Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Summer Hours & Work, Pride, Who Are My Candidates?

Summer Hours: The AHEM office is open throughout the summer.  Our summer hours are Monday through Thursday, 7:30 am – 4:30 pm.  We can still be contacted at 763.421.9110 and 

Summer Work:  During the break, AHEM leaders will work on a number of infrastructure items for our organization. A big part of effort will include putting pieces in place for Q-Comp.  Next year we will finalize Q-Comp’s components, so this summer is the time we put the Steering Committee together and develop the timeline for items like hiring evaluators.  We are also adding two new negotiator positions to our bargaining team, one of which will focus on Special Education.  Over the summer we will set up the timeline for choosing those people this fall.  With the election coming up in November, we will also be supporting good education candidates.  If you are interested in helping with any of these efforts, let us know at .

Pride:  You can be proud of the work you’ve done this year.  We’ve worked through challenging levies, bargaining, media scrutiny, and site level changes this year.  Through all that, we’ve seen increases in student achievement and strong public support for your efforts. Your tireless advocacy for your students and commitment to your craft shows in those results.  All of us at AHEM are honored to serve you and look forward to what we will do together next.

Good Question: Who Are My Candidates? Filing for office closed yesterday, so the field of legislative candidates is pretty much set for the fall.  To find out who’s running where, try this interactive map from MinnPost:

Friday, June 1, 2012

Q-Comp Vote Results, Thank You's

Q-Comp Vote Results:  The unofficial results of this week’s Anoka-Hennepin Q-Comp vote is 89% yes, 11% no. Over 2000 of our members voted. That is above our 75% threshold for passage, so we have accepted Q-Comp for the 2013-2014 school year.  Thank you to all who helped create our proposal and had the one-on-one discussions that lead to its passage.  Now our opportunity is to make this plan not only work to fulfill requirements of the new teacher evaluation law, but to ensure it truly enhances our practice to the benefit of our students. 

Thank You’s: At the Teacher of the Year banquet a few weeks ago, I had the chance to talk to some amazing educators. Each of them credited teams of colleagues for their success.  One of the very reasons they were singled out as great educators is that don’t let themselves be singled out when they are actually educating.

Our union works the same way. We have an amazing team at AHEM that deserves thanks.  To start off, we have a solid, smart officer team.  Vice President LeMoyne Corgard, Treasurer Scott Schaeffer, and Secretary John FitzSimons not only perform their duties well, but each of them have come up with innovations that move our union forward.  Our cadre leaders are of a similar high caliber.  Government Relations Chairs Val Holthus and Lindsay DenBleyker, Member Rights Chair Bill Davids, Membership Chair Carrie Butorac, Elections Chair Amanda Glover-Peterson, Settlement Action Chair John Chasteen, Lead Negotiator Paul Goupil, and Communications Chair LeeAnne Clauer have each brought their work to a new level this year.

On the front lines of the direct services we provide are our office staff Janie Hemmelgarn and Julie Seelhoff and field staffers David Kundin and Gary Christofferson.  Every day, they are here to provide daily support our members need and they do it with grace and expertise.

There are literally over a hundred more people I should thank, like those on our Executive Board who hashed out some of the toughest issues our organization has faced in decades.  Or our Representative Assembly members who provide the grassroots connection that keeps the organization on track.  Committee members, both on our standing groups like Labor Management, Member Rights, and our Negotiations Team and ad hoc groups like those that are working on Q-Comp and formulated our responses to policies on LGBT topics deserve thanks too for innovative efforts.  All of you who step up and represent teachers on district committees to ensure we have a real voice on the day to day professional concerns in our classrooms deserve our gratitude.

Finally, thanks to everyone who passes these emails along, stuffs the boxes, takes the questions, and provides the valuable insight of what is really happening at the site level.  Head building reps are the glue that hold AHEM together and we are lucky to have them working for all of us.

The worst part of writing a thank you note is the fear that you will leave someone out.  Know that all of you who have supported AHEM’s work are deeply appreciated.  The best part of this writing is to remember all we’ve accomplished together and be inspired by your work.  With a team like this, we have nothing but opportunity ahead of us.  I am incredibly grateful for all of you and can’t wait to see what we’ll do together next.