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March-April 2015

Volume 67, No. 5


Century Leadership

Red Wing Raises “Hand” in Victory Equity for All Students Essential iPad Apps

Leadership Conference Scrapbook Pages 26-27

MARCH 2015

Divisions 4 5 6 26 32


STRAIGHT TALK Kirk Schneidawind, MSBA Executive Director PRESIDENT’S COLUMN Kevin Donovan, MSBA President 94th Annual Leadership Conference Scrapbook MSBA Staff VENDOR DIRECTORY Pierre Productions & Promotions, Inc.

Articles 8

12 14 18 22

Red Wing raises “Hand” in victory: School district wins top Local Government Innovation Award prize; four other districts also receive recognition Bruce Lombard

4–5 ������������ Big 4 Joint Legislative Meeting 7 ���������������� MSBA Charter School Training 8 ���������������� Daylight Saving Time Begins 10 �������������� Township Election Day (if applicable – no meetings or activities 6 p.m.–8 p.m.) 12 �������������� Officers’ Workshop, Rochester 17 �������������� Officers’ Workshop, Fergus Falls

APRIL 2015 10 �������������� MSBA Phase III Orientation, Bemidji 11 �������������� MSBA Phase III Orientation, Minneapolis 12–13 �������� MSBA Board of Directors’ Meeting 13 �������������� MSBA Insurance Trust Meeting 16 �������������� MSBA Phase III Orientation, Mankato 22 �������������� MSBA Phase III Orientation, St. Cloud 28 �������������� Minnesota School District Liquid Asset Fund Plus Meeting

MAY 2015 12–15 �������� MASBO Conference 20–21 �������� MSBA Board of Directors’ Annual Meeting 25 �������������� Memorial Day (no meetings) 27 �������������� Minnesota School District Liquid Asset Fund Plus Meeting

JUNE 2015 11 �������������� MSBA Insurance Trust Meeting

True Grit: Board would not give up until all students had equal access and opportunity in learning Greg Abbott Essential iPad Apps: How can technology become invisibly woven into good teaching and learning? Nancy Moore Student Success By Design: Karner Blue Education Center creates a nurturing learning environment for special education students Connie Hayes Mining Data from Scientific, Random-Sample Surveys Don E. Lifto and Chris Deets Courtesy of the American School Board Journal The MSBA Journal thanks the students of Pine Island Public Schools for sharing their art in this issue. COVER ART:

Andrew Bogard

March/April 2015    3

C O N T E N T S M a r c h / A p r i l 2 0 1 5    V O L U M E 6 7 , N U M B E R 5


Officers President: Kevin Donovan, Mahtomedi Past-President: Walter Hautala, Mesabi East District Directors District 1: Kathy Green, Austin District 2: Jodi Sapp, Mankato Area District 3: Linden Olson, Worthington District 4: Betsy Anderson, Hopkins District 5: Suzy Guthmueller, Centennial District 6: George Kimball, White Bear Lake Area District 7: Melissa Sauser, Farmington District 8: Carla Bates, Minneapolis District 9: Kirby Ekstrom, North Branch Area District 10: Michael Domin, Crosby-Ironton District 11: Amy Richter, Ely District 12: Ann Long Voelkner, Bemidji Area District 13: Deborah Pauly, Jordan Staff Kirk Schneidawind: Executive Director Kelly Martell: Executive Assistant Tiffany Rodning: Deputy Executive Director Greg Abbott: Director of Communications Denise Dittrich: Associate Director of Governmental Relations Denise Drill: Director of Financial/MSBAIT Services Amy Fullenkamp-Taylor: Associate Director of Management Services Sandy Gundlach: Director of School Board Services Barb Hoffman: Administrative Assistant to Governmental Relations/Finance/Meeting Coordinator Sue Honetschlager: Administrative Assistant to Management, Legal and Policy Services/MSBAIT Donn Jenson: Director of Technology Bill Kautt: Associate Director of Management Services Grace Keliher: Director of Governmental Relations Katie Klanderud: Director of Board Development Gary Lee: Director of Membership Services Bruce Lombard: Associate Director of Communications Bob Lowe: Director of Management Services Cathy Miller: Director of Legal and Policy Services Sue Munsterman: Administrative Assistant to Board Development/Communications Sandi Ostermann: Administrative Assistant to Association Services and Finance/Receptionist Tim Roberts: Production Room Manager 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.)

4    MSBA Journal

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

On the need for a School Trust Lands director “This is about honoring our trust fund obligations by having one director provide oversight and direction over the trust for Minnesota students. This position would streamline the School Trust Lands, NOT add another level of bureaucracy. We want longterm change for students.” MSBA Associate Director of Government Relations Denise Dittrich

On the need for equitable school technology funding “We want to provide as much technology to kids as possible. It makes a big impact when all students have access and teachers have professional development (for technology). This is how we change the opportunity gap. If you want the ‘world’s best workforce,’ we need to put technology in the hands of every student.” White Bear Lake Area Information Technology Director Mark Garrison

“We need to be ahead of where the world is going; Minnesota schools are behind (on technology). Technology is a means of giving students a better chance for success. The digital learning gap exists because of a ZIP code.” Eden Prairie Assistant Superintendent Josh Swanson

Financial matters “(Schools) don’t have a lot of say over where (their) money comes from or how (they) spend it. Although the city has to follow certain rules of the state, (cities) have a lot more leeway with levies and bonds than schools do.” Former Cloquet School Board Member Bruce Ahlgren

On federally mandated student testing “While the federal government has a very special role in ensuring that our students do not experience discrimination based on who they are or what their disability might be, Congress is not a national school board.” U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (Tennessee), chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee

“The focus is all about testing because that’s the controversial issue of the day, but really the focus ought to be on equity and adequate funding for students with disabilities and students who have been underperforming.” Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius

Teacher evaluation “Evaluations and a fair analysis of performance ought to be the main criteria for any job.” Minnesota Senator Terri Bonoff

On Gov. Dayton’s February budget proposal “This budget does not meet the needs of Minnesota school districts and Minnesota families. What about the commitments we already made?” Minnesota Senator Eric Pratt

“With this budget proposal, this would be a cut to school districts because it’s not keeping up with inflation. I am worried about the budget’s implications at the local level.” Minnesota Senator Greg Clausen

Finding subs “Typically it’s harder to find substitute teachers in a better economy. Some are able to find other more permanent employment in a better economy, or some do not need to substitute as frequently.” St. Francis Human Resources Coordinator Brandon Nelson

S traight Talk G F F G D

eneral unding ormula ives istricts the Most Flexibility to Help Kids


It’s boring to fund programs already required for schools. Every budget year, our members give the same message to the Capitol: The best investment for schools and kids is to put at least an inflationary increase on the basic general funding formula.

Kirk Schneidawind MSBA Executive Director

Our 333 individual school districts come in all shapes, sizes and needs. Those districts need to use the money for THEIR students’ highest priorities.

This year, our members are asking for a $300 per pupil funding increase (HF 350 and SF 163) to keep up with inflation. But despite this message over and over, funding keeps finding its way to specific silos that limit a school’s ability to be flexible enough to cover all of our students’ needs. As budgets roll out, we can’t complain about a state that is investing surplus funds into education, designated for specific areas. But how much better off would schools be if that money was in a general fund so each of the 333 school districts could use it for the biggest priorities they are hoping to fund? How much better off would schools be if state and federal money would fund programs that are required already but are currently underfunded – like special education? School boards are elected by law to make decisions about how to best provide education curriculum to best help all of their students. Like any governance structure, however, the process and details of “how” each district meets the World’s Best Workforce (WBWF) goals should be left up to the school board with the implementation done by our administrators and teachers. The school board aligns their strategic plan with the programs the board must fund to meet the goals in the plan. Through the WBWF requirements, clear goals have been established: kindergarten readiness, third-graders reading at grade level, achievement gap closure, college and career readiness, and graduation rates. That’s why it is best when the Legislature invests in the basic formula so districts

have the flexibility to meet all of those goals. In addition, schools also have accountability measures that come along with the No Child Left Behind waiver. It’s tempting for a legislator to try to leave a legacy – let’s push the Q Comp program but only have enough money for one-third of school districts to implement it; let’s push the World’s Best Workforce program but not designate enough money to fund it; let’s push a school-based preschool program – again with only half the money to run it. A prime example is public school kindergarten. For years it was funded at half the cost, so it was offered as a half-day program. When the push came to fund full-day kindergarten, it took decades to get fully funded. When you can tell people you pushed for preschool programs or that you pushed for teacher evaluation programs, it’s much more glorious than saying you simply gave schools an inflationary increase to the basic general education formula. But those under-funded programs are what eat away at a school district’s general funding. And new streams that are locked into specific new programs keep a district from funding local school district priorities. That’s why funding the general formula is so important. Our 333 individual school districts come in all shapes, sizes and needs. Those districts need to use the money for THEIR students’ highest priorities. We need you to Stand Up for Education at our Joint Legislative Conference March 5 and tell your legislators that the best investment to make in education is the basic general funding formula so school districts and their boards have the flexibility to meet the needs of their individual students. If there is extra left after putting money on the general formula, by all means fund additional programs for schools. So, although we thank our legislators and governor for putting education in the forefront, we will again ask that they have the courage to do the boring work – investing in what schools are required to do.

March/April 2015    5

President’s Column My Long and Winding Road through Education


In eighth grade I attended school in Cambridge, England. A badge with the motto “Let Knowledge Grow” and the image of a large oak tree was stitched onto the navy blue blazer I wore every day to school. Little did I know then how apt that slogan would become all these years later in my role as school board member in Mahtomedi Public Schools, and now as President of the Minnesota State School Boards Association.

Kevin Donovan MSBA President

Never doubt for a minute how much a good public education for all helps weave the very fabric of our communities.

My journey in public education began when I was five years old at Dr. Howard Public School in Champaign, Illinois, culminating in my graduation from St. Paul Schools as a senior. I had several teachers who had a real impact on me. Mr. Craft, Frau Vik and Coach Green all took a personal interest in me as a student, but most importantly me as an individual. My next experience with public schools began when my children started in Mahtomedi Public Schools. Within these schools, we saw teachers taking a personal approach to our children. Volunteerism and parent involvement in Mahtomedi Schools are very strong and lend to the overall sense that the community is committed to top-notch education. I volunteered to teach two omnibus classes – one in art and the other in economics. I will never forget the note I received from a second-grader: “Thank you, Mr. Donovan, for teaching economics omnibus. Your buddy, Owen.” In 2005 I was encouraged to fill an opening on the Mahtomedi school board. During my years on the board we built a new elementary school, remodeled the high school and developed an engineering program that is embedded in our curriculum K–12. Mahtomedi schools developed the first MIT-sponsored Fab Lab in any K–12 public school system in the country.

6    MSBA Journal

My involvement with the state organization, Minnesota School Boards Association, began as a delegate to the annual Delegate Assembly. This is a gathering of school board members from across the state to help set priorities in education. I was asked to, and was elected to, the MSBA board

of directors. It is in this capacity I learned about the very diverse districts in our state, from Worthington to Virginia, from St. Paul to Bemidji, and the great work our districts are doing for the students of Minnesota. The Minnesota School Boards Association exists to assist school board members from all 333 Minnesota school districts in the areas of training, government affairs and policy services. Many studies suggest that a high-functioning school board equates to higher student achievement. MSBA exists to help school board members be highly effective and knowledgeable in a very complex and multifaceted system. Most school board members do not sign on because the job is an easy one. I believe we do this work in the genuine belief in the betterment of our communities through a well-educated population. School board members, teachers and staff collectively maintain a commitment for excellence in educating Minnesota’s schoolchildren. We have a unique opportunity to affect positive change for a generation of our citizens. A good public education is the cornerstone of democracy. Never doubt for a minute how much a good public education for all helps weave the very fabric of our communities. Local control is a core MSBA belief. A cookie-cutter/one-size-fits-all approach to school board governance does not work well and is not in the best interest of the students or our districts. We do, however, have to work together to come up with collaborative solutions that will help all districts lift student achievement. I believe that MSBA is a strong conduit to share and promote the phenomenal work in public education today. It is an exciting time to be a school board member in Minnesota. It’s abundantly clear we must prepare our students for a future which we will not see. We need to have all our students develop 21st-century skills and become the highly educated workforce of the future. We have 845,000 students in the State of Minnesota and we are entrusted by our state Constitution to help all students get a good public education. It is my genuine desire to do my part to “Let Knowledge Grow” for all of our students.

We welcome the opportunity to work with public school districts and bring them our rich history of responsive, creative, practical, and high quality legal services.

Education Law


Charles E. Long, Greg Madsen, Tim Palmatier, Susan E. Torgerson, Maggie R. Wallner,

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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 •


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Abby Gushulak

Red Wing raises “Hand” in victory School district wins top Local Government Innovation Award prize; four other districts also receive recognition


Red Wing Public Schools was named the overall category winner for school districts for the 2014 Local Government Innovation Awards for their “Every Hand Joined” program, which earned the district a $5,000 grant from the Bush Foundation.

Bruce Lombard

The Local Government Innovation Awards recognizes the creative ways school districts, counties, cities and townships are making Minnesota better and doing things differently. The awards feature innovations involving cross-sector or cross-system collaborations. Red Wing Director of Teaching and Learning Joseph Jezierski thanked school leaders and community partners for their contribution and support of the program. Four other school districts were also singled out: Brainerd Public Schools (“Farm to School”), Farmington Area Public Schools (“Flexible Learning Days”), Robbinsdale Area Schools (“Helping Us Grow [HUG]”) and South Washington County Schools (“Adult Basic Education and Washington County Workforce”). The 2014 Local Government Innovation Awards were sponsored by the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs, MSBA, the League of Minnesota Cities, the Association of Minnesota Counties and the Minnesota Association of Townships. Engagement support was provided by Grassroots Solutions.

8    MSBA Journal

Red Wing Director of Teaching and Learning Joseph Jezierski (center) accepted the top prize for school districts at the Local Government Innovation Awards from then-MSBA President Walter Hautala (right) and Jay Kiedrowski. Kiedrowski is a Senior Fellow at the Humphrey School for Public Affairs.

Red Wing Public Schools — “Every Hand Joined” Charley Nelson, Executive Director of Every Hand Joined “Imagine the impact of a united community where the school, parents, businesses and nonprofits all come together to lift up the potential of all children. Children will thrive and have opportunity in a demanding and changing world. Imagine a stronger economy as a more dynamic workforce feeds growth and innovation.” More than 18 months ago, that vision launched Every Hand Joined when leaders from Red Wing Public Schools, businesses, nonprofits, local government agencies and philanthropic foundations came together to focus on Red Wing’s most important resource – its youth. Almost from its beginning, Red Wing built and still maintains an economy that is fueled by manufacturing. Economic success of the community has always been dependent upon a well-educated workforce. It became abundantly obvious that the education and skills that were necessary to drive Red Wing’s economy in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s are not adequate today and needed to be greatly enhanced to maintain Red Wing’s thriving local economy as well as prepare students for competition in a global economy. Academic data was indicating that Red Wing students were starting to fall behind their statewide peers. The trend line for eighth-grade math scores was heading below statewide averages. The trend line for third-grade reading scores was above the state average, but both trends were declining. There was widespread agreement that preparing a student for success in the 21st century is a job that is too big for one individual teacher or even a school district; it will take the entire community – it will truly take every hand joined.

As an organization, Every Hand Joined embarked on the task of rallying local resources to partner with the Red Wing School District to better prepare students for the future they were about to face. A data-driven “collective impact” model was selected as the most efficient method for obtaining the desired outcomes. No longer will youthcentric organizations work in “siloed” isolation. No longer will businesses lament an ill-prepared workforce. No longer will the school district feel exclusively responsible for the academic and future career success of every student. Partnerships have been formed. Roadblocks have been identified and subsequently removed. Resources have been assembled and students are benefiting. The end result: Red Wing students are better prepared for their future and Red Wing remains economically viable. Every Hand Joined identified five goals that will turn the vision into reality: 1. Every child is prepared for school. 2. Every child is supported inside and outside of school. 3. Every child succeeds academically. 4. Every child enters some form of postsecondary education or training. 5. Every child completes postsecondary education or training and enters a career. The community of Red Wing, partnering with the Red Wing School District, is committed to this program. Visit to watch a video highlighting the “Every Hand Joined” program.

March/April 2015    9

Farmington Area Public Schools — “Flexible Learning Days” Brian Treakle, former Farmington Area School Board member

Red Wing raises “Hand” in victory

Farmington Area adopted a 1-to-1 iPad® initiative three years ago as part of an effort to redesign our education system. Along with this effort, we encouraged our staff and leadership to embrace creative solutions. We added Schoology®, a software system that allows students and teachers to communicate through the Web. Assignments can be posted there, along with student schedules. With Schoology, teachers and students can answer each other’s questions, students can turn in homework, and more. With the snow days stacking up last year, one staff member suggested that we leverage our technology to keep the students learning on days when they can’t come to school. The “Flexible Learning Day” was born. The first “Flex” day was done on very short notice and had many flaws, but there was a lot of encouragement from parents and students. The school board also had concerns with some initial negative feedback regarding the Flexible Learning Day. The board asked the administration to work on improving the process, and better communicate expectations to the staff, students and parents. Since then, we have polled teachers, parents and students on what worked and what didn’t. We found some teachers underprepared, some students unable to get access from home, and some teachers not as reachable as

needed online. We also found students receiving too large a workload stacked up from multiple teachers. Our administrative team worked with the staff to improve the processes surrounding the Flex day. They found ways to address most of the concerns, including having contingency plans for students without Internet access. In fall 2014, an elementary school lost power before school started and was unable to have students in the building. Our staff jumped into “Flexible Learning” mode and we had students working from home. More flaws were discovered, but we also found a lot of improvement over earlier Flex days. Part of the process is that students don’t have to complete the work on the Flex day. They are given a few days to finish the work and turn it in. This helps those that might have distractions at home, or might not be at home for the Flex day. Farmington Area is still learning and improving. We are excited about the Flexible Learning Day because it keeps the students engaged in learning on off-days and encourages them to take responsibility for their work. This also allows the district to maximize the use of learning days they have and not worry about adding snow days on to the end of the school year. This has been a wonderful innovation for the Farmington Area School District.

Robbinsdale Area — “Helping Us Grow (HUG)” Melodie Hanson, Robbinsdale Area Program Director Helping Us Grow (HUG) is a unique collaboration of 11 Hennepin County school districts, their Early Childhood Family Education departments and the Robbinsdale Redesign Family Service Collaborative of Robbinsdale Area Schools. HUG was born out of a small pilot with North Memorial Hospital and the Robbinsdale Area School District back in 1999. This was a time when we were learning more about brain development and the rapid increase in brain synapses during the first few years of life, and also a time when hospitals were faced with the decision to eliminate any non-medical-related postpartum home visiting. Through a partnership with Hennepin County, birth information for participating communities is received by the HUG central office. Each family then receives a “Welcome New Baby” letter, inviting the family to participate in home visiting and/or community 10    MSBA Journal

literacy events. Families voluntarily accept home visits, creating an early entry point for school connections and for the family to be honored as the first and foremost educator in their child’s life. Families also self-refer through learning about HUG from their WIC clinics or medical provider, at discharge from their local hospitals and through word of mouth. During HUG home visits and community literacy events, families receive information that will assist them in utilizing the formal and informal support systems in their community to optimize thriving behavior and increase school readiness. The universal aspect of HUG helps to remove the stigma of targeted home visiting while families learn about connections to their local school district’s Early Childhood Family Education and access targeted, intensive home visiting supports and intervention services when identified.

The innovation aspects of HUG include cross-county and school district centralized coordination, evaluation and outreach; shared cost-pooling for supplies; removing barriers for referrals from hospitals, clinics and community agencies; maximized revenue through integrated funding; and supportive additional screenings for more intensive services when warranted. In addition, early intervention school staff can refer families to HUG when they may benefit from parent education and supports but do not qualify for intervention services. The goals of HUG are to improve healthy birth rates,

increase thriving behaviors and connect families to community and school resources, thereby promoting kindergarten readiness and increased school connectivity. HUG currently serves 11 school districts and 30 municipalities within Hennepin County. Robbinsdale Area Schools and the Redesign Family Service Collaborative act as the fiscal host and central coordinating entity for HUG. You may learn more about Helping Us Grow by contacting Melodie Hanson, Program Director, Robbinsdale Area Redesign, Robbinsdale Area Schools at 763-504-4981 or by visiting the HUG website at

South Washington County Schools — “Adult Basic Education and Washington County Workforce” Madeline Hanson, South Washington County Schools South Washington County Schools Community Education’s Adult Basic Education program, in partnership with the Washington County Workforce, earned the district its 2014 Local Government Innovation Award. Community Education’s “Career Pathways” program, which hosts Adult Basic Education (ABE) on-site at the Washington County Workforce, provides essential services to a varied population. Clients differ in numerous ways, including men and women ranging in age from 1860, with education levels ranging from GED to master’s degree, as

well as customers from 18 different countries. The Career Pathways program develops and improves basic literacy, numeracy, computer and keyboarding skills to prepare students for the rigor of college curriculum. ABE instructors work with the Washington County Workforce trainers to create a curriculum that supports personal as well as professional growth. Together they provide the services and training necessary for them to enrich their lives, and find employment and education that is meaningful to them.

Brainerd Public Schools — “Farm to School” Bruce Lombard, MSBA Associate Director of Communications Brainerd Public Schools’ “Farm to School” program – a program six years in the making – picked up a Local Government Innovation Award for its approach in getting fresh fruits and vegetables to students. “A school board member encouraged me to apply for the award,” Colette Pohlkamp, Brainerd Public Schools Food Service Director, said. “We were very surprised to be one of the five districts to receive this recognition. I feel it is a great honor and also nice recognition for our food service program in Brainerd.” Brainerd’s food service serves 5,000 for lunch and 2,000 for breakfast daily. The Farm to School program brings in tons of fresh produce to school cafeterias – and the kids are actually eating it. Pohlkamp said the program was initiated six years ago, in “baby steps” originally, when they introduced a “grazing salad bar.” The salad bar featured purple carrots, purple cauliflower, peppers and an array of other fresh items that the students didn’t normally see. The fresh food wasn’t

forced on the students as part of their meal – it was just there for them to sample. Pohlkamp said the “selection, choices, fresh product, educating, teaching and informing the students where the product comes from” have been the best things the Farm to School program provides for students. “They love the variety of apples from Minnesota,” Pohlkamp said. “I like informing them that the romaine lettuce is grown in Staples … and that the squash is from a local farm. Both students and staff know where it comes from, they know it is fresh, and they enjoy it.” The Farm to School program has now expanded to all Brainerd schools. Pohlkamp said the district receives fresh food from 50 local farmers. “We’re growing this in our back yard,” she said, noting that the district gets most of their product at approximately 99 cents per pound. The program, which is also well received by the community, has made for an easy transition into the federal lunch standards. March/April 2015    11

Adam Barsness

True Grit: Board would not give up until all students

had equal access and opportunity in learning


A few years ago, Sauk Rapids-Rice Public Schools was one of 14 districts without an operating levy referendum. After years of cuts, board members were starting to see that those cuts were hurting students and were starting to create inequity for kids across the district.

Greg Abbott

12    MSBA Journal

“We had to put a stop to it,” said Superintendent Dan Bittman . He worked with the school board to develop a strategic plan on how the district was going to give opportunity to all and equal access to all programs. ennis Bittner

“Our board took it seriously and worked diligently over the past five years to provide the access,” Bittman said. er

The work has paid off and will be recognized this month at the National School Boards Association Leadership Conference. Sauk Rapids-Rice will receive the Magna Award, a national recognition that honors school board best practices and innovative programs that advance student learning. Sauk Rapids-Rice’s Equal Access and Opportunity for All was created by the board, but made partnerships in the community and with district staff. The district partnered with the cities, the library system, the Rotary and the State Department of Education. The strategic plan forced some bold moves. Despite poor funding, the district technology team went after grants and partnerships with businesses like Benton Teleco and Apple Training. “Our plan was to increase equity through technology,” said Bittman , “which led to a 1-to-1 program in our high schools. It has transformed the way teaching and learning looks in our district.” er

Anything is Possible J u s t As k Yo u r K i d s. . . I want to find a cure for cancer. Grace, 3rd grade

The board also looked at their half-day kindergarten program, which had supplemental hours for a fee. The board decided it was not OK that a majority of kids had full-day instruction while some kids whose parents couldn’t afford it had half-day instruction. “We made sure everyone had the opportunity,” Bittman said. And full funding of kindergarten in the past biennium helped make a difference. er

The board looked at everything – including transportation. The board decided to offer free transportation, lowered class sizes in the elementary schools, and expanded technology training. Student and family activities were highlighted. The district offered monthly meetings to hear from stakeholder groups such as students, staff, community and administration. Student enrollment increased by more than 540 students in the past four years. Attendance and participation in training exceeded 90 percent. Student achievement targets were met in math and reading for the past two consecutive years, along with the highest ACT scores in five years. “Our board is strong and well-functioning,” said Bittman . “They’re not afraid to ask hard questions and push. They are committed to children and are a vital part of the community.” er

As a result of their effort and help from partners and the community, students are able to see their network of support and reach beyond what they thought was possible. Everyone now knows that the district is committed to preparing every child for success, regardless of socio-economic status, gender, race or religion.

Designing Possibilities Designing for for the the Possibilities

“Our team insists that every child is prepared for what comes next,” Bittman said. er

Greg Abbott is the communications director for MSBA. To contact him about the article, you can send an e-mail to or call 1-800-324-4459.


Co n tac t D avid Maro n ey 800.545.3731

dm aro/A neypril @at2015    13 s March ww w. at s

Ally Barr

Essential iPad Apps How can technology become invisibly woven into good teaching and learning?


Many teachers today are excited about using technology in their classroom. They want to integrate the newest gadgets into their curriculum. Are they really integrating or are they simply substituting with technology? Teachers need to move from instruction to construction of knowledge.

Nancy Moore

14    MSBA Journal

Using the SAMR model one can easily identify the depth of knowledge taking place with technology. At the lowest level, substitution, a student uses a word processor replacing a pencil and paper. The augmentation level uses the word processor along with a text-to-speech system to replace and improve the essay response. Modification level combines the previous two levels and adds a blog so that students can receive feedback from multiple peers in order to edit. In the final

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redefinition stage, instead of a written task, students convey deep analytic thought using media text creations such as video production. Many teachers are still using technology as substitution and augmentation – we must move to the stages that represent transformation. In transformation, students participate in their learning. Learning is socially constructed. Visualization is important to make the abstract concrete. Students become engaged and motivated by bringing the world into the classroom. Learning is a partnership – the teacher doesn’t have all the knowledge – students are empowered to find resources. The constructive classroom becomes one of communication, collaboration and community.

It takes training to weave technology into instruction Sleepy Eye Public Schools, located in southwestern Minnesota, weaves technology into instruction. Sleepy Eye has supported the professional growth of its teachers through staff development trainings as well as using the train-the-trainer model. Troy Vangsness, high school social studies teacher, is also the school’s iPad Initiative Coordinator. He supports staff with monthly training

sessions to increase the transformation of technology use. iBooks have now been written by high school staff in the area of social studies with more in other core areas to come in the near future. Currently, all sophomores have their own iPad. Students and teachers in the high school iPad initiative are supported by the technology department as well as by Mr. Vangsness when problems or questions arise. In the coming years, the iPad initiative at Sleepy Eye Public Schools will grow substantially. In the high school, one more grade will have 1:1 iPads until full integration is achieved within five years. Along with this, iPad minis will be integrated into the fourth grade at the elementary level. Sleepy Eye Public Schools have learned that technology transformation must start with curriculum. Weaving of technology into the curriculum does not happen without careful planning and thoughtful consideration. Sleepy Eye is developing a model of technology integration that does not become a mere substitution of past practice. They are building constructive classrooms where communication, collaboration and community takes place.

March/April 2015    15

Curriculum planning takes time and thought

How can technology become invisibly woven into good teaching and learning?

Essential iPad Apps

Utilizing technology in the classroom does not just challenge students; it challenges teachers as well. Samantha Schmit, a third-grade teacher, has been able to create quality standards-based lessons with an intricately woven technology approach. It takes a lot of time and effort on the front side. The reward has been

outstanding scores. Through progress monitoring done since the beginning of the school year, students in third grade have shown an average growth of one year in four months! She has definitely found the sweet spot of teaching with technology. Samantha has a cart of iPad minis she uses in both reading and science classes.

“Ms. Schmit is very creative and she loves to have fun!”

“I get to read a lot. She lets us work independently.”

“She has iPads in her room and we can write what we learn from books. She has an entire room full of books.” Here are some apps used in her third-grade classroom of reading instruction that raised student engagement and depth of knowledge. Testing data has shown an average growth of one year in four months!



• • • •

Kid Blog Padlet Nearpod Post-it Plus

Repeat, Recall, Recite, Recognize, Name, Quote, Infer, Display, Identify, Distinguish, Observe, Assess, Appraise, Justify, Compare, Differentiate, Cite Evidence, Hypothesize, Critique

• • • •

Pic Collage Word Cloud Thinglink Explain Everything

Label, Recognize, Name, Display, Identify, Interpret, Assess, Appraise, Justify, Compare, Differentiate, Cite Evidence, Create, Synthesize, Analyze, Design, Critique

• • • • • •

Book Creator Animoto Yak-it Kids iMovie Green Screen (Do Ink) Aurasma

Assess, Construct, Appraise, Revise, Analyze, Critique, Create, Synthesize, Design

Nancy Moore is the curriculum director for Sleepy Eye Public Schools. You can contact her about the article at 16    MSBA Journal

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March/April 2015    17

Student Success By Design: Karner Blue Education Center creates a nurturing learning environment for special education students

Connie Hayes


Tori Vouk

Facilities are a topic on the minds of many superintendents across Minnesota, especially as the Minnesota Legislature considers recommendations from the statewide facilities task force report. For our district, serving level IV special education students has many challenges. Inadequate facilities and school design that does not match the needs of this special population not only hinders learning, but also can trigger adverse behaviors. After six years in the making, Northeast Metro 916 opened Karner Blue Education Center this fall as the first step in a three-step facilities plan that aims to foster student success through innovative design. The new K–8 Karner Blue Education Center located in Blaine is groundbreaking in many ways. For many years, special education classrooms have been retrofitted from conventional classrooms. Now, Karner Blue is the first school of its kind to create an educational environment designed specifically to support the unique learning styles and behavioral and mental health needs of the

18    MSBA Journal

students being served – students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Emotional/Behavioral Disorder (E/BD), Developmental Cognitive Disabilities (DCD) and other health disabilities. Many of these design elements can also be considered for other smaller level III and IV programs which do not consume an entire building. With the goal of creating an environment that supports and encourages learning for students with disabilities, Karner Blue draws inspiration from the surrounding natural environment, as well as employs design strategies from hospitals and mental health facilities to create what is called a healing learning environment. The 70,000-square-foot education center has a capacity of 130 students with 6–8 students per classroom. The floor plan departs from a typical school with long hallways and – classrooms on either side to create four unique learning communities that accommodate different learning styles and encourage exploration. The communities are named after the Minnesota ecosystems (Prairie, River, Lake and Forest), and each caters to a specific student disability population, with distinctive floor plans and furniture designed to best cultivate the needs of the students being served.

Details that Matter To say that every inch of Karner Blue has special design considerations is no understatement. As part of designing the new school, the district called upon a team of experts including BWBR Architects, Hallberg Engineering, Intereum furnishings, Kraus-Anderson Construction, and – most importantly – the staff. Teachers played a pivotal role in identifying the environmental triggers that prevent students from learning, and generating creative solutions that help students become more successful. For many special ed students, it’s the little things like background noises and fluorescent lighting that can cause them to go from having a good day to a very bad day, which in turn can impact the learning for other students.

These types of discussions were all integrated into designing a building that isn’t just a place where students learn, but a place that encourages and inspires students to learn. Some of the special design innovations include: • Lighting – LED, natural lighting and solar tubes, instead of traditional fluorescents, creates a calming effect, keeping students on task and regulated. Some spaces are equipped with special painted lights called “VK lights,” which are being studied by the University of Minnesota as a tool to reduce stress. Other small spaces, which serve as respite rooms that students can self-select as a strategy to calm themselves, give students the capability to choose from a rainbow of colored lights to control the mood of the entire room. • Windows – Window elevations in most classrooms are raised to begin at just above the eye level of the students and go all the way up to the ceiling, maximizing natural light and minimizing distractions. Other large and small windows and skylights are used strategically to allow students to find an escape by looking out at the natural surroundings. • Acoustics – Extra provisions were made in the engineering of the building to create an exceptionally quiet and peaceful learning environment. • Temperature regulation – In-floor heating and advanced overhead air systems minimizes temperature differences experienced throughout the day. • Furniture – Modular furniture is used throughout the space to empower students to feel in control of their surroundings. Students can move furniture as they wish to create their own sense of space. • Hardware – Special doorknobs and hardware makes it easier and safer for students to open doors. Hinges on specific doors allow staff to open doors from both directions, which is helpful when students barricade themselves in a room.

March/April 2015    19

Karner Blue Education Center creates a nurturing learning environment for special education students

Student Success By Design:

With all of these special design considerations in place, we also had to focus special attention on the safety and security of the building, as standard code requirements presented some anticipated challenges. Because many of our students often display extremely challenging and often physical behaviors, locking doors throughout our sites is critical to student and staff safety. All the doors at Karner Blue are kept locked, but are easily opened by staff through key card access. By working closely with the State Fire Marshal’s office, we were able to have our building coded as a mental health facility rather than as a school, which allowed us to implement a quieter and less stimulating alarm system to better accommodate students who are sensitive to piercing noises and flashing lights.

Redefining Sight Lines Thinking about the challenging moments of the school day when students are making transitions and consequently feeling undue stress and anxiety, the hallways and entrance points were also an important design feature. Traditional school hallways that are long and narrow tend to create an invitation for students to run down them while they are feeling dysregulated. Narrow hallways can also make it difficult for students to stay in their own space and not be impacted by other students who may be experiencing a moment of difficulty while they are out in the shared space. To meet these challenges, Karner Blue is designed with extra-wide curved hallways, allowing students to maintain a sense of calm with a large personal bubble and rounded sightlines that no longer provoke the desire to run. Now, a behavior event happening at one end of the hallway does not impact other students. The wide hallways also help alleviate the most uneasy time of the day – arrival and dismissal. By utilizing multiple entry points, crowding is reduced and conflict is lessoned. This reduction in behavior events is translating to improved staff safety and fewer injuries to staff that have to help students re-regulate their behaviors.

Connections to Nature Reflected in the name inspired by an endangered butterfly, Karner Blue brings in connections to nature throughout every element of the space that are also reflected in the teaching philosophy. Situated on an adjacent Department of Natural Resources protected wetland site, the natural environment is a consistent theme that evokes positive feelings, reduces stress and improves mental activity and creativity. Students have 20    MSBA Journal

access to both an indoor and outdoor playground and a school forest which plays a pivotal role in the curriculum, providing hands-on sensory experiences. These natural elements reinforce the healing learning environment philosophy, which is centered on students feeling supported and comforted as they learn, play, discover and grow.

Measurements of Success Special education students come to Northeast Metro 916 because they have been unsuccessful in their home district, and the goal is to help them be successful, have positive school experiences and ultimately return to their home district if feasible. Unlike the small and segregated program model used for many years, Karner Blue elicits the feeling of a “regular” school, complete with a school mascot, colors and song, giving students a sense of belonging and community pride. Since September, families are consistently telling staff what a joy it is to have their kids be excited to go to school and not have school be a daily struggle. In fact, this newfound sense of place presents a new problem in that students don’t want to leave at the end of the day. One student tells it best: “Karner Blue is perfect, except it doesn’t have a waterpark.” There are certainly not plans in place for a waterpark anytime soon, and we recognize that not everything is perfect. Staff is constantly monitoring the effectiveness of the design strategies and how they can be improved upon. The building’s architect, BWBR, is also conducting a post-occupancy research project to capture how the core design principles have supported teaching and learning models, improved staff satisfaction and produced a unique student experience. We have had the privilege of building this new school, which we believe is a national model for special education school design. Parents of adult twins with autism who toured the building during our open house this past August reflected that so many of the design elements in Karner Blue addressed most of the challenges their children struggled with when in school. We feel fortunate to have created this entire building around the specific needs of these students. However, we also believe that elements of our design can be integrated into existing facilities that serve special education students, including those schools that utilize a wing of a regular school building for a population similar to those served at Karner Blue. Connie Hayes is the superintendent for Northeast Metro 916. You can contact her at or 651-415-5656 to share and discuss the article.

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Mining Data from Scientific,

Random-Sample Surveys Don E. Lifto and Chris Deets Courtesy of the American School Board Journal

22    MSBA Journal


A group of senior administrators in a suburban district were stumped with what they read. The charge from the superintendent was to carefully review an 80-page workbook of detail from a scientific, random-sample phone survey, which provided a wealth of data compared and contrasted demographically. Specifically, they were to look for eye-popping surprises or significant differences of more than 15 percent between demographic groups (for example, responses from males vs. females or young respondents vs. older respondents).

As they mined the survey analysis, a team member spotted a data point that qualified for further review based on both criteria. A random sample of 300 registered voters had been asked the following question: “Would you be more likely or less likely to support a school operating referendum if you knew that some of the money would be used to improve instruction for students who were behind in reading achievement?” The data summary detailed in the survey workbook provided the team with a broad range of comparative statistics based on multiple demographic characteristics such as parent status, age, geography, frequency of past voting behavior, education level, household income, housing type, and length of time living in the school district. The data point that jumped off the page, however, was the stark difference in the results based on gender. When women responded to the reading instruction question, a strong 76 percent said they would be “more likely to support a school operating referendum.” Men, however, barely eclipsed a majority threshold, tipping the scales at an unenthusiastic 54 percent support. As the group focused on this starkly different response, their shared but not yet spoken question was, “22 percent difference by gender – what’s this all about?” Survey methodology and analysis Many school districts have designed and administered scientific, random-sample surveys to collect feedback for a broad range of planning needs. Phone surveys are commonly administered to random samples ranging from 200 respondents in the smallest school districts up to as many as 600 respondents in large, more diverse communities. The vast majority of school surveys can obtain excellent data from a sample of 300–400, producing an acceptable error of measurement typically in the +/- 4.5–5.5 percent range. In using this engagement tool, school districts can probe such topics as general satisfaction, support for elements of a strategic plan, where constituents get their information about the public schools, or residents’ tax tolerance for a future operating or debt issuance referendum. To maximize the investment of time and money in conducting a scientific, random-sample survey, our experience would emphasize two key methodologies that can be harnessed to enhance the quality of the data analysis and the potential to translate survey findings

into value-added planning by the school district. First, it is important to understand that the power of the data analysis available post-survey is directly related to the richness of the demography in the sample from which the random calls are drawn. There are two ways to achieve rich demographic analysis: (1) ask a lot of demographic questions in the survey and hope respondents answer them accurately and honestly (e.g., “How old are you?” or “Are you a registered voter?”) or (2) merge public and commercial databases into the registered voter data base such that data analysis can be drawn from the demography in the file without having to ask for the information during the phone interview. In our experience, the second approach produces the best results and also makes for a shorter phone call and higher percentage of respondents finishing the interview. The second recommended methodology is to “roll up your collective sleeves” and be strategic and thorough in analyzing the demographic detail contained in a survey workbook. Maintaining a 40,000-foot perspective in a PowerPoint presentation of major findings is a good place to start, but is not a substitute for thorough data analyses. Best practice is to systematically sort through the survey findings, peeling back the demographic layers, and focusing on large percentage differences and surprises similar to the reading achievement example. Processing the data in this way produces a broader, richer understanding of which data are most important and provides the fuel that propels effective planning postsurvey. One data analysis tool we have used with success is the Insights and Implications model. Insights and implications Turning hard data into actionable strategies and objectives is a process we call Insights and Implications, which is a somewhat complex process at first blush, but is ultimately simple and highly critical to successful planning. Like a seasoned journalist, Insights and Implications probes for the “story behind the story” – processing the valuable data from the survey results, sorting through it to identify directional results compared by demography, and then identifying implications that may arise from acting (or, in some cases, not acting) upon the results. While generating data in the first place is essential, mining those data for insights that are actionable is critically important. The first step of data mining involves

March/April 2015    23

Random-Sample Surveys

Mining Data from Scientific,

looking for large discrepancies and gaps in the percentages. These gaps serve as signals to your team that “something is there, we need to look closer, and try to understand.” More often than not, these gaps represent information that may be counter to prevailing assumptions; the larger the gap and the more counter-intuitive it is, the greater the need for analysis. As the data are mined and the gaps are identified, they are placed into the “Insights” column of the accompanying chart in order of the size of the gap from largest to smallest. Divining insights from data is the first step in converting data into actionable information. The second step is developing implications from the insights. This ensures the wisdom from our insights is translated into actions to help lay the foundation for successful planning, whether that is a referendum or implementing a new strategic plan. Developing implications starts by asking two questions of each insight. The first question is, “If we take action and ensure these percentages remain the same or even grow, would that help achieve the planning objective?” The second question flows naturally from the first: “If we take action and try to alter these percentages, would that help achieve our goals?” The primary insight from the reading achievement example is that women care greatly about reading achievement. The implication is that women can be motivated by communicating that funds from a successful referendum will be allocated to address reading achievement. The deeper insight, however, is that men do not, at least on the surface, seem to place

24    MSBA Journal

value on high reading achievement. We would counsel the team to consider whether it is true that a higher percentage of men don’t seem to care about reading achievement. Or, is their response to the survey question driven by lack of knowledge and exposure to the teaching and learning process? Could the campaign affect this dichotomy and capture more male supporters by getting them into the classroom and directly involved in the reading program, thereby moving the campaign in the team’s direction? Usually there are a number of insights gleaned from any set of data. However, we find focusing on a limited number that show the greatest discrepancy – and thus hold the greatest promise for action – is the best use of the team’s resources.

Isaac Beach

Research to practice In processing the reading instruction gender gap through the Insights and Implications model, the superintendent posed a question to the group: “How many advisory committees do we have throughout the school district, and what is their gender makeup?” Not surprisingly, the answer was the district had more than a dozen advisory committees and females were overrepresented, making up close to 80 percent of the membership. The follow-up question was even more intriguing: “How much could we positively influence men’s attitudes about reading instruction over time if they were equally represented on our advisory committees and we got them into our classrooms for reading instruction to a greater extent?” Focusing on data and processing the survey results through the Insights and Implications model resulted in a planning directive in this suburban district requiring that all advisory committees be gender balanced within one year. A “Reading with Dad” initiative was also launched. While just two small steps forward, these are examples of effectively translating research to better practice in data analysis while maximizing the value and positive impact of a scientific, random-sample survey.

Don E. Lifto, Ph.D., is executive vice president at Springsted Incorporated, an independent financial advisor and consultant to school districts, cities, counties, and nonprofit organizations. He previously served as a public school superintendent for 25 years in rural, suburban, and intermediate districts. Lifto is coauthor of School Finance Elections: A Comprehensive Planning Model for Success, 2nd Edition, and is a frequent presenter on referendum planning at AASA, ASBO, and NSBA. You can contact him at Chris Deets, President of Dustin Deets, LLC, is passionate about turning insights into innovative ways of communicating to help school districts achieve their objectives – whether that be introducing a new technology to parents, helping implement new strategic priorities, or passing the next bond or levy. Leveraging his commercial experience taking innovative technologies to market for both start-ups as well as established, publicly traded companies, Deets has served both as a project-based consultant as well as temporary support to internal teams. Reprinted with permission from the American School Boards Journal, January, 2015. Copyright 2015 National School Boards Association. All rights reserved.

March/April 2015    25

94th Annual

21st Century Leadership

Leadership Conference Scrapbook

The MSBA All State School Board is (front row) Mary Eckhardt of Blue Earth Area, Steven Eklund of Braham Area, Bernie Siebenaler of St. Charles, (standing) Bob Brintnall of Cannon Falls Area, John Berklich of Hibbing, Kris Abrahamson of Rockford Area and Bill Tomhave of Moorhead Area.

Closing speaker Jeff Charbonneau made people think about what a great education system could look like. 26    MSBA Journal

Opening speaker Kevin Honeycutt gets a little help from a friend, “Sgt. Pepper” Klanderud, as part of his presentation on leaders embracing technology. Marilynn Forsberg of Spring Lake Park (left) became the second board member to pass 1,000 training hours. For the achievement, she received the Arlene Bush Board Member of Distinction Award, named after Bush (right) who was the first one to pass 1,000 training hours in 2010.

The Little Falls Jazz Ensemble performed for Friday’s session under the direction of Jonathan Laflamme.

Kevin Donovan (right) officially became MSBA’s President during Friday’s business meeting. Donovan, of Mahtomedi Public Schools, is handing a gavel to Walter Hautala of Mesabi East, who will serve this year as PastPresident.

Minnesota Department of Education Program Finance Director Tom Melcher gave a finance update to a packed house the opening day of the conference.

March/April 2015    27



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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 Website at Most listings in the Web version of this directory include a link so you can head instantly to a Website 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 Erica Nelson at 763-497-1778 or 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 Arvig 888-992-7844 ATS&R Planners/Architects/ Engineers (Paul W. Erickson) 8501 Golden Valley Road, Suite 300 Minneapolis, MN 55427 763-545-3731, Fax 763-525-3289 Clark Engineering Corporation (Tanya Pierce) 621 Lilac Drive N Minneapolis, MN 55422 763-545-9196, Fax 763-541-0056 Cuningham Group Architecture, Inc. (Cuningham Group®) (Judith Hoskens) 201 Main Street SE, Suite 325 Minneapolis, MN 55414 612-379-3400, Fax 612-379-4400 GLTArchitects (Evan Larson) 808 Courthouse Square St. Cloud, MN 56303 320-252-3740, Fax 320-255-0683 Hallberg Engineering, Inc. (Richard Lucio) 1750 Commerce Court White Bear Lake, MN 55110 651-748-1100, Fax 651-748-9370 I+S Group (ISG) (Rod Schumacher) 115 E Hickory Street, Suite 300 Mankato, MN 56001 507-387-6651, Fax 507-387-3583 ICS Consulting, Inc. (Pat Overom) 5354 Edgewood Drive Mounds View, MN 55112 763-354-2670, Fax 763-780-2866

32    MSBA Journal

Pemberton Law (Kristi A. Hastings) 110 N Mill Street Fergus Falls, MN 56537 218-736-5493, Fax 218-736-3950 Ratwik, Roszak & Maloney, P.A. (Joseph J. Langel) 730 2nd Avenue S, Suite 300 Minneapolis, MN 55402 612-339-0060, Fax 612-339-0038

Johnson Controls, Inc. (Kathleen Donovan) 2605 Fernbrook Lane N Plymouth, MN 55447 612-554-5160, Fax 763-566-2208

Widseth Smith Nolting (Kevin Donnay) 7804 Industrial Park Road Baxter, MN 56425 218-829-5117, Fax 218-829-2517

Rupp, Anderson, Squires & Waldspurger, P.A. 527 Marquette Avenue S, Suite 1200 Minneapolis, MN 55402 612-436-4300, Fax 612-436-4340

Kodet Architectural Group, Ltd. (Ed Kodet) 15 Groveland Terrace Minneapolis, MN 55403 612-377-2737, Fax 612-377-1331

Wold Architects and Engineers (Vaughn Dierks) 305 St. Peter Street St. Paul, MN 55102 651-227-7773, Fax 651-223-5646

Construction Management & Consulting Services

Larson Engineering, Inc. (Matt Woodruff) 3524 Labore Road White Bear Lake, MN 55110 651-481-9120, Fax 651-481-9201 MLA Architects (Mark Lenz) 12 Long Lake Road, Suite #17 St. Paul, MN 55115 651-770-4442, Fax 651-770-1997 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 Nexus Solutions (Mike David) 11188 Zealand Avenue N Champlin, MN 55316 612-747-1003, Fax 763-201-8410 TSP Architects and Engineers (Gary Sabart) 18707 Old Excelsior Boulevard Minnetonka, MN 55345 952-474-3291, Fax 952-474-3928 Unesco, Inc. (Kevin McGauley) 584 Woodland Drive Mahtomedi, MN 55115 952-486-7854, Fax 952-487-9389 Wendel (Jim Wilson) 111 Washington Avenue N, Suite 300 Minneapolis, MN 55401 612-332-1401

Athletic Facilities I+S Group (ISG) (Rod Schumacher) 115 E Hickory Street, Suite 300 Mankato, MN 56001 507-387-6651, Fax 507-387-3583 Athletic Sports Floors/Surfacing Fisher Tracks, Inc. (Jordan Fisher) 1192 235th Street Boone, IA 50036 515-432-3191, Fax 515-432-3193 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 Booth Law Group LLC (Laura Tubbs Booth) 10520 Wayzata Blvd., Suite 200 Minnetonka, MN 55305 763-253-4155, Fax 763-253-4160 Kennedy & Graven, Chartered (Neil Simmons) 470 US Bank Plaza, 200 S 6th Street Minneapolis, MN 55402 612-337-9300, Fax 612-337-9310 Knutson, Flynn & Deans (Thomas S. Deans) 1155 Centre Pointe Drive, Suite 10 Mendota Heights, MN 55120 651-222-2811, Fax 651-225-0600

ICS Consulting, Inc. (Pat Overom) 5354 Edgewood Drive Mounds View, MN 55112 763-354-2670, Fax 763-780-2866 Johnson Controls, Inc. (Kathleen Donovan) 2605 Fernbrook Lane N Plymouth, MN 55447 612-554-5160, Fax 763-566-2208 Knutson Construction (Christine Wiegert) 7515 Wayzata Boulevard Minneapolis, MN 55426 763-525-3009 Kraus-Anderson Construction Company (John Huenink) PO Box 158 Circle Pines, MN 55014 763-792-3616, 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 Stahl Construction (Josh Schultz) 5755 Wayzata Boulevard St. Louis Park, MN 55416 952-931-9300, Fax 952-931-9941 Wenck Construction, Inc. (Andy Hoffmann) 5270 W. 84th Street, #550 Bloomington, MN 55437 952-837-3348, Fax 952-831-1268

Educational Programs/Services Minnesota State Academies for the Deaf and Blind (Brad Harper) 615 Olof Hanson Drive Faribault, MN 55021 507-384-6602, Fax 507-332-5528 The Minnesota Service Cooperatives (Jeremy Kovash) 1001 East Mount Faith Avenue Fergus Falls, MN 56537 218-739-3273, Fax 218-739-2459 Electrical Engineers/AV Systems Widseth Smith Nolting (Kevin Donnay) 7804 Industrial Park Road Baxter, MN 56425 218-829-5117, Fax 218-829-2517 Energy Solutions Johnson Controls, Inc. (Kathleen Donovan) 2605 Fernbrook Lane N Plymouth, MN 55447 612-554-5160, Fax 763-566-2208 Unesco, Inc. (Kevin McGauley) 584 Woodland Drive Mahtomedi, MN 55115 952-486-7854, Fax 952-487-9389 Financial Management Ehlers (Joel Sutter) 3060 Centre Pointe Drive Roseville, MN 55113 651-697-8514, Fax 651-697-8555 Eide Bailly LLP (Ross Manson) Fargo, ND; Minneapolis, Mankato, MN 855-220-8634, Fax 507-386-6268 MSBA-Sponsored Administration and Compliance Service (A&C Service) Administration and Compliance Service (Paige McNeal, Educators Benefit Consultants, LLC) 888-507-6053 or 763-552-6053 Fax 763-552-6055 MSBA-Sponsored MNTAAB (Minnesota Tax and Aid Anticipation Borrowing) Program (Patty Heminover, Springsted, Inc.) 800-236-3033 or 651-223-3058 Fax 651-268-5058

MSBA-Sponsored P-Card (Procurement Card) Program 800-891-7910 or 314-878-5000 Fax 314-878-5333 MSBA-Sponsored PaySchools-Data Business Systems (Andy Eckles) 17011 Lincoln Avenue Parker, CO 80134 303-779-6573 or 855-210-8232 X 130 MSBA-Sponsored (Jim Sheehan, Ann Thomas) Sheehan: 952-435-0990 Thomas: 952-435-0955 PFM Asset Management, LLC MSDLAF+ (Donn Hanson) 800 Nicollet Mall, Suite 2710 Minneapolis, MN 55402 612-371-3720, Fax 612-338-7264

Health Insurance


PreferredOne (Mike Thielen) 6105 Golden Hills Drive Golden Valley, MN 55416 763-847-3549, Fax 763-847-4010

Arvig 888-992-7844

Insurance Minnesota School Boards Association Insurance Trust (MSBAIT) (Denise Drill, Gary Lee, Amy Fullenkamp-Taylor, John Sylvester) 1900 West Jefferson Avenue St. Peter, MN 56082-3015 800-324-4459, Fax 507-931-1515 Riverport Insurance Company (Dave Kyllo) 222 South Ninth Street, Suite 1300 Minneapolis, MN 55402 612-766-3227, Fax 612-766-3397

Fire & Security

Labor Relations

Arvig 888-992-7844

Kennedy & Graven, Chartered (Neil Simmons) 470 US Bank Plaza, 200 S 6th Street Minneapolis, MN 55402 612-337-9300, Fax 612-337-9310

Fitness Equipment 2nd Wind Exercise Equipment (Shon Hartman) 7585 Equitable Drive Eden Prairie, MN 55344 952-224-1240, Fax 952-906-6905 commercial Floor Coverings Hiller Commercial Floors (Dave Bahr) 2909 S Broadway Rochester, MN 55904 507-254-6858 or 888-724-1766 Fax 507-288-8877 Food Service Products & Services Chartwells K–12 School Dining Services (Tim Leary) 615 Bucher Ave Shoreview, MN 55126 888-407-4536 Taher, Inc. (Erin Marissa) 5570 Smetana Drive Minnetonka, MN 55343 952-945-0505, Fax 952-945-0444

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 Public Finance Kennedy & Graven, Chartered (Neil Simmons) 470 US Bank Plaza, 200 S 6th Street Minneapolis, MN 55402 612-337-9300, Fax 612-337-9310 Security/Communication Systems Arvig 888-992-7844

MSBA-Sponsored PaySchools-Data Business Systems (Andy Eckles) 17011 Lincoln Avenue Parker, CO 80134 303-779-6573 or 855-210-8232 X 130 Technology Education PreciouStatus (Julie Gilbert Newrai) 275 Market Square, Suite 519 Minneapolis, MN 55405 888-959-8982 Transportation Hoglund Bus Co., Inc. (Jason Anderson) PO Box 249 Monticello, MN 55362 800-866-3105, Fax 763-295-4992 Minnesota School Bus Operators Association (Shelly Jonas) 10606 Hemlock Street NW Annandale, MN 55302 320-274-8313, Fax 320-274-8027 National Bus Sales (Paul Thompson) 8649 S Regency Drive Tulsa, OK 74131 800-475-1439 North Central Bus & Equipment (Sandy Kiehm) 2629 Clearwater Road St. Cloud, MN 56301 320-257-1209, Fax 320-252-3561 Telin Transportation Group (Dave Mohr) 16290 Kenrick Loop Lakeville, MN 55044 612-850-6348, Fax 952-435-9066 Wireless Communications Arvig 888-992-7844

Software Systems MSBA-Sponsored PaySchools-Data Business Systems (Andy Eckles) 17011 Lincoln Avenue Parker, CO 80134 303-779-6573 or 855-210-8232 X 130

March/April 2015    33

Advertisers Architects Rego + Youngquist inc..................................... Page 30 ATS&R Planners/Architects/Engineers.......................... Page 13 Booth Law Group LLC...................................................... Page 25 Chartwells K–12 School Dining Services.......................... Page 35 Hiller Commercial Floors................................................. Page 28 I+S Group (ISG)................................................................ Page 29 Kennedy & Graven, Chartered .......................................... Page 7 Knutson Construction....................................................... Page 21 Knutson, Flynn & Deans, P.A............................................ Page 29 MSBAIT.............................................................................. Page 36 Nexus Solutions................................................................. Page 28 Pemberton Law.................................................................. Page 34 PFM Asset Management, LLC – MSDLAF+....................... Page 7 PreciouStatus...................................................................... Page 30 PreferredOne....................................................................... Page 2 Ratwik, Roszak & Maloney, P.A. ...................................... Page 31 Riverport Insurance Company.......................................... Page 17 Rupp, Anderson, Squires & Waldspurger, P.A................. Page 21 University of South Dakota .............................................. Page 34 Widseth Smith Nolting...................................................... Page 17 Wold Architects & Engineers............................................ Page 35

Public School Law Attorneys

Mike T. Rengel

Kristi A. Hastings

Josh M. Heggem

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Sarah C. Duffy – 218-736-5493 Fergus Falls – Alexandria – Detroit Lakes – Wadena

We believe that reflective leaders are skilled educators. USD’s School of Education is committed to preparing reflective leaders. Our School of Education is fully accredited by NCATE—the highest professional standard in education. We offer online M.A. and Ed.S. in Educational Administration programs in: • Pre-K–12 Principal • School District Superintendent

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42    MSBA Journal

DIVISION OF CONTINUING & DISTANCE EDUCATION 414 East Clark Street | Vermillion, SD 57069 800-233-7937 | 605-658-6140 |

designers and researchers for public environments

305 Saint Peter Street Saint Paul, MN 55102 tel 651 227 7773 fax 651 223 5646

Minnesota Illinois Michigan Colorado Iowa

Our Promise

To extend our passion, dedication, knowledge and enthusiasm into serving each student delicious and nutritious meals. To nourish the bodies, minds and spirits of our students and pave the way for a lifetime of success and well-being.




We improve the well-being of our students by preparing fresh, delicious and nutritious meals they love.

We build sharp minds and strong bodies with a healthful, balanced approach to school dining.

We enrich the lives of our students and the communities we live through socially responsible and sustainability best practices.

We engage students and all of their senses through the creation of new and fresh dining experiences that improve their school day.

We share our knowledge of the life-enhancing benefits of good nutrition with students, our families and our communities.

We are planting the seeds of health and wellness. FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact: Tim Leary, Regional Sales Director Call: 612-202-6407 Email: Visit:




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

Protection assurance when you need it. The Minnesota School Boards Association Insurance Trust (MSBAIT) endorses companies with a proven record of service. Property, Inland Marine, and Crime Workers’ Compensation School Leaders’ Legal Liability Automobile Group Term Life Long-Term Disability General Liability

Your MSBAIT contacts

Denise Drill

Gary Lee

MSBAIT — addressing the needs of public schools’ risk-management programs since 1972

Excess Liability

Quality Coverage and Service Tailor-Made For School Districts Find out what MSBAIT can do for your school district. Call 800-324-4459 or visit

MSBA Journal: March-April 2015  

The 2015 March-April Journal

MSBA Journal: March-April 2015  

The 2015 March-April Journal