Winter Updates 2021-2022

November 2021, December 2021, January 2022

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Educators of Color Resource Group

The Employees of Color Resource Group’s mission is to provide an affinity space for Employees of Color to understand how our racial/ethnic identities impact our experiences at RPS and to collaborate with the District in creating a more supportive, anti-racist school and work environment for students and staff. We seek to increase the retention of Black, Indigenous, and other Staff of Color by supporting and celebrating the impactful work we do to inspire, challenge and empower all students.
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Regan Kluver

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  • What brought you to Minnesota?

Been here all my life!

  • What is your professional background?

Not too much, I went to college at Winona State university and got my B.A. in History, and I am currently working on an American indiagenous studies minor I picked up from Mankato.

  • How long have you been in the district, and what is your current position?

This fall is my third year in the district, and I am currently the district American Indian Liaison

  • What do you do in your free time? What are your hobbies?

I enjoy watching movies, cooking, socializing with friends and family, and going on hikes! Being a new mom I haven’t dedicated much time to my hobbies this year, but I really enjoy beading and have been working on my new jingle dress regalia. I hope to find the time to keep working at it and have it all done by the spring when our Rochester schools powwow is annually held.

  • Who are the important people in your life?

My husband, old friends, and my little baby, Dove!

  • What was a memorable moment while working with students?
Our Native American students come from all backgrounds and have a spectrum of cultural connection. One of my favorite moments is when I let one of my middle school groups lead a meeting, and the students exchanged cultural stories from their families or their own personal experiences.

  • Any words of advice?

The last few years have been difficult for every one of us in some way. My advice is to fall in love with life all over again and challenge yourself to reconnect with old interests or hobbies to holistically heal and nurture yourself. If our tanks are empty and we can’t take care of ourselves, we can’t give our students the best of us.

  • Favorite quote:

“Biggest obstacle I ever faced was my own limited perception of myself.” - RuPaul

  • What is your involvement with the union? What advice do you give to others that are new in the union or have not engaged with the union yet?
As an off-schedule employee, I unfortunately do not have any involvement with the union.

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EoCRG Social Gathering. We want to hear from you about what days are best to meet! Please complete the survey, so we can have a great time networking with one another!

2nd REQUEST: We would love to update our member list with the correct information. Please take a moment to fill out this brief 3 question Google Form. If you have already done so, please disregard.

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EoCRG In Person Meeting

Friday, Dec. 10th, 4:30-6:30pm

1611 U.S. 52

Rochester, MN

Please RSVP if you plan to attend.

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

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Congratulations to Michelle Diaz for being nominated for Rochester Paraprofessional Association's ESP of the year!

Michelle Diaz has been at Mayo since 2015 She was hired to run a program called Structured Study Hall. SSH provides academic support for students in 9-12.

Michelle says that she has a strong connection with students from all walks of life, partly because she remembers the challenges she faced as a troubled youth. "Those experiences have shaped the focus of my position since hired. The student that was troubled, that was suspended, that did poorly in school, that skipped often; that was me. It was a symptom of a bigger problem, and I know I wanted someone to understand that. So, I do for students what I wish someone had done for me. Or try at least as best as I can. I believe in them, support them, and have high standards for them. Students realize that the high expectations are 100% a result of me wanting them to succeed."

She added, "I am also fortunate to work with wonderful student tutors and the best group of co-workers anyone could ask. I hope others know how appreciated they are. I have been privileged to work with many different paras and I am thankful for everything they teach me. If nobody said thank you today, please let me say thank you. Thank you for smiling at kids and remembering how much we need you at school too. We are so much stronger united than apart."

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November-Native American Heritage Month

November is National Native American Heritage Month, which celebrates the history and contributions of Native Americans.

November 1: All Saints’ Day, a Christian holiday commemorating all known and unknown Christian saints (In Eastern Orthodox Christianity, the day is observed on the first Sunday after Pentecost.)

November 2: All Souls’ Day, a Christian holiday commemorating all faithful Christians who are now dead. In the Mexican tradition, the holiday is celebrated as Dia de los Muertos (October 31–November 2), which is a time of remembrance for dead ancestors and a celebration of the continuity of life.

November 11: Veterans Day, a US federal holiday honoring military veterans. The date is also celebrated as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in other parts of the world and commemorates the ending of World War I in 1918.

November 13–19: Transgender Awareness Week, the week before Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20, in which people and organizations participate in Transgender Awareness Week to help raise the visibility of transgender people and address issues members of the community face

November 19: International Men’s Day emphasizes the important issues affecting males, including health issues that affect males, improving the relations between genders, highlighting the importance of male role models, and promoting gender equality. This holiday is celebrated in more than seventy countries.

November 20: Transgender Day of Remembrance, established in 1998 to memorialize those who have been killed as a result of transphobia and to raise awareness of the continued violence endured by the transgender community

November 25: Native American Heritage Day, held annually on the Friday after Thanksgiving, encourages Americans of all backgrounds to observe and honor Native Americans through appropriate ceremonies and activities. The day was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2008.

November 26-December 6: Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a Jewish festival commemorating the recovery of Jerusalem and subsequent rededication of the Second Temple at the beginning of the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Empire in the 2nd century


    December 1:World AIDS Day, commemorating those who have died of AIDS, and to acknowledge the need for a continued commitment to all those affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

    December 3: International Day of Persons with Disabilities, designed to raise awareness in regards to persons with disabilities in order to improve their lives and provide them with equal opportunity.

    December 8: Immaculate Conception of Mary, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception celebrates the solemn celebration, by various Christian denominations, of belief in the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

    December 8: Bodhi Day, the Buddhist holiday that commemorates the day that the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama (Shakyamuni), experienced enlightenment, also known as bodhi in Sanskrit and Pali.

    December 10: International Human Rights Day, established by the United Nations in 1948 to commemorate the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    December 12: Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a religious holiday in Mexico commemorating the appearance of the Virgin Mary near Mexico City in 1531.

    December 13: St. Lucia’s Day, a religious festival of light in Scandinavia and Italy commemorating the martyrdom of St. Lucia, a young Christian girl who was killed for her faith in 304 C.E. She secretly brought food to persecuted Christians in Rome while wearing a wreath of candles on her head so both her hands would be free.

    December 16-24: Las Posadas, a nine-day celebration in Mexico commemorating the trials Mary and Joseph endured during their journey to Bethlehem.

    December 21: Winter Solstice The shortest day of the year represents a celebration focusing on rebirth, renewal and new beginnings as the sun makes its way back to the Earth. A solstice is an astronomical event that happens twice each year when the sun reaches its highest position in the sky.

    December 25: Christmas Day, the day that many Christians associate with Jesus’ birth.

    December 26-January 1: Kwanzaa, an African-American holiday started by Maulana Karenga in 1966 to celebrate universal African-American heritage.


    January 1: New Year’s Day, the first day of the year according to the modern Gregorian calendar, celebrated in most Western countries

    January 4: World Braille Day, observed to raise awareness of the importance of Braille as a means of communication for blind and partially sighted people; celebrated on the birthday of Louis Braille, the inventor of Braille

    January 5: Twelfth Night, a festival celebrated by some branches of Christianity that marks the coming of the Epiphany

    January 6: Epiphany or Dia de los Reyes (Three Kings Day), a holiday observed by Eastern and Western Christians that recognizes the visit of the three wise men to the baby Jesus twelve days after his birth

    January 6: Christmas, recognized on this day by Armenian Orthodox Christians, who celebrate the birth of Jesus on Epiphany

    January 7: Christmas, recognized on this day by Eastern Orthodox Christians, who celebrate Christmas thirteen days later than other Christian churches because they follow the Julian calendar rather than the Gregorian version of the Western calendar

    January 16–17 (sundown to sundown): Tu B’shevat or Rosh Hashanah La’Ilanot, a Jewish holiday recognizing “The New Year of the Trees.” It is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the Hebrew month of Shevat. In Israel, the flowering of the almond tree usually coincides with this holiday, which is celebrated by planting trees and eating dried fruits and nuts.

    January 18: Mahayana New Year, a holiday celebrated by the Mahayana Buddhist branch on the first full-moon day in January

    January 17: World Religion Day, observed by those of the Bahá’í faith to promote interfaith harmony and understanding

    January 19: Timkat, a holiday observed by Ethiopian Orthodox Christians who celebrate the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River on Epiphany

    January 20: Martin Luther King Jr. Day commemorates the birth of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the recipient of the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize and an activist for nonviolent social change until his assassination in 1968.

    January 27 (sundown to sundown): Holocaust Remembrance Day, a time to “mourn the loss of lives, celebrate those who saved them, honor those who survived, and contemplate the obligations of the living.” — Former President Barack Obama

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    Professional Development (PD) Series Title: Strengthening Racial Literacy: Educators and Staff of Color Navigating and Resisting Racism in Schools

    PD Dates/Times and Descriptions

    Session 1: Friday, November 12, 2021, 4:30-6:30pm CT

    Session 2: Friday, January 14, 2022, 4:30-6:30pm CT

    Session 3: Friday, March 11, 2022, 4:30-6:30pm CT

    Session 4: Friday, May 13, 2022, 4:30-6:30pm CT

    PD Outline:

    Session 1: Naming Racism

    In this session, participants will be engaged in a conceptual and data driven dialogue and

    reflection of the history and current day manifestations of racism in K-12 schools.

    Session 2: Impacts of Racism

    In this session, participants will explore the impacts of racism on students, the school, and

    themselves. They will also practice identifying racism and its impacts in their professional


    Session 3: Resisting Racism

    In this session, participants will be exposed to the tools that educators of Color have engaged in

    to navigate, survive, and resist racism. They will also consider where they have and may garner

    these tools.

    Session 4: Reimagining Education

    In this session, participants will hear the narratives of teachers who have worked to reimagine

    education toward the wellbeing, strengths, and needs of communities of Color. They will also

    begin to consider how to reimagine their own work and space toward racial justice.

    Session 2 Impacts of Racism

    Wednesday, Jan. 12th 2022 at 4:30pm

    “eocrgvirtual” to join the Google Meet

    RSVPs are enabled for this event.

    MEA Online

    Get the professional development you need from the comfort of your home or classroom through trainings on our online learning platform MEA Online (formerly known as LearnUpon)!

    Improve your professional practice, earn CEU credits for relicensure or build your union understanding and power -- with MEA Online!

    The majority of courses will be pre-recorded. Some will be offered live via webinar and some will be a combination of both.

    The best part? These courses are FREE to active Education Minnesota members.

    How to sign up

    Education Minnesota sent email invitations to access MEA Online in July, September and November to all member email addresses we have on file.

    1. Please check your email to find an invitation that says, “You are invited to the MEA Online learning portal.” The invite will come from Education Minnesota’s MEA Online Team at and contain a link special to each member to access the site.
    2. If you did not receive an email invitation from, please email (Remember to check your junk/spam folders!) The MEA Online team will respond to your email promptly and send you an automated email invitation as described in step one.

    No account creation is required. That's all been done already on the back end of the platform.

    NEA Professional Excellence Portal

    Begin your journey to improve your practice as an educator and create better outcomes for your students.

    Learn more »
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    Paid Mentorship Program

    As a reminder, if you are interested in getting mentored (1st 3 years at RPS) or being a mentor, please contact Ian Naatz at, or complete the Contact Us form at the bottom of the newsletter. Both mentors and mentees will be compensated.
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    Sunshine Fund!

    The Sunshine Funds are monetary donations given by EoCRG members. These funds will be distributed to the EoCRG members to acknowledge special occasions or to provide support during unfortunate events. Sunshine Funds can be collected at John Adams contact person Ramona Norwood school #507-328-5700 and cell #312-513-9360 . You will receive a receipt for any donations for tax purposes. Thank you!

    "It's not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving"

    Professional Development Ideas?

    Have you seen or heard of any great professional development ideas you would like us to know about for next year? Please complete the contact form and specify PD request. We would love to hear your ideas!
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    Our website is live! Check it out The page is under the careers section of the Rochester Public Schools webpage.

    There you will find information about becoming a member, a communication form, and mentorship information

    RPS Employees of Color Resource Group (EoCRG)
    RPS Recruitment Video 2021
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    Contact Us!