The Education Evolving Blog

December 22, 2016 · By Krista Kaput

On December 15, the US Department of Education (USDE) announced the launch of the Education Innovation Research (EIR) grant competition, which was established under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), for 2017. President Obama has requested $180 million for the program in his FY 2017 budget, though the money has not yet been appropriated.

The purpose of the bi-partisan grant competition is to support...

December 16, 2016 · By Krista Kaput

This post is the third in our series (see earlier posts June 27 and Sept. 21) on the progress that the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) has made developing the state’s new accountability plan, as required under the year-old federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)....

December 7, 2016 · By Krista Kaput

On December 6th, the Minnesota Association of Charter Schools (MACS) hosted a luncheon in St. Paul to honor the winners of the first Minnesota Charter School Innovation Awards. The award program, which is the first of its kind in Minnesota, was created to showcase some of the most innovative practices being used in Minnesota’s charter schools and to also focus attention on the important role innovation should be playing in the development of charter schools, according to MACS...

November 21, 2016 · By Krista Kaput

Every weekday morning at 8:20 am, Dr. Charvez Russell, executive director of Friendship Academy of the Arts (FAA), a K-6 charter school in the Longfellow neighborhood of South Minneapolis, joins his students in the cafeteria. He delivers a ten-minute inspirational message, drawing on books, articles, and recent events to extol the virtues of respect and leadership, and making sure to use animated hand gestures to engage the younger students.

The point of addressing the students, according to Dr. Russell, is to help students set aside the “backpack of challenges” many of them face at...

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...


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