Northwest Service Cooperative

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Northern Sky Regional Center of Excellence

In partnership with the Minnesota Department of Education, and the Northwest Service Cooperative, the Northern Sky Regional Center of Excellence is one of six regional centers across Minnesota. Through this Statewide System of Support partnership, we are able to provide equitable access and cohesive, coordinated support for schools in northern Minnesota.    

 RCE Staff photo
Northern Sky Regional Center of Excellence team members: Front row (l to r):  Rachel Amadio, Implementation Specialist; Becca Neal, Northern Sky director, Implementation Specialist; Michelle Johnson, Implementation Specialist. Back row: Becky Smith, Implementation Specialist; Connie Clark, Special Education Specialist; Toni Cox, RCE Program Manager;  Pam Tomassoni,  Implementation Specialist.

Statewide System of Support (SSOS) 

Purpose and Ultimate Outcome

The purpose of the Statewide System of Support is to build the capacity of Focus and Priority schools and their districts by providing cohesive, focused, and systemic support. Using the frameworks of implementation science, the SSOS facilitates continuous improvement efforts to significantly increase educational equity, excellence and efficacy. Our ultimate outcome is to close achievement gaps by half by 2017 while raising achievement for all students.

Initial Outcomes

Collaboratively with classroom teachers, teacher teams, school leaders, the SSOS teams

1.    Establish and develop leadership teams that guide the process of continuous improvement.

2.    Facilitate data mining, needs assessments based on data, and root cause analyses to guide planning and the continuous improvement process.

3.   Identify and engage in implementing evidence-based practices that lead to improved teaching and learning in schools.

Northern Sky Regional Center of Excellence contact information:

Toni Cox, RCE Program Director


Connie Clark, School Advocate/Special Education Specialist


Michelle Johnson, School Advocate/Implementation Specialist 218-416-2447

Becky Smith, School Advocate/ Implementation and SIG Specialist                                                      


Pam Tomassoni, School Advocate/Reading Specialist


Becca Neal, Northern Sky Director, School Advocate/Implementation Specialist


 Rachel Amadio, Mathematics Specialist

September 2015 Math On-A-Stick

RCE Math specialists volunteered for the Math On-A-Stick exhibit at the Minnesota State Fair! Math On-A-Stick is a collection of math activities designed to promote mathematical thinking for 4-10 year olds, but it appeals to all ages! With Christopher Danielson’s vision for this exhibit, the Minnesota Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM) established a task force to work with the State Fair Foundation to offer this exciting opportunity. The effort was funded by the State Fair Foundation, and most of the nearly 500 volunteers were MCTM teachers. Watch for information on Twitter: @MathOnAStick and #statefairnumbers to volunteer or to visit this exhibit next year! You can also find more information Christopher’s blog called Talking Math With Your Kids ( which aims to help parents support their children’s mathematical development. From left to right, Andrew Schalm, Kim Wingrove, Susan Wygant, Rachel Amadio, and Perry Wilkinson. 

 Math on a Stick Sept 2015

July 2014

Regional Centers of Excellence program wins the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs

MDE’s Regional Centers of Excellence program won the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs 2014 State Government Innovation Award. The awards recognize excellence in state government agencies and seek to encourage experimentation and innovation in Minnesota. Winners were judged based on a three-part set of criteria: innovation (40% of the score), impact (30%) and sustainability (30%). The winning agencies demonstrated significant improvements in service, progress, and impact of the program.  

To be considered, agencies had to demonstrate a performance management system for accountability, evaluations and program budgets. The winning agencies showcased programs that used technology in creative ways, targeted services to those most in need, and demonstrated collaboration and consolidation between organizations. An awards ceremony will be held Thursday, August 7, 2014 at the Minnesota History Center.

Contact Information
Becca Neal-Director                                                   
Northern Sky Center of Excellence
114 1st Street West
Thief River Falls, MN  56701

Phone: 218-416-8293
Toni Cox-RCE State Director               
Northern Sky Center of Excellence
114 1st Street West
Thief River Falls, MN  56701
Phone: 218-416-2416