MCTE History

Roots: The Minneapolis English Teachers’ Club dates back to November 17, 1919. That year a Minnesotan, Joseph M. Thomas was President of the National Council of Teachers of English. Three members of this club also became NCTE Presidents: Rewey Belle Inglis (1929), Dora V. Smith (1936), and Luella B. Cook (1956). The idea for forming an NCTE affiliate was born on March 23, 1957 by two professors, Harold B. Allen (who became NCTE President in 1961) and T. A. Barnhart, returning by train from CCCC in Chicago.

At a spring conference of the English/Language Arts Teachers and Librarians on April 23, 1960 a meeting was held to form a new comprehensive state organization of English teachers. The constitution was drafted in ensuing months. Membership dues were $1; associate membership, 50¢. There were nearly 300 members at that time, the vast majority were high school teachers. There was 100% membership from White Bear Lake. Austin, South St. Paul, Stillwater, and Virginia had large membership.

The first officers were from Augsburg College, Austin High School, University of Minnesota (Mpls), Waite Park Elementary (Mpls), and Moorhead State College.

The first president urged a heightened articulation between high school and college. Consequently, MCTE set up six committees: Articulation, Curriculum, Fifth-Year Program for Teacher Education, Resolutions, Standards and Certification, and Teacher Load.

Sessions at the 3rd Spring Conference, 1962, included articulation, censorship, a multi-sensory approach to the teaching of reading; phonics in teaching reading; teaching of literature in ungrouped classes; teaching of writing and theater arts.

1964 — MCTE recognized five high schools for their excellent English programs: Faribault, Hopkins, Northfield, North St. Paul, and the University of Minnesota (Mpls) “A bit of excitement occurred at the business meeting when a member jumped over some seats to run for a copy of Robert’s Rules of Order to settle an argument with Eloise Courtier.” Dues were raised to $2.50. Membership was 1125. Workshops attended by a total of 600 teachers were held at Bemidji College, at Morris, and at Rochester.

1965 — The Spring Conference was held at the University of Minnesota (Duluth) — “Problems dealing with committee work revealed that power was monopolized by people from a single area. As a result, committees later were organized partly on a geographic basis.” A constitutional amendment removed the responsibility of the Minnesota English Newsletter from the Executive Secretary and gave it to the Executive Committee. Committees included: Budget, Constitution, Editorial, Membership, Preparation for Elementary Teachers, Research, and Resolutions, and Professional Relations.

October 2, 1965 –The first MCTE/NCTE co-sponsored conference was held at Cooper High School, Robbinsdale. Topics included: book selection practices, certification, classroom design and equipment, teacher awareness of curriculum development, teaching conditions, and teaching load. The first Minnesota English Journal was published that fall. The newsletter was now published more frequently — in October, January, and April. A bibliography, Linguistics for Teachers of English by Brother Raphael Erler of St. Mary’s College, Winona became a best seller for MCTE and was approved by NCTE for national distribution.

1966 – Three fall workshops dealing with the changing English curriculum, teaching language in elementary and secondary schools, and composition were held in Detroit Lakes, Hibbing, and Mankato.

1967 — A Liaison Committee was formed to explore relationship with MEA, MFT, and MN Catholic Education Assn. The journal was expanded, with each issue having a focus. 600 copies of the humanities issue of Minnesota English Journal were purchased by NCTE for its humanities conference.

1968 — Conference topics included: articulation, coordinating literature and language study, English programs, flexible scheduling, problems of the inner city, teacher education, and uses of film. At the business meeting elementary, secondary, and college sections were established. This year was the 50th anniversary of Minneapolis Area Council of Teachers of English. Fall workshops were held in Crookston, Marshall, and St. Cloud.

1969 — Preparations were made for the spring conference in Moorhead. Music educators had taken over the Fargo housing for their state conference so MCTE had to change locations to Carl Sandburg Jr. High, Golden Valley. The main speaker, Jesse Stuart, had to cancel because he had forgotten a previous U.S. government engagement in Africa. Thousands of flyers had already been printed.

The high point for membership was in the 1960’s when membership exceeded a thousand.

1970 — Censorship Committee and Humanities Committee were formed.

1971— MCTE “began a study of relationship between State Depts of Education and professional organizations throughout the country to determine the kinds of activities being carried out in areas of English language arts.” Certification Committee formed.

November 1972 — NCTE convention was held in Minneapolis with the theme “To Be a Full Human Being” — a Margaret Mead quote; she addressed the opening session.

1973 — Spring Conference theme was Cake and Ale (from Twelfth Night) — Henry Gregor Felson was the banquet speaker. 18 Minnesota poets worked with small groups on teaching creative writing at different grade levels. Five workshops were held in Bemidji, Hibbing, Mankato, Rochester, and Winona.

1974 — President Bernard Raphael’s goals:
* Establish a liaison between MCTE and the State Assessment Program
* Interest more elementary teachers in MCTE by organizing the Elementary Section
* Interest more women and minorities in MCTE work
* Involve junior college teachers
* Expand MCTE publication issues to keep teachers better informed

MCTE and MRA co-sponsored regional workshops on reading and other aspects of language arts were held in Bemidji, Moorhead, Rochester, and St. Cloud. Job descriptions of all officers was printed.

1975 — MCTE contacted all Minnesota school board chairs and offered a list of MCTE members willing to assist local school boards in defining goals for language arts instruction. The guidelines were based on practices outlined in The School Bill of Rights and Students’ Right to Read.

1976 — Fall conferences: Back to Basics in Bemidji (sponsored by Paul Bunyan Council) and an idea exchange in St. Cloud (sponsored by the Central Minnesota Council). At the fall teachers’ convention, MCTE sponsored a session with Garrison Keillor and other authors and teachers discussing “Good Writing: What is It/ Why Do We Teach It/ How Do We Teach It?” and an Elementary Section meeting with speakers on teaching poetry to young children and on the importance of language development in teaching reading. Committees formed: Rhetoric Committee, Women’s Committee, Task force on teacher recertification. Dues were raised from $5 to $10.

1978 –Sessions were held at the fall teachers’ convention. New committees: Accelerated Honors/Advanced Placement in High School Committee and Ad Hoc Committee on Teacher Preparation. College Literature Section was established after surveying every college English teacher in the state. Jon Hassler spoke at the spring conference: “Reading My Readers: Staggerford’s Reaction to Staggerford.” Committee on Teacher Certification was recognized by NCTE as first among affiliates to effect meaningful change in certification. Charter membership in Minnesota Coalition Against Censorship.

1979 –CCCC met in Minneapolis. Four sessions at fall teachers’ convention — highlight: S.E. Hinton.

1980 — Co-sponsored conference with MEMO at fall teachers’ convention. Robert Newton Peck was the banquet speaker at spring conference. Formed task force on possible solutions to the problems of mainstreaming. Sponsored Daniel Fader (Hooked on Books) at fall teachers’ convention.

1981 — With MRA, MEMO, MEA, and MFT sponsored Neil Postman (Teaching as a Subversive Activity)

April 1982 –Regional NCTE Conference in Minneapolis — more than 1500 in attendance. With MRA, MEMO, MEA, and MFT sponsored Robert Cormier at fall teachers’ convention.

1983 — Began an award program for quality articles published in Minnesota English Journal with cash prizes in two categories: classroom teaching and theoretical critical examination. Held two MCTE/NCTE composition workshops in Minneapolis and an MCTE workshop “Writing Across the Curriculum.”

[The summary above was excerpted from A History of the Minnesota Council of Teachers of English: The First Twenty-Five Years, compiled by Edna C. Downing. The information following is primarily summarized from issues of MCTE News.]

1984 – 85 — MCTE was paid $5000 by the Minnesota Department of Education to offer at least five technology workshops around the state. The fall conference, co-sponsored with the social studies and math councils, featured Judge Miles Lord as the keynote speaker. The spring conference featured Richard Peck. CCCC met in Minneapolis in March.

1985 – 86 — The fall conference was co-sponsored with social studies and MEMO. 569 students enrolled in the new Post-Secondary Enrollment Options program. MCTE continued offering computer training sessions including a week-long summer session. 80% of members were secondary or college teachers.

1986 – 87 — The spring conference Visions and Revisions co-sponsored with the North Dakota Council and held in Fargo attracted 350 people. Speakers included Will Weaver, Mary K. Healy, and Ken Macrorie. Ron Barron’s Guide to Minnesota Writers was featured. During this year MCTE also sponsored technology workshops and a week-long workshop on word processing.

1987 – 88 — The fall conference held at St. Louis Park High School was co-sponsored with the Minnesota Council of Social Studies and the Minnesota High School Press Association. The Minnesota Department of Education introduced Model Learner Outcomes.

1988 – 89 — MCTE co-sponsored a fall conference What Makes an Educated Person? The 30th Anniversary of MCTE was celebrated at the spring conference in St. Cloud, Sharing Our Best, Seeking to Be Better. Speakers included Lillian Bridwell-Bowles of the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Writing at the U of M, and young adult authors Marjorie Dorner and Gary Paulsen. MCTE and the Minnesota Department of Education co-sponsored two regional meetings on the Model Learner Outcomes. Dues was increased to $25. Membership was at a recent high of 556.

1989 – 90 — A committee began work on a multicultural anthology, which became Braided Lives. Graduation Learner Outcomes were to go into effect with the Class of 1997; there were 25 language arts outcomes. The spring conference, held at the Sheraton-Northwest, was attended by 300.

1990 – 91 — The fall conference Art into Life: Interdisciplinary Innovation was held at Blake School and Walker Art Center. Keynote speaker was Herbert Kohl. The spring conference, Reloading the Canon, was held in Mankato, with an attendance of 300.

1991 – 92 –The Braided Lives anthology was released in August. Seven regional workshops on Braided Lives were held in October and November. The Minnesota Department of Education held 23 public meetings on Learner Outcomes and the graduation rule during the same period. Budget cut-backs reduced the MDE Language Arts Specialist position to half-time. Teaching the Rainbow: A Spectrum of Students; A Spectrum of Strategies was the theme of the spring conference held at the Sheraton Park Place.

1992 – 93 — The fall conference featured a panel discussion on assessment followed by three rounds of concurrent sessions. MCTE co-sponsored a multicultural curriculum project on Zora Neale Hurston. Ron Barron published a new edition of the Guide to Minnesota Writers. MCTE sponsored two regional workshops on Outcome Based Education. Because of the regional conference in Madison, WI, with no MCTE conference, membership declined to 296.

1993 – 94 — The MCTE Affiliate Task Force on English Standards was formed. The fall conference, Writing Your Way Home: Celebrating Minnesota Year of the Writer, was held at Inver Grove Heights Community College. A new literary map was produced. The spring conference at the St. Paul Hotel, Creating Bridges featured NCTE President-Elect Miriam Chapman and a special presentation of the Harlem Renaissance Literary Salon. MCTE had 328 members.

1994 – 95 — Northwoods Writers, a fall retreat for teachers as writers was held at Rutger’s in Bemidji. MCTE received the NCTE Multicultural Award in recognition for the networking emphasis of the 1994 spring conference. MCTE continued its responses to the proposed graduation standards and changes in teacher licensure. Because the NCTE spring conference was held in Minneapolis, there was no MCTE spring conference.

1995 – 96 — MCTE was a founding member of the Coalition of MN Professional Education Associations (COMPEA), formed to give teachers a greater voice in state educational issues. An MCTE website was lanched through St. Cloud State University. MCTE’s Task Force on National Standards submitted its work to NCTE. The fall conference was an innovative but sparsely attended literary festival Bridging Our Worlds: Celebrating Literacy and Community. An MCTE strategic planning retreat was facilitated by NCTE Affiliate Director Millie Davis at Wilder Forest. Memberships and attendance at events, particularly the fall conference have been declining and financial resources were at a critical strait. Board members left the retreat with new ideas and optimism.The spring conference chaired by Paul Carney emphasized retreat and reflection at Arrowwood Resort: Once More to the Lake. The featured NCTE co-sponsored speaker was Maureen Barbieri. Also featured were submissions of student and teacher writing to a “Writing Quilt.”

1996 – 97 — “Chat Groups” were held as the fall conference in St. Cloud and Fergus Falls. The MCTE website was moved to Gustavus Adolphus College. The spring conference The Power of Story, chaired by Sandy Hayes, returned to Arrowwood. Speakers included NCTE President-Elect Sheridan Blau, author Bill Holm, and National Teacher of the Year Mary Beth Blegen. A pre-conference workshop was co-sponsored by the MN Center for Arts Education.

1997 – 98 — The fall conference was a day-long workshop with Tom Romano. MCEE held a workshop on the Profile of Learning. A Click of the Shutter, an anthology including student writng from the Writing Quilt, was published in collaboration with the Minnesota Writing Project. The spring conference Fresh Air on Foggy Issues, chaired by Bob Strandquist, was held again at Arrowwood. Speakers included author and improv comedienne Lorna Landvik and author Jon Hassler.

1998 – 99 — MCTE spent a day at the State Fair in the Education Minnesota booth and featured a huge Magnetic Poetry board (on loan from the St. Paul creators of Magnetic Poetry™), performances by slam poets (one of whom was a little racy for the venue), and poetry on a stick. The Two-Year College Association held its conference “In Plain English, Let’s Connect” in St. Paul. The fall conference WE-Sources: Using Our Community as Classroom highlighted the wealth of connections in the Twin Cities. MCEE held a retreat on the graduation standards in Duluth. Richard Fischer, censorship chair, received NCTE’s Intellectual Freedom award. Another Arrowwood conference, Opening Doors to Literacy in the 21st Century, chaired by Anne Andersen, featured the annual meeting of the Best Practice in Writing network.

1999 – 2000 — MCTE’s 40th year. MCTE returned to the State Fair. The fall workshop on teaching revision featured Barry Lane. The website became, with Sandy Hayes as webeditor. CCCC held its annual convention in Minneapolis in April. The spring conference celebrated MCTE’s 40th Anniversary. The conference Changing Teaching for Changing Times: Transformation and Innovation in the English Classroom, chaired by John Schmidt, included Alexs Pate, Tou Ger Xiong, Dale Connelly, and Tom Melchior. The Young Storytellers were also featured. Eleven of the twenty Champlin Park High School English teachers attended the conference as a cadre. The Department of Children, Families, and Learning (formerly the Department of Education) reinstated a full-time language arts specialist (there had been no language arts specialist for several years) and hired Micheal Thompson.

2000-01 — MCTE’s day at the State Fair featured a Harry Potter theme. MCTE News, edited by Sandy Hayes, was awarded first place honors at the NCTE convention in Milwaukee. A new Middle Level Section was formed by NCTE constitutional change. Six Minnesota English/Language Arts teachers received National Board certification. There are now a total of 153 National Board Certified Teachers in Minnesota. 143 teachers attended the fall workshop A Day with Jeffrey Wilhelm: Strategies for Engaging Adolescent Readers. The fall issue of Minnesota English Journal edited by Jake Oetting was distributed to 4500 English/language arts teachers, sponsored in part by a grant from the Minnesota Humanities Commission. The spring conference An English Odyssey: A Search for Meaning in the Spaces Between the Words, chaired by Lynette Reini-Grandell, was held in Duluth, and featured children’s author John Coy, poet Louis Jenkins, public television figure Rene Ford, and author Susan Power. The new student writing issue of MEJ: Text, Subtext, & Context was also highlighted. Text, Subtext, & Context, the first MCTE Journal of Student Writing, edited by Sandy Hayes, was published.

2001-02 — MCTE was the recipient of a major grant from the Minnesota Humanities Commission that helped to fund our fall journal, which was again sent to every licensed English teacher. Marsha Besch served on the advisory board of the Minnesota Book Awards, another project of the Humanities Commission. Sandy Hayes was elected in June to the new NCTE Middle Level Steering Committee. The fall workshop featuring Kylene Beers was attended by over 100 teachers. MCTE currently has 489 members. A goal of the organization has been to encourage the participation of preservice and teachers new to the profession. Richard Fischer, who has been MCTE Censorship Chair and who has been liaison to the Minnesota Coalition Against Censorship, resigned his position after 12 years of service. Gerry Lidstrom, president-elect, organized the 2002 spring conference, Past Memories, Future Vision which was held in St. Cloud with over 150 in attendance.

2002-03 — The fall conference was again a day-long workshop: Strategies That Work presented by Stephanie Harvey. Two one-day sessions were scheduled: one for teachers of grades 6-10, the other for teachers of grades 4-7. These workshops drew a combined total of 275 teachers. Cheri Yecke became the new Commissioner, and CFL was transformed back to the Minnesota Department of Education. Her first mission was to revamp the standards, beginning with Language Arts and Math. Thirteen public meetings on the standards drafted by a predominately citizen committee drew criticism from both language arts and math educators, notably for their regressive, unwieldy, and unrealistic expectations. MCTE was the first professional organization to adopted a position statement against the proposed standards and supportive of Senator Kelley’s bill which reworked the existing standards. MCTE also posted extensive commentary and resource material on the website. Members spoke at the public meetings and testified in Senate committees. Education Minnesota also sought collaboration with MCTE and MCTM. Despite these efforts, the Legislature passed the committee standards, though with some revision, particularly in the math standards.
Chaired by Teresa Saum, the 2003 spring conference, The Page and the Stage, in partnership with the MN Humanities Commission, brought Janet Field-Pickering, from the Folger Shakespeare Library for a pre-conference workshop and for two break-out sessions at the conference at the St. Cloud Civic Center. About 150 were again in attendance. MCTE instituted a program of classroom grants, open to all MCTE members. Recipients of $400 grants were: Betsy Lasch for a three-school poetry slam; Dwight Watson for a digital camera for an early literacy project; Lori VanderHeiden for a site license for early literacy software; Linda Callender for a celebration of student writing for 7 Anoka middle schools; Hancock Hamline University Collaborative Magnet to purchase picture books connecting reading and writing.

2003-04 — MCTE mourned the loss of Elmer Suderman. Elmer, a charter member of MCTE, served in many capacities including president, journal editor, and college literature chair. Sandy Hayes was elected NCTE Middle Level Representative-at-Large. The Fall Workshop, Poetry Alive, a casuality of state-wide budget tightening and focus on basic skills, was canceled. The Spring Conference, English Teaching: Past, Present, and Future Tense, chaired by Teresa Saum, was held at Cragun’s and featured Edgar Schuster, author of Breaking the Rules: Liberating Writers Through Innovative Grammar Instruction. Other speakers included poet Culllen Bailey Burns, and authors Will Weaver, Shannon Olson, Gretchen Kaufman, and Charles Newton. About 150 teachers attended the conference. MCTE joined a coalition of 33 Minnesota literacy organizations. MCTE member Darryle Clott was featured in Mending the Wall, a film screened at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum during the Days of Remembrance observance. Darryle, a USHMM Mandel fellow, was an honored guest, along with Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, for the blacktie affair. MCTE was again host to a magical Harry Potter day at the State Fair. MCTE joined with 32 professional organizations, colleges, public schools, library organizations and MDE in a Literacy Coalition with the purpose of becoming more proactive in affecting literacy policies. Mary Catherine Ricker, Marsha Besch, and Sandy Hayes represented MCTE. A system of MCTE Regional Representatives was initiated. MCTE grant recipients included Julie Bulau for a 7th grade anti-bullying program and Paul Carney for a Roadside Poetry project showcasing the work of local poets in the style of the old Burma Shave signs.

2004-05 — Edna Downing was the recipient of the University of Minnesota Outstanding Achievement Award. Edna, a charter member of MCTE, was President from 1969-70 and in 1985 compiled a short history of MCTE’s first 25 years. JeanMarie Burtness and Rob Gardner attended the NCTE Affiliate Leadership meeting in New Orleans. The MCTE booth at the State Fair was very busy, awarding OWL and NEWT certificates to fair-goers who passed their examinations by correctly answering Harry Potter trivia questions. The Fall Workshop returned to Royal Cliff in Eagan and featured Becky Sipe, author of They Still Can’t Spell. The Minnesota English Journal, under the editorship of Bill Dyer of Mankato, made its debut as an on-line publication available for download from the MCTE website. The Board of Teaching clarified the Reading Licensure Rule: teachers with 7-12 English licenses may teach reading only in their content area; teachers with any reading license 7-12 may teach reading at those grades levels only; teachers with the new reading license may teach reading in grades K-12. Emily Waterston, Lakeville, attended the NCTE convention as Minnesota’s recipient of the Prentice Hall Developing Leadership Award; received an Affiliate Honorable Mention. Literacy giant, Louise Rosenblatt, at the age of 100, was celebrated at the NCTE convention. She passed away in February. The spring conference, Superior Ideas, Superior Practices chaird by Rob Gardner, was held in Duluth. Featured speakers included Freya Manfred, Cezarija Abartis, Stephen Schwandt, and Bart Sutter. Patti Daniels Strandquist assumed the editorship of the MCTE Student Writing Journal,and initiated its publication as an on-line journal.

2005-06 — Jodi Anderson of Fred Moore Middle School, Anoka, joined Sandy Hayes as co-editor of MCTE News. The fall workshop, Inquiring Minds Learn to Read and Write, featured the return of Jeff Wilhelm. Jeff and the audience of 130 teachers, including 52 teachers from Edina, adapted with good nature to a last-minute change of venue to a neighboring church basement in accommodation of the funeral lunch for the wife of the Royal Cliff owner. Recognized at the NCTE Convention: Bob Strandquist, Eagan High School, Secondary Teacher of Excellence. Over 180 teachers attended the spring conference, Building on Our Strengths chaired by Bob Strandquist, held at the Rochester Kahler Grand Hotel. Featured speakers included past NCTE president Dr. Leila Christenbury, author Nicole Lea Helget, poet David Bengtson with video artist Mike Hazard, and Michael Lomonico from the Folger Shakespeare Library. An MCTE Classroom Grant was awarded to Jennifer Budenski to expand an artists-in-residence program for Hopkins Alternative School. Kathryn Campbell of the St. Paul Academy took on the editorship of the MCTE Student Writing Journal.

2006-07 — Linda Rief was a popular presenter at the fall workshop. An MCTE Classroom Grant was awarded to Jennifer McCarty for a Whisperphone and writing project. Jodi Anderson assumed the editorship of MCTE News. The spring conference, Finding our Voice chaired by Rob Gardner, was held at Cragun’s Resort. Featured speakers included Deborah Appleman, Sandra Benitez, Pete Hautman, and Ed Bok Lee, with Friday night entertainment with Kevin Kling. The Regional Representatives were discontinued due to lack of participation.

2007-08 — The Kelly Gallagher fall workshop was attended by an over-flow crowd of 240 enthusiastic teachers. Recognized at the NCTE Convention: Scott Hall, Irondale High School, Secondary Teacher of Excellence Award and Jodi Anderson, Fred Moore Middle School, Leadership Development Award as well as an Affiliate Honorable Mention for MCTE News. Playing with Words, the 2008 spring conference chaired by Lynette Reini-Grandell was held at the Earle Brown Heritage Center and featured authors Richard Lederer, Alison McGhee, Cheri Register, and Ka Vang. National Letters about Literature award winner 8th grader Anna Priore was recognized at the Saturday luncheon. An MCTE Classroom Grant was awarded to Champlin Park High School to assist with an all-school read of American Born Chinese, which culminated in a visit by the author, Gene Luen Yang.

2008-09 — Royal Cliff was once again packed for the fall workshop featuring Ralph Fletcher, who inspired teachers in the importance of writing time and helping students find their voice. Bob Strandquist, on his retirement from high school teaching, was recognized for his longtime contributions to English education and to MCTE. Paul Carney received a Diana Hacker Award Honorable Mention for Outstanding Programs in English for Two-Year Colleges and Teachers for his Ready or Not Writing program. Recipients of MCTE Classroom Grants: Alison Konkol’s writing project with alternative 9th graders; Sherri Larson, poetry residence; Elizabeth Flaschberger, engaging urban students; and Jodi Anderson and Molly Hooler, all-school read project. The NCTE Leadership Development Awardee was Nicole Kronzer, Champlin Park High School and the NCTE Secondary Teacher of Excellence was Kimberly Colbert, St. Paul Central. Intellectual Freedom chair Jeremy Hoffman set up an online survey to gather information on school film policies. Sixty-one percent of the responses indicated that their school has no formal policy in place. The 39% indicating that they have a policy indicated a range of restrictions including banning R-rated movies, showing R-rated movies with parental permission only, some extending this requirement to the showing of PG-13 movies in middle school. The MCTE spring conference, New Literacies: Expanding the Boundaries, under the leadership of Paige Shreeve Welle, returned to the Rochester Kahler Grand Hotel. Featured speakers included Dr. Richard Beach, Sha Cage, local mystery author Jess Lourey, and local teacher-poet Larry Gavin.

2009-10 — MCTE’s 50th year. NCTE kicked off its National Gallery of Writing on October 20 in celebration of the The National Day on Writing. MCTE opened its Minnesota Writing Quilt gallery, accepting electronically submitted pieces of writing from students, teachers, and the public. The first piece of writing submitted was from Jan Anderson, mother of MCTE News editor Jodi Anderson. In order to accommodate the increasing attendance, the fall workshop moved to the Radisson in Plymouth, and the audience of nearly 200 teachers enthusiastially welcomed the return of Kylene Beers as the day’s presenter. MCTE experimented with sponsoring a book trailer contest for students but received very few, though creative, creative, submissions. The hybrid teaching practice of MCTE member Liz Boeser was featured in an article by Bill Kist in Adolescent Literacy in Perspective. The spring conference, Celebrating 50 years of Continuity and Change chaired by Jacqueline Arnold, was held at the DECC in Duluth. Appropriately, the keynote speaker was Leila Christenbury, former NCTE president and historian for next year’s NCTE Centennial Celebration, who gave the audience a sneak preview of the Centennial DVD. Other speakers included local authors Kao Kalia Yang, Julie Landsman, and Pete Hautman. Another feature of the conference was a Night on the Town, a menu of entertainment options scouted by Sherri Larson. Brian Lewis, in-coming MEJ editor, was named among 26 Outstandng Educators of 2010 by the Board of Trustees of MNSCU. Sandy Hayes was elected NCTE Vice-President, assuming the Presidency in 2012. Rob Gardner was elected as Chair of the NCTE Secondary Section Nominating Committee. Minneapolis was selected by the NCTE Executive Committee as the site for the 2015 Convention. Vice-president Andy Burklund attended the NCTE Affiliate Leadership Meeting in Indianapolis.

2010-11 — In contrast to the contentious standards process of 2002-03, the Minnesota Department of Education adopted a smoother process in creating the new standards for English/Language Arts. Although Education Commissioner Alice Seagren was directed by Governor Pawlenty to adopt the Common Core Standards, the process allowed for a “15%” addition to these standards. Unlike the previous standards committee that was solicited through the MDE website and selected by Commissioner Yecke, the new committee was composed of knowledgeable educators across the spectrum of literacy expertise. MCTE members made up 12 of the 23 members of the committee and included: Jacqueline Arnold, MN State U, Mankato; Cheri Cooke, Stillwater Public Schools; Larry Gavin, Faribault High School; Sandy Hayes, Becker Middle School; Barbara Hunter, St. Paul Public Schools; Fiona Keel, Farmington Public Schools; Billy McQuillan, St. Paul Public Schools; Lynette Reini-Grandell, Normandale Community College; Steve Smarjesse, North Hennepin Community College; Margaret St. Sauver, St. Paul Public Schools; Trish VanHorn, Osseo Public Schools. The team added somewhat less than 15% to the Common Core Standards. Notable additions: opportunities for self-selection in student reading and in topics and types of writing; reading to understand multiple perspectives and pluralistic viewpoints, inclusion of literature by Minnesota American Indians and other diverse cultures; and critical media literacy and media production standards.

Kelly Gallagher’s teaching ideas as well as his stand against “Readicide” make him a popular MCTE fall conference presenter. This year was no exception as a capacity audience was energized and inspired by his presentation. NCTE 2010 Award recipients: Elizabeth Boeser, Bloomington Jefferson High School, NCTE Media Literacy Award and Secondary Teacher of Excellence; Molly McCarty, Roosevelt High School, NCTE Leadership Development Award; Heidi Dresser, New York Mills High School, Secondary Teacher of Excellence. Literacy at the Lake, this year’s spring conference chaired by Sherri Larson, was held at Cragun’s Resort. Featured speakers included spoken word artist Frank Sentwali and Lorna Landvik, reprising her appearance at the1998 spring conference, spoke as an author at Friday’s luncheon and as an improv comedienne Friday evening. Letters about Literature winners Solomon Polansky, Nicholas Behrens, and Tyler Sturos were recognized at Saturday’s luncheon. In a departure from the traditional half-day of additional break-out sessions, Saturday featured a mini-workshop by Jim Burke whose insights and practical tips inspired the audience. At the suggestion of out-going MEJ editor, Bill Dyer, the MCTE Board directed that the journal become peer-reviewed, a process that incoming editor Brian Lewis of Century College masterfully executed. The first editorial board included Jacqueline Arnold, Jessica Dockter Tierney, William Dyer, Jeremy Hoffman, Rachel Malchow Lloyd, and Charon Tierney. As well as being published as an on-line journal, Brian’s first issue Continuity and Change is also available in print form from Andy Burklund and Liz Boeser attended the Affiliate Leadership Meeting in Denver; Sandy Hayes also attended in her NCTE duties as Presidential Team liaison to the affiliates.