of our shortcomings. But, like it or not, the current funding crisis facing our school districts is forcing us to explore and reexamine every option for potential cost savings without jeopardizing the essential educational services for which we are responsible. One viable option is to seek opportunities for sharing services or programs with other entities.



John Wander

Cooperative programming is not new to Minnesota school districts. There are a plethora of

examples of how school districts collaborate formally and informally. Formal cooperative efforts include programs offered by intermediate school districts, education districts, and service cooperatives. The Minnesota School Boards Association is also a prime example of a cooperative organization that is open to all Minnesota school districts for a modest membership fee. That fee provides member districts with access to a large number of cost-effective programs and services that no district could duplicate individually. Other cooperative ventures include professional organizations such as the Minnesota Association of School Administrators, the Minnesota Association of School Business Officials, and a host of research and lobbying organizations that help us do our work better than if left to our own devices. Less formal cooperative efforts include the relationships we have with neighboring districts or other governmental jurisdictions such as cities and counties. We also collaborate with churches, social service agencies, and other nonprofits to produce meaningful programs and services for our students. A list of all the shared services enjoyed by school districts would likely exceed everyone’s expectations. These shared services opportunities are readily on display at professional meetings and workshops for members to evaluate and implement. While virtually all Minnesota school districts have availed themselves of a number of cooperative ventures, it doesn’t hurt to revisit these relationships periodically to ensure the results justify the costs and the passage of time has not rendered the agreement obsolete. I’m confident your community members would be impressed with the multitude of cooperative relationships in which your school district is engaged and the significant cost savings that accrues. Periodic review of these efforts demonstrates a district’s commitment to efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency. As school leaders struggle with financial shortfalls, and despite the large number of cooperative programs with which schools are involved, it is imperative that we revisit the issue of doing more with less – for that is the current reality. Sharing services with other entities is one way to reduce costs, increase efficiency, and improve effectiveness. I recommend a five-step process to assess a district’s potential for wringing every last cent out of the budget. ■ Evaluate existing cooperative agreements and relationships to determine if they remain viable or might be revised in some way. ■ Determine what other opportunities exist that might benefit the school district. ■ Consider conducting a joint services study with selected entities to identify other means by which the district could reduce costs or improve services through cooperation and collaboration. Participants might be neighboring school districts, businesses or other political jurisdictions. ■ Select those options that offer the greatest potential and commence implementation.

■ Assess your progress and results at reasonable intervals. Continue those programs that produce the desired results and redesign or abandon those that are not meeting expectations, and select new options for implementation as time permits. I am confident that all districts, large and small, can benefit from this exercise. To review cooperative relationships in which your district participates, ask your superintendent for a list of the agreements, both formal and informal, along with an analysis of their efficacy. Determine whether these efforts should be continued, revised, or abandoned. Explore whether there are other opportunities that might replace existing agreements. This review accomplishes two major purposes. It demonstrates the extent to which the district has pursued jointly offered programs and services while simultaneously providing an opportunity to evaluate these agreements. Next, search for existing cooperative opportunities of which the district might avail itself. The Minnesota School Boards Association provides a large number of quality programs and services that have been well received by Minnesota school districts. These services include insurance programs, the Minnesota School District Liquid Asset Fund Plus, the Minnesota Tax and Aid Anticipation Borrowing (MNTAAB) program, policy services, and professional development. Other organizations that provide joint services include intermediate school districts, education districts, and service cooperatives. Districts can also participate in the State of Minnesota’s Cooperative Purchasing Venture (CPV) program as well as similar joint purchasing contracts offered by other districts or political subdivisions. Ask how these programs might benefit your district. I’m confident that most school boards will be impressed with the large number of quality programs available and the potential for saving significant amounts through joint purchasing alone. Once you believe you have completed a thorough review of existing programs, you might consider conducting a shared services study to identify other ways in which the district would benefit from cooperation or collaboration with other entities. This study could be conducted by school district personnel or an independent consultant. The advantages of having a staff member conduct the study are that this individual already enjoys credibility within the community and there would be no additional expense to the district except for the time devoted to the research. The advantages of using a consultant are the contractor’s independence, expertise, and ability to complete the study on a timely basis. Upon completion of the study, the participants can decide which suggested joint services to pursue, how the programs will be implemented, and how success or failure will be assessed. As a consultant with Springsted Incorporated, I recently had the opportunity to participate in a shared services study along with my colleagues Roger Worner of Roger Worner and Associates and DeeDee Kahring, vice president and client representative for Springsted Incorporated. The study NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010



was conducted at the request of five Minnesota school districts that were interested in finding ways to reduce costs and increase efficiency through jointly offering programs and services. Our approach was to first assess the status of the district with respect to finances, enrollment, demographic characteristics, operating procedures, staffing, and current participation in joint services activities. This data was acquired from the districts as well as outside sources and was used to determine and helped to validate our findings and recommendations. We also conducted interviews with school board members and administrators to learn more about their expectations and needs as well as any limits on what was considered to be acceptable or unacceptable with respect to shared services. This ensured that time and effort was not spent on determining potential benefits for joint services that were of no interest to the participants. For instance, if the interview process revealed that there was insufficient interest in sharing administrators, we would not pursue that option for inclusion in our recommendations. The interviews and data also revealed successes in individual districts that could be replicated in the other districts. Upon completing the interviews, data acquisition, and needs assessment, the consultants developed a list of

suggestions that would respond to the districts’ needs, reduce costs, or improve effectiveness. This is accomplished by finding opportunities for economies of scale, economies of skill, volume purchasing, and increased competition among suppliers of services or materials. With respect to this particular study, the recommendations fell into the following general categories: leadership/management, purchasing of products, procurement of services, and contracting for insurance. Any one of the recommendations, if implemented, could easily produce enough annual savings to pay for the entire study. A shared services study can benefit all districts regardless of size. The financial crisis currently being experienced by school districts makes it imperative that all options for reduced costs, increased efficiency, and improved effectiveness be explored. There is little doubt that a thorough shared services study can produce savings that will pay for the cost of the study many times over, year after year. Carter Christie is an educational consultant with the Public Education Group at Springsted Incorporated. He previously served 35 years as a school business manager in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. He can be reached at

Financing available through rough






History in the


Annual Leadership Conference

As budgets get tighter, requirements get tougher and goals are made higher, school boards across the state will be faced with some hard decisions. Those decisions will have lasting impacts for students and communities. MSBA’s 90th Annual Leadership Conference is packed with information and inspiration to help school leaders focus on how to improve as a person, as a board, and as a district. Whether it is learning through workshops, gathering inspiration from the keynote speakers or finding new ideas simply from connecting with other board members around the state, you will come away with the knowledge and motivation to show that your district is part of History in the Making.

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS Ross Bernstein Thursday, Jan. 13

The Champion’s Code Author and motivational speaker Ross Bernstein will illustrate just what it takes to become the best of the best, while also exploring the fine line between cheating and gamesmanship in sports as it relates to ethics and accountability in the workplace. Ross talks about taking responsibility and about doing things the right way, with respect, to not just survive in the “new economy” – but to thrive in it on your own terms. By the end of the session everybody will be able to clearly define their own “Code.”

January 13-14, 2011 Minneapolis Convention Center

Howell Wechsler





Friday, Jan. 14

Promoting Health and Academic Achievement through School Health Policies & Programs School boards have a unique opportunity to make their schools a place where children can be healthy. By developing physical education standards, training food service directors and demanding nutritious foods, and by putting nutrition and phy ed standards in to the school improvement plan, districts in Minnesota can improve not only student health, but student achievement.




EVENING EARLY BIRDS Bargaining Basics Presenters: Bob Lowe, Director of Management Services; and Amy Fullenkamp-Taylor, Associate Director of Management Services

Phase I: New Board Member Orientation 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 11 Hyatt Regency Hotel Minneapolis Help new board members hit the ground running with this session. Phase I covers the role of the school board, the role of the superintendent, and common scenarios facing new board members.

Bob Lowe

Phase II 8:45 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 12 Hyatt Regency Hotel Minneapolis Presented by MSBA staff and state experts. Phase II includes the financial training school boards are required to have by state law. The session also covers core topics such as the budget, school financing, local levies, policies, significant laws affecting school boards, collective bargaining and personnel issues.

Amy FullenkampTaylor


Negotiating employee contracts is one of a board’s most important responsibilities – it’s also among the board’s most complex, technical and political duties. This session will provide negotiators with a review of basic negotiation strategies, as well as an understanding of PELRA and other applicable laws. This is essential training for new negotiators and a great refresher for veteran negotiators.

The Next Generation Economy: A New Normal

Constructive Superintendent Evaluation

Presenters: Tom Gillaspy, Minnesota State Economist; Tom Stinson, Minnesota State Demographer

Presenter: Sandy Gundlach, Director of School Board Services 1 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 12 Hyatt Regency Hotel Minneapolis

7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 12 Minneapolis Convention Center

Tom Gillaspy

Make your superintendent’s evaluation a positive experience for both the board and your school leader. Learn about a process you can use to develop a constructive superintendent evaluation. MSBA’s superintendent evaluation forms will be highlighted as well. Join us for an interactive learning opportunity focused on superintendent performance evaluation. Tom Stinson

7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 12 Minneapolis Convention Center Changes in Minnesota’s economy and a budget challenge near $6 billion has combined to create projections in job recovery and household income that will create a new normal. See how Minnesota’s New Normal will affect everything from health care to K-12 education and gain information to help your board deal with these changing trends so your district can adjust.



2011 Exhibitor Academy THURSDAY, JANUARY 13 8:00 a.m. – Metz Construction Management Managing Your Claim

1:00 p.m. – Collaborative Design Group, Inc. The Reuse of Existing Buildings - Historic or Not

FRIDAY, JANUARY 14 8:30 a.m. – Educators Benefit Consultants EBC’s 403(b) Administration and Compliance Service

8:30 a.m. – Educators Benefit Consultants EBC’s 125 Flexible Benefits Plan and Benny Card

1:30 p.m. – ATS&R Planners/Architects/Engineers Rethink the Box - Teaching and Learning Environments

9:00 a.m. – Minnesota Environmental Initiative - Project Green Fleet Get Rolling with Project Green Fleet

2:00 p.m. – Tierney Brothers, Inc. Interactive Digital Lessons and Assessments

9:30 a.m. – Ardent Lighting Group, LLC Easylite ILS - Integrated Light Systems

2:30 p.m. – Four Seasons Energy Efficient Roofing, Inc. How a White Energy Star Roof Saves You Money All Year Round

10:00 a.m. – U.S. Green Building Council - MN Green, Healthy Schools

9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. – General Session 11:30 a.m. – The Hope Survey How Does School Culture Affect Student Performance? 12:00 p.m. – K2 Education Services Procurement Expense Reduction and Savings

9:00 a.m. – Perkins + Will Planning for School Safety and Security

3:00 p.m. – AIM Electronics / Daktronics, Inc. Electronic Scoreboards and Message Displays

12:30 p.m. – Kiefer Specialty Flooring, Inc. Attributes and Benefits of Rubber in Gyms / Classrooms / Etc.








Our Distinguished Group of 2011 Conference Exhibitors 4.0 School Services Transportation and grounds maintenance

APi Supply Lifts Aerial lift dealer

BYU Independent Study Online courses

A&F Consulting Group, Inc. Environment/engineering design, commissioning, health & safety, energy audits, playground assessments, lead, asbestos, mold remediation

Architects Rego + Youngquist inc. Architectural planning, design and management of educational facilities

CEI Engineering Associates Civil engineering, athletic sport complex design, pavement management services

Ardent Lighting, LLC Sports lighting, decorative street lighting, decorative poles

Center for Efficient School Operations, The Consulting services to school districts in the areas of facilities, health and safety, and transportation

A’viands Food & Services Management Food service management Action for Healthy Kids AFHK reports, fact sheets, health screenings - blood pressure, stress tests ADM Group, The Educational consulting AIM Electronics/Daktronics, Inc. Electronic scoreboard/message displays, logo tables and chairs and mats

Armstrong, Torseth, Skold & Rydeen, Inc. (ATS&R) Specialize in K-12 school planning, architecture, engineering, technology, interior design, and site development

Central States Terrazzo Association Terrazzo flooring Chartwells School Dining Services Food service management

Associated Builders and Contractors of MN Construction policy advice

Clark Engineering Corporation Professional engineering services

ASVAB Career Exploration Program ASVAB Career Exploration

Ameresco, Inc. Energy services

Athletic Performance Solutions Athletic flooring

American Student Transporation Contracted bus services

BlueCross BlueShield of Minnesota Health insurance

Anderson-Johnson Associates, Inc. Landscape architecture, civil engineering, site planning

Bossardt Corporation Construction management services

Collaborative Design Group, Inc. Architectural, interior design, planning, structural engineering and historic preservation services Contegrity Group Incorporated Construction management services Cosney Corporation Casework, seating

A passion for public law

Education Law Group Kennedy & Graven’s Education Law Group represents public school districts and provides responsive, creative, practical and high-quality legal services. Charles E. Long Greg Madsen Gloria Blaine Olsen Timothy R. Palmatier Susan E. Torgerson Maggie R. Wallner Stephen J. Bubul Martha N. Ingram Peter G. Mikhail Michael T. Norton Andrew J. Pratt James M. Strommen

Education Law Finance and Bond

Construction Real Estate and Business

470 U. S. Bank Plaza, 200 South Sixth Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402 Phone 612.337.9300 • Fax 612.337.9310 • Toll Free 1.800.788.8201 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010


Conference Exhibitors Continued from page 27 Cuningham Group Architecture, P.A. Architecture and educational planning Dashir Management Services, Inc. Building and grounds management DLR Group Architecture, engineering, planning, interiors, construction management, commissioning and facility asset management evaluations Donlar Construction Company Construction management, general contracting and design/build services Duro-Last Roofing, Inc. Single-ply roofing membrane EAPC Architects Engineers Full-service architecture and engineering Education Minnesota ESI Financial Services Financial services and tax-qualified administration and compliance services

Hallberg Engineering, Inc. Mechanical/electrical engineering, Schools for Energy Efficiency program

LifeTrack Services, Inc. Graduate follow-up surveys, middle school surveys, and athletic satisfaction surveys

HealthPartners Insurance

Lightspeed Technologies, Inc. Classroom audio technology

Hiller Commercial Floors Commercial floor covering

Lunchtime Solutions, Inc. Food service management

Hoglund Bus Co., Inc. International school buses, parts, and service

MacNeil Environmental, Inc. Health and safety consulting

Hufcor MN Track auditorium seating, Hufcor operable partitions, Cornell fire doors, complete service and repair department, and Sedia classroom furniture

Marsden Bldg Maintenance, LLC Janitorial and building maintenance services, window washing, HVAC and security

Hunter-Grobe Architects/Planners Architecture/construction I & S Group Architecture; interior design; structural, mechanical, electrical, civil engineering; land surveying; natural resources mgt.; landscape architecture ICS Consulting, Inc. Planning and construction consulting services

Educators Benefit Consultants Third party administrator for 403(b) plan compliance, HRA and flex plan administration

IEA Health and safety

EdVisions Schools The Hope Survey

Innovative Modular Solutions Award-winning new and used modular classrooms and office space for sale or lease

Ehlers Independent public financial advisory services Empirehouse, Inc. Energy-efficient windows, heavy-duty entrance doors, glass and metal railing systems, decorative glass, and egress consultation services Energy Services Group Facility improvement, ventilation upgrade and energy efficiency consulting and implementation services Fisher Tracks, Inc. All-weather track surfaces Flagship Recreation LSI playground equipment FLR Sanders, Inc. Gymnasium/sport floors Four Seasons Energy Efficient Roofing, Inc. Energy-efficient roof installers GLTArchitects Architectural services/planning Gordon Bernard Company School calendars, handbooks, registration books, spiralbound planners Haldeman-Homme, Inc./Anderson-Ladd Casework, bleachers, lockers, wood floors, science and tech. equip., computer and library furniture, athletic equip., auditorium chairs and seating



INSPEC, INC. Architectural/engineering services Intereum Furnishings, architectural products and installation services Johnson Controls, Inc. Indoor air environments K2 Logistics Education Services Procurement expense reduction and savings Karges-Faulconbridge, Inc. Mechanical and electrical engineering, commissioning Kennedy & Graven, Chartered Legal services Kiefer Specialty Flooring, Inc. Athletic flooring, artificial turf, tracks, weight rooms, gymnasiums, ice arenas Kraus-Anderson Construction Company Professional construction management services, referendum assistance and facilities planning and management services

MASMS - MN Educational Facilities Management Professionals Facilities management organization McCombs Frank Roos Associates Engineering and landscape services McKinstry Energy and facilities services Metz Construction Management Construction management, project consulting, staff augmentation, owner’s representation, claims resolution and building assessment Midwest Tennis & Track Co. Running track and tennis court surfacing Minitex MnKNOWS Minneapolis Recruiting Battalion Information about March 2 Success and Army opportunities Minnesota Association of School Business Officials Providing education, training and services to staff that serve in school business management Minnesota Central School Bus Contract student transportation services Minnesota Environmental Initiative Information about low- and no-cost pollution control equipment for school buses Minnesota Family, Career and Community Leaders of America Dynamic youth leadership program materials for schools Minnesota School Bus Operators Association School bus contracting Minnesota Service Cooperatives Minnesota Service Cooperatives

Lance Service, Inc. Casework

Minnesota State High School League MSHSL/MSBA Olympics

Larson Engineering, Inc. Engineering services

Minnesota State Retirement System Health Care Savings Plan (HCSP) and MN State Deferred Comp Plan (MNDCP)

LHB Architecture and engineering LifeSpan of Minnesota, Inc. Children’s mental health services

MN Ag Education Leadership Council/MN Ag in the Classroom Education materials and grant information

Mohawk Group, The Commercial carpet MSBA Playground Compliance Program Playground equipment and surfacing Musco Sports Lighting Sports field lighting

North Central Insulation Providing the Sprayed Foam Roofing System for over 33 years, benefitting owners with lower maintenance and energy costs Northland Securities, Inc. Financial advising and bond underwriting

PFM Group, Inc., The Independent financial advisory services Piper Jaffray & Co. School district cash flow program PMA Financial Network, Inc. Financial investment and advisory services

Musser Environmental Consulting, Inc. Health and safety consulting

Otter Tail Power Co. Energy-efficient electric heating, cooling, cooking, lighting, and air handling technologies

PreferredOne Health benefits administration

National Insurance Services Group insurance benefits - MSBAIT Life/LTD plans

Palmer Bus Service Student transportation

R. A. Morton and Associates Construction management and pre-referendum services

National School Boards Association Align your school district with the National Affiliate Program, your voice in Washington, D.C., and resources for professional development

Paulsen Architects Architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, engineering and planning

Riverport Insurance Company Insurance

NeoPath Health On-site clinics

Peoples Electric Company Electrical, communication, environmental control, building and process automation, construction, service, testing and maintenance

Nor-Son, Inc. Construction services North Central Bus & Equipment School buses

Perkins + Will District-wide master planning, educational planning, architecture, interior design, sustainability PFM Asset Management, LLC - MSDLAF+ MSDLAF+/Cash and investment services

Roof Spec, Inc. Roof consulting and engineering services Scholastic Equipment Company, LLC School furniture, equipment and flooring School Management Services School financial management services School Medias Advertising School Specialty School supplies, furniture and equipment



Conference Exhibitors Continued from page 29 Seating & Athletic Facility Enterprises, LLC Indoor and outdoor seating (new and renovations); e.g., telescopic bleachers, grandstands, portable bleachers Skyward, Inc. Skyward student, budgetary and human resources administrative software exclusively for K-12 school districts—public and private Smiley Glotter Nyberg Architects Architectural school planning and design Sports Technology Sports field lighting Springsted Incorporated Provides independent financial advisory and consulting services to school districts Steelcase - General Office Products Classroom, student spaces and administration furniture Student Assurance Services, Inc. Student accident and catastrophic insurance Sturdisteel Grandstands, bleachers, aluminum seating

Taher, Inc. School lunch management and consulting services

Virco, Inc. School furniture and equipment

TeamWorks International Consulting and demographic mapping services

VS - America, Inc. Classroom furniture/dynamic, flexible solutions

Tectum, Inc. Abuse-resistant wall and ceiling panels; acoustical/structural roof deck for sound control

W. L. Hall Company Windows, skylights, lockers, fire doors, bleachers and auditorium seating

Telin Transportation Group Bus sales

Webber Recreational Design, Inc. Park and playground equipment, shelters, pool slides

Tierney Brothers, Inc. Projectors, audio/visual - SMART Boards, HP printers and Safari Montage

Wells Concrete Products Architectural and structural precast/prestressed concrete building components

TIES Reliable and secure performance management system with student, finance, human resources and payroll applications - designed specifically for schools

Winkelman Building Corporation Construction management services

Tremco, Inc. Roofing products/weatherproofing services TSP, Inc. Architecture, engineering, construction

Wold Architects and Engineers Architectural and engineering services YHR Partners, Ltd. Architecture and planning Ziegler Power Systems Generator

U.S. Green Building Council - Minnesota Chapter Support for maintaining or building green and sustainable schools

Architecture Interior Design Urban Design

Schools That Fit

When a strong vision for learning and innovative design come together amazing things happen. This 1920s school maintained its neighborhood-friendly exterior while inside designers made 21st century teaching and learning possible. Cuningham Group — delivering dramatic transformations that fit since 1968.



You need guidance. We give direction. Providing Over 20 Years of Service to Schools.

Focusing on all areas of School Law Labor Negotiations and Employment Law School Business Affairs • Special Education Construction and Land Acquisition • Investigations 300 U.S. Trust Building • 730 Second Avenue S. • Minneapolis, MN 55402 Phone: (612) 339-0060 • Fax: (612) 339-0038 •



MSBA’s VENDOR DIRECTORY MSBA’s Vendor Directory helps connect school districts with the products and services they need. The directory is always at your fingertips. You’ll find it printed in the back of every Journal magazine as well as on the MSBA Web site at Most listings in the Web version of this directory include a link so you can head instantly to a Web site or e-mail address. The directory includes everything you need to know to contact a company quickly—phone numbers, fax numbers and addresses—in an easy-to-read format. If you have a service or product you would like included in this directory, please contact Sue Munsterman at 507-934-2450 or Actuary Hildi Incorporated (Jill Urdahl) 11800 Singletree Lane, Suite 305 Minneapolis, MN 55344 952-934--5554, Fax 952-934-3027 Van Iwaarden Associates (Jim Van Iwaarden) 10 South Fifth Street, Suite 840 Minneapolis, MN 55402-1010 612-596-5960, Fax 612-596-5999 Architects/Engineers/Facility Planners Architects Rego + Youngquist inc. (Paul Youngquist) 7601 Wayzata Blvd., Suite 200 St. Louis Park, MN 55426 952-544-8941, Fax 952-544-0585 ATS&R Planners/Architects/Engineers (Paul W. Erickson) 8501 Golden Valley Rd., Suite 300 Minneapolis, MN 55427 763-545-3731 Fax 763-525-3289 Cuningham Group Architecture, P.A. (Judith Hoskens) 201 Main Street SE, Suite 325 Minneapolis, MN 55414 612-379-3400, Fax 612-379-4400 DLR Group (Troy W. Miller) 520 Nicollet Mall, Suite 200 Minneapolis, MN 55402 612-977-3503, Fax 612-977-3600 GLTArchitects (David Leapaldt) 808 Courthouse Square St. Cloud, MN 56303 320-252-3740, Fax 320-255-0683



ICS Consulting, Inc. (Pat Overom) 5354 Edgewood Drive Mounds View, MN 55112 763-354-2670, Fax 763-780-2866 INSPEC, INC. (Fred King) 5801 Duluth St. Minneapolis, MN 55422 763-546-3434, Fax 763-546-8669 MSBA Playground Compliance Program (in partnership with National Playground Compliance Group, LLC) (Tim Mahoney) PO Box 506 Carlisle, IA 50047 866-345-6774, Fax 515-989-0344 Paulsen Architects (Bryan Paulsen) 209 S. Second Street, Suite 201 Mankato, MN 56001 507-388-9811, Fax 507-388-1751 Perkins + Will (Steve Miller) 84 10th Street S., Suite 200 Minneapolis, MN 55403 612-851-5094, Fax 612-851-5001 TSP, Inc. (Rick Wessling) 18707 Old Excelsior Blvd. Minneapolis, MN 55345 952-474-3291, Fax 952-474-3928 Wold Architects and Engineers (Scott McQueen) 305 St. Peter Street St. Paul, MN 55102 651-227-7773, Fax 651-223-5646 Athletic Sports Floors/Surfacing MSBA Playground Compliance Program (in partnership with National Playground Compliance Group, LLC) (Tim Mahoney) PO Box 506 Carlisle, IA 50047 866-345-6774, Fax 515-989-0344

Attorneys Kennedy & Graven Chartered (Neil Simmons) 200 South Sixth Street, Suite 470 Minneapolis, MN 55402 612-337-9300, Fax 612-337-9310 Knutson, Flynn & Deans, P.A. (Thomas S. Deans) 1155 Centre Pointe Dr., Suite 10 Mendota Heights, MN 55120 651-222-2811, Fax 651-225-0600 Pemberton, Sorlie, Rufer & Kershner, PLLP (Mike Rengel) 110 N. Mill Fergus Falls, MN 56537 218-736-5493, Fax 218-736-3950 Ratwik, Roszak & Maloney, P.A. (Kevin J. Rupp) 730 2nd Ave. S., Suite 300 Minneapolis, MN 55402 612-339-0060, Fax 612-339-0038 Construction Mgmt. & Products Bossardt Corporation (John Bossardt) 8300 Norman Center Drive, Suite 770 Minneapolis, MN 55437 952-831-5408 or 800-290-0119 Fax 952-831-1268 Contegrity Group, Inc. (Pete Filippi) 101 1st Street SE Little Falls, MN 56345 320-632-1940, Fax 320-632-2810 Donlar Construction Company (Jon Kainz) 550 Shoreview Park Road Shoreview, MN 55126 651-227-0631, Fax 651-227-0132 ICS Consulting, Inc. (Pat Overom) 5354 Edgewood Drive Mounds View, MN 55112 763-354-2670, Fax 763-780-2866

Kraus-Anderson Construction Co. (Mark Phillips) PO Box 158 Circle Pines, MN 55014 763-786-7711, Fax 763-786-2650 MSBA Playground Compliance Program (in partnership with National Playground Compliance Group, LLC) (Tim Mahoney) PO Box 506 Carlisle, IA 50047 866-345-6774, Fax 515-989-0344 Educational Programs/Services Minnesota State Academies for the Deaf and Blind (Linda Mitchell) 615 Olof Hanson Dr. PO Box 308 Faribault, MN 55021-0308 800-657-3996/507-384-6602 Fax 507-332-5528 Employee Assistance Program (EAP) The Sand Creek Group, Ltd. (Gretchen M. Stein) 610 N. Main Street, #200 Stillwater, MN 55082 651-430-3383, Fax 651-430-9753 Energy Solutions Johnson Controls, Inc. (Arif Quraishi) 2605 Fernbrook Lane N., Suite T Plymouth, MN 55447 763-585-5043, Fax 763-566-2208 Financial Management MSBA-Sponsored Administration and Compliance Service (A&C Service) Administration and Compliance Service (Paige McNeal, Educators Benefit Consultants, LLC) 888-507-6053/763-552-6053 Fax 763-552-6055 MSBA-Sponsored Lease Purchase Program Tax Exempt Lease Purchase Program (Mary Webster, Wells Fargo Securities, LLC) 800-835-2265, ext. 73110 612-667-3110 Fax 612-316-3309

MSBA-Sponsored MNTAAB (MN Tax and Aid Anticipation Borrowing Program) MNTAAB (DeeDee Kahring, Springsted, Inc.) 800-236-3033/651-223-3099 Fax 651-223-3002 MSBA-Sponsored P-Card (Procurement Card) Program P-Card Program 800-891-7910/314-878-5000 Fax 314-878-5333 MSBA-Sponsored (Jim Sheehan, Ann Thomas) Sheehan: 952-435-0990 Thomas: 952-435-0955 PaySchools (Patrick Ricci) 6000 Grand Ave. Des Moines, IA 50312 281-545-1957, Fax: 515-243-4992 PFM Asset Management, LLC MSDLAF+ (Donn Hanson) 45 South 7th Street, Suite 2800 Minneapolis, MN 55402

612-371-3720, Fax 612-338-7264 Food Service Products & Services Lunchtime Solutions, Inc. (Chris Goeb) 717 N. Derby Lane North Sioux City, SD 57049 605-254-3725, Fax 605-235-0942 Taher, Inc. (Monique Navarrette) 5570 Smetana Dr. Minnetonka, MN 55343 952-358-2188, Fax 952-945-0444 Insurance Minnesota School Boards Association Insurance Trust (MSBAIT) (Denise Drill, John Sylvester, Amy Fullenkamp-Taylor) 1900 West Jefferson Avenue St. Peter, MN 56082-3015 800-324-4459, Fax 507-931-1515

Playgrounds MSBA Playground Compliance Program (in partnership with National Playground Compliance Group, LLC) (Tim Mahoney) PO Box 506 Carlisle, IA 50047 866-345-6774, Fax 515-989-0344 Roofing Four Seasons Energy Efficient Roofing, Inc. (Darrell Schaapveld) 1410 Quant Ave. North Marine on St.Croix, MN 55047 651-433-2443, Fax 651-433-2834 Software Systems PaySchools (Patrick Ricci) 6000 Grand Ave. Des Moines, IA 50312 281-545-1957, Fax 515-243-4992 Skyward, Inc. 868 3rd Street South, Suite 101 Waite Park, MN 56387 800-236-7274

Technology PaySchools (Patrick Ricci) 6000 Grand Ave. Des Moines, IA 50312 281-545-1957, Fax 515-243-4992 Transportation Hoglund Bus Co., Inc. (Jason Anderson) PO Box 249 Monticello, MN 55362 763-271-8750 North Central Bus & Equipment (Sandy Ethen) 2629 Clearwater Road South St. Cloud, MN 56301 320-257-1209, Fax 320-252-3561 Telin Transportation Group (Jamie Romfo) 14990 Industry Avenue Becker, MN 55308 866-287-7278, Fax 763-262-3332

Competitive Yields, Guided By Sound Investment Principles. In today’s financial climate, investment choices aren’t always clear. Having one stand tall above the others is a source of security. Since 1984, MSDLAF+ has helped chart the way for hundreds of Minnesota school districts and public school entities. MSDLAF+’s reputation for seeking to attain the highest standards in safety while striving to deliver consistently competitive yields is guided by the same objectives our Participants have — gain a competitive return while preserving principal. Facing uncertain financial seas?

Let the MSDLAF+/PFM Asset Management LLC team guide you.

Carole Loehr Senior Managing Consultant 320-202-1421

Richard Lorenz Senior Sales Representative 507-327-4144

Donn Hanson Senior Managing Consultant 612-371-3720

This information does not represent an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy or sell any fund or other security. Investors should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses before investing in any of the Fund’s series. This and other information about the Fund’s series is available in the Fund’s current Information Statement, which should be read carefully before investing. A copy of the Fund’s Information Statement may be obtained by calling 1-888-4-MSDLAF or is available on the Fund’s website at While the MSDLAF+ Liquid Class and Max Class seek to maintain a stable net asset value of $1.00 per share and the MSDLAF+ TERM series seeks to achieve a net asset value of $1.00 per share at its stated maturity, it is possible to lose money investing in the Fund. An investment in the Fund is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. Shares of the Fund are distributed by PFM Fund Distributors, Inc., member Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) ( PFM Fund Distributors, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of PFM Asset Management LLC. Member SIPC.



Advertisers Architects Rego + Youngquist inc. ..............................Page 34 ATS&R...........................................................................Page 26 Cuningham Group Architecture, P.A. ........................Page 30 DLR Group .....................................................................Page 7 Four Seasons Energy Efficient Roofing, Inc. .............Page 23 Hoglund Bus Co. Inc. ..................................................Page 34 Kennedy & Graven Chartered ....................................Page 27 Knutson, Flynn & Deans, P.A. .......................................Page 2 Kraus-Anderson Construction Co. ..............................Page 23 MSBA Learn @ Lunch .................................................Page 36

Call Jason,Tom, Randy, Doug or Kevin today to learn more about 2010 Emissions.

MSBAIT...........................................................................Page 2 MSDLAF+ .....................................................................Page 33 Paulsen Architects ........................................................Page 11

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Ratwik, Roszak & Maloney, P.A. .................................Page 31

Telin Transportation Group ........................................Page 22

116 East Oakwood Drive Monticello, MN 55362 Phone: 763-295-5119 Toll Free: 800-866-3105

Wold Architects & Engineers ......................................Page 29

Skyward, Inc....................................................................Page 7 Taher, Inc......................................................................Page 11





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Retail stores are already making holiday wares available, and plans for the holidays have begun for many of us, even if the season is not yet here. In one form or another, the question has probably been raised at schools, too: “What are we going to do about the holidays?” For public schools, the answer requires legal considerations as well as other careful planning.

Cathy Miller, MSBA Director of Legal and Policy Services

Some holidays are religious or have a religious basis. As demographics in our state and country change, the religious backgrounds of our schools and communities also change. Practicing inclusiveness and tolerance means something different today from what it meant when more than 85 percent of Minnesotans identified themselves as Christians. For just one example, many more holidays are celebrated by the families of Minnesota’s current student population. Q: What should school board members look to for guidance regarding the federal and state legal requirements for schools and religious holidays? As entities funded by and affiliated with government, public schools must comply with constitutional principles as interpreted by the courts. A very brief summary of these principles and the most important interpretations is helpful. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution forbids any “law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” In 1802, Thomas Jefferson said these words created “a wall of separation between church and State.” Minnesota’s Constitution ensures “the right of every man to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience,” and prohibits “any preference . . . by law to any religious establishment or mode of worship.” Article I, Section 16. The United States Supreme Court has interpreted these constitutional principles in several cases and has developed criteria that have come to be known as “tests.” Perhaps the best known guidance is called “The

Lemon Test,” after the court case name, and requires the following: (1) A secular purpose; (2) The primary effect must neither advance nor inhibit religion; and (3) No excessive government entanglement with religion. Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971). “The Endorsement Test” asks whether a “reasonable observer” would find that government action “conveys a message that a particular religion, or a particular religious belief, is ‘favored,’ ‘preferred,’ or ‘promoted’ over other beliefs.” County of Allegheny v. ACLU, 492 U.S. 573 (1989). “The Coercion Test” provides, “at a minimum, that a government may not coerce anyone to support or participate in religion or its exercise.” Lee v. Weisman, 505 U.S. 577 (1992). To simplify, schools must practice neutrality when it comes to religious holidays and religious beliefs about holidays. “Neutrality” means no advancement or promotion of religion, but also means religion cannot be inhibited or disparaged. Schools must respect, but not endorse, the viewpoints and beliefs of everyone. Q: How can our school practice neutrality during religious holidays? In application, the following cautions reflect a neutral approach to the holidays: Accommodations must be made for religious observances, including flexibility about attendance requirements. Teaching about religious holidays is acceptable, but celebrating these holidays is not. Teachers may not proselytize or share their personal religious beliefs in class. School holiday concerts may include religious music as part of a variety of selections but cannot be dominated by religious music or favor one religion over another. Religious symbols may be shown as part of a lesson about a religion, but should not be displayed at school. Holiday decorations need to be secular. The names of school activities and vacations should be secular. Model Policy 609, titled “Religion,” may be a useful resource. Questions may be directed to Cathy at 800-324-4459, ext. 132, or NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2010




1900 West Jefferson Avenue, St. Peter, MN 56082-3015 ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED

MSBA is here to serve YOU... LEARN @ LUNCH WEBINAR SERIES MSBA’s webinar series provides important and useful information presented by staff members. Viewers can submit questions during presentations and have them answered live on the air. Visit to view our archives.

Minnesota School Boards Association 1900 West Jefferson Avenue St. Peter, MN 56082 800-324-4459; fax 507-931-1515

The 2010-11 Learn @ Lunch schedule includes: • “Understanding the Family Medical Leave Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act” (archived) • “Best Practices for Employee Discipline” (November 2010) • “Effective Budget Processes” (January 2011) • “Your Superintendent’s Contract and Handbook” (February 2011) • “Following Up on Negotiations Strategy” (April 2011) • “Bid Law Dos and Don’ts (May 2011) Each webinar is $40 or you can get all six for $200. Register in the Members Area at MSBA’s mission is to support, promote and enhance the work of public school boards and public education.

2010 November-December Journal  

The 2010 November-December issue of The Journal, published by the Minnesota School Boards Association

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