Wednesday, September 9, 2020

MRVED Update - September 9, 2020

Upcoming Meetings

September 9, 2020 - MRVED Board Meeting (Virtual)
September 17, 2020 - Teachers' Advisory Council Meeting (Virtual)
September 18, 2020 - Principals' Advisory Council Meeting (Virtual)
September 23, 2020 - Superintendents' Council Meeting
September 25, 2020 - Title III Teachers' Meeting

Welcome Back

Welcome back to the 2020-2021 school year! We hope you had a rejuvenating summer and were able to put school in the rearview mirror for a little while. Last year was tough and this year looks to be just as difficult. Please know that the MRVED is here to provide support for you and your district wherever/whenever we can. If there is anything we can do, please do not hesitate to ask. Many times, if we don't have the expertise to help in a certain area, we can direct you to someone who does. Although this year looks to be just as challenging as last school year, know that you are surrounded by many people that support the tough work you are doing every day.

As with everything else, the MRVED Common In-Service days will most likely look a little different. The October date will feature a keynote message by Carla Tantillo Philibert. More information will be coming on the October date. The MELT Conference in January will still happen, however it will look different and offer virtual options. The April 1 date is a long ways off and our Teacher Advisory Council will be developing a plan throughout this fall.

The MRVED Common In-Service Dates

October 14, 2020 - Virtual

January 18, 2021 - MELT (TBD)

April 1, 2021 - TBD

MRVED Paraprofessional Conference Recap

On August 19, 2020, the MRVED hosted their first ever virtual conference for the paraprofessionals. The day started with a keynote by Carla Tantillo Philibert from Mindful Practices. Carla spoke about the importance of SEL and provided the paraprofessionals with a handful of awesome strategies they can use with their students. Teachers will have the opportunity to see Carla virtually during the October common inservice. After the keynote, the paraprofessionals participated in a handful of breakout sessions from trauma to good posture when working online to math and reading support. Overall the day went really well. The MRVED staff learned much about hosting a virtual conference and look to make improvements for each event. A huge thank you to our presenters, participants, and Katie in the MRVED office for handling registration and questions. You are all ROCKSTARS!

Minnesota Standards Update

Minnesota is in the middle of a massive standard review process. I thought it worthwhile to take a look at where each content area is at on the Minnesota Department of Education Timeline

Arts - Revised in 2018 - Was making its way through rulemaking to determine implementation. 2018 Standards

Science - Revised in 2019. Approved by the commissioner in 2020. Still in rulemaking to determine implementation. Commissioner recommends full implementation by 2023-24. 2019 Standards

Language Arts - Revised in 2020. Awaiting commissioner approval. Implementation will be made in rulemaking this year. 2020 ELA Standards Draft

Social Studies - Revised this year. Review Timeline

Math - Will be revised in 2021. 

Physical Education - Revised/adopted SHAPE America's in 2017. Reviewed every 10 years.

Health, Career and Technical Education, and World Languages - Established locally

Distance Learning Tool of the Week - Google Meet Breakout Rooms

If you are looking for a way to do breakout rooms within Google Meet, try the Google Meet Breakout Rooms extension. If you are looking for more information on how this works, join the Google Meet Breakout Rooms Facebook Group or visit the website.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

MRVED Update - March 4, 2020

Upcoming Meetings

March 20, 2020 - Title III Paraprofessionals
March 25, 2020 - Superintendents' Council
March 27, 2020 - Principals' Council
April 3, 2020 - Title III Teachers
April 7, 2020 - Community Education Directors
April 9, 2020 - MRVED Common Inservice Day at Dawson-Boyd Schools

April 9, 2020 - MRVED Common Inservice Day

MRVED's spring Common Inservice Day is quickly approaching!  It will be held on Thursday, April 9, 2020, in Dawson at the Dawson-Boyd school.  The morning keynote speaker is Carla Tantillo Philibert.  Please watch for the registration link to be sent out on Thursday, March 12, 2020.  The registration link will come from your principals.  Registration will close on Thursday, March 26, 2020.  If you have a student teacher this spring, please make sure you register your student teacher.

April 9, 2020 Schedule:

8:00 a.m. - 8:35 a.m.:  Registration and Breakfast (Compliments of the administrators)
8:45 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.:  Carla Tantillo Philibert (Self-Care Strategies)
11:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.:  Lunch (Catered by Trish Kruger Katering)
11:55 a.m. - 12:55 p.m.: Carla Tantillo Philibert (Group 1) and Tanya Yerigan (Group 2)
1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.: Carla Tantillo Philibert (Group 2) and Tanya Yerigan (Group 1)

Staff will see both Carla Tantillo Philibert and Tanya Yerigan in the two afternoon breakout sessions on self-care strategies.

Registrants will receive an email one week prior to the inservice with detailed information for the day.  Everyone will also receive a personalized agenda/CEU at the registration table on the day of the inservice.

Professional Development

Public Comment on Draft #2 of the English Language Arts Standards

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) is soliciting public opinion as part of the Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards in ELA Education Revision process. This is the second of three drafts. The results will be reviewed by the ELA Standards Review Committee and will be used for preparing the third draft, which will be presented to the Commissioner of Education in May, 2020.

Additional information regarding the standards process and the assumptions for the committee are posted on the MDE website under English Language Arts Standards. To complete this survey, refer to the Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards in ELA Education, Draft Two documents on the MDE ELA page at This survey closes on March 6, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. CST.

Survey Link

Twitter for Educators

Image result for twitter logoTwitter can be an awesome professional development tool for any professional.  There is a whole world of ideas out there just for you on Twitter.  Matt Miller does a great job of explaining Twitter and providing lists of people and hashtags to follow.  A Beginners Guide to Twitter for Educators by Matt Miller.

I participate in #smsutlap.  It gives me the ability to grow as a professional as well as spark conversation for upcoming teachers to consider.  Just by clicking on the #smsutlap link, it will take you to an archive of the chats.  If you are available during their class, stop in and just say hi!

Tyson Fury on Mental Health

I came across this the other day and thought it was worth sharing.  Even if you don't know the story of Tyson Fury, it's worth the watch.  The importance to of asking for help and doing what we can to stop the stigma behind asking for help.  If Tyson Fury, the best boxer in the world, can ask for help, anyone can!

Book Study - Sanctuaries - Self-Care

We will start the section on self-care in Dan Tricarico's book, Sanctuaries.  My thoughts and reflection on these chapters are, in no way, a replacement for buying the book and reading it.  I will admit that a book on self-care is not high up on my list of things to read.  It's simply out of my comfort zone.  However, it has been a very beneficial read.

The first chapter in this section hit home to me.  It is titled, "The Busy Choice".  Think of a conversation you have had with someone recently.  Did either of you talk about how busy you are?  There is a good chance that schedules and obligations were talked about.  We compete with one another to become the most busy person.  Stop and think about how ridiculous that sounds!  If I am more busy than you, what do I get?  You get more stress!  But we wear our busyness as a badge of honor.  However, if you examine your schedule, everything you have to get done, or places you have to get to, is all a choice...your choice.  I know many of you are saying, "no I don't have a choice".  But yes you do!  The majority of things on your calendar are a choice.  Your job, running kids to basketball practice, volunteering at the church, shopping, etc...  Seeing your schedule as a choice doesn't make it any easier to schedule things, but it is a mindset and can drastically change how you schedule things.

Tricarico then goes on to talk about making tiny shifts in your life.  I liken the idea to a diet.  When we start a diet, it is usually a drastic change in how and what we eat.  But if we make a tiny shift in our diet - say take out 1 piece of bread per day, it is more likely we will create the habit.  The problem with making a massive shift is that we hit a roadblock and go back to the way we did things.  With tiny shifts, roadblocks are easier to move, get around, or go through.

The last chapter is titled, "Your Mental Mix Tape".  We all remember making the mix tapes of our favorite songs we played over and over again.  We need to create our own "mental mix tape" of positive thoughts to play in our minds over and over again.  We need to tell ourselves that we are smart enough, pretty enough, etc...  We need to play that "mental mix tape" in our minds over and over again all day long.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

MRVED Update - February 19, 2020

Upcoming Meetings

February 20, 2020 - Teachers' Advisory Council
February 21, 2020 - Principals' Advisory Council
February 26, 2020 - Superintendents' Council
March 3, 2020 - Community Education Directors

Professional Development

Minnesota Kindergarten Association 2020 Spring Conference

Come to Jordan, MN May 1-2, 2020 for the Minnesota Kindergarten Association spring conference! We are looking forward to having Jessica Travis, Crystal Radke, Angie Bonthuis, and Jen Heyer as our keynote speakers. Start following these fantastic teachers and get excited to hear their wonderful ideas! Jordan is located just south of the Twin Cities metro area on Hwy 169. We can’t wait to welcome you to our town as we learn new things together! The Minnesota Kindergarten Conference on May 1 & 2 is going to be SWEET!

Click here to register for the 2020 MKA Conference.

No Small Matter - Documentary

No Small Matter is a feature-length documentary film and national engagement campaign that brings public attention to this vital question by sharing powerful stories and stunning truths about the human capacity for early intelligence and the potential for quality early care and education to benefit America’s social and economic future. This multifaceted project reveals how our country is raising its youngest citizens, why making the most of this time in their lives is so crucial, and most importantly, what we can do to change the perception of when learning begins. The first major theatrical documentary to tackle this topic, No Small Matter is designed to kick-start the public conversation about early care and education. The ultimate goal: to produce an entertaining, accessible, and inspiring film that redefines the audience’s understanding of the issue and helps drive it to the top of the political agenda. Or, as one advocate put it, “not just to make a documentary about early childhood education, but to make the documentary about early childhood education.”

There will be a screening of No Small Matter in Minneapolis on March 12, 2020.

Book Study - Sanctuaries - The 5 S's

There are some great tips and reminders in this section of the book Sanctuaries by Dan Tricarico.  Be sure to read these chapters, it's a quick read that could change your life!  In this section, Tricarico talks about the 5 S's: Silence, Stillness, Subtraction, Space, and Slowing Down.

Silence can be golden.  Think about all the sounds you hear every second of every day.  As a teacher, during your day, there are very limited, if any, times of silence.  Bells ringing, kids asking questions, kids making noise, movie next door, drums being played down the hall, etc...  What if you took 2-3 minutes every day and just sat in silence?  How would effect would that have on your mood?  Mental health?  Life?  This moment of silence can be done anywhere.  Your car as you travel to and from work.  Shut the door to your classroom.  Right when you wake up.  Whenever.  Just give yourself permission to find a place of silence.

Along the same token as silence.  What if you just sat in stillness for a couple minutes.  No sound.  No movement.  Just you and your mind.  Tricarico says, "When we are still and quiet, we have to focus on what is; and sometimes that's not pretty" (Tricarico, 71).  Couple stillness with meditation and you can train yourself to let those thoughts travel through your mind.  Tricarico mentions starting small.  Find a couple minutes in your day for silence and stillness.  You don't have to be a monk and take a vow of silence for 10 years, just find a couple minutes.  If you find it beneficial, you will make time for it during your day.

Subtraction & Space
It seems like subtraction and space go hand-in-hand.  We all pack as much into everything as we possibly can.  That can be our calendars or our physical space.  Less can be more.  Give yourself permission to get rid of something, either from your physical space or schedule.  It's OK to not have everything or do everything.

Slow Down
Our world is so fast!  We let great opportunities pass by us every day.  Give yourself permission to slow down.  You can start by pairing this with subtraction and space.  If you clear things off your schedule, it will give you the time to slow down.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

MRVED Update - February 5, 2020

MRVED Business

Upcoming Meetings

February 12, 2020 - MRVED Board Meeting
February 21, 2020 - Principals' Council Meeting
February 20, 2020 - Teachers' Advisory Council Meeting
February 26, 2020 - Superintendents' Council Meeting

MELT Evaluation Results

Thank you to the 380 people that filled out their evaluation from the MELT on January 20th.  People often ask, "What do you do with the evaluations?"  The answer is fairly simple, our Principal and Superintendent groups look at the feedback and our Teacher Advisory Council (TAC) spends a whole afternoon reading the evaluations and providing feedback to make the day better.  Individual evaluations are also sent to the presenters as a way to help each of them grow in the craft of presenting.  Much time and effort goes into reading the evaluations and changes are made every year based upon the feedback.

The last question on the evaluation is always the question that tells the story of the day.  If you had to give the MELT and over rating, what would it be?  97.3% of the people that responded gave it a 3 or 4.
Forms response chart. Question title: If you had to give the MELT an overall rating, what would it be?. Number of responses: 374 responses.

Professional Development/Standards Update

Social Studies Standards Review Feedback Requested

The Minnesota Academic Standards Social Studies are being revised during the 2019-20 school year and the state would appreciate your feedback on the current standards. This 17-question survey has four sections:
  • Survey Participant Information
  • General Feedback on the 2011 Minnesota Social Studies Standards
  • Specific Standards and Benchmarks Feedback
  • Standards Implementation
Complete the Feedback on the 2011 Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards in Social Studies survey. The survey will be open now through February 28, 2020.

Communication on the application process for the Standards Review Committee will be available later in the spring. Another announcement will be made with appropriate links when the application process opens. For assistance with questions, contact Filiz Yargici.

2020 Spring MN ASCD Conference - Self-Care for Educators and Students

Please join us for the Minnesota ASCD 2020 Spring Conference – Self-Care for Educators and Students. The 2019 Minnesota Student Survey told us that more and more students are facing long-term mental health, behavior and emotional problems. We also know that they need healthy educators who can provide a caring and safe environment. This conference topic is so timely, and Tina Boogren, author of 180 Days of Self-Care for Busy Educators, published fall 2020, and Take Time for You: Self-Care Action Plans for Educators, published spring 2018, is the perfect presenter.

The morning focus: 180 Days of Self-Care for Busy Educators. Discover how to lead a happier, healthier, more fulfilled life inside and outside of the classroom. Dr. Tina H. Boogren will guide participants through the four major seasons of the school year, highlighting practical self-care strategies and techniques that correspond with each season. Themes range from creativity and inspiration to relationships and time management for teachers and administrators.

Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand how prioritizing your own self-care will better equip you to positively impact student learning and achievement.
  • Discover low- to no-cost self-care ideas designed to help make meaningful, positive change.
  • Explore the dangers of stress in the classroom and in an educator’s personal life and understand how this stress affects students.
  • Let go of the expectations of perfection while practicing the self-care techniques and teacher wellness ideas that Tina provides.
The afternoon focus: Motivating and Inspiring Students. Bringing motivation and inspiration to the classroom is not easy. In this highly interactive workshop, Dr. Tina H. Boogren will help participants discover a results-driven framework—based on a six-level hierarchy of human needs and goals—that can be used to provide engaging instruction to students while supporting their mental health.

Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand the foundational research and theory on motivation and inspiration as well as students’ mental and emotional well-being needs.
  • Discover ways to create a culture and climate in schools and classrooms that help students feel safe, engaged, and physically and emotionally healthy.
  • Learn specific strategies tied to the levels of the hierarchy that can be implemented immediately.

Cost: MN ASCD Member $190. MN ASCD Nonmember $205. Nonmember + 1 yr membership $215.

Registration includes lunch, refreshments, and a copy of 180 Days of Self-Care for Educators book, 7 CEUs and networking opportunities.

Don’t miss out on this important topic and excellent presenter. for more information about Tina Boogren, visit the MN ASCD News page:

Register at:

Book Study - Sanctuaries - Mindfulness and Meditation

Once again, the book we are looking at is Sanctuaries by Dan Tricarico.  The focus of the book is self-care secrets for stressed-out teachers.  My synopsis of each chapter should, by no means, replace reading the book.  There are so many great ideas packed into this book, you will want to buy a copy and follow along!  This week we will cover the chapters on mindfulness and meditation.

Tricarico starts by defining mindfulness as, "the conscious knowledge that this, this moment right here, is the only moment you have, and it is neither good nor bad.  It just is" (Tricarico, 29).  It's being mindful of the moment you are currently in.  Our lives, especially the lives of educators, are extremely busy.  We run from one class to the next, scarf down a quick lunch, teach more classes, run practice after school, to running our own children from activity to activity.  We never give ourselves permission to simply just take in the moment.

Tricarico talks about how this "moment" can be any moment in time.  From your morning commute to the first sip of coffee in the morning.  Be mindful of that moment.  What beautiful scene do you drive by every morning and not pause to take in?  How great does that first sip of coffee taste?  It's so easy to take the morning drive for granted because our minds are filled with thousands of other thoughts of what needs to be completed today.  Give yourself permission to clear your mind and take in the scenery, even if it's a short drive to work.  You will pass by something worth looking at.

We need to use our senses when being mindful.  Tricarico talks about the practice of "Taking Five" (Tricarico, 41).  He says look around and notice five things.  Close your eyes, and listen for five things.  Utilize your other senses to find 5 things.  Bottom line, we have to give ourselves permission to take the time to be in the moment.  The nice part about being mindful is that it doesn't take a ton of time.  30 seconds to just take it in!

The last portion of this section talks about meditation.  In general, find a spot you are comfortable, breathe naturally, direct your attention to your breathing, and let any thoughts you are having pass by in the moment.  Concentrate on your breathing in that moment.  You don't have to be sitting in a "trance-type" pose with eyes closed.  Simply find a spot you are comfortable and start the process.  Again, this does not have to take a ton of time.  Try it right now and see how you feel afterward!