Wednesday, January 13, 2016

NSEA and NESPA Merger Information

NSEA’s Building Reps (BRs) voted as a group on Monday to recommend to you a “YES” vote on the Merger Framework between NSEA and NESPA. Last week, NSEA’s Executive Board also unanimously voted to recommend to you a “YES” vote. This is a positive development that will make us more effective in improving our work and schools! The next step, if membership approves this merger framework, will be to form a group to rewrite our bylaws creating this new merged organization. The vote to approve those bylaws, and thus create a new NSEA, is under the power of the NSEA Representative Council. You will see those bylaws changes a month ahead of the final vote on a change. During that time building reps will hold meetings to seek your input on those changes.

The Merger Framework you will be voting on in early February is included in the Northshore News, our (paper) newsletter you will shortly receive from your BR. This month’s newsletter is packed with info about this and other matters. We hope you’ll read it and get informed. 

The short Merger Framework recommended by our Building Reps is also included below, for your ease of access. BRs will be holding Ten Minute Meetings at schools, and will try to answer any questions you may have.  
If you have questions your BR cannot answer with certainty, or if you prefer to get an answer from NSEA, please send them to us via this form (http://goo.gl/forms/hkfn7ef0c8).  Each week on Monday, we’ll send you answers to the questions we receive. We will also have all of this information on our website.  

See below my signature to read the Merger Framework.   It includes the rationale, and how things would change or not.

We are making a difference together!


Conceptual Merger Agreement
“Together, we can improve our schools and work lives!”

Background: 
Our members work together, side by side, every day at school. We serve the same students. We face many of the same issues, and have the same desire to create effective schools and be recognized as professionals. By being in separate organizations, we are less effective. We will be far more effective together by speaking with one voice to improve our work, schools, and our lives.

In Seattle, Spokane, and other districts where the certificated and educational support professional (ESP) groups are united, they are more successful in shaping their futures together. In Northshore, we have been more effective when we have worked closely together, but being in separate organizations has made this cumbersome.  

At the request of the NESPA (Northshore Educational Support Professionals Association, WEA) Board, the NSEA (Northshore Education Association, WEA) Rep Council (teacher Building Reps) authorized merger discussions earlier this school year. Leaders from both organizations met and drafted the following conceptual framework for your vote February 2 through 4 using a Survey Monkey link that will be sent to your school email. NESPA and NSEA are conducting separate votes of our respective memberships.

Recommendation: Vote “YES” to merge NESPA and NSEA into one organization that will be more effective at creating better schools and work.

What Won’t Change
  • The merged organization will be called NSEA (Northshore Education Association).
  • NSEA’s education support professionals (ESPs, formerly NESPA) and NSEA’s certificated staff members will continue to negotiate separate contracts with the NSD administration, as required by law. Contracts will continue to be voted on separately by the staff covered by their contract, as required by law. 
  • Dues will not change for either certificated or ESP members as a result of the merger.
Organization
  • NSEA’s 1,300 members will increase by 480 NESPA members, resulting in a local of nearly 1,800 members consisting of all educational staff in Northshore.
  • All members of the merged organization will eventually vote for the NSEA President and Secretary/Treasurer. Any member, certificated or educational support professionals (ESP), can hold these positions (though the predominance of certificated members means that the President is likely to be a certificated member).  
  • Certificated members will vote for the NSEA Certificated Vice President.
  • Educational support professionals will vote for the NSEA ESP Vice President.
  • NSEA’s certificated staff members will continue to elect ten representatives to the NSEA Executive Board.
  • NSEA’s educational support professionals will elect Executive Board members in proportion to their membership in the merged organization: approximately 3-4 members at present.  
  • The NSEA Representative Council will continue to consist of one Building Rep (BR) for every 15 members, and will now include the added ESP members to each school’s count. BRs are elected by their school and could be certificated or ESP. Building Reps will continue to receive the same annual stipend for their work, and ESP staff elected as BRs will also get this stipend.
  • There will continue to be monthly meetings of the NSEA Executive Board and Representative Council. 
  • Certificated leadership and ESP leadership will also continue to meet periodically in their respective groups.
  • School-based Union Support (US) Teams will consist of certificated and ESP members.
Finances
  • There will be one operating budget with combined organizational resources.
  • Dues will not change for either certificated or ESP members as a result of the merger.
For More Information

Next Steps
  • Questions will be answered weekly. 
  • Updates will be sent via email and posted to this page.
  • NSEA members will vote via SurveyMonkey from February 2 through February 4.
  • If members vote YES, a group of NSEA and NESPA members will meet to review and make changes to the NSEA Bylaws. Bylaws amendments will be presented to the Rep Council (2 readings), distributed to membership, and voted on by Building Reps.


Monday, January 11, 2016

Teacher Licensure 101: WEA Certification Workshop

***Update (1/26/15): This workshop is now full. If you want to be added to the wait list, contact Lydia King.***

Educator Certification Issues

Do you have questions about Washington state teacher certification and continuing education requirements, state policy updates, or support options? Come learn more at the WEA Teacher Certification Workshop.

What will we be covering in our workshop?

  • Learn about recent policy changes affecting teacher certification
  • Learn about the new National Board process
  • Get an overview of ProTeach
  • Explore new certification renewal requirements, including Professional Growth Plans and STEM professional development
  • How to move from a residency to a professional certificate or renew a continuing certificate
  • How can bargaining support educators through their certification process?
  • What support does WEA provide along the way?
Bring your laptop or device to take a look at Washington state's new E-Certification system for renewing your certificate, checking expiration, or adding endorsements.

Where and When?
  • Saturday, February 6, 2016
  • 9:00 am to 12:00 pm
  • Breakfast and registration start at 8:15 am
  • Inglemoor High School Library (15500 Simonds Road NE, Kenmore, WA 98028)
  • Breakfast and three clock hours are provided.
  • Registration required.
To Register

Short Legislative Session Starts Today

The short 2016 legislative session begins today. 

The legislators' main priority for the 60 day session?  Providing adequate funding to public schools, as required by the State Supreme Court. 

Check our Political Action tab for updates and opportunities to get involved as the session unfolds.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Have a Great Winter Break!


We hope you take the time to enjoy Winter Break with your family, friends, and loved ones. The NSEA Office will be closed until Monday, January 4, 2016.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

NSEA's Position on Options for Full Day K in 2016-2017

The letter (below) was sent to all NSD School Board Members and to Superintendent Francois this morning,

Dear School Board Directors and Superintendent Francois,

 We are concerned that the Administration and a majority of the School Board are about to embark on a road that will be damaging to our students, damaging to our staff and schools, result in a loss of teachers for the next two years, damage the Northshore “brand” as a quality district, and undermine public confidence in our district.

  • We are requesting the opportunity to speak today—not to be gagged. Teachers are not simply another “constituency.” We are the heart of the District. We are the people who implement—not just live with—the Board’s decisions every day and every evening. We are the people who will face the consequences of whatever action you take. Do not gag the professionals to whom our community entrusts its children every day, and depends upon to educate them.
  • If you intend to increase class sizes, we ask that you not vote today. This is a matter that has implications for thousands of students and families, hundreds of staff, and the public credibility of our district. Today you will be in a “Study Session” with less than 48 hours for Board members to digest the information received Tuesday evening, with no public testimony, or even an opportunity to hear from the major stakeholders. Even if the “public” vote will be January 12, it will simply be a ratification of your decision today—not a democratic process. The public, including our community, has voted multiple times to decrease class sizes. A major policy shift made without the ability of the public to be here today will further damage the reputation of Northshore. Transparency?
  • All options have not been explored. We recognize that there not any options that are fully satisfactory, but there are configurations, for example, that incorporate elements of Option 1 and Option 2 that have not been explored. As Options 1 and 2 do not increase class sizes, some combination of them, using the Primary Center as a last resort if portables cannot be permitted, is the only acceptable option to Northshore’s educators.

    The $4 million expenditure for portables in Option 2 can be looked at another way. After 1 year’s use, the 16 portables can be repurposed and used to replace our aging and decrepit portables in other parts of the district or at the same school. They also have a residual value that has not been considered or included in actual costs. Growth in Northshore will continue and these portables will be needed prior to the ability of Northshore to build 4 to 5 more elementary schools needed to reduce the class sizes under McCleary. These 16 new portables can be seen as a resource. Also, the millions of dollars wasted in a bad deal to set up a Primary Center needs to be investigated.
  • We are entirely opposed to Option 4. While several hundred Kindergarteners will no doubt benefit by Option 4, thousands of Kindergarteners through Sixth graders will pay the price. The data produced by Jeff Sherwood, while an honest attempt to put this to numbers, does not reflect what will occur under Option 4. For example, it does not factor in student growth during the school year, nor do these numbers reflect true class sizes based on weighted formulas in our contract that take into account student needs.

    Class size increases of 2, 3, or 4 more students, in classes that are already much too large, have an adverse impact on learning. Teacher focus will generally shift to more classroom management and less instruction and learning. Students will get less individual attention or instruction. Many classrooms will become so overcrowded, physically, that teacher or student movement will be a burden. Simple matters like addressing inattentive or disruptive behavior with simple proximity will become more difficult. Sharpening a pencil can be a burden in such classrooms.
  • The “resource teachers” that would be assigned to some of the neediest schools under Option 4 will become little more than stand-in substitutes called upon to fill in because Northshore continues to have too few substitutes to meet demand. You heard this at the Board meeting on Tuesday. The net result will be that we have more substitutes—not a gain in student achievement or relief for overcrowded classrooms.
  • If you intend to intentionally increase class sizes (Option 4), we urge you to include in your cost analysis and decision measures to mitigate the increase so that negative impact on student learning is addressed. These must include full day 7 hour paraeducators in every classroom that exceeds the current “caseload ratio”: K-1: 23 students; Full Day K: 24 students; Grades 2-3: 26 students; Grades 4-6: 27 students. Teachers will also need additional work time to work with their paraeducator, students, and parents in larger classes. These costs need to be included in your analysis and decision.
  • As some members of the District administration described to you in the Study Session on Tuesday, they believe that hiring additional teachers now will “get us in front” of the teacher shortage. We are now one year into the shortage, as reported in the news media in the last week. Our members are telling us, in the schools already overcrowded, that further increases in their class sizes will cause them to quit and seek employment in neighboring districts. We expect that additional teachers will need to be hired for next year. Furthermore, as a result of overcrowded classrooms in 2016-17, we expect that additional teachers will quit in frustration at the end of 2016-2017. The net result of Option 4 will be classrooms without the same level of quality teachers that Northshore has come to expect, causing “Excellence in Education” to be hyperbole.
  • If you intend to raise class sizes intentionally, by selecting Option 4, we request that the January 12 School Board meeting be held at a facility large enough to accommodate the public and staff who will wish to testify and witness the vote. The Monte Villa Admin Center does not accommodate such a crowd. We suggest that the Bothell High School gym be reserved, or if it not available, the Bothell HS cafeteria. It is a central location in the District. Anything less will continue the erosion of public and staff confidence in the District administration and Board. Transparency? 
 Tim Brittell, President
Northshore Education Association

District Admin Recommends Raising Your Class Size...ACT NOW


  • In a study session at Tuesday's Board meeting, district administration recommended to the School Board that NSD should increase class sizes 10-20% in 10 to 12 elementary schools in order to create space for Full Day Kindergarten for all students in the 2016-2017 school year. 
  • Email the School Board with your concerns NOW. 


 Dear Colleague,

The NSD School Board is meeting TODAY (Thursday, 12/10 at 1:00 pm) to discuss their options for providing Full Day Kindergarten next year. Since this meeting is during the work day, it is essentially a private meeting. There will be no testimony from the public, parents, or teachers. This meeting comes less than 48 hours after the Tuesday School Board meeting, so Board members have not had time to thoughtfully review alternatives. Even if you do not teach Kindergarten, their decision could have major implications for you next year, as their decision could raise class sizes 10-20% in some of our elementary schools. (Which schools? We don’t know yet because we don’t have the data from the district.)

While this is primarily an elementary issue, harm to one is harm to all. If they do this to elementary, they will do this to secondary. Stand up for your colleagues. Together, we educate Northshore. 

Bottom line:

  • The Northshore Education Association supports expanding Full Day K, but not at the cost of increasing class sizes for grades 1 through 6 in any of our elementary schools. 
  • NSEA urges the School Board to either: 
    • Wait a year to offer Full Day Kindergarten in 2017-2018 when reconfiguration will provide us with the space needed for this program OR 
    • Implement Full Day Kindergarten in 2016-2017 only where there is space, with priority given to high needs students. 
Action: Please read this email and then send a message to the School Board with your concerns. Tell them not to increase class sizes for grades 1-6.

  • Amy Cast, District 5 (School Board President): sbdistrict5@nsd.org 
  • Kimberly D’Angelo, District 1 (Vice President): sbdistrict1@nsd.org 
  • Ken Smith, District 2: sbdistrict2@nsd.org 
  • David Cogan, District 3: sbdistrict3@nsd.org 
  • Sandy Hayes, District 4: sbdistrict4@nsd.org 
BACKGROUND

  • Full Day Kindergarten (FDK) is required for all Kindergarten students in WA state in 2017-2018. 
  • The WA Legislature will provide funding to districts in 2016-2017 if they provide Full Day Kindergarten. (Note: funding from the state is not full funding, as it does not reimburse the district for the entire cost of teacher compensation, nor does it consider costs like portables or overload pay. Remember, the state has yet to fully fund the basic education we already provide.) 
  • Earlier this fall, the former Northshore School Board decided (in a 3-2 vote) to take funding from the state and provide FDK in 2016-2017. 
  • The current Board is meeting tomorrow (12/10) at 1:00 pm to make plans. 
POTENIAL PROBLEMS WITH OFFERING FDK IN 2016-2017

  • Many of our schools (especially in the north and west portions of the district) are at capacity already and do not have room to provide FDK. 
  • Capacity only exists on the eastside of the district (Eastridge, Hollywood Hill, Sunrise, Cottage Lake, Bear Creek) for FDK. 
  • Woodin and Kenmore Elementary currently offer full day Kindergarten for all students. Full Day K is offered at most of our elementary schools (where there is room), along with Half Day K. 
  • The primary center at the church only has six classrooms and these classrooms can only be used for Half Day Kindergarten. 
  • Reconfiguration in 2017-2018 will alleviate the space concerns we are currently experiencing, making FDK viable in 2017-2018, when it is required by law. 
THE DISTRICT’S 4 OPTIONS FOR OFFERING FDK IN 2016-2017
In response to the School Board’s decision to offer FDK, the district has come up with four options. In a nutshell, the options are:

  1. Maintain class sizes but only provide state-funded FDK at 9 schools, use the Primary Center for 6 classrooms. 
  2. Maintain class sizes but only provide state-funded FDK at 9 schools, no use of Primary Center, purchase 16 portables—most of which will not be necessary after 2016-2017. 
  3. Increase class sizes for Grades 1-6 but does not expand FDK opportunities, no use of the Primary Center, need to purchase 1 portable. 
  4. Increase class sizes for Grades 1-6 but permit FDK at all schools, no use of Primary Center, purchase 4 portables. (This is the option district administration recommended to the Board at last night’s study session.) Options 1 and 2 are the only ones that do not increase class sizes. 
NEXT STEPS Take action today. Send the message “Don’t increase class sizes” to all the School Board members since they will be taking action this afternoon. 

Tim Brittell, President 
Northshore Education Association 
tbrittell@washingtonea.org

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Take the NSEA Bargaining Survey

All NSEA members were sent an email with an invitation to take our 2015-2016 bargaining survey. We want to hear from you, so please take the survey soon. It closes at 11:00 pm on Sunday, November 29th.

If you didn't get the email, please let Lydia King (lking@washingtonea.org) know so we can get an invitation to you.

Thank you!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Be an NSEA Delegate to the WEA Rep Assembly!

Nominations are now open for NSEA Delegates to the WEA-Rep Assembly. WEA-RA is in Spokane and runs from Thursday, April 7th through Saturday, April 9th. We have budgeted to send 11 delegates to represent NSEA at this annual meeting. If you are interested in being a delegate, please review and complete the nomination packet. Nominations must be received at the NSEA Office by Monday, November 30th.

WEA is a member-driven, democratically governed organization and the annual Representative Assembly (RA) is its chief policy making body. Once a year, local associations select more than 1,000 WEA members to gather for RA. The annual meeting, which has a look and feel similar to a major political convention, provides a forum where WEA members can collaborate, debate and vote. Individual members and local associations submit New Business Items, New Resolutions or Amendments to Continuing Resolutions, Standing Rules, Bylaws, and WEA Constitution, which, when passed, set the organizational priorities for WEA for the coming year.

If you have any questions, please contact Lydia King at lking@washingtonea.org.