1) New Day
4) ESP meet-up
5) Events and PD
6) November 30th WEAR RED for our Listening Tour!
I proudly stand with you, my union educator colleagues, to build our union and schools stronger than ever and to show the world what we’re made of. Public education is the cornerstone of democracy.
In the face of national uncertainty, we are making our local FWEA, state union and public education stronger, safer and welcoming for all. In fact, our state constitution mandates public "education of all children residing within it's borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste or sex”.
Leading into this McCleary session, roughly 93% of the members who live here in Federal Way voted in the past election. That's pretty impressive.
You may also see FWEA Association Representatives handing out safety pins, as a small demonstration that we as union members advocate for safe schools for all of our kids and members. As our Ethnic Minority Chair Daniel Harada proudly stated, these safety pins also must accompany real plans of how to be allies and step in when we see issues.
2) We are here to help empower you with safety. In addition to hearing this at building visits, many members have reached out asking about their own safety at school, in addition to student safety. We have hard fought language in our ESP and Cert CBAs. Please "search safety" and if these protocols are not in place, please contact your Association Rep, the Executive Board or office immediately. We have good langauge, but we need to be familiar with it, and use it to solve issues in our buildings. As always, after trying to solve it collaboratively at the building level, we can file a grievance which puts formal timelines on the matter.
We also brought this to Labor Management and look to collaboratively support buildings as well through audit questions of the CBA. We are here to help empower you and our students with safer schools.
3) Public education is the ultimate 'leveler'. In Federal Way however, up to 20% of student time has been spent on testing; not even including classroom based assessments that are actually useful in informing instruction. For the past month as word of the benchmark assessments has released, a roar of opposition has built up against these tests. Members have shared "How can my kids learn when all we do is test?" "I've spent all year building my students up, now we're going to tear them down with a test containing content they haven't learned yet!" "I'm super frustrated; testing took through 5th period today, and is many standards to grade. I anticipate 30-40 hours of grade."
The comments from students have been even more heartbreaking.
Testing is not learning, and while our children are giving up valuable learning time, our educators are giving up considerable family time trying to fit this excessive and poorly planned benchmark in. There was already a workload issue, and now there is an additional 20-30 hours of excessive grading. Our ESPs, who are already facing crippling workload concerns have even more on their plate with these assessments.
That's why at Monday night's meeting, after group discussions, a member organically made a motion and your Association Representatives took a UNANIMOUS vote to recommend the Advocacy team look into this matter.
4) This past month we had our first Education Support Professional (ESP) meet-up that we've had in years. Did you know we have award-winning ESPs here in Federal Way!?! We had approximately 60 ESPs come together. It was powerful to meet people in person, and to also talk about the job. Major themes emerged: Workload, Health room coverage, and supervision/safety/discipline.
We also looked at the CBA, which is different than certificated employees in key areas such as Comp Time and Overtime. Read more here: http://www.federalwayea.org/esp-members.html
5) We have had great participation at our events so far, and we're pleased to host these as well:
November 21 Sped meet-up http://bit.ly/SPEDmeetup
November 22 Culturally Competent Classroom Management http://bit.ly/2g8smVt
November 30 ELA, Irla and all that jazz meet-up http://bit.ly/IRLAmeetup
6) The Listening Tour has been underway, and we have a team volunteering to visit as many middle schools and high schools as we can on November 30th. We want to hear what you think!