A few days ago, I shared my letter to Jeffco Schools Superintendent Dan McMinimee. http://www.supportjeffcokids.org/change-your-focus/ After that email, I did receive a response from our Superintendent, following which I emailed him again – read the details below:
Response from Dan McMinimee here:
From: McMinimee Dan M <DMCMINIM@jeffco.k12.co.us>
To: Shawna Fritzler <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Thu, Jan 22, 2015 12:21 pm
Subject: RE: News for Parents – Jeffco Public Schools
Thanks for the email.
I was referring to this information provided to me:
46 NEA organizers who “hit 5,200 doors” in JeffCo this past summer. In July, CEA president Kerrie Dallman announced to the NEA annual meeting in Denver that 48 national union staff operatives would come to JeffCo to visit teachers in their homes.
In December, Jobs with Justice hosted a voting party at which attendees could pay to cast a ballot for the person or entity who had been bad to workers.
I was not referring to parents in our schools, PTA’s, or others that have concerns or questions. I am more than happy to try and address those issues people are bringing forward, I do not see those as distractions. I see those as opportunities to discuss issues and I thank you for recognizing how accessible I have tried to be.
I am hoping we can continue to try and focus on student growth and achievement, teacher effectiveness, great learning environments for our kids and using our dollars as effectively as possible.
Hope this clarifies the statement for you. See you soon.
From: Shawna <email@example.com>
Date: January 22, 2015 at 1:19:40 PM MST
Subject: Re: News for Parents – Jeffco Public Schools
Thanks for your response, I do appreciate it very much. I do have to say that I did meet a few of those individuals from NEA. They were wonderful people, very friendly, and they weren’t here to riot or anything else that has been implied by other groups. I wish you had an opportunity to meet them, I guarantee you would have thought they were delightful people. They came to talk to other association members. Kerrie Dallman is a very nice woman and has the best interests of our children in mind and happens to be a phenomenal social studies teacher who has served Jeffco for years. I would encourage you to meet with her and would be happy to arrange an introduction or lunch if you’d like.
With all due respect, they do have a right to be concerned and people of this community are very worried about the direction some things are taking. They have a right to have an association if they want one and I’ve never seen them do anything but serve our kids. Sometimes their politics are different than mine but we manage to get along just fine and have good conversations.
I’m not afraid of the teacher association and I have found that if I have a concern, I call them and discuss it. They’re very open and completely willing to talk to anyone. No matter your opinion of unions, (I worked in management in commercial construction for years for both union and non-union companies) I hope that you will be open-minded. JCEA and CEA are not destructive groups of people. It’s fine if we all don’t agree on things but we can still work together to strive for excellence for our kids.
There are JCEA members with my 10-year-old daughter right now and they love her and teach her and do a great job filling in as “mom” when she needs it while I’m not there. They partner with me to ensure that my daughter is well-served and are great resources when I need help! I love them for it and appreciate the extra things they do for all kids in our schools.
As far as Jobs with Justice, I’m still not sure what was supposed to happen or what may happen, but it’s no worse than what John Newkirk did to that mother at the Board Meeting the other night. Publicly reprimanding a parent who volunteers extensively in her school and not allowing her to respond was flat out rude.
I want to think that you intend to be a leader in this district and truly do the right thing for our kids. Though we didn’t always agree, with Dr. Stevenson we had wonderful and rich conversations and she was always responsive to opinions of others. I don’t expect you to become Dr. Stevenson but I will say that all 5′ of her (with heels) would stand up and stop people when they treated a staff member or parent inappropriately or when Board Members became uncooperative, abusive or demeaning.
People are being vocal because they don’t feel that they are being heard and their opinions are being devalued. It’s not destructive, it’s an opportunity to reach out, change your focus, and look at things from a difference lens. Again, I thank you for your time and “listening.”
“Children are great imitators. So give them something great to imitate.”
Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~Elizabeth Stone