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          October 2014

Nominate A Teacher for a WEM Outstanding Educator Award:  The WEM Outstanding Educator Award program honors educators in four areas:  Teacher Achievement, Academic Challenge Coach, Ethics in Education, and Excellence in Education.  To learn more or to nominate a teacher, visit Synergy & Leadership Exchange.
Gathering of Champions Logo Design Contest:    In our Back to School Issue, we listed those schools who nominated students for the Gathering of Champions held each August at the Mall of America.  Each year, Synergy & Leadership Exchange holds a logo design contest for this event.  Click the image to learn more--and share the information with your students. 

Minnesota Scholars of Distinction: 
The Minnesota Scholars of Distinction program nurtures and recognizes distinguished achievement by highly motivated self-directed students. Each award area was developed through partnerships of educators, the business community and others. To earn this recognition, students must complete required work in the Minnesota Academic Standards, demonstrate mastery of complex subject matter and apply their knowledge to challenging projects. Students may pursue one or more area of focus in any or all years of their K-12 education. Scholars of Distinction awards may be earned in the following areas:

         Leadership                Mathematics               Science

         Social Studies             Theater Arts  

         Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM)

All students who wish to apply for a Scholar of Distinction Award in Leadership, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies or STEM must complete the Intent to Apply. Read the Program Overview and Rubric documents for each award area for guidance in completing and submitting projects. The Theater Arts overview outlines how the application process is different for that subject area.

*Schools with student enrollment of up to 2,500 may submit up to six applicants per award category.  

*Schools with student enrollment of 2,501-4,000 may submit up to nine applicants per award category.  

In the event the number of students interested in awards exceeds the proportional allotment per category, the school will be required to determine which applications will move forward for award consideration. Schools required to select applicants must complete the 2015 Scholars of Distinction Nomination List by March 5, 2015.  For more information, contact Wendy Behrens at 651-582-87867 or    

Administrative Programs & Services

Science Safety and Chemical Hygiene Officer Training:  Join us on December 12th for a 1/2 day course with Stephen Vopatek (presenting via ITV)  that covers science safety, best practices, and chemical hygiene. Vopatek has 43 years' experience teaching chemistry at both the high school and college level. For the past 10 years, he has been providing professional assistance to educational institutions in the areas of chemical hygiene and OSHA compliance.  Science instructors are encouraged to attend.  This course will provide very practical ideas, tools and information to assist you in managing the safety risks in the science classroom.  The workshop runs from 8:30am - 12:30pm.  The cost is $35 for H&S Management Assistance Subscribers;  $70 for others.  Morning refreshments, training materials, and CEUs are included in the registration fee.  Topics covered include: Chemical Hygiene Officer Monthly Planner, Regulatory Requirements for the Laboratory, NEW Chemical Labeling System/Safety Data Sheets, Best Practices & Standard Operating Procedures, Lab Safety Equipment (Types, Use, Care, Storage), Personal Protective Equipment (Types, Use, Care, Storage), Chemical Spills and Disposal, and Emergency Procedures (Fire, Spills, Etc.).  Register here.  


Homeless Children and Youth Data Survey 2013-2014:  This is a reminder that each year MDE reports data to fulfill requirements of the USDE Consolidated State Performance Report (CSPR) for each federal Title program. Public school districts and charter schools receiving Title I dollars are required to submit data regarding homeless children and youth. The data submitted must be consistent with data submitted in MARSS and the MARSS WES 51 report which includes nighttime primary residence and other data. Even if you did not report any homeless children during the 13-14 year this survey needs to be completed.  Survey linkThe survey is due by the end of the business day on October 30, 2014. The district or charter school Title I homeless liaison should submit the survey after consulting with the MARSS coordinator and other personnel as necessary. Questions? Contact Roberto Reyes (651-582-8302).


This is IT2 2015 Reminders:  Our Annual Technology Conference will take place on March 5 and 6, 2015 at the Pipestone Area Schools in Pipestone. The conference will kick-off at 4:00 PM on Thursday, March 5 with our Pre-Conference Workshops and continue on Friday, March 6 with the main conference. For the past 8 years, our Technology Conference has brought local and nationally recognized education technology talent into the spotlight for all types of audiences in education including teachers and administrators alike. This year, our conference will be moving to Pipestone Area Schools to accommodate a necessary timeframe change to allow for administrators to attend both the MASA Conference as well as This is IT2! Watch for more details in the coming weeks as our applications for presenters and session announcements are made.


School Safety and Security Training:  Friday, October 24th from 8am - 3:30pm.  This one-day training will cover:  *Multi-Hazard Emergency Planning for Schools and Entrance Access and Visitor Control    *Facility Safe School Self-Assessment    *The Art of De-Escalation  *Threat Assessment in Schools
Location:  SW/WC Service Cooperative, 1420 East College Drive, Marshall
Educational Programs & Services
Project SEARCH:  Make plans to attend the informational meeting scheduled for November 12th in Marshall to learn more about how Project SEARCH can work for you and your students.  If you would like more information about Project Search Transition High School, please contact Tish Kalla, Director of Alternative Programs, 507-215-1593.

MDE Special Education Funding Workshop:  George Holt from MDE will be coming to SMSU in Marshall on November 7th to give an overview of the new special education funding formula and answer any questions participants may have.  For registration information, click here. 

Jobs For Tomorrow:  By the year 2020, fully 74% of all the jobs in Minnesota will require some postsecondary education. Approximately, half of these jobs will require a bachelor's degree or beyond; over half will require a certificate, diploma or associate's degree.  The well-paying jobs in Minnesota - the jobs needed to sustain families and lift people out of poverty - will all require some postsecondary education. Without a well-educated workforce, Minnesota will not be able to compete globally, threatening the economic vitality of communities across our state. (Source: Pathways to Postsecondary 2.0)
2013-14 SW/WC Student Enrichment Highlights
    Click to watch the 2013-14 Student
          Enrichment Highlights Video!

     Student Enrichment Activity Dates
       Be part of next year's highlight video!

     Conference for Young Writers - January 7

        Culinary Skills Challenge - March 31

      Science and Nature Conference - May 13

Southwest Prairie Regional Center of Excellence 
There are many different activities and trainings being offered through the Regional Center of Excellence, including: Transition to Postsecondary Education and Employment Toolkit (PSST), Dropout Prevention Toolkit:  MEIRS, and Planning for Students' Success Student Learning Goals Workshop Series.

Stay up to date with RCE news and events at  For more information, contact Melany Wellnitz, Director, at

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