Letter to editor stock photo blue paper and pen

Four weeks ago, our governor and our superintendent communicated to public school staff an extraordinary request: transition your entire model of doing things. Do it in less than three weeks.

I am proud to say that the response of the members of Minnesota School Employees Association, the union that represents the majority of the support staff such as classroom paraeducators, special education secretaries, security and supervision staff, cultural liaisons, and first-line technology staff in Shakopee Public Schools has been “we got this."

While many parents in Shakopee and elsewhere are going to have first-hand knowledge of the extraordinary efforts of our teachers (which, let’s be honest, there is no adequate show of appreciation in what they were asked to do and have accomplished), many in our community may never know just how the support staff have stepped up and continue to do so. We have taken on every task asked of us. Childcare? Done. Lunches? In the bag. Translation? Sí. Technology support of students and staff? Got it. These sound like small actions, but multiplied by thousands of times, Shakopee’s support staff have moved mountains.

Instead of thanking our members in an email, I wanted to share this with the community. If you know a Shakopee Schools staff member, they deserve a socially distant thanks. On behalf of the MSEA Shakopee co-stewards (Yael Ripoll, Brenda Henning, and myself), I wish to publicly extend my gratitude to our members, all of our colleagues across the district, as well as all MSEA members and other school workers across the state.

MSEA’s motto is “schools work because we do." Public schools were handed an extraordinary challenge. The response speaks for itself: Schools work because WE DO, and when extraordinary circumstances turn schools upside down, we do it extraordinarily and together as one. We will continue to serve our students and our community.

This is how we do #ShakopeeStrong — by being there.

Brad McGarr

Co-Steward of MSEA Shakopee

Shakopee

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