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					                                                                      Vol. 6, December 2006

The Professional
           A Publication of the Minnetonka Teachers Association
               Members of Education Minnesota, NEA, AFT, Minnesota Local #7173
                   Editor, Mary Tingblad,
                      MM-West, 6421 Hazeltine Blvd., Excelsior, MN 55331

     2006-2007 Minnetonka Teachers Association Governance Board
             ~ President Mark Chalupsky ~ Vice-President Julie Anderson-Simonson ~
                    ~ Secretary Mary Tingblad ~ Treasurer Ramona Anderson ~
          ~ DEC Susan Weber ~ Deephaven Margaret Ruffino~ Groveland Pam Wertjes ~
                    ~ Excelsior Sue Alexander ~ Minnewashta Julia Antonsen ~
                 ~ Clear Springs Debra Drexler ~ Scenic Heights Kim Diekmann ~
                            ~ MM-East Sandy Gosen & Sarah Berger ~
                      ~ MM-West Mary Tingblad & Jeri Goodspeed-Gross ~
      ~ MHS Ramona Anderson, Rachel Consdorf, Mike Matthias, Joel Gotz & Kristy Burgeson ~

                         ~~ From the President ~~
                                 MTA President, Mark Chalupsky
        Hello everyone! I would like to address the issue of the 6-period day because
many of you have asked me to bring this issue to the School Board. I did in fact make this
request at the School Board meeting on December 5, 2006. As you know, the 6-period
day has put added stress on most staff and students. Teachers have lost planning and
preparation time and have less time to help students. Some high school students struggle
to get all the credits they need for graduation completed in four years and they do not
have the flexibility to take classes they would like to take. In order to compensate for this
type of schedule, the district has added zero-hour classes, summer school classes, online
learning classes, and are considering pull-out health classes. The district feels this new
way of doing health would spread health education out over four years and provide
students with more age-appropriate and more timely instruction. Although the secondary
health teachers, as well as several community members, have spoken against this type of
pull-out instruction and have raised issues that have not been resolved, I predict the
School Board will vote to implement the program for next year. They feel it is a better
model than our current model.
        I have asked the School Board to think about reviewing the effectiveness of the 6-
period day and think about the possibility of moving back to a 7-period day. One of the

                                                                  The Professional, December 2006
board members, Bill Wenmark, has also asked other board members to consider looking
at this issue. Two other members of the board did say that they would be willing to look
at this issue, but not at this time because of the great number of other issues the board is
dealing with. According to Dr. Peterson, the district saves about $1.5 million a year as
compared to the 7-period days. I will keep you posted if the board decides to look at this
issue in the future.
         Many of you have called or e-mailed me regarding the stress and strain that many
people seem to be feeling this year. I did send an e-mail to all the School Board members
about this issue and we do plan on discussing this issue further with board members at
our Meet and Confer meetings.
         I am very excited that Polly Patrick, Judy Trombley, and Doug Kennedy have all
agreed to take on the challenge to be our negotiators for our 2007-2009 contract. You
should know they were willing to be paid less money if they could all work together.
They all have been involved in many leadership positions and have great organizational
and communication skills. I am really looking forward to working with them.
         As we are approaching the holiday season and the New Year, I would like to take
this opportunity to wish you and your families a happy and healthy holiday season. We
all can be thankful for the many blessings that we have received in 2006, and it is
touching to know how many less fortunate families will be helped by our staff and
students through the various fund raisers and programs that are going on now. Helping
others truly reflects the spirit of what the holiday season is really about. Best wishes!

                    ~~ From the Vice-President ~~
                         MTA Vice-President, Julie Anderson-Simonson
          Thank you to those of you who have attended recent School Board meetings.
Your appearance has given encouragement to our colleagues who are defending their
departments and their curricular needs. Your appearance has also given notice to the
School Board members that their decisions affect us all.
          If you are interested in representing the MTA during the Education Minnesota
Representative Convention on March 16 and 17, 2007, please submit your name to me by
Wednesday, December 20, 2006, 3:00pm. We are entitled to send seven delegates to the
convention. This will be an important time in the history of Education Minnesota, as we
are electing a new state President, Vice-President, Secretary/Treasurer, and two NEA
Directors. If you want to be a part of this history making event, now is your chance!
          Dust off your tap shoes, warm up your voice, pull out the jokes, and get on
board to take part in the Talent Show sponsored by the MTA. On Tuesday, February 15,
2007, you and your colleagues have an opportunity to raise money for scholarships for
deserving Minnetonka high school senior graduates. The more money we raise, the more
$1000 scholarships we can give in our organization’s name. Contact Joel Gotz for more

           ~~ Membership Information Reminder ~~
                         MTA Membership Chair, Jeri Goodspeed-Gross
       Please contact Jeri Goodspeed-Gross at any time during the year whenever your
information changes—name change, address change, phone number change, or contract
time change. It’s important to keep your membership information updated. Thank you!

                                                            The Professional, December 2006   2
                 2006-2007 MTA Teachers’ Rights Committee
                      ~ Teachers’ Rights Chair Julie Anderson-Simonson ~
            ~ DEC Linda Morantez ~ Deephaven Sue Dunn ~ Groveland Kelly Pederson ~
                     ~ Excelsior Mark Broten ~ Minnewashta Sarah Becher ~
                 ~ Clear Springs Brett Bernard ~ Scenic Heights Jonathan Maki ~
           ~ MM-East Kieran Monaghan ~ MM-West OPEN ~ MHS Jan Nelson & OPEN ~

                    ~~ Teachers’ Rights Review ~~
                      MTA Teachers’ Rights Chair, Julie Anderson-Simonson
          The Teachers’ Rights Committee has openings for two representatives, one from
MMW and one from MHS. If you are interested in serving in this position, please contact
me for additional information.
          We currently have a grievance that has moved into Step IIIb of the process for
one of our members. The School Board member heard the MTA and the District’s
positions in November. The School Board’s decision sided with the District and
subsequently denied our grievance. The final step in this process is to come to an
agreement with the District as we decide on an arbitrator who will hear our case. The
arbitrator’s decision will be binding for both parties.
          Seven of our Teachers’ Rights representatives will be trained in the first of three
Teachers’ Rights training sessions offered through Education Minnesota and paid for by
the Metro West UniServ. In our November monthly meeting, all nine representatives
received new binders with extensive information regarding their role as your
          You should be receiving a personal contact from your representative in the near
future. He or she will be handing you a new neon green wallet-sized card entitled,
―Protect Your Rights.‖ If you are asked to provide information about an allegation of
employment-related criminal misconduct, an appropriate statement of response is
provided for you. This green card replaces the neon pink card you were given when Sue
Vento was our Education Minnesota Field Staff. Now that John Borgen is our Field Staff,
new cards have been issued with his information on the back side. Keep this card in your
          Your representative will also be sending you an e-mail regarding 403b plans.
Your retirement is divided into three parts: Social Security, a Teacher’s Retirement fund
(TRA), and whatever else you have saved. Two-thirds of your retirement is automatically
withdrawn from each district paycheck you receive (SS and TRA). The other third of
your retirement is your responsibility. If you have an existing 403b account, good for
you! According to the district’s records, we currently have 100 teachers who are not
enrolled in a 403b plan. It’s never too early to start saving! Included in the e-mail sent
with this newsletter is the 8-page information document detailing the Tax Shelter or
Deferred Compensation Plan that is available to you—interesting reading! Click here to
download the form you need to begin saving for your retirement. Please contact your
Teachers’ Rights representative, or Jodi Blais in the District Service Center, with any
further questions. Jodi does request that before calling her, you check to see how many
years you have on the seniority list, as it helps her explain how much matching you are
eligible for.

                                                             The Professional, December 2006   3
   ~~ Announcing the Talent Show for MTA Scholarships! ~~
                                Talent Show Chair, Joel Gotz
        This is a chance for any MTA member and the greater community to step onto the
stage and perform for the scholarship benefit of two outstanding high school seniors. We
would like to raise enough money to give two $1,000 scholarships, maybe more! The
success of this worthy benefit depends on you!
        In the past, schools have gotten together and created small groups to perform.
There were also districtwide groups—who remembers ―Staff Infection‖ lead by Joyce
Gustafson? We can do that again, plus individual and/or small acts. If you have an idea or
a question, we would like to hear from you. Rumor has it MME has an incredible group
of lip-synchers who are wild and crazy and will light up the stage. Let’s get every
building represented and really show off our talents!
        If you have ―off stage‖ talent, we want your involvement, too. Here’s how:
             Before the event: Advertising, creating programs, selling tickets
             Day of event: Help decorate the stage, take tickets, curtain operator,
             What: Talent Show for MTA Scholarships
             When: February 15, 2007
             Where: MHS Arts on 7 Theatre
             What time: 7pm
             Purpose:
                    o Showcase faculty and community talent
                    o Raise scholarship money for 2 high school seniors
                    o Have fun!
        If you would like to help or have an idea, contact the Talent Show Chair, Joel
Gotz, Sign ups are coming your way to individual
school’s staff rooms. We hope to see you either on the stage or in the audience!

                                                               The Professional, December 2006   4
                           News From Education Minnesota
          ~~ From Our Education Minnesota Field Staff ~~
                          Education Minnesota Field Staff, John Borgen
         Almost everywhere I go, I hear our members talk about being frustrated over the
constant feelings of being pressured to do more and to do it better. The most recent MCA
test results, whether good, or not so good, caused teachers to talk about the never
relenting experience of overwhelm. Working with teachers in ten different school
districts gives me a unique vantage point from which I see few if any members are
actually experiencing ongoing feelings of success. In some places where the MCA scores
were down, the mood was deflated. In schools where the scores held their own or got
better—actually this didn’t ever really occur as the standards were raised—the tension
was still high. The handwriting is on the wall. The target is moving and, inevitably, there
is the fear that next time…you know!
         There is no relief in even some of our highest achieving school districts. There the
pressure is to add more, reach new plateaus of excellence, and initiate yet another new
program. More! Better! Different! In my long career with the union, I have never sensed
a deeper level of ongoing frustration over the unrelenting pressure experienced by our
members, day in and day out.
         Fortunate are our members who have principals and administrators who actively
appreciate and recognize the hard, difficult work our teachers perform on a consistent and
sustained basis. In one school district, a principal held a meeting with the faculty and the
experience of the teachers was admonishment and fault finding. In the same district,
another principal held a celebration, gratefully thanking the staff for their efforts and hard
work. What a difference! Needless to say you know where you would rather work! We
need to help our administrators realize that the carrot is better than the stick.
         We also should figure out how to create mutually supportive community in our
schools. An ―us-them‖ attitude will not move us forward. Affixing blame and public bad-
mouthing is always counterproductive. Our local unions are in a unique and pivotal
position to foster and nurture collaborative conversations to make a difference. I say we
can’t sit back and wait for something to happen which just may be helpful. We need to
start the dialogue and follow through, as necessary. If we must have difficult
conversations with some of our administrators and/or school boards to get the ball
moving, so be it.

           ~~ NEA Giveaway: Win a Bose Wave Radio! ~~
        Register to win a Bose wave radio at the NEA’s member benefits website. The
Bose wave radio has an AM/FM tuner and dual-independent alarms, and comes with a
credit card size remote control. Start waking up to the clear sound provided by Bose’s
waveguide speaker technology. Visit the ―Free Giveaways‖ section at
January 1-31, 2007, and register to win. Registration begins and ends at midnight Eastern
Standard Time on each day. There is no purchase necessary to enter.

                                                              The Professional, December 2006   5
    ~~ Minnesota’s ELL Students Face Tough Challenges ~~
         A new report released by the Alliance for Excellent Education finds that
Minnesota’s growing English Language Learner (ELL) population, which has increased
161.4% between 1995 and 2005, has been largely ignored as policymakers consider ways
to improve adolescent reading and writing proficiency levels. If the reading and writing
skills of all middle and high schools are to improve, the report urges, the unique needs of
ELL students must be identified and addressed with targeted strategies. The report asserts
that ELL students must work twice as hard to meet the same accountability standards as
their native English-speaking peers, since they are learning the English language while
simultaneously studying core content subjects. The report also identifies the major
challenges to improving literacy in adolescent ELLs and makes recommendations to help
meet these literacy needs. The report, Double the Work: Challenges and Solutions to
Acquiring Language and Academic Literacy for Adolescent English Language Learners,
is available at

         ~~ Travel2Learn Offers Rainforest Workshops ~~
      There are two exciting ways for teachers and environmental educators to travel to
the Amazon rainforest:
      1. The Educator’s Amazon Rainforest Workshop, June 30–July 9, 2007, co-
           sponsored by Selby Botanical Gardens, is a professional development
           opportunity for teachers to work side by side with a faculty of scientists.
           Academic credit and an extension to Machu Picchu are available. Land cost
           for this educator workshop is $1,998, plus roundtrip airfare.
      2. The Student Amazon Rainforest Workshops in June and July 2007 will
           give your students and their families the benefits of educational travel to one
           of the most diverse environments in the world while participating in a service
           learning project in a village along the Amazon River. Bring a group of six
           and travel with all of your expenses paid. Land cost for students and families
           is $1,898, plus air.
      For expedition information or funding ideas contact Dr. Frances Gatz at 1-800-
669-6806, or visit the website at

      ~~ Now that We Have a New Congress…What's Next? ~~
       The newly elected Congress has an opportunity to chart a new course for America
by translating campaign priorities into legislation and programs—and the AFT already
has the structure in place to offer ideas on key issues. The union's ACE (Activists for
Congressional Education) program, which connects lawmakers with AFT constituents
back home in frank, substantive, and regular discussions, will become more crucial than
ever as the new Congress convenes in January. While the AFT celebrated campaign

                                                          The Professional, December 2006   6
victories in November, ―come Monday morning, it's time to establish ACE committees‖
in districts where there are none, AFT president Edward J. McElroy told state federation
presidents leaders on November 10, 2006.
         Currently there are about 200 ACE committees established in congressional
districts, but there should be about 350 (this represents districts where AFT has
membership of 300 or more), says John Ost, director of the union's political and
legislative mobilization department. ―We can't assume that the new members of Congress
know everything about our issues. This is an opportunity to educate them.‖
         Meanwhile, many more AFT members will have a more union-friendly voice
representing them on Capitol Hill, says Ost. As a result of the November elections, he
     An additional 125,000 AFT members are now represented by Democrats in the
         U.S. House of Representatives. Overall, newly elected members of the House
         represent an average of 4,000 AFT members per congressional district.
     An additional 99,000 AFT members are now represented by Democrats in the
         U.S. Senate.
     In the Senate, the union vote made the difference for Jim Webb in Virginia, Jon
         Tester in Montana, and Claire McCaskill in Missouri.
This is a clear signal that activist programs such as ACE, the union's Partners in Political
Education (PIPE), which helps local unions increase the amount of money they have for
local races while also increasing the amount of voluntary money available to the AFT for
federal races, and the union's ongoing "Count Me In" campaign launched at the
convention in July are essential tools to engage and energize members, says Ost.
         The Union Vote Rocks! The AFL-CIO reports that 75% of union households
supported Democrats, but the big story, says Ost, is that the usual drop-off in voter
participation for a mid-term election did not happen. 79% of union voters who voted in
the 2004 presidential year, but failed to turn out for the last midterm election, were out in
force in 2006.
         That observation was echoed in a letter to the AFL-CIO executive council from
Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean, who noted that union members
delivered ―the winning margins to take back the House and the Senate, along with
numerous state houses and state legislatures.‖ Dean added, ―There is NO political
operation like the labor program; when unions deploy their resources and, most
important, their ground troops in a fight, we all win.‖
         The Legislative Agenda: Meanwhile there is already much discussion about how
AFT members can weigh in on important policy priorities in the new Congress, says AFT
legislative director Tor Cowan. The union will likely focus on a number of key issues,
     Educating lawmakers about the constructive changes needed to get NCLB right
         based on our members’ classroom experiences;
     Raising the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour;
     Seeking a greater national investment in education, healthcare and job training
     Protecting the right of workers to form unions by passing the Employee Free
         Choice Act and reversing the National Labor Relations Board’s recent ruling that

                                                           The Professional, December 2006   7
        allows employers to deny workers’ union rights by classifying them as
     Protecting retirement security for all workers;
     Expanding access and opportunity to college by cutting interest rates for student
        loans significantly and increasing the maximum Pell grant award to a minimum of
     Enabling Medicare to negotiate with drug companies to make prescription drugs
        more affordable;
     Securing federal assistance to help local school districts modernize and rebuild
        crumbling schools.
"We look forward to working with ACE committees and other AFT activists to help us
push the new leaders in Congress—Republicans and Democrats alike—to enact laws that
serve the common good," says Cowan.

                                                       The Professional, December 2006   8
                         So, What’s New at YOUR School?
There are ―good news‖ things happening everyday in our schools. Send your school’s
good news to to be included in the next issue of
The Professional. I’ve been told that this is one of the favorite features of the newsletter.
It’s the way that we can share all the good things going on with our MTA members!

                                 News From MHS
       Baby Evelyn Rose Erickson was born December 7, 2006. Proud dad is MHS
Spanish teacher, Jeff Erickson.

                             More News From MHS
        The MHS Staff Development Committee has initiated a new program this year in
conjunction with our Positive Climate Committee’s goal of creating ways in which staff
can feel more connected and continue to develop positive relationships. The new staff
appreciation program is Appreciating Staff Everyday (A. S. E. pronounced ―ace‖).
        The committee strongly feels that staff members do so much on a daily basis that
often times is just taken for granted. The purpose of this program is to say ―Thank You‖
and show appreciation for all that staff do, day in and day out. As part of this endeavor,
the committee contacted area businesses to see if they were interested in contributing to
this program in any way. At the MHS monthly staff meetings two names are drawn out of
a ―Tonka Bucket‖ and the lucky winners win a wonderful gift. All staff that work in the
building are eligible to win. So far the reception for this has been great and has people
feeling good!!
        The MHS Staff Development Committee would like to take this opportunity to
say thank you to the following businesses that have contributed to this program so far:
         Redstone American Grille
         Champps
         Maynard’s
         Chanhassen Dinner Theaters
         Minnetonka Marriott
        Any one interested in finding out more about this worthwhile program, feel free to
contact Vicky Painter at

                                                           The Professional, December 2006   9
  Editorial/Commentary/Opinion Page
Editorials, commentary, opinions, and letters to the editor are not necessarily the position
of the MTA. All members are invited to share their unedited views, thoughts, concerns,
etc., by submitting them to:, Mary Tingblad,
MM-West, 6421 Hazeltine Blvd, Excelsior, MN 55331.

Seasons Greetings?
         Have you noticed how not in season we are right now? I can’t believe that, day
after day, when I look outside to check the weather, there is green grass staring at me.
Yes, I said staring at me, practically mocking me for expecting snow in December! This
is Minnesota, after all. Some people even call this place Minne-SNOW-ta. Mother Nature
is having a laugh on us this December.
         I know there are some that are so happy that the snow has stayed away, and I do
understand those feelings. I do enjoy the benefits that go along with this weather. I
haven’t even pulled out my heavy winter coat yet. It’s been nice not having to bundle up
to go outside. At the end of my workday, which sometimes goes into the evening, I can
just get into my Jeep and leave. That’s nice! No searching for my vehicle under a blanket
of snow, no scraping ice off the windshield. Yes, that’s a good thing, I agree!
         That’s not enough of a payoff for me, though. We all know that December means
snow, snowflakes, snowballs, snowmen, and maybe even a SNOW DAY thrown in for
good measure! Those holiday lights just don’t look quite right without the white snowy
background. It may sound odd, but holiday shopping just doesn’t feel right without
trudging through the snowy parking lots. I’ve delayed a lot of my holiday shopping
because I just haven’t been in the mood. Snow or no snow, I’ll be out there on December
21st and 22nd finishing up my shopping. It sure would be nice if the weather would just
cooperate and snow for me! Yes, I’m dreaming of a White Christmas, a la Bing Crosby. I
say let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!
         So, how’s your holiday spirit? Has the lack of snow affected it, or is it just me? At
times, I’m close to bah-humbugging, but I catch myself. I still hold out hope that we’ll
get some snow soon. I’ll wear my snowflakes and snowmen on my sweaters and jewelry
and make do with that for the time being.
         Now, I want to make it perfectly clear, I am wishing for a SNOWY winter. Please
note that I am not wishing for an icy winter. I will accept no blame for any ice storms that
pop up. Of course, I will accept your gratitude for any SNOW DAYS we may get as the
result of my lamenting!  Sincerely wishing you all HAPPY HOLIDAYS, SEASONS
Mary Tingblad, Editor

                                                            The Professional, December 2006 10
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Do you have a bunch of VHS/8mm tapes that you never watch collecting dust on a shelf?
Do you have a special occasion coming up and want a digital slide show of pictures or
music video to help you celebrate? I can help you out. I can produce DVD’s out of your
VHS/8mm video tapes and DVD slide shows from photos (digital and print). I also do
weddings and special events. I have lots of different packages and prices. Call Brien
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VACATION HOME. New Hampshire house in the White Mountains available to rent.
Family-owned vacation home with 5 bedrooms is available year-round for rentals. Perfect
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free to contact Niki Danou,
VIKING TICKETS. 2 Vikings tickets for Sunday, Dec 31, 2006, noon kick-off. Section
215, row 16, seats 13 and 14.Each ticket is $49. Contact Melissa Larson at 952-937-5576

                                                         The Professional, December 2006 11
GUITAR. American Fender Stratocaster ―Reissue.‖ This is a new guitar in the 60’s
vintage style. Strats became famous through people like Buddy Holly and Eric Clapton.
Bought in 2000, I am asking $1100. Phone: 952-474-1305.
BABY GEAR. New mommy looking for used baby gear! If you are looking for someone
to help you clean out your garage or basement, I am your gal! Examples of what I'm
looking for: Pack and Play, Exersaucer, stroller, Johnny Jump Up, booster seat, etc.
Thanks!!! Email:
YARN, KNITTING NEEDLES. My students learn how to knit during the winter months.
Again, this year I’m begging for any yarn people might have found while cleaning out
Mom’s attic, closets, or basement. We can also put to good use any knitting needles. I’ll
add them to our needle lending library. Thanks a skein! Send to Deb Drexler at Clear
Springs, or e-mail
YOUR ARTICLE IDEAS! Write about your colleagues, good news to be shared,
anything you’d like to share with the rest of us. Remember, this is YOUR newsletter!

                                                         The Professional, December 2006 12