Thank you for visiting our site! Our students and schools benefit from parent-teacher communication and cooperation. Below are answers to commonly asked questions and links we think parents may find helpful.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is the Northshore Education Association?
We are the 1,300+ teachers and 450+ Education Support Professionals (ESPs) of the Northshore School District’s students. We teach pre-school, elementary, junior high, and high school. We are librarians, counselors, school psychologists, occupational and physical therapists, speech learning pathologists, and athletic coaches. We are Paraeducators, school assistants, nurses, deans, and technology specialists. Together, we are the Northshore Education Association, NSEA. We dedicate our working lives to our community’s children. Most of us live in this community, and moved here for the same reason others did—our great schools.
What does NSEA believe in?
Here are our core beliefs:
- Educate the whole child
- Our students need class sizes that are appropriate for learning.
- Effective teachers and principals are key to student success.
- Effective instructional resources are essential.
- Teachers need professional time to be effective.
- Testing must be used appropriately.
- A balance of uniform and differentiated programs and schools best serves our students.
- We are committed to partnering with parents.
Read our Plan for Student Success for more details. (Note: This plan will be updated in the fall of 2016.)
NSEA and district administration are currently bargaining. What are your goals?
NSEA is the bargaining agent for both certificated staff (teachers, counselors, psychs, etc.) and Education Support Professionals (paras, nurses, school assistants, etc.). We are working to get satisfactory contracts for both of these groups that improve our work and schools.
Our bargaining goals are:
- Safe schools, with students focused on learning.
- Appropriate staffing levels, class sizes, and composition to meet our students’ needs.
- Real District support to enable us to meet the needs of our students.
- Adequate support from trained and appropriately compensated Educational Support Professionals so we can meet the needs of our students all day and every day.
- Qualified substitutes for our schools when needed, so our students are not short-changed.
- Compensation that reflects our education, responsibilities, and the complexity of our work, so that we can choose to live in our community, pay off our student loans, fairly contribute to our families’ budgets, and attract and retain the best educators for our students.
- Minimize non-instructional requirements and use of our time (paperwork, unnecessary meetings, technological impediments, etc.) so we can focus on teaching our students.
- Minimize District-required testing, so we can focus on student instruction.
- A respected voice in shaping our instruction, schools, District, and profession.
Why isn’t bargaining done yet?
Cert bargaining began in April, 2016; ESP bargaining began in April, 2015. We are working through complex issues that affect all of our schools, students, and staff. We have made progress on some issues. We will be bargaining in July and August—our goal is to reach satisfactory agreements by August 31st, the date of our next meeting with members.
One major sticking point is joint bargaining, a no cost request of both the certs and ESPs. Teachers and ESPs work together every day in the classroom to serve students. We have asked and urge the district administration to allow us to bargain both contracts together at the same time. So far, district administration have refused this request in an attempt to divide us.
By negotiating together for our two contracts, we can best address common issues such as para support for class overloads; training; time for communication between Certs and ESPs; ESP staffing levels and hours; and ESP job and school stability by reducing turnover. Our conversations during bargaining will be richer and more fruitful if we are negotiating together. We could resolve common issues more creatively and quickly.
Joint bargaining is the norm in school districts where the WEA local includes more than one bargaining group. We are not seeking something unusual here in Northshore. Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, Federal Way, Mercer Island, and Tukwila Education Associations include certificated and classified members. These districts all bargain jointly. It’s the norm and best practice to reach good resolutions and to avoid strikes.
It’s even the norm and best practice in the private sector. Joint bargaining is the way it’s normally done where a union local includes more than one bargaining group. Local companies such as Boeing (Engineers and Tech groups) and Swedish Hospital (Nurses, Custodians, Food Service, Techs) bargain jointly with their union locals that include more than one group. Most companies understand that it is counterproductive to try to divide employees who work together and have made the commitment to be in the same union local. It doesn’t work.
I heard the NSEA is going on strike. Is that true?
No. We are working hard to reach tentative agreements on new contracts by our August 31st membership meeting. That is our goal and we are hopeful that we will be able to avoid a strike. If we don’t have agreements by August 31, our membership will decide at that time whether to strike.
How are parents involved in bargaining?
Parents and community members elect the Northshore School Board of Directors. The School Board members set the goals and parameters of contract negotiations. As we have representative government at the local, state, and national level, so too do we have a representative School Board.
Why don’t we have a calendar for the 2016-2017 school year?
The 2016-2017 calendar is currently being negotiated by the NSEA and NSD Administration bargaining team. We have not yet to come to agreement on the final calendar. NSEA surveyed certificated members and Education Support Professionals (ESPs) on their preferences for 2016-2017.
As we have told the district administration, our members, and the public, here is what NSEA's members prefer:
- The first day for students should be shortly after Labor Day
- The breaks should be:
- Winter Break: December 19-January 3 (January 2 is a federal holiday)
- Mid-Winter Break: February 21-24
- Spring Break: April 10-14
While we do not know what the final calendar will look like, past practice has been that these dates become the basis of a calendar. We are hopeful this will be the case for the 2016-2017 calendar.
Resources and Suggested Reading
- Blast from the Past: Watch this video (made in 2011) about how Northshore treats its ESP employees. Little has changed since this was made. Click here.
- Parents Across America
- Moms Rising
- Diane Ravitch’s Blog
- The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education, Diane Ravitch
- Despite the Best Intentions: How Racial Inequality Thrives in Good Schools (Transgressing Boundaries: Studies in Black Politics and Black Communities), Amanda Lewis and John Diamond
- This We Believe, AMLE