Fall Updates

November and December 2020

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  • New Website Coming Soon: RPS will be building a space on their main page for general information on the Employees of Color Resource Group (EoCRG). Stay tuned for more details!

  • Mentorship for New Teachers of Color (in your first 3 years at RPS) and collaboration between Educator of Color will continue this year! Please fill out this form if you are interested in participating in this program. These are paid opportunities. Those that participated last year or expressed interest in the past will also be contacted in the next couple of weeks. We have funds to pay for equity PD for our group, so if there are opportunities that you are interested in, please contact us so we can set it up.

  • We have new members joining the Executive Board for EoCRG! Welcome, Regan Kluver, Patrick Manansala, and Thang Nguyen. You can see the complete list of the executive board members below.
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Welcome to our new Coordinators of Equity: Sara-Louise Henry (Curriculum and Instruction) and Willie Tipton (Student Supports and Human Resources)

Introductions from the last school board meeting:

  • Karl Bakken, Executive Director of Human Resources, introduced the two new equity coordinators, Willie Tipton and Sara-Louise Henry.

  • Congratulations to Willie Tipton, Coordinator of Equity-Student Supports and Human Resources. Willie has been an equity specialist with RPS since 2016. Prior to this, Wille was a transition specialist with RPS.

  • Congratulations to Sara-Louise Henry, Coordinator of Equity- C&I. Sara-Louise has previously served as an Adjunct Professor in Social Work at Winona State, a Director of Social work at Glazon Care Services, a Social Worker at Olmsted County, and a Social Worker at Family Service Rochester

  • We look forward to our continued equity work and the knowledge and leadership that Sara-Louise and Willie will bring to our District.

Education Minnesota Online Training

Education Minnesota is proud to announce the launch of our new online learning platform, LearnUpon.

Using LearnUpon, members can access our full catalog of professional development to improve their professional practice and earn CEU credits for relicensure as well as build union understanding and power.

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.

Join the MRA training (Members Rights Advocate), the negotiation paths, and the Cultural Competency paths so that you can be equipped to lead at your sites!

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Member Highlights: Patrick Manansala

1. What brought you to Minnesota
  • My dad travelled to the US with a travelling choir from the Philippines in 1997. He then met my soon-to-be stepmom. In December 1999, we flew to the US under the notion of just “going to Disneyland”. We didn’t end up going to Disneyland due to a few complications, however, we then arrived in Minnesota.

2. What is your professional background?

  • I'm currently in my 6th year of teaching. I am an Elementary Music Teacher.

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

  • I’ve been in the district for 6 years. I currently work at Elton Hills Elementary school and have completed 5 years there. Prior to my tenure at Elton Hills, I started my journey at RPS by being an LTS Music Teacher at Sunset a year before. There, I made connections and impact on the community I continue to serve today.

4. What do you do in your free time? What are your hobbies?
  • I like to sing karaoke, cover songs with my piano, guitar, and violin. I also have a summer side-gig playing at weddings

5. Who are the important people in your life?
  • My wife, my immediate family.

6. What was a memorable moment while working with students?
  • The first time they enter my classroom as Kindergarten students, and the last time we sing together when they exit as 5th graders.

7. Do you have any words of advice?
  • Have fun, smile, be authentic, know your boundaries, and listen with the intent to understand.

8. What is your favorite quote?
  • I don't have a favorite quote, but one of my favorite songs is “The Greatest Love of All” by Whitney Houston.

9. 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?
  • I’m currently in my 3rd year as a Faculty Representative. I’ve been to an NEA convention as a voting member for 1 summer.
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Member Highlights: Paul Malone

1. What brought you to Minnesota?
  • The opportunity to attend Rochester Community College and to play football.

2. What is your professional background?
  • I have enjoyed working with young people throughout my life and career in many capacities. This has included volunteer youth coaching, paraprofessional at the middle and high school levels, high school assistant football coach and work as the minority parent student liaison.

3. How long have you been in the district, and what is your current position?
  • I have worked for the district for 32 years.

4. What do you do in your free time? What are your hobbies?
  • I enjoy spending lots of time with family and friends, bird watching, walking, singing, and playing shuffleboard.

5. Who are the important people in your life?
  • My immediate family which now includes five grandchildren, distant family on the east coast who live in the DC and Baltimore area and many friends.

6. What was a memorable moment while working with students?
  • Over the years, introducing and taking students to the White Privilege Conference. Students were introduced to different viewpoints on how others viewed the nation. They also gained different perspectives of who they are.

7. Any words of advice for educators?
  • It is important to really try and engage in initiating trust. With that being said, trust is the threshold of the beginning of many lasting relationships. Trust also will allow you to enter the students/family space and domain.

8. Favorite quote:
  • “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy” Martin Luther King

Next EoCRG General Meeting

Friday, Dec. 4th, 4-6pm

This is an online event.

Join our first virtual social of the school year!

Please join by opening Google Meets from your isd535.org account and enter use the following link: https://meet.google.com/hbr-aggm-ezv

If you have any issues, please email us and we will help you with the technology.

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

Love won't be tampered with, love won't go away. Push it to one side and it creeps to the other." Louise Erdich
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Who doesn't love getting gifts? We all do, so we thought it would be fun to do a gift exchange for members of the EoCRG! Basically, here's how it works:

  • If you're interested (of course you're interested, but if you're wanting to participate) please fill out the link here to sign up.
  • We will then send out a preference sheet. This will give your gift-giver a little more information about you, (what a great way to get to know someone you may not know)
  • Then, we will pair you with another participating member. Please let us know NO LATER THAN DECEMBER 15th if you want to participate
  • Your only job is to send them their gift, and wait for someone to send you yours!
  • Please keep the gifts to a MAXIMUM of $10.00. We don't want to burden anyone :)

Contact US

If you have any questions, please contact Will or Natalia.

Will Ruffin II: wiruffin@rochester.k12.mn.us

Natalia Benjamin: nabenjamin@rochester.k12.mn.us