Hello Local 2209 Member,
The President and Vice-President of Local 2209 feel strongly a response is necessary to Sandy Lewandowski’s culture e-mail sent this week. We reiterate that members with a positive and healthy work environment is the goal! A strong culture makes a huge impact on student outcomes. It is the right of all members to have their voice honored which includes those with concerns about their work environment. Supporting the needs of the entire membership creates a strong union.
Local 2209 would like to thank its members for attending the 2017 Spring Fling which was held at the Park Tavern in St Louis Park.
Everyone who attended had a great time. There was plenty of food and fun for everyone. Members participated in bowling and had an opportunity to network with other members that they do not see on a regular basis.
Local 2209 Executive Council enjoyed speaking with members and hearing about their concerns and celebrating accomplishments from the past school year. This was time needed to help us come together and build for our future and celebrate Local 2209 accomplishments.
We also ask for your continuing support during this time of negations with the school district.
To all our members “THANK YOU” from your Local 2209 Executive Council.
Local 2209 would like to congratulate Sandi Shetka and the students of South Education Center for another successful Art Fair. The South Education Center had their second annual art fair on March 23rd, 2017. Parents, students, staff and community members were able to walk through the South Education Center and look at the art projects that were completed by the students from various programs.
Participants were able to eat snacks, participate in splat painting, participate in yoga, and take pictures throughout the art walk. Parents enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere while enjoying the opportunity to look at projects completed throughout the year. During the Art Fair parent’s friends and relatives were also able to view the play Annie that occurred on January 13, 2017. Everyone who was not able to attend the play had an opportunity to see the student’s performances. Click below to read the Annie article.
SEC staff worked together to help make the art fair a success. A special thank you to Sandi Shetka, SEC art teacher, and the Art Fair Committee participants. Many parents expressed their appreciation for all of the hard work that was put into the show. We here at 2209 take our hats off to Sandi and the students at South Education Center for a job well done. We look forward to next years Art Fair where we will once again be able to view the successes of our students. 2209 would also like to acknowledge SECA art teacher Erica Bauer.
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The Annual Spring Fling has again arrived. Join us this year at The Park Tavern for a great opportunity to have fun & network with fellow members.
The Park Tavern is located at 3401 Louisiana Avenue South in Saint Louis Park Minnesota, 55426.
This event will be held from 3:30pm – 7:30pm
Date: May,24th 2017
Join us for Bowling/Pizza/Appetizers/ Pop and 1 Free Drink Ticket per member.
This event is open to All Members.
Please R.S.V.P. to Ray Garner, local 2209 Communication Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org, by May 17, 2017.
Your local 2209 is looking forward to networking & having a good time connecting with members.
Hope to see you there.
“If anyone wishes to become full member please contact your site reps”
Local 2209 would like to congratulate Marcell Branch, 2016 Educational Support Professional of the year. Marcell was nominated last year as one of twelve Educational Support Professionals across Minnesota. Marcell is a dedicated professional currently working as a Behavior Intervention Specialist at West Education Center at Intermediate School District 287. Marcell began his career with Intermediate District 287 as an Educational Assistant and has played an active role in the Local 2209 union as a negotiator. He has been trained in restorative chats that are geared towards working with at-risk youth to help engage students in a framework for positive conflict resolution strategies.
Marcell came to Intermediate School District with experience necessary to help students who’s at risk.
During his career are Intermediate District 287, Marcell has worked as a case manager, counselor and advocate at youth based organizations. He became a gang specialist in 2003 and is the winner of the Frederic Thrasher Award for Gang Prevention. His hope is to help change the current educational system and to be a positive influence for students.
Educational Support Professionals represented in this job category come from a variety of positions that help support the schools such as: educational assistant, secretarial/clerical/administrative assistant, custodial, food service, maintenance and trades, transportation, grounds keeping, security, technology services, health services and others.
As the winner of Education Support Professional of the year, Marcel received a $1000 honorarium gift, an IPad and an all-expense paid trip to the National Education Association Education Support Professional National Conference March of 2017, which will be held in Dallas, Texas. Marcell will compete against other ESP’s from across the nation. Local 2209 would to congratulate Marcell in his successes at Intermediate District #287 and wish him the best of luck at his upcoming convention.
Brent Maves, Vice-President of MN Local 2209, presented the following speech to the District 287 School Board on January 26, 2017.
Good evening board members, Superintendent Lewandowski, other District 287 staff, and gathered members of Local 2209. I want to thank you for the allowing me the time to speak tonight as a representative of our education local.
I want to begin by recognizing and celebrating the members of Local 2209 who have a positive work environment, are valued by District 287, and have a supportive relationship with their site supervisor or principal! We all strive for meaningful and effective working environments.
Local 2209 appreciates that the district shares the stories of success of the district itself, staff success and student learning achievements. With that said, we believe it is of utmost importance that you are aware of, acknowledge, and take action to alleviate the poor working conditions of a group of our members and district employees. They often feel undervalued, uncomfortable, anxious, and/or fearful of retaliation or reprisal.
Ms. Lewandowski has shared with us survey results from two major sites in 287. She has communicated that the results are generally positive. Please understand we have heard first hand that individuals are fearful about being honest in surveys, speaking with their supervisors, and even being forthcoming in conversations with Local 2209 representatives.
I want to be respectful of your valuable time. I will be sharing stories of current and former members which are indicative of the feelings of a growing number of staff. We feel when even one person is dissatisfied with their work environment it is one too many. It certainly shouldn’t be ignored. A lack of acknowledgement of staff that has a negative work environment when the majority feels positive is analogous to failing to support students who are struggling when other students are succeeding.
Local 2209 had filed a grievance regarding duty free lunch and student contact time. The information from a Local 2209 survey in spring 2016 was flawed. We made a mistake. We attempted to obtain clearer and more definitive information with a new survey and face-to-face meetings with survey respondents this fall. We met with 20 individuals.
When asked if they would testify in person at a grievance hearing about the lack of a 30 minute duty free lunch or over 6.0 hours student contact time, 18 people stated they were too anxious or fearful to come forward. Let me repeat- 90% of the people we talked with were too anxious or scared to share their story.
Local 2209 will be conducting a survey prior to Spring Break about our members’ thoughts and feelings regarding their job assignment, work environment, and relationship with their site supervisor or principal. You may be asking yourself why we didn’t wait to include survey results in my presentation. The reason is the importance of the topic this evening warrants immediate attention!
There have been 6 employees that we know of with ten years or more experience that have left District 287 in the last 5 years because of the culture. There are likely more. They are valuable educators lost! If we continue to lose essential staff, the impact will be felt by students, families, co-workers, supervisors, and administrators.
Kris Lyngaas is a former classroom teacher in District 287. He had 15 years’ experience in 287. He stated to us educating very challenging students was the most rewarding work he had done in his life. He communicated he left because of a lack of trust and respect by those that lead. Specific examples include being given advice on strategies to improve student behavior by people that did not know the students name and consistent negative feedback on his job performance from administrators. He went to the Richfield School District after leaving 287.
I recently spoke with a veteran staff, who does not want their identity known, that feels they are viewed by the school district as a number instead of a person. We have also heard the same statement from other members.
Nancy Kratsell is a retired staff. She received positive evaluations, had good attendance, and established excellent rapport with her colleagues. She stated her last two years in the district were “hell”. She was told by her supervisor, in a very disrespectful manner, a list of things she had done wrong without feedback about strategies to improve during the summer of 2014. She retired early because she “couldn’t take it anymore”. Furthermore, she communicated to us a Teachers Retirement Association (TRA) employee told her multiple retiring staff had expressed similar concerns about District 287.
A current D/HH teacher has spoken with us about the remarkable disconnect between actual work being done and amount and manner in which the district administration believes the work is being done. This testimony is from an employee who worked on an IEP, when asked, during a medical leave for cancer surgery!
Erlene is one of the highly valued employees who left the district. She worked in 287 for over 30 years. She was a CPI trainer, behavior management specialist, and member of the restrictive procedure committee. She was a gold standard employee! She told us she chose to leave because of decisions made by a District 287 administrator. She was never contacted to discuss her thoughts or feelings about the reason for her departure. NO ONE BOTHERED TO SEND AN E-MAIL OR PICK UP THE PHONE! NO ONE!
Erlene currently works in the Bloomington School District.
We have heard multiple times by District 287 leadership they care about us as employees. They did not care in Erlene’s case!
Ms. Lewandowski, you have listened to us voice our concerns. You have asked for examples about our members feeling disrespected, anxious, uncomfortable and marginalized. We have provided examples this evening. Local 2209 leadership has spoken with numerous people at multiple sites that have chosen to remain quiet about their concerns, which includes violations of the contract, for fear of retaliation. We are unable to provide more evidence if members are unwilling to share their story.
In summary, there are a significant number of 2209 members that feel a change in the culture is required in District 287. The overwhelming commonality in all of these concerns is a lack of equity, professionalism, and clear communication from administration. Our hope is that these shared thoughts will lead to a broader dialogue around the protocols and practices that the district administrators engage in when working with employees.
We as educators are comprehensively evaluated every two or three years. We are informally evaluated every day by students, parents, group homes, colleagues, and supervisors.
We need District 287 supervisors, principals, and administrators to demonstrate growth in their communication and leadership skills just as we are expected to develop as educators. A vital need is more significant improvement by District 287 leaders!
This is reality! Change is necessary!
Board members, Ms. Lewandowski, and 287 administrators, please write down the following proposed Local 2209 action step:
1) Local 2209 is asking for the creation of a shared committee consisting of members from Local 2209 leadership and District 287 administration. Supervisors and principals communication, discipline protocols, and professionalism would be the focus. We propose the committee results would be presented at 287 board meetings and 2209 Executive Council to determine if there is adequate progress.
Thank you for your time.
Local 2209 Negotiations Chair & Former Vice President Doug Booth passed away December 8, 2016.
It was truly devastating to get the call late yesterday afternoon letting me know that Doug Booth had passed away. His is a loss that will be felt deeply and profoundly by his wife, Laura, and their children and grandchildren, as well as their many family and friends.
As we know, his loss will also be felt by students and staff at District 287. Doug touched so many lives here whether it was his work in the classroom with students, therapy dog sessions with his spaniel, Leah, or advocating for 2209 members as Local 2209 Vice President, Member Rights Chair, and Contract Negotiations Chair. Doug did some of the most crucial and difficult work there is in the Union on behalf of the 750-plus members of Local 2209.
I served with Doug on the Local 2209 Executive Council for over 6 years. During that time we had weekly and often daily conversations about the countless challenges and frustrations of addressing the seemingly never-ending uncomfortable, contentious issues that came along with Union service. The Union work Doug did by its very nature involved conflict, confrontation, and fierce conversations. However, I don’t remember one time, no matter how difficult the situation, where Doug ever lost his temper or let down his consummate professionalism, compassion for others, and wry sense of humor. I would challenge anyone who ever met him to imagine him not smiling. He kept a calm head, took things in stride, and patiently worked issues though to a fair resolution. I looked up to him as a mentor and example of how to conduct myself with students, co-workers, and in all manner of Union business. I welcomed any guidance he gave me and trusted his judgement in any number of situations that I brought to him for advice. He always reassured me that tomorrow was another day and difficulties could be better faced with a fresh perspective after a little rest.
I also saw firsthand how Doug lived a full and rewarding life that balanced work, family, and fun. Although his days with us were too few, each one had richness and meaning. Doug’s life was about people rather than things and all of us at District 287 benefited from that. Doug’s quality of leadership was vital for all of us in one way or another. We owe him and his family the deepest respect as we regrettably mourn his passing.
In Sympathy – Bruce Mulder, Former Local 2209 President
It is with great pleasure that we announce the winner of the Local 2209 ESP of the Year! Marcell Branch, who is Behavior Intervention Specialist at West Education Center.