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          November 2014


Open House at the Belview Learning Center!
  Join us on December 17th for a tour and to learn more about our program.  Click here for more details!

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
Administrative Programs & Services
Cooperative Purchasing News:  A new quote request feature has been added to the Express.   This is a great way to receive a quote from several of our technology vendors for large or custom orders. Contact us at or to find out more about the quote request feature now available in the Express.  

Also now available is a resource for SMART Finance Express users -- the SMART Systems Information Center. To access the SMART Systems Information Center, go to and click the link under the Site Shortcuts on the left side of the page.   If you haven't tried shopping in the Express yet, contact Shareen or Christine to find out how the Express can simplify your shopping experience.


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.  


This is IT2 2015:  Our Annual Technology Conference will be March 5 and 6, 2015 at the Pipestone Area Schools in Pipestone. The conference will kick-off at 4pm 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!   

Proposals for Breakout Session and Pre-Conference Workshops are now being accepted!  Do you have an idea to share and explore, or new technology that is revolutionizing your classroom?  This is IT2 2015 is the perfect opportunity to present your story to your peers from across the three-state region. Presenters at our Pre-Conference and Conference will earn complimentary admission to This is IT2 2015 on March 6, 2015! We welcome and encourage team-lead sessions, but please note that only one presenter per session will be offered complimentary admission to This is IT2 2015.  For full conference details and to submit your presentations, visit our conference website:  Proposals are due by December 12th.

Educational Programs & Services

Conference of Young Artists:  The conference drew a record crowd this year, with over 1,200 participants from 34 districts. Thirty-three presenters shared their knowledge and skills through hands on breakout sessions, following the amazing REZA, who captured the audience's attention through his dynamic illusions.


Career and Tech Ed:  Discussions continue to take place around the region regarding how districts can potentially collaborate to provide a center-based approach around Career and Technical Education, to meet student needs for both college and career readiness.  


Content Area Professional Development Opps:  Several content area professional development opportunities have taken place and been well-received by participants. On October 22, regional K-12 Social Studies educators came together so spend a day reviewing their current curriculum, discussing and sharing best practices, and looking at ways to integrate technology into their instruction and student learning. Area Science teachers followed this same format on November 13. FACS teachers met on November 18th, and business teachers will have their annual meeting on December 11. These two content areas come together through our Perkins Consortium, but districts outside of the consortium are welcome to attend.


ACT News:  ACT will be presenting at SW/WC SC on November 20. They will give an overview of current testing requirements, as well as what the future holds for college and career readiness assessment in Minnesota.


Educator Evaluation & Development:  How is implementation of your educator evaluation and development model going? Want to take some time to reflect, plan and hear how other districts are doing? Join us for a series co-facilitated by MDE and SW/WC SC to assess, share successes and challenges and refine your practices. First day is December 9 at SW/WC SC in Marshall.  

Jobs For Tomorrow by Luke Greiner, DEED:  Job vacancies in Southwest Minnesota have surged by 50% in the last year according to DEED's Job Vacancy Survey. In the second quarter of 2014 region 6E, 6W, and 8 had 4,770 job openings, an increase of 1,590 from the 2nd quarter of 2013. This is good news for high school students, college graduates, and job seekers in general looking for career opportunities. Only 29.7% of job vacancies are part time, compared to 42% for the state. A higher percentage (41.2%) of job openings in Southwest Minnesota requires post-secondary (certificate or higher) education compared to all vaccines in Minnesota (36%). Typically full time schedules and jobs requiring post-secondary education pay higher median wages which is true in all three regions of Southwest Minnesota.

The median wage offer for all job vacancies in Region 6E is $15.15, Region 6W is $15.84, and region 8 is $13.21. All are well above the state median wage offer for all job vacancies of $12.05. High median wage offers coupled with the lowest unemployment rates in the state creates exciting opportunities for job seekers.  Find out more information at  


Brochures for the 2015 Southwest MN Arts Council Conference for Young Writers are now available here. The final deadline is November 25th.  The conference will be held on January 7, 2015 at SMSU. Through interaction with presenters, students explore their creative writing ability and discover how to express their thoughts using writing techniques. Students also learn that writing is an exciting skill that can open up a lifetime of opportunities. Sessions feature speakers and hands-on activities related to journaling, poetry, cowboy writing, news writing, comics, creating characters and much more. Our keynote this year is Geoff Herbach, a young adult author  Please share this information with school staff and teachers, family, friends, neighbors or anyone who has kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews or friends in grades 3-8. This is a great opportunity for kids to discover new writing techniques and how to express their thoughts in their writing. The sessions are linked to the MN English Language Arts Standards and the Seven Critical Skills for Success, so come and enjoy a world of writing.


Do you know students who are talented story tellers or love to read books? Get them involved in the 2015 Creative Writing Contest. This contest is open to students in grades 3-12; in Regions 6 & 8. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to use their creative imaginations to generate wonderful fiction and nonfiction stories and poems. Use this as a classroom project or encourage  students to enter on their own. See brochure for contest guide lines and submission deadline. Christine Stewart-Nunez, author of five books from Brookings, SD will be our guest speaker at an Awards Ceremony were winning students are recognized for their talented work. First place junior and senior winners will receive a $2000 scholarship to SMSU. Help us encourage the love of writing.


2013-14 SW/WC Student Enrichment Highlights
Click to watch the 2013-14 Student Enrichment Highlights Video!
Be part of next year's highlight video!
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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