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  register          January 2015
  

Winter Professional Development Catalog:  Our winter catalog is now posted on our website and copies have been sent to each school building in our region.  Click the image at right to check out the professional development opportunities from January to June 2015.   

Annual Law Seminar for School Administrators:
 
Mark your calendars for March 3rd from 9am - 1pm.  Pat Maloney (Ratwik, Roszak and Maloney) will be in Marshall for our annual seminar.  To make sure we have her address topics that are important to you, please click here and let us know what to put on the agenda!    

Sumdog Math Contest!  Elementary and middle school teachers!   The next SW/WC Sumdog math contest begins on Friday, February 6th at 8am and will end the following Thursday at 8pm.  During the 2013-14 school year, nearly 5,000 students correctly answered about 1 Million Math Questions!  Students take part by playing the free multiplayer math games on the Sumdog website and they can compete at school or at home. They only need to play for about an hour in total to get a competitive score.  The SW/WC SC's partnership with Sumdog has provided a fun, competitive opportunity for students to get more engaged in math and to improve their skills.  It's free to take part and there are new legendary rewards for all students who answer 100 math questions!  While winning is always fun, please don't forget that the goal of the on-line games are to get students more engaged in math and to improve their skills.  Even if your school does not participate in the contest, please encourage your students to play the games for free. To join in the fun, visit: http://www.sumdog.com/enter_contest  
 
Administrative Programs & Services
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 and This is IT2!  For full conference details, visit our conference website: www.swsc.org/techconf2015.    

 

Cooperative Purchasing Update: 

     

CASH-IN-LIEU
(excerpt from MSBA Management Services Newsletter, December 2013; Article by
Gary Lee, MSBA Associate Director of Management Services)  

In the past, school districts had either negotiated or provided employees with the option to choose between the school district healthcare insurance benefit or a cash payment similar to the school district's contribution toward the healthcare insurance premium (cash-in-lieu). Employees who had coverage elsewhere or, because of good health, could purchase healthcare insurance for less money on the open market would choose the cash payment as a pre-tax benefit.         

 

However, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ruled that straight cash payments instead of participation in the employer-sponsored healthcare insurance plan was considered a "constructive receipt" and should be taxed. In order to maintain the benefit, school districts then began to deposit the cash-in-lieu into health reimbursement accounts (HRAs) which required employees to spend the money on healthcare-related expenses.          

 

Read the full article at http://www.mnmsba.org/Publications   

 
Educational Programs & Services
Paige Thompson Representing Minnesota:  The Midwest School Social  Work Council Meeting is a meeting of select school social work leaders from the Midwest area. Paige has been asked to serve as a representative of Minnesota at the March 6-8 event in Chicago.  Paige is a recognized leader in social work advocacy efforts, including her work in the area of "Youth Mental Health First Aid".  Read more here:  Article in Pipestone County Star

Early Childhood Alignment Work Session:  Early Childhood Education is a focus at the state and national levels. It is clearly stated in the Governor's 7 Point Plan, as well as, one of the five required World's Best Workforce goals.  SW/WC SC will host a work session for district teams to work on Early Childhood Alignment and Kindergarten Readiness.
Presenters: Laura Lamb and Cathy Mrla
Date/Time: January 26, 2015; 9am - 2:30pm  
Location: SW/WC SC, Marshall
Cost: $95 per person  Note: Principals attend FREE!!! With the paid registration of a staff member, a principal may attend the workshop free of charge (but must still register). 
Intended Audience: Teams including Administration, Preschool and Kindergarten teachers, Early Childhood Educators and Daycare Providers. 
 
Reminder--Creative Writing Contest submissions are due January 16. This contest is open to students in grades 3-12 for our regions schools. Please encourage students to submit an entry for $2 each in the categories of fiction, non-fiction or poetry. For more information: www.swsc.org/studentactivities

Jobs for Tomorrow - January 2015:  By Luke Greiner, MN DEED:
  Truck drivers, both heavy and delivery, are the backbone of Minnesota's transportation network and until a box of fruit or Christmas cookies can be delivered by aerial drone, they will continue to transport the products and materials we use in our daily lives. During the holiday season, truck drivers provided us with a reminder of how much our quality of life depends on the transportation of goods.

In Southwest MN and across the state, truck driving is a viable and easily attainable way to make a good living. With basic requirements being CDL licensing and a good driving record, coupled with high demand, there is little in the way of success for those seeking to hit the open road. The future looks bright for truck drivers in Southwest Minnesota with nearly 2,300 estimated job openings in the next decade.
 

Finding a job that provides a living wage is a top priority for job seekers, according to DEED's new Cost of Living Calculator, for the average family in Southwest Minnesota, both parents need to make $13.02 per hour to achieve a modest, self-sufficient lifestyle. In Southwest Minnesota light delivery drivers typically make $14.32 per hour and heavy tractor-trailer drivers usually make $18.15 per hour, both well above the cost of living. Experienced drivers at the top of the pay scale earn $23.35/hr. for light delivery and $27.37/hr. for tractor-trailer operations.

 

For individuals seeking higher education to achieve a driving career a glance at DEED's Graduate Employment Outcomes tool proves that graduates from the ground transportation certificate program have favorable outcomes. Just three years after completing the program, graduates have a median annual wage of nearly $40,000.  Truck Driving in Southwest Minnesota provides a good wage, many job opportunities, and a bright future in Southwest Minnesota.

 

Grantwrangler:  Are you looking for grants for your school? Check out www.grantwrangler.com 

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 www.swsc.org/SWPrairieRCE.  For more information, contact Melany Wellnitz, Director, at melany.wellnitz@swsc.org.

 
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