July 2020

Welcome to July, which has always been one of my favorite months of the year.  As a family we usually take full advantage of the 4th of July holiday surrounded by several days of vacation typically traveling or spending time camping at the lake.  We appreciate the long summer days and time with friends and family.  In the midst of a pandemic, this year was not all that much different.  We did get a chance to get away, set down the cellphones, play, reflect and recharge. 

Professionally, we’re kicking off a new fiscal year.  I can’t tell you over the course of my career how many times I’ve been asked, “You must get the summer off since you work with schools?”  Umm no, this is actually the start of our busiest time of the year.  Your Business Office staff are constantly juggling closing up a prior fiscal year, preparing for audits, filing pertinent documents, completing mandated reporting all the while working to start up a new year.  Oh and of course this year we have COVID and all the reporting challenges associated with that.  If you wanted to show your appreciation to that team, now is the time!

The team at cmERDC has been working hard to help your schools prepare for next school year in whatever form that may take.  Our Purchasing and Tech team has done some thorough testing on a Thermal Temperature Scanning device that cmERDC has procured for our member districts, there is additional information below.  Our SMART Team continues to find creative and innovative ways to engage and support our customers.  The Learning Solutions team is laser focused on ensuring we are providing meaningful and useful products that integrate with one another.  And our copier department continues to implement Papercut, a print management solution.   

Please take some time for yourself, reflect on this past year, establish some personal and professional goals, and safely get out an enjoy what MN summers have to offer.   

As always, we are here to support you! 

Tracey

Click a section below for news and updates.

Help Meeting Health Related Needs for the Coming School Year

As many of us have found, the availability and cost for items as simple as hand-sanitizer has created a frustrating sourcing journey over the past several months. 

While high demand continues to dictate price on personal protective equipment, sanitizers and cleaners, for the moment, we are seeing some increase in availability. 

With the lingering uncertainty of how this pandemic’s impact will affect the delivery of learning this fall, cmERDC’s Cooperative Purchasing Team continues to work on avenues for the supply of products and services to assist in your back to school safe plan. 

Through our supply-partner network and our own volume purchasing distribution process, cmERDC can help you with your needs ranging from face coverings to touchless sanitizer dispensers to disinfecting sprayers to high intensity UVC light disinfecting. 

One of those products, the Goodview Dynamic Detection Device, performs facial thermal temperature scans and optional mask recognition in 1-2 seconds.  Our technology team has recently completed testing and qualification of this product and we have negotiated aggressive pricing for cmERDC member districts.  You can learn more at: 

https://cmerdc.org/goodview-enterprise/  

Are there products or services you need sourcing help with?  Are there products and service needs that cmERDC could source in volume for use by multiple schools, ultimately driving down cost?

We’re here to help and would love to talk with you!

cmERDC Cooperative Purchasing Team 

purchasing@erdc.k12.mn.us 

320.202.0992 

 

Creating Education Reform During a Pandemic

A global pandemic is a scary and difficult thing to navigate.  Putting an entire educational system into the midst of it can seem like a down-right impossible mission.  This is one way to think about it.

But I believe we have an option for a different and more productive mindset.  What if this is creating an opportunity for real educational reform? Reform in how students learn and how teachers teach.  This is a real opportunity for educators to put the things we have been talking about for 20 years into practice. 

Enter the element of choice.

I propose an alternative solution to the 3 possible outcomes that everyone is planning for.  This alternative simply adds the element of choice to each of the possibilities. Give teachers choices in how they teach by utilizing their talents and passions.  Give families and students choices based on how the student best learns. These can be accomplished with careful planning and collective ideas.

cmERDC is offering to host and organize working groups; a leadership group and a teacher group centered around the idea of choice. We are pulling together resources and mentors to help guide discussions and work on solutions. 

Click here to read more about this idea in my recent blog post and if you are interested in joining us as we explore this path, you can join our communication list at the bottom of the post.

 

Sheilla Rindahl

Director of Digital Learning

cmERDC’s sister products, Viewpoint and Student Plans, integrated work this last school year with a few Viewpoint pilot districts to implement a Personalized Learning Plans (PLP) Module.

Personalized Learning Plan tools that are customizable, efficient and integrated help district and school teams by offering a way to write a support plan specific to student needs. When a PLP module is connected to a data warehouse, plans are easier to manage and data seamlessly flows between plans and reports.

Here are some types of PLP’s:

  • English Learner Plans
  • Intervention or MTSS Plans for Reading, Math, and Behavior
  • 504 Plans
  • Gifted Education Plans
  • Early Literacy Plans
  • College and Career Readiness Plans

Our team is gathering customer feedback so our products continue to be relevant to current educational needs.  We are excited and passionate about this new work we hope will save significant time for teachers and teams by connecting data, meaning, and action into one integrated module!

Click here to learn more about Student Plans or contact Kim Spudic with Student Plans related questions at (651) 286-8942.

Click here to learn more about Viewpoint or contact Mary McGrane with Viewpoint related questions at (651) 286-8952.

SIS Integration Services with Cloverleaf LMS

Your Learning Management System can be populated with data from your Student Information System.

SIS Integration Services with Cloverleaf LMS

Students, teachers, parents, course schedules, and enrollments are already in your student information system. Cloverleaf LMS is a data manipulation and transformation tool that will bridge the gap between your SIS and LMS to easily and quickly make your Moodle system ready for users.

Cloverleaf LMS works with many different SIS systems. It extracts data and transforms it into the correct format for Moodle, by creating:

  • Users and enrolling them with the appropriate roles,
  • Moodle courses based on designated templates and organized into categories,
  • A group in Moodle for each section of a course an instructor teaches, and
  • Assigning parents to students and enrolling them into the same courses with a special parent role to only view important information.

Cloverleaf LMS is a complete solution to the problem of initializing and maintaining Moodle. With flexible configuration and smart database update, it is a tool that finally makes Moodle usable for everyone, including the IT staff.

Click here to request more info or contact Sheilla Rindahl at (612) 286-8953

Improving Student Master of SEL Competencies:

As you know, teaching and improving student behavior is an important aspect of education.  While many districts have tools and systems in place for identifying at-risk students, they sometimes lack the tools to teach and monitor progress on important social emotional learning (SEL) skills.  Click here to visit the Minnesota Department of Education resource page for SEL implementation guidance.

Many states provide basic guidance and simple rubrics for identifying and measuring progress, but these often are missing the details that effectively break down each aspect of a specific behavior skill.  When these details are missing, understanding and communicating the necessary skill details to improve or master a skill is very difficult. 

Ten Sigma has created analytical, behavior skill rubrics, which break down social and emotional learning competencies into 3 main components:

  • The skill
  • Major criteria
  • Defining details

Ten Sigma behavior rubrics easily allow a teacher to identify when a student has mastered a specific detail, criteria, and/or the overall skill.  Knowing this is key in progress-monitoring and ongoing teaching of these important skills. 

Click here to watch a video explaining more about why using rubrics are necessary in general and special education for improving student behaviors and subsequently improving SEL competencies.

Click here to to learn more about Ten Sigma Behavior Rubrics for K-Adult and get a sample rubric.

If you have any questions about any of these resources, please email support@tensigma.org or contact Kim at (800) 657-3815.

SMART Systems Partnership with PlanSource Online Benefit Enrollment – UPDATE 

We had several districts express interest in piloting the integrated solution for managing benefits, and Annandale Public Schools has chosen to move forward with the integration. Connections between the two systems are being established for the exchange of data that will make employee benefit enrollment seamless.  When integration is complete, employees will be able to:

  • Access PlanSource through SMARTeR with a single login
  • See benefit information that is personalized to each employee
  • Complete their health, dental, and other insurance enrollments online

With our 20.1 SMART Systems Software release coming soon, Annandale and our other statewide pilot districts will be able to complete the necessary data entry and mapping to begin testing the exchange of files.

This exciting partnership will offer SMART Systems users reduced pricing with PlanSource for one-stop benefit enrollment for their employees.  This system is easy for employees to use and will save time for district staff by eliminating data entry in multiple systems and automating setup of employee deduction/benefit information within SMART HR. With the interface between SMART System and PlanSource, there will be enhancements to the SMART Systems software that will assist districts with benefit administration even for districts that choose not to use PlanSource’s enrollment system.

If you would like more information regarding the SMART/PlanSource interface, please contact Tracey Fiereck at (320) 257-1924.

A Message from the Human Resource Office at cmERDC

Can you believe we’re starting a new year already?  Fiscal Year 2020 has challenged us with Minnesota Wage Theft and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA); two HUGE pieces of law that have greatly impacted our school districts. Some of you may have completed your first round of wage statements last fall, others have chosen to wait until contracts settled, or until this upcoming fiscal year.  Now is the time that you should start working on wage statements.  Remember: anytime anything changes within the wage statement, you must provide a notice to your employees regarding the change that took place.  As we start a new year of salaries/hourly rates, we need to update the wage statement.  Joe will be providing our customers with review materials in the upcoming weeks.  Please contact us if you need further assistance.

Along with wage statements are the requirements for tracking your communication regarding updated policies.  If your district has a schedule for updating district policies, be sure you’re following the MN Wage Theft law to ensure you’re handling it properly.  I’m imagining after things settle down a bit with the COVID-19 pandemic, we may see more MN Department of Labor Wage Theft audits.  For questions, be sure to contact us at cmERDC.

In regards to the FFCRA, we anticipate many employees having concerns about returning to work.  This anxiety needs to be taken seriously as it may be affecting our employees’ mental health.  Please be sure to recognize that it may fall under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and/or it may fall under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Be sure to have open communication with your staff and work on resolutions together that are beneficial to both the employee and the district.  If you have situations you’d like to run by us, we’re here to help!

Cheers to an “uneventful” FY 2021!

Kelsie Herzog
Human Resources

Tech Tip: How to Password Protected Zip Files

1.    Before proceeding please review these instructions with your technology team to ensure it complies with any computer policies/restrictions that may be in place at your district.

2.    Go to https://www.7-zip.org/ to download the appropriate 7-zip program for your computer system and then install it.
3.    Once installed right click the file you want to send and select 7-Zip -> Add to archive…

4.    Change the format to zip, enter a password in the Encryption area, and click OK:

5.    It is now safe to email the zipped file but do not send the password with the file.

Viewpoint Customer Success Story:

“At Foley Public Schools, we utilize Viewpoint to evaluate the effectiveness of our programming, student growth, and staff instructional strategies.  Specifically, we have used Viewpoint to help us determine the effectiveness of our summer instructional programming across the district and have made use of comparative tools in Viewpoint to predict MCA performance by comparing independent standardized assessment scores with past performance on Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments.  Viewpoint makes this process less labor intensive which allows us opportunities to better evaluate and interpret the data we have.”

Submitted by Paul Neubauer, Superintendent Foley Public Schools

Click below to see recent newsletters.

April 2020

This newsletter focuses on news and resources from cmERDC to support educators as they face the challenges related to Covid 19 and distant learning requirements.

January 2020

Welcome to 2020, a new year and a new decade. Our newsletters will share updates, resources, and increase awareness of ways we help organizations and students.

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