Coordinator's Corner

News from MDE - Early Learning Services

We hope your 2017-18 school year is off to a great start!
Below are some helpful updates from your colleagues in early learning at MDE. See the MDE Contacts tab if you need to reach us. We welcomed a new addition to our staff in Early Learning Services and said goodbye to three colleagues. Maggie Airiess, Lisa Barnidge, and Jessica Mattson left MDE for new opportunities. Replacing all three is Jon Vaupel. Just kidding! Jon is working on the Kindergarten Entry Profile (KEP). See the Old News tab for previous updates.

Annual Reminder: Contact Lists (make sure your contact information is correct)
There are usually a number of coordinator changes over the summer. Email is our official method of communicating with you. If you are the coordinator or official contact for an early childhood program, please make sure your contact information is listed in MDE-ORG. Go to the Data-Submissions-to-MDE page for more information, or this page on the MDE website
Please make sure your contact information is accurate in the ELS Directory too.

Available: State Negotiated Early Childhood Online Assessment Rates
The Minnesota Department of Education offers state-negotiated rates for early childhood online assessment tools. Rates are available statewide to school districts, charter schools, Head Start programs and - in some cases- nonprofit or government affiliated child care centers. Online assessment tools include three Kindergarten Entry Profile approved tools and one that is being piloted: Teaching Strategies Gold ($10.95 per child), Formative Assessment System for Children ($6.00 per child), COR Advantage ($9.95 per child) and the Work Sampling System ($10.00 per child). To learn more and access this opportunity read the memo from the Minnesota Department of Education. Contact Amanda Varley at su.nm.etats|SLE.EDM#su.nm.etats|SLE.EDM with questions.

Early Childhood Administration
There is a new tool for those who administer/coordinate early childhood programs. It is called the Knowledge and Competency Framework for Early Childhood Administrators. More information can be found on this page Leadership-Administration. Please check out this new tool and discuss it with your regional networking group.

Early Childhood Family Education
Are you in the process of completing your Community Needs Assessment (CNA)? When submitting your CNA for the Annual Report, approach it like a School Board member or legislator is reading it. A good source of data for your CNA is the EC Longitudinal Data System. More information and resources are on the ECFE-Needs-Assessment page.

2018 Parenting Education Symposium Focusing on the parent and family education workforce. Click here for event website.

Early Childhood Longitudinal Data System (ECLDS)
Reminder to utilize this great resource: Click Here for ECLDS

Early Childhood Screening
Are you a new coordinator or screener? Short online training videos and find other helpful resources:
The next Early Childhood Screening free, live training will be offered Wednesday, April 4, 2018, at MDE in Roseville. Registration information will be posted soon.

Early Learning Scholarships - Pathway II
Overview webinars are now available on the Minnesota Department of Education website to help you implement early learning scholarships. Please also refer to the Early Learning Scholarships Guide as a resource. A couple of reminders:

  • Be sure to award FY2018 dollars early, 100% of funds must be awarded by June 30, 2018. Early awarding results in more flexibility with managing funds.
  • Please ensure your school district is on track to spend down fiscal year 2017 dollars by June 30, 2018, while children are still actively receiving awards.
  • Finally, make sure you have staff in approved roles in the Early Learning Scholarship Administration System (ELSA).

As always, send any questions to su.nm.etats|IIyawhtaP.EDM#su.nm.etats|IIyawhtaP.EDM. ELSA specific questions should go to su.nm.etats|ASLE.EDM#su.nm.etats|ASLE.EDM.

Early Learning Standards
Revised Early Childhood Indicators of Progress: Minnesota’s Early Learning Standards (ECIPs)
Click Here or

Family Engagement Professional Learning Modules
A new professional learning tool is now available for districts.
Go to the Family Engagement page on the parenting education wiki.

Knowledge and Competencies for Early Childhood Administrators
Hopefully everyone has completed their 2016-17 Regional Networking Group project. We really need your real-world experience to help generate competencies. When complete, this will be a valuable tool for coordinators (it will help with professional development, planning, recognition of complexity of the role of coordinators, etc.).
More information on the project is also on the regional networking group page.
Mike will gather and refine information. Then, along with coordinators, we will meet in late June to go through each indicator. Hope to get first draft of document to the field this fall.

Legislative Updates
A new School Readiness Plus program created for FY 18 and FY 19 only.

Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) allowance remains linked to General Education formula allowance.

  • ECFE allowance increases from $139.54 to $142.32 for FY 18 and $145.18 for FY 19 and later due to formula allowance increase.

New Coordinators
You will notice that there is a "New Coordinators" tab on this page. The goal for this tab is to provide information for new coordinators that will give them a useful introduction to the roles and responsibilities of early childhood coordinators. Determining what should be included on this tab is challenging, especially if we want to avoid overwhelming people who are brand new to their position. If you have any feedback/suggestions on what should be included (e.g., what is the most important information for new coordinators?), please let me know (su.nm.etats|nworb.p.ekim#su.nm.etats|nworb.p.ekim).

Parent Aware
Maintaining your rating is required to receive Early Learning Scholarship dollars. Parent Aware applications, renewals and addendums will now be administered by the Department of Human Services with some technical assistance from the Department of Education. A brief webinar on Parent Aware Rating is available on the Minnesota Department of Education website. Resources for maintaining your Parent Aware Rating are found on We will also offer monthly open office hours from noon-1:00 the first Thursday of every month for programs to ask questions. Any questions should be directed to su.nm.etats|EDM.erawAtneraP#su.nm.etats|EDM.erawAtneraP.

Professional Learning Opportunities
PreK-3 Principal Leadership Series - Cohort 4 - Begins October 30, 2017
School Readiness coordinators often attend on Days 1 and 5. Tremendous feedback from early childhood folks who have participated. Register with a principal!
Go to the MESPA website to register, or click here.
More information about PreK-3 and the website for the series is on the MN PreK-3rd Grade website. Click here for Principal Leadership Series page.

Building PreK-3 Systems: Alignment to Coherence - Starts October 4, 2017
With Joanne Quinn, based on her work and book with Michael Fullan, Coherence: The Right Drivers in Action for Schools, Districts, and Systems.
Go to the MESPA website to register, or click here.
More information about PreK-3 and the website for the series is on the MN PreK-3rd Grade website. Click here for Coherence page.

School Readiness
The School Readiness Program Plan is no longer required. Instead, similar requirements were added to World's Best Workforce. More information on how to include this in your World's Best Workforce plan are forthcoming. In the meantime, see this page of the MDE website:

You will find this document, World’s Best Workforce Goal #1: All Children Ready for School Writing Goals and Strategies to be helpful. Please note the agreed upon expectations of school readiness, designed to highlight children’s right to enter kindergarten:

  • Child is at least five years of age by September 1 of the child’s enrollment year (Minnesota Statutes, section 120A.20).
  • Child has received early childhood screening (Minnesota Statutes, section121A.17).
  • Child has received medically acceptable immunizations (Minnesota Statutes, section121A.15).

Please let Mike (su.nm.etats|nworb.p.ekim#su.nm.etats|nworb.p.ekim) know if your district has included a biennial School Readiness plan (describing how your program meets the School Readiness program requirements in MN statutes) in your district's WBWF plan. We are not monitoring, but want to identify examples to highlight.

Software Survey
The Regional Information Leads need two minutes of time from the person who works most closely with the child and family software for your district. The Regional Information Leads would like to have a better understanding of who is using which software in order to better provide support.

Please take two minutes to complete this survey by October 31, 2017.

Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten