- Remembering Chris Lloyd
- Urgent Call for Action: Tell the BoE Our Students Deserve More!
- Hurry! Union Voting Ends This Week!
- Remind App Update
- Snow Day Update
- Be Part of the Process! Join the Apple Ballot Candidate Interview Team
- RSVP for March 6 Representative Assembly (RA)
- Get an Early Start on Early Voting
- MCEA Members: Making Our Voices Heard!
1. Remembering Chris Lloyd
We honor former MCEA President Chris Lloyd’s memory. Please read President Jennifer Martin’s tribute to his life and work here.
The BoE is currently in the process of determining the budget for fiscal year 2024-25. Important services, programs, and positions are at risk. ACT NOW by clicking here to send a letter to our BoE members and tell them to:
- Invest $21.3 million dollars to fund anadditional“special” at every elementary school in the county.
- Increase special education staffing to levels that will ensure legal compliance with IEPs.
- Reduce caseloads for behavioral and mental health staff by meeting the nationally recommended ratios:
- School Counselors (ASCA) 1:250
- School Psychologist (NASP) 1:500
- School Social Workers (SSWA) 1:250
- Restore and increase the substitute salary allocations and expand thehighly successfuland collaboratively developed permanent substitute program.
- Cease the practice of unpaid coverage, such as “sprinkling,” which results in increased class sizes and an inability to meet the needs of every learner. Earmark MCEA-specific lapse and turnover dollars to compensate for coverage instead of reallocating unspent salaries to fund other parts of the budget each year.
- Restore allocations for speech-language pathologists andeliminatethe use of subcontractors who aren’t held to the same high standards as MCPS staff.
- Restore the $500k for Go Guardian, the application that enables teachers to effectivelymonitorstudent use of digital media to ensure their safety and maintain their focus on learning. Without Go Guardian, teachers will spend valuable instructional time observing students’ individual screens rather than providing meaningful instruction.
- Provideadditionalfunding to ensure that we have adequate supports for new EML students who arrive mid-year. Additional EML counselors and ELD teachers should be allocated to schools with larger EML populations.
- Restore the reduced Consulting Teacher positions and investadditionalfunds for three additional Consulting Teachers. This will improve our ability to train our novice and early career educator workforce. This is especially important as the system has increasingly been relying on conditionally certified new hires who lack teacher training and classroom experience.
3. Hurry! Union Voting Ends This Week!
See your sites’ voting % and how many more votes you need to enter our breakfast contest here!
It’s time to select the next MCEA President! David Stein (Blair HS) and Brandy Reazer (Northwood HS) are each seeking your vote. View their Town Hall.
We are also electing for Board seats at each level. Learn more here.
Now is also the time to choose new state and national union leadership (MSEA and NEA)! Learn more.
The MCEA Building Representatives have endorsed Paul Lemle, a teacher and past president of Howard County Education Association, to serve as MSEA President, and our own Nikki Woodward, current MCEA Vice President and an MSEA/NEA Director, to serve as MSEA Vice President.
Visit: https://secure.intelliscanvotes.com/msea/2024/ to access the ballot. Look in your personal email (check spam) for the link provided by Intelliscan or use emails sent from MCEA last week with your member ID number. If you need your member ID#, contact your building rep or Jackie Thompson at [email protected]. It doesn’t matter if you vote in the state or local first but don’t forget to vote in both!
4. Remind App Update
By James Schafer, MCEA Chair, Technology Workgroup
The Remind App was intended to be an option for teachers to use for communication with families if they felt it provided them with a benefit and was completely voluntary on the part of the teachers for this school year. The tool, which was intended to be a benefit for educators, instead immediately caused anxiety and concern. Educators identified several issues including pressure from administrators to use Remind, a belief that personal cell-phone use was necessary, and a general lack of training. The Technology Workgroup shared educators’ concerns around the implementation with MCPS staff. A memorandum was dispatched to clarify that any teacher use was optional, but the MCEA representation in the workgroup did not feel this was sufficient for the needs of our members.
We have worked to craft a document that represents frequently asked questions and concerns that surround Remind. As that document nears completion, it is our hope that this document will ease some of the concerns that educators have about the use and implementation of Remind. Further, we believe that this document, which will ultimately be disseminated by MCPS, will be a point of reference for all members as they engage with their direct supervisors to better address discrepancies between what they are asked to do in using Remind and what is actually required.
5. Snow Day Update
Previously, we shared an update explaining that MCPS initially only considered two choices for a snow day make-up date, both of which fell on grading & planning days. Subsequently, the system issued a survey to all employees and families including additional options.
In a follow up meeting between MCEA and MCPS, survey results were shared, demonstrating that MCEA respondents overwhelmingly favored April 22 as the make-up day. Additionally, results overwhelmingly favored asynchronous learning for the make-up day.
After discussion and continued advocacy by MCEA for a sensible approach to the make-up snow day, the feasibility of the following was discussed and subsequently approved by the Board of Education on February 7:
- Monday, April 22 as the make-up day,
- Asynchronous learning for students,
- A 2-hour asynchronous professional learning requirement with a flexible due date,
- Self-directed professional learning and planning for the remainder of the workday.
6. Be Part of the Process! Join the Apple Ballot Candidate Interview Team
Ensure we are endorsing the candidates who best represent our voices at the local and state level. Join the Apple Ballot Candidate Recommendation Interview Team to interview candidates and determine whose names will appear on the educator-approved Apple Ballot:
- New Date: Sunday, March 3, 2024.
- Mandatory Training starts at 10am sharp. Candidate interviews will likely last until 6pm.
Sign up here.
7. RSVPforMarch 6 Representative Assembly (RA)
Building reps will gather in-person to make recommendations for MCEA’s Apple Ballot endorsements, discuss the MCEA FY2025 budget proposal, and other union business.
- 4:15pm – Doors open with refreshments available
- 4:45pm – Meeting start
RSVP to attend this in-person RA here.
8. Get an Early Start on Early Voting
Take action to get our Apple Ballot recommended candidates elected! Early voting starts Thursday, May 2, 2024, and runs through Thursday, May 9, 2024. We need your help passing out Apple Ballots at the early voting sites each day of early voting. There are early morning, morning, mid-day, afternoon, and evening shifts available at multiple locations throughout the county.
Please sign up for your Apple Ballot shift here!
For more information, please contact Alicenne Passavanti at [email protected]
9. MCEA Members: Making Our Voices Heard!
Building reps at this week’s training holding signs describing what “fully funded schools” mean to them
Building Rep 101 Training
More than two dozen new building reps attended the Building Rep 101 training last week. Building reps learned strategies to advocate for themselves, have organizing conversations with colleagues, best practices for ILT function and processes, and the roles and responsibilities of building reps and EFRs. The Building Rep 101 training will be offered again in April of this year. If you are interested in stepping up as union leader and building representative, contact your assigned Uniserv Director or [email protected]
Members Taking Action on Worksite Climate
Since December 6, 2023, over 25 schools and worksites have taken action to address climate concerns. Through our organizing efforts, we are making bold demands to MCPS administration, imploring them to work with us to improve working conditions and students’ learning conditions at the foundational levels of the system, our worksites. We will continue amplifying our collective voice and make bold demands. To get involved and join other worksites in our climate campaign, reach out to your MCEA Building Representatives, your assigned MCEA Uniserv Director, and/or learn more about how to take action at https://bit.ly/MCEAmembermaterials.
The Greencastle Building Action Team show off their smiles AND the newly published 2023-2027 MCEA-MCPS Contract!
We celebrate Red for Ed every Wednesday! Don’t forget to wear your red this week, Wednesday, February 14, to show your union love, and build union solidarity and awareness at your school or worksite. We love to share our actions with each other, so please email [email protected] with pictures or videos of you and your colleagues taking action!