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Updates Coming to the Minnesota Report Card

December 12, 2018
H- Updates to report card


We created the Minnesota Report Card more than four years ago to help Minnesotans better find and understand information about our schools, and now, the report card is getting an update. Some of the changes are required as part of new federal legislation, and many changes were designed after extensive stakeholder engagement with a sharp focus on better serving parents and families. Read about the upcoming changes.

Guest Blogger: Minnesota Scholar of Distinction Awardee Student Devika Narayan Encourages Others to Apply

September 26, 2018
H - 2018 Scholars of Distinction


MDE’s Scholars of Distinction program allows students to showcase their talents and unique skills. Being the sibling of a Minnesota Scholar of Distinction Award awardee, I have known how amazing state recognition for hard-work can be. Read more about Devika's project and plans for the future in her blog post.

Meet the Regional Centers of Excellence Team

August 20, 2018
H- Meet the Regional Centers of Excellence (RCEs) Team home page photo


The Regional Centers of Excellence (RCEs) work in conjunction with the Minnesota Department of Education to help schools make long-lasting improvements to student learning. Meet three RCE team members who work every day to make a positive difference in our schools!

Who helps make our schools better? I’d love to tell you.

July 27, 2018
Tyler Livingston for blog


Minnesota has many great schools. Unfortunately, we also have schools that are not meeting the needs of their students. Every student deserves the opportunity to get a world-class education in Minnesota, so I am lucky to be a part of a team of dedicated staff who help support our schools that need it the most. Read a guest blog post from Tyler Livingston to learn about the Regional Centers of Excellence.

Artwork of Minnesota Student Displayed at 2018 White House Easter Egg Roll

June 22, 2018
Artwork EAster Egg Roll 2018


This past April 2, nearly 30,000 adults and children from across the country gathered on the South Lawn of the White House to participate in the annual egg-rolling event, which including games, storytelling and other entertainment. In preparation for the annual celebration, the U.S. Department of Education invited each state to submit a design from a student to be part of an exhibit that was on display at the event in Washington. Read more about the student and their design.

Guest Post: Four years ago, I stood next to Governor Dayton as he signed the Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act

April 9, 2018
H- Bullying Bill signing Jake Ross Governor Dayton


Four years ago, on April 9, 2014, Minnesota student Jake Ross stood beside Governor Mark Dayton as he signed the Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act into law. The 11 year old had spent two years advocating for the anti-bullying law. After being bullied in second grade, Jake wanted to help schools learn to better address school climate and bullying.  Read Jake's guest blog post on the fourth anniversary of the Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act.

Celebrate National Library Week, April 8-14

April 6, 2018
H - Boy in library with book


During National Library Week, April 8-14, Minnesota will join libraries nationwide to celebrate the many ways libraries lead their communities through transformative services, programs and expertise. Read how Minnesota libraries positively impact communities.

Commissioner Cassellius Shares Her Favorite Book List to Celebrate Read Across America Day on March 2

March 1, 2018
H - Commissioner Cassellius and Read-It


I’ve always loved to read. That’s why I wanted to share with you some of my favorite books in time for Read Across America Day on Friday, March 2.

Five Outstanding Accomplishments in Minnesota Education in 2017

December 29, 2017
H - preK grads for 12.29.17 blog


As we are about to begin a new year, we’re taking a look back at some of the exciting accomplishments and great changes made to education in Minnesota in 2017. Teachers, students, parents, administrators, school staff and communities worked tirelessly this past year to continue improving education outcomes and opportunities for students in our state, and it’s made a big difference for students. Read about five outstanding education accomplishments in 2017.

Recent Visit to Schools in Northwestern Minnesota Highlights Communities Working Together

November 2, 2017
Brenda with Thief River Falls' Lincoln High School students


Minnesota Department of Education Communications Director Josh Collins recently traveled to northwestern Minnesota with Commissioner Cassellius and witnessed schools and communities working together for the benefits of students. Read how schools and communities are collaborating.

Celebrate Farm to School Month in October

October 3, 2017
H - salad bar


October is Farm to School Month, and MDE is celebrating innovative schools who are taking that extra step to make school meals a little more healthy and delicious through the use of Minnesota-grown food. Read how students and schools are celebrating Farm to School Month.

Volunteers, organization use farm-to-table concept to create free summer meals for kids

July 21, 2017
Summer Food Program 2017


Many Minnesota families depend on the free or reduced-price meals their children eat at school during the school year. When school is out, the USDA Summer Food Service Program bridges the “nutrition gap.” Read more.

Leap into Summer Learning at the public library

July 6, 2017
Leap Into Summer Learning at the Library


One great way kids can keep on track is by participating in a local public library’s summer learning program. Studies show students who participate in library learning programs and read at least six books during the summer months score higher on reading and math achievement tests the following autumn than those students who did not take part. Read more.

This summer is the perfect time to leap into STEM!

June 6, 2017
Read-It-Summer STEM


There are a variety of opportunities to engage in STEM learning during the summer months. The Minnesota Department of Education's STEM Specialist Doug Paulson has some great ideas for students! Read more.

Find free, nutritious meals for kids by text, phone or app all summer long

May 31, 2017
Read-It Summer Food Service Program 2017


The summer slide is not just about academics. Summer also impacts students’ health. That’s why it’s important children have access to nutritious meals while on summer break. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) helps local organizations operate programs that combine nutritious meals and healthy activities for children during the summer months, when school-year nutrition and exercise programs are unavailable. Read how to find a program in your area this summer.

57 Minnesota high school students earn Scholars of Distinction honor for exemplary levels of performance in a subject area

May 30, 2017
Scholars of Distinction Program 2017 Photo


57 distinguished Minnesota high school students were honored at the Scholars of Distinction award program for their outstanding work in the areas of Science, STEM, Mathematics, Social Studies, Leadership and Theater Arts. Read more.

MDE releases updated list of programs, resources to help stop the summer slide

May 22, 2017
Launch into summer learning with read it simple


The most important thing to be concerned about for reversing the summer slide is participating in continual learning opportunities while being active, having fun and building relationships. Research shows that high-quality, fun and engaging experiences with caring adults is essential for children’s summer learning. Read about programs, opportunities and fun ways to help limit the summer slide.

School Nutrition Workers Week: Celebrating Mary Jo Lange of Red Lake for improving nutrition across her school district

May 1, 2017
Mary Jo Lange Red lake School Nutrition Worker


Although we appreciate them year-round, from May 1-5, we are celebrating the many dedicated, energetic, and persistent school nutrition employees working hard to improve school food options. Mary Jo Lange of Red Lake is one employee making a difference in her community. Read how.

Student Advisory Committee shares their accomplishments, work over the year at annual Division Fair

May 1, 2017
5.1.17 SAC 2017 Division Fair Blog Photo


Curiosity, ideas, and pride were in high form on Friday, April 21st, when seven students from the Minnesota Youth Council/Student Advisory Committee in grades 8-12 presented at the third annual Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) Division Fair. Read more.

A home for every student: Special project at MDE focusing on stable housing for students

May 1, 2017
Eric Grumdahl Photo


Over 9,000 students in Minnesota experienced homelessness last year. Eric Grumdahl, working now at the Minnesota Department of Education and previously working to improve housing for veterans, explains his work and how it can improve academic success for thousands of students. Read more.

Minnesota libraries working hard to transform students’ experiences and knowledge

April 11, 2017
National Library Week 2017 (2)


It’s National Library Week, a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians.
Today’s libraries focus on how best to provide critical services to students and families in and out of school. From books to online tools, read how Minnesota’s public and school libraries are transforming lives and communities every day by providing kids and families essential services to succeed in school and life.

Mounds View High School Media Center Retooled into Creative Space, Allows Students to Letter in Innovation

March 31, 2017
Mounds View Media Center Makerspace


Recognizing the ever-growing importance of technology in students’ lives, public schools are reimagining and revitalizing their media centers—and the students are reaping the benefits. Mounds View High School library media specialist Becky Stouten began transitioning its media center, the Information & Learning Center (ILC), into a space for creativity and sharing. Read how the school library has transformed into a creative space for students to share and learn.

New Outreach Specialist Travels State to Answer Questions from Educators on Assessments, Data

March 29, 2017
H - Holly Brunson Headshot


Arriving at MDE was very exciting for me as I welcomed the opportunity to learn more about the important work we do as educators from a different lens. As I began listening to what educators want to know about data, I began to hear common themes loud and clear. Based on this, my division began brainstorming ways to build a solid foundational understanding of assessments for all educators. Read how Holly's is working with educators across Minnesota.

Educators and Students Celebrate Pi Day!

March 13, 2017
Pi Day Image


Pi Day is an annual celebration commemorating the mathematical constant π (pi). It is observed on March 14 (3/14) since 3, 1 and 4 are the three most significant digits of π in decimal form. In 2009, the United States House of Representatives supported the designation of Pi Day. Read full blog post.

Rosemount-Apple Valley- Eagan School District Improves Graduation Rates with Intentional Focus and Supports

February 27, 2017
Rosemount Apple Valley Eagan Graduation Rates 2016


School districts are working hard to improve graduation rates for all students, and the efforts are paying off. Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan School District is one example. Read how they helped more students in the class of 2016 graduate high school.

Parents and Libraries Helping Kids Get Ready for Kindergarten with 1,000 Books Before K

February 17, 2017
1000 books before K


Public libraries across Minnesota—and all over the country—are using a fun and inventive way to promote high early literacy rates in our youngest residents. The idea is simple, but the results can be priceless. 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten is a national movement that encourages parents to read books (any books) to their newborn, infant, and/or toddler. Read how this program is helping kids across Minnesota get ready for kindergarten.

2017 Minnesota Safe and Supportive Schools Conference Highlights

February 9, 2017
Jaylani Hussein Photo


Highlights of the second annual Minnesota Safe and Supportive Schools Conference held on Wednesday, January 25, by the Minnesota Department of Education School Safety Technical Assistance Center at the University of Minnesota. Minnesota continues its strong commitment to safe and healthy schools. Highlights of the conference.

Celebrate Paraprofessional Recognition Week

January 23, 2017
Osseo VPK 3 (002)


Commissioner Cassellius reflects on her time as a paraprofessional and highlights the work that paraprofessionals do during Paraprofessional Recognition Week (January 23-27, 2017). Read the commissioner's thoughts on paraprofessionals.

2017 Safe and Supportive Schools Conference Speakers and Topics Announced

January 5, 2017
Bullying Conference Photo


The Minnesota Department of Education School Safety Technical Assistance Center will host a one-day conference focused on implementing the Safe and Supportive Schools Act on Wednesday, January 25, 2017. The conference this year will focus on evidence-based strategies for improving school climate and preventing and reducing bullying. Read more about conference and speakers.

Minnesota's Top 5 Moments for Education in 2016

January 5, 2017
Kindergarten classroom


As 2016 comes to close, we’re taking a look back at the great changes made to education in Minnesota over the last year. Countless teachers, students, parents, administrators, school staff and communities worked tirelessly in 2016 to continue improving education outcomes and opportunities for students in our state, and it’s made a big difference for students.  Read Minnesota's Top 5 Moments for Education in 2016.

Assistant Principal Sara Schmidt of Eisenhower Elementary/XinXing Academy Selected Minnesota's National Outstanding Assistant Principal

December 21, 2016
Sara Schmidt Assistant Principal of the Year 2017


Congratulations are in order for assistant principal Sara Schmidt of Eisenhower Elementary/XinXing Academy who was selected Minnesota’s 2017 National Outstanding Assistant Principal of the Year. Read more about Sara Schmidt and this exciting award.

Schools across state increasing physical activity to improve learning

December 7, 2016

Schools across Minnesota are adding research based strategies to increase students’ physical activity opportunities, aiming to offer 60 minutes of activity throughout the day. The efforts are a part of the Active Schools Minnesota program.  Read how Active Schools Minnesota is making a difference for kids.

Minnesota Department of Education Working With Leaders, Communities To Help Students Come To School Ready To Learn, Without Grumbling Stomachs

November 16, 2016
Nutritious school lunch

Students learn best when hunger isn’t disrupting their school day. Unfortunately in Minnesota, many students’ stomachs regularly rumble, yet, when discussing ways to close Minnesota’s persistent achievement gaps, student hunger rarely enters the discussion.

The department collaborated with Hunger Impact Partners and the Cargill Foundation to help address this important issue, bringing together education, business and community leaders this week to discuss ideas on reducing hunger and improving learning. Read more about how we are helping schools and students fight hunger throughout the year.


Remedy to Bullying Begins with Us and Our Kindness

October 5, 2016
Remedy to Bullying Begins With Us and Our Kindness

We all carry a remedy to bullying within us, says Nancy Riestenberg, an expert in Restorative Practices in the Minnesota Department of Education School Safety Technical Safety Center.
“The antidote to bullying is kindness. As adults, we need to role model being kind, respectful and caring, so children learn from us,” she says. Read more about how you can prevent and stop bullying.

Summer Learning; The Family that Learns Together…
Guest blog by Victoria Weinberg, specific learning disabilities education specialist in the special education division

August 10, 2016
Beacon poster with photo of a stormy evening CHOPs rehearsal

Twenty-five years ago I aged out of a corps named Phantom Regiment. As tradition holds, that hot day in August, at the ripe age of 21, I left my marching shoes on the 45-yard line of the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. That night; I believed I was saying goodbye not just to my shoes, but also to the most formative experience of my life. Drum Corps not only provided me the opportunity for creative performance, it provided a sense of belonging, challenge, test of moral character, personal perseverance and independence. I prayed that one day I would watch my kids join a Drum Corps and have similar experiences. Read on to learn how Vick's children got involved.

Summer Garden Social Is a Hit

August 5, 2016
Hopkins Summer Food Event

On July 26, Hopkins Nutrition Program hosted a “School Garden Social” in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). Located outside in the school garden of Eisenhower Elementary School, attendees could enjoy freshly made lemonade and smoothies, chef hat decorating, “pin the bug on the flower,” garden tours, and a delicious lunch. Read more about the event.

Summer Learning in Canada

July 12, 2016
Wheelchair Rugby

A couple of weeks ago, Deputy Commissioner Steve Dibb challenged all of us at MDE to make this a summer of learning and to let our readers know what we’re doing. So here goes … I visited Richmond, British Columbia, Canada recently and in the best tradition of a vacation, had some fun and learned a lot without even trying. Read more about Jen Nelson's fun and educational trip.

Minnesota’s World Language Seals Acknowledge and Offer Credit for Students' Home Languages

July 1, 2016
Image featuring all four of Minnesota's new language achievement seals

Hundreds of students from Minnesota’s graduating class of 2015/16 were the first to be awarded a diploma with a new and very special level of recognition—for their bilingual or multilingual achievement. Students who have earned bilingual and multilingual seals are the only students in the nation to earn college semester credit at Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) for their achievement in a language other than English. Thanks to the 2015 legislation that enacted bilingual and multilingual seals, students earning the previously existing world language proficiency certificates can also now request college semester credit. Read more of July 1 post.

Minnesota Department of Education Makes Agency-Wide Commitment to Summer Learning

June 27, 2016
H- Two boys sidewalk art, learning

Beloved and long-awaited—particularly in Minnesota—summer means longer days, glorious sunny weather and no school. But wait, have you heard about summer learning loss—also known as summer slide??? Many students lose ground during the summer months, unless summer learning is intentionally incorporated into summer activities. The goal is keeping the learning fresh, fun and engaging.  So what will you do and LEARN this summer? MDE’s Deputy Commissioner Steve Dibb issued a challenge to department employees to share their best ideas for keeping their brains activated all summer long. Learn more about the challenge in BloggED.

Ebooks Minnesota Turns Screen Time into Reading Time

June 17, 2016
Manga Math Mysteries

Libraries offer a variety of summer programs to keep kids engaged in learning while school’s out for the long break. Ebooks Minnesota, a free collection of ebooks available to all Minnesotans, offers another way to make reading part of the summer fun. Learn more about Ebooks Minnesota.

Taking Care of Our Community, a guest blog by Hue Nguyen, Assistant Commissioner of Education

June 6, 2016
Packing food and school supplies for Minnesota's migrant families

On Sunday, June 5, The Sheridan Story hosted a volunteer effort to pack food and school supplies for the migrant families, who travel each season to Minnesota and provide a vital workforce. The Kids in Need Foundation and the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) were partners in the event to raise awareness of these families and our state's Migrant Education Program. Read news release. We are soon approaching the end of the school year. For many families, summer means endless possibilities for fun and enrichment for kids. Sadly, for too many, it also means a time of anxiety for families and children wondering where their next meal will come from. Read full June 6 post.

Limit Summer Slide to the Playground!

June 1, 2016
William, a young LeSueur library patron, waves his magic wand

According to research and echoed by Jen Verbrugge, MDE state library coordinator, "When kids don't read, work on math problems, or aren't engaged in other learning experiences, their skills lapse." Summer slide is a child’s loss of academic skills during the three-month break from school. One great way kids can keep on track is by participating in a local public library’s summer reading program. In Minnesota, nearly every public library offers a summer reading program for school-aged kids. While it varies from library to library, most summer programs consist of two components: 1) a fun way to track self-guided reading (sometimes even earning incentives) and 2) tons of free, fun and educational activities. Read more of Jen's guest blog.

Start Early to Develop Lifelong Healthy Eating Habits!

May 16, 2016
Illustration of fresh produce delivered from farm to a school building with children

Most of us are familiar with the Farm to School program, and we even celebrate a whole month’s worth of Farm to School activities each October. But did you know that this program starts even earlier than kindergarten? There are many “Farm to” initiatives for various early childhood programs. Learn more about building healthy eating habits early.

Struggling Schools Find a Partner in Minnesota’s Regional Centers of Excellence

April, 22, 2016
Teacher coaching professional development session

In Minnesota, we have completely rethought what it means to support struggling schools. We are being more strategic and systematic. Schools identified as low performing or that have high achievement gaps are offered intensive support and guidance through the state’s nationally recognized Regional Centers of Excellence (RCEs). Read complete April 22 post.

A Once in a Lifetime Experience: Two Students Reflect on their Time in the United States Senate Youth Program

April 13, 2016
Minnesota's student representatives, 2016 U.S. Senate Youth Program

Each year, two high school students from every state are selected to participate in the United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) in Washington, D.C. The program is a unique educational experience for outstanding high school students interested in pursuing careers in public service. This year the students representing Minnesota were Grace Greason from Mayo High School in Rochester and Dasom Ham from East Ridge High School in Woodbury. Read the first-hand accounts from Minnesota's 2016 student representatives.

Columbia Heights Recognized by College Board as Advanced Placement District of the Year

April 6, 2016
College Board Recognizes Columbia Heights Public Schools as Advanced Placement District of the Year During Award Ceremony.

Preparing students for success in college and career is not just a motto for Columbia Heights Public Schools (CHPS), it’s a promise to their kids. The district has placed a strong emphasis on getting students ready for life after high school, and today their efforts were recognized by the College Board, which named CHPS as a 2016 Advanced Placement District of the Year. Read full post about this exciting award.

Transforming Waseca Public Library into a Destination

March 30, 2016
Student's create a collage after reading about and viewing Wassily Kandinsky's unique style

One of the great ways that Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) supports libraries is through grant programs managed by its State Library Services division. Different grant opportunities are designed to help libraries enhance and improve facilities and/or the unique programming and services they provide to their communities. Over the past several years, Waseca Public Library has transformed its building, spaces, and services... Read complete March 30 post.

Deeper Dive: 2015 Grad Rates Show 259 Schools Above 90 Percent

March 4, 2016
Large group of students attending graduation ceremony

Over the last few weeks, there has been a lot of talk about the 2015 graduation rate in Minnesota. Our overall rate is 81.9 percent, and not only are more students graduating from high school than ever before, but we are also closing gaps. In the last five years, schools have seen amazing increases in the number of graduates in each student group by focusing on supporting students of color and students in poverty. Learn more about rising graduation rates in Minnesota.

Introducing Ebooks Minnesota!

February 23, 2016
Young Litchfield library patron checks out new e-book collection

With a focus on providing statewide and equitable access to quality books from Minnesota’s many independent publishers, State Library Services, a division of the Minnesota Department of Education, has partnered with Minitex to build a collection of ebooks. Ebooks Minnesota features about 3,000 children’s and young adult titles from local publishers such as ABDO, Lerner Publishing group, Milkweed Press and Coffeehouse Press. You can access the collection in Minnesota for free. Read full Feb. 23 guest post.

Mankato’s Quest to Integrate Career Prep into the Classroom

February 9, 2016
Mankato student participates in hands-on learning in CTE class

For students in Mankato, planning for the future has gotten a lot more hands-on. The district’s work to provide robust career and technical education (CTE) opportunities mean students are learning a wide variety of workplace skills: construction, health science, and robotics, to name a few. In honor of CTE month, we at bloggED thought it would be cool to highlight a district that is really stepping up for their students, ensuring they graduate with the training necessary for whatever career path they choose. Read full Feb. 9 post.


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