The MSBA Leader Newsletter: April 2024

The MSBA Leader Newsletter: April 2024

Skip to one of the sections listed below:

  • The Weekly Advocate (Legislative Action Alert, MSBA and COSSBA Federal Advocacy Update, the MSBA Government Relations Dashboard, and the Friday Chat Room)
  • MSBA Management Services (Access the 2023 K-12 Appropriations Analysis document; reminder that Juneteenth is a state holiday; student privacy and data security webinar series announced)
  • MSBA Workshops (Building a High-Performance School Board Team Workshop: Phase III and Representing Your Community Through Policy and Engagement Workshop: Phase IV)
  • MSBA Webinars (Watch recording of “The Budget: School Leader Panel Discussion” webinar; save the date for “Board Impact on Supporting Improved Educator Mental Health” webinar; join MSBA for next Coffee & Conversation and Board Chair Chat meetings.)
  • MSBAIT Matters (Read “Steps to reduce the risk of tornado damage in commercial structures” by the Hanover Insurance Company and “De-escalation tactics can prevent violence in the school workplace” by the SFM Mutual Insurance Company)
  • Other Workshops and Events (Braver Angels, COSSBA Urban Board Alliance Webinar Series, BoardBook webinars, and the National School Safety Symposium in Duluth)

The Weekly Advocate

Legislative Action Alert: Ask for READ Act funding, resistance to new mandates

By Kim Lewis, MSBA Associate Director of Government Relations

Minnesota lawmakers are back in their legislative districts for the Easter break. Now is a great time to reach out to them with a legislative alert asking them to resist passing any new mandates. Equally as important, we want our legislators to know our districts need funding and flexibility to implement the READ Act.

Please visit to access the legislative alert. Please feel free to edit the alert as you would like. Please include specifics that will help your senator and state representatives better understand your school district’s situation and how mandates have impacted you — and how funding and flexibility can help you better implement the READ Act.

MSBA and COSSBA Federal Advocacy Update

The MSBA and COSSBA Federal Advocacy Update provides timely news about current public education issues affecting Minnesota schools. MSBA became a charter member of the Consortium of State School Boards Associations (COSSBA) in 2021. COSSBA is a nonpartisan, national alliance dedicated to sharing resources to support, promote and strengthen state school boards associations as they serve their local school districts and board members. COSSBA works to advance federal congressional priorities on behalf of 25 state school board association members.

Please visit the MSBA website here to access the April 1 edition of the MSBA and COSSBA Federal Advocacy Update and previous updates.

The April 1 edition includes information concerning: applications for the 2024 Renew America’s Schools Prize, the National Advisory Council on Unpaid School Meal Debt Act, and federal grant money for increasing the number of English learner teachers.

Check out the MSBA Government Relations Dashboard to stay informed on latest education news from St. Paul

The MSBA Government Relations Dashboard is an MSBA-members only feature where you will find important information relevant to the 2024 legislative session. The Dashboard includes:

  • The 2024 MSBA Legislative Platform
  • Bill introductions
  • Talking points in key issues
  • Information about Minnesota House and Senate education committees
  • And much more!

Please click here to access the Dashboard (members will be prompted to log in).

Join MSBA for the Friday Chat Room on Friday, April 5!

The Friday Chat Room — which one school board member called the “fastest half hour of the week” — offers MSBA members the opportunity to have an informal discussion with MSBA’s Government Relations team (Denise Dittrich and Kim Lewis) from 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. each Friday during the legislative session. Denise and Kim will provide a legislative update and field members’ questions.

Next session: The next Friday Chat Room will set for 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Friday, April 5

Zoom information: MSBA members, look for an email reminder on Thursday, April 4. Visit the MSBA website to view the upcoming meeting schedule.

MSBA Management Services

2023 K-12 Appropriations Analysis document available for MSBA members

MSBA has created a 2023 K-12 Appropriations Analysis document that breaks out K-12 state revenue into the following types: discretionary, categorical, grants, and non-K-12. The analysis illustrates how the 2023 appropriations affected these types of revenue. Members, click here to access this analysis (you will be prompted to log in). This resource is also available in the Finance section of the Impact of the 2023 Legislative Session webpage (which also requires members to log in).

Reminder: Juneteenth is a state holiday

June 19, 2024, will be the second time Minnesota celebrates Juneteenth as a state holiday. Juneteenth recognizes the historical pronouncement of the abolition of slavery on June 19, 1865, when the Emancipation Proclamation was said to have been first publicly read in Texas by Union soldiers.

As is the case with other holidays defined in Minnesota Session Laws 2023 Chapter 5, no public business can be conducted on this day. This means schools cannot hold classes or programs, school board meetings, athletic practices and competitions and other school-associated events.

Student privacy and data security webinar series announced

The Student Privacy Policy Office (SPPO), through its Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), is pleased to offer a three-part virtual webinar series on student privacy and data security. The webinar series will provide the education community with opportunities to learn more about the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), data security, data breach preparedness and response, transparency, and more. Register via the links below in bold.

  • Part 1: FERPA 101 and Data Security Best Practices (Wednesday, April 10, 2024, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Central time) covers the basics of FERPA and provides training on current data security best practices for education data systems.
  • Part 2: FERPA 201 and Transparency (Wednesday, April 17, 2024, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Central time) dives into scenarios faced by schools and districts and highlights PTAC’s research on transparency.
  • Part 3: Incident Response and Vetting Educational Technology (Wednesday, April 24, 2024, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Central time) leads participants through a simulated data breach and explores how to assess online educational technology for privacy protections and general FERPA compliance.

Minnesota Department of Education

Computer Science Strategic Plan develops strategic plan for Minnesota’s public schools

Minnesota’s Computer Science Working Group developed a state strategic plan for computer science, finalized in March 2024, which describes 10 recommendations for long-term and sustained growth of computer science education across all public K-12 and charter schools in Minnesota, as outlined in the Computer Science Education Advancement Act (M.S. 120B.241). The recommendations are aligned to the requirements outlined in the legislation, such as licensure, high-quality professional development, continuous improvement, and standards, among others. Visit the Minnesota Department of Education website to access Minnesota Computer Science State Strategic Plan and other information.

News release: 83.3 percent of Minnesota’s class of 2023 graduated in four years

The Minnesota Department of Education released the class of 2023’s graduation rate data on March 28. The 2023 graduation rate was 83.3% or 58,293 graduates, which represents a 0.3 percentage point decrease in the four-year graduation rate compared to the class of 2022. In 2023, 3,874 students from earlier classes also earned their diplomas, graduating five, six or seven years after beginning high school.

Click here to access the complete news release from the Minnesota Department of Education.

Twins Game on June 15: Discounted Tickets Available for Local Government Officials

School board members: Discounted tickets available for Twins game on June 15

Join your colleagues to watch the Minnesota Twins face the Oakland Athletics at 1:10 p.m. Saturday, June 15, 2024, at Target Field. All locally elected government officials and their administrative staff will be celebrated to appreciate the leadership they provide for their Minnesota communities. Come out for a fun Saturday afternoon at Target Field to thank you for building stronger communities and a stronger Minnesota.

Each purchase of a ticket enters you in for a chance to win select giveaway items, including: autographed baseball/bat, Twins-themed winter beanie(s), and Twins-themed bobblehead(s). The seats are blocked off for this group specifically, located in the Infield Box section down the first baseline at a discounted rate.

MSBA Workshops

Building a High-Performance School Board Team: Phase III Workshop

The Building a High-Performance School Board Team: Phase III Workshop focuses on the stages of board development, characteristics of a high-performing school board team, navigating board dynamics, small-group interactions with school board video scenarios, and an overview of the MSBA School Board Self-Evaluation tool.

Why attend? Understand and apply common characteristics of a high-performing board.

Virtual session options — Choose one session from Part A and one session from Part B (registrants must attend both Part A and Part B to receive full attendance credit):

  • Part A: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, 2024
  • Part A: 9 a.m. to noon Thursday, April 11, 2024
  • Part B: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, April 17, 2024
  • Part B: 9 a.m. to noon Thursday, April 18, 2024

Registration deadline: Registration closed on March 31, 2024 — Registration completed after March 31 will be considered late/walk-in and materials may not arrive prior to the workshop

Representing Your Community Through Policy and Engagement: Phase IV Workshop

Representing Your Community Through Policy and Engagement: Phase IV Workshop focuses on in-depth discussions and examples of a board member’s role as a policymaker and interactive small-group sessions that walk through an actual community engagement activity. This workshop will also have a segment on working with the media and public forums.

Why attend? Discuss open forums and ways you can make them more productive.

Virtual session options — Choose one session from Part A and one session from Part B (registrants must attend both Part A and Part B to receive full attendance credit):

  • Part A: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, April 24, 2024
  • Part A: 9 a.m. to noon Thursday, April 25, 2024
  • Part B: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 1, 2024
  • Part B: 9 a.m. to noon Thursday, May 2, 2024

Registration deadline: April 14, 2024 — Registration completed after April 14 will be considered late/walk-in and materials may not arrive prior to the workshop)

MSBA Webinars

Third Thursday Webinar Series

Watch a recording of “The Budget: School Leader Panel Discussion”

MSBA staff partnered with members of the Minnesota Association of School Administrators (MASA) and the Minnesota Association of School Business Officials (MASBO) on Thursday, March 21, for a panel discussion on budget-related topics. Visit to access a recording of the webinar to hear from school leaders on their budget processes and timelines, along with challenges and opportunities encountered during the process, including school funding, enrollment, labor agreements and more.

“Board Impact on Supporting Improved Educator Mental Health” set for April 18

As leaders in education, school board members play an important role in supporting mental health in their school districts. The “Board Impact on Supporting Improved Educator Mental Health” webinar at 1 p.m. Thursday, April 18, will focus on educator mental health and our experiences working with educators.


  • Dr. Lucy Payne, Faculty in Teacher Preparation at the University of St. Thomas, Mental Health for Educator Program Director; and school board member for Mahtomedi Public Schools and Northeast Metro Intermediate School District 916, and a former classroom teacher.
  • Amy Jones, Chair of the State Mental Health and Schools Workgroup; Curriculum Designer and Advisory Board Member for the Mental Health for Educator Program at the University of St. Thomas; education consultant; a former school board member for Mounds View Public Schools, and a former district administrator and a former classroom teacher.

Sponsors: The Third Thursday Webinar Series is sponsored by Ehlers, Eide Bailly, InGensa, Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation, Sourcewell, and Widseth.

Coffee & Conversation Meeting

The virtual Coffee & Conversation meetings are led by MSBA Executive Director Kirk Schneidawind and MSBA staff. Network with your school board colleagues during this series.

Next session: 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Tuesday, April 2 — School board members, look for an email invitation in your inbox on April 1. Visit the MSBA website to view the upcoming meeting schedule.

Sponsor: The Coffee & Conversation series is sponsored by PFM Asset Management.

Board Chair Chat Meeting

The Board Chair Chat conversations center around the board chair’s roles and responsibilities.

Next session: 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Wednesday, April 3 — School board chairs, look for an email invitation in your inbox on April 2. Visit the MSBA website to view the upcoming meeting schedule.

MSBAIT Matters

Steps to reduce the risk of tornado damage in commercial structures

By the Hanover Insurance Company
Hanover Insurance Company is a Participating Insurer in the MSBAIT Risk Protection Program

An average of 1,000 tornadoes occur each year in the United States, causing around $1.1 billion in property damage on average, and more than 70 deaths. These storms vary in intensity and the accompanying damage can result in everything from minor repairs to complete destruction with little warning. Most tornadoes are relatively weak, and therefore, primarily damage roofs, windows, and trees. While only two percent of tornadoes achieve the most violent and damaging classification, one quarter of tornadoes are powerful enough to cause 90 percent of the damage and two-thirds of the deaths.

Tornadoes have a unique destructive power among wind-related natural disasters because they concentrate a massive amount of energy in a relatively small area. The strongest category of tornadoes can generate maximum wind speeds greater than 250 mph, which is enough to destroy most buildings and structures in their path. These maximum wind speeds generate forces that are about twice as large as those generated by the strongest hurricanes.

Only a few specialty buildings are designed to withstand the direct impact of a severe tornado. However, well-engineered, large, and tall commercial structures are not likely to suffer structural collapse. For smaller commercial structures, good construction choices can give added protection and increase the likelihood that at least part of the structure will remain standing to provide shelter. Buildings that have been strengthened in critical areas and particularly at connection points, such as between the roof and walls and walls and foundation, would have a good chance of surviving intact or with minor cosmetic damage if subjected to the outer edges of a tornado.

De-escalation tactics can prevent violence in the school workplace

By SFM Mutual Insurance Company
SFM is a Participating Insurer in the MSBAIT Risk Protection Program

Employees in a variety of school-related occupations can find themselves in situations with the potential to be exposed to violence at work. De-escalation tactics can be used to defuse volatile situations so they don’t reach the point of violence.

What is de-escalation? De-escalation is one technique that can be used when confronted with violent or aggressive behavior. According to mental health and violence prevention professionals, de-escalation means “transferring your sense of calm and genuine interest in what an individual wants to tell you by using respectful, clear, limit-setting boundaries.” In short, de-escalation is the process of managing someone else’s behavior with your own.

How does the concept of de-escalation intersect with workplace safety? As workplace violence (and often related mental health wellness) remains a continuously growing challenge for many school districts (e.g., between students, between students and teachers, and even between teachers), more and more are beginning to utilize and realize the benefits of de-escalation training.

Other Workshops and Events

Braver Angels: Managing Difficult Conversations with Constituents workshop

What: Join public service colleagues from across the state for one of Braver Angels’ in-person “Managing Difficult Conversations with Constituents” workshops.  Learn strategies to better soften critics, find common ground, and reduce the rancor in our increasingly divisive environment.


  • 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 8 — Springfield
  • 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 15 — Mountain Iron
  • 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 22 — Hastings
  • 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 29 — Fergus Falls

COSSBA Urban Board Alliance Webinar Series

What: The COSSBA Urban Board Alliance Webinar Series resumes in April with “Strategies for Addressing Equity in Your District.” The webinar addresses the importance of fostering equity among students within your district.

When: 11 a.m. to noon (Central time) Wednesday, April 17, 2024

BoardBook: Informational Webinars

What: BoardBook reduces meeting preparation from hours to minutes. Join BoardBook for a live 45-minute informational webinar to learn how to reduce the time, money, and stress associated with board meeting preparation. BoardBook is an MSBA-endorsed product.

When: The next webinars will be held noon Tuesday, April 9; 11 a.m. Thursday, April 18; and 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 24.

The Briefings: A National School Safety Symposium

What: This school safety Symposium will delve into timely topics such as preparedness for any type of crisis, lessons learned from prior incidents, recovery in the aftermath of a crisis, as well as training on the Standard Response Protocol and Standard Reunification Method.

When: Tuesday, April 16, and Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Where: Duluth Entertainment Convention Center

Student Success for All

Student Success for All resources available for MSBA members

Visit the MSBA Student Success for All webpage to access providers and resources.

Job Openings

Visit the MSBA Jobs webpage for application information:
(Application deadlines are noted in parentheses for all listings.)

Superintendents and Executive Directors

  • Academy for Sciences and Agriculture — Executive Director (April 14, 2024)
  • East Range Academy of Technology and Science — Executive Director (April 30, 2024)
  • International Falls Superintendent (April 15, 2024)
  • Joint Powers Board of Greenbush-Middle River and Tri-County — Superintendent (April 29, 2024)
  • Ogilvie — Superintendent (April 3, 2024)
  • Schools Advocating for Fair Funding (SAFF) — Executive Director (April 1, 2024)
  • Sibley East — Interim Superintendent (April 10, 2024)
  • Warren-Alvarado-Oslo — Superintendent (April 2, 2024)
  • Win-E-Mac — Superintendent (April 14, 2024)


  • Anoka-Hennepin — Elementary School Principal (April 2, 2024)
  • Anoka-Hennepin — Assistant Principal – Blaine High School (April 9, 2024)
  • Anoka-Hennepin — Assistant Principal – Lincoln Elementary (April 8, 2024)
  • Anoka-Hennepin — Assistant Principal – Morris Bye Elementary (April 8, 2024)
  • Anoka-Hennepin — Assistant Principal – University Avenue Elementary (April 8, 2024)
  • La Crescent-Hokah — K-12 Principal (April 5, 2024)
  • McGregor — Elementary Principal (April 15, 2024)
  • St. Clair — High School Principal (April 22, 2024)
  • Wabasso — Principal – Grades 5-12 (April 5, 2024)
  • Willmar — Assistant Elementary School Principal (Open until filled)
  • Willmar — Assistant Middle School Principal (Open until filled)

Other Administrators

  • Cambridge-Isanti — Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning (Open until filled)
  • Minneapolis — Director of Compliance for Records Management (Open until filled)
  • St. Cloud Area — Executive Director of E-12 Education Services (Open until filled)

About the Leader Newsletter

The Leader Newsletter is published as a member service by the Minnesota School Boards Association, 1900 West Jefferson Avenue, St. Peter, MN 56082. The Leader is edited by Bruce Lombard (, the MSBA Associate Director of Communications.

The contents of this newsletter are provided for informational use only and are not to be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult your attorney.

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