Page 1

s u p p o r t i n g

y o u r

f r e e d o m

t o

t e a c h


Rethink Stress Your action plan for a happy, healthy and productive school year page 17


summer 2013 |

TRS and testing:

First look back at the 83rd Legislature page 22

Protect your future ATPE is proud to offer members the opportunity to enroll in the following benefits: Life insurance ATPE continues to offer our enhanced voluntary group life insurance program for the 2013-14 membership year. Enrollment is open through Oct. 31, 2013. Please note: During the enrollment period, eligible members have 60 days from their date of membership with ATPE to enroll.

Accident insurance Now at a reduced rate from ACE, for $11.21 per month, ATPE members can purchase 24-houra-day, 365-days-a-year accident protection for themselves and their families regardless of their health history. Enrollment is open year-round.

Your future starts here.

S u m m e r

2 0 1 3


3 3






special sections

17 Rethink stress

14 ATPE member legal assistance

Doug Rogers photo and stress illustration by john kilpper; © Grunge Texas State Flag/istockphoto/Thinkstock


Multiple factors outside of an individual’s control—standardized testing, limited resources, added duties—contribute to educators’ mounting stress levels. But even if you can’t control the factors that are causing stress, there are steps you can take to keep stress from controlling you. ATPE News consulted some wellness and communications experts, and the result is a plan anyone can put into action for a happy, healthy and productive school year.

20 The cowboy rides away

 fter 24 years as ATPE’s executive director, Doug A Rogers is poised to hand over the reins of the association to someone new. ATPE News visited with Rogers about his remarkable career and his upcoming adventures.

22 The 83rd Legislature How did public education fare this legislative session? ATPE News takes a look at vouchers, the Teacher Retirement System, funding, testing and charter schools.

summer 2013

Save these details on eligible ATPE members’ employment rights and professional liability insurance package. 24 The 2013 ATPE Summit Preview the agenda for the summit, meet the 2013-14 state officer candidates, and check out the business before the 2013 ATPE House of Delegates. 32 Your Association Which membership category should you join in 2013-14? • ATPE reaches out to West • Introducing ATPE’s Teacher Support Program • New savings at the Dallas Zoo and Six Flags Fiesta Texas • Annual membership survey results • ATPE Foundation news • Kudos • Family Album • ATPE-PAC Honor Roll

departments 4 Editor’s Message

11 Special Services Spotlight

5 Calendar

12 Tech Support

6 News Briefs

47 Snip-its

8 In the Classroom

columns 13 Capitol Comment Compromise results in progress on TRS issues 15 Legal Opinions Tips for communicating effectively with supervisors | 3

president’s editor’s message

The official publication of the Association of Texas Professional Educators


To a splendid sir with love,

Deann Lee Ginger Franks Richard Wiggins Cory Colby Cheryl Buchanan

Amancio Garza Jackie Hannebaum Jan Womack Ron Fitzwater Bill Moye Judi Thomas Janie Leath Rita Long Kristi Daws Jackie Davis David Williams Julleen Bottoms Greg Vidal Tonja Gray Sarah Beal Shane Whitten Lynette Ginn Teresa Griffin Socorro Lopez Tina Briones

President, Paris (8) Vice President, Pineywoods (7) Secretary, Boerne (20) Treasurer, Willis (6) Past President, Ballinger (15)

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Edinburg (1) Corpus Christi (2) Goliad (3) Alvin (4) Warren (5) Willis (6) Nacogdoches (7) Mount Vernon (8) Jacksboro (9) Garland (10) Keller (11) Corsicana (12) Pflugerville (13) Abilene (14) Coleman County (15) Amarillo (16) Hale Center (17) Stanton (18) San Elizario (19) San Antonio (20)


Doug Rogers Executive Director Alan Bookman Deputy Executive Director Laura Sheridan Associate Executive Director


Doug Rogers Executive Editor Kate Johanns Communications Director/Editor John Kilpper Senior Graphic Designer Mandy Curtis Senior Copy Editor/Writer Erica Fos Graphic Designer Alexandria Johnson Copy Editor/Writer Jennifer Tuten Communications Specialist/ Advertising Coordinator ATPE News contains legislative advertising contracted for by Doug Rogers, Executive Director, Association of Texas Professional Educators, 305 E. Huntland Dr., Ste. 300, Austin, TX 78752-3792, representing ATPE.

ATPE News (ISSN 0279-6260) is published quarterly in fall, winter, spring and summer. Subscription rates: for members of the association, $3.32 per year (included in membership dues); non-members, $10 per year. Extra copies $1.25 each. Published by the Association of Texas Professional Educators, 305 E. Huntland Drive, Suite 300, Austin, TX, 78752-3792. Periodical Postage Paid at Austin, Texas and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to ATPE News, 305 E. Huntland Dr., #300, Austin, TX, 78752-3792. Advertising rates may be obtained by sending a written request to the above address. Opinions expressed in this publication represent the attitude of the contributor whose name appears with the article and are not necessarily the official policy of ATPE. ATPE reserves the right to refuse advertising contrary to its purpose. Copyright 2013 in USA by the Association of Texas Professional Educators ISSN © ATPE 2013 0279-6260 USPS 578-050

Kate Johanns ATPE News editor

4 |

atpe news

<© image description/Collection/Thinkstock>

When we interview candidates for positions at the ATPE state office, we’re often asked about the rate of employee turnover. I’m always proud to tell job candidates how many ATPE employees have worked at the state office for 10, 20 or even 30 years. This is a good place for many, many reasons. I myself am one of these long-time ATPE employees, having started here in an entry-level position, fresh from college. I’ve grown up at ATPE, and that’s why writing a farewell message to the one and only Doug Rogers, ATPE’s retiring executive director, feels so much like writing a thank-you letter to a favorite teacher. This time of transition—when ATPE is about to welcome only the third executive director in its history—feels somewhat like that summer between high school and college, when you look back fondly upon all of the good times and the many, many lessons you’ve learned, but you also look ahead to the future with excitement and quite a few butterflies. (This is probably why I’ve started thinking of this editor’s message as a “To Sir With Love” message.) I first met Doug during my second interview for ATPE’s staff writer position, when he asked me—as he asks every candidate—my favorite color, my favorite animal and whether I identified most with a circle, square, triangle or squiggly line. Because of my job responsibilities, I’ve always been blessed to work closely with Doug, so I’ve enjoyed many of his ATPE history lessons during the past decade. But the moments with Doug that I will cherish the most are the heart-to-hearts we’ve had since I became a manager. Doug has an amazing ability to zero in on the heart of a matter. This spring, I was exchanging emails with Doug about some of the amazing communication ideas and technological innovations at SXSW Interactive, and I semi-apologized for “geeking out.” Doug’s reply: Don’t stop geeking out. In other words, don’t stop taking joy in what you do. That’s powerful advice. In “To Sir With Love,” Lulu sings about the challenges of thanking someone who has had an immeasurable effect on your life: “It isn’t easy, but I’ll try.” This green/cat/squiggly line thanks you, Doug.



3 Deadline to apply for the Barbara Jordan Memorial and Fred Wiesner Educational Excellence scholarships

8 Region 17 meeting (Lubbock) 13–14 Region 10 convention (Rockwall); Teacher Retirement System (TRS) Board of

Apply for these scholarships through the ATPE Foundation.

Trustees meeting

14 Flag Day 15 Region 1 Leader Lab (McAllen)

www.atpefoundation. org/scholarships.asp

16 Last day the governor can sign or veto bills; Father’s Day

19 ATPE Summit and Professional Learning and Networking (PLAN) delegate certification/preregistration deadline

21 Summer begins


Ask your local unit president to register you as a certified delegate.

4 Independence Day (state office closed)

16 Educator of the Year, Leader of the Year and Scholarship committees meet 17 Professional Learning and Networking (PLAN) 17–19 ATPE Summit; State Board of Education meeting 26 State office closed; TRS Board of Trustees meeting

Learn more about the event’s Acclaimed Speaker Series.

31 2012-13 membership year and professional liability insurance policy expire*


www.atpesummit. org/PLAN/acclaimedspeaker-series

1 2013-14 ATPE membership year and professional liability insurance policy begin*

2 State Board for Educator Certification meeting 26 Bills passed by the 83rd Legislature become law

© college student, anchor, computer/istockphoto/Thinkstock

26–30 Supporting Your Freedom to TeachSM Week

Renew! Renew your ATPE membership for 2013-14.

summer 2013

Find out what changed for education.

THE EDUCATORS PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY INSURANCE POLICY IS UNDERWRITTEN BY NATIONAL UNION FIRE INSURANCE CO. OF PITTSBURGH, PA. ALL COVERAGE IS SUBJECT TO THE EXPRESS TERMS OF THE MASTER INSURANCE POLICY ISSUED TO ATPE AND KEPT ON FILE AT THE ATPE STATE OFFICE. Coverage applies to an insured’s activities within his/her professional capacity and does not apply to activities that predate the coverage period. View a detailed summary at Eligibility for ATPE membership benefits is contingent upon ATPE’s receipt of the entire annual membership dues amount for your appropriate membership category. A disruption in payments to an authorized payment plan may result in discontinuation of such benefits, including cancellation of insurance coverage for the entire membership year retroactive to Aug. 1 or your membership date. ATPE reserves the right to determine eligibility for the appropriate membership category. The membership year runs from Aug. 1–July 31.


call (800) 777-2873 to be put in touch with your region officers red dates indicate atpe deadlines | 5

news briefs

by Alexandria Johnson, copy editor/writer

A recent study by the University of Salford in England found that student performance can be affected by classroom design aspects such as color, light, noise, temperature, air quality, space and organization. Over the course of a year, researchers observed 751 students in 34 classrooms and found that the difference in student performance between the best- and worst-designed classrooms could amount to a school year’s worth of progress. Students did best in calm, balanced classrooms that offered sufficient space and flexibility for varied learning zones. Young students might enjoy exciting spaces, but the study found ordered spaces with some complexity were best for learning. Natural light, floor and wall color were other important factors. The study suggests that warm colors are better for older students and that bright, cooler colors are better for younger students. According to the study, well-designed classrooms also have comfortable, familiar characteristics that allow the students to feel that “this is my classroom.” Source:

Kindergarten vocab lessons lack planning

AP testing growth

In 2012, researchers observed oral vocabulary instruction in kindergarten classrooms across a range of socioeconomic statuses to see if instruction methods were consistent. The study was motivated by previous research showing that students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds were more likely to enter kindergarten with a smaller vocabulary and needed more lessons to ensure long-term reading comprehension success. The study found that most vocabulary instruction occurred within the context of a lesson, but there was a wide range in the frequency of these events; some teachers defined up to 20 words in a day while others defined none. Classes learned mostly basic words, although economically advantaged classes were more likely to learn complex words. The lessons most likely to have a vocabulary component were the least likely to be taught in kindergarten: social studies, science and read-alouds. Source:

More 2012 graduates from Texas public high schools participated in AP courses and earned a score of 3 or higher on AP exams than ever before, according to the 9th Annual AP Report to the Nation, which was released in February 2013. The number of graduates in the Texas Class of 2012 who scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam is larger than the total number of Texas graduates who took AP exams in 2002. North East ISD in San Antonio was honored as the 2012-13 AP District of the Year in the large district category for serving as a model for expanding access to AP and increasing the percentage of students who succeeded on these exams. Source:

6 |

atpe news

© girls in class/brandxpictures/jupiterimages/Thinkstock; mouse/hemera/thinkstock; father teaching son/valueline/thinkstock; dog on book/istockphoto/thinkstock

The impact of classroom design

Urban students benefit from parental involvement programs It’s a no-brainer that parental involvement positively affects a student’s success. But are school programs designed to encourage parental involvement and family engagement effective? In “A Meta-Analysis of the Efficacy of Different Types of Parental Involvement Programs for Urban Students,” William H. Jeynes, a professor of education at California State University, Long Beach, finds that overall, these programs do result in higher academic outcomes for students. The study analyzed 51 existing studies of school-based parental involvement programs—serving students from prekindergarten through 12th grade—and sorted these programs into six different categories. From most to least significant, the four program categories that yielded statistically significant results were: •S  hared reading—Programs that encourage parents to read with their children. •E  mphasized partnership—Programs that help parents and teachers collaborate as equal partners in improving academics and/or behavior. •C  ommunication between parents and teachers—Programs that foster increased communication between parents and teachers. •C  hecking homework—Programs that encourage parents to check daily on whether their children have completed their homework. The other two program categories were Head Start programs and ESL teaching programs. Educators might be able to apply these study takeaways when facilitating parental involvement in their own classrooms: • S chool-based shared reading programs are more effective than voluntary parent-child reading activities. Jeynes believes a “teacher effect”—in which parents receive guidance about reading strategies, book selection, etc.— contributes to a more efficient, productive and successful program. • Voluntary and school-based parental involvement efforts are most effective together; cooperation and coordination are key. Parents might underestimate their own power in influencing a child’s success. It could be beneficial to offer advice on important principles, such as setting high expectations. Source:

summer 2013

A book with dog ears Man’s best friend: He’s always ready to take a long walk with you, fetch your Frisbee and … listen to you read a good book during story time. A fear of public speaking can cause struggling readers to feel embarrassed or nervous when reading aloud in front of their peers. Animal-therapy programs, such as READ (Reading Education Assistance Dogs), visit schools and libraries to give children an opportunity to practice their reading skills in a low-stakes setting: in front of a therapy dog. In the READ program, dogs sometimes even bring their favorite books, and children who successfully read the books are invited to autograph them. READ programs give children the opportunity to feel comfortable practicing reading skills in front of an attentive, loyal and completely nonjudgmental friend. As students relax and enjoy their reading experience, they are able to develop positive associations that allow them to look forward to reading. Source: | 7

in the classroom

by Alexandria Johnson, copy editor/writer

Getting out the wiggles Help your students stay focused with brain breaks and stability balls

8 |

was easy to have a quick video ready.” In fact, Daws has an entire Pinterest board dedicated to brain break videos that she finds helpful for reinvigorating her students.

Most of Daws’ brain breaks teach a short dance: One of her favorite videos teaches a dance called the “Continental Drift” from the movie Ice Age. In their band classes, her students have been

learning about rhythm exercises, so Daws has also tracked down rhythm how-to videos that the students can practice with cups that she’s pre-set on the desks (if you haven’t seen the movie Pitch Perfect, think of it as a hand-clapping game with cups). “I like to throw something at the students to get them up and moving,” says Daws. “I actually prefer to be sneaky about it and get them off guard.” As you can imagine, word spreads pretty quickly through the junior high halls when Daws has a surprise for a class. “The kids really take it really well,” she says. “They love something new, especially if they don’t know it is coming. It gets them pumped up.”

© Girl playing with gymnastic ball/istockphoto/Thinkstock


ave you ever had one of those days when you’re worried about how your students will get through the lesson plan, let alone the rest of the day? They might be unfocused or unengaged, wiggling and chatting, or dazing and dreaming. 2012-13 Region 9 ATPE director Kristi Daws knows just how to energize her students and help motivate them through the rest of their day: brain breaks. About two years ago, Daws first surprised her sixth-grade math students with a dancing brain break. She and her student teacher positioned themselves on opposite sides of the classroom, and when a dance video suddenly projected on the classroom ACTIVE Board, the two educators began dancing. “The students just burst out laughing,” Daws says. “Within a few seconds, they all jumped up and joined us.” Daws tries to incorporate movement into her classroom’s daily lessons. But during those times where it’s nearly impossible to get students mobile in the classroom, such as six-week test week, where students must sit and test or study all day for several days, Daws treats her students to a video brain break just before the end of each class period. Although she had learned about kinesthetic activities for the classroom before, Daws says, “Once I joined Pinterest and started finding all these great videos, it

Book review: Sit and be fit Another more permanent “wiggle break” option is to swap your students’ chairs for exercise or stability balls. Because students must move around slightly in order to stay balanced on the balls, these seats allow enough wiggle room to help students remain focused on their work. Several studies have found that exercise balls are especially helpful for students with ADD and ADHD, and more and more classrooms are jumping on the trend for all students. If you are interested in adding exercise balls to your classroom, here are a few things to consider: 1 Look for funding assistance. Some educators have been able to cover the expenses through grants from organizations in the community or by collecting donations through the education charity website 2 Reinforce that exercise balls aren’t toys. Formulate a reward system that requires students to initially earn the right to sit on a ball. This will help prevent the students from misusing the exercise balls. 3 Create a list of safety rules. Review

guidelines, such as “always sit with both feet planted on the floor” with the class, and then prominently display the rules in the classroom. Always give students the choice of a chair. 4

5 Restrict “extreme” bounce time. Ask your students to sit still on the balls except during designated bounce times. Every so often, allow your students to bounce on the balls for about two minutes. A

summer 2013

Fixing the spin on public schools


asily organized into what could be considered a 12-step program, the book Hello My Name Is Public School and I Have an Image Problem by Leslie Milder and Jane Braddock aims to restore the public’s confidence in public schools. The book offers effective communication strategies educators can use to become ambassadors who highlight the many successes in public schools. First, Milder and Braddock guide readers through a “recovery process” to cope with the “decades of criticism and negative news reports” that public schools have faced. Then, they empower educators to change the public’s perception of schools by focusing on the positive rather than the negative: Schools do achieve great things for all students, every day, and educators should celebrate these triumphs with families, communities and the general public. Milder and her husband, Scott, are the founders of Friends of Texas Public Schools, an organization dedicated to the belief that although U.S. public schools are achieving more than ever before, this good news is often eclipsed by an over-emphasis on isolated cases of school failure. Hello My Name Is Public School and I Have an Image Problem will be the focus of the free ATPE Book Circle study that begins June 14. All educators are welcome to read and discuss this book for seven hours of continuing professional education (CPE) credit. Visit to sign up. —Kris Woodcock, ATPE professional learning manager | 9


by Alexandria Johnson, copy editor/writer

special services spotlight

Tailored for success Meet the finalists for Special Services Educator of the Year


© Spool of thread with needle, Buttons/istockphoto/Thinkstock

pecial services educators include librarians, diagnosticians, special education teachers and other education professionals who work outside of the typical classroom setting to help meet a student’s learning needs. In their applications, the finalists for ATPE’s 2012-13 Special Services Educator of the Year Award described their approach to teaching and explained why they go above and beyond in serving a student’s individual needs to set them up for success.

Susie Andrews, a special education resources and inclusion teacher at Rio Hondo ISD’s Rio Hondo Intermediate School, values the importance of flexibility in teaching. “If a child is not learning, then I need to find another way to teach that child,” she says. From her time spent teaching in a remote Alaskan village, Andrews learned that “respecting your school and [your students’] culture and community is essential.” Andrews now co-teaches fifth grade, and she appreciates the benefits that the inclusion model gives to both students and educators. She enjoys seeing different teaching styles and feels fortunate to have colleagues who collaborate for the betterment of students. Always in pursuit of professional development opportunities, Andrews will learn to teach the visually impaired this fall. “My future is in helping children for as long as I possibly can,” she says.

Ma Elena Ingram serves as an “advocate for academic progress and success” to students facing academic challenges and students transitioning back from an alternative campus or juvenile center through the Academic Success Transition Program at McAllen ISD’s Brown Middle School. Ingram tutors her students, attends disciplinary hearings and serves as a teacher/student liaison. Many of her students face a language barrier, so she works with them and their parents in both English and Spanish. She has seen her school’s efforts create a ripple effect in the community—students have improved academically, and parents have become more involved. Last year, all 14 of her students passed their STAAR tests at the end of the year. “Working with an impoverished community has enlightened me to take into account what role gratitude and compassion have in my life and the life of my students,” she says.

Katrina Reeves, a campus reading specialist at North Oaks Middle School in Birdville ISD, is willing to do whatever it takes to motivate and empower her students and to make sure they develop a hunger for learning. Reeves even modified Gary Chapman’s research from The Five Love Languages to learn how to best encourage each of her students—whether it’s through words of affirmation, pats on the back, one-onone instruction time, tangible rewards or her attendance at an extracurricular activity—so that they can develop their own positive self-image. She embraces teaching as an art form and strives to marry creativity and curriculum in the educational process. “The only way to ensure lasting learning is to engage our students and allow them to bring their ideas and talents into the classroom, even if it messes up our time-tested lesson plans,” she says.

All ATPE Educator of the Year Award winners will be announced July 19 during the 2013 ATPE Summit Awards Banquet.

summer 2013 | 11

tech support

by Mandy Curtis, senior copy editor/writer

Evernote and education Creating an online warehouse of ideas

Getting started Once you’ve downloaded the app or signed up at, create an account with your email address, a unique username and a password. Once you’ve created an account, you’ll be taken to a blank Home “Notebook”—an empty warehouse just waiting to be filled. From there, you can create public and private notebooks that can be shared via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, email or direct link. Evernote gives users a variety of ways to save content. Using the mobile app, you can take a snapshot of something you want to remember, add audio and save it for later. The “web clipper” browser extension makes it easy to save entire websites or individual images from Web pages. You can also type notes directly

Tech Term

12 |


into the application, which might come in handy during in-service days or professional learning conferences. All of your items can be tagged with labels (for easy searching at a later date) or separated into their own notebooks.

Campus and classroom use The Evernote for Teachers section of the Evernote website ( teachers/get_started) features a variety of ideas for using the app on school campuses. For example, a teacher could take a photo of a whiteboard filled with lecture notes. Evernote will make the image searchable through an ability to recognize and read handwriting. The articles in the Evernote Education Series on the official Evernote blog (http:// offer suggestions for how educators can use the application. In “10 Tips for Teachers Using Evernote,” Michael Cruz, an educator who first experimented with Evernote while teaching courses at San Jose State University, suggests that educators use the application to: • Plan and organize lessons using personalized tags. • Create a compilation of templates, handouts, assignments, etc. • Prepare for an absence by creating a separate “substitute” notebook. • Share notes with students, colleagues or parents through a public notebook (viewable to even nonusers of the application).

• S can and then store tests and student work. •K  eep extracurricular information in one place. • S tore records of professional development. (Read the entire article at evernote_cruz.) Educators who have questions or want to connect with other Evernote users can also take advantage of the Evernote for Schools discussion forum ( evernote_edforum).

Student use The application can also be used by students. In “10 Evernote Tips for School,” blogger Shep McAllister suggests ways that students can use Evernote, including: • Taking notes in class or storing scans of handwritten notes. • Going paperless. • Recording important lectures. • Organizing research. (Read the entire article at evernote_mcallister.)A

When items are synced, they are transferred to the cloud, which then makes them simultaneously available across all platforms, including all mobile devices and on the Web.

atpe news

Evernote and the Evernote Elephant logo are trademarks of Evernote Corporation and are used under a license.

The Internet is a wondrous place, filled with exciting ideas, articles and images. It can be hard to find the time (or the inclination), however, to organize an overly full bookmarks folder. Some smart people with a penchant for keeping things tidy have created applications that can help even the busiest educators keep their inspiration organized and at hand. One of the most comprehensive applications for creating an online idea warehouse is Evernote, a tool that allows users to store images, audio files, notes, clips of websites, etc., in the cloud. The information, once saved, is synced (see Tech Term below) to every device on which you access Evernote—your smartphone, your tablet, your work laptop and your home desktop.

By Brock Gregg, ATPE Governmental Relations director

capitol comment

The secret ingredient: Compromise 83rd legislative session proves value of the ATPE way

The TRS results, passed unanimously in both houses as Senate Bill (SB) 1458 by Sen. Robert Duncan (R– Lubbock), are a direct result of the ATPE/TRTA partnership.

Each session of the Texas Legislature has its own personality—a unique flavor, if you will. The 83rd regular session tasted mostly like vanilla, with a touch of bitter herb at the end once the governor started threatening vetoes and insisting on more tax cuts for businesses and more tests for students, and the lieutenant governor called for a special session on red-meat issues such as vouchers. ATPE and the education community entered the session with five objectives: restore education cuts, prevent the implementation of vouchers and other privatization schemes, reduce the influence of standardized testing, protect educators’ rights and secure educators’ pension system. We ended up with compromises on these issues that, by and large, are positive relative to our starting point, but, as with any compromise, they are not perfect. You’ll find a brief rundown on these issues in “It’s a Wrap” on page 22, and we’ll have complete analysis on But one story of compromise is worthy of telling over and over—that of the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) bill.

Fending off the 401(k) The education community scored a major victory during the 2012 election season. We successfully slayed the current iteration of the 401(k) monster. Wall Street types and some wealthy folks in Houston were pushing to change your pension to a 401(k). The pro-privatization crowd had much in its favor: a conservative, business-friendly Legislature; a community of educators demoralized and diminished by massive education funding cuts; and a recessionweary retirement system that was considered actuarially unsound. But the education community went to work doing what it does best: educating. In articles like the Summer 2012 ATPE News cover story, we reported the facts on the health of TRS. Retired and active educators made defined benefits an election issue, and a TRS study showed that a 401(k)-type plan would be more costly than the current defined benefit structure. Recognizing a defeat, the Arnold Foundation, Texans for Education Reform and

summer 2013

the Texas Public Policy Foundation funneled their millions into other privatization efforts, leaving TRS alone in 2013.

Staying at the table With 401(k)s defeated, we turned to the ATPE Legislative Program’s priorities for TRS: securing the system for the future and obtaining a desperately needed cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for retired educators. It had been more than 12 years since the last COLA. We knew this issue was weighing heavy on our community. We had partnered with the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) during the elections, and we knew that our priorities were aligned. We cemented our relationship even further during the session to keep the legislative leadership from dividing and weakening our community. The TRS results, passed unanimously in both houses as Senate Bill (SB) 1458 by Sen. Robert Duncan (R–Lubbock), are a direct result of the ATPE/TRTA partnership. We had to oppose the bill in its original form because it contained a measure requiring educators to reach age 62 for full retirement. The original grandfather provision would have replaced a 2005 grandfather that many of our members were relying on, so support was not an option. However, instead of going ballistic and trying to kill the bill, we stayed at the table to work with Republicans and Democrats until we found another way to achieve our goals. We also got a commitment to ease in the educator contribution increase, state money to pay for the new 1.5 percent district contribution, and an agreement to put any additional money that becomes available toward increasing the COLA. Thanks to our collaboration with TRTA, the work of the Senate Democratic caucus and Sen. Duncan, and a lot of emails and phone calls, SB 1458 passed the Senate 31-0. In the House, Chairman Bill Callegari (R–Katy) and the TRS staff found additional funding to extend the COLA to TRS members who had retired before 2005. The House came together in another unanimous vote. Continued on page 44 | 13

Renew your ATPE membership sooner rather than later

I’m so glad I waited to renew my ATPE membership

Said no one ever

Waiting to renew your ATPE membership equates to throwing away your peace of mind and potentially exposing your career to serious danger. Unfortunately, regret is no help when you are facing a career threat and can’t access professional liability and employment rights defense benefits because you didn’t renew your ATPE membership in a timely fashion. So ensure your peace of mind: Renew your ATPE membership before the current membership year ends July 31.

FAQs about ATPE’s protection benefits Q. Is there a deadline for renewing your membership? A. You can renew your membership year-round, but if you renew after Sept. 29 using the online application or after Sept. 30 using a paper application, you will experience an interruption in your membership and access to important benefits. (Members who join or renew after Sept. 30 must wait 30 days before accessing employment rights defense coverage.) Q. I’m moving to a new district. Will my membership follow me? A. No. You must submit a new application and payroll deduction authorization for your new school district. Q. I’m staying with my district. What do I need to do? A. If you paid your ATPE membership dues for 2012-13 by payroll deduction—and your school district does not require a new payroll authorization each year—your dues should continue to be deducted for 2013-14. You’ll receive your ATPE membership card and certificate of insurance in the mail this summer. Be sure to check your pay stubs when school starts to make sure dues are being deducted, and call ATPE Member Services at (800) 777-2873 if you have any questions or concerns.

14 |

Q. How can I request assistance? A. It’s very simple—eligible members experiencing an employment concern must contact the ATPE Member Legal Services Department at (800) 777-2873 from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday– Friday or online using the Member Legal Services Intake System at If necessary, referral to a private practice law firm approved by the insurance company may be arranged. (Visit to view the list of approved attorneys and the criteria used to select them. ATPE members may submit recommendations for attorneys to be considered for approval to: Chartis Insurance, Jorge Godreau, Claims Director, 175 Water St., 8th Floor, New York, NY 10038.) Although this doesn’t come up often, if eligible members need immediate representation by a criminal defense attorney in a matter that arises out of their professional capacity, they may contact any criminal defense attorney of their choice. As soon as practicable, the member must contact the ATPE Member Legal Services Department during regular business hours for claim instructions. Q. What else should I know? A. One thing you can count on is the stability of your superior benefits, which have a broad scope. As always, terms, conditions and exclusions apply, so please review the details of your protection benefits at

atpe news

by Rachael Maresh, ATPE staff attorney

legal opinions

Communication: The ultimate cure-all How to effectively address concerns with your supervisor

If you are feeling the pressure of mounting issues, there are ways that you can express your concerns to your supervisor with some finesse and improve your situation.

Sally sits down at her desk to find another email from her principal asking her to attend a meeting during her planning and prep time. She’s a team player, but after her discipline referrals weren’t handled by the administration earlier in the day, and her discretionary leave request was denied last week, she’s had about all that she can take. Can you identify with Sally’s frustration? As the school year progresses, day-to-day issues combined with the stresses of actually teaching can push you close to a breaking point. If you are feeling the pressure of mounting issues, there are ways that you can express your concerns to your supervisor with some finesse and improve your situation. Remember: Good communication is just as important in professional relationships as it is in personal ones. The following are a few approaches—in order of increasing formality—for sharing concerns with your supervisor. Determining which approach is right for you depends entirely on your specific situation. (Also, some supervisors will share their communication preferences with their direct reports. If yours has done so, follow her preference.)

Informal meetings and emails Almost universally, if you have an issue, a good first step is asking your supervisor for an informal meeting. During an informal meeting, you can simply tell your supervisor about your concern. Be sure to keep your tone professional and nonaccusatory; although you might have been mulling over your concern for some time, more often than not, this is the first time your supervisor has heard about it. If you have proposed solutions for your issue, let your supervisor know what they are. Educators often tell me that their supervisors are unapproachable. That might be the case, but one of a supervisor’s most important duties is addressing concerns. If you don’t feel comfortable meeting with your supervisor, an informal email is another option. An email can be short and simply state your concern. If you go this route, do not copy (cc:) anyone (e.g., the superintendent, assistant superintendents, etc.). Copying others will only serve to put your

supervisor on the defensive. Informal emails are also helpful as follow-ups to informal meetings to document what was discussed and any next steps.

Memorandums of concern If you’ve spoken with your supervisor or sent informal emails regarding your concern, but it still hasn’t been addressed, consider drafting a memorandum of concern. This is basically a detailed description of your concerns and why it is important that they be addressed. You might include steps you’ve taken to address the concern, what additional support you need or requests for additional guidance from your supervisor. Often, when supervisors see concerns detailed in writing, they take them more seriously. I frequently hear educators say they’re unsure how to address concerns without damaging relationships with their supervisors. Again, it’s an important part of any supervisor’s job to listen and address the concerns of direct reports. Typically, if an educator communicates with a supervisor in a professional tone and has reasonable expectations, simply expressing a concern won’t damage the employeesupervisor relationship.

Grievances If you have met informally with your supervisor, sent informal emails and even submitted a memorandum of concern, and your issue still has not been resolved, you have one more option: filing a formal grievance. A grievance is a formal complaint that allows you to bring your concerns to the district administration and request a remedy. A grievance can be filed about any condition of work, even if the district is acting within the law. That’s not to say, however, that a grievance is always the best option, even if informal efforts haven’t produced results. Although you are protected from retaliation for filing a grievance, it is not uncommon for a grievance filing to have a chilling effect on an educator’s relationship with the administration. There is no guarantee that the district will grant your grievance, but it is the guaranteed avenue for your concern to be heard. Please note that if there Continued on page 44

summer 2013 | 15


Seeking Principal Certification? Reasons to Choose Region 4. Flexibility. Busy schedule? No problem. Complete your coursework online, from any location.

District Connectivity. Small or large, rural or urban, our instructors bring experience from a wide variety of school districts.

TExES Exam Prep Quality. Exam preparation matches the rigor of state testing.

Preparedness. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I chose the Region 4 Program because . . . the training provided affords the individual a wealth of information that is useful and directly relates to true experiences . . . [It will] prepare you for what will actually happen, not just give you the textbook information.â&#x20AC;? Michelle Gilliand, MBA Clear Creek ISD

Apply Online Today!

Alternative Certification Program

Online Counselor Certification also available.


Rethink Stress Your action plan for a happy, healthy and productive school year Story by Alexandria Johnson

| I l l u s t r at i o n b y J o h n K i l p p e r

The stats are

disheartening: Teacher satisfaction has declined to its lowest level in 25 years, and teacher stress levels are up, with more than 51 percent of educators feeling stressed at least several days a week, according to the 29th annual MetLife Survey of the American Teacher. With changing standardized testing requirements and budget cuts resulting in fewer resources and added duties, educators donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t need a study to confirm (although it does) that there are multiple factors outside of their control contributing to their stress. â&#x2020;&#x2019;

summer 2013 | 17


f you can’t control the factors that

your brain processes the situation, which

are causing stress in your work and

in turn changes the way you respond,”

home life, how can you keep stress

Grady says. When a situation is outside

from controlling you?

of your control, plan to respond to it

According to Anne Grady, an

organizational development

rather than react to it, Grady suggests. For example, if you anticipate resource cuts in

Body: Stay fueled, stay sharp “Eating right, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep are not just good ideas, they are proven to be necessary to

consultant and the founder of Acclivity

your school district, be ready to imple-

Performance, the definition of stress,

ment a backup plan so that you don’t

commonly attributed to psychologist

waste time and energy feeling upset. To

Richard Lazarus, is “a condition or a feeling

prepare for the school year, Grady recom-

experienced when a person perceives

mends that you identify:

that the demands exceed the personal

→ What success looks like for you. Be

in your brain, impeding the brain’s ability

strategic in working toward clearly

to process information effectively; you can’t

established goals.

be logical and emotional at the same time.

and social resources the individual is able to mobilize.” Grady, the mother of a special-needs child, can relate: “Managing stress is a skill; it’s a behavior; it’s an attitude. If any of those things are not aligned, it’s hard to deal with.” To steel yourself for potentially stressful situations, it’s crucial to take care of your-

→ Your high-payoff activities. Although

activities: those that generate the big-

ings of well-being.

gest results for the time invested. → Your stress triggers. Create proactive

you will be able to face what comes your way

Check out our “Educator well-being” board on Pinterest for helpful goalsetting apps and other health and wellness ideas.

summer for a more peaceful and produc-

The first step in managing stress is simply changing your attitude toward it.

Preparation curbs stress, so take some time this summer to create an achievable daily schedule that includes time for exercise and relaxation. Because the first two weeks of school will be your

That means replacing defeatist thoughts

busiest, Sutton says that having a health

such as “it can’t get done” with realistic or

and wellness routine in place beforehand

positive thoughts such as “it is what it is”

helps lay the groundwork to be success-

or “all I can do is all I can do.”

ful. Plus, Sutton says, “Getting back into

“The messages you send yourself dictate your results; they change the way

18 |

physical activity, as it produces endorphins that help stabilize your mood. If you don’t have 30 to 60 minutes, break up

with your students. Food-wise, Sutton suggests spending some time on the weekends preparing fresh fruits and vegetables in singleserving containers for the week ahead. By making it easy to grab a baggie of veggies or a whole-grain snack, you’ll be less tempted to visit the vending machines.

tive 2013-14 school year.

Mind: Plan and prepare

one stress-reducing activity a day, choose

afternoon, or take physical activity breaks

Pat Sutton, director of outreach at ACTIVE

action plan educators can implement this

Sutton agrees. If you have time for only

your workout between the morning and

in a thoughtful and mindful manner,” says

Sutton and Grady helped devise an

Grady says that staying healthy helps and dopamine levels, all which affect feel-

relationships that might present stress.

on a recent wellness webinar series.)

Grady, this sparks the emotional functions

work, spend your time on high-payoff

is sharp and focused, and you are energized,

(ACTIVE Life and ATPE partnered together

the fight or flight response. According to

your brain manage serotonin, endorphins

communication strategies to manage

ed to “making healthy the norm” in Texas.

When you’re under stress, your body creates cortisol, a hormone that induces

it might be easier to complete busy

self. “When your body is fueled, your mind

Life, an Austin-based organization dedicat-

effectively manage stress,” Grady says.

the school routine is physically draining, so it’s important to have your energy up.”

Soul: Balance work-life-self It’s essential to take time for yourself. One way to do this is by cutting out sources of unnecessary stress in your life. “Being busy doesn’t mean that you are being productive,” Grady says. “Sometimes we create our own stress.” Grady recommends a prioritization strategy first written about by Brian Tracy

atpe news

For planning and prioritization strategies, attend Anne Grady’s session during PLAN at the 2013 ATPE Summit.

in his book Eat That Frog! The concept is

only that, but also recent studies have

based on Mark Twain’s alleged quote: “If

found that it can improve feelings of

the first thing you do every day is eat a

well-being, reduce stress and increase

frog, nothing else the rest of the day is

productivity. If the concept seems un-

going to seem that bad.”

orthodox, consider alternatives that work

“Eating your frog is completing that

for you. The lead author in a University

one task that you’re dreading first,” Grady

of California, San Francisco, study on the

says. “It frees up your mind to focus on

benefits of meditation among school-

the things that you’d rather be doing.”

teachers, Margaret Kemeny, Ph.D., says

Grady says multitasking is one of the

it best: “Opportunities for reflection and

biggest time-wasters because it actu-

contemplation seem to be fading in our

ally increases the amount of time, effort

fast-paced, technology-driven culture.”

and energy spent in switching between tasks and correcting mistakes. Similarly, interruptions can take up 28 percent of your day, according to Grady, so it’s important to set clear boundaries and expectations. “We’ve conditioned people to think we’ll

Community: Support and celebrate Avoid gossip and rumors (another time-waster, according to Grady), and work to create a con-

be immediately available,” Grady says. “Turn

structive and focused school environment

off your alerts, and check email strategically.”

with your colleagues. It’s important that

Constantly checking emails, calendar

educators choose to make collaboration

updates and the latest social media

a priority for both job satisfaction and

news—whether work-related or person-

effectiveness. Despite the misconception

al—also overstimulates the brain.

that collaboration takes up too much

“Techno-stress is a real thing,” Sutton says. “Many people feel compulsive about being continually connected and updated.”

time, Grady says that research has found collaboration to be worth the while. Share not only concepts and new

Set limits and allow your brain time

lesson ideas, but also successes with

to slow down by cutting off your media

your co-workers. When you’re in the

consumption one to two hours before

day-to-day, it’s hard to see the effects of


your life-changing work, but Sutton says

Relaxation exercises, such as medita-

it’s important to celebrate even simple

tion and mindfulness, are also helpful in

successes, such as a child’s smile as she

slowing a racing mind. “Spending even

understands a new concept.

five minutes a day meditating is an ef-

We asked our Facebook fans about their favorite ways to manage stress and stay healthy, and also about areas where they would like to improve. Here are a few of the responses: “Spin class is a great way to dump stress!” —Sherri Turnquist, Allen ATPE

“Spending quality time with your family every single day, no matter how many papers you have to grade!” —Faye Marie Capuyan, Royal ATPE

“I keep plenty of fresh fruits and yogurt to snack on. And no more sodas.” —Paula Binford, midlothian ATPE

“A lot of laughter with my co-workers!” — Jenny Marshall, Comal ATPE

“I became a casualty of stress. Everything else was more important than my health; commitments, grading, tutoring ... My weight ballooned, and I developed prediabetes. I chose to put me first and began walking three miles a night and watching what I ate. Four months later, my A1C levels were back in balance, and I had lost 54 pounds.” —Dan Leija, Northside (20) ATPE

“Creating a positive school climate relieves stress! People wait all week for Friday, all year for summer and an entire life for happiness. Don’t wait! Enjoy every day, every season and choose happiness!” —Libbie Payne, Corpus Christi ATPE

“Finding new, innovative teaching techniques. I teach Preschool Programs for Children with Disabilities, so we are very sensory, visual and kinesthetic learners—including me.” —Barb McFarland Arnett, Corsicana ATPE

“Sharing and celebrating reminds us of

fective way to decompress,” Sutton says.

why we devote so much of ourselves to

Meditation—religious or not—provides

our students,” Sutton says. “It helps keep

a formalized time to clear the mind. Not

this passion ignited. “A

summer 2013

Status updates

Throughout the 2013-14 year, we’ll check in on Facebook to see how your year is going—do keep us posted! | 19

This is when

The cowboy

rides away

Interview by Kate Johanns


oug Rogers has ATPE in his heart and soul. In the mid1970s, Rogers and fellow educators sat at his mentor Judy Coyle’s kitchen table to form a professional association that met the needs of Texas educators, not the staff of a national labor union. Then, in the early 1980s, he left his assistant principal’s office to join the staff of ATPE, at that time a fledgling organization best characterized as the experiment of educators with conviction. The experiment worked, though—exceeding everyone’s wildest expectations—and after serving in several roles at ATPE (and a brief sojourn at the Texas Association of School Boards), Rogers became executive director of ATPE in 1989. In the past 24 years, his guidance—a constant presence amid an evolving volunteer corps and transient staff—has shepherded the association and led to its contemporary preeminence. Today, ATPE is the largest educator association in Texas and the largest independent educator association in the United States. No wonder his compatriots across the country call him “The Legend.” ATPE News editor Kate Johanns spoke with Rogers in early April about his pending retirement, which is effective July 31.

20 |

Johanns: So, how are you doing? What’s it like to be so close to retirement? Rogers: The most difficult part for me right now is that I’m becoming more aware of things I could have done better, and there’s no time to improve them. But the relaxed mindset that I have now, from knowing that the end is near, is something that I wish everyone could have at an earlier stage in their careers. Johanns: Thinking back, which of ATPE’s accomplishments are you most proud of ? Rogers: I’ll start with the fact that we’re so financially stable as an organization. But from a philosophical position, it’s knowing that we have grown from 18,000 members in 1980 to more than 100,000 members today. That means our philosophy and the purpose of ATPE is being realized. People have accepted our philosophy and our belief that education is a profession. We are interested in what’s going to help children be successful, and that will help our state be successful. Johanns: The values on which ATPE was founded—captured in the ATPE tenets—are ideas we make a concerted effort to communicate. Why should the ATPE tenets continue to resonate with today’s educators? Hasn’t the world changed

atpe news

photo by john kilpper

Poised for his next adventure, retiring ATPE Executive Director Doug Rogers prepares to hand over the reins of the association

since ATE and TPE [the two groups that merged in 1980 to form ATPE] were founded after the Texas State Teachers Association unified with the National Education Association? Rogers: Yes, the world has changed, and whether the tenets still resonate needs to be decided by the membership. I would like for members to have the opportunity to understand the tenets. ATPE’s tenets are grounding standards, and as times change, and situations change, the tenets are there for people to look at and to amend if they want. My hope is that today’s members understand the essence of those tenets. I’ll use the analogy of the Great Depression. I didn’t go through the Depression, but my parents did, and I have behaviors associated with the way my parents behaved as a result of the Depression. And so what I hope is that new educators don’t have to go through something like what we went through back in the ’70s in order to realize that there’s more to ATPE than a name. Telling our story is necessary, although sometimes you don’t really get it until you actually have some skin in the game. But often people can sympathize if the right people are sharing the message. I go back to the old Native American cultures—they passed stories along, and that’s what kept people in tune with their philosophy. So I’m hoping that has a chance to occur at ATPE. Johanns: Looking past TSTA’s unification vote and the merger of ATE and TPE, what would you consider to be some of ATPE’s defining moments? Rogers: House Bill (HB) 72 was a defining moment. An omnibus piece of legislation is a real challenge. You have to weigh the preponderance of issues when you decide to support or not support it. That’s one of the things that’s hard—people want to understand clearly why we opposed a major reform bill that did a lot of good for our state. And the reason that we opposed HB 72 was not because of the career ladder; not because of no-pass, noplay; not because the State Board of Education was going to be appointed rather than elected; but because teachers were going to be expected to go back and take a test [the Texas Examination of Current Administrators and Teachers, or TECAT] to verify their certification. That was such a shameful event for teachers that we could not stand in support of that one major issue. But we got 22-to-1 class size in HB 72. To me, that is one of the most profound reforms that we’ve had in our state. We are now seeing, 30 years later, the benefit of having smaller class sizes. And yet we opposed the bill. But requiring teachers to take a test after they’d gone to college, gotten degrees and passed all those tests—a test to say they could do what they were already certified to do—was just shameful. Johanns: Well, it’s a slap in the face of teachers. Rogers: Exactly.

Johanns: Once the TECAT was law, what did ATPE do? Rogers: We didn’t say that we weren’t going to help our members. The association’s purpose is to provide services to our members, even though we didn’t like the fact that they were having to take the TECAT. So we jumped in and developed a TECAT manual and preparation so our members would know their association was doing something to help them. Johanns: What do you think today’s Texas educator wants from a professional association? Rogers: I see young people who enter the teaching profession wanting and needing professional growth. How can they do a better job in their classrooms, and what tools can we provide to help them accomplish that for however long they’re there? You know, we talk about whether they’re going to be a career educator, meaning a 30-year career—that might not be a career in the future. “Career” might be 10 years, five years. But whatever amount of time that they’re in the classroom, we need to be giving people tools that will help. Johanns: I recently read a Facebook post from a promising young educator saying that she was ready for a career change. I know you’ve encountered that in your own family, with your daughter Angela, who left teaching but eventually came back to the profession. What did you say to Angela when she left teaching for a time? Rogers: I said, you have to do what you think is right. If you have to go discover what you need to discover, go do it. But don’t give up on your skills. Angela left teaching for a time because she was just frustrated beyond anything her mom and I could do to reinforce her being an absolutely splendid teacher. Johanns: We’re seeing educators and parents really start to speak up about the frustrations presented by standardized testing. What are your thoughts on how testing has changed public education? Rogers: Back in the day when I was in school, we had norm-referenced tests. The purpose of those tests was not for the teacher to get lambasted because a group of students didn’t score as well as somebody else. It was for us to say, OK, here’s where we are; now we need to go over here. And we used all of our energies to get there, as opposed to getting slapped for where we were. It was about helping kids get better. I want to give students the opportunity to reveal what they know and then give teachers and parents the opportunity to take that and escalate it and advance it. If that’s the focus of assessment, then we’re going to make gains. But if we keep focusing on slapping hands, then we’re going to create an anxiety that causes people to cheat. Johanns: Any predictions or forecasts that you’d make about the next five to 10 years in Texas public schools? Rogers: Yes. And I say this with trepidation. The climate Continued on page 44

summer 2013 | 21

It’s a wrap A look back at the 83rd legislative session By Ethan Herr, ATPE Governmental Relations communications coordinator

Vouchers Heading into the session, Senate Education Committee Chairman Sen. Dan Patrick (R–Houston) set the stage for a major battle over proposals to create a publicly funded private school voucher program, even calling vouchers a make-or-break issue. Several bills were filed calling for all manner of voucher programs: opportunity scholarships funded by business tax breaks, virtual vouchers and vouchers for special needs students. However, the movement lost steam early on when the House approved an amendment during budget negotiations that prohibited the use of state funds for voucher programs. This sent a strong message to both legislative chambers that support for creating a voucher program this session simply did not exist. Despite the amendment, Patrick’s committee held hearings on and approved several voucher bills. In the end, however, all voucher proposals

22 |

died. This is a major victory for public education and will help ensure that the state’s limited public education funds are not directed to private schools or for-profit companies.

Teacher Retirement System The need to make the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) actuarially sound was nearing crisis levels when the session began. Retirees hadn’t received a cost-of-living increase in 12 years; TRS health care programs were in danger of running out of funds; and private interests were readying plans to convert the system from a defined benefit plan, in which benefits are guaranteed, to a defined contribution plan, in which benefits are subject to market fluctuations, much like a 401(k). Luckily, legislative leaders understood the need to take action. The question was how to generate the necessary funding. The initial proposal, Senate Bill (SB) 1458, called for changing retirement eligibility requirements so that educators would have to be at least 62 years old in order to receive full retirement benefits. This proposal would have negatively affected about half of all active educators, as it would have applied to anyone in the following groups as of Aug. 31, 2014:

educators who were not at least 50 years old; those who lacked 25 or more years of TRS service credit; and those whose age plus years of service equaled 70. This idea was met with stiff opposition from both educators and ATPE. But after returning to the negotiating table, a new deal was reached. The final proposal uses a more balanced approach that splits costs between employees and the state more equitably. The age 62 provision will only apply to educators with fewer than five years of service credit. The active educator contribution rate and state contribution rate will both increase over the next biennium, and a new source of funding—an employer contribution of 1.5 percent—will be implemented at the district level. The end result is an actuarially sound system, thus allowing a cost-of-living increase to be granted to TRS members who retired before 2005.

Funding Perennially an issue, Texas’ school finance system was also a major concern heading into the session. The state was still reeling from the more than $5 billion cut from education in 2011; the finance fixes devised by the Legislature in 2006 were failing; and several school finance lawsuits had been filed.

atpe news

© texas flag/istockphoto/thinkstock


he 83rd legislative session came to a close May 27. As expected, education issues were at the forefront of the action. Here’s a look at how some of the big issues played out. For a complete analysis of the session, keep an eye on ATPE’s Teach the Vote blog at

Rather than undertaking a complete overhaul, the Legislature focused on buying more time to address the issue. A deal was struck during budget negotiations to restore about $3.4 billion of the cuts made last session; an additional $500 million was added for the TRS changes. Lawmakers’ hope is that the additional funding will be enough to keep the courts from ruling that the Legislature must find permanent solutions before the next regular session.

Testing and accountability New House Public Education Committee Chairman Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock (R–Killeen) followed a theme of “keep it simple” this session. His committee largely focused on one major piece of legislation this session: Aycock’s own House Bill (HB) 5. The bill itself is also focused on keeping it simple: It calls for reducing the number of end-of-course tests a student must take to graduate (from 15 to five) and granting students more flexibility in graduation paths.

Charter schools Another of Patrick’s goals was to lift the cap on the number of charters the state can issue for the operation of charter schools. His SB 2 called for doing just that. Although ATPE supports the charter movement, especially when it comes to well-respected operators with proven records of success, we were concerned about SB 2’s lack of safeguards against fly-by-night operators looking for easy paydays. In the end, SB 2 was amended to raise the cap on the number of charters the state may issue (from 215 to 305 over the next six years) while still keeping a hard limit in place. The bill also grants the state more authority in overseeing charter schools and shutting down poorperforming schools after three years. All in all, it was a fairly successful session, with a lot of good work on issues that needed to be addressed. Of course, when it comes to the needs of Texas schoolchildren, there is always room for improvement, and ATPE will continue to advocate for a fully funded education program that provides all students with the opportunity for an excellent education.A

summer 2013

A new era for ATPE advocacy communications In an effort to expand and update our means of keeping ATPE members informed and involved, we unveiled several changes during the 83rd legislative session to help you better advocate for your profession. • Teach the Vote blog—ATPE legislative updates found a new home on the Teach the Vote blog ( The blog allows ATPE members to access legislative info in the manner most convenient to them: visiting the site directly, subscribing to posts through an RSS reader, following @TeachtheVote on Twitter, liking the Official ATPE page on Facebook or signing up to receive each blog post by email at Blog readers can comment on posts, creating an interesting and informative dialogue on all of the action. • Legislative Alert Network (LAN) changes— Because each blog post is available by email, we have discontinued the “update” portion of the LAN, but the “alerts” sent through the LAN are alive and well. Alerts are sent whenever your action is needed to influence important votes and decisions. Because the effectiveness of LAN messages as an advocacy tool depends on the number of members who participate, all ATPE members with email addresses on file now automatically receive LAN messages whenever action is needed. • Live tweets—When major bills were being debated on the House or Senate floor, ATPE lobbyists live tweeted the action from @TeachtheVote. • Advocacy videos—The ATPE Governmental Relations team created several week-in-review videos and posted them to the blog. Watch these videos on Teach the Vote or on the Official ATPE YouTube channel.

Legislative wrap-up webinar June 19 The ATPE lobby team will present a free webinar June 19 covering the outcome of the 83rd legislative session. Participants will earn 30 minutes of continuing professional education (CPE) credit and have the opportunity to participate in a live Q-and-A with lobbyists. Find a sign-up link on the home page of The webinar will be archived if you miss the live broadcast. | 23

Join us at the 2013 ATPE Summit • July 17–19 in Austin • June 19—the deadline to register and certify delegates for the 2013 ATPE Summit—is fast approaching. Your local unit president must certify/register you by this date in order for you to participate in the annual House of Delegates (HOD) meeting, during which certified delegates representing ATPE local units and regions will consider proposed bylaws amendments and resolutions, adopt the ATPE Legislative Program and elect a new slate of state officers. The following pages contain information about the event agenda, the 2013-14 state officer candidates and the association business that will be considered by the HOD. This information can help you prepare to serve as a delegate. 24 |

atpe news

A voyage of discovery Wednesday, July 17—Professional Learning and Networking (PLAN) 7 a.m.

Registration opens

8:30 a.m. “We’re All in the Same Gang” with Edward James OImos—1 hour continuing professional education (CPE) credit Actor, producer, director and community activist Edward James Olmos, who has appeared in many TV shows and movies, including Battlestar Galactica, Blade Runner, Miami Vice, Selena and Stand and Deliver, will open the event with his inspiring story of surviving the barrio and succeeding on his own terms by making his own choices. Emphasizing the need for all races to work together, Olmos will also explain how diversity in our society works to everyone’s advantage. 10:05 a.m.

PLAN sessions begin

Attend collaborative workshops and presentations by motivational speakers and experts in education— including Alfie Kohn, Ruby Payne and Adam Saenz—and sessions on current issues such as student mental health, differentiation, teacher leadership, and time and classroom management. (Learn more about PLAN at 5:45 p.m.

ATPE Central opens

Stop by ATPE Central to learn more about great tips, tools and resources for all educators. While you’re making the rounds at our various booths or ordering ATPE promo materials for the 2013-14 year, enjoy live music, entertainment and hors d’oeuvres, and network with other educators from around the state.

summer 2013

Thursday, July 18—Leader Training 8 a.m.

Delegate verification and ballot pickup begins

8:30 a.m.

ATPE leader training general session

Attending ATPE leader training sessions will help you prepare for the 2013-14 membership recruitment season and update you on the latest and greatest ATPE has to offer. When you attend Thursday’s sessions, you’ll earn a special ATPE gift at the end of the day. 10:05 a.m.

ATPE leader training breakout sessions begin

12:30 p.m.

Membership Awards Luncheon

4:50 p.m.

Local unit planning time begins

6:30 p.m. Presidents’ Dinner with Greg Risberg— 1 hour CPE; invitation-only Local unit and region presidents will enjoy a presentation by motivational speaker Greg Risberg, who will present his “Humor with a Message” program that aims to help people learn how to handle stress better, communicate more effectively and maintain balance in their lives.

Friday, July 19—House of Delegates 8:30 a.m.

HOD begins

10:30 a.m.

Region caucuses begin

11 a.m.

State officer elections

1 p.m.

HOD continues—up to 2 hours CPE

7:30 p.m.

Awards Banquet | 25

2013-14 ATPE state officer candidates Your ATPE state officer candidates Candidates for 2013-14 ATPE state offices will deliver speeches outlining their skills, backgrounds, qualifications and philosophies beginning at 8:30 a.m. Friday, July 19, during the House of Delegates meeting. Delegates will then cast their votes from 11 a.m.– 1:30 p.m. at the official polling place at the Austin Convention Center. Only certified delegates may vote.

Get to know the candidates online All candidates had the opportunity to create short videos of themselves. Any submitted candidate videos will be posted at candidates after the June 19 delegate certification deadline.


Vice President

Ginger Franks

Richard Wiggins

ATPE leadership experience: State vice president, secretary and treasurer; chairwoman of state Finance and Grant for Teaching Excellence committees; member of the Best Practices, Bylaws, Educator of the Year, Educators Professional Liability Insurance Review, Leader Development, Political Action and Services committees; Region 7 director, president and secretary; Nacogdoches County ATPE past president and president; Woden ATPE president, vice president, secretary and treasurer; Pineywoods ATPE campus rep

ATPE leadership experience: State secretary and treasurer; president and vice president of ATPE Foundation Board; chairman of the state Finance Committee; member of state Educators Professional Liability Insurance Review, Membership and Political Action committees; Region 20 director and treasurer; member of Region 20 convention planning, scholarship and PAC committees; Boerne ATPE past president, president, campus rep and LAN coordinator; chairman of Boerne ATPE’s “Meet the School Board Candidates” Night; state convention nominator; Leader U presenter and panelist; Lobby Day auctioneer

ATPE recognition: William B. Travis and Stephen F. Austin honoree; Ben Shilcutt Plus Club; Grant for Teaching Excellence finalist; president of Local Unit of the Year finalist Current position: Special education teacher in Martinsville ISD for the Nacogdoches County Co-op Other leadership experience: Member of Region 7 and Region 5 ESC Texas Teacher of the Year Selection committees; member of campus- and district-level committees; PTA officer; UIL coach; cheerleading coach; twotime Golden Apple Award recipient; H-E-B Excellence in Education Award nominee; leader and volunteer in church and community activities Years in ATPE: 27 Years in education: 31

ATPE recognition: William B. Travis and Stephen F. Austin honoree; Sam Houston Award for Political Involvement recipient; president of a Green Apple Membership Growth Award local unit; Ben Shilcutt Plus Club Current position: Special education department chair in Boerne ISD Other leadership experience: Retired financial consultant for CIGNA Financial Advisors; statistician for the San Antonio Spurs, ESPN, TNT, CBS and NBC; Lamar University Alumni Association director; four-term alderman for city of Fair Oaks Ranch; Boerne Education Foundation director; member of Boerne ISD Salary/ Budget Committee Years in ATPE: 10 Years in education: 10

26 |

atpe news





Cory Colby

Carl Garner

Julleen Bottoms

Ron Fitzwater

ATPE leadership experience: State treasurer; chairman of the state Finance Committee; member of state Bylaws, Leader Development, Membership and Political Action committees; Region 6 vice president and secretary; Willis ATPE secretary and campus rep; member of the Willis ATPE Scholarship Committee; summit presenter and member of Teller Committee; Lobby Day panelist

ATPE leadership experience: Chairman of the Scholarship, Nomination/Election and Resolutions committees; member of the Grant for Teaching Excellence, Legislative, Public Information and Political Action committees; Region 10 president, vice president and secretary; Mesquite ATPE past president, president and campus rep; Leader U panelist

ATPE leadership experience: Member of the Local Unit of the Year and Educator of the Year committees; ATPE Foundation board vice president and secretary; Region 12 director, past president, president, vice president, and secretary; Corsicana ATPE president and campus rep; Kerens ATPE president, secretary and campus rep

ATPE leadership experience: Member of the Bylaws, Membership and Professional Rights and Responsibilities committees; ATPE Foundation board secretary; Region 4 ATPE director, president, vice president and PAC committee chair; Alvin ATPE past president, president, vice president, membership chair and campus rep

ATPE recognition: President of a 2010-11 Local Unit of the Year finalist; Ben Shilcutt Plus Club; William B. Travis honoree; recipient of Region 10 ATPE and Mesquite ATPE political fundraising awards

ATPE recognition: President of a Green Apple Membership Growth Award local unit; William B. Travis honoree

ATPE recognition: Editor of the 2010-11 ATPE Newsletter Awardwinning newsletter; secretary of the 2010-11 Local Unit of the Year; secretary of the 2009-10 region Davy Crockett Fundraising Challenge winner; secretary of the 2008-09 and 2009-10 local unit Davy Crockett Challenge winner; Ben Shilcutt Plus Club; William B. Travis honoree Current position: AP and dual credit government and U.S. history instructor at Willis High School; adjunct instructor of government at Lone Star College–Montgomery; new teacher mentor for Willis ISD Other leadership experience: SBOE STAAR Advisory Committee member; District Education Improvement Committee chairman; Campus Education Improvement Committee member; Sam Houston State University teacher mentor; two-time Region 6 Green Apple Award recipient Years in ATPE: 6 Years in education: 6

Current position: ARD chair, district JJAEP representative and testing coordinator for Mesquite ISD’s DAEP, The Learning Center Other leadership experience: Member of Mesquite ISD Professional Consultation, Professional Dress, Professional Educator Standards and Sick Bank committees; campus president of the Parent Teacher Association; teacher mentor; team leader and site-based committee president; student council sponsor; founding member of the Mesquite Education Foundation Cowboys & Kids 5K run; campaign worker for state representatives; church youth/ music director Years in ATPE: 13 Years in education: 13

Current position: K–5 technology applications teacher and campus technical specialist for Corsicana ISD Other leadership experience: Alpha Rho Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma member and presenter; Corsicana ISD in-service presenter; Kerens ISD in-service presenter; member of campus and district site-based and technology committees; Navarro Elementary School Teacher of the Month; Navarro County Academic Enhancement Conference Committee member, speaker and presenter Years in ATPE: 18 Years in education: 21

ATPE recognition: 2009-10 ATPE Special Services Educator of the Year finalist; William B. Travis and Stephen F. Austin honoree; Ben Shilcutt Plus Club Current position: College and career counselor at Alvin High School and scholarship coordinator for Alvin ISD Other leadership experience: Board member of the Alvin Rotary Club, Office–New Generations; Recipient of the “Above and Beyond Award” from the Rotary District 5890 governor; chairperson of the “Par for Polio” Golf Tournament; Interact Club sponsor and current Rotary liaison to the Alvin High School Interact Club; Missouri State Teachers Association director and Southwest Region Board president¸ various board positions; member of MSTA membership and public relations committees; Springfield Community Improvement Association director–communications; Member of Phi Delta Kappa educational fraternity; member of Alvin FFA Alumni Association; active in church and community Years in ATPE: 7 Years in education: 35

summer 2013 | 27

2013 House of Delegates business ATPE members representing local units from across the state will convene as the ATPE House of Delegates (HOD) July 17–19, 2013, during the ATPE Summit. Delegates will vote on proposed bylaws amendments and resolutions as well as changes to the ATPE Legislative Program.

Proposed bylaws amendment If approved by the HOD, this amendment will be made to the ATPE State Bylaws, the set of definitions, rules and procedures that guide ATPE operations.

Proposed Amendment No. 1 Article IV: Officers Section 3: Election Amend to read: The President shall automatically succeed to the office of Immediate Past President. The Board of Directors shall appoint a Nomination/Election Committee to receive nominations of candidates for each office other than that of Immediate Past President. In the event that only one nominee can be secured for an office, the chairman of the Nomination/Election Committee will present a letter to the Board of Directors concerning the efforts of the committee to secure a second nominee. This letter is to be signed by all members of the Nomination/Election Committee. Only nominations received in the state office by the fifteenth (15th) day of March preceding the annual meeting of the House of Delegates at which the election shall be held shall be included by the Nomination/Election Committee on the list of nominated candidates. Additionally, nominations may be submitted from the floor of the House of Delegates. Forty-five (45) days notice of the Nomination/Election committee list of nominated candidates shall be given to the members in accordance with Article IX, Section 4. The officers of the Association shall be elected by a majority vote of the delegates present and voting during the regular annual meeting of the House of Delegates. Each officer shall be elected for a one-year (1) term of office, and shall hold office until his successor has been duly elected or has qualified. Only Any professional, and associate or retired members of ATPE may hold an office.

28 |

Submitted by: ATPE Bylaws Committee Bylaws Committee recommendation: Adopt. Rationale: The 2012 House of Delegates (HOD) adopted a motion calling for the ATPE Bylaws Committee to prepare for consideration by the 2013 HOD a proposed bylaws amendment that would allow retired members to run for ATPE state office. The Bylaws Committee has developed the wording for the proposed amendment and finds the amendment to be properly worded. It was submitted prior to the March 15 bylaws amendment submission deadline. The Bylaws Committee recommends that Proposed Amendment No. 1 be adopted by the HOD. The committee feels that because ATPE is an inclusive association, retired members— who provide a wealth of experience to the association—should be eligible for state office, just as professional and associate members are currently eligible. The committee also believes that passage of this amendment would leave the decision of whether a member should serve as a state officer in the hands of the HOD, and that delegates should have the opportunity to make their decisions on all of a candidate’s qualifications, including membership category. Fiscal impact: If adopted, the addition of retired members to the list of members eligible to run for ATPE state office would have minimal fiscal impact.

Proposed honorary resolution If approved by the 2013 HOD, ATPE will issue an honorary resolution to immediate Past State President Cheryl Buchanan.

atpe news

2013 House of Delegates business Proposed action on standing resolutions Resolutions Committee recommendation: Readopt Standing Resolutions Nos. 1–13. Rationale: Standing Resolutions Nos. 1–13 reflect ongoing issues or pertain to ATPE House of Delegates procedures.

Standing Resolution No. 1 SUBJECT: Resolution Process

America, the Pledge to the Texas Flag and a prayer, excusing those whose beliefs are in conflict with this act.

Standing Resolution No. 3 SUBJECT: Business and Education YEAR ADOPTED: 1991 RESOLVED, that ATPE supports business and education communities working together for an excellent education system that will prepare public school students to meet the needs of a highly technical, industrialized and global environment.


Standing Resolution No. 4

RESOLVED, that the ATPE Board of Directors and officers administer the resolution process to facilitate timely consideration of resolutions and written notification of prefiled resolutions prior to discussion on the floor of the House of Delegates.

SUBJECT: Consultation Training

RESOLVED, that the ATPE Board of Directors shall review the status of standing and current resolutions following each annual House of Delegates meeting and direct the appropriate action. Standing resolutions shall be limited to philosophical positions and/or procedures related to the ATPE House of Delegates business. Current resolutions or motions will be directed to the appropriate committee and/or placed in the ATPE Governance Guide as administrative procedures. In the event that the Board determines to place a current resolution in the ATPE Governance Guide, or to discontinue a resolution that has been placed in the ATPE Governance Guide, that action will be reviewed by the next year’s Resolutions Committee. Current resolutions adopted by the House of Delegates will be in effect and in force for a period of one year, after which time they will expire, unless renewed by a majority vote of the House of Delegates. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Resolutions Committee shall review progress and content of all resolutions and present its annual report to the House of Delegates.

Standing Resolution No. 2

YEAR ADOPTED: 1992 RESOLVED, that it be the official policy of ATPE to educate members of ATPE as to the pros and cons of consultation committees and communication committees at the district level. Additional leadership may be provided to locals that may demonstrate a need for special assistance beyond the program of general education; and be it further RESOLVED, that it be the official policy of ATPE to include consultation committee member training at its leadership workshops and state conventions.

Standing Resolution No. 5 SUBJECT: Cooperation with Other Independent Educator Organizations YEAR ADOPTED: 1992 RESOLVED, that the experience and history of ATPE be shared with other independent educator organizations throughout the country in an effort to establish and continue nonunion influence in education policymaking in the United States.

Standing Resolution No. 6

SUBJECT: ATPE Convention

SUBJECT: Legislator Involvement in Public Schools and Classrooms



RESOLVED, that ATPE will open the state convention with the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of

RESOLVED, that ATPE encourage and support regions and local units in developing ways to actively involve legislators in

summer 2013 | 29

2013 House of Delegates business local public schools and classrooms to keep them knowledgeable about current educational issues and conditions.

Standing Resolution No. 7 SUBJECT: Political Participation

RESOLVED, that the local and regional units of ATPE work in conjunction with the state staff to continue efforts to support, educate and provide funds to help college students within their respective regions attend the region and state convention each year.


Standing Resolution No. 12

RESOLVED, that it be the official policy of ATPE to encourage members to be politically active individually; and be it further

SUBJECT: Election Process

RESOLVED, that it be the official policy of ATPE to discourage local units from endorsing candidates in the name of the organization.

Standing Resolution No. 8 SUBJECT: Professional Status YEAR ADOPTED: 1992 RESOLVED, that ATPE accept both the obligations and rights of professionals; and be it further RESOLVED, that future legislative action by the association seek to secure for Texas educators the rights, privileges, benefits and respect befitting a true professional.

Standing Resolution No. 9 SUBJECT: Professional Rights YEAR ADOPTED: 2000 RESOLVED, that ATPE supports vigorous enforcement of due process laws.

Standing Resolution No. 10 SUBJECT: Right to Work YEAR ADOPTED: 1992 RESOLVED, that ATPE supports networking with other state and national nonunion groups that support the right-to-work philosophy.

Standing Resolution No. 11 SUBJECT: Student Members YEAR ADOPTED: 1992

30 |

YEAR ADOPTED: 2010 RESOLVED, that ATPE shall begin conducting runoff elections for state officer positions 15 minutes after the need for a runoff election is announced to the House of Delegates.

Standing Resolution No. 13 SUBJECT: Overturning Exclusive Consultation YEAR ADOPTED: 2011 RESOLVED, that ATPE state staff work proactively and provide financial support to local units to overturn exclusive consultation in districts where it exists and work to prevent it in districts with an increased potential for exclusive consultation. Financial support can include political action committee (PAC) monies (where not prohibited by state and federal laws) for school board candidates aligned with ATPEâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s belief on exclusive consultation.

Proposed action on current resolutions Resolutions Committee recommendation: Allow Current Resolutions Nos. 1 and 2 to expire. Current resolutions expire after one year unless readopted by the HOD. These resolutions will not be voted on by the HOD unless a delegate moves to present the expiring current resolution as a new resolution.

Current Resolution No. 1 RESOLVED, that ATPE study changing the distribution of awards based on local unit membership so that categories are more proportionally distributed. Rationale: The ATPE Board of Directors has acted on this resolution and approved a new awards distribution plan.

atpe news

2013 House of Delegates business Current Resolution No. 2 RESOLVED, that the Bylaws Committee consider allowing retired members the opportunity to run for state office. Rationale: The Bylaws committee has drafted and submitted a bylaws change based on this resolution.

Proposed new CURRENT resolution RESOLVED, that the ATPE Grant for Teaching Excellence award be discontinued as a program and the resolution authorizing the Grant for Teaching Excellence program be expired. Submitted by: The ATPE Board of Directors Resolutions Committee recommendation: Adopt. Rationale: The ATPE Board of Directors has recommended that the Grant for Teaching Excellence (GTE) program be

eliminated because educators can now apply for grants through the ATPE Foundation’s Technology Grant program. In recent years, most GTE proposals have been for technology-based projects. Larger grants are available for these same types of projects through the ATPE Foundation Technology Grant. The resolution authorizing the GTE program resides in the ATPE Governance Guide per Standing Resolution No. 1.

Proposed ATPE Legislative Program The HOD will also vote on amendments to the ATPE Legislative Program, a list of the association’s positions on education policies under the purview of the Texas Legislature, state agencies and the federal government. The program guides ATPE Governmental Relations in its work. Delegates and other members wishing to view the proposed changes should visit

Enhance your summit experience with the official 2013 ATPE Summit Mobile App! The summit mobile app is the best place to get up-to-the-minute info about the event. Created in partnership with CoreApps, the app is now available for download.

Download instructions: iPhone, iPad and Android users: Visit the App Store or Google Play on your device and search for “ATPE 2013.” Attendees with a BlackBerry, Windows phone or any other smartphone: Visit on your phone’s mobile browser to download the app, or scan the QR code to the right with your device. summer 2013 | 31

your association

atpe news

▸ Which membership category should you join in 2013-14? If your employment status will be changing during the 2013-14 school year, you need to make sure that you renew your ATPE membership in the correct category. you are:

you are:

A 2012-13 teacher trainee member

Retiring at the end of 2012-13

Planning not to work in education in 2013-14

▸ If you are retiring at the end of 2012-13, continue your ATPE membership in 2013-14 by renewing in the retired category for only $10.

▸ If you will not be working in education in 2013-14, remain a part of the ATPE community by renewing in the public category for only $10. Public members receive ATPE publications and save using our services and discounts.

▸ If you will be student teaching or doing classroom observations in 2013-14, renew in the teacher trainee category so that you have access to the insured benefits.* ▸ If your 2013-14 coursework will not include classroom observations, renew in the college student category. This is not an insured category.

▸ If you will be teaching in your own classroom in 2013-14, renew as a first-time professional member so that you have access to the insured benefits.* ▸ If you will be substitute teaching, renew in the associate category to have access to the insured benefits.*

▸ This is not an insured category, so if you will be substituting, you need to renew in the associate category to have access to insured benefits.*

you are:

▸ This is not an insured category, so if you will be substituting, you need to renew in the associate category to have access to the insured benefits.*

Please contact ATPE Member Services at (800) 777-2873 or if you have questions about which membership category you should join. *Terms and conditions apply. Visit or see page 14 for further information.

Reaching out to West After West ISD schools were severely damaged in April by the fertilizer plant explosion, the ATPE community immediately reached out: • The ATPE Foundation raised more than $14,000 through its West ISD Relief Fund. • Region 6 gave $2,750 to help West educators replenish school supplies. • On behalf of their local unit, Plano ATPE Treasurer Julie Riggs, Secretary Caryn Bartle and campus rep Paul Bartle hand-delivered more than 75 gift cards and six boxes of school supplies to West ISD. • Region 9 ATPE Director Kristi Daws and Region 12 ATPE President Sandra O’Connor collected supplies from their regions for West Intermediate School, which experienced the greatest damage. • West ATPE’s region, Region 12 ATPE, organized a donation drive and used its Facebook page to spotlight those who made contributions. Donations continue to trickle in, but the region has raised nearly $11,000 so far.

32 |

ATPE Public Relations Director Larry Comer and ATPE Past State President Sue Melton present the ATPE Foundation’s West ISD Relief Fund check to West ISD Assistant Superintendent Dr. Jan Hungate. Melton is a retired West ISD educator and a member of the State Board of Education.

atpe news

west photo by ashley anthony

you are:

A 2012-13 college student member

atpe news

your association

Spotlight on

self-esteem A Partners in Education project


ifth-grade girls at Harris Elementary, ATPE’s partner school in Austin ISD, were treated to a girls leadership talk co-sponsored by ATPE, Harris Elementary and Haven Girls, a social media movement dedicated to inspiring and empowering teen girls. The event was designed to show the students ways to confidently transition into junior high school; the girls were also able to take pictures in a photo booth and participate in a short Zumba class.

photos by alexandria johnson

A panel of prominent women in the Austin community discussed self-esteem and shared stories of their own childhood experiences. Clothing designer Haja Scott, former American Idol contestant Kendall Beard, news anchor Sally Hernandez and advertising creative director Shanteka Sigers offered unique perspectives from their various backgrounds and career fields.


Singer/songwriter Kendall Beard performs a cover of Lady Gaga’s song “Born This Way.”


Jeans designer Haja Scott and morning anchor Sally Hernandez discuss ways to feel confident (even on a bad hair day).


Shanteka Sigers and Beard discuss the importance of complimenting others.


Sigers tells the girls to love their personal style and not care what others think about it.





summer 2013 | 33

your association

atpe news

Introducing ATPE’s Teacher Support Program


TPE continues to expand its professional learning offerings and grow as a community of educators. Making its debut this fall is the ATPE Teacher Support Program, designed for educators who are new to the profession or to their content area or grade level. This program will have three tiers of involvement, allowing participants to choose the experience that best meets their needs. The program will include webinars on classroom management, parental involvement, technology, educator well-being and other timely topics, as well as networking opportunities through discussion forums and book studies. ATPE members will receive more information about the program this summer. In the meantime, if you have questions, please contact ATPE Professional Learning Manager Kris Woodcock at

Dallas Zoo and Six Flags Fiesta Texas Your ATPE membership is your ticket to big savings, and we have two new discount programs to offer you: ATPE is now part of the Dallas Zoo Affiliate Online Discount Tickets Program. This means you are able to buy discount tickets for the Dallas Zoo and print them ahead of time to present at the entrance turnstiles, therefore bypassing ticket booth lines. Also, in addition to discounts on tickets to SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, Schlitterbahn Waterparks, Six Flags Over Texas and Hurricane Harbor, ATPE members can now purchase discount tickets to Six Flags Fiesta Texas. This online benefit program not only offers substantial savings but also allows you to “print and go” so that you have your ticket in hand when you get to the park. No waiting in line to purchase tickets!

▸ Log in to the Services and Discounts page at for prices and to purchase tickets to either the Dallas Zoo or the theme parks.

34 |

Earn up to




from your favorite

online stores If you’ve enjoyed the ATPE Online Mall in the past, you’ll love the newand-improved ATPE CashBack Mall. Earn “CashBack” through your everyday online shopping and support ATPE at the same time. The ATPE CashBack Mall—which includes more than 850 well-known online stores— is free and easy to use. To continue earning up to 15 percent CashBack from your favorite online stores, you must reregister your email address at If your purchases through the mall total $50 or more within the first 60 days of reregistering, you’ll receive a free $25 gift card.

atpe news

© Mixed group in business meeting/istockphoto/Thinkstock

New additions to the ATPE savings lineup:

atpe news

your association

Where ATPE members stand Annual survey gauges opinions on hot issues, ATPE benefits Each year, ATPE surveys members on pressing education issues as well as their experiences with the association. This year, the annual member survey was emailed to a stratified, random sample of 1,200 professional and associate members.

In line with our program

ATPE gets high marks

The survey revealed that the views of the majority of ATPE members align with the ATPE Legislative Program, the member-written statement of education policy positions reviewed and approved by the ATPE House of Delegates each year. Questions related to legislative issues yielded the following results:

The percentage of members who are satisfied or very satisfied with their membership increased this year—up to 98.8 percent, compared with 97 percent as measured by the 2011-12 survey.

▸ More than 83 percent of members do not support taking money out of the public school system to give parents vouchers to send their children to private schools. ▸ More than 80 percent of members prefer that the Teacher Retirement System retain its current defined benefit structure rather than being converted to a defined contribution plan similar to a 401(k).

Nearly 80 percent of members cite ATPE’s professional liability insurance and employment rights protection benefits as their primary reason for joining the association, and almost 35 percent say their secondary reason for joining ATPE is representation provided through legislative advocacy. The 2012-13 ATPE Membership Survey had a 23 percent response rate and a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.


summer 2013 | 35

your association

foundation news

Presenting the 2012-13

Beth Ann Rogers Literacy Initiative Grant recipients


The foundation congratulates the 2012-13 recipients: ▸ Granger School, Granger ISD

▸ Jourdanton Elementary, Jourdanton ISD

▸ Guillen Middle School, El Paso ISD

▸ North Lamar High School, North Lamar ISD

▸ Herrera Elementary, Houston ISD

▸ Tuloso-Midway Primary School, Tuloso-

▸ Highland Heights Elementary, Houston ISD

Midway ISD

The ATPE Foundation is registered in Texas as a nonprofit corporation and is a public charity exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

“Like” us on Facebook Check out the ATPE Foundation Facebook page at

36 |

atpe news

© Teacher reading book to children/photodisc/Thinkstock

he ATPE Foundation presented $1,500 grants to seven school libraries this spring as part of the Beth Ann Rogers Literacy Initiative. Named for a late ATPE state president and school librarian, the initiative enables the foundation to help school libraries purchase literacy materials and modernize their resources. Applications for 2013-14 grants will be available in July at

foundation news

your association

Help students and educators succeed Donate to the ATPE Foundation

Since 2008, the ATPE Foundation has given $47,500 in literacy and technology grants to Texas public schools and $75,000 in scholarships to current and future educators. None of the foundation’s literacy initiatives, technology programs, or educator recruitment and retention efforts would be possible without the generous support of our donors. Supporting the ATPE Foundation is easy when you visit You can make tax-deductible donations to the ATPE Foundation online using your Visa or MasterCard, or you can print a donation form to mail in with your cash or check. Donations of any size are appreciated and can be given in honor or in memory of family members, friends and colleagues.

The ATPE Foundation


Golf Tournament



Tee up the formula for sucCess

Save the date—Friday, Oct. 18, 2013


start time: 1:30 p.m.

Why: To have fun and win great prizes while supporting literacy,

r2 r3 swing plane

See, you really do use geometry in real life.

technology, and educator recruitment and retention programs in Texas public schools

Where: Teravista Golf Club, Round Rock More info:

The ATPE Foundation is registered in Texas as a nonprofit corporation and is a public charity exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

summer 2013 | 37

your association

tenet focus

Exploring ATPE’s 10 tenets will return ATPE was founded in April 1980 with a distinct set of philosophies. The ATPE News series in which we take an in-depth look at each of ATPE’s 10 tenets and explain how they act as the building blocks of the association is currently on hiatus, but it will return in the fall 2013 issue.

Psst … If you follow ATPE on Pinterest, you can call “pinning” professional research.

10 ATPE tenets

Get inspired with classroom tips and lesson ideas by following ATPE on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. atpe officialatpe officialatpe

Our Vision ATPE is the preeminent public educator association in Texas and makes a difference in the lives of educators and schoolchildren. In partnership with all stakeholders, we are committed to providing every child an equal opportunity to receive an exemplary public education.

38 |

atpe news


your association

Bravo, ATPE members

Congratulations to all of the Texas educators who achieve great heights in their field. CORPUS CHRISTI Moody High School Principal Dr. Sandra Clement was recognized as the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals’ 2013 Texas Middle School Principal of the Year.

FORT STOCKTON Debra Ezell, Fort Stockton ISD director of technology services, received the Technology Administrator of the Year award during the Texas Computer Education Association’s 2012-13 Educator Awards ceremony in February.

FORT WORTH Jessica Bobo, a Westpark Elementary School educator, was recognized by Fort Worth ISD and Central Market as Elementary Teacher of the Year and was awarded $5,000.

JUDSON Several Judson ATPE members were recently recognized as distinguished employees. • Natalie Liles, a third-grade teacher at Miller’s Point Elementary School, was recognized as a Distinguished First-Year Educator. • Angela Jolivette, a K–7 reading specialist for Judson ISD, was recognized in the Distinguished Professional Support Personnel category. The following teachers were recognized as Distinguished Educators: • Carlton Bell, eighth-grade science teacher at Judson Middle School. • Teresa Bonnett, seventh-grade science teacher at Kirby Middle School. • Virginia Hedges, Judson High School educator. • Caroline Hernandez, K–5 reading and math interventionist at Ed Franz

summer 2013

In Memoriam


TPE is saddened to report the passing of Esther Buckley Feb. 11, 2013. Esther was a long-time Region 1 and Laredo ATPE leader. During her long career in education, Esther taught at Laredo ISD’s Christen Middle School, Nixon Annex, Cigarroa High School and Martin High School. Her last position was at the Dr. Dennis D. Cantu Health Science Center at Martin High School. Esther was also a dedicated advocate for public education and served many years as chairwoman of the Webb County Republican Party. Former Gov. William P. Clements appointed her to many commissions and boards, including the Governor’s Commission on Women and the Texas Hispanic Advisory Practices and Ethics Commission. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan appointed her to the United States Commission on Civil Rights, and she served as a commissioner for nine years. Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D–Laredo) released a statement Feb. 12 regarding Esther’s death: “Esther was a magnificent educator whose legacy will live in the hearts and minds of her countless students and their families. Her deep love for her family inspired her to share her intellectual and personal abilities with others.” Zaffirini asked the Senate to adjourn for the day in Esther’s memory; the motion passed unanimously. ATPE extends its sympathies to Esther’s family and to all who knew and loved her. Read Zaffirini’s entire statement at

Elementary School. • Raquel Martinez, first- and secondgrade reading support teacher at Crestview Elementary School. • Lisa Reeh, Park Village Elementary School educator. • Kristin Saunders, fourth-grade teacher at Olympia Elementary. • April Schweizerhof, third-grade teacher at Masters Elementary. Schweizerhof also received the ExCEL Award from San Antonio TV station KENS 5 in March.

KATY Travis Bailey, a physical education teacher at Rhoads Elementary School, received Katy ISD’s district-wide outstanding teacher of the year award.

WILLIS DeAnna Murrell, an eighth-grade language arts teacher at Lynn Lucas Middle School, received the 2013 Distinguished Secondary Teacher of the Year award from Sam Houston State University. | 39

your association

family album

Region 13

Photo by Kathy Lanfer

photo by Doug Eckart

Photo by Kathy Lanfer

Region 13 ATPE officers visit with the 2013-14 ATPE state treasurer candidates at the April 6 Region 13 ATPE convention, held at Texas Land and Cattle in Austin. Top row: Region 10 President Carl Garner, Region 13 Director Greg Vidal, Region 4 Director Ron Fitzwater and Region 12 Director Julleen Bottoms. Bottom row: Region 13 President Genie Rolfe, Secretary Jayne Serna, Vice President Christie Smith and Treasurer Connie Hernandez.

40 |

Region 15

Region 9

At the Region 15 ATPE convention in April, 2012-13 Region 15 ATPE Director Sarah Beal poses with newly elected 2013-14 Director Darlene Kelly.

Nocona ATPE President Deana Jacobson lovingly smashes a pie in ATPE Field Representative Max Deaneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s face at the Region 9 ATPE convention in March. Those who donated to ATPE-PAC were entered into a drawing for the chance to smash a pie in the faces of Deane and ATPE Field Representative Doug Eckart. The member with the highest donation won the opportunity to throw a pie at ATPE Past State President Sam Spurlockâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s face. His wife, Becky Spurlock, won.

atpe news

photo by Doug Eckart


Region 12

photo by Lacey denton

Region 12 ATPE Treasurer Janice Hornsby and Secretary Patty Reneau sign in attendees at the regionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s convention in February.

Fort Worth Fort Worth ATPE in Region 11 reactivated this spring. Secretary Crystal Waters, Treasurer Chad Whitt, President Denise JohnsonJackson and Vice President Mattie Packer will lead the local unit in 2013-14. Fort Worth ATPE has 291 members.

summer 2013

Thank you to the following 2012-13 AMBASSADORS who served as the voice of ATPE in their district: Clarendon: Tina Lacey Como-Pickton: Katy Carr Covington: Linda Hardin Cotton Center: Christine Teaff Dallas County Schools: Jewelene Young Dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Hanis: Irene Rodriguez-Dubberly Edgewood (20): Rita Rosales-Alvarez Faith Family Academy of Oak Cliff: Eduardo Alva-Lopez Fort Worth: Janet Phillips, Michael Potts, Kenneth Poppe, Denise Johnson-Jackson, Mattie Packer, Melanie Tanner, Dolores Rayas, Muhsin Shaheed, Francisco Mercado, Guadalupe Barreto, Bunny Doubrava, Dolores Cashen, Eric Terrell, Crystal Waters, Frank Lopez, Marion Marrs Greenwood: Sherrie Vogler, Gail Seerey Hamlin: Tom Hartley Huston-Tillotson University: Rita Mitchell Jonesboro: Annie Horton Kennard: Sherrie Chesser Lake Travis: Erin Kelly Lancaster: Sonja Stewart McKinney: Amy Lehman Orangefield: Heggie Coulter Pearland: Chad Dykes Royse City: Chris Rayson San Benito: Patricia Vanderpool Scurry-Rosser: Jana Griffin Sharyland: Andrea Valdez South Texas: April Gutierrez Southside: Rebeca Torres Texas City: Paula Franklin, Aubrey Silvertooth Whitney: Mary Ann Towns Winona: Lisa Kennedy Zavalla: Diana Barth | 41

your association

Thank you for your donation!

atpe-pac honor roll

The following ATPE members donated $50 or more to ATPEâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Political Action Committee (ATPE-PAC) between January and March 2013.

Spring Hill Paris Leander Dallas Amarillo Renee Meckstroth Jayne Serna Jodi Andoe Beverly Stone Shane Whitten Stanton Pine Tree McAllen Del Valle Andrews Teresa Griffin Sherron Van Camp Twila Figueroa Mary Hopkins Jordan Griffin State office Pineywoods Mesquite Ennis Beaumont Brock Gregg Jerry Bonham Ginger Franks Bickie Coffey Nanette Moyers Kate Johanns Carol Davies Suellen Ener Amy White Debbie Massey Plano Fort Bend Glen Rabalais Paul Bartle Kathy Aaron Patrice Rabalais Waco Lindsay Beattie Midway (12) Cathy Duvall Sandra Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Connor Bill Freeman Jason Forbis Boerne Andra Harris Garland Margie Hastings Warren Becky Richards Nacogdoches Julia Lepek Teri Nail Sue Allen Dennise Schuler Katherine Whitbeck Richard Wiggins Rosalie Watkins Jacksboro Jeri Willis Waxahachie Nocona Kristi Daws Dale Kriegel Retired educators Deana Jacobson Elizabeth Reynolds Bowie Kim Kriegel Irene RodriguezToni Stone Dubberly North East Katy Weslaco Lola Miller Hellen Secrist Clear Creek Roger Gutierrez Rio Hondo Olga Rubio Martha Anne Pierson Susie Andrews Killeen West Northside (20) Eileen Walcik Corpus Christi Janice Hornsby Robinson Kathy Day Melissa Walcik Jackie Hannebaum Sue Melton Mary Betke David de la Garza Ron Walcik Kimberly Cowart Belinda Lerma Crowley Wichita Falls La Vernia Jeannie Evans Belinda Wolf San Antonio Clay Bordner Olney Steve Pokluda Sheryl Bibles Becky Spurlock Tina Briones Sam Spurlock Lackland Debra Holzman Rosemary Carrion

Learn more about ATPE-PAC and make donations at

42 |

atpe news

2012-13 ATPE Membership Committee

Your voice matters Volunteer for ATPE committee service “Volunteering for committee service is a wonderful experience because you can see that ATPE really is member-owned, membergoverned. If you want your voice to be heard, if you want to make a difference, you need to volunteer for a committee. Not because you have your own personal agenda, but because together we’re stronger.” —Joni Reese, Andrews ATPE, 2012-13 ATPE Membership Committee chairwoman

As a member-owned, member-governed organization, ATPE needs to hear from its members on issues that shape the organization. Visit for more details and to fill out the online application by July 19.

Committees: Bylaws • Leader Development • Legislative • Membership • Minority & Diverse Population Recruitment • Nomination/Election • Public Information • Resolutions • Services • Educator of the Year • Leader of the Year • Scholarship • Grant for Teaching Excellence

summer 2013 | 43

Continued from page 13—Capital Comment

The power of compromise Some educators will criticize the deal. It increases educators’ contribution rate to 7.7 percent by 2018; it exempts only those with five or more service years from the age 62 provision; and it prevents access to all tiers of TRS-Care until age 62. They are not wrong in their criticism. But compromise is a part of negotiation, and sometimes you make sacrifices for the overall good. In the end, it took hard work, sacrifice, and a lot of negotiation and anxiety, but we did reach our goals. We won retirees a COLA, and we sent a message to the privatizers as we secured our defined benefit system. Educators won the respect of the Legislature and the public at large, and we did it the ATPE way. Working together works.A Continued from page 15—Legal Opinions is a legal concern, a grievance is usually a required step in taking any legal action against the district. Most districts have short grievance timelines, so if you think there might be a legal component to your concern, you should seek legal advice immediately.

Above all: Stay calm Now that I’ve generally outlined your options, it’s also important to note what you should not do. First and foremost, if something at work upsets you, do not react out of emotion, whether it’s anger, frustration or disappointment. Cool off to think about how to approach your supervisor about your concern. If possible, talk with a trusted friend, family member or legal counsel. It is also important to follow your campus or district chain of command whenever you can. Your principal will likely become defensive if you meet with an upper administrator regarding a concern without first giving the principal an opportunity to resolve the issue. As you can see, you do have options for approaching your supervisor about your concerns. Communication is often challenging, but it is a powerful antidote.A The legal information provided in ATPE News is for general purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for individual legal advice or the provision of legal services. Accessing this information does not create an attorney-client relationship. Individual legal situations vary greatly, and readers should consult directly with an attorney. ATPE members should call (800) 777-2873 or access the Member Legal Services Intake System (MLSIS) at

Continued from page 21—Doug Rogers for the cost of things is so unsettling that I’m afraid that is going to be a greater challenge than we realize. I’ll use the example of health care. The cost is accelerating at such a rapid speed that it’s going to be difficult for an employer to do anything without partnering with the employee. Johanns: Switching gears to talk a bit more about the association, how would you define the role of executive director? Rogers: The duty of the executive director—of any organization—is to maintain the day-to-day operations and to invite the staff necessary to accomplish those operations. And the day-to-day 44 |

environment is the executive director’s responsibility. But that person also has the responsibility of molding that environment to fit the directives of a board of directors, which makes it a little different than just any other business. Oftentimes an entrepreneur has greater authority to make all kinds of decisions. In this position, you don’t have quite as much flexibility. One of my biggest personality challenges is that I take things personally. And that’s a good thing if you’re an entrepreneur because you take ownership in what you’re doing. But it creates a bit of a conflict when you’re under the directive of a board. That’s one of the biggest challenges that I face as an executive director. But you said, what are the duties, and to me the duties are that I have the responsibility of carrying out both the purpose of the bylaws and the directives of the board and the House of Delegates while at the same time accommodating federal, state and local laws. Johanns: So, with that mammoth task in mind, what advice would you give to ATPE’s next executive director? Rogers: The first thing I’d say is, listen to the staff. Do as much staff interviewing as you can because this staff has had lots of experiences. Then I would advise this person to listen to the members and see what they say. And then, I would advise this person to talk to people who are nonmembers and find out what their issues are. And I would encourage that person to take all of that and put it into a strategic plan and advance the organization. A strategic plan needs to be done by the new executive director and the board and the staff, and it needs to be done with the kind of input that would direct the organization. The other thing that I would advise the next person to do is to work on patience. I don’t think I had—and I don’t think I still have—patience. And patience is an absolute necessity in this position. One thing about this job is that everybody thinks they can do it better. And if you realize that that’s the case when you start, then you become more tolerant and more accepting of input. Johanns: So, what’s next for you? Rogers: Well, thank you for asking. And I hope what’s next for me is to play golf more. And I’m a champion piddler. I say a “champion,” but that’s not really true, because I haven’t proven championship capabilities yet. But I feel like I can do more piddling, fishing, playing golf and riding the motorcycle. I have projects at the house that I want to do. The garage is my first thing. That’s going to be my home base. My dad was a champion “was gonna.” Well, I don’t want to be a “was gonna” anymore. I want to be a “this was my project, and I’m going to do it until it’s finished.” I like to do little hands-on projects, and if I mess them up, then so what? Somebody’s just going to have to come in and repair what they would have already had to repair. My daughters bought me an electric guitar. And I’ve started trying to pick out chords and stuff on it. I want my brain to be active and my body to be active. But I don’t have visions of being in a rock band or a country band or anything like that—just being able to pick and grin and have a little fun.A atpe news

2013-14 ATPe Membership Application 3 Ways You Can Join ATPe:

1 Mail this completed application to the ATPE state office. 2 Give this completed application to your ATPE campus rep. 3 Join at (and pay by credit card).

1 Provide your contact information.

2 Select your membership category.

This information helps us maintain your unique member record, a tool that allows us to provide member services more efficiently.

Last 4 digits of your Soc. Sec. #: XXX-XX-__ __ __ __



Yes, I have been an ATPE member in the past. Member ID# _______________ (Optional—If you don’t know it, no problem.) Name ________________________ _______________________ _________ Last


Middle initial

ISD ___________________________ Campus __________________________ Home address ____________________________________________________

Refer to the chart on the back of this application to find your appropriate category.

Insured categories*

*See back.



$ ______

First-time Professional


$ ______


$ ______

I have never been a Professional member.

Associate Paraprofessional and classified positions

City/State ____________________________________ ZIP _______________

Teacher Trainee

Home ( ____ ) _____________________ Cell ( ____ ) ____________________

Uninsured categories

School email ____________________________________________________ Home email _____________________________________________________ Submit your email addresses to receive the latest news on member benefits.

Yes, send me information about volunteering for ATPE!



Student teacher in Texas



$ ______

Retired former school employee


College Student Non-teaching college student



$ ______

Friend of public education

3 Invest in public education. Local unit dues

$ ______

Support ATPE in your school district.

ATPE Political Action Committee

$ ______

Support Texas candidates and officeholders who prioritize public education. Suggested donation: $12.

4 Select a payment method. Check enclosed. Payroll deduction Complete the authorization below. Arrangements for payroll deduction are the responsibility of the applicant.


$ ______

Payroll Deduction Authorization Payroll authorizations for 2013-14 will not be accepted after Jan. 31, 2014. I, ______________________________________________ , authorize the _____________________ ISD to deduct the total amount of $ _______________ over ______ payments in order to pay for ATPE state dues, local dues and political action donations. I further authorize the Association to notify the ISD of changes in the annual dues amounts and the ISD to deduct the new amounts. If my employment with the district ends, I authorize any unpaid balance to be deducted from my final check. This authorization for the deductions referenced above will be effective until I give notice to the ISD that I want to revoke it.

____________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _______________ Applicant’s signature

Applicant’s Social Security number or employee ID number

________ I wish to cancel deduction of membership dues for: Initial Here

Texas AFT


Date of signature



Other 2013-14 AP8

Questions You Might Have About ATPE Membership

1 Are ATPE membership dues tax-deductible?

4 When is my ATPE membership effective?

ATPE membership dues are not deductible as charitable contributions for income tax purposes but may be deductible as miscellaneous itemized deductions, subject to IRS restrictions. It is estimated that 4.6 percent of your dues dollar is used for lobbying activities and is therefore not deductible.

For paper applications, your membership date is established when your application is received in the state office, or when your application is received, signed and dated by a designated local unit representative. For online applications, your membership date is established at 12:01 a.m. Cst on the date following successful transmission of your online application and payment at

2 How does ATPE spend my membership dues? • $3.32 pays for a subscription to ATPE News (published four times per year) and includes all state and local sales taxes. • Up to $26 of Professional and Associate member dues and up to $6 of Teacher Trainee member dues pays for the Educators Professional Liability Insurance Policy.*

3 What does the Liability and Employment Rights

Defense Insurance* for the 2013-14 membership year cover?

Coverage applies to your activities as a Professional or Associate member in the course of your duties of employment with an educational institution, or to your activities as a Teacher Trainee member in the course of your duties as a student in a teacher education program in an accredited college or university. Coverage is underwritten by National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa. ALL CoverAge Is sUbjeCt to the exPress terms oF the mAster INsUrANCe PolICy IssUed to AtPe ANd KePt oN FIle At the stAte oFFICe. view a detailed summary at The policy applies only to activities that begin during the period when coverage is effective and does not apply to activities that predate the coverage period. *

5 When is coverage effective? *

Coverage begins on the later of 8/1/13 or your membership date and expires on 8/1/14 except for the following: CoverAge Is eFFeCtIve oN 8/1/13 IF yoU reNeW membershIP ANytIme dUrINg AUgUst or sePtember 2013, ANd emPloymeNt rIghts deFeNse INsUrANCe Is Not eFFeCtIve UNtIl 30 dAys AFter yoUr membershIP dAte IF yoU joIN AFter 9/30/13 ANd Were elIgIble For membershIP From AUgUst 2013 throUgh sePtember 2013. Eligibility for membership benefits is contingent upon receipt of the entire membership dues amount for your appropriate membership category. A disruption in payments to an authorized payment plan may result in discontinuation of such benefits, including cancellation of insurance coverage for the entire membership year, retroactive to Aug. 1 or your membership date. For further information, call (800) 777-2873. *

6 What does ATPE-PAC do? The ATPE Political Action Committee (ATPE-PAC) accepts voluntary donations from members to advocate for ATPE’s legislative priorities. AtPe-PAC does not endorse political candidates. donations to AtPePAC are not a condition of employment or membership. A member may donate more or less than the suggested amount or may choose not to make a donation without it affecting his or her membership status, rights or benefits with AtPe. donations are not deductible for federal income tax purposes.

ATPE Membership Categories You must join in the appropriate insured category in order to qualify for coverage. ATPE reserves the right to determine eligibility for the appropriate membership category. Commissioned peace officers are eligible for public membership only. Professional and Associate membership is open to persons employed in Texas by a public school district, institution of higher education, regional education service Center, state board for educator Certification or the texas education Agency. If you have a question about the eligibility of job descriptions not listed below, call (800) 777-2873.

Insured Categories*

Uninsured Categories

Professional MeMber ($145)/first-tiMe Professional MeMber ($80)

associate MeMber ($70)

college student MeMber (free)

• Administrator/ Supervisor

• department head/ Chair

• Regional Service Center Staff

• Aide to position in Professional category

• Educational Aide/ Technician

• Athletic director/ Coordinator

• diagnostician

• Alternative Center Aide

• maintenance Worker

retired MeMber ($10)

• Instructional Officer

• School Psychologist/ Associate

• bus driver

• Nurse (LVN)

• Retired former school employee

• Athletic Trainer

• Intern Teacher

• social Worker

• Cafeteria Worker

• At-Risk Coordinator

• Superintendent/Asst. Supt.

• Clerk–General

• Regional Service Center Aide

• Audiologist

• It director/ Coordinator

• band/Choral director

• Librarian

• Teacher

• Computer Programmer/Entry

• Coach

• Nurse (RN)

• Custodial Worker

• Security Guard (Unarmed)

• Counselor

• deaf Interpreter

• Substitute Teacher

• Curriculum director

• Parent/Community Coordinator

• Therapist/ Pathologist

• dean of Instruction

• Principal/Asst. Prin.

• University Professor • Visiting Teacher

• Secretary

teacher trainee MeMber (free) • Student teacher in Texas

• Non-teaching college student

Public MeMber ($10) • Friend of public education

by Mandy Curtis, senior copy editor/writer


Better understand the Bard Today’s students speak a very different English than the writers of the 1500s, particularly William Shakespeare. SwipeSpeare, a free app available for iOS devices (and coming soon for Windows- and Android-powered phones) aims to help students comprehend Shakespeare’s language and enables educators to more accurately teach his plays. The app features “swipeable” versions of every Shakespeare play, which makes it easy for users to see what the Bard’s words mean in modern English. (Romeo and Juliet comes free with the app; other plays are available for purchase.) Also available in the app: study guides, lesson plans and a Shakespearean dictionary. Find out more and download the app at

“Wisdom consists not so much in knowing what to do in the ultimate as knowing what to do next.” —Herbert Hoover, mining engineer and 31st president of the United States (1874–1964)

Some words are their own opposites Unusual knowledge magazine Mental Floss recently posted a list of the “14 Words That Are Their Own Opposites” on the Mental Floss website. These “contronyms” include: • Cleave—cling to or split from. • Fast—moving rapidly or unmoving. • Left—still here or gone away.

© shakespeare, graduate piggy bank, confused girl/istockphoto/Thinkstock>

A solid financial foundation It’s vitally important for students to have a good grasp of handling money before graduation. April 2013 was proclaimed National Financial Capability Month by President Barack Obama, but financial knowledge is something worthy of teaching year-round. In April, SmartBlog on Education ( education) posted a listing of 40-plus resources educators can use to help their students learn about personal finance, including games, lesson plans, simulations, videos, mobile applications, and resources specific to high school and special education students. Check out the full list at

summer 2013

• Off—deactivated or activated. • Resign—quit or to sign up again. • Sanction—give permission or impose a penalty. • Screen—show or hide from. • Trim—add to or take away. • Weather—withstand or wear away. Read the entire list at | 47

ATPE members, you asked for fun …

Well, hold on to your fanny packs!

Use your membership card to get the best deals on Texas’ favorite theme parks. Plus—don’t forget to use your ATPE discounts when you book your hotel stays and rental cars. Visit for more information.

ATPE’s services and discounts program includes discounts at:




Summer 2013 ATPE News  

Read the Summer 2013 issue of ATPE News for teacher/educator stress management tips and a wrap-up of the 83rd Texas Legislature.