The Education Evolving Blog

November 11, 2016 · By Krista Kaput

This blog post is the second in a two-part set on charter school facilities. Our first post was on the Minnesota lease aid program and “affiliated building corporations” (ABCs). This post will examine strategies and initiatives that other states have implemented.

One of the biggest challenges faced by chartered schools in Minnesota and in other states is...

November 8, 2016 · By Krista Kaput

On August 24th, we published a blog post about the challenges Minnesota charter schools face finding appropriate facilities. This piece expands on the topic with a deep dive into the financing of chartered school facilities in Minnesota.

If a Minnesota school district wants to buy or construct a building or make a capital improvement to an existing facility they can pay for it with property tax dollars or sell bonds. Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) plans...

October 26, 2016 · By Krista Kaput

In September 2015, President Obama and Xi Jinping, President of China, announced the One Million Strong initiative, which aims to increase the number of K-12 students in the United States studying Mandarin from 200,000 to 1 million by the year 2020.

In 2006, long before this initiative was announced, Yinghua Academy (Yinghua) opened its doors to 79 students in Saint Paul. It was the first Chinese immersion charter school in the United States and first Chinese immersion school in the Midwest. Ten years later, Yinghua...

October 18, 2016 · By Krista Kaput

On October 13th, 58 education advocates from around the state gathered at the invitation of Education Evolving to hear Kelly Young, executive director at Education Reimagined, give a presentation on the new organization’s work promoting learner-centered education.

Young began by posing a question to the group: “What do you most want kids to experience when they are learning?” Audience responses varied, including: confidence, entrepreneurial spirit, excitement, cultural-competency, and joy. Despite the different answers, there was a...

October 5, 2016 · By Krista Kaput

Charter Schools Program Grant Winners

On September 28th, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) announced the winners of the spring 2016 round of their Charter School Program (CSP) Startup and Replication/Expansion grants. In 2012, MDE received $28 million from the United States Department of Education (USDE) to be used over the course of five years for grants to chartered schools in the state.

The six winners this cycle were:

  • Startup Grants
    • Forten Academy
    • North Metro Flex Academy
    • Phoenix Academy
  • ...
September 21, 2016 · By Krista Kaput

Work on Minnesota’s new state accountability plan, as required under the recent Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), continues. Given the complexity of the plan development process, and our desire to give a thorough yet still high-level update, this post is longer than usual.

Timeline for Plan Development

As a refresher, Minnesota Department of Education’s (MDE) timeline for the new accountability plan development is:

  • July through November 2016—MDE convenes various committees to...
September 1, 2016 · By Krista Kaput

On August 21, HBO comedian John Oliver did a controversial segment where he attacked chartered schools in Pennsylvania, Florida, and Ohio, as well as educational management organizations (EMOs). The clip went “viral” inside education policy circles, receiving nearly 7 million views.

His segment has received both praise and criticism. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said in an email, “John Oliver did something amazing.” NYU...

August 24, 2016 · By Krista Kaput

Rachel Ose Ngendakuriyo, founding director of Big Picture Twin Cities, which will open in the 2017-18 academic year in Brooklyn Center, originally wanted to open a school in the Phillips Community. Having taught in the community, she had deep ties and wanted to create a community school that would meet the needs of the community’s students. However, Ngendakuriyo was unable to find an appropriate facility, despite looking at hundreds of locations in the Phillips community and surrounding neighborhoods, which led to her relocating the school...

August 15, 2016 · By Krista Kaput

Seven new chartered schools will open in Minnesota this fall as three chartered schools close. Four of the new charters will be STEM-focused; all will start as elementary schools, with five planning on eventually growing to be K-12.

Chartered schools opening in the fall of 2016
Athlos Academy of St. Cloud, authorized by the Volunteers of America - MN (VOA-MN), will serve grades K-6 during its first year. According to the application for charter authorization,...

August 10, 2016 · By Krista Kaput

On August 8th, Governor Dayton announced that an additional 3,302 four-year old students in 64 school districts and 10 chartered schools, will have the opportunity to attend pre-kindergarten this fall for free due to an increase of $25 million in state funding approved during the 2016 legislative session.

The ten chartered schools will receive $1,966,342, or 7.8 percent of the funds, which will serve an estimated 237 students. The amount is roughly proportionate to the 7 percent of Pre-K students in the state served by...

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