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September 2021

The Henton Headlines: September 30, 2021

September 30, 2021
Here’s the scoop for the week

We learned, we laughed, we sang, and we planned! 

What a great Fall Conference in Duluth!  A huge thank you to the MASA staff for their dedication to the event, and to the MASA Board of Directors who were engaged and provided future direction for MASA. We are grateful for the roughly 200 in attendance along with our business partners and VIPs from the other education organizations.  

Finally, thank you Owatanna Superintendent Jeff Elstad and Duluth Superintendent John Magas for bringing choir members from the Duluth Public Schools who joined Jeff and led us in the opening song, “God Bless America.” It was truly a special moment.  I feel a tradition of sorts forming…

Staffing shortages reach crisis levels:

I have traveled quite a bit in the past two weeks and superintendents from the metro to greater MN have shared that the shortage of special education directors, teachers, paraprofessionals, custodians, substitute teachers, SLPs, school psychologists, special education teachers, bus drivers, nutrition services staff, and other people to work in our schools is at the “crisis” level. According to the state demographer this will be a protracted problem for at least the next decade.  

Let’s make it known to our elected officials and those at the state agencies that now is the time to act and to put in place a plan to bring much needed workers into our school systems. 

Leadership Matters:

“Trust doesn't develop from always doing the right thing. Trust comes from taking responsibility when we do the wrong thing.” - Simon Sinek

Continue reading "The Henton Headlines: September 30, 2021" »

The Henton Headlines: September 23, 2021

September 23, 2021
Here’s the scoop for the week

MASA Fall Conference in Duluth, September 26-28!

The MASA staff have been hard at work planning a great conference for members who are able to attend! There are many informative breakout sessions and general sessions planned. You can still register. Find information at

The Dale G. Jensen Classic Golf Tournament is on Sunday afternoon at the Nemadji Golf Course in Superior, Wisconsin. Thanks to all who have registered to play and support the mission of the MASA Foundation.

Ahead of the conference the MASA Board of Directors will meet and make decisions around a new continuous improvement plan with updated belief statements, the repairs needed to maintain the MASA building, my professional development goals for 2021-2022, and more. Information will follow.

Joint Statement on Equity signatories develop new Op-Ed customizable for your needs:

Soon there will be an Op-Ed released by the consortium of education organizations that released the Joint Statement on Equity. The piece will go to the media outlets that are joined together and willing to publish the same Op-Ed. This includes the papers in Fargo, many towns/cities in greater MN and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. If you would like the Op-Ed customized to your school district experience, there are communication staff on stand-by ready to adjust it to meet your needs/expectations. Look for the Op-Ed to be shared in the upcoming days. Until then, feel free to use the Joint Equity Statement I shared with you on September 13 and linked here with your constituents.

Also important to note is this statement by AASA/NSBA on the threatening situations many school districts are experiencing at board meetings and other school-sponsored events. It is worth the read and to note the support of the national organizations.

Want to have an impact at PELSB?

Here’s your chance! PELSB has established an Assessment and Accountability Work Group. Here is an application to be one of the eleven external stakeholders on the Work Group. Please consider applying.

Leadership Matters:

“You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us. And the world will live as one.” - John Lennon

Continue reading "The Henton Headlines: September 23, 2021" »

The Henton Headlines: September 16, 2021

September 16, 2021
Here’s the scoop for the week

School district runs for declining pupil aid not available until mid-October:

MDE has shared that the new declining pupil aid will be provided to school districts in two payouts. The first will likely be in mid-October and the second in January. The funding will improve from 28% to 48.5% for fiscal year 2021. This means the declining enrollment allowance will increase by $1,346.24 per declining pupil, from $1,838.76 to $3,185.00. This is good news! Look for more information to come in October. 

When will we know if teachers need to be vaccinated or submit to weekly testing?

Looks like once again, October is the month for this information to be released. An article by AASA sheds more light on the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate and the implications for MN which is one of the 26 states with an OSHA plan. This report provides even greater detail on OSHA’s jurisdiction over public schools.

Leadership Matters:

“It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.” - Eleanor Roosevelt


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The Henton Headlines: September 9, 2021

September 9, 2021
Here’s the scoop for the week

September 11, 2021: Twenty years later and we will…

Screen Shot 2021-09-09 at 12.43.35 PM
On Saturday, as we mark the passing of 20 years, let us be reminded of the nearly 3000 people who lost their lives as a result of the attacks on the Twin Towers, the resiliency of our nation, and the “unbreakable spirit of New York” as depicted in the annual Tribute in Light.

A space for you to have conversations around equity and educational equity:

Watch for more information to come about an opportunity to attend a virtual meeting with Mr. Sebastian Witherspoon of Equity Alliance and Dr. Katie Pekel of the University of Minnesota around your equity efforts. The meetings will be free to members, held twice monthly in order to provide flexible scheduling and are referred to as “Educational Equity Power Hour Discussions.” The first Power Hour session will be held on September 14 from 8-9 am, and the second on September 22, from 1-2 pm. Registration information will be coming soon!

Leadership Matters:

“Leadership is based on a spiritual quality; the power to inspire, the power to inspire others to follow.” - Vince Lombardi

Continue reading "The Henton Headlines: September 9, 2021" »

The Henton Headlines September 2, 2021

September 2, 2021
Here’s the scoop for the week


Can school boards mandate mask wearing in schools?

Some of your school board members and you may be receiving communication from constituents and others questioning whether or not school boards have the legal authority to mandate masks in schools. It has come to my attention that some of the communication includes threats of litigation against individual school board members, the school district and individual superintendents. 

Messages suggesting litigation are concerning. There is a resource you will find helpful in reassuring your school board and others that the school board has the “general charge” of the district. I recommend referring to a recently released Q & A by MSBA that addresses this topic. Here is the link Discussion begins on the bottom of page 2. 

If after reading, you are still concerned about possible litigation, I recommend you contact your school district legal counsel for further advice. 

How can band-aids be used to teach fairness?

Here’s a quick video of one creative teacher who shares her effective lesson on fairness.

If you need a confidential resource, your MASA Professional Assistance Team, P.A.T., is eager to assist you!

I am pleased to inform you that the individuals listed below have agreed to serve on the P.A.T. for the 2021-2022 school year!  This resource is provided by the MASA Foundation and our members are grateful to have these confidential individuals to contact for expertise or advice as needed.

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

Jerry Nesland
Cell: 218-640-0267
Office: 218-894-2439
Home: 218-385-3194
Patty Phillips
Cell: 651-357-0996
Jeff Olson
Cell: 507-340-0628
Home: 507-934-9195

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




Leadership Matters:

“Leaders know the importance of having someone in their lives who will unfailingly and fearlessly tell them the truth.”

Warren G. Bennis




Continue reading "The Henton Headlines September 2, 2021" »