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August 2020

July 2020

The Henton Headlines: July 30, 2020


JULY 30, 2020

Here’s the scoop for the week…

So now we know:

School district openings will not be uniform across the state. Communication all summer from MDE, MDH, and the CDC indicated as much, but we waited patiently and anxiously until July 30 to find out what September 8 might look like for each school district. MDE, MDH worked incredibly hard, and listened to stakeholders as they developed the “Safe Learning Plan for 2020-21.” Your planning can now move from the hypothetical to implementation. You are ready!

So what must we not forget?

  • The health of all is the focus when considering how to open schools
  • Face-to-face learning is a primary goal
  • Minnesota’s plan is localized and data-driven
  • Community members can help improve positivity rates, which in turn helps schools to stay open for face-to-face learning, or move faster in that direction, by following the social distance and handwashing recommendations, and the Governor’s Executive Order to wear masks
  • Assistance and guidance in determining how to open schools will be provided by county and state agencies, and later regional cooperatives
  • PPE, COVID-19 testing and some new funding is coming to school districts
  • The format chosen in September may change during the school year depending on positivity rates

Leadership matters:

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We are not powerless in the face of the pandemic. No matter how hard the days ahead may seem, be inspired by the words of the great leader Nelson Mandela. 

The Henton Headlines: July 16, 2020


JULY 16, 2020

Here’s the scoop for the week…


Member Survey Indicates Preference for a Virtual Back to School Conference:

Thanks to all of you who provided your feedback about the format for the August MDE Back to School Conference. We had a strong response with a significant percentage of our members offering their points of view. I met with our MASA officers and reviewed the survey results and they confirmed that there is a clear preference for a virtual conference, and the reasons most stated for that preference were concerns for health and safety. This, coupled with survey data indicating a high percentage of respondents would attend a virtual event if one were offered, led us to make the recommendation to Commissioner Ricker for a virtual event.

I had the opportunity to discuss this with the Commissioner on Monday, and she will be meeting with Deputy Commissioner Mueller and MDE staff to frame this event as a virtual one. MASA has produced the Back to School Conference on behalf of MDE for many years, but this is still an MDE event, so they will be, as usual, configuring the content and presenters and MASA will handle the production pieces of the event.

So watch your email for more information on the virtual Back to School Conference and plan to attend and learn more about how Minnesota school will be Back to Better this school year!

Listening to, and valuing all voices in a comfortable space:

In order to sustain and improve upon the quality foundation of MASA, I want to provide you an opportunity to share your thoughts on the organization in a focus group setting. Guiding questions will revolve around what MASA is doing well, where there is room for growth, professional development needs, equity and inclusion, and other thoughts you have about the organization moving forward. 

The information learned will assist in developing the next strategic, or continuous improvement plan, while also providing the Executive Board and me with member sentiment as we act on behalf of the members of MASA. It will be understood that the voices heard are individual voices and not representative of an entire group.

The focus groups to be convened follow and have been developed in order to create space where members will hopefully feel comfortable sharing their views. I ask that when invitations are issued, members self-select a group that is the best fit for them. More than one meeting of identified focus groups may take place given the membership size of the group and the responses received. 




Regional Presidents

To be scheduled

Retired Superintendents

To be scheduled

Directors of Special Education

To be scheduled

MASA Members of Color

To be scheduled


To be scheduled

Open invitation to all MASA Members

To be scheduled 

Curriculum and Technology Leaders

To be scheduled

Business Partners

To be scheduled 

Retired & Active Female Superintendents

To be scheduled

Higher Education Administrators and Professors

To be scheduled

Central Office Administrators

To be scheduled

Leadership matters:

You can do what I cannot do. I can do what you cannot do. Together we can do great things. –Mother Teresa



The Henton Headlines: July 9, 2020

JULY 9, 2020
Here’s the scoop for the week…

Informed advocacy;

“Virtual Day on the Hill” took place on July 8. MASA members used AASA talking points to discuss the following with legislators and their staff:

  • Determining Equitable Services under CARES Act
  • Liability Protection for School Districts
  • IDEA Flexibility
  • Child Nutrition
  • Education Technology/Homework Gap

Special thanks to advocates Dan Bittman, Lisa Weber, Craig Oftedahl, Cherie Johnson, Darren Kermes, Brandon Lunak, Janell Bullard, and Kurt Stumpf.


Deb Henton is now a registered lobbyist! Who knew? 


MDE results of its Fall Planning Survey have been released:

MASA survey results on the MDE Back to School Conference will be coming soon.

Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Survey which covers your views on current and future impact on revenues, services, and personnel may be completed here 6-minute survey

Leadership matters:

African Proverb:  “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Let’s go together…