Focus on Educators December 2010

Focus on Educators is an award winning publication of the Pittsburg Education Association/CTA/NEA.

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on educators
California Teachers Association
focus on educators is an award winning publication of the Pittsburg Education Association/CTA/NEA
Statement of Mission
The California Teachers Association exists to protect and promote the well-being of its members; to improve the conditions of teaching and learning; to advance the cause of free, universal, and quality public education; to ensure that the human dignity and civil rights of all children and youth are protected; and to secure a more just, equitable, and democratic society.
Some of you sent in some pretty fancy looking pairs. Thank you to the 6 people from PEA who volunteered at our first Habitat for Humanity build on December 4th. It started out looking like it was going to be miserable weather but that wasn’t the case. We worked on two of several houses being newly constructed off of Buena Vista Avenue in Bay Point. There were about a dozen people all together from other schools or organizations as well. Many of us hung siding, or made stairs, or did the flooring for a second level. The bottom line is that NO SKILL WAS NECESSARY. This is one of several Community Outreach programs PEA will be helping in and I do hope that you can come to a build in the future. Several of us were able to attend the QEIA presentation from CTA on November 30th. In case you didn’t know, we in Pittsburg were the lucky recipients of 4 QEIA (Quality Education Investment Act) grants: Foothill, Stoneman, Parkside and Rancho Medanos. All of these sites have received large chunks of money for 7 years time
Volume XX Number 4
In this Issue
President’s Message & Informational Items… Pgs. 1-3 & 6-7 Conferences……….… Pg. 4 Legal Issues…………. Pg. 4 CTA News……………Pg. 4 Photos……………...... Pg. 5 PEA Calendar……….. The Last Page
PEA President’s Message
Thank you to all who donated socks for our first annual PEA sock drive. I was able to give almost 100 packages of socks to the Pittsburg Boys and Girls Club which they will distribute to children in need.
which they can decide how to best utilize to improve API scores. What they have used the money for is smaller class sizes, Intervention programs, grade level collaboration time, staff planning for staff development, and early back days for those students in need. The results, as done by an independent research firm, have shown incredibly large growth for QEIA schools on their API as compared to the non-QEIA schools for ALL sub groups. The results also show that when teachers have a significant voice in what they are going to teach as well as how they are going to teach, then students’ scores go way up. It is called Teacher Buy In. It gets frustrating sometimes with the large amount of “great ideas” coming down on us from the top. Please never stop speaking out and letting your voice be heard and putting in your “two cents.” We are professional educators and we know our stuff. We are not administrators who are far from the front line. Let them know how these “great ideas” are going.
Wag More, Bark Less! Chris Coan PEA President
PEA Leadership 2010-2011 President Chris Coan
Willow Cove Elementary/ PEA Office
Rep. Council Meeting Calendar
September 15 October 20 November 17 December 15 January 19 February 16 March 16 April 20 May 18 June 8 ******************
Elementary Vice President Cindy Joy
Parkside Elementary
Secondary Vice President Arthur Pruyn
Pittsburg High
Secretary Tammy Carr
Highlands Elementary
Treasurer Gale Higgins
Stoneman Elementary
School Board Meeting Calendar
September 22 October 13 October 27 November 17 December 15 January TBA February TBA March TBA April TBA May TBA June TBA ******************
Committee Chairs Grievance Committee Cindy Joy
Parkside Elementary
Richard Higgins
Pittsburg High
Negotiations Team Marc Sternberger - Chair Political Action Committee Iris Contreras and Steve Longley - Chair Elections Chair
Sharie Chmura
Human Rights Committee Tasharie Ameral – Chair Women’s Issues Committee Deborah Cummings - Chair PEA Organizing Team Vacant - Chair CTA State Council Representatives Chris Rohde - Pittsburg High Denise James, Valorie Luke - AEA Alternate Cindy Joy - Parkside Elementary CTA Director District C Eric Heins – Willow Cove Elementary NEA Director for California, District 3 Marc Sternberger – Special Education/MLK Technical Editor Susan Harrison – PEA Site Secretary Focus on Educators is a publication of the Pittsburg Education Association CTA/NEA 1901 Railroad Avenue #A Pittsburg, CA 94565 Phone: (925) 432-0199 fax: (925) 432-4854
Are you Getting your PEA Information???
Having the site reps attend their monthly meeting and then reporting back to you is vital in the communication chain of our Association. Roll call at last November 17th Rep Council Meeting: Adult Ed. – absent Stoneman – present Foothill – present Willow Cove –absent Heights – present MLK – absent Highlands – present Hillview - present Los Medanos – present Rancho Medanos - absent Marina Vista – present PHS - present Parkside – absent Riverside - present
“Question of the Month for You”
Please answer the following question and email your response to [email protected] Responses will appear in the January FOCUS. October’s question: Why did you go into teaching? November’s question: What motivates you to keep going? This month’s question: What frustrates you with teaching?
E-MAIL:[email protected]
UPDATE… Monday Staff Meeting Grievance
Due to the many school sites which were having mandatory 2-hour Monday Staff meetings EVERY week, we at PEA were trying to work with the district to make that stop and so we filed a grievance. There was a response from the district trying to close the contract language loophole that could perhaps permit this, but unfortunately the loophole still made it possible to have Monday Staff meetings past contracted time. We have continued with the grievance to a level 2 and now, by mutual agreement, to mediation. On January 5th we will have a mediator help PEA and PUSD resolve this issue. Yes the contract does say after hours meetings can occur, but it also says that we have a set contracted work day and that this work day cannot be made longer.
Upcoming PEA/CTA/PUSD Workshops
All are invited to attend; parents, teachers and administrators. Details and R.S.V.P. information will be sent via district email in January.
Teen Suicide March 3, 2011 – 3:45 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Gang Awareness April 7, 2011 – 3:45 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transsexuals: Breaking the Silence May 12, 2011 – 3:45 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Badge Addition
On December 15th your site reps will be receiving a PEA Badge for each and every member at their site (you.) Please clip this badge to your existing PUSD badge (there is a slot already made for easy addition.) On one side of the badge is the Weingarten Rights and on the other side it tells what to do if you need union assistance; first speak to your site rep, and then if you still need help, contact PEA at [email protected] This is a part of PEA’s Internal Organization and is to protect you in the event of a problem you may have to face at any time at work. A problem happens to EVERYONE at some time in their teaching career. Remember – if you are afraid of an administrator meeting with you that might result in disciplinary action then have a rep attend with you. This badge is a reminder to protect you!
Calendar for PEA President’s Q and A Site Visits
Note: These meetings will occur right after contract time ends in your staff lounge. Come with questions, concerns, and information to share. January 6 January 11 January 25 February 10 February 15 March 1 March 8 March 15 March 22 March 29 April 5 April 12 April 19 Foothill Heights Highlands Los Medanos Marina Vista Parkside Stoneman Willow Cove Hillview Rancho Medanos PHS Riverside MLK
Superintendent Roundtable
DATE: TIME: WHERE: January 13, 2011 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. PUSD School Board Room
Everyone and Anyone are invited to attend to give concerns and ask questions.
First Annual PEA Sock Drive Donated to the Pittsburg Girls and Boys Club
Evaluation Standards for Principals
or following the district’s policies will probably immunize a teacher from liability. Gov’t. Code 820.2
Weapons: You have the right to confiscate them, even if it means using some reasonable physical force. Ed Code 49001

This is the second in a series of six (6). The evaluation standards for principals – FYI. STANDARD 2 A school administrator is an educational leader who promotes the success of all students by advocating, nurturing, and sustaining a school culture and instructional program conducive to student learning and staff professional growth.  Shape a culture in which high expectations are the norm for each student as evident in rigorous academic work.  Promote equity, fairness, and respect among all members of the school community.  Facilitate the use of a variety of appropriate content-based learning materials and learning strategies that recognize students as active learners, value reflection and inquiry, emphasize the quality versus the amount of student application and performance, and utilize appropriate and effective technology.  Guide and support the long-term professional development of all staff consistent with the ongoing effort to improve the learning of all students relative to the content standards.  Provide opportunities for all members of the school community to develop and use skills in collaboration, distributed leadership, and shared responsibility.  Create an accountability system grounded in standardsbased teaching and learning.  Utilize multiple assessments to evaluate student learning in an ongoing process focused on improving the academic performance of each student.
??? Questions Corner ???
When will I be able to get my reimbursement for the Staff Development Day settlement? And does the district have the money to pay it back? When you have completed the timesheet with the needed hours, turn them in to your site secretary and you will receive the reimbursement on the next paycheck. The money to pay for this has already been allocated by the school board. The cutoff for payroll is the 15th of each month. Can ELD class sizes be larger than what the maximum class sizes are in the contract? The answer is NO. Even though it is difficult to group students and have equity at the same time, the answer is still no. You CANNOT have an ELD class with 16 in one class and 46 in another. The site principal will have to reconfigure the class sizes. If this is happening to you, please tell your administrator.
Upcoming Conferences from CTA
Note: PEA has four (4) $50.00 rebates for any attendees to any of these conferences. The rebate will be given after attendance. Issues Conference – January 14-16, 2011 Las Vegas, NV Good Teaching Conference – North January 21-23, 2011, Marriot, San Jose Equity and Human Rights Conference March 4-6, 2011, Fairmont, San Jose Good Teaching Conference – South March 18-20, 2011, Hyatt Regency, Garden Grove Presidents Conference – July 18-22, 2011 Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove Summer Institute – July 31-August 5, 2011, UCLA
Teachers Legal Rights and Duties Corner
Physical Violence Between Students
On-Campus: no criminal sanctions against a teacher for using the amount of physical force necessary to maintain order, protect property, or the health and safety of other students and staff, and to maintain conditions conducive to learning. Ed Code 44807 But note: This section does not speak to civil liability. A public employee is not liable for an injury resulting from his/her exercise of discretion vested in him or her. Use of judgment in determining whether to break up a fight or not
Relational Meetings Information How can PEA improve our two-way communication with you?
Site Stoneman    Date 9/2/10 # Attendees 9
Site Date # Attendees Willow Cove 10/26/10 9  Call sites more often  Email successes to for inclusion in Focus  Website  Morning potluck  Personal phone calls  Social gatherings  Regular movie night Marina Vista 11/4/10  Online surveys  On website add link to  Bills – legislation – resolutions  Local government  Leader links Pittsburg High 11/9/10  Personal emails  Social networking Los Medanos 11/18/10  Get the website up  Have a bio section for politics and endorsement 9
We need to be notified asap of community outreach events Not enough flyers sent out Excited about the website 15
Foothill 9/7/10  Email phone trees  Cable community T.V. at PHS  Social functions  Have good reps  Specify what each committee does
Highlands 9/21/10 9  Contract education  Keep PEA as a positive force – wear t-shirts  Facebook  Email tree  Blog on website  Yahoo group  Site days to attend school board meetings Hillview 9/30/10 5  Mass texts – get site personal emails  Facebook  President lunch visits  Social gatherings  Website  More positive with community  Explain to members about medical increase Heights 10/5/10 4  Email concerns to PEA directly if there are concerns 10/4/10 1 Rancho Medanos  Website: PEA’s perspective on school board meetings 10/19/10 Parkside  Group texting  Facebook  PEA President site visits  Afterschool Q &A’s 13
Social Networking Do’s and Don’ts
Social networking sites allow you to create a “profile” about yourself that you can share with others. Profiles include personal information and interests; plus, educational and professional information. Social networking is a great tool for multi-way communication and can help you organize around specific issues. Your use of social media should be used wisely. Here’s a quick guide to help you navigate through social networking. Don’t: Accept anyone who you do not know as a friend. Do: Be aware that users can search for you by anything in your profile (your employer, university, etc.) Control who sees your page. Set your privacy settings so only “friends” can review your information. Stay away from sites that cannot be closed to the public. Don’t: Join groups that may be considered unprofessional or inappropriate, and leave any such group that you are already a member of.
Do: Monitor comments that are posted to your page. Delete any with inappropriate language or content. Monitor your friends’ Facebook photographs. If someone “tags” you in an inappropriate photograph, remove the tag and ask that the photo be taken down. On Facebook, disable the Google search function. Don’t post: Vulgar or obscene language, materials, photos or links that may be considered inappropriate or unprofessional. Don’t post: Any negative information about your students or school administrators. This includes information that can easily identify a student or administrator. Do: Use common sense when you’re using social media. Here’s what you should know: School Employees with tenure or “just cause” rights have far greater protection from discipline for their postings on a social networking site than probationary employees.  Employees with tenure or “just cause” rights can be disciplined or discharged only if, in a due process hearing, the school district can show some legitimate reason related to conduct or competence. In the context of off-duty conduct, including, e.g., posting on social networking sites, many courts have required a showing that such conduct has an actual adverse impact on the employee’s ability to perform his/her job in order to uphold employee discipline.  While probationary employees don’t enjoy just cause protection, they may mistakenly believe that the First Amendment protects their right to post anything they want to on social networking sites. Unfortunately, school employees have limited free speech rights. Specifically, employee speech is not entitled to First Amendment protection: 1. If the employee is merely speaking about matters of personal concern, e.g., social activities, partying, personal gripes, etc; or 2. If school officials believe that the employee’s speech might disrupt the workplace or interfere with their job performance.
Enhancing Your Job Security Things to Do
1. Do a good job. Be well prepared. Meet your deadlines. 2. Study your copy of the Contract. Keep it for reference. Know your rights and responsibilities. Ignorance of the Contract, like ignorance of the law, is no excuse. 3. Get to know your supervisor and try – within reasonable limits – to adapt your behavior to meet his or her expectations. 4. Develop a good rapport with your colleagues, your supervisor, other school employees, parents and students. 5. Maintain a good attendance record; avoid unnecessary tardiness. Always give prompt notice of unavoidable absences or tardiness. 6. Accept constructive criticisms gracefully, and try to heed them. 7. Initiate regular communications with your supervisor. Find out what is expected of you and how well you are meeting those expectations. 8. Maintain files of all job-related documents. Save paycheck stubs, salary placement notices, observation reports and evaluations, letters from parents, etc. IF IT’S IN WRITING AND IF IT PERTAINS TO YOUR JOB, DON’T THROW IT AWAY. 9. Ask for help if you need it. 10. Obey direct instructions from your supervisor. If you believe an order is unreasonable, unfair or in violation of the contract, you can raise an objection, and indicate that you are complying under protest. But always remember this principle: FIRST DO AS YOU ARE TOLD, AND THEN GRIEVE. 11. If a problem arises, document it at the time and contact your Association Representative as soon as possible. 12. Become an active participant in Association programs. Association activities provide an opportunity for you to develop a District-wide network of supportive colleagues while you also develop and demonstrate your leadership skills.
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Hannukah begins at sundown PEA Executive Board – PEA Office – 1901 Railroad – 3:45 PM General Membership Mtg. @ Hampton Inn, Pittsburg – 3:45 PM Relational Mtg. @ Adult Ed./Riverside staff lounge immediately after school 15 PEA Rep Council – PEA Office – 1901 Railroad – 3:45 PM 15 PUSD School Board Meeting – 2000 Railroad Ave. – 7:00 PM 20-31 Winter Break 25 Christmas 31 New Year’s Eve
1 5 6 11 13 17 19 25 TBA New Year’s Day PEA Executive Board – PEA Office – 1901 Railroad – 3:45 PM PEA President’s Visit – Foothill’s Staff Lounge – After Contract Hrs. End PEA President’s Visit – Height’s Staff Lounge – After Contract Hrs. End Superintendent Roundtable – 3:30 PM – PUSD Board Room Martin Luther King, Jr. Day PEA Rep Council – PEA Office – 1901 Railroad – 3:45 PM PEA President’s Visit – Foothill’s Staff Lounge – After Contract Hrs. End PUSD School Board Meeting – 2000 Railroad Ave. – 7:00 PM
Next Deadline for Articles is January 10, 2011 STAY INFORMED @