Early Bird Sessions
Equity in Rural Educational Settings
Maria Erlandson, Carey Johnson
Minnesota’s cultural competency teacher relicensure requirement is really about equity. What does it entail? Why is it important for rural educational settings to care about and understand? What actions can school boards and school leaders take to develop culturally responsive selves, systems, and staff? This session answers these wonderings, as well as describes how doing so can create more positive school climates, create emotionally safe learning spaces, develop stronger relationships, cultivate a sense of belonging, engage too-often marginalized students, and lead to better social and academic outcomes for students.
Harnessing the Power of Student Voice
Stan Alleyne, Mark Diehl, Logan Luedtke, Jake Sturgis
Every student has a story. Are you listening? Student voice is an often overlooked piece of the education puzzle. Yet research shows when students feel safe, understood and valued, engagement and student achievement goes up. In this presentation, you’ll see powerful examples of what can happen when adults listen to students and act on the stories students share with them. You’ll see examples from a framework that schools have used to gather authentic student voice stories and hear how adults have radically changed the way they teach, relate to, and engage with their students around difficult topics such as race, gender, sexual orientation, and religion. You’ll also hear from Logan, a senior at Little Falls Community High School who changed the trajectory of his school experience and opened up new opportunities for growth by connecting and building a relationship with one adult in his district.
Involving Your Community Before the Bond
Angie Klassen, Wayne Wormstadt
This session will review the success of the Windom School District in engaging and gathering input from the community in identifying the needs and costs to pass a bond referendum. Participants will develop an outline to identify where their district is at and what steps they need to complete to engage their community towards a bond referendum.
Small Town Robot: Documentary Viewing & Discussion
Mary Anderson, Joe Brandmeier, Tom Jerome
How does a small rural school district from Northwest Minnesota end up the focus of an award-winning documentary? Learn the story of the students, mentors and community members who come together to support the Greenbush Middle River School District students and FIRST Robotics Team #5172. Mentors will share their story based on relationships, energy, cooperation, commitment to others, personal growth and hands on STEM learning. Presenters will discuss the process and the making of documentary during a question and answer discussion following the showing of “Small Town Robot” featured at the Twin Cities Film Festival. This session includes a special viewing of the documentary and robot demonstration.
Staff Engagement: Hire and Retain!
Are you challenged by teacher and staff shortages and struggling to recruit and retain dedicated employees with fixed budgets and salary schedules? How does the leader of a school combat gossip and excuses, and how can administration build a culture that fosters staff engagement? How might a sense of safety and real connectedness be created across your district? Come away from this session with practical ideas and strategies that work in the real world.
Breakout Sessions 1
10:05 AM Monday
Addressing Radon in Schools
Jeff Flaten, Amy Satterfield
Radon is a growing concern in schools, workplace and the home. Radon has been known to be a concern, so why the recent attention? The detection, mitigation and management of radon has been an expectation in residential construction and is beginning to be addressed in other facilities, such as schools. What is expected of school districts in considering to proactively address radon concerns? This presentation will outline the challenges with detecting and monitoring of radon, and, will review the best practices to reduce radon levels in school buildings; existing, renovated or new construction.
Calming The Storm: Regulating Behavior
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Alesha Bates, Alaine Sandberg
Do your students struggle with Emotional Regulation, Task Initiation, and Flexibility within your classroom? Our research indicates that by implementing multiple social skills strategies, student behaviors and academics will be positively influenced. Come discover our strategies that work! This presentation recently was awarded “Best Presentation” at the CSI International Research Conference in Florida.
Cognitive Behavioral Interventions for Trauma
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Rachel Cox Raverty
Exposure to traumatic events is common among youth. The Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS) is an evidence-based program designed for use with groups of students who have experienced significant traumatic experiences and are struggling from related emotional and behavioral problems. CBITS uses cognitive-behavioral techniques, such as psychoeducation, relaxation, social problem solving, cognitive restructuring and exposure and is designed to reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and behavioral problems. This program has been used with students from 5th through 12th grade who have witnessed or experienced traumatic events and has been successfully implemented in elementary, middle and high schools across the United States and internationally. CBITS is a culturally responsive program that is effective with multicultural populations and improves functioning, grades, attendance, peer and parent support, and coping skills.
Developing Your Profile of a Graduate
Kelly Braun, Trent Langemo
While high schools have always been in the “college and career readiness” business, there are other important skills and dispositions that all students need regardless of their career pathway. Kasson-Mantoville High School’s mission is to graduate students who are prepared for “Life, College and Career.” To measure their effectiveness they developed their Profile of a KoMet Graduate, which is the knowledge, skill sets and attributes they believe their graduates need to be “life, college and career ready.” They then began a Senior Exit Survey to gather student perception data on their high school experience and preparedness based on the Profile and will survey graduates 2, 5 and 10 years after graduation. Join this session to learn about the Komet Profile and process.
Educator Collaboration in Action
Dr. Shirley Johnson, Dr. Courtney LaLonde
The session focuses on developing collaborative working relationships in education and is targeted toward PK-12 school administrators and teachers. Participants will explore possibilities for developing professional learning networks and learn how to increase opportunities to collectively problem solve. Partnering with other education professionals supports the development of positive and productive relationships and enables the free flow of sharing experience and expertise. Participants will actively engage in creating a list of professional networking connections and team up to explore issues and problems, come up with potential interventions, and develop a professional practice action plan.
It's About Learning Not About Grades
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Joe Cerar, Nate Walbruch
A principal and teacher co-present their respective journeys to making their school about learning, not grades. The presentation provides attendees with opportunities to collaboratively reflect on their own practices. The common practices explored includes: attendance interventions, assessments, points-based grading, Professional Learning Communities, standards-based grading, guaranteed learning, interventions and enrichment.
Making Mission Monday Sustainable in Your School
Mark Johnson, Sam Stecher
Join keynote speakers Mark Johnson and Sam Stecher for a greater look into how to kick off and sustain a Mission Monday initiative in your school. Learn the qualities that make a mission successful, how to communicate your message, and how to foster buy-in and develop advocates.
Metier: Middle School Careers Program
Jordan Herman, Kevin Votaw
Metier is a grades 5-8 experiential learning program developed by two Region 5 middle school teachers who now work for Sourcewell. Join them to learn about this exciting program in development that guides students to find the truest, happiest, and greatest versions of themselves with the purpose of finding a career field that makes them come alive. This program has various elements related to Dr. Howard Gardner’s work, the Flow Genome Project, and Gary Chapman’s Love Languages, along with several special connections to bring the best career and college readiness programming to Region Five.
Open Careers and Education Doors for Rural Students
Bruce Bergeson, Eriann Faris, Tom Hoff, Dr. Kayla Westra
Launch Your Future Today (LYFT) Career Pathways is developing CTE programs for high school students in Southwest and West Central Minnesota through partnerships between multiple schools and businesses. Delivery of this unique model involves careful collaboration between service cooperative, college, education district, and workforce staff to blend resources and efforts to help students develop technical skills and an awareness of local career opportunities. To date the project has funded 25 partnership applications and provided CTE experiences for students that would not have existed with this program. Participants will learn how each of the partnering organizations plays a role in the planning and delivery of programs to schools and students.
Prioritizing Equitable Educational Experiences
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Does your school or district has multiple initiatives going? Where do you focus? How do you prioritize? Where does student equity fit in? Our students and families don’t have time to wait to talk about equity. We need to prioritize equitable educational experiences now. Identify ways to inject an equity lens into all work currently being done, then prioritize equity to help schools operate in ways that recognizes the value that each student and family bring, as well as dismantle practices that create barriers for some and accelerate others. Identify spheres of influence, whether an administrator making systematic choices or a classroom teacher working directly with students and families, to find your role and actionable steps to champion equitable experiences in your schools.
Supporting New Teachers From the Start
How are you supporting your newest teachers? By attending this session on mentorship, you will see how a leading school district has created and sustained a successful mentorship program for all certified staff in their first three years of employment. All principals, school board members, and teachers interested in establishing a mentorship program in your district should attend. Participants will leave feeling equipped to begin their own mentorship program on a small budget. You will also be given a year’s worth of monthly agenda topics and activities for your program, including ideas for a new teacher orientation day. Any district looking for ways to recruit, support, and retain their new staff with quality professional development will not want to miss this session!
Supporting Youth in Farm Stress (Breakouts 1-3)
Monica Kramer McConkey, Meg Moynihan
Rural communities often lack resources for youth experiencing family stress and/or crisis; it is critical that educators with farm kids develop the knowledge and skills to understand, support, and intervene on their behalf in times of stress. The current farm financial crisis doesn’t just affect the financial and emotional well-being of farmers/ranchers; it impacts family members as well. Farm kids may be living in tense situations with little ability to make sense of what is going on around them. This session will explore the curriculum and evaluation/impact of “Supporting Farm Youth through Understanding and Intervention,” a workshop for classroom teachers, school counselors, and other non-formal educators like 4-H leaders and youth pastors. Teachers, support staff, administrators, and school board members will learn about stress signs/symptoms farm youth may exhibit and ways educators can effectively support their well-being.
Breakout Sessions 2
11:10 AM Monday
Career Academies: Pathway for Every Student
Tim Lutz, Brian Stefanich
Bemidji Career Academies are student pathways to careers, including a set of existing high school courses, post-secondary courses, and work-related experiences through more than 40 business and industry partnerships. The mission is to create unique learning opportunities for students and business/industry partners to connect, collaborate and prepare the next generation of employees and community members, while providing opportunities for students to be career and college ready for regional 21st-century high wage, high skill, and high growth careers in the Greater Bemidji workforce. Currently 514 students are registered for at least one of 18 academies, and 116 students are registered for two or more academies. Join this session to learn how the program was founded and how to create a pipeline of qualified young employees to enter your regional work force.
Construction: It's Not Greek to Us
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Shamus O'Meara, Arif Quraishi, Craig Schultz
School districts are in a constant cycle of maintaining, repairing, renovating, adding and upgrading school facilities. Multiple construction delivery models, AIA contracts, General Conditions, reimbursable and fees can lead to cost management issues on projects. In addition, legal problems can lead to erosion of community trust. Join this session to learn from experts in the area of construction, budgets, legal and contractual issues who will provide a clear roadmap for ongoing success of your projects and will ensure attendees avoid the most common pitfalls.
Cultivate Amazing Connections with Students
Jamie Juhl, Wendy Schoolmeester
How do YOU make school amazing for students? School CAN be amazing—a place where people of all ages, interests, and backgrounds enjoy learning together. In this session, Wendy and Jamie will share how they have successfully maintained positive relationships with their students over the years. Participants will discover how the presenters inspire, encourage, empower, and honor their students. The presenters will also share how they build a culture of growth and learning, and most importantly how they cultivate an environment where love and kindness thrive. Wendy and Jamie believe students need to “Maslow before they Bloom.”
Full-Service Community Schools
Dennis Duffy, Jennifer Stefan
Explore the full-service community schools model and how schools around the state have implemented it, giving particular focus to a full-service community school grant recipient in rural Minnesota. How can a hub for academic, social, and health services increase enrollment, improve attendance, and academic outcomes?
Internships for Success
Jessica Denter, Amanda Durnen
This session will talk about how to partner with area universities to create meaningful year-long student teaching experiences that help develop future teachers as both students and substitutes. Learn about Byron Schools’ two-year journey and how it impacted the district.
Partnering for School Success through Instructional Coaching
Annie Dettman, Lisa Gregoire, Jessica Robinson
Learn how five rural school districts, Educational Learning Centers, Southwest West Central Service Cooperative, and the New Teacher Center partnered to form the Region 6 and 8 Innovative Teacher Support Network. This is the first model like this throughout Minnesota. Through rigorous training and support, Instructional Coaches from these districts are supporting new teachers by implementing evidence-based processes and tools that are intended to accelerate teacher practice and improving student achievement. Come hear about our success stories already in our first year of implementation and about our future plans.
Personalizing Professional Development
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Personalized learning has become a buzzword for students, and it applies to educators as well. How can we change the way adults learn, to change the way we instruct students? In this session, participants will learn about the differences between pedagogy and andragogy. You’ll learn how one agency is using this knowledge to create personalized learning for regional educators. Participants will leave with ideas of how to apply what they’ve learned within their district and ultimately better engage adults in continued learning.
The School Social Media Trap
Kristi Hastings, Josh Heggem
This session focuses on the ways that social media can negatively impact the culture and climate at a school district. Or, in the alternative, how public employees can use social media as a tool to create a positive and supportive environment. This session reviews the rules surrounding social media use by school employees, mandated reporting, off duty misconduct and disciplinary consequences.
Unlock Literacy Through Movement
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Mary Harding, Cheri Weber
This workshop is excellent for K-5 classroom teachers as well as reading specialists. Participants will use movement to demonstrate a text, enter the text and comprehend the text. They will begin the activities with a dual language children’s story and learn specific activities to engage learners in literacy through movement, rhythm, and repetition, concentrating on the literacy standards of key ideas and details. This session may be useful as part of the reading preparation licensure requirement. Participants will leave with resources from Arts Lit, practical experience with the Arts Lit model, a list of children’s literature, and a model of using data to target interventions. Learn how Rockford Elementary Arts Magnet School received professional development with literacy goals after analyzing its data.
What's New in Education Finance
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Matthew Hammer, Jodie Zesbaugh
There are multiple financing tools available for capital projects and operating revenue along with a growing trend to mix and match all of these financing tools to develop creative solutions for school districts. The key to success is using these tools effectively and getting advice early! This presentation will provide an overview for school administrators and school board members of the options and examples of how districts around the state have combined the tools to help build their communities.
Breakout Sessions 3
1:30 PM Monday
Connecting With Communities Through Podcasting
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Jon Peterson, Matthew Scheidler
How do you attract parents and families to meetings? How do you share school-related information when no one seems to read emails or visit web pages? In this session learn how podcasting can be the answer for many communication frustrations. Podcasting is quickly becoming the preferred mode of communication; with so many distractions and busy lives, people listen to podcasts while engaged in other projects. It doesn’t require anyone to look at a screen or stop what they’re doing to hear a message. Learn how to get started, what equipment you need and probably already have, the basics of using free editing software, and distribution methods.
Core Values and Student Performance
Sharon Kipka, Paul Neubauer
Identifying a school district’s core values and embedding them into student performance evaluation can provide the conduit to focus student academic performance on what they need to know and do. Additionally, separating student behaviors (kindness, respect, and support) from student achievement on the report card provides a more descriptive report to educational progress. This session will walk attendees through the identification and development of core values in the Foley Public School system, the ways they communicate these values, and how they promote and teach these values.
Creating Practical School Threat Assessments
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Connie Forster, Randy W. Johnson, Jenny Larrive
Ensuring the safety of our schools involves multiple components, including physical security, emergency management, and violence prevention efforts in the form of a threat assessment process. This process begins with establishing a comprehensive targeted violence prevention plan. The Minnesota School Safety Center will assist you in the creation of your own student safety assessment and violence prevention plan, with the focus of decreasing the risk of students engaging in harm to themselves or the school community.
Implementing POWERFUL Teaching Practices
Dr. Rhonda Bonnstetter, Wendy Schoolmeester
This innovative interactive session will look at POWERFUL ways to spark meaningful learning experiences in diverse PreK-12 classrooms. Participants will glean tangible takeaways to apply immediately in their classrooms to promote academic success for all learners. Bring your own device to engage in effective instructional strategies that will strengthen your teaching practices routine and build positive classroom culture.
Kids: Community Agents of Change
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What better way to prepare students for their future than by teaching them to think systematically about problematic situations, to gather information to understand the situation, and to evaluate multiple solutions to best address the situation? Attend this session to learn about Community Problem Solving (CmPS) students in grades 4-12 who identify real problems in their communities while implementing a six-step problem solving process which leads them to an innovative, sustainable plan of action that they actually carry out. Students involved in CmPS learn ethical leadership skills, dealing with local authorities and organizations, creating change, and making a positive impact. The implementation of real solutions within their community gives students a sense of accomplishment, helping them to see the practical applications of the skills that they’ve learned.
Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS)
Learn how PBIS can build a positive and proactive climate in your building. This session will review the foundation pieces of the PBIS framework and give participants an opportunity to see how work they are already doing in their building fits into the framework. Minnesota school examples will be provided.
Raising Teachers: Add Water & Stir
Jodi Munson, Kandy Noles Stevens
As more districts struggle with rurality as an impacting factor in critical teacher shortages across the state, this presentation examines how one university is addressing these shortages. Examine the collaborative partnerships to introduce younger students to the potentialities of a career in education. Attention will be given to addressing the needs of the changing demographics of rural communities as well as provide ideas for innovative ways to mentor younger students. The presentation will address some of the challenges and barriers as well as the joys and successes of the model.
Referendums: Enhancing Community Connections
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Karsten Anderson, Todd Rapp
After failing to pass two ballot questions to provide a needed increase in its local operating levy in 2017, Red Wing Public Schools found itself lacking the resources needed to adequately fund its strategic plan, including its Career Pathways program. Simultaneously, administrators sought to reconnect to a community that traditionally supported the financial needs of its schools. Join this session to learn how how a diverse group of community members and school leaders redesigned their outreach and engagement strategies to change the referendum outcome in 2018.
Resources That Engage All Students
Searching for free resources that will increase student engagement? Come learn about the Minnesota Humanities Center’s (MHC) Absent Narratives Resource Collection, which contains award-winning videos, books, and educator guides that reflect the experiences, cultures, and perspectives of today’s diverse student body. Learn more about MHC’s Absent Narratives Approach™ and how to access resources for use in your school and classroom.
The First Year of Tiered Licensing
The Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) will provide an overview and updates from the first year of tiered licensure. PELSB staff will highlight the challenges and successes the new agency had when implementing the new licensing system. PELSB will also discuss its next steps on rule-making, cultural competency trainings, mentorship, and more. In addition to updates, PELSB staff will be available to answer questions and listen to your feedback regarding specific licensing issues that you’ve faced as a teacher, administrator, or school board member.