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Minnesota Online Options Act Work Group 

The Minnesota Online Options Act Work Group met during April - August 2021 to review the Minnesota Online Learning Options Act and provide recommendations on what policy changes are needed in Minnesota to reflect the current state of online learning, meet the needs of students, and create conditions for innovative practice. 

Minnesota Learning Options Act Work Group Findings and Recommendations

Access a copy of the report from the Minnesota Learning Options Act Work Group Findings and Recommendations here. 

Online Learning Act Work Group Report 2021


The Minnesota “Online Learning Option Act” (M.S.124D.095) first appeared in Minnesota  Statutes in 2003. At this time, online learning was an unfamiliar concept to most people and the legislation was written to clarify funding, ensure equity of access, and establish quality online  educational options. Since then, advances in technology and pedagogy have created new ways  of providing instruction and numerous opportunities for students. Examples include easy access  to live videoconferencing, CTE partnerships and pathways, new developments in learning  management system design and capabilities, and new digital tools and education resources that  enable interactive learning. 

Online and digital learning have been brought into sharp focus by the COVID 19 global  pandemic. Our entire K-12 workforce now has experience with digital learning as do all families  with school-age children. Not all of the experiences have been positive for students, families, or  educators, but they have opened our eyes to new opportunities and highlighted tensions with  existing policies and structures. As schools move forward with planning for the next school year  and beyond, this is a good time to take stock in the experiences educators and students have  had, evaluate lessons learned, and consider how to seize opportunities to provide public  education in new ways. 

The Minnesota Learning Commons (MNLC), a partnership between the Minnesota Department  of Education, University of Minnesota, and Minnesota State convened a group of education  professionals experienced with online learning both before and during the pandemic to  examine the existing Minnesota Online Learning Options Act and make recommendations on  potential changes to policy to better meet the needs of Minnesota’s students.  


Topics for Immediate Action, Procedure Change, Guidance  

Topics for Law or Policy Change  

Topics for Study 

Contributing Members

Members of the Online Learning Options Act Work Group were recruited on the basis of their  organizational affiliation, experience with online learning, and student groups represented by  their organizations. Jeff Plaman, Online and Digital Learning Specialist at the Minnesota  Department of Education has served as chair, and Mary Mehsikomer, Outreach Facilitator,  Sourcewell Technology and Jon Voss, Director of Teaching and Learning, Intermediate District  287 have been co-facilitators for the group. Sourcewell Technology, as the administrator for the  Minnesota Learning Commons, has assisted with planning, facilitation and communication.  Members of the Work Group are listed below:  

Krin Abraham, Superintendent, Houston Public Schools  

Sean Beaverson, Digital Learning Specialist, Edina Public Schools  

Jason Berg, Superintendent, Farmington Public Schools  

Jocelynn Buckenthin, Digital Learning Specialist, Hutchinson Public Schools  

Gigi Dobosenski, Director, EdVisions 

Jenn Fuchs, Principal, Duluth Edison Charter School  

Jenn Hegna, Technology Director, Byron Public Schools  

John Iverson, Online Learning, St. Paul Public Schools  

Shawntel Jenkins, Principal, K-12 Online Learning, Minneapolis Public Schools 

Mary Mehsikomer, Outreach Facilitator, Sourcewell Technology, Co-Facilitator 

John Olson, Science Specialist, Minnesota Department of Education  

Jeff Plaman, Online and Digital Learning Specialist, Minnesota Department of Education, Chair

Tracy Quarnstrom, Director, Wolf Creek Academy  

Christopher Reynolds, Special Education, Minnesota Department of Education  

Holly Skadsem, Digital Learning Specialist, Bloomington Public Schools  

Jon Voss, Director of Teaching and Learning, Intermediate District 287, Co-Facilitator 

Kelly Wosika, Education Finance, Minnesota Department of Education 

Questions? Contact Jeff Plaman, Online Learning Specialist, Minnesota Department of Education, at