Back to School 2021!

August, September, October

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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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On behalf of the Educators of Color Resource Group Executive Board: Welcome back to school!

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EoCRG has some changes!


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Will Ruffin II is no longer the co-lead, rather is the new Executive Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion!

Welcome Gloria Torres-Herbeck as our newest executive board member!

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Gloria Torres-Herbeck

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  • What brought you to Minnesota?

I was working for IBM Guadalajara in 1992 when a project opened up to take over some software from IBM Rochester. I came to Rochester to work on transferring this project to Mexico early 1992. While working on this project, I met my husband Dave Herbeck. I went back to Guadalajara, Mexico in November of 1992. In July of 1993, we decided to get married, and I have been in Rochester since then.

  • What is your professional background?

I have a BA in Computer Management and a MA in Arts in Instruction. I changed my profession after getting married and moved to Rochester. After hearing some misconceptions of my language and my country, I decided to teach Spanish to share with others about my culture, language, and traditions.

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

This is my fourth year in the district. I taught three years to 3th grade students in the Spanish Immersion program at Gage Elementary School. Currently, I am at John Adams teaching Spanish to 7th and 8th grade students. However, I started teaching Spanish 27 years ago.

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

I enjoy doing many things in my free time such as hiking with my husband Dave and dog Luna, taking pictures of nature, traveling, sewing, cooking, knitting, dancing, and helping people in need.

  • Who are the important people in your life?

My family is the most important thing in my life. My husband and three children are a blessing to me. All my siblings live in Mexico, but thanks to technology we are in touch daily.

  • What was a memorable moment while working with students?

Every class is a memorable moment, each student is memorable, each day has been memorable on my days teaching Spanish. However, it brings me so much joy when I see former students that wish to greet me and share their successes. Last week, I got a postcard from a former student that wished to thank me for teaching him and he is going to get a minor in Spanish. This is the type of memorable moments that I treasure the most!

  • Any words of advice?

Sharing my language, traditions, culture and what I am more passionate about has brought me so much joy that I don’t feel my job as a job, but as a way to enjoy life with others. I hope you can also love your job doing what you enjoy doing.

  • Favorite quote:

My favorite Poem is by Mother Teresa.

"Do It Anyway"

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self centered.

Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.

Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.

Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.

Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.

Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten.

Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.

Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

~ Mother Teresa

  • What is your involvement with the union?

I support and appreciate the work the union does for the teachers and staff.

Ian Naatz

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  • What brought you to Minnesota?

I was born and raised in Rochester, MN and graduated from John Marshall High School in 2009. I left for Iowa to attend Luther College and have been back in Rochester since I graduated back in 2013.

  • What is your professional background?

I am a Middle School Social Studies Teacher and also coach Varsity Football

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

This will be my 8th year working in the district teaching 8th grade Social Studies at John Adams Middle School

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

I like to stay active lifting weights and playing sports such as volleyball, dodgeball, and football throughout the year. I also like to play video games and love catching up on the latest movie or TV show.

  • Who are the important people in your life?

My mom and grandparents. They have always been there to support me over the years and have raised me to be the person that I am today.

  • What was a memorable moment while working with students?

Lately I have been running into many of my past students over the years. Its amazing being able to see them all grown up and hear about the life lessons they have learned over the years and the successes in their own lives makes me proud to have been their teacher.

  • Any words of advice?

Control what you can control and remember that at the end of the day, your students are going to reflect your energy. Be the educator that you want to be and what your students need you to be.

  • Favorite quote:

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt

  • 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 have been a REA union representative for John Adams for the last 6 years. At the end of the day, the union is here to represent & support YOU! If you ever have any questions about contract language or need further support at your home site, do not hesitate to reach out to your school union rep, the REA president, or even myself if you have questions or want someone to talk to. We are all in this together!!

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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, and our Feedback Survey!

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Tuesdays in October, 3-5:30PM Racial Equity Facilitator Training

About this Event

This training is designed for teachers, instructional coaches, professional development specialists, equity specialists, and anyone else who wants to lead the sorts of professional learning the Equity Literacy Institute leads.

We will meet Tuesdays in October 2021, 4:00 - 6:30 PM east coast time (with a break built in). We also will provide particpiants with a virtual toolbox of the exercies, short readings, case scenarios, and handouts we use in our workshops. Participants will be given a 12-hour professional learning certificate at the end of the series.

The. morning of each of the four sessions participants will receive an email with login instructions for that week's session.

All sessions will be recorded and distributed to registrants the day after each session. So, if you have to miss all or part of any session, you will still be able to see it. Note that recordings will be available for one week, then taken down.

What Registration Includes

Participants will receive:

  • a collection of the exercises and activities the Equity Literacy Institute uses in workshops and faciitations,
  • four 2.5-hour workshops led by Paul Gorski and Marceline DuBose plus ongoing access to videorecordings of the workshops,
  • a modifiable PowerPoint template with basic equity literacy components and exercises built in,
  • a vetted collection of short readings to use in professional learning contexts, and
  • a 12-hour certificate of completion for participating in the online sessions and doing the between-sessions exercises.

About the Equity Literacy Framework

To learn more about our framework, please visit


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August-National Civility Month

  • August 9 – International Day of the World’s Indigenous People
  • August 9 – Hijri New Year (Muslim)
  • August 17 – Marcus Garvey Day
  • August 19 – World Humanitarian Day
  • August 26 – Women’s Equality Day
  • August 29 – Krishna Janmashtami (Hindu)

September-Hispanic Heritage Month

    • September 6 - Labor Day
    • September 7 – Rosh Hashanah begins (Jewish)
    • September 11 – Patriot Day (U.S.A.)
    • September 16 – Yom Kippur (Jewish) (begins sundown September 15)
    • September 15 – International Day of Democracy
    • September 16 – Mexican Independence Day
    • September 20 – Sukkot begins (Jewish)
    • September 21 – International Day of Peace
    • September 26 – European Day of Languages
    • September 27 — World Tourism Day



    Breast Cancer Awareness Month

    Bullying Prevention Month

    Domestic Violence Awareness Month

    Down Syndrome Awareness Month

    Filipino-American Heritage Month

    Italian-American Heritage Month

    LGBTQ History Month

    National Work and Family Month

    Polish-American Heritage Month

    Family History Month

    • October 2 – International Day of Nonviolence
    • October 6 – Navrati begins (Hindu)
    • October 10 – World Mental Health Day
    • October 11 – National Coming Out Day (LGBTQIAA+)
    • October 11 – National Native American Day
    • October 15 – White Cane Safety Day (Blind awareness)
    • October 16 – Bosses’ Day
    • October 17 – Spirit Day (LGBTQIAA+ anti-bullying)
    • October 19 – Eid Milad ul-Nabi (Muslim)
    • October 20 – Sikh Holy Day (birth of Guru Granth)
    • October 22 – International Stuttering Awareness Day
    • October 31 – Halloween


    • Indigenous People of the Americas bitmoji classroom:

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    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 Recruitment Video 2021
    - YouTube
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    Contact Us!