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NDU Stands With You Inside: State Legislature Imposes More Cuts Teachers in ‘Driver’s Seat’ on Standards










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Postmaster, send address changes to: North Dakota United 301 N 4th Street Bismarck, ND 58501 Kelly Hagen Director of Field Communications Image Printing Design/Publisher


The 15th Special Session of the North Dakota State Legislature kicked off Aug. 2 with an address by Gov. Jack Dalrymple. The plan, released publicly on Aug. 1, was to expound on the Governor’s and Republican leadership’s plan to balance the 2015-17 budget.













AUGUST 2016 United Voices is the official publication of North Dakota United, 301 N 4th Street, Bismarck, ND 58501.


On the weekend of Aug. 19-21, 2016, local teams from around the state met to learn how to organize around Education Support Professionals (ESP) for our ESP Organizing Institute.

Last May, as we began the task of revising our North Dakota mathematics and English language arts content standards, our first principle was that the job belonged in the hands of our North Dakota teachers.

The 95th NEA Representative Assembly (RA) kicked off on the morning of July 4, engulfing our 26 NDU members with typical “WOW” energy as delegates representing their own state NEA members grooved to the music and cheers echoed throughout the Washington, D.C., Convention Center.

The world can change a whole lot in the course of 48 years. One thing that has remained the same in the world of public education here in the state of North Dakota for nearly half a century, though, has been the steady presence of North Dakota United communications director Linda Harsche. That, too, will change soon, as Harsche prepares to retire.

Activists like Dr. Nikki Berg Burin, an assistant professor of history, and women and gender studies, at UND, are pouring red sand on sidewalks in cities across North Dakota, and throughout the United States, to alert the public to the epidemic of human trafficking.

As President of Student North Dakota United (SNDU), I am in contact with college students who are eager to jump into the profession of public education. These passionate individuals are zealous about their future careers, and the excitement they feel to get out of the lecture hall and into the classroom can be seen and heard in their countenance.

ND United Voices

President’s Post

YOU ARE NDU Our union can do so much more with your help

By Nick Archuleta NDU President

Greetings, fellow North Dakota United members!

Around this principle we have been successful in increasing our membership but, unfortunately, not among all constituency groups.

I am never happier than when I get to listen to our members talk about how membership in ND United has impacted their lives. Over the course of this summer, people shared with me how they have saved money through member benefits or how the UniServ director assigned to their local made a successful bargain possible.

We have considerable work to do in the areas of organizing higher education and public employees.

As I said, I love to hear those accounts. But what really floats my boat is when I hear that these members are sharing their stories with non-members and inviting them to join North Dakota United. Membership is the lifeblood of NDU. We have data that shows that the number one reason people do not join is that they are not asked. That is why it is so important for members to talk to their colleagues about our values and invite them to join us in our efforts to be the most transformative organization in North Dakota. Here is some food for thought: ND United has a potential membership of 30,000. Imagine what we could do if we were an organization of 30,000 members! All of us have a responsibility to our professions, to our

fellow members and to our legacy to work hard to achieve our goals. NDU is committed to that responsibility and committed to helping you be an active member of our organization.”

That said, I want you to know that our union is strong. We have more members now than when we merged in 2013. This increased membership has allowed ND United to expand its influence and effectiveness.

To address this concern, your ND United Board of Directors has set member recruitment as a high priority on our campuses, public employee worksites, as well as in our K-12 public schools. We are committed to increasing our numbers as well as our density across all of our constituency groups. The second strategic principle guiding our work addresses our need to have a motivated and activated membership. Think of your NDU membership card in the same way that you think of a gym membership card. Having a card is great, but it is not enough. Having a gym card, in and of itself, is not going to advance your goal of losing weight and developing a desirable physique. Using that card to actually gain entrance to the gym, and utilizing the exercise equipment, is what will assist you in reaching your goals. So it is with your NDU membership card. Simply carrying that card is not going to protect your pension. Simply carrying that card is not going to advocate for improved working conditions and fairer treatment in your workplace. Simply carrying your NDU membership card is not going to protect your rights and enhance your salaries. Just like at the gym, you and all our members must be active to get the results you desire. All of us have a responsibility to our professions, to our fellow members and to our legacy to work hard to achieve our goals. NDU is committed to that responsibility and committed to helping you be an active member of our organization. The third strategic principle guiding our work is increasing our involvement in government relations. Many of our critics believe absolutely that a union representing public employees and public school educators and support professionals has no business involving itself in political matters. Such a view is naïve and dangerous when one considers that every decision that affects the work-lives and working conditions of our members is a political decision. Who better than YOU to weigh in on those decisions? Whose voice is more critical than that of the people doing the important work that North Dakotans depend on every day?

So while our union is strong and our influence growing, we are nowhere near reaching our potential as a professional organization. In order to reach our potential in membership and influence, I proposed to the NDU Board of Directors, and they adopted, three strategic principles around which our work has and will focus.

I want to leave you with one thought. North Dakota United will only ever be as strong as our members. We need to depend on each other to advance our goals. We need to create active and vital locals and chapters. We need to lift each other up and support each other in what is sure to be a very trying 65th Legislative Assembly, where we will have to fight like we have a lot to lose.

The first principle focuses on increasing our membership. It does not matter what the organization is, if it is membership-based, more is better.

So join us! Talk to your colleagues about NDU! Tell them that their values are our values! Let them know that our organization is ready and willing to fight for the things they believe in!

More members mean more resources, and more resources means more influence and respect with those in the Legislature, the media, across the negotiations table and, most importantly, with the public we serve.

Thank you, brothers and sisters, for your great work and your commitment to men, women and children of North Dakota. Thank you, too, for your membership in North Dakota United!


Members of N.D. House of Representatives debate legislation during special session

This was a very important session. Decisions made by agency heads will undoubtedly have an effect on each of our constituency groups. Public employees are extremely concerned about whether or not they will receive their promised raises or whether furloughs or layoffs are on the horizon.”

CUTS CONTINUE Special session of Legislature balances budget By Nick Archuleta, NDU President

The 15th Special Session of the North Dakota State Legislature kicked off Aug. 2 with an address by Gov. Jack Dalrymple. The plan, released publicly on Aug. 1, was to expound on the Governor’s and Republican leadership’s plan to balance the 2015-17 budget. To do that, a bill was drawn up to: • Impose an allotment of 2.5% across the board cuts in all general-funded state agencies. This will put $152M back on the books. • Hold the Department of Corrections and the Department of Human Services harmless. • Draw $75M from the Budget Stabilization Plan. • Draw $44.3M from the Foundation Aid Stabilization Fund to hold K-12 education harmless. • Reclaim $100M from the Bank of North Dakota. The Special Session was designed to be a one-agenda affair. Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, in whose chamber the bill got its start, was adamant about not prolonging the session unnecessarily, going so far as to say that he wanted to avoid “any kind of a conference committee.” This was a very important session. Decisions made by agency heads will undoubtedly have an effect on each 4

of our constituency groups. Public employees are extremely concerned about whether or not they will receive their promised raises or whether furloughs or layoffs are on the horizon. Both houses of the Legislature gaveled in at 9:00 a.m. on Aug. 2, only to adjourn so that legislators could listen to Governor Dalrymple’s brief address on the reasons for the Special Session and his plan to meet the Constitutional obligation to end the biennium with a balanced budget. The real action  —  such as it was  —  occurred in the joint House Senate Appropriations Committee and in the Senate Appropriations Committee meeting that followed. In the joint meeting, Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner read through the proposed legislation, line by line ( ). He was careful to mention that the Department of Human Services and the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation will have part of their budgets restored in an effort to mitigate the negative impact of budget cuts on the populations they serve. Sen. Wardner was also quick to allay any fear that the commitment to property tax ND United Voices

reduction was going by the wayside. He said that the Legislature will uphold its promise to property owners. The most interesting thing to happen was the impassioned proposal put forth by Sen. Tim Mathern (D-Fargo). He proposed an amendment that would restore funding to specific programs in the DHS budget that were cut in the first allotment. His proposal would have tapped the Strategic Investment Fund to provide resources to mental health, autism and nursing homes that were lost in the first allotment. On the other end of the spectrum, Rep. Mark Dosch (R-Bismarck) offered an amendment to cut agency budgets by a total of 10%. His rationale was that the Governor is asking for state agencies prepare 90% budgets for the next biennium, so why wait? Rep. Dosch, who is not seeking reelection, planned to formally introduce this amendment when the House Appropriations Committee heard the bill later in the session. In addition to taking in the reports in the Senate Education Committee, NDU Executive Director Chad Oban and I had several conversations with legislators on both sides of the aisle. We sought to convey just how concerned our members are about the economic challenges facing our state and how those challenges will impact their lives and the work they do. Republican Rep. Bob Martinson said that we should never balance the budget on the backs of public employees. That is exactly NDU’s message to all our legislators. All of us know the challenges that too many of our fellow citizens face in trying to find adequate mental health and drug treatment services. These are vital services that help N.D. families and make our communities stronger. At the very least, we must protect those least equipped to protect themselves. While the amendments offered by the minority party were turned away in the interest of efficacy, the fact that they were heard and considered prompted leaders from both parties to commit to address these concerns in January, prior to the end of the fiscal year. I am confident that Senate and House leadership will do just that. I attended the House Appropriations Committee, chaired by Rep. Jeff Delzer. Amendments similar to those offered in the Senate were offered in the House Appropriations Committee by Rep. Kathy Hogan. They were defeated. Another more challenging amendment was offered by exiting (not read, exciting) Rep. Mark Dosch. His take on the budget shortfall and his proposed remedy were a bit more than Al Carlson could allow. Rep. Dosch’s amendment that would cut each agency by a total of 10% from February’s levels died for lack of a second. That, of course, did not stop Rep. Dosch from speaking to his amendment under the guise of speaking to the original bill. He lambasted the lack of transparency on the part of party leadership in crafting the only bill to be considered in this Special Session. Say what you will, but it is always a good thing to speak truth to power. Even when they are trying to quick fix an unforeseen problem. The 15th Special Session of the N.D. Legislature ended, on schedule, on the morning of Aug. 4 when the only bill under consideration was passed by the House as presented and without amendments.

Not that there was no attempt to do so. As I mentioned earlier, several Democrats in both chambers offered amendments intended to help our fellow citizens now instead of next session. And one outgoing (“outgoing” as in leaving, not gregarious) representative offered an amendment to cut even more than the Governor and the Republican leadership wanted. His amendment failed for a lack of a second in the House Appropriations committee, a testament to the discipline of the Republican caucus who came in focused like a laser beam on meeting the legislative obligation to produce a balanced budget. So what’s next? Sadly, that is a difficult question to answer because while the Governor has ordered the cuts to all general funded agencies, none of them have yet disclosed in which areas the axe will fall. Between February’s allotment of 4.05% and the most recent allotment of 2.5%, agencies and institutions will have had to cut 6.55% of their 2015–17 budgets. The first allotment was difficult enough, but it came early enough in the biennium that most of the budget, had not yet been spent. Agency heads were able to postpone implementation of some of their projects and plans while leaving open positions unfilled and curtailing travel. Doing so allowed most agencies to avoid eliminating positions and imposing a heavier workload on those employees that remained. This time around, however, those cuts are not going to be as easy to find. For example, Valley City State will have had to cut $2.6M from its original budget. Where will those cuts come from? Will they have to cut staff to meet the requirement? These are questions being asked by NDU members in state agencies and on university campuses across the state. ND United is encouraging agency heads and college and university presidents to be very inclusive of their employees as they make these difficult decisions. We are encouraging them to think creatively about how they can avoid laying off our public employees who provide the vital services that North Dakotans depend on every day. It is wrong to balance the budget on the backs of the people who make this state work. Make no mistake about it. North Dakota is at a crossroads, and the 65th Legislative Assembly, as has been acknowledged by Democrats and Republicans alike, will have its hands full when they convene on Jan. 3, 2017. No one party has cornered the market on good ideas. I encourage the leadership of both parties to include all of the people’s representatives in the discussion of how to solve our challenges. Our state works best when both sides in the Legislature work together. As voters, do not wait until January to share that simple fact with your state senators and representatives. And for the sake of all of us, get involved and stay involved until we get the results we deserve from the people we elect. ND United will continue to advocate fiercely for our members but we cannot do it alone. We look forward to working with you now and always on behalf of great public schools and great public service. 5

Education Perspectives


Know what to expect with beginning of school It’s time to welcome everyone back to school! Bus drivers, cooks, janitors, ESPs and teachers are given another opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our students. Now, more than ever, administrators are working hard to fill schools with qualified personnel to give our students the best foundation possible. Our nation will expect to hire two million new educators in the next five years. In order to keep new educators entrenched in their career choice, we will need to provide the strong support that they need. Early educators need to have their voices heard concerning student learning, instruction and pro-public education policy.

By Karen Christensen Vice President of Education

The most challenging aspect of teaching is classroom management. Check with administration on school policy. Whatever strategy that is used must uphold the student’s dignity.”

Most new educators leave the profession in the first five years due to lack of support. Relationships need to be developed and strategies need to be shared to promote success. Veteran teachers are more than willing to share strategies that work for them. Here are the top three suggestions from veteran teachers to new teachers: assign seats before school starts, show them where and how to turn in work, and manage student behavior. Maximize time management and learning by using the first three weeks of school teaching the three Rs: routines, rubrics and rules. Students start the year with on-the-job training. We can’t assume students know what they need to know to succeed. Assigned seating eliminates the chance that students will be in the embarrassing situation of getting shunned or pushed away from a saved seat for a friend. When you realize any two students cannot be seated next to each other for any reason, you can then make adjustments. Procedures for handing in assignments must also be practiced. Keep practicing until all confusion about where completed assignments need to be placed is clear. The most challenging aspect of teaching is classroom management. Check with administration on school policy. Whatever strategy that is used must uphold the student’s dignity. A wonderful resource is The First Days of School: How to be an Effective Teacher by Harry and Rosemary Wong. As Benjamin Franklin once stated, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Expectations of educators include knowledge of content, interpersonal skills, up-to-date on educational issues, flexibility and involvement in extracurricular activities, as well as a passion for your profession. Finding support to understand contract language and district policy is imperative to fitting into the district where you will be employed. Seek a positive mentor and become involved in your professional union. Implementing these ideas will prevent frustration for your students and you as the teacher. NDU has established a TeachForwardNDU group. This group consists of educators with less than 10 years of experience. TeachForwardNDU is a professional group that provides professional development, leadership opportunities, and support, all while having fun connecting with colleagues. Look for TeachForwardNDU on Facebook or contact Heather Fritz at to learn how to get involved. NEA Executive Committee Member, Earl Wiman stated at our last leadership meeting, “If you see a turtle on a fence post, it didn’t get there by itself.” We need to support and lift each other up to make education what it needs to be. Have a wonderful year! Celebrate the successes and challenges to grow as a professional.


ND United Voices

Public Service Perspectives


Help build your union to stand up to public service cuts State agencies and colleges and universities have seen their 2015-17 budgets reduced by an allotment of 4.05% earlier this year and during the special session they again saw their 201517 biennium budgets reduced by 2.5% due to revenue shortfalls. With revenue shortfalls expected to continue, state agencies and colleges and universities have been asked to prepare 90% budgets for the 2017-19 biennium. Some agencies have already submitted their 2017-19, budgets, which have included turning back full-time positions, leaving unfilled positions open and indicating that they will need to have a reduction in force if positions do not come open before the beginning of the next biennium. With all that being said, I believe this upcoming session will be one of the toughest, if not the toughest, that public employees have seen for funding the services we provide and employee compensation since the late 1980s. With revenues down based on a slowing economy and prioryear tax rate reductions, plus an estimated increase of $46-48 million for health care, I can only wonder if there will be an appropriation for salary increases, which will be necessary to keep pace with the growth in salaries in the North Dakota labor market. Public employees must talk to legislators and candidates on the ballot about the important services they provide and the impact that cuts to staff will mean. In addition to having conversations with legislators, community groups, friends and neighbors, we, the members of North Dakota United, must talk to our fellow members about becoming active in their union. You are NDU. You are the union and the voice that will lead the fight during the next legislative session for the quality services that we provide. We must also ask our fellow co-workers, who are all potential members of North Dakota United, to join us and become active in the largest union in North Dakota. North Dakota United is the voice of all public employees, but our voice and influence depends on our membership strength and the individual activism of our members. When I’ve asked others to join, one response I’ve heard is, “You’re doing a great job; I don’t think I need to be a member.” My response is, the organization has been successful in achieving many of our legislative goals, not because of me, but because of every one of our members. And just think of how effective North Dakota United could be if you and other potential members joined your voices into one loud, irresistible call to elected officials, advocating for quality public services and competitive compensation for public employees.

By Gary Feist Vice President of Public Employees

In addition to having conversations with legislators, community groups, friends and neighbors, we, the members of North Dakota United, must talk to our fellow members about becoming active in their union.”

It’s easy to become involved in your local union and in North Dakota United. Talk to your local president, other active members, contact the North Dakota United office, and if asked to become active, say, “Yes, count me in.” Your activism can be as easy as attending a union meeting, a professional-development session, contacting a legislator, working on a legislative campaign, or testifying at the Legislature. But the most important thing you can do as a member of North Dakota United is ask a friend to join you as a member of North Dakota United and become part of our united voice, speaking for quality public services and the quality employees that provide the services the citizens expect each and every day. Ask someone to join today!



Help us to grow our influence by recruiting new members By Kelly Hagen, NDU Communications

All across this state in which we live and love, we are North Dakota United.

educators, you can help to assure that the very best employees are recruited and retained within our public sector.

We are 11,500 members strong, living in every community, large or small, united in our service to North Dakota. We are public employees and public educators. We are the people we serve, and the students we teach.

All members of North Dakota United receive this magazine, United Voices, as it is mailed directly to you. Thank you for belonging to our Association! Now, we’d like to ask you all to help us expand our reach. Use this magazine to talk to your colleagues who aren’t currently members about the benefits of membership in ND United. If every one of you reading our magazine could convince just one co-worker to join NDU alongside you, we would double our membership. That means twice the amount of voices, speaking on behalf of our issues. Twice as many activists, fighting to protect the great public schools, universities and public services that all North Dakotans expect and deserve.

More than ever, our voices need to be united. In the face of challenging economic trends in the state of North Dakota, revenues are dropping and cuts are being made to government spending. That means less funding and resources are going into our public education and public services, across the state. As elected officials make difficult decisions on spending, your voices need to be heard! Someone needs to speak out on behalf of the students who will still need to be taught and nurtured. We need to advocate just as loudly for the public services our members provide to every citizen living in the state of North Dakota, particularly to those people who are most vulnerable. Membership in North Dakota United allows you the opportunity to fight for what’s right in our state. By not just joining, but participating and lending your time, your energy and your expertise to the state’s largest professional union of public employees and 8

Will you help us to grow our ranks? Will you talk to your coworkers about membership in North Dakota United? Will you tell them all the reasons you joined our Union? Will you listen to their stories about how they came to work in public education and public service? Will you assure them that the professional support they seek is available to them through our union? You are North Dakota United! Thank YOU!

ND United Voices


As members of our Association, members have a powerful voice in creating the policies that affect our students, our people and the communities in which we live.”

Reach, teach, serve and inspire.

You’re never on your own. Your membership gives you access to some of the most sought-after authorities in public education and public services, who provide new and innovative programs you can use in your work. With resources that cover classroom management and support, to more indepth professional development provided by your local, state and national affiliates – you have a team supporting you.

Let us help you.

Sometimes you just need to talk. As a member of NDU, you are always just a phone call, e-mail or message away from receiving professional assistance from the expert staff in our Association. On matters big and small, if you or your local association need assistance with negotiations, communication, public relations, professional development, event planning or fiduciary responsibilities, simply call the NDU Help Center at 701-223-0450 or e-mail helpcenter@

Make your voice heard.

As trusted professionals, our members are best equipped to make decisions that will benefit our students and the people we serve. It’s our mission to ensure that public educators and employees always have a seat at the table when policies are being made. As members of our Association, members have a powerful voice in creating the policies that affect our students, our people and the communities in which we live.

Be the best you can be.

pride in the work we do, and the experience and knowledge we have to offer. Our members regularly seek out professional development, in order to better understand their jobs and how to do them better. NDU is proud to offer all of our members those opportunities. Our members have access to attend local events and workshops, as well as state and national conferences. You can network with public professionals, doing the same kind of work as you, learn new ideas and become a better working professional for your community, your school or worksite and for the state in which you live.

Grow your network.

We’re a community of experienced professionals. Through a variety of online and off-line tools, you enjoy access to valuable resources on classroom management, lesson planning, and a host of other topics. Plus, you’ll make connections with educators on every level – pre-K, K-12 and higher education – across the state of North Dakota, and among the more than 4.7 million combined members of our two national affiliates, the National Education Association (NEA) and American Federation of Teachers (AFT).

Enjoy what matters most.

Membership means less worrying for you and more action from us. With representation at the bargaining table, liability insurance and so much more, NDU provides advice and professional advocacy on the range of issues you face as a public worker and educator: salary, working conditions, evaluation support, contract compliance and enforcement, and retirement.

As a union of professionals, at work daily to provide the best in public education and service, we all take 9


NDU participating in national campaign to talk one-on-one with everyone entering profession By Kelly Hagen, NDU Communications

The National Education Association (NEA) expects to see more than two million new educators enter the profession across the United States in the next 10 years. We are in the midst of a massive turnover, from one generation to the next, within public education in our country. North Dakota United, with assistance from NEA, wants to make sure that every new educator coming into the profession in our state is made to feel welcome, and to assure them all, personally, that the professional support they need to be successful in their careers is available to them.

about how they came into the work they do, and extending them an invitation to join the state’s largest, most effective professional association of public educators and employees, North Dakota United. Follow the four steps below to learn more about your new colleagues, and to let them know that they have access to join a union of public educators that will provide them with the professional support they want, and they deserve. •

Bring a “We Are Better Together” brochure along with you. These brochures are being mailed out to all of our K-12 locals, for collecting data and disseminative information about NDU to new educators. Ask the new educator to complete the fivequestion survey interest card as you talk with him or her about career support and the role they have in the district. Detach and retain their filled-out interest card, and give the new educator the rest of the brochure to keep.

Ask them to join with you as a member of your local, NDU, NEA and AFT. Give them a membership application form to fill out, and arrange for payroll deduction.

If they were a student member of North Dakota United or any other state affiliate of NEA, and this is their first year of eligibility for active membership, ask them to complete the Student Rebate Application, which can be found on the opposite side of the interest card in the “We Are Better Together” brochure. They will receive $40 for each year of student membership ($20 from NDU and $20 from NEA).

Mail all of the completed interest and rebate cards together with membership applications to North Dakota United, 301 N 4th Street, Bismarck, ND 58501, as soon as possible. If you should need more forms or cards, please contact Renee Franklund at 701-223-0450 or

In an effort to better serve our new educators, we are asking local associations to take a few minutes to visit one-on-one with every new educator in your district. Talk to them. Welcome them. Let them know you want to support them and are interested in learning what you can do to make them successful. NDU is also working to organize a statewide group for educators with 10 years or less experience, called TeachForwardNDU. Early on their education careers, teachers and Education Support Professionals (ESP) are looking for professional development opportunities, guidance and even social events, so that they can meet fellow educators still learning the ropes, and can learn from one another. TeachForwardNDU can offer those opportunities. Go to for information, or contact NDU Student and New Educator Organizer Heather Fritz at if you’d like to help launch a TeachForwardNDU chapter in your community. The most important aspect of our outreach campaign is our goal that every new educator starting work in public education this fall, and every public employee coming into a new position with the state, is asked to join NDU, in person, by an NDU member. You can help your union to grow in stature and prominence by taking just a few minutes to talk to your new colleagues, asking them questions


ND United Voices

ESP ORGANIZING INSTITUTE Education support professionals look to expand their NDU ranks By Patty Barrette, NDU Teaching & Learning

On the weekend of Aug. 19-21, 2016, local teams from around the state met to learn how to organize around education support professionals (ESP) for our ESP Organizing Institute. Currently in North Dakota, NDU represents about 540 ESP members, out of a potential of over 8,000 employees statewide. These local teams came together to discover ways in which to bring education support personnel together to build capacity, to advocate on behalf of ESP members and to gain power. Like our teachers and professors in the state, our ESP are in the trenches every day, fighting on behalf of our students and for education.

North Dakota United is committed to providing resources and support to our ESP in order to help them be successful in their careers.”

The goal for NDU is to increase membership of ESP/ PSRP (paraprofessionals and school-related personnel) members in North Dakota by at least 50% over the next two years. That is a 20% increase in year one, or 109 new members, and a 30% increase in year two, or 164 new members, for a total of 273 total new members. The ESP Organizing Committee also put a goal to hold one-onone conversations with at least 50% of all potential ESP members each year in at least five targeted locations, although they will strive to hold these conversations throughout the state, in all locals. The conversations are critical to what we do in that they give a face to the union and allow us the opportunity to listen to our member’s concerns, issues and to find out the good things that they are doing. NDU’s current ESP/PSRP membership is 546 out of about 7,800 total eligible members, representing our largest potential membership category. ESP are essential to what educators do every day and are the reason our schools and facilities run smoothly. Imagine a day without the ESP/PSRP in your building. What would it be like? Who would you call if something went wrong: Your principal? Your administrator? Your manager? Your division director? Odds are that you would first call the secretary, administrative assistant or custodian. As NDU members, we need to ensure that all voices in our

workplaces are heard, and the ESP/PSRP are crucial to our success. According to data from NEA, 49% of all K-12 ESP members are paraeducators. Clerical services ESP are 18% of the membership, custodial services 17%, food services 12%, and transportation services 10%. 83% of K-12 ESP work full-time. 78% have their worksite located in a school building. The rest work in central offices, maintenance facilities, transportation facilities, special education centers, kitchen units, etc. K-12 ESP are committed to their careers and their employers. They average 12.7 years in the ESP workforce, 85% plan to stay in education support professions and 75% plan to keep their current careers. They have an average of  12.7 years with their current employer. ESP are actively engaged in ensuring the safety of students. 78% feel strongly that intervening in bullying is a part of their daily work, however only 57% of them have received some kind of training in implementing their district’s antibullying policy. 75% of K-12 ESP live within the boundaries of the school districts in which they are employed. At our Organizing Institute, attendees gained valuable knowledge in how to lead an organizing campaign and left with the ability to train others in organizing as well. Attendees worked with their teams to develop an action plan based on their local needs, and they are bringing these plans back to their locals in order to lead our ESP into the future. North Dakota United is committed to providing resources and support to our ESP in order to help them be successful in their careers. Watch for upcoming opportunities such as professional development and workshops geared especially towards ESP as well as other opportunities inclusive for all of our members. In early fall, NDU will also be launching a new professional development website solely to provide high-quality, relevant professional development to educators and members from across the state. If you would like to begin an organizing campaign for your local ESP, please contact Patty Barrette, director of teaching and learning, at or 701-223-0450.


Guest Column

NEW STANDARDS The North Dakota path forward in Math and English Last May, as we began the task of revising our North Dakota mathematics and English language arts content standards, our first principle was that the job belonged in the hands of our North Dakota teachers. Our teachers have worked with these standards for the past six years. They’ve noticed where a standard could be made clearer and more understandable. They’ve thought of ways our standards can better fit together as our students move from grade to grade. In some cases they’ve contended that a standard should be moved from one grade to another.

By Kirsten Baesler State Superintendent

I am so thankful to have North Dakota United as a partner in this venture. North Dakota United members are contributing to this process, during a time when they could be away from the stress of thinking about content standards.”

This is the priceless experience our teachers bring to this work. They are the best judges of deciding what our students should know and be able to do as they move through North Dakota’s public school system. They are resolute in wanting to hold our students to consistent, high expectations that encourage excellence at all levels of education. It has been inspiring to see our teachers’ intensity and dedication to the task of writing our new standards. The press visited the most recent meeting of our content committees in Bismarck late last month. The reporters were impressed by what they saw, and it was reflected in their stories. I am so thankful to have North Dakota United as a partner in this venture. North Dakota United members are contributing to this process, during a time when they could be away from the stress of thinking about content standards. North Dakota United President Nick Archuleta has been especially supportive of this effort from the first time it was announced. Frankly, back in early May, when we first had a news conference to talk about the plans to revisit our standards, the reports about the project caused some confusion and disquiet among our teachers. President Archuleta was invaluable in clarifying things for North Dakota United’s members. As you read this, our content committees will have finished the first draft of our mathematics and English language arts. There are 38 educators on the math committee and 33 on the English committee. They’re assigned in smaller groups to one of four gradelevel strands for each content area – kindergarten through grade 2, grades 3-5, grades 6-8, and grades 9-12. Each committee is made up of licensed and practicing educators representing various areas, including general education, special education, early childhood education, English learners, career and technical education and higher education. The N.D. Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI) professional staff are providing support and acting as facilitators of the process. The first draft of the new math and English standards will be posted on the NDDPI’s website for public comment. The draft will be formatted to allow people to comment on individual standards and give “up or down” votes on each one if they choose. If a commenter gives a down vote, he or she will be invited to elaborate on what they didn’t like about the standard, what they believe should be done to change it, or if they believe it should be eliminated.


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Superintendent Kirsten Baesler, right, leads a listening tour stop in Mandan, on state standards.

At the same time, we will have an outside review committee going over the standards in detail and giving their opinions. The committee is made up of state business leaders, community leaders and members of the general public who applied to be part of this process. Once we’ve gathered public comment and the opinions of our review committee, the two teacher writing committees will meet again to start a second draft of the mathematics and English content standards. This second draft will go out again for comment by the public and the outside review committee as before. Once that happens, the teachers’ writing committees will work up a third and possibly final draft of the standards. We anticipate this will be done in February 2017. I will then approve the work, and implementation of the new standards will start in our North Dakota classrooms when the 2017-18 school year begins. This leaves the issue of our state assessment. We will be using the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium for our North Dakota State Assessment during the upcoming school year. But when our new English and math standards are adopted, the Department of Public Instruction will be seeking bids from testing companies for a new assessment. Any company will be able to compete to create North Dakota’s assessment. The new assessment, which will be aligned to our new North Dakota state standards, will be administered in the spring of the 2017-18 school year.

NDU President Nick Archuleta joined Superintendent Baesler at a press conference at the State Capitol in May, announcing the new standards.

Again, I want to emphasize the first principle of this whole process. These revised North Dakota English and math standards are being written by North Dakota teachers. Nick Archuleta said it well last May when he said our teachers would be “in the driver’s seat” when the new standards were being crafted. President Archuleta is exactly right. This is what our North Dakota parents and legislators have asked for, and this is the best way to deliver quality standards to our classrooms.


Students should see their teachers as someone who cares. … We are the people who ignite passions in students.” Jahana Hayes, 2016 National Teacher of the Year


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EDUCATORS STAND UP FOR UNITY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE By Karen Askerooth, NEA Director The 95th NEA Representative Assembly (RA) kicked off on the morning of July 4, 2016, engulfing our 26 NDU members with typical “WOW” energy as delegates representing their own state NEA members grooved to the music and cheers echoed throughout the Washington, D.C., Convention Center. The joyous mood mellowed quickly when NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia commanded our attention with her keynote address and announced our list of tasks, including: • 4 Bylaw Amendments • 2 Constitutional Amendments • 12 Standing Rule Amendments • 20 Legislative Amendments • 125 New Business Items • 20 Amendments • Adoption of “Discipline and the School to Prison Pipeline” If you would like to peruse the above work that was voted on, go to Eskelsen Garcia opened by saying, “We will not begin without honoring those who lost their lives for no other reason than that they were gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender.” She then informed the delegates, “Today, we mourn with Orlando.” Forty-nine educators then filed to the front of the stage with the images of the 49 people who were killed in the Pulse nightclub shootings in Orlando on June 12. As the top decision-making body for the three million-member NEA, the RA responded by calling on the Association to join a national effort to prevent acts of violence targeted at LGBTQ individuals and to protect their civil rights. This New Business Item calls on a multi-pronged approach in the courts and legislatures. On July 5, delegates were visited by the 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In her address to the RA, Clinton spotlighted her priorities for public education, vowing to elevate the teaching profession, de-emphasize standardized testing, and to harness community resources to help create great public schools for every student regardless of ZIP code. “And it’s time to stop the war on teachers,” Clinton told delegates. After her speech, the delegates voted overwhelmingly to recommend Clinton for the general election.

NEA members were instrumental in the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that ended the era of No Child Left Behind. For shepherding through a better law and for listening to the voices of educators, NEA presented its 2016 Friend of Education Award to Sens. Patty Murray of Washington and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who both accepted the honor in person. 15

The RA also spotlighted the 2016 NEA Social Justice Activist of the Year, the Californiabased Union City Educators, who brought Pilipino heritage into the schools through ethnic studies curriculum, student and community engagement, and activism. Doreen McGuire-Grigg was named 2016 Educational Support Professional (ESP) of the Year. Her speech advocated for the inclusion of ESPs, and underscored the value they bring to other educators and students. The 2016 National Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes addressed the delegates on July 7. Hayes said: “Students should see their teachers as someone who cares … someone who cares about their families and their communities. … We are the people who ignite passions in students.” NEA Executive Director John Stocks stated that more than 2 million new educators will be entering the workforce over the next five years, alone. He went on to say that the new generation of educators may not necessarily understand how vital their association can and will be to them and their students. At this RA, delegates were charged with electing new NEA leaders. In addition to voting for new ESP At Large Board of Director members, delegates also re-elected Maury Koffman of Michigan and Kevin F. Gilbert of Mississippi to serve another three-year term each on the NEA Executive Committee. Another order of business was voting on and approving the NEA Budget, as presented by Secretary-Treasurer Princess Moss. July 7, the last day of RA, proved to be filled with many debates, discussions and votes. Our North Dakota delegates did their due diligence to the end with the fall of the gavel AFTER 9:00 pm. Many thanks for the work from our N.D. delegation, from our President, Executive Director, NDU Retired, Student NDU, and delegates that represented their local constituents. As always I am proud to represent NDU as your NEA Director, and I look forward to serving our members another three years.

NDU delegates to the NEA Representative Assembly, shown together for a group picture on Page 14, included: Top row, left to right: Chad Oban, Danielle Borseth, Toni Gumeringer, Karen Askerooth, Jennifer Conlon and Amber Augustadt Second row: Tom Young and Landen Schmeichel Third row: Lisa Dullum, Deb Beeler and Brenda Seehafer Fourth row: Patricia Lopez, Jolene Sand and Stacy Adamson Fifth row: Lyndsey Swanson, Nick Archuleta, Nancy Peterson and Karen Christensen Bottom row: Margaret Landin, Tyann Schlenker and Leah Hamann


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Top: NDU delegates to the AFT Convention in Minneapolis included, left to right, Mike Stebbins, Tyann Schlenker, Linda and Dan Conn, Lisa Dullum, Brenda Seehafer and Jamie Eriksson.

Left: NDU Vice President of Public Employees with U.S. presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton.


NDU delegates among 3,000 at historic gathering in Minneapolis The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) held its 2016 convention in Minneapolis on July 18-21. Nearly 3,000 delegates gathered for four days of important union business, a celebration of the AFT’s first 100 years, and great speeches, including AFT President Randi Weingarten’s keynote address, a rousing address from Hillary Clinton, and remarks from other political and labor leaders, among them Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar, U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott, labor icon Dolores Huerta and United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard. Delegates passed resolutions on a range of key issues, including the Every Student Succeeds Act, healthcare consolidation, college affordability, safe communities, confronting discrimination and many more. They also re-elected Weingarten, Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson and Executive Vice President Mary Cathryn Ricker for two more years as the union’s top officers.


DEVELOPING PROFESSIONALLY North Dakota United expands capacity for providing professional development By Patty Barrette, Teaching & Learning In May of 2016, North Dakota United received a grant from the National Education Association through the Great Public Schools initiative in order to fund high-quality, relevant professional development for our members. The grant funds professional development programs for the next three years and includes a total funding of $241,221.00. The title of the project is “Organizing New Members Around Professional Development” and includes three main parts: Expanding our early educator (TeachForwardNDU) groups from the two current locations to seven, providing high-quality, relevant professional development for educators across the state (with the expansion to higher education and public employees in the future) through the development of a designated professional development website and core group of train-the-trainers, and to be the go-to for professional development in North Dakota that includes such opportunities as ethics in education, childhood trauma, classroom management, National Board support, and many more. NDU is very excited for this opportunity and is hard at work implementing the grant and has already had many outside groups sign-on to help us in this endeavor including ND DPI, ESPB, State Historical Society of ND, NEA, the Dakota Science Center and many more. In June, NDU formed a Professional Development Committee in order to ensure a member-driven focus to our plan.  The committee’s responsibilities include the following: 1. Review professional development requests from both internal and external sources 2. Determine a yearly plan of professional development activities 3. Give suggestions for professional development opportunities 4. Review trainer applications and courses 5. Share information with co-workers and stakeholders Please look for more information to come about these exciting opportunities, including the new professional development website, the upcoming Train-the-Trainers and professional development opportunities. Many of these opportunities will include the opportunity for college credit at no cost to members and are funded through the GPS Grant.   Contact with any questions or if you are interested in being a trainer for NDU. 18

NDU PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE MEMBERS Karen Christensen, NDU Vice President of Education and Committee Chair - Wishek Public School Karen Christensen is a fifthgrade teacher at the Wishek Public School. She is completing her 20th year with the school. Christensen also serves as a member of the Education Standards and Practices Board. She was appointed by Governor Dalrymple. “My priority is to lend support and encouragement to our members. This committee offers the opportunity to do so.” Erik Holland, Public Employee - Curator of Education for State Historical Society of North Dakota Erik Holland has been teacher of record for many teacher workshops, developed programs for schools and the public for the North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum. He has advocated the education voice for The State Museum’s $7 million exhibit expansion and the new eighth grade North Dakota Studies curriculum, North Dakota: People Living on the Land. Holland grew up in Grand Forks, where his parents still live. He completed his Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of North Dakota in Anthropology and Archaeology, and holds a Master of Arts degree in History with Certificates in Museum Studies and Public History from the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee. “I am interested in seeing this committee create working relationships between providers and consumers of professional development materials making union members more effective in our important work.” Patricia Lopez, K-12 Teacher TGU Towner High School Patricia Lopez grew up in Minnesota, but attended college at Mayville State University. There she realized her passion for education and helping students succeed, along with reading books. Her first year teaching was a blast, and she looks forward to many more. “My goal for this committee is to provide quality professional development for all NDU members. It is important that we are the support system that our members can rely on.” Braeton Erhardt, Student - Dickinson State University, Bismarck Campus Braeton Erhardt is a student member of NDU. She will be entering her senior year of

ND United Voices

Secondary Mathematics Education this fall as a Dickinson State University student on the Bismarck campus. As a DSU student, she represented secondary education students on the Teacher Education Council and worked with fellow classmates and professors to start a Student Education Association on the Bismarck campus. Last year, she was elected secretary of the group, and this year she is serving as President. “I am excited to be part of the Professional Development Committee! I look forward to learning from the other members of this group and gaining experience that will be beneficial to my career as an educator.” Amy Flicek, K-12 Teacher Mandan Middle School Amy Flicek is beginning her 27th year in education. She currently teaches sixth grade Science. She is a part of the Mandan School District Professional Development Committee, also. She is married and has three children. “My goals for the NDU Professional Development Committee are to obtain and provide the best possible quality professional development for school districts in North Dakota. I also feel it is important to be very diverse in the options provided so all of us who have contact with students get professional development that we deem as quality, and beneficial.” Audrey Haskell, ESP - Secretary at Lewis & Clark Elementary, Grand Forks Audrey Haskell has been a secretary at Lewis & Clark Elementary in Grand Forks for the past 13 years, and before that at Lake Agassiz Elementary for 10 years. She’s been an ESP member of NDU for about 20 years and actively involved at the local, state and national levels. She and her husband, Ed, have two sons and one amazing granddaughter. “My goals for this committee would include professional development offered to all members that is timely, pertinent and necessary. We’d be current on what members need based on trends, surveys and district initiatives. The PDs would also be acceptable to use for credits or required district training hours.” Mariah Larson, K-12 Teacher/ Early Educator - Legacy Elementary, West Fargo Mariah Larson lives in West Fargo and teaches at Legacy Elementary School in West Fargo. She is a K-12 teacher and teaches first grade. She is a second-year teacher and is very passionate about the changes being made in education. “My goal for this committee is to bring ideas for professional development that gets all professionals in education excited to grow as an educator.”

Andrea Fox, K-12 Teacher Cheney Middle School, West Fargo Andrea Fox is a former middle school English teacher turned technology geek. As a technology integration specialist, she enjoys working with teachers and students in elementary and middle school settings. “My goal for this committee is to help provide access to high quality professional development opportunities that are relevant and necessary for all teachers in the state of North Dakota.” Alicia Bata, K-12 Teacher Cavalier High School Alicia Bata was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and received her Bachelors of Arts degree, teaching certificate, ESL/ Bilingual endorsement and Masters of Science degree in Education, with a cognate in Bilingual Education, from the University of North Dakota She teaches on interactive television from Cavalier and Park River to four other high school in northeastern North Dakota. She serves in the NDU Board of Directors as ethnic director, and previously served as National Education Association Director, representing North Dakota, for two terms. Brenda Seehafer, K-12 TeacherRolla Public Schools Brenda Seehafer is a Title I teacher at Rolla. Previously she worked at Lake Region State College, Devils Lake in the library, was a substitute teacher in the Devils Lake Schools and taught a combination class of first- and second-graders in Wolford before coming to Rolla. She is the President of the Rolla Education Association, a local bargainer, serves on the NDU Board of Directors, UPAC committee, is the NDU chair of the Resolutions Committee, and serves on the NEA Resolutions Committee. She was also a member of the NDEA-NDPEA Unity Team, as well as many former NDEA groups/ committees. “My goals for the committee are to establish a process to give members relevant professional development options and, being from a small local, to give a small-local perspective to professional development.” Tyann Schenkler, ESP - Fargo South High School Tyann Schenkler is on the ND United Board of Directors, Fargo Education Association Board, PAC Committee, ESP Advisory Committee Chair and the ESP Organizing Committee, and serves as a South High School building representative. She has worked at South High School since 1986. “My main goal for the Professional Development Committee is to grow our membership. Growing our membership and retaining our members will help grow ND United’s strength. United we stand!”










STILL TO COME By Kelly Hagen, NDU Communications The world can change a whole lot in the course of 48 years. One thing that has remained the same in the world of public education here in the state of North Dakota for nearly half a century, though, has been the steady presence of North Dakota United communications director Linda Harsche. That, too, will change soon, as Harsche prepares to retire. “Linda Harsche is, by and large, the soul of this organization,” said Nick Archuleta, President of North Dakota United. “Her institutional memory has proven invaluable as we have grown and transitioned into the organization we are today.” Harsche was born in Bismarck and raised in the state’s capital city. She attended Bismarck High School, at which the spark of interest in the art of writing was first ignited in her. Her journalism teacher, Ardys Munson Swanson, inspired her to participate in the school newspaper, the Bismarck Hi-Herald, by writing, editing and publishing. After graduating, she moved to Los Angeles and worked for a year. She returned to her hometown after that year, and found a job opening at the North Dakota Education Association (NDEA). “I applied and was literally hired on the spot!” Harsche said, with a smile. At that time, in 1968, NDEA had only four employees on staff. Harsche was hired as the fifth, serving as both a secretary and assistant to the NDEA editor, Richard Palmer. “I can remember reminiscing with my journalism instructor, Ardys, years later, about being her student at Bismarck High,” Harsche said. “She said she had applied for Palmer’s job at NDEA, but didn’t get the job because she was ‘just a teacher.’ I reminded her that she wasn’t ‘just’ a teacher, and that without her teaching, I would have never acquired the skills to become an editor myself.” In 1968, Harsche said that the five employees on staff did everything associated with the organization, including stamping the addresses on over 8,000 magazines with metal address plates, sorting and stuffing the magazines in mailing bags, and borrowing a pickup to haul them to the Post Office. 20

ND United Voices

As the years went by, the Association grew by leaps and bounds. Harsche was promoted to Palmer’s full-time assistant in the communications department. Together, they would write, edit and design the magazine. In addition, they both organized NDEA’s participation in the National Education Association (NEA) Representative Assembly and the local NDEA Convention. “In those days,” Harsche said, “the NDEA Convention drew thousands of educators from across the state, including at least three out-of-state general session speakers, and numerous sectionals.” When Palmer retired in 1993, Harsche took over his duties as communications director for NDEA. She was publisher and editor of the North Dakota Education News, a 24-page newspaper published six times per year for NDEA members. In addition, she was also head of public relations, website manager, and in charge of writing the online communications going to members – especially during the Legislative Session.

members of NDU and NDEA, and members and leaders from both organizations, were invited to come together and toast Harsche for her service and professional contributions to our state. “I had known Linda for years before I first came to work at North Dakota United,” said Chad Oban, Executive Director for NDU, “through the work she did with the NDU Foundation and distributing the scholarship named after my father, Bill Oban. Throughout all of the time I have known her and worked with her, I’ve found her to be kind, generous and wholly dedicated to the members we serve. We will all miss seeing her on a daily basis at the office, but we wish her the absolute best in her retirement.”

“At the time, I was also working a part-time job at one of the local department stores at night,” Harsche said. “Then-Executive Director Joe Westby asked me how much money I was making at the part-time job, and he would add that amount to my salary so I could quit the other job and keep up with the work at NDEA.”

When asked to wrap up her 48 years of experiences at work for public educators and employees in our state, Harsche points to a quote from Beryl Markham that former NDEA Executive Director Joe Westby once shared in tribute to her service to NDEA: “If a man (or woman) has any greatness in him (or her), it comes to light not in one flamboyant hour, but in the ledger of his (or her) daily work,” Harsche said “Joe said, ‘In your service to NDEA, you certainly exemplify that type of greatness.’ His words have stuck with me, and I’ve worked very hard to live up to those words.”

In addition to her duties in communications, she has served as NEA Convention Coordinator for the five Northern Tier states – Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota and North Dakota. This position included publishing a newsletter for the six states during the NEA Convention.

President Archuleta believes that she has. “As an employee, the quality of Linda’s work speaks for itself. What many people do not know is how selfless she is. She measures her success by the level of success her colleagues and others are able to attain. Linda is a total team player. She will be missed greatly.”

On the national level, Harsche was a member of two professional associations of communicators at NEA state affiliates – the State Education Editors (SEE) and the Public Relations Council (PRC). She received numerous awards from both associations in recognition of her work over the years in communications and public relations for NDEA. For SEE, she served as Member-AtLarge, Secretary-Treasurer, Vice President and President. For PRC, she served regularly on the Election Committee. In 2006, Harsche received the National Education Editor of the Year Award for the consistent, creative and quality work she produced in NDEA communications, and for the years of service she served for SEE. “When I think of Linda’s service to North Dakota’s teachers and public employees, I am struck by the quality of her work,” Archuleta said. “As communications director, Linda was instrumental in putting our message in front of our members in a clear, concise manner, and she did so consistently throughout her award-winning career.” In 2013, NDEA merged with the North Dakota Public Employees Association to form North Dakota United. This meant Linda had to wear even more hats, and communicate to a larger, more diverse audience. NDU brought K-12 teachers and education support professionals together with higher education faculty and staff, and city, county and state employees from across the state, in addition to retired members and education students. Linda’s 48-year tenure at NDEA and NDU came to an end in August, and her years of contributions to public education and employment were celebrated at a public event on Aug. 5, at Bismarck’s Municipal Country Club. Current and former staff


Communications Corner

By Kelly Hagen Field Communications Director

Find your fellow members of NDU online. Find groups that have already been created for your local, or create one for your local if one doesn’t currently exist. Every local

Your local needs to build a group online in order to communicate easier We all like to talk. Right? That’s probably not universally true. Most blanket generalizations aren’t. But every voice wants to be heard. I’d venture to say that every voice NEEDS to be heard. What is a voice that isn’t heard, anyway? If a tree talks in the woods and no one hears it, does it make a sound?

for your members to talk in

Also, if trees could talk, what do you think they’d say? I bet they’d talk a lot about rainfall. Just a hunch. Trees would love weather forecasters. I bet they’d all have their individual favorites. “Yeah, that guy on Channel 5 really knows his stuff. Don’t bother with Channel 12. They’re never right! Bark! Bark! Bark!”

groups this year.”

I’m getting off point again. My point is: Are you being heard? As a member of North

should make it a priority to set up an online community



ND United Voices

Maybe you’re reading this Communications Corner from a computer screen, or a laptop, or mobile device. If so, then thank you for listening to me. And hear me out!

that will be listed. All you have to do is select a name, an icon and a banner picture for the top of the page. Then you fill the group up by adding your FB friends that you identify as fellow members of your local, or send invites to Facebook users who are also members of your union, but aren’t currently friends with you on Facebook.

From your electronic device, you have access to all your fellow union members. How you receive that access is up to you. There’s e-mail, text messaging, direct-messaging apps, etc., etc. I want to talk about closed Internet groups for your local. We want to build an “online community.”

There is currently a Facebook group created for NDSU faculty and staff members of NDU. Just search for “North Dakota United-NDSU” and click “join group.” If you’re an NDU member, you’re in! NDU-Retired has a group. Search for “NDUnited Retired,” and ask to join.

Building communities is what we do best, as public educators and employees. We are the cornerstones of our communities. We make society work. Every one of us is incredibly good at building up the communities in which we live and to which we serve.

Another option for creating online communities comes to us from our friends at the National Education Association. They recently launched edCommunities, at From their site:

Dakota United, and of your local association, do you have the ability to talk to your fellow members, individually or in a group? You should.

Your union is a community, too. And communities require communication. Constant. Communication. The more you can get your local members talking to each other, the better for everyone. Leaders need to be transparent, and telling your rank-and-file what they are doing for the union. Members need to talk to each other about the issues you all care about. If something is bothering you, talk to your union. If you’re doing something right, tell your union. Maybe you just want to talk. Your union will listen. Online communities are, according to Wikipedia, “a virtual community whose members interact with each other primarily via the Internet. For many, online communities may feel like home, consisting of a ‘family of invisible friends.’ Those who wish to be a part of an online community usually have to become a member via a specific site and necessarily need an internet connection. An online community can act as an information system where members can post, comment on discussions, give advice or collaborate. Commonly, people communicate through social networking sites, chat rooms, forums, e-mail lists and discussion boards.” Tell me that doesn’t sound like something you want to be part of! You can’t! Because you do! There are a few of our locals who are creating community within their union through online groups. There are numerous options, including Facebook and Google, for creating closed groups in which you can populate your members, and block Internet users who aren’t members of your local. Through Facebook, creating a group is easy. You probably belong to a few groups already. Just look under the list of Groups in your Facebook menu – which is off to the left on a browser, or underneath the “More” tab at the bottom of your mobile app – and select the “Create” option

“Joining NEA edCommunities means sharing your commitment and dedication through an open exchange of strengths and resources with thousands of other education professionals. Free and open to all, NEA edCommunities is driven by you to foster student success.” As a member of North Dakota United, you have access to creating your own profile in edCommunities. And from there, you can join and create groups. Try creating a group for your local, and promote membership in your edCommunity at local union meetings, in person, through social media or by e-mail. Go to and click on the “Sign Up” link. It’s easy. As more and more millennials join the ranks of our union, we need to reach them through different communications tactics. They are called “digital natives,” because connecting through electronic devices comes natural to them. They grew up with a smart phone in their hands; they trade text messages and SnapChats with friends every day. A key function of your local association is communication. If you’re not talking to each other, you’re not functioning to your full capacity. Of course, you should be talking to each other in-person at your worksites or at meetings and social events. But we spend an inordinate amount of time online now, too. Tap into that. Find your fellow members of NDU online. Find groups that have already been created for your local, or create one for your local if one doesn’t currently exist. Every local should make it a priority to set up an online community for your members to talk in groups this year. If you need assistance, contact me at 701-223-0450, via e-mail at, or find me in an online community near you. 23

Member Profile

SANDS OF AWARENESS UND professor lifts understanding to the problem of human trafficking By Kelly Hagen, NDU Communications Next time you find yourself walking around the campus of University of North Dakota, or downtown Grand Forks, you should take a look down at the sidewalk. Look carefully, between the lines and on the outskirts of the concrete blocks you stride on, and you might notice something a bit peculiar. You might see sand, which isn’t all that odd. However, this sand is red. Bright red. So bright, you’ll have a hard time missing it. It’s meant to grab your attention, and make you think about a problem that plagues our society, right out in front of our noses but is still somehow invisible to most people. Activists like Dr. Nikki Berg Burin, an assistant professor of history, and women and gender studies, at UND, are pouring red sand on sidewalks in cities across North Dakota, and throughout the United States, to alert the public to the epidemic of human trafficking. “Very simply, you put the red sand in the sidewalks to represent the millions of people who fall through the cracks every day,” Berg Burin, a member of North Dakota United, said about the participatory art program she has helped to helm in Grand Forks known as the Red Sand Project. “It’s just meant to get people talking about this invisible slavery that’s happening all around us,” Berg Burin said. “People all over the country – groups, individuals – can request free sand kits. People can request these materials and do it on their own.” The Red Sand Project was first created in 2014 by New York artist Molly Gochman as “a participatory artwork that uses sidewalk interventions, earthwork installations, and covenings to create opportunities for people to question, to connect and to take action against vulnerabilities that can lead to human trafficking and exploitation,” according to its website. “It’s not going away,” Berg Burin said about human trafficking. “With this Red Sand Project, what we are trying to do is get people talking about it. Because, I fear, that perhaps the media won’t pay as much attention anymore because the oil boom is over. It might be tempting to think


ND United Voices

this problem is done, but in fact it’s not done. It’s never going to stop unless we talk about it.” Berg Burin co-organized an event in downtown Grand Forks on July 14 with Laurie Freid, a graduate student in social work at UND, to bring people together to pour red sand on the sidewalks and to hear from speakers from Youthworks in Fargo, including Danielle John, human trafficking survivor-leader and educator, Megan Lundberg, human trafficking case manager, and Kimberly Larson, human trafficking host home coordinator. “They work with at-risk youth and young adults, who are most vulnerable to being recruited by traffickers,” Berg Burin said about Youthworks and their Lotus Human Trafficking Program. “They’re a team of women from YouthWorks who are helping address human trafficking with a victim-centered approach but I had them here, and they were just amazing with the information they had and the good work they’re doing. It’s just really important to have survivors stepping up and helping victims, because everyone’s process is different. Having somebody who has been through it can kind of serve as an example on how to cope with the difficulties of coming out of that life.” In addition to her teaching duties at UND, Dr. Berg Burin is also doing research on the commercial sexual exploitation of women and children, and is working on a book tentatively titled A Scourge on the Plains: Illicit Sex and Slavery in North Dakota. “The work I’ve done so far has focused a lot on public perceptions about prostitutes and sex trafficking victims,” she said. “I’ve looked at a lot of newspapers, especially here from Grand Forks and Fargo. I plan to expand that research to look across the whole state. I was looking early on here at the late 19th Century, so early statehood, but I want to go all the way up to the 20th Century and today. My work in women and gender studies is very much focused on the present day, and I think this is a great opportunity to bring these two fields together – women and gender studies, and history.”

Dr. Berg Burin credits a lifelong fascination with history, and a dedication to social justice issues, to putting her on course to her current position at UND. “It is a nice mix of my personal interests and being an activist … just being involved on social justice issues. Especially feminist issues,” she said. “And my interest in history. My Ph.D. research was on slavery in antebellum Mississippi, so I have this background and training in studying slavery.” She majored in history at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., received her master’s degree in history from UND, and got her Ph.D. in history from the University of Minnesota. She spent several years teaching adjunct at UND, Concordia and North Dakota State University, before she was hired full-time at UND. “It was 2012 that I negotiated getting a full-time contract at UND. So now I’m an assistant professor here, and my position is split between the history department and the women and gender studies program.” She also serves on the advisory committee for FUSE (Force to End Human Sexual Exploitation) and plans to do more work with the Red Sand Project. They plan to host another “sidewalk intervention” during the Red River Women’s Studies Conference at UND on Oct. 27-28. Visit for more information on that event. Dr. Berg Burin will continue her research into the history of sex trafficking in North Dakota, and teaching at UND. “What excites me most about my profession is helping to empower these young people to think for themselves, to be critical of what they see and hear and read, and to become engaged citizens,” she said about the work she does for UND and her community. “I don’t tell them what to think, but I help them to learn how to be critical thinkers. And that’s so important in our world today. Whether or not they agree with me, that’s not important. That’s irrelevant. But to see them actually doing that critical thinking, it’s really exciting and rewarding.”











Let us know! Send us an e-mail to comments@ndunited. org with “NDU Member Profile� in the subject line, and tell us about the member who U think should be profiled in our magazine.



Do U have a story to tell to all of our North Dakota United members across the state about yourself ? Are U involved in a program or cause U would like to promote? Would U like to open the door into what U do professionally, and allow our readers to see what great work U do on behalf of your students or your community?



In United Voices, we proudly present a Member Profile in every issue we send out to all of our members. In this regular feature, we tell the stories about our individual members who are all North Dakota United. U could be our next Member Profile!


At North Dakota United, we are 11,500 public educators and employees, students and retired workers, unified in our cause and our issues. That means there are 11,500 personal stories to be told.






It could be U!


ND United Voices



SNDU IS HERE FOR YOU Joining your union is about advocacy, empowerment and networking As President of Student North Dakota United (SNDU), I am in contact with college students who are eager to jump into the profession of public education. These passionate individuals are zealous about their future careers, and the excitement they feel to get out of the lecture hall and into the classroom can be seen and heard in their countenance.

By Landen Schmeichel SNDU President

Being a member of NDU is about so much more than getting liability insurance and member benefits, it is about being an advocate, networking and empowering yourself for a fulfilling career in public education.”

I also see a great deal of uncertainty under the guise of excitement though. I see anxiety about getting a job, doubt about lasting more than five years in the actual teaching field, and uncertainty about what might happen if something goes wrong. After I mention North Dakota United and all of the benefits that this organization has to offer to them, doubts turn into questions, questions turn into discussion, and discussion turns into networking. So what do I say when I am asked about NDU during these conversations? I usually highlight three points. These points refer to what I have encountered while being a member of SNDU and what I have seen other individuals encounter while being members of North Dakota United: advocacy, networking and empowerment. Advocacy starts with us. Being an advocate for education and public employees is not only a noble cause, but also a righteous cause. Being a member of NDU, even SNDU, allows the voices of educators to be heard, to be felt, and to be realized by those in the political sphere, all the way down into the smallest rural classrooms of North Dakota. Becoming a member of NDU allows individuals to see the power of collective strength and to realize that, “Hey, we’re not alone in this fight.” Networking helps us grow. Growing our numbers as an organization is important, but networking with professionals who witness the same struggles and miracles in our field is what it is all about. Through the network of people NDU provides for its members, aspiring educators, current teachers, and our noble retirees experience a community filled with empathy and empowerment. Empowerment makes us strong. As educators and even aspiring educators, we are aware of the challenges of our profession. We know that the effort put into teaching is more than we will ever receive in our direct deposits. Though this may be so, members of NDU will not only be given the tools and resources needed to help them succeed and be empowered, but the students we strive to help and educate will receive a high quality public education as a result. NDU empowers teachers to empower students. Being a member of NDU is about so much more than getting liability insurance and member benefits, it is about being an advocate, networking and empowering yourself for a fulfilling career in public education. As President of SNDU, it is my job to let this be known to every aspiring educator in the great state of North Dakota, and to help others understand what opportunities await them when they become an NDU member.


ND United Voices

READY FOR THE FUTURE SNDU prepares you for the classroom When I first became a member of my local chapter of SNDU, I did not understand what any of it meant. I was encouraged by a friend to come to the meetings because it was a great opportunity to learn more education before being in my own classroom. Little did I know my friend’s encouragement would be the first stepping stone of an incredible experience with many opportunities I never would have dreamed I’d have, had I not become involved! As I became more involved in my local chapter, I could see the desire of the chapter was to encourage, support and provide experiences for pre-service educators. One of the most important aspects I have always sought out in my local chapter and also from the state level is professional development. This one aspect of membership in SNDU has always been especially important to me because I have seen from my mom, an elementary teacher of 30 years, and other family members in the education field, just how much this truly does impact a teacher. My professors at Mayville State University have also made it clear that teachers are professionals like any other job and that there are specific responsibilities we hold in the classroom, with colleagues and parents, too. Professional development continues to be the most important aspect of SNDU for me. I have a passion to learn more about it and help new members the same way I was helped. Professional development is so important to me because, as a future teacher, I want to be the best educator I can be all around. I want to push myself to learn more about how to be an effective and professional educator before entering my classroom so that I can better support my students and their parents or guardians. SNDU has given me a handful of many great opportunities to grow more in this specific area both in my campus local chapter and through the state level. I will forever be thankful for the experiences I have had with SNDU as it has truly continued to empower me to take steps toward being the best educator I can be, even before I graduate!

By Erin Olson SNDU Member

I will forever be thankful for the experiences I have had with SNDU as it has truly continued to empower me to take steps toward being the best educator I can be, even before I graduate!”

Thank you to SNDU and NDU for all the time, effort, and hard work you put into supporting and encouraging college students like myself!


Tech Corner

HOW-TO TECH How Secure is Your Wireless Network? How secure is your wireless network? These days almost everyone has a broadband Internet connection, and most of those who do have some type of wireless router that allows them to access the Internet untethered from Ethernet cables. Wi-Fi is great, until we consider the real possibility that a hacker could be infiltrating your wireless network and capturing any number of important pieces of information that are flying around your living room between your phone and your router. Bank accounts, credit card numbers, Social Security numbers and more.

By Kyle Locket NDU Data & Website Specialist

While there is no such thing as a truly hacker-proof Wi-Fi set-up for the home, there are ways to ensure that your network is more difficult to access, and that increased level of difficulty might just be the thing that causes a malicious person to move on to the next place, leaving you alone.”

While there is no such thing as a truly hacker-proof Wi-Fi set up for the home, there are ways to ensure that your network is more difficult to access, and that increased level of difficulty might just be the thing that causes a malicious person to move on to the next place, leaving you alone. So let’s do this: Let’s make your home network as secure as we can so that we can collectively sleep easier in the knowledge that you are safer than your neighbors. First things first, encryption. When you set up your wireless router, you will be given a choice as to what type of encryption you would like to use. There are three main types of wireless encryption that your router will offer: WEP, WPA and WPA2. There are sometimes additional offerings of AES and TKIP, but we won’t worry about those for now. I’m going to make this simple; choose WPA2. WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) is old. It was the first 802.11 security standard and is easily hacked. WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) is a little better. It was created to address the flaws in WEP. It is useable, but only if WPA2 is unavailable. WPA2 is the current standard. It allows encryption without slowing performance. If your router gives you the option to add AES to the WPA2 option, this will be your most secure setting. Next comes the strength of your SSID (the name of your wireless network). When people think of SSIDs, they probably don’t think of them as strong or weak, but they can be. If you turn on your router and just leave it with default settings, the router will name your network based on its brand or model. This is a huge security concern because of rainbow tables. Rainbow tables are basically data-sets filled with hash values that are matched with plaintext passwords. Using these rainbow tables, the hacker can more easily crack the encryption on routers with common SSIDs, like the default. To avoid this, it is best to create a long and rather unique SSID to further bolster your protection. Password strength is another important point, but most routers today have built-in requirements to increase the strength of your password. At least one capital letter, at least one special character, and at least 7 characters long. I suggest making it a phrase and including the spaces. One you will remember, but a hacker will have a hard time cracking. Lastly, consider turning on your router’s firewall; on most modern routers this is literally a one-click step that will increase security. Then turn off the “Admin Via Wireless” option. This option allows people to log into the router and make changes to its setting over the wireless network. If you turn it off, then in order to make any changes, the hackers would need to plug an Ethernet cable into your router, and unless you host some strange parties, that possibility is extremely limited. There you have it, a fairly comprehensive list of easy steps that you can take to increase the security of your wireless network. Now you will be able to more securely send information to the Internet and back.


ND United Voices


PROTECT WHAT’S RIGHT Join NDU-Retired and stay active The issues that President Carter stated many years ago still ring true today. As a retired member, I along with all of you must work to safeguard all these advancements. There are political leaders on the national level, as well as in our state and local scenes, who want to strip us of these advancements. For these reasons, I encourage you to join OUR professional organization. By Nancy Peterson NDU-Retired President

Every advance in this halfcentury – Social Security, civil rights, Medicare, aid to education, one after another – came with the support and leadership of American Labor. - Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter

The NDU-Retired are working hard to safeguard our pensions, to proactively work to protect and strengthen Social Security and Medicare. But no one person can do this work, alone. We need your help. We need your energy, your drive, your spirit, your ideas and your voice. You are NDU! Join us in the fight to safeguard these fundamental rights by continuing your membership past retirement. While you are still in the workforce, you pay the “active membership” level of dues. After you retire, you can join as a retired member, and remain just as active. Maybe even more so! Your support and activism does not need to end once you retire from your current position. Keep our organization as a viable entity, now and in the future. Please check out the NDU website,, and follow activities that the retired organization is doing. Contact information for Retired Board members can also be found on the site. If you have any problem and think we can be of assistance, please contact us. The NDU-Retired Board is here to assist both active and retired members. Please follow us on Facebook by searching for NDUnited Retired, and join our group as we discuss issues affecting membership across this great state and country. Membership information is listed below. I look forward to working alongside you in protecting every advance the labor movement has gained for the good of our country and our people.

YES, SIGN ME UP NOW IN NDU/NEA/AFT-RETIRED Complete and mail with your check today to NDU-Retired, 301 N 4th St, Bismarck, ND 58501-4020 Name: _______________________________________Social Security Number: __________________ Address: ___________________________________________________________________________ City: _________________________________________ State: ______________ Zip: ______________ Phone: ______________________________E-mail:_________________________________________ Local Association: __________________________Signature: _______________________Date: ______ _______ I wish to join as Annual Retired and pay $49 per year. Mail this form and your check to NDU, 301 N 4th Street, Bismarck, ND 58501-4020. (NDU membership year is from Sept. 1 to August 31.) _______ I wish to pay a one-time payment of $409 for Lifetime Retired. Expected Date of Retirement ___________ (month/year) _______ I wish to pay one payment of $49 and have 9 (nine) electronic transfers of $40 from my bank account for Lifetime Retired.


Jeryl 4th-grade teacher, VA



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September is Life Insurance Awareness Month. If you’re like most Americans, you probably don’t have enough life insurance. Now is the perfect time to help make sure your loved ones are provided for in the event something happens to you. It’s the perfect time to get to know the NEA Members Insurance Trust, as well. We’re here to provide information to help NEA members make educated decisions about their family’s future. This year’s Live. Love. Protect. Sweepstakes will feature $2,500 in prizes! Visit for details. Enter by Oct. 15, 2016 for your chance to win!* For more information, call us at 1-855-NEA-LIFE (1-855-632-5433).

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North Dakota United 301 N 4th St Bismarck, ND 58501-4020


ND United Voices

United Voices Vol. 3 No.1  
United Voices Vol. 3 No.1