Welcome back, everyone! I can’t believe it is almost September which signals the second month of school for traditional schedule and a well-deserved break for our year-round folks. The summer was not as busy this year (woo hoo!) for me or the officers. I hope that everyone was able to rest, rejuvenate, and look happily forward to the coming school year. I also hope that people enjoyed their retro check!! I hope that the school year started reasonably well for all, and I hope that members are happy to see the smiling faces of our students every day.
Notice how often I am using the word “hope”. You can’t take the English teacher out of the girl…so know I select my words carefully, as words have power and evoke emotion. I want all Federation members to be hopeful. That is the theme of the year for me. I hope that you can join me. I want members to see the change in our district as a positive one…with an overabundance of opportunity to be part of making this district a better one, for our students and for us. I want members to know that we do have power, the power of solidarity.
Realize, like I have, what we accomplished last school year: together we are strong, together we can accomplish whatever we set our minds to, and together we are a force to be reckoned with. I am so proud to be part of PFT.
With that said, there are issues to tackle. We have a new superintendent who has an education background. I have been fortunate to meet with him often this summer (solo, with PFT officers, and at a workshop). We continue to discuss some wishes the Federation has for a new district leader. My main concern and wish is about communication. My other wish is for the district to recognize the professional dynamos we have. Lastly, I was adamant about having a “seat at the table” on all issues TK-12. I feel heard and hopeful that the culture in our district is changing for the better.
Staffing is an immediate issue that is not going so well at some sites. Be assured that the officers and negotiators are tracking changes and engaging the administration in conversation about best practices. There are constraints on anything that we do that has a dollar attached to it. Please let your reps know if there are questions or concerns about what is happening at your site.
Technology is another issue that has hit sites…some better than others. Again, please let your reps know if there are issues or questions. PFT has requested a TK-12 committee be formed to design protocols for use. Once again, we are faced with playing “catch up” (like with the changes in Aeries), but I firmly believe we need a say in the protocols. More info on that as the committee is formed. With that said, I attended a parent information night concerning the use of ipads (yep, still a parent in the district). It was clearly stated that technology is a tool, one of many teachers will use. Administration also stated that technology will be used only when it enhances the curriculum. This seems reasonable to me, but many members are having different experiences and we need clarity. Hopefully this district/PFT conversation will happen soon so we can all have clear, equitable expectations and protocols. More on this when the idea becomes a committee…
We will soon embark on the adventure that is known as negotiating the “successor” agreement. This means the entire contract will be open for negotiation. Start considering issues and having conversations with your colleagues about hopes you have for the future…things that maybe need to be defined in the contract…changes you want to see. A survey will be coming soon asking for your input. YOUR INPUT IS VITAL to the negotiating team’s ability to create change.
The road show for the start of the year has begun. Dave Rose and I will be presenting the annual Safe Schools Presentation. Along with that presentation, Linda Scheele (our new Director of HR) and I will be presenting about the new Professional Development plans and evaluation/process changes. Coming soon to a site near you!!
Shared Decision Making has come up as an issue. There are no formal plans for the road show to come to sites for this year on this topic. I have had a few requests from sites to bring back the show. You know your sites. You know the climate at your sites. If you would like some sort of presentation/meeting/training on Shared Decision Making, please email me and I’ll arrange something.
Will any of this be easy? No. Will this be immediate? No. Will PFT be on the front lines fighting for you? Absolutely!
I hope that this message finds all happy and healthy. Take care of yourselves. Be hopeful.