December 2016
Administrative Services
Administrative Services Updates
ESSA Changes in MARSS and Transportation

With ESSA legislation passed in the 2016 session, MDE has proposed changes to MARSS reporting. Major changes include an increase in the required information gathered pertaining to race/ethnicity selections from previous years. The proposal will include over 100 more race/ethnicities options for families to select when enrolling their children in a district. More information regarding the recommended changes can be found on MDE's website.  

Transportation thru MARSS also has changes as a result of the ESSA Act and how to report students waiting to be placed in Foster homes. This change took affect December 10. These students are no longer included as homeless following the McKinney-Vento Act. For additional information regarding the transportation changes can be found on MDE's website

Changes in IRS Standard Mileage Rates

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2017, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

  • 53.5 cents per mile for business miles driven, down from 54 cents for 2016
  • 17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down from 19 cents for 2016
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

The business mileage rate decreased half a cent per mile and the medical and moving expense rates each dropped 2 cents per mile from 2016. The charitable rate is set by statute and remains unchanged.  

Health and Safety Update - Space Heaters

As the weather outside gets colder space heaters begin creeping in the buildings. It is first important to check with your building administrators if these are allowed in your building. It may depend on the building construction, electrical, and fire safety system if these are allowed to be used. If they are allowed then it is important to get the correct kind of heater. The MN State Fire Marshal’s office will NOT allow any space heater with glowing or exposed coils. If electrical it should be plugged directly into a wall outlet and never an extension cord or power strip (this picture shows what can happen). It must have safety feature that if it is tipped over it will automatically shut off. Last it should never be left on unattended or overnight.  

For more information, contact Christine at or 507-537-2262.

Upcoming Professional Development

Start the new year off right - Attend a workshop or conference at SWWC!

  • SMARTBoards
  • App-Smashing 
  • Makerspace
  • SeeSaw
  • Google
  • Schoology
  • This is IT2 2017
  • School Business Conference

Our Winter 2017 PD Catalog will be mailed to all schools the first week of January. Be watching for it!  In the meantime, to see our full list of workshops, visit

Education Services
Special Education Updates
Winter Professional Development

We have what you are looking for! Be watching for our Winter 2017 PD Catalog - coming out the first week of January. 

  • Youth Mental Health First Aid
  • Everyday Behavior Tools
  • How to Conduct FBAs
  • How to Conduct BIPs
  • 2017 Behavior Conference
  • Monthly Mental Health Webinars

Many workshops are taking registrations NOW! Don't miss out - register today at

Teaching & Learning Updates
Workshops and Trainings from January to May

Looking for training in any of these areas?
  • Purposeful Play
  • Using Standards in K-12 Music
  • Solar Energy Workshop
  • Standards Based Grading
  • Dyslexia
  • Instructional Coaching
  • RtI
  • Save Your License Saturday

And SO much more! Watch for our Winter PD Catalog coming out early January!

More information on our website!

Creative Writing Contest

Students have an opportunity to use their imaginations to generate creative fiction and nonfiction stories and poems. This can be a classroom project or encourage students to enter on their own. There are many young talented story tellers and writers in our region; let’s seek them out and get them involved. This contest is open to students in grades 3-12. Contest rules and guidelines must be followed for a chance to be one of the top three place winners. The top place winners will be invited to an Awards Ceremony in April. The submission deadline is January 20, 2017. Students will have plenty of time over holiday breaks to use their imagination to and get creative.

More information on our website!
Science and Nature Conference

The Science & Nature Conference will be held on May 10 at Southwest Minnesota State University. This conference is for students in grades K-8. The keynote is Steve Belliveau, Getting Excited about Science, from Wisconsin. Our goal is to stimulate the interest of science during interactive sessions on science related topics; such as rocket building, geocaching, be a vet, crime scene, technology and much more. More information will be available mid-February.

More information on our website!
Information from the University of Minnesota Extension

The University of Minnesota Extension and Children,Youth & Family Consortium are hosting a Lessons from the Field event on "Meeting the Needs of Our Transgender Youth" at several locations across the state January - May 2017. The workshops are designed for parents, educators, and professionals who work with families and youth. Topics to be addressed include:
  • Challenges that face rural and urban transgender youth and families. 
  • Definitions and vocabulary about transgender youth, including how terms show up in everyday interactions.  
  • Standards of practice for professionals who work with transgender youth. 
  • The stages of development for transgender youth, as well as how the medical system and mental health community care for them. 
  • How communities can support families and families can support their transgender youth. 
  • Nutrition and body image for transitioning youth.
  • Mental health as a public health issue.
The workshops will be held in Andover (1/24/17), Bemidji (1/26/17), Minneapolis (2/28/17), Morris (4/25/17), St. Cloud (5/2/17) and Rochester (5/15/17). Visit their webpage for more information and to register.
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