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I am a ‘94 graduate of Shakopee, a mother of an alum, and a mother of four future graduates, whom I open enroll because I believe in Shakopee schools. Sweeney Elementary, West Middle School and Shakopee High are integral parts of my children’s lives. I have also been fortunate enough to work for Shakopee schools for 17 years. I have championed, conservatively, 2,100 students in our community. To say that I am deeply invested in Shakopee is an understatement.

In recent years there has been talk about arming teachers to prevent school shootings. You want to arm us? Yes, please do! On Nov. 3, arm us with your yes vote for the Shakopee Public Schools’ levy.

I am currently a teacher at Tokata Learning Center; our work there is a life changing component of healthy teenagers in our community. Here we build relationships with students, offer our love and attention, and support them as they work towards graduation and beyond. As a school, we break down academic barriers so that students can achieve their goals. We challenge them with a curriculum that teaches them how to think not what to think, navigate adulthood with practical skills, and meet standards set by the district and the State of Minnesota. The students contribute to our community by working hard, having fun and being inclusive. Tokata is a place of belonging. Unfortunately, though, we have already felt cuts in our school with the loss of a part-time special education position. Please arm us so we don't continue to cut resources.

Arm the Shakopee community with the funding to keep class sizes low and buildings small so they can know, really know our kids and grandkids. It is in this knowing that our children will flourish academically and socially. It is in this knowing that early interventions can be sought. It is in this knowing that our children will come to feel a deep sense of belonging.

Arm us and the students in our classrooms with more mental health professionals and training for teachers. The reality is that 50% of all lifetime mental illnesses develop by age 14 and 75% by the age of 24 (NAMI.org). In arming our schools with these levy resources, you are equipping the vast majority of children with tools to cope, learn and become productive adults and often save lives.

Perhaps the most important thing you can arm us with is your respect and your trust. I know that your trust was shaken when the previous superintendent used his power and influence in ways that were unethical. Mine was, too. What I can tell you is that systems have been put into place that will protect those dollars. What I can also tell you is that the teachers in the classroom with your children deserve your trust.

Please arm us with your yes vote on the Shakopee Schools 2020 Levy, on Nov. 3. 

Michelle Wright Edgeton

Burnsville

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