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  • 14 Oct 2019 7:42 AM | Anne Zaslofsky (Administrator)

    On behalf of the MSPA board, it is our pleasure to wish you a happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day. On this day, MSPA encourages its members to take time to reflect on and appreciate the past and present of our First Nation people of the United States.

    Photo credit to the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community

  • 23 Sep 2019 12:33 PM | Anne Zaslofsky (Administrator)

    Great Read Aloud on an Important Topic

    Jitterbug, the chipmunk, wakes up anxious and determined to discover what has changed in her idyllic forest home. As she visits friends, discovers The Someone New, and hears his story, the reader gets a peek into the chipmunk’s worries. I admire the decision to give the reader so much insight into the Jitterbug’s anxiety. The ever-escalating “quiver in her tummy,” along with EG Keller’s brilliantly expressive illustrations, make it easy to relate to Jitterbug’s very real struggle. What a great opportunity to talk about the importance of listening to and examining feelings, with an awareness that fear sometimes hijacks logical thinking.

    Great picture books tell important stories to people of all ages. Young children will immediately recognize The Someone New as their new classmate. Older children might imagine The Someone New as a new classmate, but also a new family member or teacher. Others will reflect on The Someone New and think of someone who is new to our country, seeking a better, safer life. No matter the age, the ideal that “kindness is stronger than fear,” is one we can all aspire to.

  • 18 Sep 2019 8:24 AM | Anne Zaslofsky (Administrator)

    Conclusion: "All of the federally permissible approaches have challenges. Across all of them, eligibility determinations can be arbitrary due to ineffective implementation or rigid cut scores."

  • 30 Aug 2019 2:54 PM | Anne Zaslofsky (Administrator)
    Press Release Minnesota Department of Education

    For Immediate Release

    Contact: Emily Bisek


    August 29, 2019

    Previous Announcements

    Commissioner Ricker: ‘The state of our students is promising’

    New State of Our Students report, compiling multiple data points, including 2019 North Star results, reveals promising, comprehensive picture of Minnesota students

    ROSEVILLE, MN — Today, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) released the State of Our Students report, a first-of-its-kind compilation of multiple data, including 2019 accountability data from the North Star accountability system. North Star data in the report show that no new schools are identified for support under the 2019 North Star data, beyond schools already receiving support from MDE.

    “The state of our students is promising, and it’s up to us to meet their promise with our support,” said Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker. “Too often, we condense our students down to one single data point, which eliminates everything about our students that make them who they are. By looking at a broader collection of data side-by-side, we can easily see the many things we have to celebrate about our students and the best strategies to support them to reach their full potential. My promise to our students is to continue seeing their strengths, persist alongside them and tackle the barriers that stand in their way.”

    The State of Our Students report finds:

    • The number of American Indian students taking the ACT has more than doubled since 2014.
    • ACT participation increased 70 percent for black students between 2014 and 2018.
    • 70 percent of black high school graduates enrolled in higher education within 16 months of graduation.
    • 76.3 percent of Hispanic students graduated high school in seven years.
    • Minnesota’s English learners speak 226 different languages all together.
    • The four-year graduation rate for students concentrating in Career and Technical Education (CTE), students completing 240 CTE course hours within one career field, is 92 percent.
    • 83.2 percent of all Minnesota students graduated high school in four years, the highest rate on record.
    • 62.8 percent of students with disabilities were educated in a general education classroom for at least 80 percent of their day.

    “The way we use data influences the decisions that we make. By looking at a more complete picture of our students, I am dedicated to find ways to best serve every student,” said Commissioner Ricker. “The State of Our Students report clearly tells me that our students take advantage of every opportunity brought to them. When we open the doors, our students bust through them. Our students’ potential, and their determination to succeed, is more than ambitious—it is promising for our future and meeting their ambition with our support that will turn Minnesota into the Education State.”

    The report shows that persistent gaps between student groups remain largely the same from 2018 to 2019.  For American Indian students, 57.6 percent consistently attended at least 90 percent of school days, compared to 78.8 percent of Hispanic students and 91.3 percent of Asian students.  2019 math achievement rates dipped slightly for all students in 2019, with rates for each individual student group following suit. Reading achievement rates held steady from 2018 to 2019, and gaps between student groups remained much the same.

    “Gaps needs to be closed,” said Commissioner Ricker. “Minnesota students face gaps in learning, housing, household income, health and more. That’s why I’m committed to finding ways to serve the whole child, so all children have the support they need to succeed in the classroom. If we keep doing the same things, we will keep getting the same results. I am committed to reimagining what education can be in the state of Minnesota. And that includes resisting the urge to rely on test scores as our sole indicator of progress.”

    North Star Accountability System

    The State of Our Students Report includes an update on Minnesota’s North Star accountability system launched in 2018 to identify schools for support. The North Star accountability system was developed over recent years in partnership with thousands of Minnesotans and dozens of community organizations to satisfy and align requirements of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the state’s World’s Best Workforce law (WBWF).

    North Star uses data from the five key indicators — achievement and progress on state reading and math tests over time, progress toward English language proficiency, graduation rates and consistent attendance. Under the system, the state is better able to identify schools that consistently perform at high levels across multiple domains and schools that need support in reaching their goals. The five indicators expand the use of data beyond test scores.


    View an Excel file containing North Star accountability data, including achievement and progress on state reading and math tests over time, progress toward English language proficiency, graduation rates and consistent attendance.

    Parents and community members can review a variety of data points, including North Star data for schools and districts, by visiting the Minnesota Report Card. Visitors to the site will find information about schools recognized for excellence or prioritized for support. The report card includes a narrative provided directly from the local school as well as information about all schools and districts, including North Star results, staffing data, preschool participation, rigorous course-taking patterns and more. To comply with federal laws, changes have been made in the Minnesota report card to protect the identity of students. Data reported on less than 10 students in a category will no longer be available in the assessment reports on the Minnesota Report Card.

  • 21 Jul 2019 1:07 PM | Anne Zaslofsky (Administrator)

    It's NASP's belated PPI Virtual Hill Day (July 17)! Please join school psychologists on the Hill today in advocating for effective, evidence-based school safety policy by taking just *two minutes* to write to your legislators at this link (

    You can find some sample tweets/social media posts in this document. And, don't forget to use the hashtag #NASPadvocates and tag your representatives! You may also find the resources on our comprehensive school safety critical issue page (especially the key messages resources) helpful in your message development efforts, as well as our Policy Playbook (available to members only).

  • 5 Jun 2019 12:46 PM | Anne Zaslofsky (Administrator)

    Hello MSPA Members,

    The Minnesota Departments of Human Services and Management and Budget are looking to partner with school districts or collaboratives of schools to offer a social emotional learning-based curriculum for middle schoolers to promote positive mental health and prevent substance use. Programming would start in fall 2020. The state will cover the costs to implement the curriculum for four years (from school year 2020-21 to 2023-24), including staff training and reimbursement of teacher or substitute training time, curriculum materials, and technical assistance.

    Apply now at:

    Only a limited number of schools can be supported, so districts are encouraged to complete the application as early as July 15, 2019. As soon as districts apply, state staff will schedule a site visit. The application is expected to officially remain open until November 15, but the state may close the application process earlier depending on the number of applicants.

    The curriculum, called Life Skills Training (LST), is offered to middle school students over three consecutive years (6th-8th or 7th-9th grade). It works by helping to developstudents’ social and self-management skills. The curriculum is flexible and can be taught in a range of different existing courses, including health, physical education, home room, foundational courses, etc. LST is also aligned with CASEL’s five social emotional learning competencies (SEL) and may be beneficial for schools looking to implement evidence-based SEL models.  

    If you have questions or want to learn more, please email Lindsey Thompson at

  • 10 May 2019 3:20 PM | Anne Zaslofsky (Administrator)

    Please join the executive committee in congratulations and welcome to our newest board members

    Annie Mitty

    Victoria Balfany

    Ann Zaslofsky

    Damian Smith

    Dr. Sally Baas

    Sandy Pulles

    Tony Levinskas

    Kim Adams 

    We had a large slate of candidates and a competitive race.  We are so excited to see such passion around the good works of MSPA.

  • 9 May 2019 10:57 AM | Anne Zaslofsky (Administrator)

    New Prague Area Schools is currently seeking a School Psychologist to begin the 2019/2020 school year. 

    Position begins August 13, 2019

    Job Summary:

    Conduct comprehensive psycho-educational evaluations; consult with school personnel and parents regarding planning, implementing, and evaluating individual and group interventions; and function as a member of the building-based intervention team in providing appropriate services and supports to students.

    Qualifications required:

    • Appropriate licensure for School Psychologist issued by the Minnesota Department of Education.
    • Knowledge in research-based Best Practices.
    • Ability to work effectively and cooperatively with multidisciplinary teams.

    Qualifications preferred:

    • Experience developing behavioral interventions.
    • Experience working in a school setting or working with children ages preK through 18.
    • Experience administering intellectual, social/emotional, adaptive behavior, and other norm-referenced instruments.


    • Conferring, advising, problem-solving with individuals and groups regarding educational, behavioral, and mental health concerns relating to specific students or to systems-level (school-specific or district-wide) problems
    • Developing prevention strategies to reduce the occurrence of problems
    • Participate in and conduct trainings for district staff on aspects of problem solving including data collection and positive behavioral supports
    • Assist school staff in the identification of students with disabilities ages birth through 21 through participation in intervention activities, child study committees, and consultation activities
    • Planning appropriate assessment and reassessment procedures for students.
    • Administer and interpret formal and informal assessment including parents, teacher, and student interviews, observation in the classroom and other settings to support evaluation results
    • Assist school staff with due process procedures including eligibility requirements, parent rights, and record keeping.

    New Prague Area Schools is a consistently growing district of 4,000 students, Pre K through 12.  The district is located about 45 miles southwest of the Twin Cities.  The district serves the students and community members of the New Prague, Elko New Market, northern Lonsdale areas, as well as several other communities.  The district offers a small-town quality of life with easy access to the conveniences of a major metropolitan area. I.S.D. 721 is an equal opportunity employer.

    Please apply online at

  • 7 May 2019 11:19 AM | Anne Zaslofsky (Administrator)

    FULL TIME (1.0 FTE) SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST - DISTRICTWIDE                                      
    Job Description:  Faribault Public Schools seeks a school psychologist commencing with the start of the 2019-20 school year.  Faribault school psychologists work as part of innovative, professional, and collaborative teams. They are valued team members and have the opportunity to work on special education evaluations, individual student consultation and problem solving, and serve as a resource for staff.

    There are a number of unique features to this position:

    • Digital administration of intellectual assessments
    • Digital behavior assessment tools
    • Work in a collaborative and supportive team approach
    • Monthly collaboration meetings with other school psychologists and Special Education leadership
    • District pays for annual attendance to MSPA Midwinter Conference
    • Intern supervision available by Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP)
    • Interns receive full pay and benefits per Teacher contract
    • Clerical support for mailings and scheduling meetings
    • Diverse and unique student population
    • School psychologists are leaders for elementary Problem Solving Teams
    • Work collaboratively with Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)
    • Teacher contract offers pay on Ed.S/ Ph.D. lane
    • PBIS initiatives in several buildings
    • Comp time for required meetings outside contract hours

    In addition to a supportive and collaborative professional environment, the town of Faribault has a number of unique characteristics: 

    • District Eligible for Federal Loan Forgiveness
    • District Eligible for Perkins Loan Teacher Cancellation
    • Commutable from Twin Cities, right off I35
    • Centrally located and driving distance within an hour of Mankato, Rochester, Twin Cities
    • Lots of lakes and good fishing
    • New downtown revitalization project
    • Small town feel with many restaurants & recreational opportunities

    Licensure:   Licensed by MDE as a “Full-Time School Psychologist” or as a “Limited Full-Time School Psychologist”.  Professional supervision by a Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) is available for applicants provided they meet licensure requirements. 

    Application procedure:        Apply online at:

    Application deadline:          Open until filled

  • 3 May 2019 3:15 PM | Anne Zaslofsky (Administrator)

    Hosted by Minnesota Dept. of Education:

    Intelligent Lives Film Screening and Panel Discussion

    Champions across Minnesota, involved in advancing opportunities for people with disabilities, engaged in a film screening and a panel discussion to continue to move us forward with providing increased options and supports for individuals and communities.

    Through collective efforts across many agencies, we were fortunate to host a screening in Minnesota of Intelligent Lives, a documentary by award-winning filmmaker Dan Habib. Intelligent Lives stars three pioneering young American adults with intellectual disabilities who challenge perceptions of intelligence as they try to navigate high school, college and the workforce. Dan presented the documentary at South High School in Minneapolis on Tuesday evening, April 30th which had approximately 250 people in attendance.  The screening was free and open to the public. The attendees included:

    • ·         Educators
    • ·         students in k-12 systems
    • ·          Institutes of Higher Education and their students
    • ·         Parents
    • ·         Advocates
    • ·         Community members
    • ·         State Agencies (MDE, DHS, DEED)

    There was a panel discussion following the film to highlight positive connections to efforts that are happening here in Minnesota to impact the lives of people with disabilities. The panel included:

    ·         Jeremiah Green is a Minneapolis Graduate of North High School (class of 2018). Jeremiah has spoken to many groups about his experiences as a black male with an EBD label in special education.

    ·         Dustin Anderson is 33, an Eagle Scout, and has two learning disabilities and ADHD. Dustin is a SAM (Self Advocacy MN) liaison and leadership representative, he is on the board of United Way of Sherburne County, an Olmstead Academy graduate, and a Partners in Policy Making graduate.

    ·         Bonnie Jean Smith is a parent who advocates for persons and families with different abilities to help them gain independence and become self-determined, integrated and included members of their communities, through collaboration

    ·         Nathan Barclay is a 24-year-old self-taught musician from St. Paul, Minnesota. Nathan has been playing piano since the age of five, and has learned how to play over 60 songs by ear, memorization, and practice.

    ·         Kevin Arriaza is 24 years old and lives in Northeast Minneapolis with his parents and his brother. Upon completion of the Project SEARCH program in June of 2016, Kevin was hired as a Hospital Service Technician 1 in HCMC’s Supply Chain Department.

    There was a collaborative discussion held on the morning of Wednesday, May 1st to discuss the next steps to move Minnesota forward in improving the opportunities and systems for individuals living in our state, which was attended by 65 people. This panel discussion will be the catalyst for collaboration between many organizations throughout the state to advance education, employment and housing opportunities for people living with disabilities in Minnesota. This event was from 9:00AM – 11:30AM at the John B. Davis Education Center in Minneapolis. The panel included:

    • ·         Sean Sieleni is a 2018 High School Graduate. Sean’s parents helped him navigate the MN Growth Through Opportunity (GTO) police cadet program where he became the first graduate of the program after 16 weeks.
    • ·         Jade Smith began attending Bethel’s BUILD (Bethel University Integrated Learning and Development) program after high school graduation in 2016.
    • ·         Quinn Meyer is a licensed school psychologist in the state of Minnesota. Quinn works with students with varying needs who receive highly individualized programming that focuses on developing appropriate social, academic, functional, and academic skills.
    • ·          Jason Backes has been the Principal of Transition Plus for the past 3 years in MPS, serving students 18-21 yrs old.
    • ·         Dr. Mary Lindell has been a champion for improving inclusive outcomes for people with and without disabilities throughout her 30 year career.
    • ·         Alex Bartolic is the director of Disability Services at the MN Department of Human Services.
    • ·         Eric Kloos is the Assistant Director for the Division of Special Education at the Minnesota Department of Education.
    • ·         Barb Ziemke is the Co-director of PACER’s National Parent Center on Transition and Employment, an innovative project that puts families at the center as youth with disabilities navigate the path to education, work and life after high school.

    The collaborative partners included for this project included:

    • ·         PACER CENTER
    • ·         Metro ECSU
    • ·         Minnesota Department of Education
    • ·         The University of Minnesota Institute of Community Integration
    • ·         Minneapolis Public Schools
    • ·         Bethel University
    • ·         The Arc of Minnesota
    • ·         Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota  
    • ·         Minnesota School Psychology Association

    Information on the film Intelligent Lives  can be found at

    Information on the Transition Films can be found at

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