My Letter (2.0) to Dan McMinimee, Superintendent Jefferson County Public Schools

I posted this letter on my Facebook page last week, but as Mr. McMinimee has requested another follow up meeting, and I anticipate writing “Meeting with the Superintendent 2.0,” I thought I would repost here:

Dear Mr. McMinimee and Jefferson County School Board Members:

Once again, I find Mr. McMinimee’s presentation of teachers in public communication reprehensible.  First, he sends a letter to parents telling them that the district’s efforts to “develop and implement community based solutions to give students all the resources and the systems they need to succeed” are being “distracted by outside influences.”  Then, when taken to task by parent Shawna Shantz-Frizler, Mr. McMinimee replied that he was referring to the statement “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.”

I was one of the NEA/JCEA organizers who knocked on doors last summer.  I moved to Jefferson County when I was six.  I attended Jochem Elementary, Open Living School, Sierra Elementary (when it was brand-new), East Arvada Jr. High, and graduated from Pomona.  I student taught at Pomona and have taught at Columbine High School since 1986.  My children attended Hutchinson Elementary, Dunstan Middle school, and Green Mountain High School.  How exactly am I an “outside influence”?  CEA president Kerrie Dallman is a former JeffCo teacher.  How is she an outsider?

Would you like to know what disruptive shenanigans I participated in when I visited my colleagues in their homes?  I listened.  I realize that this is considered almost subversive in Jefferson County these days–truly listening to people and actually caring about what they have to say–but that’s what I did.  I listened to a single mother say that she hoped her salary would reach a level where, as a college-educated professional who worked 50-hour weeks, she would no longer require public assistance to provide for her children.  I listened to a husband and wife who were teachers talk about working extra jobs to make ends meet.  I knocked on the door of a house where two teachers were tutoring neighbor children over the summer to help them be more successful in the fall.  I encouraged discouraged teachers not to give up, to believe in Jefferson County.  How, exactly, is this disruptive?

JeffCo is not DougCo.  The members of this community will call the district on it every time district publications politicize and misrepresent the facts.  If this is an example of the new leadership in communications, I am deeply chagrinned.

Sincerely,

Paula Reed

The letter I sent in August can be found here.

A summary of the follow up meeting can be found here.

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Paula is an author of historical fiction as well as a wife, mom, and teacher.
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