Engaging Students, Involving Families, & Empowering Teachers since 1963
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Comments from June 12 School Board Meeting
Good Evening Trustees, Colleagues, and Community Members,
Tomorrow brings another eventful school year to a close, my sixth as President of the Evergreen Teachers Association. 2013-14 was filled with numerous struggles and triumphs. Together we managed to overcome most of the difficulties and celebrate many achievements.
The year began last August with the addition of a new category of certificated teacher, instructional coaches whose job it is to assist colleagues with the shift to the new Common Core standards. Early September saw a community meeting hosted by District Eight Community Roundtable (D8CRT). It was a panel discussion on Common Core featuring our own Superintendent Gomez. Negotiations finally came to a close after eighteen contentious months with the agreement ratified by ETA membership on the 26th.
EESD Trustees followed suit by approving the contract in October, although that vote was much closer and spoke to how divisive our board has become. The Eastside Alliance had its first official meeting during this time. Made up of Eastside High School and the elementary feeder districts including Evergreen, its ambitious goal is to facilitate a more coordinated approach to Common Core implementation and better prepare students for college and career.
The Adjunct Duties Committee met in November to discuss different ways of looking at voluntary extracurricular activities, and there was a marvelous project-based learning exhibit at Whaley. Common Core Unit Design teams got underway in December, and an agreement was reached on a site process for paying teachers for Student Enrichment Activities beginning in 2014-15.
The new year began with an excellent Common Core Training sponsored by CTA and attended by a dozen Evergreen teachers along with Associate Superintendent Shepard. It also brought me to the shores of Lake Cunningham for a truly amazing site - fifth-graders from Katherine Smith successfully propelling themselves across the water in self-made vessels. The Cardboard Regatta was born, and PBL was here to stay.
Next, Evergreen School District organized and carried out its first Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) Community Meeting and shared with stakeholders how its strategic plan aligned with the eight state priority areas. The Citizens For Excellence in Evergreen Schools committee met for the first time, and the Measure H campaign was underway.
February ended with a visit from CTA President Dean Vogel, who luncheoned at Whaley, toured LeyVa, and explored Bulldog Tech before finishing a busy day with a dinner meeting hosted by ETA's Executive Board. March found me testifying at my first arbitration on behalf of part-time middle school teachers. Speaking of my seventh and eighth-grade colleagues, they had their first minimum day in-service on Common Core this month.
The D8CRT was back in the news in April as they hosted a San Jose Mayoral Forum, and classified staff successfully negotiated and ratified a new contract. The first annual Evergreen Health Fair happened on May day, and you may have heard about my escapades at the Luther Burbank school board meeting, which ended with the sheriff's department being called in to read me my rights.
June has had an amazing start with three exceptional events all on the same day. The 3rd was ETA's Retirement Celebration, a marvelous chance to thank those outgoing teachers for their contributions to students, colleagues, and our profession. Later that afternoon, our daughter, Julia, called to say she had been hired to teach English at Overfelt high school! Finally, the Evergreen community showed its continued bipartisan support for local public schools by overwhelmingly passing Measure H, despite the disturbing fact it was endorsed by only four of our five Trustees.
What will 2014-15 bring here in Evergreen? New and continuing challenges will arise to be sure, but I'm confident a rested and rejuvenated group of educators will be ready to tackle any undertaking. Whether it's meeting the needs of each and every student through the ongoing transition to Common Core standards, negotiating a fair salary increase, or getting more involved in the November school board election, teachers understand the value of working together for a common goal.
Our new slogan says it all.
The Evergreen Teachers Association - Engaging students, involving families, and empowering teachers since 1963.
Brian Wheatley, ETA President
408-272-0601 ext. 215
Dates to Remember
First Day of School - August 20
LCAP July 1 Budget
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