Wednesday, March 21, 2007

An Afternoon in Oxford at Clear Creek-Amana Elementary

My Wednesday afternoon schedule took me to the elementary building in Oxford for the Clear Creek-Amana Community Schools. Here I reconnected with local president and East Central UniServ Unit Executive Board member Bev Stolfus.

Bev (pictured at right) is a 5th grade teacher at Clear Creek Elementary in Oxford. I had a chance to visit with her Tuesday evening briefly over dinner with the East Central UniServ Unit Executive Board and also be a part of the board meeting that followed.

I often "get" to have school lunch when I'm on the road and today was treated to one of everyone's favorites, chili! And of course, you all recall from your days of school lunch what goes along with the chili? Right, homemade cinnamon rolls! What a treat! Lunch was delicious! I got to enjoy lunch with the 5th grade team of teachers. Thanks 5th grade team for including me in your conversations--it is important that I stay connected to the "real world" of the classroom! Thank you too for all that you do to give students the opportunities to succeed!

I spent the afternoon in president Bev Stolfus's room observing. Students in Language Arts class were involved in a newspaper activity. In Bev's homeroom and also with another group of 5th graders later, in Social Studies they were enthusiastically engaged in beginning their journal as if they were homesteaders in 1853. It was a neat project and today was a great launching activity.

The day ended in Clear Creek-Amana schoools with a union meeting, the first opportunity of the year! Not only did all association members from the elementary building attend, but quite a number from the Middle and High School were able to join us. Pictured on the right were those that arrived early. I started by sharing the impact their voluntary PAC contributions made in the 2006 election. I shared a few details from SF277, The Student Achievement Teacher Quality bill. 1) AEA professional staff will be added; 2) eliminate the mandate for an additional day and provide an allocation for quality professional development; 3) create a teacher quality committee in each school district to ensure quality professional development and an effective evaluation system; 4) on an average, each teacher will see an increase over their locally bargained raises of $2700 for the 07-08 school year and an average of $5400 increase in the 08-09 school year. I also encouraged them to sign up for the weekly update, the "ISEA Hotline" by going to the ISEA website and clicking the "newsletter" link.

We did take time to talk about the impact of NCLB and how NEA has a plan for us to seek positive changes as ESEA/NCLB comes before Congress this fall for reauthorization. I encouraged members to engage in conversations with Congressman Loebsack (CD 2) and to participate in the forums for presidential candidates to have their voices heard.

Thanks, Clear Creek-Amana EA members for your hospitality and for all you do as members of Team ISEA!

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