Education Conversations

Education Conversations is a new monthly half-hour interview program produced by the Minnesota Department of Education. The program series is hosted by Education Commissioner Dr. Brenda Cassellius and features conversations about current education topics and initiatives, such as STEM and Better Schools for a Better Minnesota: A 7-Point Plan for Achieving Excellence, including Closing the Achievement Gap, All-Day Kindergarten, Reading Well by 3rd Grade, Better Early Childhood Education, Better School Funding, and Better Testing.

Education Conversations Episode #17

Taping Date 07/16/13 and 08/28/13

The first section of this episode highlights excerpts of the Early Learning Town Hall Forum held at Kennedy High School in Bloomington on July 16, 2013. Panelists, discussing the importance and impact of early learning, are Gov. Mark Dayton; U.S. Sec. of Education Arne Duncan; Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius; Art Rolnick, economist and senior fellow, Univ. of Minn; Laysha Ward, Pres. of Community Relations, Target Corp.; Maj. Gen. Richard C. Nash, adjutant general, Minn. National Guard; and Rev. Peg Chemberlin, Exec. Dir., Minn. Council of Churches.

In the second section, Commissioner Cassellius talks with Melvin Carter, director of the Office of Early Learning, about the importance of early learning and the new early learning scholarships program.

Education Conversations Episode #16

Taping Date 04/23/13

In the first segment, Commissioner Cassellius talks with David Stillman, director of Free the Children - Minnesota, about an exciting program to inspire youth to be active in a year-long educational service-learning initiative called We Act, and the moving and motivational event they can attend called We day.

In the second segment, Commissioner Cassellius is joined by Kathy Funston, curriculum director at the Burnsville School District, regarding the innovative Adult Learners to Classroom Assistants program.

Education Conversations Episode #15

Taping Date 04/04/13

Governor Dayton has proclaimed April as Financial Literacy Month. And to promote this initiative, Minnesota Department of Education Chief of Staff Charlene Briner interviews Minnesota Department of Commerce Commissioner Michael Rothman about the events and information available during Financial Literacy Month to educate young people-and their families-about financial issues. In the second segment, guest host Charlene Briner interviews Eric Kloos, supervisor of special education at the Minnesota Department of Education, regarding a program called Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports or PBIS-an effective model for helping teachers to manage heir classrooms so that students spend more time learning and less time in the principal's office.

Education Conversations Episode #14

Taping Date 01/15/13

Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius interviews Kevin McHenry, Director of Government Relations at the Minnesota Department of Education, regarding the education-related concerns that will be addressed this legislative session. The second segment announced an initiative called "Your Choice - Your Future" to encourage eighth-grade students to start thinking about higher education as they prepare to register for high school classes. Kablia Thao presents a motivational address to an eighth-grade audience at Hopkins High School about the importance of making good choices, persevering through obstacles, and challenging themselves by choosing coursework in order to keep as many doors and future opportunities open.

Education Conversations Episode #13

Taping Date 12/18/12

In the first segment, Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius interviews Steve Abenath, fourth-grade teacher from Highland Park Elementary School in St. Paul, who was recently presented with the prestigious Milken National Educator Award. In the second segment, Commissioner Cassellius interviews Dennis Olson, Director of the Minnesota Office of Indian Education at the Minnesota Department of Education. They discuss the information, resources, and support his office provides to Minnesota's 11 tribal communities, and to public school staff, parents and students in the area of Indian Education.

Education Conversations Episode #12

Taping Date 8/31/12

Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius conducts a round table discussion at the Minnesota State Fair Education Booth with 2012 Minnesota Teacher of the Year Jackie Roehl, English teacher at Edina High School, and 2012 Teacher of the Year finalists; Christy Anderson, Mathematics teacher at O.H. Anderson Elementary; Ryan Canton, U.S. History teacher at St. Micael-Albertville Middle School West; and Robyn Dettling Madson, English teacher at Forest Lake High School. Their discussion focuses on challenges facing education in Minnesota, what is essential for student success and how the teaching profession has changed over the years. Following the discussion is a short segment with Sally Wherry, Center for Postsecondary Success, regarding Minnesota College Application Week, November 12-16, 2012.

Education Conversations Episode #11

Taping Date 7/30/12

Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) Commissioner Brenda Cassellius talks with Mike Dronen and Kristin Daniels, both from the Stillwater Area School District, regarding a teaching concept known as flipped classrooms. In the second segment, MDE's Dual Enrollment Specialist Jessica Espinosa demonstrates a new website-ReadySetGoMN.org-which is designed to help high school students discover the many ways they can earn college credit while attending high school.

Education Conversations Episode #10

Taping Date 6/19/12

In this episode, Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius discusses the importance of engaging children and youth in learning over the summer months, and the kinds of quality learning opportunities that are available. Guests, from the Minnesota Department of Education, are Nancy Walton, Director, State Library Services; Doug Paulson, STEM Specialist; and Debbykay Peterson, Early Childhood Specialist.

Education Conversations Episode #9

Taping Date 5/15/12

Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius interviews 2012 Minnesota Teacher of the Year Jackie Roehl, 10th-grade English teacher from Edina High School; and Minnesota's 2012 National Distinguished Principal of the Year Jon Millerhagen, principal of Washburn Elementary in Bloomington. Each guest shares information about their strategies for success in the classroom and, in particular, their commitment to closing the achievement gap.

Education Conversations Episode #8

Taping Date 4/24/12

In this first half of the program, Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius interviews MDE's Dropout Prevention Specialist Cammy Lehr, and Libby Rau, Youth Engagement Strategist from the Minnesota Alliance with Youth; Spencer Neitzel, AmeriCorps Promise Fellow; and several students who are working on the One Voice campaign to engage youth By youth regarding promotion of high school graduation. In the second half, Commissioner Cassellius talks with Julie Hertzog, director of PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center; and Dr. Walter Roberts, professor of school counseling at Minnesota State University - Mankato. They are co-chairs of the newly established Governor's Task Force on the Prevention of School Bullying.