Friday, February 3, 2012

Precinct Caucuses, Meet & Confer, Policy, Wordle

Precinct Caucuses:  Minnesota will begin its political convention season on Tuesday, February 7.  Major political parties will hold caucuses to take polls on candidates, do party business, and discuss issues.  This is a great opportunity to tell our neighbors what is really going on in our schools.  Teachers generally make up a good percentage of attendees, so join your colleagues in your neighborhood on Tuesday.  For links to finding your caucus location, general info, and sample resolutions you may want to introduce, visit .

Meet & Confer:  Over 150 educators and five of the six school board members attended Meet & Confer Wednesday to discuss Special Education caseload and the Kindergarten expansion.  Your colleagues who took to the microphone were outstanding.  They clearly laid out the issues underlying increasing and inconsistent workloads in Special Ed, as well as concrete solutions to begin alleviating the problem. They also expressed how much we value all day every day kindergarten programs, the vital importance of using licensed specialists at that level, and the need to expand the program to all schools. We are compiling the ideas for the school board - if you would like to add a thought you’ve had since the event, our survey is still open at

Respectful Learning Environment Curriculum Policy: You still have time to give your feedback on the new proposal to replace the Sexual Orientation Curriculum Policy.  Visit to both see the full draft and tell us what you think our position should be. We will be discussing our next steps at our Representative Assembly on Monday.

Good Question:  How did you make the word clouds for Meet & Confer?  A number of people asked how we made the graphics we used to illustrate our survey responses.  We used “Wordle”, a free online application at  It’s a fun way to illustrate the most common words in a text.  Not surprisingly, the largest words in our clouds were “students”.