Previous month:
July 2021
Next month:
September 2021

August 2021

The Henton Headlines August 26, 2021

August 26, 2021
Here’s the scoop for the week

Have you consulted with your school district’s insurance company lately?

A recent article linked here suggests that school districts should share their opening of school year plans with their insurance companies. Liability issues may arise for school districts not following mandates/orders/directives by state agencies.

Keep in mind the only two mandates in Minnesota currently are to report positive COVID cases to MDH, and to require persons on your school district vehicles (Federal mandate) to wear masks.

The article is mainly focused on states where masks are mandated/not mandated and school districts are perhaps not following the mandates which may create liability issues.

Still, it may be prudent to touch base with your insurance company and to also ask about cyber security liability and your school district’s coverage.

“Tough Year, Resilient Leaders”:

We know that lessons have emerged – and continue to develop – as a result of the pandemic challenge. Our most important take-away: schools are up to the task. 

Please join your colleagues in person at the MASA Fall Conference, and explore what we learned, how we are different, and how we will experience our next normal in Minnesota public education.

Find participant registration here:

Leadership Matters:

A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit. - John C. Maxwell

And this...

Continue reading "The Henton Headlines August 26, 2021" »

August 19, 2021
Here’s the scoop for the week

Shared responsibility for one another:

My one request this week…

Please take a moment before the week ends to reach out to one of your colleagues via phone, email, hand-written note, a method of your choice, but just do. 

Take my word for it, your contact will be worth more than you may ever know. Our colleagues need support.

Instill hope. We are resilient and together we will get through this pandemic and all its effects.  

Leadership Matters:

When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier. 

                                                                                                                        Roy E. Disney

Continue reading "" »

August 12, 2021
Here’s the scoop for the week

Recommendation on completing the provisional online learning application:

As of this morning, MDE reported that roughly 140 school districts and charter schools have applied to become provisional online learning providers. MDE has highly recommended that school districts should complete the provisional application even if they do not intend to offer online learning during 2021-2022.

In speaking with superintendents who have completed the provisional application, they have shared that it is a seven to ten-minute process to complete the application and that MDE has quick turned around approval of their application. I have heard of one school district having to make a correction to its application before receiving approval. If some districts are being denied approval, that has not come to my attention, and as most of you know, I am in a lot of meetings with superintendents! In other words, MDE is being very flexible during the approval process.

I recommend that you complete the provisional application so that you have the ability to provide online learning, even if at this time you have no plans to implement online learning. This may be a tool you will need for emergency situations. We have no way of knowing how many students and staff will become ill with the new variant/s, how many will quarantine due to close contacts and not be vaccinated, if whole grade levels will be in quarantine, and so on.  If you are provisionally approved to provide online instruction, you may be able to serve those students not onsite in this manner. 

As an aside, we are still waiting for homebound instruction guidance from MDE. 

With provisional approval you have a choice to offer online or not to offer that mode of instruction. You are not required to offer online instruction just because you have that approval. It is OK to let families know that your district sought provisional approval to offer online learning as an option only during emergency situations. There are many reasons you may not be able to offer online learning as a daily option, which of course includes staffing both online and in person instruction, funding and much more. 

Also notable:

  • Once you receive provisional approval you are not placed on the approved online providers list from the state.
  • The application is due by August 27. Here is a link to the form ​​program proposal and assurances form
  • You will be able to decide in late fall/early winter if you want to move forward with becoming a fully approved online provider as the provisional approval is only temporary for this school year.
  • The 30 day option still applies even if you have the provisional online approval.
  • There are many other excellent ways to provide online learning as an option that do not require provisional approval. For example, you could work with a Service Cooperative that is an approved online learning provider, join with another school district that is approved as an online provider to purchase those services for your district, align with another district/s to provide what used to be referred to as ITV-having one teacher in a district providing service digitally to students in other school districts, or share the approved online learning provider list from the state with your families who want that service that is not available in your district
  • Here is a helpful Q & A from MDE: Online and Blended Learning Options for 2021-22

Please let me know if there is any support I may provide you as the school year approaches. Last June we thought the light at the end of the tunnel was bright. Unfortunately, it has dimmed. Together we will get through this pandemic and all its effects on our profession and our personal lives. 

Leadership Matters:

It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself. 

Eleanor Roosevelt

Jerry Rice

Continue reading "" »

The Henton Headlines: August 5, 2021

August 5, 2021
Here’s the scoop for the week

It is worth remembering…

...that your email can be targeted for data requests. I am hearing from an increasing number of school leaders that report they have received data requests for their email around specific topics and words.  It is a good time of year to remind your staff that it is often best to pick up the phone and have conversations rather than putting something in writing that might later be requested.  Data requests can be extensive and costly, especially if you need to have a firm/someone redact private information. You are encouraged to contact your school district legal counsel should you receive a data request.

More information to come regarding homebound instruction and online learning:

During the MDE Back-to-School Conference on August 4, Commissioner Heather Mueller and Assistant Commissioner Stephanie Graff strongly recommended that all school districts apply for provisional approval to become an online learning provider. Should school districts opt not to complete the paperwork necessary to gain provisional approval, there are additional options for online learning, including one that utilizes homebound instruction.  Watch for more information to come from MDE about how homebound instruction might be helpful during the upcoming school year should students and staff need to be quarantined. 

Need assistance finding which MASA region contains your school district?

Here is a helpful link:

Leadership Matters:

“Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't." 

Jerry Rice


Continue reading "The Henton Headlines: August 5, 2021" »