Thursday, November 17, 2011

Meet & Confer

Meet and Confer:  Now that we have a couple months under our belt, it is a good time to alert school board members about new changes in our district and their effect on our work. The earlier they hear our perspective, the better their decisions will be as board members.

On Wednesday, November 30th, 5:30-7:30 pm join us at the Staff Development Center (Erling Johnson rooms) to meet with members of the school board to discuss:

  • Changes to Conferences: What worked and what can improved about this year’s conference structure is the focus as we are beginning the calendar setting process for next year.
  • Staff Development: Using our experiences during workshop week and staff development days so far this year, we’ll share our ideas on district training.
  • Restraint Policy: Share your experiences with Minnesota’s interpretation of new special education requirements around student restraint and how they are impacting your daily work.
  • Substitute Policies: After working with the 80 substitute per day limit for about a year, we’ll describe how that is working in our schools and our ideas for prioritizing the sub allocation.
  • Open Forum: We will set aside time for other topics that members would like share, including opportunities to share both positive developments and concerns not on this list.

If you are interested in speaking, email us at and we’ll put you on the agenda and give any help you’d like. Whether you would like to prepare a statement, share comments as they come to you during the discussion, or just listen – we hope to see you Wednesday!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Levy Wrap-Up

Congratulations to everyone on winning two out of three levy questions on Tuesday! In this economic environment, passing a levy renewal, and even tax increase, is a strong community endorsement of all of our work across the district. As we talked with local residents, we heard accolades for educators over and over. "I support our teachers" was a common comment, even from those who said they were voting no.  It was also clear that our residents have increased understanding of the inadequacy of state school funding. We can be happy that our future looks more stable and we will be able to improve technology for our students. We can also be happy that our community has a better feel for what is happening in our classrooms and appreciates our work with students.

398 Votes: When an election is close, like the 398 vote margin on question 2, the importance of campaigning is crystal clear. Every little bit counted so huge thanks to all of you who helped get the word out. Together, we sent out over 2000 personalized postcards, called about 10,000 residents, ran almost 100 phone bank shifts, and sent out over 12,000 fliers. Other groups stepped up to help us as well, particularly the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, Working America, Education Minnesota's Political Action Fund, America Votes, and TakeAction Minnesota.  Efforts at the district (particularly the Communications Department),  and building level were very effective.  Even though they weren't aimed at saying "yes", those efforts built the strong base of understanding essential to any campaign. Special thanks on our end go out to AHEM Governmental Relations chairs Val Holthus and Lindsay DenBleyker and Education Minnesota staffers Emily Peterson and Janie Hemmelgarn for pulling this whole plan together.

Good Question: When does the technology levy start? These taxes will start to be collected during the 2012 calendar year, and available to the district for the 2012-2013 school year.