News From Your ITA President
Retirees Honored: Please tune in Tuesday 5/26 at 6:30 to the IUSD School Board meeting when our retiring colleagues will be honored. We are disappointed not to have been able to celebrate with them as usual, but please send your own congratulatory notes to friends and colleagues to honor their work on behalf of students. Here’s the link: IUSD School Board Meeting Livestream.
OC Teacher of the Year: Congratulations to NHS Science Department Chair, Mickey Dickson, who was named one of OC’s FINALISTS for Teacher of the Year! Mickey will now go forward to state-wide competition. We will be honoring all of our district and site winners at the rescheduled Excellence in Teaching Awards Celebration on Monday, November 9, 2020 at the Barclay Theatre. Mark your calendars for that and for the 2021 EiT Awards, April 12. Enjoy the virtual surprise announcement here: OCDE ToY Announcements.
IUSD School Board Race: Please take a minute to endorse Paul Bokota and Lauren Brooks for re-election to the IUSD School Board: Paul’s Endorsement Page and Lauren’s Endorsement Page. Include your name and your site and/or job description. Both are expecting to face challengers this coming fall, and the endorsements of many Irvine educators will be a definite asset to their campaigns.
ITA Elections: ITA has postponed our elections for Executive Board Representatives until we return to our sites. The current office holders will continue to serve during this challenging time. If you have the voting materials and ballot box, you can call the office to schedule a time to return them, or you can keep them in a safe place until we are ready to resume elections. We will figure out a way for sites to host Site Rep elections, as needed, in the fall.
IUSD Task Force regarding Return to School: Seven ITA members will serve on the IUSD Task Force to help plan whether/when/how we return to school. We will be reaching out to members and specific groups for input as well. Of paramount importance to everyone—ITA and IUSD—is the safety of staff and students. As we learn more about the virus and receive more direction from the county and state, decisions will evolve. CTA’s position about returning to school.
ITA Communications: If ITA has your most current personal email address and cell phone number, we can keep you updated throughout the summer. Also, check the ITA Facebook page for ongoing information as it becomes available.
State Budget Cuts: Another painful aspect of the COVID crisis is the damage it has done to the state economy. We are anticipating severe cuts to education funding. The state legislature can change some details about how the funding proposed in the state budget will be allocated. CTA is working hard to lobby for changes from the state legislature to the governor’s proposed budget in ways to make the limited funding more equitable to all students.
Federal Financial Help: Without federal assistance, all states will suffer from severe budget shortfalls. Therefore, NEA is seeking more federal funds for states to use for education and other COVID-related expenses. NEA is asking all members, nation-wide, to contact their Senators to advocate they pass the HEROS bill, which the House of Representatives has already passed. At this time, California’s Senators support the bill, but the Senate Majority Leader does not intend to bring the bill to the floor of the Senate.
ITA Contract: Unless state budget grows and/or the federal government provides financial support, the IUSD budget is in dire straits. And the costs of added safety measures could lead to even more drastic cuts to other spending plans. Please know, however, that any changes to our contract need to be bargained. The district cannot just impose furlough days or pay cuts. The goal is that any necessary cuts will be made as far from the classroom as possible.
On a personal note: During my career, my husband Doug (retired IUSD teacher) and I have experienced several state economic crises. To be prepared for whatever might happen, my family will tighten our budget going forward and avoid incurring new debts. This summer, it will be more important than ever for all of us to rest and rejuvenate and recuperate so we can be strong for our families and students when school resumes.
Be safe and stay healthy! #ITAstrong
|Thank you everyone for your feedback and suggestions to ITA during this challenging time. My mind is boggled at the thought that EDL began with only two days’ preparation. That is beyond amazing! I am in awe of all of you and feel personally very proud to be representing such professional individuals who take personal pride in working hard for students. [insert standing ovation here!]|
Please remember that “Speak up, we care” applies to teachers too. We need to prioritize our own physical, emotional, and mental health and that of our loved ones.
Therefore, be sure to register with teladoc.com now, before you need it. You’ll have an easier time accessing it if later if/when you do need it. Teladoc can help you be screened and even treated for some issues without your having to leave home. You can contact your primary care physician, of course. Our co-pays are waived by Blue Shield for any COVID-19 visits or treatment we receive.
If you are looking for help for mental wellness, we have benefits for that as well. Click here https://www.blueshieldca.com/fad/home to find a therapist or counselor. Employee Connect provides help with finances and other issues.
For now, we have had to cancel the Retiree Celebration, unfortunately; we are trying to reschedule the Excellence in Teaching Awards for the fall, and the Barclay has said they’d issue refunds for purchased tickets. The Executive Board election will be postponed until school resumes as well. Please know that ITA has been working as well.
We are in constant contact with the District and the school board regarding your questions and concerns. Some issues have been resolved quickly while others are requiring more time and effort. The district has appreciated our help and input during this process, and we appreciate their willingness to keep the lines of communication open, to listen to our concerns and suggestions, and to make Emergency Distance Learning as successful as possible for teachers and students. (See below for some of the issues we are discussing.)
We are also in contact with other local presidents, with CTA, and with legislative leaders — advocating every step of the way for members to have as much flexibility and as much help as possible. We haven’t always succeeded 100%, but we have made and continue to make noticeable progress. You will be hearing more soon about some of the issues being clarified and resolved.
Thank you to our ITT staff, Susan and Imelda, as well as to our CTA Executive Director, Laurie Atkinson for helping to keep our organization moving forward so smoothly. Our office is still functioning remotely. Thank you also to the Site Reps and Exec Board members who are working extra hard to seek, gather, and share member input and to answer your questions.
Please follow Irvine Teachers Association’s Facebook page and check your personal email for updated information from ITA. CTA also has a page of resources: COVID19@cde.ca.gov.
We are and will remain #ITAstrong!
President, Irvine Teachers Association
Some EDL Issues & Questions Under Discussion
Number of minutes of instruction
What does this mean?
Guidance re: 1 on 1
Live Video – Not required
Guidance re: 1 on 1 student conference
Staff meetings – No more than 90 minutes per contract
What if attendance is not possible?
Number of minutes of instruction?