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We Are Family February is CSEA Have-a-Heart Month

Also in this issue: Retiree Unit celebrates 25 years • Register for the Para Conference • Develop leadership skills

January/February 2017



CSEA HEADQUARTERS (408) 473-1000 TOLL-FREE: (800) 632-2128





President’s Message Staying focused on our mission . .


From the Capitol Election results and new laws . . . . . . . .


We Are Family Have-a-Heart Month is February . . . . . . .


Winter Art CSEA contest collects kids’ creations . . . . . . . . .


FRESNO (559) 226-4200   (800) 439-6626

Fighting for justice, even after retirement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

NORTH BAY (925) 676-5755   (800) 464-7717

FEATURE: Retiree Unit at 25




Around the State Showcasing our everyday heroes . . . .


Training Apply for Community Leadership Academy . . . .


Para Conference A can’t-miss experience . . . . . . . . . . . .


Member Benefits Exclusive deals and offers . . . . . . . . . .


Statement of Intent Run for Association office . . . . . .


From the Archives Coming together to help . . . . . . . . .


CSEA Board of Directors Ben Valdepeña Association President

Kerry Woods Secretary

Frank Rodriguez Area B

Sylvia Diaz Area E

Bill Hagar Area H

Vacant 1st Vice President

Allan D. Clark Past President

Marcos Gonzalez Area C

Dale Sorenson Area F

Don Snyder Area I

Delores L. Burke 2nd Vice President

Martha Penry Area A

Rameldia Mark Area D

John Nieto Area G

Bea Mora Area K

Issue 3, FOCUS (ISSN 1541-0692) is published bimonthly with a special issue in June by the California School Employees Association, 2045 Lundy Avenue, San Jose, CA 95131, (408) 473-1000. Periodical postage paid at San Jose, CA (USPS 20624) and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes and form 3579 to FOCUS, 2045 Lundy Avenue, San Jose, CA 95131. ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION rate of $2.25 for Focus is included in membership dues; $2.25 yearly for non members. ADVERTISEMENTS do not constitute any endorsements by CSEA or entitle any advertiser to special consideration from CSEA members or staff. ARTICLES, photographs, letters to the editor and related items are welcome. Editorial policy dictates the right to edit or reject all material submitted for publication. Views and statements of contributors are not necessarily those of CSEA. Copyright 2016 California School Employees Association. EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, Dave Low; COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, Frank Polito; PUBLIC RELATIONS MANAGER, Carolyn Constantino; COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER, Anthony Lopez; SENIOR EDITORIAL ADVISOR, Julian Peeples; SENIOR COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST, Hugo Jiménez; NEW MEDIA COORDINATOR, Brad Washburn; SENIOR DESIGN COORDINATOR, Jessica Salam; MULTIMEDIA/DESIGN SPECIALISTS, Jennifer Sanders, Justin Garcia; ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT, Katherine Miller. Cover photo by Kohjiro Kinno.

COSTA Y VALLES (818) 244-1545   (800) 834-9959

ORANGE (714) 532-3766   (800) 564-9979 RANCHO CUCAMONGA (909) 466-1006  (800) 526-9297 RIVER DELTA (209) 472-2170   (800) 757-4229 SACRAMENTO (916) 725-1188   (800) 582-7314 SAN DIEGO (858) 458-0300   (800) 675-9939 SANTA FE (626) 258-3300   (800) 988-6949 SOUTH BAY (408) 261-7990   (800) 487-2440

Our mission: 

To improve the lives of our members, students and community.


Your union is here, no matter what Ben Valdepeña


he past few months have been hectic, stressful, joyous and at times upsetting. CSEA had a tremendously successful Election day in California. We had successes up and down the state and up and down the ticket, and we should be proud of all we accomplished.

Our service does not stop when we leave our school or college campus at the end of the day. I’m also super proud of CSEA staff and members, and what we do to enhance each other’s lives beyond the workplace. As you know, February is CSEA’s Have a Heart Month. This time each year, we celebrate the generosity of all those who call CSEA “my union.” This generosity takes on so many different forms, but the result is always the same; a student, a peer or a community member knowing that someone cares for them in ways they didn’t imagine.

One of the ways we raise money for the Dorothy Bjork Assistance Fund is through our Share the Joy program. Each month, one of the CSEA departments (or the Board of Directors) cooks a themed lunch for anyone at Headquarters who chooses to attend. For $10, attendees get a great lunch, some entertainment and chances to win great prizes. The proceeds go to any family with children that applies for Humanitarian Assistance. This year, we raised $17,232 and just before Black Friday, we distributed $750 to families in need. I know we made the holiday season a bit brighter for each of those families. Our efforts aren’t only about donating money to those in need, it’s also about volunteering time toward making our communities better places to live. Generally speaking, CSEA members live in or around the communities in which we work. These are our schools and our communities. We serve as coaches, scout leaders, volunteer firefighters as well as leaders in our houses of worship. In some cases, our commitment leads us to local elected offices or boards. In all, our service does not stop when we leave our school or college campus at the end

of the day. It may be just beginning. I’ve come to admire this commitment the longer I serve CSEA and get to know our members on a one-to-one basis. Your stories never cease to make me proud and humbled. Wherever possible, we like to share these stories here in Focus. I hope you enjoy them, and see a bit of yourself in the great work we highlight from our peers.

No matter what happens, our union will step up and take care of our own, and just about anyone who needs us. With so much anxiety about what direction our country will take over the next four years, it’s so comforting to know that no matter what happens, our union will step up and take care of our own, and just about anyone who needs us. For that, I am eternally grateful. Happy New Year to all, and together let’s make 2017 a great year for all of CSEA. In unity,


Members propel Prop. 55 to victory Big wins in state while we ready to battle federally


alifornia voters passed Proposition 55 on Nov. 8 by a wide margin, approved state and local school bonds, and returned a pro-education, pro-labor supermajority to the state Legislature.

“CSEA members and staff worked hard to protect California’s schools and students.” “We should all be very proud of what we accomplished during the recent election,” said Association President Ben Valdepeña. “This was a historic year, and CSEA members and staff worked hard to protect California’s schools and students.” 2


By passing Prop. 55, Californians guaranteed 12 more years of stable education funding and prevented $6 billion in budget cuts. Approval of Prop. 51, which CSEA also endorsed, will provide a $9 billion statewide school bond to invest in construction and upgrades for school facilities. “While the national results are very disappointing, we did well here in California,” Valdepeña said. At the local level, more CSEA members were elected to school and college boards throughout the state. CSEA’s candidates won nearly all of the 100 governing board races where the union endorsed a candidate, with

by Carolyn Constantino

a few still to be determined pending final vote counts. Vallejo Chapter 199 President Michael Rhoads and his co-workers took an active role in their school board election. They succeeded in electing a challenger and are hopeful the election changes the balance of power on the board to be more open to classified concerns. In all, CSEA volunteers contacted more than 70,000 classified employees through site visits and phone calls, in addition to phoning more than 50,000 other voters for the Prop. 55 campaign. Members and staff also volunteered for 960 precinct-walking shifts in 11 targeted legislative races.

For many of these members, it was the first time they volunteered for an election effort. Leigh Anne Jones from Solano College Chapter 211 walked Leigh Anne precincts for the first Jones time in her life. In fact, she even got to meet her neighbors when she canvassed the block next to her own. Other members and retirees went to Nevada, where they helped workers there score significant victories on Election Day—including flipping the state’s legislature to a pro-worker Luis Garcia majority. Luis Garcia from Hemet Chapter 104 was one of those members who traveled to Las Vegas to campaign for Hillary Clinton. “Although we did our part and she won California and Nevada, unfortunately she did not fare as well in the

rest of the country,” Garcia said. He is not the only one who believes classified employees will need to be vigilant with Donald Trump as the nation’s president. CSEA Executive Director Dave Low agrees, citing the president-elect’s recent choice of a pro-voucher, procharter education secretary as one example of the challenges ahead.

“CSEA remains strong, healthy and prepared to meet the challenges posed by a Trump presidency.” “We will not panic, retreat, stop organizing, give up or give in,” Low said. “Instead, we will turn every attack on workers into an organizing opportunity. We will act strategically, coordinate with our allies and build our union. CSEA remains strong, healthy and prepared to meet the challenges posed by a Trump presidency.”

New legislation for a new year


wo of CSEA’s sponsored bills were signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown at the conclusion of the most recent legislative session. AB 2028 (Cooper) will restore CalPERS service credits and benefits to school employees who were wrongfully terminated. AB 2393 (Campos) will provide classified employees with up to

12 weeks of paid parental leave to bond with their newborns, adopted and foster children. This leave applies to full-time and part-time employees, moms and dads. You can download a PDF summary of other new laws that impact public education and classified employees at

Save the Dates!

M&O Academies in FIVE locations! Due to popular demand, the Maintenance & Operations Academy is being offered in five locations across the state this spring. These valuable academies will provide training on topics such as Disaster Preparedness, Injury & Illness Prevention, Know Your Rights, The Williams Act & much more. While exact locations are still being finalized as of press time, below are the dates and cities of the one-day academies.

March 11: San Diego March 12: Santa Fe (Los Angeles-area) April 1: Fresno April 2: Sacramento April 8: San Jose Please check for exact locations and registration information. The registration fee of $25 includes lunch. For more information, contact Carolyn Ballard at (800) 632-2128 ext. 1316.

January/February 2017


CSEA: We are Family

Serving our communities, supporting each other by Julian Peeples


SEA members are dedicated to service. Whether it’s serving the students of California to ensure they have the resources they need to learn, supporting the community by volunteering for charitable efforts, or rallying to help one of our own in need, classified employees lead with their hearts. February is CSEA Have-a-Heart Month, when our union celebrates the generous efforts our members undertake in their communities and the continued outpouring of support for fellow members facing hard times. In past years, we’ve spotlighted a long list of fundraisers, clothing drives and relief efforts led by CSEA members in communities throughout California. When there is a need in their chapter, school or community, CSEA members are the first to volunteer to help. “Our members are so generous with their time and eager to help when there is a need,” Association

President Ben Valdepeña said. “Your commitment to improving the quality of life for our members, students and communities inspires me every day. Please know that while CSEA acknowledges these efforts during Have-a-Heart Month in February, I am humbled every day by the generosity displayed by the many members of our CSEA Family.”

“Our members are so generous with their time and eager to help when there is a need.”

Art de la Cruz, a member of Glendale Chapter 3 and the Communications Committee, said he finds it inspiring to see fellow members working hard to help others. De la Cruz said that CSEA members provide vital assistance to school districts and communities through their everyday work, and their dedication to service doesn’t end there. “I’m passionate about service. I enjoy that I get to share in the spirit of volunteering through my work with CSEA,” he said. “Whenever we stand shoulder to shoulder to serve others, it gives us an opportunity to learn CSEA members are involved in numerous service about our friends and projects at their schools, such as holiday food drives. neighbors in our com-



munity and develop more empathy about the lives we share.” Eliana Padilla, member of Placentia-Yorba Linda Chapter 293, said that making a difference in the community speaks to her as a union member and a young person. Padilla, a member of the CalGen Task Force, said like so many CSEA members, she cares about her community and wants to make a positive impact on the lives of others—even if it’s only one person. She’s proud to belong to a union that shares those values. “I feel fortunate to be part of an organization that prides itself on being active in the community. We are making a difference in people’s lives,” Padilla said. “Community is very important to me. It is an extension of my immediate family. We share our accomplishments, our happy and sad moments, and we look out for one another.” SUPPORTING OUR ‘FAMILY’ While members have always been active in their communities, it took disaster to spotlight just how dedicated we are to our union brothers and sisters. In 1986, Northern California was inundated with rain, causing waterways to swell until levees burst. Then-Association President Dorothy Bjork led CSEA’s first disaster relief effort to help scores of members recover, stating proudly that “we are family.” Two 22-foot truck trailers

were filled to the brim with donations from CSEA members and delivered to those in need. “It was truly a demonstration of the generosity and concern of CSEA’s members, officers and staff for those in need of assistance,” Bjork said at the time. It was in this spirit that the Dorothy Bjork Assistance Fund was formed, to help members who have suffered from disaster or other hardship when they need it most. The fund is comprised completely of member and staff donations—no dues money is used to support the assistance fund. Every year, CSEA members who suffer from fire, floods and other unforeseen tragedy receive Eliana Padilla financial assistance

from the union to help get them through tough times. “With my CSEA family, I’m never alone. I know that if I have an issue, no matter the size, that someone will be there to listen and help however they can,” Padilla said. “It makes me feel good in knowing that I belong to an organization with caring people who don’t think twice about helping others who desperately need it.”

Photos by Kohjiro Kinno

February is Have-a-Heart Month

Like most classified employees, Art de La Cruz is passionate about service.

“With my CSEA family, I’m never alone.” Last year, 57 members were helped through difficult times by their union through the Assistance Fund. Audrey Martin, a member of Lake County

Chapter 228, received $1,000 when her home was ravaged by fire. She was extremely grateful for the help from her CSEA family. “It is people like you who have made such a horrible event a little more bearable,” Martin said. “I will always be grateful for your kindness and patience.”

Donate to CSEA’s Assistance Fund C reated to help CSEA members and staff through tough times, the Dorothy Bjork Assistance Fund is named in honor of the CSEA president who organized the union’s first disaster relief effort in 1986. The fund provides three types of

financial help: disaster, emergency and humanitarian assistance. The assistance fund relies solely and entirely on voluntary donations from members and staff. CSEA designates every February as Have-a Heart-Month to focus on fundraising for the program, but members contribute all year long. Some chapter members vote to take a certain amount out of their general fund. Others hold fundraisers like bake sales or bingo tournaments. Even passing a hat at chapter meetings can help the fund. “Let’s keep the Dorothy Bjork Assistance Fund strong to help

members who suffer from devastating floods, fires and economic hardship,” de la Cruz said. “Please donate to make a difference and help your CSEA Family.” You can always make an individual donation. Donate by credit card by calling CSEA Member Benefits at (866) ITS-CSEA (487-2732). Donate by check by sending your donation to: Dorothy Bjork Assistance Fund 2045 Lundy Avenue San Jose, CA 95131 For information on the assistance funds, visit

January/February 2017


Seeing the holidays through children’s eyes


grade levels (elementary, middle and high school) was selected for the 2016 CSEA Holiday Card. The contest exceeded our expectations. Every day, stacks of artwork would arrive until we had more than 500 masterpieces depicting the beauty of the holidays. Association President Ben Valdepeña selected the

winning artwork, noted on these pages with a gold star, along with a selection of submissions showing the amazing talent and imagination of students in our schools. See more of this amazing art at

Elementary school

o matter how old you are, you never lose the images, sounds, smells and tastes of the holidays during childhood. It was in this spirit that CSEA invited K–12 students statewide to submit artwork of their favorite winter holiday activities to capture the timeless wonder the holidays inspire in children. Artwork in three





5 6


Artwork from: 1. Anastacia G., Grade 3, Los Angeles 2. Justin L., Grade 3, San Jose 3. Racing Z., Kindergarten, Sunnyvale 4. Nina P., Grade 4, San Jose 5. Trinity B., Grade 3, Lancaster

Middle school

2 1 3 Artwork from: 1. Haadia N., Grade 8, Sunnyvale 2. Delaney D., Grade 8, Whittier 3. Jidapa L., Grade 6, San Jose 4. Bianca Mae L., Grade 6, Anaheim 5. Ally B., Grade 7, Olivehurst


High school


2 3 1



Artwork from: 1. Justine Z., Grade 12 Victorville 2. Ashley C., Grade 10 La Palma 3. Lauren R., Grade 9 Rancho Cucamonga 4. Annie D., Grade 11 San Mateo 5. Autumn C., Grade 11 San Diego January/February 2017


by Julian Peeples

of the

Retiree Unit

Retiring from your job doesn’t mean retiring from your union For 25 years, CSEA’s Retiree Unit has created a legacy of continued service, activism, mentorship and social support, as our union’s most experienced members continue their work to better the lives of all classified school employees. 8



he Retiree Unit is a vibrant and integral part of CSEA, with more than 11,500 members dedicated to continuing their union activism, even after decades of service to the students of California. For years, it wasn’t nearly so organized. Retiring CSEA members at one time were given the option of paying for a lifetime membership for $40, which allowed them to retain group insurances and other benefits. In 1983, that was changed to a $24 annual fee. Many retirees wanted to do more and had issues that needed resolving. So what do retired union activists do? They organize. Two Bill Turner members—retiree

Tony Avelar



Bill Turner and active member Bill Antonelli— began the groundwork for what would become the Retiree Unit. Bill Antonelli Wheels began turning, albeit slowly. A committee was appointed to study and develop a structure for the retiree division. This led to a two-year pilot program and eventual approval of a resolution at the 1991 Annual Conference, which officially established the CSEA Retiree Unit. Retiree Unit Executive Board Chair and former association president Ron Duva said when delegates voted to create the unit, he knew Ron Duva that it was going to be successful. “I had no doubt that the Retiree Unit would be a substantial piece of our union,” he said. “CSEA provided so much training to active members, and now those members would bring that knowledge and experience to the unit. It was a natural progression.” Over the past 25 years, the Retiree Unit has nearly quadrupled in size. The unit has implemented a number of successful programs to support its members, including the “Granny Grants” scholarships awarded to retirees’ grandchildren and the everpopular Retiree Leadership Conference. And the Retiree Unit has worked hand-in-hand with the CSEA Board of Directors to protect and enhance

Joseph Gallagher

informative and inspirational. The impacts they have on our active membership are immeasurable and help to develop and nurture Ben Valdepeña current and future leaders of our union.” Duva said that passion for union values, justice and seeing people treated right doesn’t just go away the moment classified employees bid their jobs farewell. The ideals remain a strong piece of their identities, and the Retiree Unit provides a fun and easy way to continue working to make the world a better place through their union work. “The Retiree Unit is a place where our members can use their unique

Retirees were ready to get to work immediately after the Retiree Unit was created by Conference delegates in 1991.

California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) and Social Security benefits, and address the rising costs of healthcare. “As retirees, we continue to be involved with CSEA and our union continues to help us in so many ways,” said Life Member Betty Cleveland. “Many of our retirees were active in CSEA, especially politically, and want to see that CSEA continues to thrive. Plus, with so many threats to our pensions, healthcare, Social Security and Medicare, we need to make sure we elect people who will fight these battles for us and with us.”

“Retirees have much more time to devote to CSEA activism. They just need to be asked.” Retiree Unit activists are wellknown throughout CSEA for their diligent work during election season. Retirees are regular participants in phone banks, precinct walks and other support roles that help propel us to victory on Election Day. Association President Ben Valdepeña said our victories at the ballot box, such as Proposition 55 last year, wouldn’t be possible without the dedication of our retirees. “There’s nobody more motivated than our Retiree Unit members,” he said. “Not only do they volunteer their time to help all of us win on Election Day, their decades of experience in organizing and fighting for so many of the rights we enjoy today is

Betty Cleveland, Life Member

Walsh Kevin

THE NEXT PHASE OF CSEA MEMBERSHIP Longtime member and CSEA labor rep Jeanne Foster said the Retiree Unit has allowed members the opportunity to retire from their jobs without retiring from their union. Not only does that mean continuing to socially interact with fellow longtime classified employees and members, but also utilizing the decades of union experience to continue to effect change.

“Retirees have much more time to devote to CSEA activism,” Foster said. “They just need to be asked.”

January/February 2017




Steven Lira

especially on items directly impacting retirees. She urged others to stay involved as an example for all CSEA activists. Nan Brasmer “We’re out there fighting to save Social Security and Medicare,” Brasmer said. “It’s valuable to stay active in your retiree councils and communities.”

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER Part of what makes the Retiree Unit so valuable is the wealth of knowledge and experience possessed by its members. The unit is filled with centuries of grassroots organizing techniques, effective bargaining strategies, tactics that led to victory (and defeat) on election day, and a knowledge of the battles it took to win the rights our members currently enjoy. The passing on of this knowledge and sharing of these experiences stoke the fires in the hearts of young and emerging CSEA activists. “It’s true that knowledge is power, and those of us

who have the knowledge need to share it with those coming into CSEA. I remember when I was a younger member and the previous generation of CSEA leaders did the same, sharing stories of our founding, the Classified Bill of Rights, the struggle to win retiree benefits and more,” Foster said. “That needs to be passed on to the next generation of CSEA members. It’s important they understand where we came from, how we got here and where we’re going.”

“I think the biggest benefit is the continued friendships. The person-to-person connection at meetings is great.” The unique relationship between the Retiree Unit Executive Board and the CalGen Task Force, which develops and nurtures new CSEA members into activists and leaders, is an example of how members cross generational lines to build knowledge and power for classified employees. Veronica Andrade, a library media assistant with Bakersfield City Schools Chapter 48 and CalGen member, said the Retiree Unit has offered direct support and encouragement to CSEA’s emerging activists. “This is a win-win for everyone: Younger and newer members can learn the ins and outs of successful activism from some of the best, and retirees can have a direct hand in ensuring that CSEA will never hurt from a lack of competent and able leaders to keep the wheels turning,” Andrade said. Duva said he and his fellow Retiree Unit members enjoy sharing their Kohjiro Kinno

Jeanne Foster, CSEA retiree and former staff member

Victoria Lewi s

Joseph Gallagher

talents to give back,” Duva said. “I knew I had some skills and abilities that I could use to help our causes. I wanted to contribute what I could and give a little more. We do it because we love CSEA and we believe it helps our brothers and sisters have better lives.” CSEA Second Vice President Delores Burke has had the opportunity to work closely with the Retiree Unit as the Board of Directors’ liaison to the unit since 2013. She said their devotion to fellow members, students and the mission of CSEA is an example for all members. “Their desire for continued strength in our union and their commitment to CSEA is amazing,” she said. “I have a challenge for Delores Burke all active members. Next time you see a retiree activist or leader, ask them how they started their volunteerism with CSEA and why. You might find it’s the same reason you became active as well. We are connected by these shared experiences and passion for justice.” Past Association President and Life Member Nan Brasmer said it’s important for CSEA retirees to stay active,

“In any part of CSEA, it’s critical for us to be mentors.” “Our retirees have taught me that you should never be too scared to ask for help in trying to develop into a better leader,” Andrade said. “There are so many in CSEA, retired and active, that are ready to extend their hand and help you reach your full potential in this organization.” THE BENEFITS OF MEMBERSHIP While many Retiree Unit members were longtime activists and officers while they were active, some join the unit never having taken on any union responsibilities. Duva said the Retiree Unit affords these members the opportunity to get Veronica Andrade, Bakersfield City Schools, Chapter 48

Kohjiro Kinno

2016 Retiree Unit Executive Board—Back row: Joseph Rao, Jennie Batiste, Sandy Silva, Anthony Lockwood, Dawn Bronsema, Beth Kieffer, Faye Lane, Nadine Franklin (Staff Coordinator) Front row: James Vinion, Teri Minoux, Ron Duva, Sandy Dabney, Susan Adams.

active and even become officers in their Retiree Councils. In addition to having more time without needing to juggle work responsibilities, getting active with the Retiree Unit is different from active chapters because there are no contracts to negotiate or grievances to file. Duva said getting involved in the Retiree Unit can give retirees a sense of purpose at a time when they need it most, as well as continue friendships built during a career of activism. These social benefits, he said, are literally

Susan Heflin

experience and knowledge with Andrade and members like her. He said CSEA retirees fought too long and too hard for the rights we now have to not pass along their lessons learned. “In any part of CSEA, it’s critical for us to be mentors,” he said. “If you’re a chapter officer, you’re a mentor. If you’re a site representative, you’re a mentor. As retirees, we’ve been there before and we can provide some perspective.” The recent Retiree Leadership Conference is evidence that not only do our retirees have a wealth of knowledge to share, but they also understand that they can still learn as well.

good for one’s health. “I think the biggest benefit is the continued friendships,” Cleveland said. “The person-to-person connection at meetings is great.” This is in addition to all the same great member benefits that active CSEA members receive. For only $3 a month to join the Retiree Unit, members have access to exclusive deals and offers that can save hundreds of dollars a year. From supplemental health and life coverage to discounted movie tickets and gifts to deals on hearing aids and other items, joining the Retiree Unit makes sense. “Joining the Retiree Unit is a must for CSEA members approaching the end of their working careers,” Valdepeña said. “Stay connected, stay active and be a part of continuing our legacy for another 90 years. Your CSEA family is forever.” For more information about the CSEA Retiree Unit, see a chapter officer, contact your local field office or visit

January/February 2017


Charr Crail


High school names gymnasium in honor of retired custodian


fter nearly 30 years of service to McClellan High School in Antelope, custodian Terry McCauley left a lasting impression on thousands of students, mentoring and helping them to succeed. In honor of all that he gave, the school ensured that his name and contributions would never be forgotten, when they renamed the school’s gymnasium in his honor late last year.

“Terry has been an agent of inspiration and change for countless young people.” McCauley joined Center Joint Unified School District in 1984, working as a custodian and campus monitor. When he started, McCauley dutifully kept the campus and facilities safe and hazard-free. It wasn’t long before he was making a difference in other areas.

According to McClellan High Principal David French, troubled students would often be assigned to help beautify the campus with McCauley. French said his mentorship, life lessons and friendship changed the lives of countless youth dealing with life’s obstacles. “His persistent, big-hearted love and unwillingness to give up on any student allowed Mr. McCauley to get near several difficult young men and women to push them to get along with teachers and peers, and to put real effort into the schoolwork,” French said. “His lessons prepared these students for life after school, filling them with solid common sense and a value for right and wrong. Many students earned their diplomas in large part due to Mr. McCauley.” Co-workers, teachers and students alike praised McCauley’s ability to

connect with students and his refusal to ever give up on them. Science teacher Chris Collins said McCauley taught lessons to students that nobody else could or would. “When I am asked who is the greatest teacher I ever met, I do not need time to assess the relative merits of the teachers I have come into contact with. My answer is Terry McCauley,” Collins said. “Terry has been an agent of inspiration and change for countless young people.”

Quick action by members saves newborn’s life


he swift action of two San Diego Unified School District classified employees saved the life of a 19-day-old newborn late last year. Two classified employees from Baker Elementary School—Mayra Torres, member of San Diego Paraeducators Chapter 759, and Vicky Piña, member of San Diego OTBS Chapter 788—were just starting their



day when a parent rushed into the school office asking for help. The parent said her newborn baby had stopped breathing. Torres and Piña rushed to help the baby and quickly administered CPR. Their quick action saved the newborn’s life. Torres and Piña were recognized as heroes during a school board meeting.

Mayra Torres and Vicky Piña saved a baby’s life.

Bus driver’s huge heart diffuses situation B

Gracie Contreras received kudos for her actions.

us driver Gracie Contreras, a member of Bonita Chapter 21, deviated from her normal route schedule to make a difference in the life of a young woman. Contreras was driving her normal route and stopped at a school to pick up a student who participates in a program for at-risk adolescent girls. When she stopped the bus, it was immediately apparent that something was wrong with the student, who refused to board the bus. Contreras exited the bus, approached the distraught student

and did what any caring person would have done at that moment—she hugged her. The student immediately burst into tears, and Contreras held her while calmly talking with her. After the long hug and short conversation, the student felt better and was willing to get on the bus. “We are certainly fortunate to have Gracie as our driver to work with our kids who need that special kind of attention from every adult they come into contact with,” said Christine Black, continuation school principal. “Our district is fortunate to have her serving our students!”

Library clerk celebrates 50 years at Riverside City College Celebrating a Golden Anniversary of anything Barbara is quite an Van Tomme accomplishment. For library clerk Barbara Van Tomme, that accomplishment is serving the students of Riverside City College for 50 years. A member of Riverside Community College Chapter 535, Van Tomme began her career at the college in 1964 as a student worker. She was permanently hired

in 1966. During her time at the college, she has worked in four different libraries and seen technology take the library from buildings full of books to the multimedia resource centers they are today.

“What an amazing accomplishment to serve the students of Riverside for 50 years.” Van Tomme spent part of her career preparing overdue book notices and

placing magazine orders using a manual typewriter and carbon paper. She currently works in the college’s digital library and learning resources center. Barbara Van Tomme (front row center, “What an light blue dress) pictured here in 1966. amazing accomAssociation President Ben plishment to serve the Valdepeña. “Please join me students of Riverside for in congratulating Barbara 50 years. And how lucky Van Tomme on her Golden the college is to have Anniversary with Riverside such an experienced and City College.” dedicated employee,” said

January/February 2017


Developing leaders at CSEA’s Community Leadership Academy Multi-day training gives members tools to serve in elected and appointed office by Julian Peeples


pplications are currently available for CSEA’s Community Leadership Academy, a multi-day training program that helps CSEA members who are looking to take on leadership roles in their local communities.

“Running for office can be an intimidating and overwhelming process, but the academy provided me with all the right tools and resources necessary to win an election.”

Don Davis Photography

The Community Leadership Academy is a rigorous, five-day training that develops a broad range of skills, including effective public speaking, how to run a political campaign and how to interact effectively with the media. Participants are educated



on the nuts and bolts of running for elected or appointed office, from early planning through a successful election. Association President Ben Valdepeña said the academy is a must for any member looking to take on a leadership role in their community. “The Community Leadership Academy develops the skills needed to ascend to leadership roles in elected office, like school board and city council, and appointed office, such as city and county commissions or school district bond oversight committees,” he said. “From the basics of being able to explain why you are seeking a leadership role to charting a path to victory on Election Day, the academy gives members the real deal on everything needed for a successful experience.” The academy will be held this spring, covering the different phases of a winning campaign— how to establish a vote goal, targeting voters to determine where to allocate limited resources, building a compelling narrative about you and your campaign, and assem-

bling a solid campaign team that will help carry out a winning strategy. Isabel Barreras, a member of Madera Unified Chapter 169, attended the academy prior to running a successful campaign for a seat on the State Center Community College Board of Trustees. She said that the skills she learned at the Community Leadership Academy were invaluable during her campaign. “Running for office can be an intimidating and overwhelming process, but the academy provided me with all the right tools and resources necessary to win an election,” Barreras said. “It prepared me for an amazing opportunity to be a public servant in my community.” Barreras said the academy developed her skills in a variety of areas— the art of public speaking, building a network of supporters and endorsements, interacting with the press, targeting voters for precinct walks and phone banks, and navigating the often-complex legal requirements of complying with the Fair Political Practices Commission. These skills and resources have also been of great use outside of her political life as well. After serving the community on the college board, Barreras joined the

board of directors of the Foundation for California Community Colleges. “The Community Leadership Academy provided me with life learning experiences. It prepared me to lead and inspire others,” she said. “It taught me to be a leader who leads with integrity, transparency, ethics and confidence. I’m very passionate about the opportunities the academy afforded me.” David Johnson, Newport-Mesa Chapter 18 president, attended the academy last year before mounting a campaign for Saddleback Valley Unified School District’s Board of Education. While Johnson fell just short of winning election, he said the academy helped prepare him for the campaign. “The Community Leadership Academy gave me a well-rounded exposure to what a run for public office entails—a little of everything on running my campaign

“The Community Leadership Academy gave me a well-rounded exposure to what a run for public office entails.” “That elevator speech turns out to be really important because you need to have something to say to a lot of different people in a very short amount of time,” Johnson said. “With practice, I was able to anticipate common questions and come up with well-developed answers.” Barreras encourages any member considering making a run for elected office or other leadership position to apply for the Community Leadership Academy. “The academy is a first-class training that will provide members with the confidence and the right tools to get appointed or win election,”

Kohjiro Kinno

and an emphasis on developing my message,” Johnson said. “It builds your confidence and helps you start making ever-important connections with fellow members, CSEA staff and community stakeholders.” Johnson said what he found most helpful from the academy was learning how to develop a message that reflected his values and vision, and resonated with voters. He noted that learning how to create an “elevator speech”— being able to convey your experience, priorities and vision in 15-second bursts—was immensely helpful.

she said. “Thank you to CSEA for creating a pipeline of future leaders who will advocate and fight to protect the rights of all classified employees and their families.” CSEA Second Vice President Delores Burke encourages members to take advantage of this amazing training opportunity. “When we have one of our own in public office they know the importance of who we are and what we do,” she said. “If you know of any CSEA member that is interested in public office, encourage them to apply for this great training.”


Leadership Academy The Community Leadership Academy will be held April 19–23. Applications are due by March 17. For more information about the academy or to obtain an application, call Nancy Hurd at (800) 632-2128, ext. 1210, or email January/February 2017


Celebrating 20 years of the Paraeducator Conference

Register today for one of CSEA’s most popular events


ior intervention, ADHD, mental health for paraeducators, reporting child abuse and using assistive technology. This year’s added offerings include techniques to help students with mathematics and music-centered learning.

“I enjoyed and learned new information that I will be taking and sharing with members in my chapter.” Dale Sorenson, Area F Director and paraeducator with Silver Valley Chapter 374, said the Pareducator Conference is so popular every year because it provides helpful development opportunities, the newest educational techniques, and opportunities to network and share information with Photo by Steven Lira

or 20 years, the California Paraeducator Conference has helped paraeducators across the state find the resources and develop the skills to best help students reach their full potential. Held in conjunction with the California Department of Education, this exciting and popular conference will take place March 14–16 at the Ontario Convention Center and is open to all classified employees, with a special focus on paraeducators. Pre-register by March 1 to secure your spot and the lowest-cost conference fees! Last year, more than 700 paraeducators and other school employees attended the conference to learn a variety of new skills and information, including workshops on autism and Asperger Syndrome, cognitive behav-

The Paraeducator Conference is an amazing opportunity to network with fellow paraeducators.



by Julian Peeples

paraeducators from across California. “The Paraeducator Conference is by far the best way to receive the training and education paraeducators want and need,” said Sorenson, a member of the Para Conference Committee. “We provide the best trainers we can find to educate attendees on the many different environments in which they work. If you’re debating whether to attend, the answer is yes. It is a win-win-win for you, the district and, most importantly, the students that you serve.” Attendees will attest that the Paraeducator Conference is one event that definitely lives up to the hype. Daniel Gonzalez, a paraeducator from Chaffey High Chapter 210, attended the event for the first time last year and couldn’t wait to share what he had learned with his colleagues. “I anticipated this conference was going to be educational and informative but after the first session, I began to feel invigorated and realized this was much more than just information and data,” he said. “Now that the conference is coming to an end, these three days have been food for thought and sustenance for the soul. It will be exciting to try to take this feeling of helpfulness back to the classroom to continue to engage with our students and staff in a more positive manner.” First-time attendee Denise Ingham, a special education paraeducator with

“The Paraeducator Conference is by far the best way to receive the training and education paraeducators want and need.” District administrators know the value of the Paraeducator Conference to their staff and students. The Elk Grove Unified School District, which is just outside Sacramento, sent 62 paraeducators to Ontario for the

conference. Superintendent Chris Hoffman said the Paraeducator Conference provides professional development that helps paraeducators make connections with students in need. “A paraeducator’s job can be very challenging and stressful,” he said. “The Paraeducator Conference teaches paraeducators about self-care and helps attendees create a support network with their colleagues from throughout California.” There are a variety of funding sources available for districts to send paraeducators to the conference, including General Title I professional development funds, Title II(a), Title

Photo by Brian Baer

Mt. Diablo Chapter 43, said the Para Conference was an amazing experience. “I enjoyed and learned new information that I will be taking and sharing with members in my chapter,” she said. “I especially enjoyed networking with other paraeducators and helping members connect more with CSEA as their union.”

III(a), SB 590 and 2016-17 Budget Act funds. Housing blocks with special discounted rates have been reserved at a number of area hotels. The deadline to secure these special rates is Feb. 20. A list of hotels, as well as more information about the Paraeducator Conference, is available at

Join us in Ontario! WHAT: 20th Annual Paraeducator Conference WHEN: March 14–16, 2017 WHERE: Ontario Convention Center COST: $109 plus housing (starting at $99 a night)

Conference Keynote Roni Habib—an expert in helping educators become more mindful, connected and playful. Roni will share the power of integrating mindfulness, emotional intelligence and positive psychology in your life.

Conference Schedule Tuesday, March 14 (Registration opens at 8:00 a.m.) 10:30 a.m.–Noon General Session 1:30 – 4:50 p.m. Workshops

Wednesday, March 15 8:30 –11:50 a.m. Workshops 1:30 – 4:50 p.m. Workshops 5:15 – 6:45 p.m. Workshops

Thursday, March 16 8:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. Workshops 11:30 a.m. –12:00 p.m. Closing Session

Scheduled classes to include:*

• Behavior 101 • Cognitive Behavior Intervention • Dealing w/Difficult Behaviors/ Could it be Communication?

• Juvenile Justice Students • Positive Psychology and Mindfulness

• Recognizing and Responding to Student Depression

• Understanding Anxiety in Students with Autism

*And many more still in the planning stages! January/February 2017



How to Get CSEA Discounts and Benefits Ticket sales are available at all three Member Service Centers, located at CSEA Headquarters and the Fresno and Rancho Cucamonga field offices. The

Shop for Home or Auto Insurance

and Get a $10 CSEA Store Gift Certificate or a Starbucks Gift Card FREE

When You Request a FREE Quote From UIP!* UIP has been saving CSEA members an average of $421 when switching their auto insurance to UIP. Contact us now to see how much you can save.

Se Habla Español

Chapter/Number _______________________________________________________

service centers are open Monday through Friday  from

Name ________________________________________________________________

8:15 a.m. to  4:45 p.m. Members’ personal checks are

Address _______________________________________________________________

accepted up to $150—over $150 requires a money order or cashier’s check. Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover cards are welcome. Cash is not

City __________________________ State_____________ Zip __________________ Phone # ( ____ ) ________________ Email___________________________________ Please provide a FREE quote on my current  Home  Auto  RV/Motorcycle  Renters  I have enclosed a copy of my current insurance policy.* Complete and return to: United Insurance Partners, 301 E. Colorado Blvd., Suite 200, Pasadena, CA 91101 Or go online:

accepted. Remember, the most convenient method

Every quote you and/or a family member requests will earn your chapter an opportunity to earn $1,000 reward! Call or return the form for a FREE Quote.*

to purchase tickets is through the CSEA store at

(800) 707-2360, or by phone with your credit card at (866) ITS-CSEA (487-2732).



Ask for Armando, Shirley or Jose between 8am and 5pm.


CA Lic. # 0252636

*You must provide a copy of your current insurance coverage to UIP to be eligible. Limited to one $10 CSEA store gift certificate or one Starbucks gift card per household. Promotion is subject to change at any time. Insurance products offered by United Agencies and its affiliates including United Insurance Partners Insurance Services, LLC. Certain restrictions apply. CA Ins. Lic. #0252636.

Statement of Intent

Election notice for Association office The CSEA Board of Directors consists of five association officers and 10 area directors, each of whom is democratically elected by CSEA members. The association officers are elected by members at the annual conference. All board members are volunteers who work regular classified jobs. Only the association president is granted full release time from his/her classified job. The association officers, including the president, first vice president, second vice president and secretary, serve two-year terms with a two-term limit. The Board of Directors holds monthly meetings (except August), which are open to all CSEA members. Locations, minutes and agendas of board meetings are available at To qualify for association office, candidates must have been active members in good standing since Aug. 1, 2016. Please use the Statement of Intent form to the right and on the next page, which has more detailed instructions. The Statement of Intent can also be found at



To be eligible for election, this statement with original signature (no copies) MUST be in the hands of the Association Secretary prior to the first business meeting at the 2017 Conference. If mailed prior to the Conference, the statement must be mailed directly to the Association Secretary, addressed as printed below. To ensure its arrival, send by CERTIFIED mail, return receipt requested. Statements of Intent received after the opening gavel of the first business meeting will be automatically disqualified. Failure to provide all requested information or mailing to any address other than printed hereon may result in disqualification.

Ms. Kerry Woods Association Secretary, CSEA 2045 Lundy Avenue San Jose, CA 95131 Dear Madame Secretary:

In accordance with the provisions of Article IV of the Constitution of the California School Employees Association, I hereby indicate my intention of seeking election to the office of: (check the appropriate box)

o Association President o Association Second Vice President o Association First Vice President o Association Secretary I hereby certify the following required information is true and correct: 1. _________________________________________________________________ (First Name) (Last Name) 2. Home Address: __________________________________________________ (Street or P.O. Box)


(Zip Code)

3. CSEA ID # ____________________ Home Phone (____)______________ OR Social Security # _______________ Work Phone (____)______________ 4. I am a member in good standing of: _________________________________

(CSEA Chapter Name and Number)

5.Employed by: ____________________________________________________

(School/Community College District; COE; County/City Employer; Other)

6. List any periods (months) of UNPAID status with your employer since August 1, 2016, with explanation. (Note: You need not include summer break if your regular employment is for 10 or 11 months only.) ____________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________    o No periods of unpaid status since August 1, 2016. 7. ________________________________________________________________ (Your Signature) (Date) (Please Complete Candidate Biographical Information, next page)

January/February 2017



Statement of Intent (continued)



Note: Providing this information is entirely optional on your part, and is not necessary to certify you as a qualified candidate. However, if your Statement of Intent and this biographical information are received by the Association Secretary by March 1, 2017, this information will be forwarded to chapter presidents so that chapter members can be informed of each candidate’s qualifications. Should you choose not to submit any biographical data, the published materials sent to chapters will contain only your name, your chapter and region, and a statement indicating “biographical information not provided.” It is, therefore, in your best interest to submit the information. Please read the “Important Information” note below. Provide a brief statement, not more than 150 words (and/or numerals) in length, relating what personal qualifications, abilities, and experience you will bring to the position, including any State-level, Regional, Chapter, and/ or community service. Please do not exceed the 150 word limit.

Important Information: Candidates whose Statement of Intent and accompanying biographical information are received by the Association Secretary by the March 1 deadline as specified in Policy 205 will have their biographical information printed and distributed to all chapters via a General Information Bulletin prior to the Conference. All intended candidates are also entitled to submit “copy ready” campaign advertisements for publication free of charge in the official publication. Refer to Policy 307.4. Contact the Editor for submission deadlines and other criteria. Intended candidates who fail to meet the above deadlines will have waived their right to pre-Conference publication of their candidacies.




Members come together when tragedy hits W

hile our first relief efforts to help thousands of members impacted by floods were in 1986, it was 10 years later that massive flooding in Northern California and the Central Valley that CSEA united to help our own in an extreme time of need. The New Year’s floods resulted from massive El Niño storms that flooded neighborhoods and swelled waterways until their levees burst. Cities including Yuba City, Marysville and Olivehurst suffered major damage, and thousands of residents were evacuated. CSEA member leaders and staff visited evacuation centers to find members and issue assistance checks. Other members helped with the overall flood relief effort. Yuba City Unified bus drivers relocated

inmates from low-lying jails and rescued elderly residents of senior living facilities. “Three of our drivers worked 38 hours straight,” said John Edwards, then-Yuba City Chapter 265 president. As mandatory evacuations were ordered, school food services workers were tapped by local officials to help prepare meals for scared and tired evacuees. Linda Baker, then a Yuba City cafeteria manager, estimated that she and fellow members prepared more than 3,600 meals in a single day. This is just another story of CSEA members helping not only our own members but our communities when the need arises. See Page 4 in this issue for more on Have-a-Heart Month and how to support the Dorothy Bjork Assistance Fund.

Area/Alternate Area Director Candidate Advertisements Marc Gonzalez for Area C Director

Don Snyder for Area I Director

Over the past two years, I have had the privilege of serving as the Area C Director. It has been an enlightening experience to say the least. Area C has seen 3 Members of the Year, and one Champions of Change at the national level. During my tenure as Area Director, I have served on the Policy, Procedure and Review Committee. On the PPRC, we are tasked with updating and reviewing Board policy. As policy is an important part of an Area Director’s job, this has been an educational experience. A vote for Marc Gonzalez for Area C Director means a vote for Confidence, Commitment, Compassion and most of all, experience.

I am seeking the support of the members of Area I to continue as your Area Director. I currently serve as the Chair of the Building Committee, a member of the Policy and Procedures Review Committee, the Board Handbook Committee, the CLF/AFL-CIO Delegate/Alternate Selection Committee and the Charter Schools Taskforce. I plan to continue working on behalf of all the members of Area I. I believe we have come a long way the past couple of years, but there is still work to be done. As your Board member, I will continue to be the voice for all of you at the State Level. January/February 2017


California School Employees Association AFL-CIO

Periodicals Postage


2045 Lundy Avenue San Jose, CA 95131


CSEA finds solution for Disneyland tickets Although Disneyland ended all discounted ticket sales through organizations such as CSEA, AAA, and Costco as of Sept. 15, 2016, CSEA has found a solution for members. We are able to provide discounted Disneyland tickets sales through our trusted vacation planning partner, Get Away Today. We have worked with Get Away Today for many years and are pleased they are able to provide a solution for our members. See below for details.

New year, new prices The new year has brought price changes for some amusements and attractions. Please check for current pricing.

Get Away Today and CSEA have teamed up to bring you exclusive savings to the DisneylandÂŽ Resort! Whether you need just theme park tickets or the whole package, Get Away Today is your discount DisneylandÂŽ Resort provider!

Book online at or call 855-GET-AWAY and mention CSEA when booking to access member only exclusive pricing.

Jan feb focus 2017  
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