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July-August 2015

Crucial Conversations About Public Education Putting Social Media in Its Place Student Board Members Honored for Their Work

Volume 68, No. 1

2015 Summer Seminar

Monday, August 3

Crucial Conversations

JUly 2015

3 ���������������� Independence Day Observed (no meetings) 4 ���������������� Independence Day (no meetings)

Divisions 4 5 6 28

 UOTES OF NOTE Q MSBA Staff STRAIGHT TALK Kirk Schneidawind, MSBA Executive Director P RESIDENT’S COLUMN Kevin Donovan, MSBA President VENDOR DIRECTORY Pierre Productions & Promotions, Inc.

Articles 8

Crucial conversations about public education Dr. John Draper


Putting Social Media in its Place Bruce Lombard interview with Luci Willits


Student board members honored for their work Greg Abbott and Bruce Lombard


Minnesota public school consolidation Lowell A. Haagenson


Rigorous academics is not enough to close the achievement gap Kitty Gogins and Peter Olson-Skog

A u g ust 2 0 1 5 2 ���������������� MSBA Board of Directors’ Meeting 2 ���������������� MSBA Insurance Trust Meeting 2 ���������������� MSBA Summer Seminar Early Bird Workshops 3 ���������������� MSBA Summer Seminar 4 ���������������� MSBA Phase I & II Combination 4 ���������������� MSBA Charter School Board Training 4–5 ������������ MDE/MASA Conference 11 �������������� Primary Election Day (if applicable; no meetings or activities 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.) 11 �������������� Minnesota School District Liquid Asset Fund Plus Meeting

SEPTEMBER 2015 7 ���������������� Labor Day (no meetings) 8 ���������������� First Day School Can Be Held 10 �������������� MSBA Fall Regional Meeting 15 �������������� MSBA Fall Regional Meeting 16 �������������� MSBA Fall Regional Meeting 17 �������������� MSBA Fall Regional Meeting 22 �������������� MSBA Fall Regional Meeting 23 �������������� MSBA Fall Regional Meeting 24 �������������� MSBA Fall Regional Meeting 28–29 �������� MASA Fall Conference 30 �������������� Last Day for Submitting Legislative Resolutions

OCTOBER 2015 8–9 ������������ MN Association of Educational Office Professionals (MAEOP) Conference 12 �������������� Columbus Day Observed (optional holiday) 15–16 �������� Education Minnesota Conference 22 �������������� MSBA Insurance Trust Annual Meeting 24 �������������� MSBA Charter School Board Training – St. Cloud

The MSBA Journal thanks the students of Princeton Public Schools for sharing their art in this issue. COVER ART:

Mikayla Brooks

July/August 2015    3

C O N T E N T S J u l y / A u g u st 2 0 1 5    V O LU M E 6 8 , N U M B E R 1


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 Government 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 Government 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 Government Relations Katie Klanderud: Director of Board Development Gary Lee: Director of Membership Services Bruce Lombard: Associate Director of Communications 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.)

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

“Why the Education Funding Formula Is Important” Edition “Schools are mandated to do much with the funding received from the state. Attacking achievement gaps, raising student performance, integrating technology into learning and making sure each child is prepared for a successful future are things you can’t get on the cheap. You need to invest in the future and be consistent with a 3-percent increase each year. That is how we move education forward. …By putting the money on the general funding formula, districts have the ability to adapt funds for where their students really need help. Giving districts the security of adequate, stable and equitable funding for students is the best way to ensure student success. It is the best investment with the largest payoff.” MSBA Executive Director Kirk Schneidawind, from a May 4 opinion piece in the Star Tribune

“The Legislature expects school boards to meet the goals in the World’s Best Workforce, to integrate technology into learning, and have all of our students reading by the third grade – but the House and Senate education budget targets would undermine our ability to carry out these goals. Closing the achievement gap and giving all Minnesota students a first-class education requires sustainable investments. Now is the time to set a new funding target for public education. We have a great opportunity with a $2 billion surplus. Today parents, students, superintendents and school board members stand united asking the Legislature to adopt a higher budget target for public education. I ask you – if not now, when?” MSBA President and Mahtomedi School Board Member Kevin Donovan, from a May 4 press conference at the State Office Building in St. Paul

“Over the past two decades, the increases to this formula have not even kept pace with inflation. In fact, the General Fund Basic Formula per-pupil amount would have to be increased by almost $2,400 per pupil to have the same purchasing power it had

back in 1991–92. Over the past 10 years in Northfield, we have had to make up for the state’s lack of funding on the formula by passing two operating levies paid almost totally by our local property taxpayers. These levies were needed in order to just maintain the reduced staff and programs that were left after two rounds of budget cuts.” Northfield School Board Chair Julie Pritchard, from a column in the Northfield News

“A 1-percent-per-year increase in the general per-pupil education formula presents difficult choices for school districts. Based on a 170-day school year, the House proposal is equal to about 19 cents per student per day. The Senate and governor’s proposal equals about 34 cents per student per day. Is this how we value our children and our future? A 3-percent increase would equal approximately $1 per student per day. Less than that allows no funding for inflation and will result in teacher layoffs as well as other reductions in many districts. The formula needs funding at 3 percent or greater to maintain our class sizes and retain Minnesota jobs.” Spring Lake Park School Board Member Marilynn Forsberg, in a letter to the editor of the Star Tribune

“Our first priority has been and continues to be to receive at least a 3-percent basic formula increase. We believe it is imperative that we fund the formula first, since this will provide the greatest benefit to the greatest number of students fairly.” MSBA Associate Director of Government Relations Denise Dittrich, from her testimony to the Minnesota Legislature’s Education Conference Committee

“I certainly understand that there are competing interests down at the Capitol, but making reductions in schools when there is a surplus is difficult.” Sauk Rapids-Rice Superintendent Dan Bittman

Straight T alk G et to know your MSBA Management Services team


Change happens. Change is part of the evolution that all organizations – like MSBA – must endure as they strive to meet the needs of their members. Lately, you may have noticed some change to MSBA’s Management Services Division. The role of MSBA’s Management Services Division is to provide assistance to member school districts – both the locally elected school boards and their administrative staffs – primarily in the areas of management and personnel issues.

Kirk Schneidawind MSBA Executive Director

I am confident that your association is well-positioned to help our boards and districts today and into the future.

Each year, the Management Services team fields thousands of calls and email inquiries from school board members, superintendents and district staff. Over the past two years, we said goodbye to two longtime staff members from the MSBA Management Services Division. John Sylvester and Bob Lowe had a combined 60 years of institutional knowledge and experience between them working with school boards and school district staff. I often hear from members: “Who’s going to replace John and Bob?” MSBA’s Board of Directors and administrative team put a succession plan in place long ago when John’s and Bob’s respective retirements began looming on the horizon. Anticipating the loss of those two key veterans, MSBA restocked its roster by hiring Bill Kautt and Amy FullenkampTaylor in 2007 and Gary Lee in 2010.

Bill Kautt

Jeff Olson

Gary Lee

Amy FullenkampTaylor

Gary Lee – MSBA’s Director of Membership Services – is a former Fertile-Beltrami School Board member. Gary brings expertise in a wide variety of areas including data, finance and insurance. From years of owning a wholesale nursery business, Gary is equally adept at solving your arboreal and landscaping needs. Amy Fullenkamp-Taylor and Bill Kautt – who share the same title MSBA Associate

Director of Management Services – also have an abundance of expertise. Amy has nearly 15 years of extensive experience in human resources and specializes in personnel issues and insurance. Amy can also break down the finer points of a volleyball match after spending many evenings watching her two daughters set and spike during their high school careers. Bill spent 35 years as a teacher and a counselor at St. Peter High School and specializes in teacher licensure issues. To ensure our goal of a seamless staffing transition, Gary, Bill and Amy trained under John and Bob for a number of years in order to pass down that institutional knowledge. The Management Services team also includes the equally capable talents of Denise Drill (Director of Financial Services and the Minnesota School Boards Association Insurance Trust), Cathy Miller (Director of Legal and Policy Services), Sandy Gundlach (Director of School Board Services), Katie Klanderud (Director of Board Development) and Jeff Olson (Membership Services). Jeff Olson, a former St. Peter superintendent, joined MSBA in 2014 and works in Membership Services. Jeff was named the state superintendent of the year in 2013. He specializes in school leadership and governance issues and leads school boards through our new Strategic Planning Service. I am confident that your association is well-positioned to help our boards and districts today and into the future. So please, get to know them better. Get to know their faces at MSBAStaff, where you can also access their email addresses. Don’t hesitate to call them anytime during office hours at 800-324-4459. They are here to help you. July/August 2015    5

President’s Column

Board members must be tech-savvy enough to lead students into a changing world


Yes, I was one of those people who got up at 2:01 a.m. on April 10, eager to order the Apple Watch. It wasn’t that long ago that I sat up at night with a crystal radio set listening to WCCO, transmitted from the Montgomery Ward Midway tower. Technology has come a long way in the past 45 years. What was the realm of science fiction then, is our reality now.

Kevin Donovan MSBA President

As school leaders, are we able to adequately articulate the needs of our districts in the area of technology to our stakeholders at the time of technology levies?

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From watching the Apollo moon landings on a large black-and-white cathode-tube television with rabbit ears to the use of Smart Boards in classrooms today, we are worlds apart from my public school experience. The computer at my high school was composed of a teletype machine controlled by a 300-baud phone connection to the St. Paul Schools District Center central computer. As I recall, we could make a pretty dot matrix picture, but not much more. Today our students have a dazzling array of technology – including smart phones, iPads, laser etchers and 3-D printers. “Learning without limits” and “how to build almost anything” are the current buzz phrases that reflect the amazing opportunities that today’s technology can afford.

Are we as school leaders keeping up with the rapid developments and changes in technology in our classrooms? Are we as board members an impediment to student learning or are we a catalyst for change? Do we understand how the rigor of the traditional classroom can be enhanced and made relevant to our students in project-based learning and in the development of 21st-century skills? As school leaders, are we able to adequately articulate the needs of our districts in the area of technology to our stakeholders at the time of technology levies? These are all questions that we need to be able to clearly understand and answer to our communities.

Examples of students using technology to further their learning abound, but here are a few to illustrate the cuttingedge work being done in the classroom. Recently I was in Proctor attending a school board meeting in that district, and was fortunate enough to hear a presentation by five 10th-grade students who won first place in the Conrad Spirit of Innovation Competition at the Kennedy Space Center. This global award on creativity and innovation allows students to work on real-life projects. The Proctor student project was about how to recycle disposable diapers. I learned there are five major components to a one-use baby diaper and economically viable solutions to recycling. Technology was at the heart of their project. The students are doing real-life problem solving with real-life rewards. The students share a patent pending for their process and an interest from business in their work. In Mahtomedi, high school seniors are working on capstone engineering projects that pair each student with an engineer. The rigor of the work being done would pique the interest of many a company’s research and development department. One of these students presented at our school board meeting on an app she was designing to measure the symptoms of an athlete on the sidelines who might have a concussion. One of the measures of a concussion is in eye movements, which her app would measure with a smart phone camera. Kenji, another capstone engineering student, presented his project which was to develop an artificial hand using a 3-D printer. His primary purpose was to see if he could control the motorized prosthetic hand using the mind. Using the technology at the disposal of the students in the Mahtomedi FabLab truly allows for learning without limits.

Do you know the meaning of terms such as “augmented reality,” “digital badges,” and “flipped classrooms”? Are you able to communicate via Periscope, Twitter® and Vine? I maintain that, to be effective leaders, we need to continue to learn about – and understand – the tools that our students and teachers are using every day as the “new normal.” Selfdirected learning is almost certainly at the core of the future of learning. To not allow learners to “play” with information, platforms and ideas is to ignore the access, tools and patterns of 21st-Century life (Tomorrow’s Learning Today: 7 Shifts to Create a Classroom of the Future by Terry Heick). Learning and problem solving are very different today than even a generation ago. Much of what was relevant then is no longer the norm for our students. So much has changed in a very short time frame. What will the classroom look like in 45 years? Will we be able to recognize the classroom of the future? We, as leaders and those who set policy, must be prepared and eager to walk with our students into a world that is changing exponentially faster than ever before.


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Crucial Conversations About Public Education We must change the mistaken perception that our schools are declining

(Note: Dr. John Draper will be the opening speaker at the 2015 MSBA Summer Seminar scheduled for Monday, August 3, in Brooklyn Park. Visit for information.)


Public schools are really doing an excellent job – better in practically every way than they did in the past.

By Dr. John Draper

The good news about public schools, for the most part, falls on deaf ears. But bad news often has a high profile. A prime example is found in a recent issue of Newsweek that focused on education and featured a lead article that began with a widely accepted – but unfounded – assertion: The relative decline of American education at the elementary- and high-school levels has long been a national embarrassment as well as a threat to the nation’s future. This sentence, unfortunately, embodies the perception of many citizens disconnected from our schools. As school leaders, we must acknowledge that perception, roll up our sleeves, and go to work on changing the mistaken belief that today’s public schools are in the midst of a precipitous decline. For many of our citizens, this will represent a massive paradigm shift that will require information to be presented in a different way. The goal is helping these people better understand our schools so they can better believe in, care about, and support them.

8    MSBA Journal

Chad Kingsley

The TLC Formula for School Leaders What should a school leader do to shift public perceptions about schools, in general, from dissatisfaction to a better understanding of what public education actually does for our country and its children? To start, begin internalizing this thought: The greatest power you have as a leader is to establish the conversation. Conversations make a difference and are the first, and potentially most powerful, step toward increasing understanding about and support for our schools. Use these three guidelines – the TLCs of effective conversations – to frame your work: • Think about and talk about what you believe and why you believe it. • Learn to use language that reframes the conversation. • Connect your community to your students using stories to bridge the gaps. 1. Think about and talk about what you believe and why you believe it. As educators, we have an innate, shared value system that we rarely put into words. We often incorrectly assume that others understand and share the same values. Doesn’t everyone want every child to succeed, to be healthy, happy, and productive? Most do, but their frame of reference about the role public education plays in meeting those goals may be different from ours. Those who think badly about public schools are not stupid, they are not unpatriotic, and they are not mean, greedy or uncaring toward children. They may be uninformed and/or fearful of change, but they are not the enemy of school leaders. The enemies are ignorance and separation, and the paths to victory over these enemies are education and mutuality (a reciprocal relationship between interdependent entities). Recognizing this, school leaders, in order to preserve public schools, must be proactive in building connections to offset the separation within our society. Beliefs are contagious. School leaders must begin by articulating what they believe and why. Heartfelt, spoken words make a difference. Be reassured and confident that your values as an educator are the very best of traditional American values. Put them into words. Do you believe that public education is the backbone of democracy? Say so! Thomas Jefferson did: “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free…it expects what never was and will never be.” Do you believe that every child deserves a quality education regardless of where she lives or who her parents are? Say so! Do you believe that, while standardized tests can provide some measurement of student achievement,

qualities such as creativity, self-discipline, curiosity, persistence, courage, imagination, enthusiasm and patriotism are equally important? Say so! 2. Learn to use language that reframes the challenges and issues of public schools. Language is important. As school leaders, we should not use language that is at odds with our beliefs. Some people honestly perceive public schools as the enemy. They use language that conjures up a negative impression without actually addressing the reality of public schools. Some choose to substitute the phrase “government schools” for “public schools.” A few go on to miscategorize public schools as “Godless,” resulting in “Godless, government schools.” I know of no educator who, when asked where he works, would respond with “in a Godless, government school.” It is not a true representation of our schools. The language grows even more damaging by adding “Godless, government schools staffed with selfish union employees.” The selfish union employee label falsely paints teachers as interested only in increased salary and benefits while the union protects their mediocrity and lack of performance. There may be a few problem teachers, but teachers are not the problem, they are the solution. More damaging language occurs when the sentence is completed, “Godless, government schools staffed with selfish union employees leaving little children behind.” Now that the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is labeling schools across the nation as failing, some falsely think that public schools are in the business of leaving children behind. School leaders must change their frame of reference. Educators need to develop the skills to move the paradigm to one that accurately and positively describes the reality of our schools. For example, use the phrase “caring community schools” to more correctly identify schools. Every school is a reflection of the community in which it is found, and even struggling schools are staffed with many educators who care deeply about their students. The children within a caring community school are the responsibility of the entire community. The phrase invites support and engagement. Caring community schools rise to the challenge of providing for all children. Caring community schools are an asset to the district and an investment in the future. “Caring community schools” staffed with “sincere, dedicated professionals” adds to the paradigm. We all know from personal experience how important the teacher is to the learning process. Many teachers feel a “calling” to work in education. Teachers and others who work in education have been acutely aware for decades that the rewards of the profession

July/August 2015    9

Crucial Conversations About Public Education

are frequently nonmonetary. “Caring community schools staffed with sincere, dedicated professionals providing every child with every chance for success” completes the paradigm. While educators chafe at the impossibility of ensuring that every child will be successful, they should welcome the accountability of providing every child with every chance for success. Caring community schools staffed with sincere, dedicated professionals providing every child with every chance for success. It’s the frame that school leaders should use in the crucial conversations about public schools. 3. Connect your community to your students using stories that bridge the gap between generations, classes, races and religions. Unfortunately for school leaders, the years of study and preparation for your career work against you when you are communicating with those outside education. The university classes and conferences where you spent countless hours learning the vocabulary of your trade can now handicap your effectiveness. Every time you try to convince others through verbal persuasion, you suffer from your inability to select and share language in a way that reproduces in the mind of the listener exactly the same thoughts you are having. You say your words, but others hear their words, which in turn stimulate their images, their past histories, and their overall meaning — all of which may be very different from what you intended.

Megan Ulmer

Effective stories overcome this. A well-told narrative provides concrete and vivid detail. It changes people’s view of how the world works because it presents a plausible, emotional and memorable story that can alter people’s perception of the consequences of various actions or beliefs. If school leaders want others to support public schools, they must appeal to the “higher good.” Education must be viewed in its broader sense. Gilbert Chesterton once said, “Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.” The mission is what motivates, not the routine. When we share the story of the public school teacher who donates a kidney to a student, perceptions about teachers begin to change. When we share the story of the coach who took one of his athletes from a poor family to the department store and bought the boy his first sport coat to wear to the athletic banquet, perceptions begin to change. When we share the story of the school bus driver who provides books to her students to read while riding on the bus, perceptions begin to change. When we share the story about the custodian who takes a special education student under his wing and helps him learn a trade, perceptions begin to change. When we share the story about the basketball player with Down syndrome who finally gets in the game and both teams work to help him score a point, perceptions begin to change. You don’t need to be a talented speaker to be effective. Have your research and information, but don’t use it unless requested. Using it simply to demonstrate to your audience – whether it’s one person or a packed auditorium – that you have the issues under control will weaken your message. If your time is short, just share the stories that will resonate with your hearers and help them care about your students, their success and the mission of your district. Dr. John Draper is a National Consultant for the National School Public Relations Association. You can contact him at 10    MSBA Journal

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Putting Social Media in Its Place “Get on it – it is not going away”


Are you looking to get involved in social media to promote your school district and engage your community, but don’t know where to start? Let Luci Willits be your guide at the 2015 Summer Seminar in August.

By Bruce Lombard

Willits – a Deputy Executive Director for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium – will present “Putting Social Media in its Place” during the Summer Seminar’s Closing Session. The official synopsis of Willits’ presentation: “Social media is everywhere, from ads for cereal to ice bucket challenges. While social media permeates everything we do, it’s important that it is used in a way that builds trust in your school district. Learn what platforms are the best use of your time and how to work collaboratively as a board to make social media work for you.” Prior to joining the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, Willits served as the Chief of Staff of the Idaho Department of Education for eight years, where she ran the day-to-day operations of the 140-person agency and worked directly with the Idaho Legislature.

Luci Willits

Willits is a product of Idaho’s public schools and believes in the power of public education. She is a sought-after communications and public affairs expert, offering training on crisis communications and social media. MSBA caught up with Willits and asked her to give an overview of her forthcoming session. MSBA: What do you plan on sharing with school board members during your presentation at the Summer Seminar?

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LUCI WILLITS: Social media can be a mystery to a lot of people, and it is constantly evolving. Oftentimes, people get very frustrated by social media, or they get scared to even do it. The point of my session is to show school board members how to approach social media – how they can use the best social platforms for what they want to accomplish, and how they can use social media as a way to form relationships. Social media is another way to engage the public, but it’s got to be done in the right context and the right place. I will give specific examples to show school districts the best ways to leverage social media. I will also show them how to use social media to gather information. Social media does not replace personal interaction and basic communication. But it can be powerful in forming relationships and help lead you to more meaningful relationships. MSBA: How can school districts use social media to build trust? WILLITS: One of the ways you can use social media to build trust is by knowing your social media plan and what your purpose is. Don’t have a Facebook® page just to have a Facebook page. What is your purpose in having that Facebook page? If you only have a Facebook page when you have an election, or when you have a bond or a levy, that doesn’t build trust. Building trust is like a friendship, it takes multiple actions over time. Why do you have a Facebook page or a Twitter® account, and what are you doing on a daily basis about trust – not just throwing something out there.

You have to have a strategy. Be deliberate about what you communicate and have a purpose to do it. MSBA: What social media platforms do you recommend for school districts? WILLITS: The most prominent platforms that I would recommend for school boards and school board members are Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Those are the “Big Three.” MSBA: How can school board members work collaboratively to make social media work for them?

“If you only have a Facebook page when you have an election, or when you have a bond or a levy, that doesn’t build trust.”

WILLITS: First, you have to have a plan for your school board. What are you going to post on social media? Do people have individual Facebook pages that are for school board members only – or do they have a personal page? There are a lot of free speech elements here, but the most important thing is to have a conversation so that people don’t go their own way. In other words, oftentimes if you don’t have that conversation up front and have the agreement about how you are going to handle it, then you are going to have a situation where you are playing out disagreements on the board in the public.

MSBA: Would you recommend there only be one general school board Facebook page? WILLITS: No, actually I think you should have multiple pages. I think the key is: “What do you do on those pages and how do you speak about it?” You have to be careful of what you say on social media. There are programs out there that capture what you say. People can get your pictures on Facebook. Once you put it out there, it will never be extinct. It will live on in perpetuity. You have to consider “how are we going to talk about things” and “how am I going to build trust

Jesse Bursch

with my own organization about what I put on social media.” MSBA: Could you give an example of when using social media has gone wrong for a school board or a school district? WILLITS: The bad examples are all over. What I have found is that it is harder to find good examples. What I am going to show (the Summer Seminar attendees) is how you can do things better in terms of the positive things we can do. July/August 2015    13

Putting Social Media in Its Place

Everybody knows the negative things. For instance, in my home state of Idaho a couple of years ago, two legislators got in a row over a vote on social media. It was very personal, it was very cutting and it was very caustic. That didn’t help anyone. That’s a case of a bad example: when you take out your frustrations over political disagreements on social media. If I were running a school district budget, I would set aside money every month for promoted posts on social media sites. A majority of the public are on social media – and it’s not kids using these platforms, it’s adults. This is not a fad. Communicating through social media won’t go away in the Digital Age. MSBA: Any advice for a school board member who is a newbie to social media? WILLITS: No. 1, get on it. It’s not going away. It’s one of the best ways you can engage people. No. 2, don’t be afraid of “haters,” because they are out there. And No. 3, use social media to

build relationships – both within your board and externally. You can reach Luci Willits at In her spare time, Willits and her husband operate an awardwinning travel blog at and try to keep up with their teenage daughters. The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is a public agency supported by 18 states and one territory. Through the work of thousands of educators, Smarter Balanced created an online assessment system aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), as well as tools for educators to improve teaching and learning. Smarter Balanced is housed at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education & Information Studies (GSE&IS). The work of Smarter Balanced is guided by the belief that a high-quality assessment system can provide information and tools for teachers and schools to improve instruction and help students succeed – regardless of disability, language or subgroup. Smarter Balanced involves experienced educators, researchers, state and local policymakers and community groups working together in a transparent and consensus-driven process.

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July/August 2015    15

Student Board Members Honored for Their Work Proctor’s Amber Bennett, Austin’s Giancarlo Marconi Earn 2015 MSBA Student School Board Member Scholarship Award

Amber Bennett School: Proctor High School College: University of Wisconsin-Superior


Two outstanding student school board members each received Minnesota School Boards Association’s $3,000 scholarship for their work with their school boards: Amber Bennett of Proctor and Giancarlo Marconi from Austin. More than 90 school districts have a student member, and the MSBA Scholarship Committee had a tough time narrowing down all the applications to these two students. Amber Bennett (Proctor High School)

By Greg Abbott and From Amber Bennett’s seat near the Proctor School Board table, it didn’t take long for her Bruce Lombard to realize that the people making decisions for the district really cared about the students. “At first, I did a lot of listening in the beginning,” she said. “But as you see them making decisions – some of them really tough to make – you see how they work together and how interested they are in helping students.” Amber, one of the two MSBA Scholarship winners, said her role wasn’t simply relegated to Student Council reports. When the issue of whether or not to have a police liaison at school dances came up, they wanted a first-hand opinion. “The board wanted an honest answer, so they turned to me,” she said. “They know I take this role seriously and will give them my opinion.” Amber has juggled several extracurricular activities such as National Honor Society, Student Council, and playing volleyball. She has also been involved in the community through her church, helped with Special Olympics and led two school campaigns – the school blood drive and the Celebrate My Drive Committee. 16    MSBA Journal

Giancarlo Marconi School: Austin High School College: University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business

To her, the Celebrate My Drive campaign was her most memorable success, pushing messages of two eyes on the road and two hands on the wheel while driving, as well as other messages for not texting while driving. The campaign won $25,000, with money going to the school cafeteria. On top of it all, she also worked part-time at Subway. “Some nights I wouldn’t get home until 8 p.m.,” she said. “I’d come home, do homework and crash, then do it again the next day. But everything I was doing was worth it.” The toughest board meeting was when a property tax issue was being decided. The meeting was long, it was tense and many people came to speak. “That night I learned the most about our town, its people and our board as a whole,” she said. She appreciated how the many people on the board – with different views – discussed the options and worked together to find the best solution. True, not everyone was happy, but good decisions were made and Amber realized all the work, discussion and listening that goes into a board’s final vote. “This board taught me to be more open-minded, to strive for success and never give up,” she said. “They’re like parents to me, and I hope to have an inspiring impact on my peers like the school board members had on me.” In his letter of recommendation, Vice Chair Ted Peterson wrote that Amber’s input was invaluable: “She has added so many thoughtful and intelligent pieces of information to our decision-making that it scares me to think of what choices the board would have made without her.” Amber hopes to become a psychologist and plans to attend the University of Wisconsin-Superior this fall. Giancarlo Marconi (Austin High School) Two years ago, Austin High School’s Giancarlo Marconi was eager to join his school board and become a strong liaison between the board and his fellow students.

“I thought it would be a great opportunity to be able to be that voice to connect with the students and to be able to help make the big decisions for our schools because it really impacts us,” Giancarlo said. “I wanted to be able to talk to our students to see what they really wanted and how we could make a difference. I thought being on the board would be a great opportunity to do that.” Austin School Board Chair Angie Goetz recognized Giancarlo’s greatness from the get-go. “I met Giancarlo as a 10th-grader during the interview process for student school board member representative and knew he would be a great asset to our board in communicating on behalf of the students,” Goetz wrote in her recommendation letter for Giancarlo. In his letter of recommendation, Austin Superintendent David Krenz used “knowledgeable,” “leader,” “scholar,” and “helper” as the primary words to describe Giancarlo. “Perhaps the quality that most impresses me about Giancarlo is his ability, at even his young age, to step back and listen, assess, analyze and then provide insight into a topic that leads to a collaborative resolution,” Krenz wrote. Giancarlo masterfully utilized those skills Krenz described in spring 2014 when the board began working on the district’s Calendar Working Group, which explored alternative calendar options to improve student success. Giancarlo volunteered for the committee and poured a great deal of time and effort into it. “Going into the Calendar Working Group, I had my own preconceived ideas,” Giancarlo said. “I had to step back and look at the research and form an unbiased opinion because at the end of the day, it was not what I thought, it was what the student body felt was best for them.” Giancarlo developed surveys for students about the calendar issue and asked them which option they preferred. July/August 2015    17

“It was interesting to see what students thought,” he said. “After looking at the research, my own ideas changed and I began to realize this one (option) was better than the other one.”

“Wherever I end up, my goal is to work for a company that gives back and shows social and corporate responsibility,” he said. “I want to be able to help people through what I do.”

Goetz called Giancarlo’s work on this committee “innovative and progressive.”

When asked what advice he would have for his student representative successor on the school board, Giancarlo offered this: “Get involved with what you can and work hard. With this position, you have the power and responsibility to be the voice for the students.”

Student Board Members Honored for Their Work

Giancarlo said he felt like he had a true voice on the board. “I felt like I really made a difference on the (calendar) decision and the school board looked to me and I felt that my input mattered,” he said. “To be up there with all these adults and people from the community asking me what I think – that was really cool.” Giancarlo will attend the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business in the fall, where he plans to study marketing. “I’ve always known that I wanted to do something with business,” Giancarlo said. “I got a chance to do an internship with Hormel Foods and so I really got a passion for that.” In the future, Giancarlo said he sees himself working for an advertising agency or for a company similar to Hormel.

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Reflecting on his time with the Austin School Board, Giancarlo said he was fortunate to be able to take part in such a great learning opportunity. “The people on the school board are so great and encouraging and always helping me out,” he said. “I learned so much from them and I’m glad I got to do this for my community because my community has really supported me and helped me so much. I’m glad I got to give back to the school. It’s an amazing opportunity and I’m so glad I took part in it.” Greg Abbott is the MSBA Director of Communications and Bruce Lombard is the MSBA Associate Director of Communications. You can contact them at and

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Minnesota public school consolidation: Factors most influential when voting in favor of consolidation

By Lowell A. Haagenson


In the late 19th century, Minnesota’s population began to shift from rural areas to more urban areas, fueling the public school district consolidation movement (Bard, Gardener, & Wieland, 2005). Given catalysts for consolidation, Minnesota County Commissioners began to exercise their legislated authority. In 1902, Minnesota school district 137 agreed to consolidate with district 140 as an “experiment.” In 1911, the Holmberg Act formalized the process of Minnesota public school district consolidation (MDE, 1911). As defined in the Annual Report of the State Treasurer of Minnesota for the Fiscal Year Ending July 31, 1918, “The passage of the Holmberg Act of 1911 marked the beginning of formal consolidation of rural public school districts.” The first formal public school district consolidation under the Holmberg Act was Doran Consolidated School in Doran, Minnesota (Laken, 2008). Minnesota public school district consolidations continued to occur at an increasing rate between 1912 and 1917. By 1917, the focus of public school district consolidation remained as originally framed, “a means of solving the

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rural school problem and giving the boys and girls of the countryside equality of educational opportunity” (MDE, 1917). In 1967, Minnesota Statutes 122:42-51 created the basis for large-scale school consolidations and closings. The statutes stipulated that school districts not offering grades 1–12 programming within the next 3 academic years would be forced to consolidate or face involuntary dissolution. The 1967 law resulted in the elimination of all one-room schools in Minnesota and the reduction in the number of school districts to less than 500 (Foster, 1975). Andrews et al. (2002) asserted that consolidation remains a frequent recommendation of state governments seeking to improve educational cost effectiveness, particularly in rural school districts. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect school district consolidation will continue to occur, and that proponents and opponents of such reorganization will debate and disagree about the value of these proceedings. The researcher of the present study believed that beneficial information may be derived from a

study that can assist those opposing parties in understanding current forces that are fostering consolidation and the thoughts of governing board members as they deliberate about and vote to support or oppose school consolidations.

consolidation. The selection of the factor “declining student enrollment” by a majority of respondents was consistent with the literature which cited declining student enrollment as a major issue prompting school district consolidation.

A study of factors influencing votes in favor of Minnesota public school consolidation was important because consolidation has rarely been examined in Minnesota. Given existing fiscal constraints at the state level, increasing expectations for accountability and changing demographics – largely evidenced by declining student enrollment – among a large majority of Minnesota school districts, consolidation likely will remain a viable option for consideration in the foreseeable future.

An imbalanced or declining general fund budget was selected by respondent school board members as the second most influential factor causing them to vote in favor of school district consolidation. Declining programs, services, staffing and/or courses was identified by respondent school board members as the third most influential factor that resulted in votes favorable to school district consolidation.

The study ascertained and rated the importance of factors which were perceived by school board members as pivotal in their decisions to consolidate their school districts with one or more other school districts. The study determined the extent to which school board members (serving at the time of a school district’s consolidation) agreed with and continued to agree with the value of that consolidation decision. Factors examined in the study modeled the factors identified in “Twelve Criteria for Gauging the Need for Organizational Restructuring,” formulated by Dr. Roger Worner and Associates (Worner & Worner, 2005). The study factors included were declining student enrollment; imbalanced or declining General Fund budget; unable to pass operating referendum; cost inefficient (small class sizes and/or low pupil/teacher ratios); declining programs, services, staffing and/or courses; cost inefficient (high facility square footage per pupil and/or excess space/excess buildings); community opinion; and “other factors” to accommodate specific writein responses. Data were gathered from Minnesota school board members serving on governing boards at the time of a school district consolidation vote. The sample included school board members from among the 11 different school districts which voted to consolidate into five school districts between the years 2000 and 2006. The intentional selection of all 11 consolidations between the years 2000 and 2006 provided the opportunity to gather data most relevant to contemporary influences on consolidation votes, while at the same time providing respondents adequate time since their vote to reflect upon their responses. The study’s first question ascertained the factors which influenced the vote in favor of consolidating the school district with one or more other school districts. Each respondent was provided the list of seven common influential factors. Respondents were requested to rank order the factors which most, second most, and third most influenced their votes in favor of consolidation. In addition, respondents were provided the opportunity to identify other influential factors (other factors) not represented in the list provided. Respondents selected declining student enrollment as the factor that most influenced their vote in favor of

Acknowledged less frequently as influential factors in causing them to vote in favor of consolidation were the factors cost inefficient (high facility square footage per pupil), cost inefficient (small class sizes), community opinion, and an inability to pass an operating referendum. The study’s second question ascertained how strongly rated factors influenced the decision to vote in favor of consolidating. Respondents were requested to rate factors that influenced their votes on consolidation employing the following options and values: strongly agree (SA) = +2; agree (A) = +1; disagree (D) = –1; and strongly disagree (SD) = –2. Respondents’ data were disaggregated according to whether or not respondents served on their respective governing boards at the time of the study and, further, the number of years of each school board respondent’s experience on the district’s governing board. Such an analysis was undertaken in order to ascertain whether or not there were relationships between years of experience and factors impacting their voting patterns. Service tenure was categorized on respondents’ respective school boards as follows: 0–4 years; 5–8 years; 9–12 years; 13 or more years of experience. School board members with successively more years of experience reported that declining student enrollment, an imbalanced or declining general fund, and declining programs, services, staffing and/or courses were, respectively, the most, second most, and third most influential factors impacting their decisions to vote in favor of consolidation. The study’s third question ascertained how strongly school board members agreed with the consolidation of the school district at the time of the consolidation decision. Study respondents were requested to provide responses employing one of the following options: strongly agree (SA), agree (A), disagree (D), or strongly disagree (SD). All study respondents agreed or strongly agreed – at the time of the consolidation decision – with the votes they had cast in favor of consolidation. As many as 15 years after respondents cast their respective votes, 100 percent who currently serve on school boards continued to strongly agree with their consolidation votes, while 86.7 percent of those no longer serving on school boards continued to strongly agree or agree with their consolidation decision. During the course of interviews, respondents answered the question, “What advice do you have for school board members facing a present or future consolidation vote?” July/August 2015    21

Three themes that emerged during the analysis of the respondent interviews were planning, pairing, and communicating.

Minnesota public school consolidation

Planning: One respondent advised school board members facing a consolidation vote to understand that every situation is different. Another respondent stated, “Each consolidation is unique, so consider advantages and disadvantages based upon context and not based upon what other school districts have done or are doing.” Yet another interviewee directed school board members to consider the advantages and disadvantages of both precinct voting and at-large voting to determine what voting option may be best given your circumstance. Pairing: One respondent advised school board members to – as much as possible – make sure districts can get along prior to consolidating by pairing and sharing portions of operations. Another respondent stated, “Be willing to compromise, because in a partnership there has to be give and take.” Yet another interviewee directed school board members to ask and answer – throughout all stages of consolidation deliberation and implementation – “Does what we’re doing make sense for students?” Communicating: One respondent advised school board members to collaboratively identify all the people who will be impacted by the consolidation, then take the time to create a communication plan. Another respondent stated, “Communicate the stages of consolidation in the local paper to keep the public informed and focus the communication on the benefits of consolidation to students.” Yet another interviewee suggested school board members deliver regularly scheduled informational meetings to address peoples’ feelings and answer questions to keep the public informed. Recommendations to the field: Given the study outcome that three of seven factors: declining student enrollment, an imbalanced or declining general fund budget, and declining programs, services, staffing and/or courses compiled by Worner and Associates (Worner & Worner, 2005) ranked consistently as the most significant factors influencing study respondents to vote in favor of consolidation, it is recommended that these three factors – at a minimum – be considered by school board members during school district consolidation planning, pairing, and communications. Additionally, given that each one of the seven factors was selected by respondents as having varying degrees of influence on their votes to consolidate their school district, it is recommended that each one of the seven factors be considered by school board members and included during school district consolidation planning, pairing, and communications. 22    MSBA Journal

The findings of this study provide usable information to school board members facing a school district consolidation consideration and eventual vote. Beyond board members, some of the findings may be useful to the Minnesota School Boards Association, the Minnesota State Legislature and community members as stakeholders in Minnesota school district consolidation. Haagenson’s complete dissertation is available at Lowell A. Haagenson, Ed. D., works for the Sartell-based Resource Training & Solutions. You can contact him at References: Andrews, M., Duncombe, W., & Yinger, J. (2002). Revisiting economies of size in America education: Are we any closer to a consensus? Economics of Education Review, 3(21), 245-262. Retrieved from publications/revisiting_economies_of_size.pdf Bard, J., Gardener, C., & Wieland, R. (2005). National Rural Education Association Report: Rural school consolidation. The Rural Educator, 1, 2006. Conant, J. (1959). The American high school today. New York: McGraw-Hill. Foster, J. (1975, August). Innovation in governmental structures: Minnesota school district reorganization. American Journal of Political Science, 19(3). Laken, N. (2008, April 23). Doran Consolidated School…a first. Daily News. Breckenridge, MN. Retrieved from http://www.wahpetondailynews. com/news/article_0286459f-2230-558f-92a1c27c5ca439ab.html. Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). (1911). Consolidation of school districts and transportation of pupils. Bulletin No. 22. Minnesota State Archives, Minnesota Historical Society Container 120.D.3.2 (F). Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). (1917). Studies in consolidation of rural schools. Unnumbered Bulletin. Minnesota State Archives, Minnesota Historical Society Container 120.D.3.2 (F). School Law (1863). Minnesota School Law. Minnesota State Archives, KFM 5790.A3. Worner, R. & Worner, K. (2005). Twelve criteria for gauging the need for organizational restructuring. Dr. Roger Worner and Associates.

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July/August 2015    23

Rigorous Academics

is not enough to close the achievement gap A diverse school district’s journey toward an equitable learning experience to optimize learning


For the first time in history, the majority of our nation’s public school students are children of color. While at a comparatively lower level in Minnesota (29.5 percenti), our student population continues to grow more diverse and the achievement gap remains one of the largest in the country.

By Kitty Gogins and Peter Olson-Skog

As the faces of our students change, what can board members and district leaders do to help each of our students be successful? Roseville Area Schools, a mid-sized inner-ring suburban district, has been working to address this question for 10 years. While rigorous academics is an important part of the answer, that alone is not enough to close the achievement gap. We must address the reality that in our society and educational system, students of color need to overcome significant barriers their white peers do not. At the 2015 National School Boards Association Conference, we shared our district’s journey toward delivering the equitable, respectful learning experience critical to every child’s academic success (presentation onlineii). This article highlights elements key to our journey.

Systemic Change Cannot Occur Without Superintendent and Board Commitment and Leadership Transitioning to an equitable learning experience for all students is not easy work. It requires believing that every student can be successful and creating a long-term commitment to removing Shane Gray

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barriers and defining new ways to help students succeed. It requires openness, honesty, and tough conversations. Twenty years ago, our district had only 13 percent students of color. This rose to 25 percent 10 years ago and is 50 percent today. In 2005, Dr. John Thein (superintendent) and key administrators proposed that the district needed a clear statement on how people would be treated. The board adopted their proposed Equity Vision (Figure 1), reportedly one of the first such visions in the nation. While high student achievement had been and remains the focus of the district, this vision has served as a lens for how we do our work. The difference from an equality perspective is illustrated in this analogy: Equality is giving everybody a pair of shoes, while equity is giving everyone a pair of shoes that fits. Figure 1.  R oseville  Area  Schools  Equity   Vision

For the first five years, work in the district focused on extensive communication to keep equity front and center with professional development and specific goals. Progressively, equity was reflected in policies, curriculum, and instruction. However, the board was concerned that it was occurring in pockets and much of the information on impact was anecdotal.

Annually, the administration presents a Monitoring Reportiv, which reviews performance and resulting insights for needed action. This forces tough conversations at the board table; for example, discussions about why students of color are overrepresented in referrals, and how we are going to minimize student time away from learning. Or how we are going to prepare, encourage and support more students of color taking advanced classes. Since each building and program is held accountable for their metrics, the Card also drives alignment, discussion and action throughout the organization.

In the 2010 Strategic Planning process, the board adopted a Strategic Roadmapiii for the district featuring an overall vision, the equity vision, core values and five key strategies. For each strategy, a vision card with six to eight leadingedge metrics was created to track progress toward the vision. Figure 2 illustrates the 2014 Equity Vision Card. Metrics are located on the far left, followed by five columns for performance levels from Intervene to Vision. The highlighted cells indicate district performance. Most of the metrics look at under- or overrepresentation of students of color compared to white students. In 2014, district performance on the metrics spanned from the lowest (red) to the highest level (green).

These tough conversations and the resulting systemic changes have yielded measurable gains in 2014 performance in all equity metrics not already at the vision level. The most exciting is Participation in AP and CIS (advanced classes), which shifted from Intervene to Progressing, and Referrals Relative to Discipline that moved out of Intervene into High Concern. Clearly, the district has a long way to go, but it is encouraging to see measurable progress through systemic changes in professional development (e.g., equity mindset and skillset training), policies (e.g., selfselection for advanced classes), school culture (e.g., PBIS, positive behavior management), instruction (e.g., Culturally Responsive Teaching), curriculum (e.g., intentional

An Equity Vision and Scorecard Drive the Difficult Conversations, Mobilize Change, and Monitor Progress from the Classroom to the Boardroom

Figure 2.  Roseville  Area  Schools  Equity  Scorecard,  2014  

July/August 2015    25

teaching of vocabulary), programming (e.g., AVID, which prepares historically underrepresented groups for college), and involvement of underrepresented families (e.g., cultural liaisons).

Rigorous Academics is not enough to close the achievement gap

An Equitable Learning Environment Requires Departing from “We Have Always Done It This Way” While having a vision, organizational alignment, and system to track progress provides a framework to drive change, the heavy lifting is in changing how things are done. This work requires breaking from the past, questioning long-held values and norms, and learning new knowledge and skills. We would like to highlight two important programs Roseville Area Schools has found critical to our journey: personalized professional development linked to action and being student-centric.

Progress Requires Personalized Professional Development Linked to Action Because this work requires challenging values and new knowledge and skills, professional development is at the core of the change. Over the years, our training has evolved as we learned more about what is effective. Early on, we had staff complete the Intercultural Development Index (IDI) that assessed where they were on the continuum of equity understanding and offered standard equity training. While many staff advanced in their understanding of equity, some retrenched. Progress seemed to depend on where individuals were on the IDI, so in future training, staff was grouped by their mindset and offered skill-set training customized to their stage in equity thinking. Next, a formal Equity Professional Development Plan (PDP) was added to link the new learning to action, followed by adding a Leadership Institute to link the individual actions into a more cohesive whole. The latest development is imbedding an equity teacher performance standard into the Teacher Evaluation Plan. While progress has been made at each stage, we learned that the optimum system offers personalized professional development tightly linked to action. Today we have reflection and action around equity practices embedded in School Improvement Plans, team goals, individual PDPs, and teacher performance standards.

Become Student-Centric by Engaging Leadership in Real, Personal Relationships with Students “Leadership is second only to classroom instruction among all school-related factors

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that contribute to what students learn at school,” Wahlstrom et alv reported in 2010. Taking this quote to heart, a group of principals piloted working with a small group of underperforming students in their school to help improve outcomes. After great pilot results, the program was rolled out districtwide and called “Leadership 2.0.” It connected each site and district leader (e.g., principals, program supervisors, district center administrators) with a targeted small group of students. The leaders provided personalized support for each student, their teachers and/or their families. All 40 leaders in the district took on working with at least five students each. A total of 394 students participated (95 percent students of color, 84 percent free-and-reduced lunch, 57 percent English learners). Comparing the student results to a control group of similar composition showed an increased 2.5 months of learning during the school year (Figure 3)! But additionally, the leaders involved formed personal relationships with underperforming students and learned first-hand about systemic barriers the students faced. This knowledge resulted in quickening the removal of systemic barriers. It overcame “you can’t address what you don’t see.”

Become Student-Centric by Actively Listening and Responding to Students Engaging all students is important. But it is especially important for students of color if we are to make gains on closing the race-based achievement gap. As a district, we have focused on the race-based over the economic-based gap because our data shows that the race-based gaps persist even after accounting for economic factors. In 2011, our high school principal, Dr. Jenny Loeck, as part of her doctoral research, conducted focus groups with black male high school students participating in AVID (a program preparing historically underrepresented groups for college). The groups discussed school experiences that Figure 3.  Impact  of  Leadership  2.0  on  Student  Achievement  

hindered and promoted their success. The learning was in line with broader themes in the literature and showed that positive teacher-student relationships are critical and opportunities for academic rigor and enrichment are important to college preparation. The students reported that the AVID program was essential in providing these elements in their lives. Further, the students shared that, as a district, we needed to address systemic barriers ranging from lack of communication to discrimination. We continue to add vehicles to solicit student voice. Today, we annually field a student survey, include student interviews as part of classroom observations, collect data on student engagement and host student focus groups as part of program evaluations.

Educators Must Have Courage to Change the System This work is not easy, but is critical to close the achievement gap. As educational leaders, we must have the courage to identify where the system has failed students of color and implement the changes necessary to reinforce the ideal of a high-quality public education for all students. Kitty Gogins, a professional Strategic Planner, has served on the Roseville Area School board for 10 years, three years as chair. She is board chair of the equity focused East Metro Integration District collaborative. You can contact her at Peter Olson-Skog, an educator for 16 years, serves as Assistant Superintendent for Roseville Area Schools. You can contact him at

________________________________________________ iMinnesota Department of Education. (2015) http:// iiGogins, K. and Olson-Skog, P. (2015). Rigorous Academics is Not Enough to Close the Achievement Gap: A Diverse School District’s Journey toward an Equitable Learning Experience to Optimize Learning. NSBA National Conference, Nashville, TN. Enough%202015%20Mar%2021%5B1%5D.pdf. iiiRoseville Area Schools. (2010) Strategic Planning Roadmap. strategic-planning. ivRoseville Area Schools. (2014). Monitoring Reports for ‘CLEAR’ strategies (Community, Leadership, Equity, Achievement and Resources). vWahlstrom, K., Seashore Louis, K., Leithwood, K., & Anderson, S. (2010). Investigating the Links to Improved Student Learning: Final Report of Research Findings. Learning From Leadership Project. http://

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 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. (Judith Hoskens) 201 Main Street SE, Suite 325 Minneapolis, MN 55414 612-379-3400, Fax 612-379-4400 DLR Group  (Christopher Gibbs) 520 Nicollet Mall, Suite 200 Minneapolis, MN 55402 612-977-3500, Fax 612-977-3600 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 Johnson Controls, Inc. (Kathleen Donovan) 2605 Fernbrook Lane N Plymouth, MN 55447 612-554-5160, Fax 763-566-2208 Kodet Architectural Group, Ltd. (Ed Kodet) 15 Groveland Terrace Minneapolis, MN 55403 612-377-2737, Fax 612-377-1331

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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 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 Widseth Smith Nolting (Kevin Donnay) 7804 Industrial Park Road Baxter, MN 56425 218-829-5117, Fax 218-829-2517 Wold Architects and Engineers (Vaughn Dierks) 305 St. Peter Street St. Paul, MN 55102 651-227-7773, Fax 651-223-5646 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

Johnson Controls, Inc. (Kathleen Donovan) 2605 Fernbrook Lane N Plymouth, MN 55447 612-554-5160, Fax 763-566-2208 Kraus-Anderson Construction Company (John Huenink) PO Box 158 Circle Pines, MN 55014 763-792-3616, Fax 763-786-2650


Stahl Construction (Josh Schultz) 5755 Wayzata Boulevard St. Louis Park, MN 55416 952-931-9300, Fax 952-931-9941

Booth Law Group LLC (Laura Tubbs Booth) 10520 Wayzata Blvd., Suite 200 Minnetonka, MN 55305 763-253-4155, Fax 763-253-4160

Wenck Construction, Inc. (Andy Hoffmann) 5270 W. 84th Street, #550 Bloomington, MN 55437 952-837-3348, Fax 952-831-1268

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

Educational Programs/Services

Knutson, Flynn & Deans (Thomas S. Deans) 1155 Centre Pointe Drive, Suite 10 Mendota Heights, MN 55120 651-222-2811, Fax 651-225-0600 Pemberton Law Firm (Michael T. Rengel) 110 N Mill Street Fergus Falls, MN 56537 218-736-5493, Fax 218-736-3950 Ratwik, Roszak & Maloney, P.A. 730 2nd Avenue S, Suite 300 Minneapolis, MN 55402 612-339-0060, Fax 612-339-0038 Rupp, Anderson, Squires & Waldspurger, P.A. 527 Marquette Avenue S, Suite 1200 Minneapolis, MN 55402 612-436-4300, Fax 612-436-4340 Commissioning ICS Consulting, Inc. (Pat Overom) 5354 Edgewood Drive Mounds View, MN 55112 763-354-2670, Fax 763-780-2866 Construction Management & Consulting Services ICS Consulting, Inc. (Pat Overom) 5354 Edgewood Drive Mounds View, MN 55112 763-354-2670, Fax 763-780-2866

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 Arvig  888-992-7844 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

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 (Todd Netzke, Ann Thomas) Netzke: 507-254-6215 Thomas: 612-598-0930 PFM Asset Management, LLC MSDLAF+ (Donn Hanson) 800 Nicollet Mall, Suite 2710 Minneapolis, MN 55402 612-371-3720, Fax 612-338-7264 Fire & Security Arvig  888-992-7844 Fitness Equipment 2nd Wind Exercise Equipment (Shon Hartman) 7585 Equitable Drive Eden Prairie, MN 55344 952-224-1240, Fax 952-906-6905

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 Health Insurance PreferredOne (Mike Thielen) 6105 Golden Hills Drive Golden Valley, MN 55416 763-847-3549, Fax 763-847-4010 Insurance Minnesota School Boards Association Insurance Trust (MSBAIT) (Denise Drill, Gary Lee) 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

Security/Communications Systems 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 Technology Arvig  888-992-7844 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

Labor Relations

Minnesota School Bus Operators Association (Shelly Jonas) 10606 Hemlock Street NW Annandale, MN 55302 320-274-8313, Fax 320-274-8027

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

North Central Bus & Equipment (Sandy Kiehm) 2629 Clearwater Road St. Cloud, MN 56301 320-257-1209, Fax 320-252-3561

Ratwik, Roszak & Maloney, P.A. 730 2nd Avenue S, Suite 300 Minneapolis, MN 55402 612-339-0060, Fax 612-339-0038

Telin Transportation Group (Dave Mohr) 16290 Kenrick Loop Lakeville, MN 55044 612-850-6348, Fax 952-435-9066

Public Finance Kennedy & Graven, Chartered (Maggie R. Wallner) 470 US Bank Plaza, 200 S 6th Street Minneapolis, MN 55402 612-337-9300, Fax 612-337-9310 Thomas Dykers

Ratwik, Roszak & Maloney, P.A. 730 2nd Avenue S, Suite 300 Minneapolis, MN 55402 612-339-0060, Fax 612-339-0038

Wireless Communications Arvig  888-992-7844

July/August 2015    29

Advertisers ATS&R Planners/Architects/Engineers.......................... Page 19 Booth Law Group LLC...................................................... Page 27 Hoglund Bus Co., Inc........................................................ Page 14 I+S Group (ISG)................................................................ Page 23 Kennedy & Graven, Chartered ........................................ Page 11 Knutson, Flynn & Deans, P.A............................................ Page 23 MSBAIT.............................................................................. Page 32 PFM Asset Management, LLC – MSDLAF+....................... Page 7 PreferredOne....................................................................... Page 2 Ratwik, Roszak & Maloney, P.A. ...................................... Page 15 Riverport Insurance Company.......................................... Page 11 Rupp, Anderson, Squires & Waldspurger, P.A................. Page 19 SunEdison.......................................................................... Page 31 The Minnesota Service Cooperatives............................... Page 18 Wold Architects & Engineers............................................ Page 30 Kyle Folley-Dahl

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

30    MSBA Journal

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THE TIME IS NOW FOR SOLAR IN YOUR DISTRICT Subscriptions are now available through Xcel Energy’s Community Solar Garden Program. SunEdison can lower your electricity costs and provide protection against future rate increases. With SunEdison, you do not commit any upfront capital. You just pay us monthly for the solar energy produced and receive a credit on your regular utility bill. SunEdison is dedicated to transforming lives by delivering clean, economical, and renewable energy to school districts in Minnesota. For more information contact Thomas Hand at (612) 314-5056 or email SunEdison, All Rights Reserved. 2015

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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: July-August 2015  
MSBA Journal: July-August 2015