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October 2020

The Henton Headlines: October 29, 2020

October 29, 2020
Here’s the scoop for the week…

***SAVE THE DATE-Virtual meeting with Governor Walz & Commissioners Malcolm and Ricker

MASA and MSBA in partnership are hosting a virtual meeting with Governor Tim Walz, MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm and MDE Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker on Friday, November 6, from 10:00-11:00am. School Board members and superintendents are invited to attend! Look for more information to come from MSBA in the upcoming days. 

MASA Federal Advocacy Committee hears update on federal education issues:

The members of this committee met with AASA Associate Director Noelle Ellerson Ng on October 27.  Noelle traced federal funding in response to the pandemic back to early March. She is aware of the need to extend the deadline for the expenditure of CRF funds past December 30, the decline across the state in school district enrollment, the need for flexibility with IDEA and more funding for school districts so that they can be reimbursed for the additional costs brought on by the pandemic. Here is the link to the slide deck Noelle provided.

Following the presentation, the members of the committee discussed strategies for engaging federal legislators region by region in meetings about legislative priorities. Here is their ask:

Region Leaders the information that follows is for you!

  • The committee requests you invite your congressional representatives to your region meetings sometime between Jan.-March.  
  • I will ask AASA staff in mid-December for five talking points that I will share with you in advance of the meeting so you will have succinct messages of importance to discuss with the representatives and your colleagues. I will also attend the meeting if invited!
  • Don’t hesitate to call on our two senators to join your meetings.
  • Please let me know how I might help in arranging these meetings!
  • Thank you in advance for helping to convene this important advocacy effort.

MSHSL Graduated Return to Sports protocol:

In a recent meeting with metro-area superintendents the following protocol was shared that addresses how participants post-COVID-19 can gradually return to sports. Your activities directors have this information and you may also want to review: 

10/14/20 To: Athletic Administrators From: League Staff Date: October 14, 2020 Re: Post COVID – 19 Graduated Return to Spo

Resolution regarding MSHSL fee increase:

Superintendent Keith Kottke of Springfield Public Schools has asked MASA to share a resolution regarding the increased MSHSL fees. Superintendent Kottke believes the resolution offers a more equitable fee structure for the additional fees when compared to the one adopted by the MSHSL. 

Brené Brown's latest podcast on burnout and the stress cycle:

Meeker & Wright Special Education Cooperative, MAWSECO, Executive Director Janell Bullard highly recommends the following podcast for learning tips on how to unlock the stress cycle. Sounds like a timely listen!

Leadership Matters

There’s a wonderful story about Benjamin Franklin, during the Constitutional Convention of 1787. As he walked out of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Mrs. Elizabeth Willing Powel, a prominent society figure and the wife of Philadelphia mayor Samuel Powel, shouted a question to Mr. Franklin, “What do we have, a republic or a monarchy?” An enormous fear of the time. Franklin’s famous response was, “a republic, if you can keep it.”

There are echoes today of that question asked in 1787. As always, the answer is up to you. Vote for what you want, but vote. It’s your republic, if you can keep it.

-Jim Lukaszewski

The Henton Headlines: October 22, 2020

October 22, 2020
Here’s the scoop for the week…

Are you ready for November 4?:

The 2020 election for state and national officials has generated interest, engagement, friction, curiosity, polarization, creative new ideas, record early voting numbers in some parts of the nation, and much more-too many campaign ads that’s for sure!  Some races will be decided by the end of the evening on November 3, while others may remain in limbo for days, weeks, possibly months if there are challenges to the authenticity of the results, or close vote totals necessitating recounts.  

Now may be the time to plan with your team what you need to do to get ready for the day after November 3.  Post-election discussions are certain to occur in school buildings. Are there any gentle reminders needed for staff or school board members as they engage with each other and/or with students? How might you reach out directly to newly elected officials and those who might not have been successful so that you can start relationship building, or maintain those relationships that are incredibly valuable over time?  How will you deal with those who may be emotionally fragile if their candidate lost? How can you continue to create a culture of optimism for the future around the newly elected, or re-elected officials? 

The composition of the school board may change as a result of the votes cast on or before November 3. How might staff and others react to those changes? I  recall losing an operating levy by a large margin during a general election and going from building to building the day after to console staff. I was surprised to learn they were more worried about the outcome of the school board election than to another round of budget cuts from a failed operating levy attempt.  My focus needed to shift that day. Might your presence in the schools on November 4 make a difference to those you serve? How can your team help you?

Considering these questions prior to the day after the election, and the others specific to the stakeholders in your school district may help you be proactive rather than reactive to a day unquestionably important in the lives of those whom you serve. 

Leadership Matters:

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The Henton Headlines: October 15, 2020

October 15, 2020
Here’s the scoop for the week…

Letter to the community signed by 32 superintendents:

This Superintendent letter to the community was printed in local media and is a plea for community members to assist in efforts to keep everyone healthy so that kids can remain in school.  A great message from superintendents working hard to partner with their communities!  

Reflections of a first year superintendent:

Dr. Theresa Battle, Superintendent of the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District, reveals in this article some of what she experienced in her first year as a superintendent. Highly recommended reading!

Circulating-Ed MN checklists:

The executive director of Ed MN shared these checklists that you may, or may not have received. An awareness item for you and worth the time to review in case they come your way via your union representatives, or parents, as one of the checklists is specifically designed for them.

Classroom Safety checklist [.docx]

Student Safety Checklist [pdf]

Often times kids say it best:

Students in the Fairmont school district made this wonderful video about the importance of wearing masks. Thank you for sharing Superintendent Joe Brown!  

In need of a team-building activity?

If you are looking for an effective team-building tool, check out this tool used by Superintendent Mark Mustuska of the Kasson-Mantorville school district who said he learned valuable information from the exercise that will help in better understanding members of his team and himself!

Leadership Matters: 

A colleague and friend reminded me of the critical need to remain optimistic as leaders. Optimism is addressed by two famous writers below, but in much different ways. The first is a personal favorite. The second made me smile. Enjoy and fill your buckets this weekend! Your leadership matters.

"Believe it is possible to solve your problem. Tremendous things happen to the believer. So believe the answer will come. It will." - Norman Vincent Peale

"An optimist is someone who goes after Moby Dick in a rowboat and takes the tartar sauce with him." - Zig Ziglar

The Henton Headlines: October 8, 2020

October 8, 2020
Here’s the scoop for the week…

Mandated report due to Board of School Administrators, BOSA

In 2017 the legislature added reporting requirements for school districts regarding principals and assistant principals who are in the final year of their probationary period. School district superintendents and human resource directors have received an email with an attached spreadsheet for completing the report from the BOSA Executive Director, Dr. Anthony Kinkel explaining the requirement.  The due date for submission was October 1 and BOSA asked for our assistance in sending a reminder given the number of outstanding reports. 

*This may be something you want to discuss with your legislators as yet another mandated report, not requested by BOSA, you and/or your staff are required to complete without additional funding, or added value to your work.* 

Key messages from the MASA/MSHSL Executive Officers meeting

  1. The first meeting of the MSHSL & MASA Executive Directors and Executive Officers occurred on October 6.  The meeting was productive and solution-focused.
  2. Discussion focused on increased communication on the part of both organizations, decision making during a pandemic, the MSHSL fee increase, and the MASA request for permanent representation on the MSHSL Board of Directors. 
  3. In the upcoming weeks, the MSHSL will be holding engagement sessions for school officials in order to gather input on the MSHSL fee structure.

Minnesota Speed Test Initiative seeking our help!

In order to learn more about the internet experience of our families and students, we are joining with MSBA to ask that you consider sharing the information at this folder with your families and students. All school districts, regardless of geographic location, can provide us valuable comparison data by joining in the study. 

A number of school districts have already participated, and we believe the data will help inform our efforts at the legislature when we ask for full broadband accessibility across the state. 

The information templates may be customized for your school district. The test for your participants takes only 30 seconds to complete! Thank you for your consideration. 

Leadership matters:

“Leadership is not about being in charge. Leadership is about taking care of those in your charge.” - Simon Sinek

The Henton Headlines: October 1, 2020

October 1, 2020
Here’s the scoop for the week…

Did you know your MASA membership includes a legal benefit?

Feedback on the strategic plan survey indicated some respondents were unaware of the legal benefit provided to members through our organization. I have included a link here to the policy which details the monetary contribution for legal fees you receive per each year of service and other related information. I recommend familiarizing yourself with this benefit included in your membership fee.

Need to speak to someone who will maintain confidentiality?

Another great benefit for MASA members is unlimited access to members of the Professional Assistance Team, P.A.T., supported through the MASA Foundation. We are grateful for the generosity of the Foundation. 

Examples of services the P.A.T. provides:

  • Answers to questions regarding your role as a superintendent or central office leader
  • Advice on how to handle specific situations involving the community, school board(s), employees, students, and operational situations
  • Communication situations

The P.A.T. will always maintain confidentiality when working with our members. MASA members are encouraged to contact any member of the P.A.T. directly for assistance or expertise! 

Here are our trusted confidential P.A.T. members for the 2020-2021 school year:

Joe Gothard
St. Paul School District
Office: 651-767-8152
Cell: 651-587-2895

With the 2020-2021 school year, Joe begins his 27th year in education. He was a teacher, coach, assistant principal, middle school principal, high school principal, and assistant superintendent in his hometown Madison (WI) Metropolitan School District prior to moving to Minnesota. Joe was named the superintendent of the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage Schools in 2013 and served for four years. Joe is entering his fourth year as the superintendent of Saint Paul Public Schools.  

Jeff Olson
Cell: 507-340-0628
Home: 507-934-9195

In 2020, Jeff Olson retired as Superintendent of Saint Peter Public Schools. He has more than 30 years of experience as a teacher, coach, curriculum director, principal and superintendent in public education. Jeff now serves as an education consultant.

Patty Phillips
Cell: 651-357-0996

Patty Phillips has experience as a Principal, Curriculum Director and Superintendent of the Virginia Minnesota Public Schools. Prior to her retirement, she served as Superintendent of the North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale Schools in the Twin Cities area.

Jerry Nesland
Office: 218-894-2439
Cell: 218-640-0267
Home: 218-385-3194

Jerry Nesland has served many years as superintendent of schools, most notably at the New York Mills School District. Since his retirement, Jerry has served various assignments at the Northwest Service Cooperative, and the Menahga and Mahnomen school districts. He currently serves as the Executive Director of the Freshwater Education District.

Gary Prest
Office: 612-626-8647
Cell: 612-202-4684

Gary has spent more than 38 years in education including a variety of administration roles. He retired as superintendent of the Bloomington Public Schools. Gary currently serves at the University of Minnesota as the Director of the Administrative Licensure Program, Coordinator of the Education, Policy and Leadership Program and Co-director of the Urban Leadership Academy.

Leadership matters:

“It is possible to prepare for the future without knowing what it will be.  The primary way to prepare for the unknowns is to attend to the quality of our relationships, to how well we know each other and trust one another." -Margaret Wheatley