What I Love About Winning Design - Auguste Ciorra, Wells High School Teacher - Mrs. Knight
VOLUME 81, NUMBER 6
Strong. Stable. Solid.
From the MEA Executive Director, Rachelle Johnson
Thank an Educator
Preparing for LIFE
We Are MEA
What I Love About Maine Cover Contest
Who is the MEABT?
Professional Development for Members
How Long Have You Been Teaching in the Profession?
Advocating for Policies to Support Schools, Students and Our Members
Quotes and Numbers
Read Across America Recommended Books - June 2021: Promote Respect
MEA 93rd Representative Assembly
MEA Pre-Retirement Seminars
Why Work Together?
The latest information from around the state to inform and support A message from your MEA President, Grace Leavitt
Perspective from Maine Educator Editor, Giovanna Bechard highlighting key articles in the current issue
FEATURES Thank an Educator MEA launched a Thank an Educator campaign to highlight the work you're all doing, and help the public understand why we all need to THANK our educators.
Preparing for LIFE From Nutrition to Health, Vicki Lee knows how to teach life skills and she's being honored for her work.
What I Love About Maine Cover Contest MEA's annual art contest showcases some outstanding work from our public school students. Inside are the finalists!
MEA 93rd Representative Assembly MEA's annual representative assembly set the course for the work of the Union going forward. Learn the changes, see who won MEA's awards, and read the vision for the future.
June 2021 • www.maineea.org
55% School Funding, FINALLY
Governor Mills followed through on her promise to Maine’s educators and voters and proposed the State fund 55% of the cost of public schools. In total, the proposal from the Governor would increase State funding for public schools by $187 million over the next two school years, including setting sufficient funding aside to maintain the 55% commitment for the 2022-2023 school year. For more than 15 years, the MEA has forcefully advocated for 55% State funding for public schools, as voters mandated in 2004 and again in 2016. MEA advocated, collected signatures, spoke with voters, and helped pass these important ballot initiatives, only to see them delayed and even repealed by some members of our Legislature and our previous Governor. The proposal from Governor Mills is the first time a Governor has proposed full 55% State funding for schools, which will not only help local schools but also help alleviate the pressure on property taxes.
MEA Members Selected as County Teachers of the Year Congratulations to all the teachers named County Teachers of the Year, including the following MEA members:
• Jessica Harvey (RSU 16 EA) • Paige Fournier (Coastal EA) • Michelle Laliberte (Rangeley TA) • Sarah Doremus (Sedwick EA) • Patti Forster (Megunticook TA (SAD 28)) • Bill Hinkley (Medomak EA) • Melissa Guerrette (Oxford Hills EA (SAD 17)) • Lisa Martell (SAD 04 TA) • Lianna Fenimore (Merrymeeting TA (SAD 75) • Hillary Hoyt (TRI – 22 EA) As part of the Maine Teacher of the Year Program, hundreds of teachers across Maine are nominated by a member of their school community. Through a rigorous application process, one teacher from each county is selected as the County Teacher of the Year by a panel of teachers, principals, and business community members within the county.
Discounted Online Courses Through a partnership with Virtual Education Software (VESi) and the University of Maine at Presque Isle, the MEA is pleased to offer an annual subscription program which gives members access to continuing education courses at a significant savings. This is a members-only exclusive offer that saves you up to $615 a year. Choose from over 30 online courses for re-certification/authorization renewal, with the opportunity to earn up to 13.5 CEUs over the course of the year. Courses range in topics from behavior management to educational assessment to language acquisition for English Language Learners and more. Learn online at your own pace from the convenience of your home. FMI: maineea.org. 4
Maine Educator • June 2021
Success in Aroostook County All leaders in Aroostook County are to be commended for their extraordinary work in very trying circumstances. Below is a small sample of how ESSER/pandemic-related funds helped educators and schools. SAD 1 (Presque Isle) – Association advocacy resulted in a $2,362.50 payment this spring for each teacher from ESSER monies to compensate for the extra work associated with having a remote workload on top of a full in-person schedule. This payment was in addition to $1,200 per teacher negotiated by the Association at the beginning of the school year and an additional $31.50 for five hours per week for each teacher that was paid between mid-October and the end of December. SAD 33 (Frenchville) – Association persistence paid off in every employee receiving the amount of one week’s pay as additional compensation from ESSER funds for additional work this year associated with the pandemic. RSU 29 (Houlton) – Every employee received the amount of one week’s pay as additional compensation from ESSER funds for additional work this year associated with the pandemic. SAD 70 (Hodgdon) – Teachers have received up to 10 hours of additional pay per week at $23 an hour for extra work related to remote learning students. Still, teachers were facing burnout with the extra work and Association advocacy resulted in two remote-only staff being hired in January that teachers had the option to transition their remoteonly students to.
June 2021 I am beginning to write this letter the morning of our 93rd—and 2nd Virtual—Maine Education Association Representative Assembly. Yes, 2nd Virtual. A year ago, I don’t think any of us thought there would be a second virtual RA! But then, a year ago, we were likely still not fully realizing just what we were dealing with. I remember with crystal clarity sitting at a meeting in early March 2020 with school district administrators from across the state, gathered—not masked, not socially distanced—at the Augusta Civic Center, hearing the Maine Department of Education officials urge administrators to go back to their districts and have all teachers draw up two weeks’ worth of contingency lesson plans. I remember talking with MEA Committee members the next Saturday—when committees last met in person— and hearing them say how there was no way to just come up with good ‘contingency plans’ for two weeks of lessons, and me trying to reassure them to keep them general, not specific, do what you could even if you knew it wasn’t your best. And now, here we are, the past fifteen months and all that has happened is behind us—still not knowing what tomorrow, next week, next month—or September—will bring, and what it will mean for us, for our families, for our students. But despite the continuing chronic uncertainty, here is what we do know and what we have learned, or have reaffirmed, during these mostchallenging-of-all-time months. We know just how important relationships are in our work with students and with one another. We know how vitally important our public schools--and the dedicated individuals who work in them!—are to our communities, to our state, to our nation--not only to our economy but also to the health— physical, emotional, and mental--of all of us.
We have learned the importance of a child’s eyes, when the smile or frown is hidden by a face covering. We know there are inequities and opportunity gaps affecting far too many in our communities—inequities and gaps that we absolutely must address—we know they cannot and must not be pushed aside or ignored any longer. We know that we need to recruit more great people like you all to our professions, to diversify our ranks, and we must do more to sustain our educators so they are rewarded in all ways for the very important work they do. I’m sure you can add to the list of what we now know, of what we have realized or reaffirmed or learned. Bottom line—You did it! You carried on in the face of the most remarkable challenges. Now it is time to reflect, to remember what you love about being an educator--whatever your role is in our students’ lives—and to be reenergized by it. It’s time to relax and to renew and to recharge your batteries. We don’t know what is coming next, but we do know that together, we can handle whatever it is, and we will get through it together. Stay well, stay strong, and stay in touch!
We have learned, if we didn’t all quite realize it already, how valuable time together with family and friends is. We have learned how powerful collaboration and good communication are in doing good work. We have learned that self-care is not selfish; it is critical to not only our own well-being, but to the well-being of those we care for.
Grace Leavitt, President Maine Education Association 888-622-4418 x 2200
We have learned that we can be more resilient than we ever imagined, and we can help our students be resilient, too. We have learned that together, we can (and we did) accomplish amazing feats! June 2021 • www.maineea.org
Strong. Stable. Solid.
within our means, and we have managed dues dollars well and have invested wisely so MEA is positioned to take advantage of opportunities in the future. Second, our membership base is strong and growing. We have grown by over 750 members in the last 5 years, with an increase of over 120 members this year alone. We are one of a small handful of states in the NEA family who are growing during Covid, in large part to the timely response MEA had to the needs of our members during this pandemic. MEA has participated in NEA’s early enrollment program for the last 3 years which has helped contribute to that continued growth in numbers. Third, MEA has a solid infrastructure which highlights the partnership between the staff and governance sides of the organization. This teamwork has been important to help move the organization’s priority goals and core values forward. The MEA staff are dedicated to the members and committed to public education. The MEA Board of Directors regularly engages in tough conversations about the direction of the union and the challenges we are currently experiencing and those ahead.
So, what next?
MEA Executive Director Rachelle Johnson & MEA President Grace Leavitt
On May 22 & 23, MEA held its second virtual Representative Assembly because of ongoing Covid-19 restrictions. Over 100 delegates joined us to celebrate with a theme of “Spring Forward Together” which was appropriate given new positive developments on the pandemic front. While we still must be mindful about how we proceed in these changing times, it is a relief to know that the world is emerging from the pandemic and moving forward towards something a little more “normal.” As your Executive Director, I was fortunate enough to provide some remarks to the delegates about my observations about MEA and our future. Given my diverse work experience in the NEA family, I can honestly say that MEA is strong, stable, and solid. We have weathered many storms (not all weather-related) and have dealt with many challenges (elections, global pandemic, etc.) over the last decade that have forced us to be resilient as an entity and membership.
Even with all those characteristics, to remain relevant, any organization must continue to evolve and evaluate how and why they are doing what they are doing. To continue to grow, we must do the same. I have continually asked the following questions. Are we using our resources – dollars, time, energy, people – in the right ways for the right goals in the right amounts to move the union’s mission forward? Are we engaging potential members in the right ways, using the right communication tools? How can we be more inclusive so that all folks in the education profession at any point in their careers, in any aspect of public education see themselves and see a space to participate in their union? To help us answer those questions, MEA is engaging with our members and potential members in multiple ways to gather the information we need to make sound decisions on how best to evolve our strong, stable, and solid organization so that we continue to meet the needs of our members and public education. We are also developing new communication tools to be responsive to the changing needs of new and current members alike. It is this analysis and responsiveness that will guarantee MEA’s viability and longevity for many years to come. As I said to the RA delegates, it is an exciting time to be part of MEA. As we “Spring Forward Together,” let’s invite others to join us so we can continue to be strong, stable and solid. Stay safe and well.
So why do I say we are strong, stable, and solid? Three reasons. First, MEA is financially stable. Our finances are well managed, and we have had and have strong fiduciaries at the helm on both the staff and leadership teams. MEA has solid fiscally responsible accounting principles in place which result in clean audits. The organization maintains a balanced budget approach to insure we are operating 6
Maine Educator • June 2021
Rachelle Johnson MEA Executive Director
Allison Richards Second Grade Teacher Talbot Elementary School MEA member
MEA Launches Campaign Highlighting Work During Pandemic This school year has been challenging for everyone, including public school educators. But day after day, we've seen our teachers, support staff and professors respond with creativity, grit, grace and - above all else - an unwavering commitment to their students. At MEA, we support our educators so they can inspire their students - and we couldn't be prouder of you! MEA launched a "Thank an Educator" campaign to help the general public better understand the work being done inside our schools to help support student learning. The campaign featured two members in two video stories giving people a deeper look into all that goes into a single school day. The videos appeared on TV and across digital platforms, including social media and streaming TV providers. The campaign included a contest asking Mainers to nominate someone they wanted to give an extra “thank you” to with that educator’s name entered to win a gift package from MEA. The response was overwhelming, with hundreds of submissions from parents, colleagues and even students all highlighting how much people really do appreciate the work you do! Here are just a small sample of the entries.
June 2021 • www.maineea.org
Meghan Goulette 4th Grade Teacher Turned into Technology Teacher Vickery Elementary School Pittsfield Mrs. Goulette has gone above and beyond this year! At the start of the year, she was a 4th grade teacher on my teaching team. She worked very hard helping our team integrate technology into our In Person Lessons along with our Home Learning Lessons. She also worked hard helping her class of students adjust to this difficult year of school. When she moved into the role of Technology Teacher (and left her role as 4th grade teacher) she supported every teacher in our school in a similar way. She started teaching technology lessons to all students on a weekly basis. She helped students with technology tips that improved their computer literacy and lowered their frustration. She stays late and takes work home almost every night to make sure that no teacher or student question goes unanswered. She has been vital to our survival as a school this year!
Dennis McGrath Teacher/Coach Brewer Community School Brewer Mr. McGrath is a leader and supporter of all children in all grades at Brewer Community School. He steps in and helps kids all year long, including the summers. He is also a coach for basketball and baseball and builds the kids' spirits to believe that they can and should! Even beyond their classroom and on into High School, he will mentor and keep in contact with the students and helps them believe in themselves, to work hard and achieve their goals. He is strict with his expectations but also knows how to have fun. His classroom is not like an ordinary classroom-peppered with lots of memorabilia that he has collected over the years and the students are in awe when they enter the 4 walls of his classroom. Additionally, he teaches them about basic skills in life including helping others. Each year, his classroom works hard at raising money and groceries to feed thousands of families in need during the holiday season. He impacts their lives every day from the classroom and beyond.
Cheryl Martin Kindergarten Teacher George J. Mitchell School Waterville Mrs. Martin is a caring and dedicated teacher, not only has she helped my child succeed academically. She also cares deeply about her students as people! If they wear snow pants to recess, so does she - and is the first to hop into the snow during recess. Her kids work hard for her because they feel connected and seen.
Maine Educator • June 2021
Emily Rumble English Teacher Marshwood High School South Berwick The reason why Ms. Rumble deserves to be recognized because she is always spreading positive energy. Throughout my sophomore year Ms. Rumble has proven to be the most enthusiastic teacher I have ever met. She is always respectful, kind, generous, and upbeat every day when I come to class. She comes in everyday with a positive attitude and is always ready to help her students be successful. She makes the classroom environment stress-free where everyone has equal opportunity to learn. I also know that I can always trust her whether it be school related or personal, I know that she is someone I can go to in times of need. She deserves to be recognized for all the hard work she has put into the community. Thank you for everything you have done this year and I hope that you get recognized for your hard work.
Jason McDermott Custodian Pleasant Hill School Scarborough Jason is one of those special people that you are blessed to have work with you. His attention to detail maintains a safe and meticulously clean environment. Our school literally sparkles, not only with his cleaning but with his positive attitude. He warmly greets students and staff. He sees what needs to be done and jumps in without even being asked. This includes student needs, teachers, food service, and all. He mentors students with activities like gathering recyclables. If a staff member asks for anything it is done gladly and efficiently. I know my colleagues and students feel the same. He is over the top and deserves to be recognized.
Katrina Barter School Nurse Morse High School Bath Katrina has led the RSU in all summer meetings with administration, was on an ongoing team to bring us the latest information from the RSU and the CDC, continuously make changes in policies, and keep everyone informed and up to date. She did all this while caring for her entire flock of students, doing her regular job, and NEVER complaining. She shared information in a timely manner with all other nurses in the RSU and truly helped us all to be safe and to return to school.
“When they first closed the schools I actually came over just to clean this kitchen out…I saw the students and I almost burst into tears because these are my kids.” Lisa Riley Food Service Director Kaler Elementary School MEA member
Alexis Thomas 3rd Grade Teacher Sea Road School Kennebunk
Mrs. Thomas was our son's 3rd grade teacher, and we are now lucky to have her again with our daughter. Mrs. Thomas deserves a huge "thank you" as she is not only a fabulous teacher, but she really "gets" the students in her classroom. She knows who they are as little human beings, and nurtures their interests, passions and areas of need so that they will love school and learning. She is simply an amazing educator!
Madison Leach Kindergarten Teacher Fort Fairfield Elementary MSAD #20 Madison is finishing up her second year of teaching and has yet to teach a "normal" year of school. Her youth and tech knowledge has kept our kindergarten team rocking and rolling since the pandemic started. Her students love her and so do her colleagues. She has a unique passion for teaching and for the success of her students. While she certainly has all the knowledge and ability she needs, she does seek advice and resources to make her an even better teacher. It makes us old dogs happy to have a young teacher on our team who enjoys collaborating and sharing ideas... and we have needed lots of that in these unusual times! Madison deserves recognition for beginning her career in a pandemic and sticking it out even when times are tough!
In addition to TV and digital ads, the MEA launched a yard sign component to the campaign, creating a buzz in communities around the state. The signs, which were free to order online, gave people the opportunity to publicly thank the educator of their choice by writing their name and school on the sign and then place the sign on their lawn or public grass in their community.
Tell an Educator Thank You! Visit thankyou.maineea.org to order a free lawn sign or print a thank you card. June 2021 • www.maineea.org
L I F E Biddeford TA Member Named Consumer Science Teacher of the Year
“Vicki rose to the challenge and has made coming to this new school an easy transition and a positive experience.”
Practical skills for daily life are the focus of Vicki Lee’s Family and Consumer Sciences classes at Biddeford Middle School. The Biddeford Unified Arts classes have been so popular with students that enrollment was full during the previous school year. On top of Family and Consumer Science, Lee took on the task of offering Health class as well, and now due to her determination and creativity, Lee has been named the 2021 Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher of the Year by the Maine Association of Family and Consumer Sciences. “I was surprised to receive the award. We had a school-wide Zoom meeting during lunch, and it was great to have the reaction of students who reached out to me after the ceremony to congratulate me. The recognition from my peers is wonderful, but the reaction from students was priceless,” said Lee.
Maine Educator • June 2021
even getting the first paycheck! So many adults have told me how much they wish that schools had "home economics" and "shop" classes still and are happy to hear that some districts still have these types of programs,” added Lee. Lee is continually working to educate herself so she can be a better teacher. She recently completed the Master Food Preserver and Master Gardeners certification through the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and is incorporating lessons from those programs into her curriculum at school: food safety, gardening and using fresh, local ingredients when preparing food.
Lee hasn’t been able to teach in her food/kitchen and sewing lab this year due to COVID-19. Having students sharing food and in close contact wasn’t considered safe, so Lee has taught Health for the full year, adapting with grace. “She loves teaching and it shows in all her projects and adventures. She has a way of making you feel you were a kid again in her class,” said Patricia, a colleague. With the shift this year, Lee focused on Nutrition, and encouraging students to look forward to eating healthy foods but admits both she and her students are looking forward to getting back into those labs. “Many of this year's 8th graders have been my students for three years, and we talk about "remember when we made French toast.”” Still, Lee manages to engage her middle schoolers, keeping her website active for them to look at recipes, including healthy smoothies and oven roasted vegetables. ‘She engages our kids through hands on relevant learning cooking and baking, and through that- making healthy choices. She maintains a positive attitude, and cares about every one of our kids,” said Elizabeth a colleague. The Association of Family and Consumer Sciences noted Vicki’s work in advancing the field and helping students realize the real-life skills they are learning, which extend into the community as well.
Lee came into teacher after 25 years as an office manager in the private sector and academia. She’s proof education is a life-long journey, and her journey is changing the lives of students, and making them more prepared to be adults, finding joy when she hears a student say: "I still have the pillow we made in 6th grade.”
"She loves teaching and it shows in all her projects and adventures. she has a way of making you feel you were a kid again in her class."
“I think it is so important to teach middle school kids "life" skills. In addition to cooking and basic sewing skills, I also teach a unit on Financial Literacy in 8th grade, both in FCS and Health. Learning to budget and make good financial choices are lessons that many adults seek out. Having that basic information is important to have before
June 2021 • www.maineea.org
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M.Ed. Programs Available in: • Curriculum Assessment and Instruction • Instructional Technology • Special Education • Educational Leadership
Contact an advisor today to get started 207.581.5858 | firstname.lastname@example.org | online.umaine.edu 12
Maine Educator • June 2021 The University of Maine is an equal opportunity / affirmative action institution.
Custodian of the Year Finalist
Lewiston Education Association
Lewiston Education Association receives award from Lewiston City Council The Lewiston City Council selected the Lewiston Education Association as its 2021 Spirit of America award winner!
Congratulations to Donna Colello, head custodian at Ocean Avenue Elementary School in Portland who was a finalist for the national Custodian of the Year title. While Colello, a member of the Benefit Association of School Employees (BASE), didn’t win the grand prize she was the only finalist from the Northeast for the award, and she is only one of two women in the top ten. Colello told WMTW of working during the pandemic: “I feel I make the biggest difference ever, my job is essential. It’s very important. Now that COVID hit, I just maintain the positivity during these hard COVID times.” Congratulations, Donna on your success!
Lewiston Education Association members delivered half a million meals to students from last March through the summer! The MEA is proud of all its members! Congratulations, LEA!
School Library Success During School Library Month, the Maine Association of School Libraries (MASL) announced the recipients of the 2021 Awards. MASL’s annual awards recognize exemplary school library support staff, administrators, and library media specialists. The 2021 Walter J. Taranko School Librarian Award winner is Jennifer Stanbro, South Portland TA, of Skillin Elementary School in South Portland. Megan Welter, Jennifer Stanbro SPSD Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, credited Ms. Stanbro’s vision and leadership for evolving the South Portland school libraries into “dynamic learning commons where students discover, think, and create.” Award winners received a commemorative plaque and a $500 donation to their school library from MASL. Congratulations, Jennifer!
Arts Department Chair Named Thornton Teacher of the Year Emma Campbell
Thornton Academy named Emma Campbell, a former student of the school and Interim Arts Department Chair and dance faculty, as the 2021 Teacher of the Year. An outpouring of nominations from her colleagues highlighted her dedication to guiding students of all backgrounds and abilities to promote growth and achieve excellence, commitment to lifelong learning, and ability to develop positive relationships to maximize success. The words commitment, passion, innovation, positivity, and inclusiveness, created a common theme among all the nominations and truly reflect the teacher and colleague that Emma Campbell strives to be. Emma is also a co-president of the local association and an integral part of the union. Congratulations, Emma!
June 2021 • www.maineea.org
What I Love About The MEA is pleased to showcase student artwork during its fifth annual Maine Educator Art Cover Contest. Artwork was judged in the following categories: K-4, 5-8, 9-12 and Digital. Congratulations to all the students and teachers!
Auguste Ciorra Teacher: Mrs. Knight Wells High School
Willow Connolly 6th Grade Teacher: Celena Knapp Dr. Lewis S. Libby School
Finalists Cole Burrill 5th Grade Teacher: Callie Peters Mt. Jefferson Junior High School
Maine Educator • June 2021
James Foss 8th Grade Teacher: Tracy LaPointe Marshwood Middle School
Elsie Calderon 3rd Grade Teacher: Jennifer Chamberlain Eliot Elementary School
Aria Despradel 3rd Grade Teacher: Mrs. Janelle Fairview Elementary School
Kaleb Spencer 4th Grade Teacher: Stacey Sanborn Manchester School
Natalie Jordan 4th Grade Teacher: Rosemarie Richter Thomaston Grammar School
Natalie Switzer 4th Grade Teacher: Carolyn Blomerth Windsor Elementary School
Zoey Black Auburn Schools June 2021 • www.maineea.org
Who is the MEABT? Nearly 70,000 individuals rely on the MEA Benefits Trust (MEABT) for their health care coverage. The MEABT is run by and for members. The Trust is non-profit and has some of the lowest administrative costs in the insurance business, and members benefit from MEABT being one of Anthem’s largest clients. There is power in size! That savings, over the 28 years of existence, is passed on to you, the member.
Who are Your Board of Trustees?
The Trustees for 2020-2021 are Robin Colby, Chair, RSU 18; Sonya Verney, Vice Chair, RSU 71; Jill Watson, Secretary, RSU 38, Larry Given, Retiree; Jesse Hargrove, Hermon High School; Patty Scully, Winslow Elementary, Donna Longley, CSD 18; and Barbara Williams, Camden-Rockport Elementary. The MEA Board of Directors appoints all Trustees to serve on the MEABT Board. In addition, the MEA Vice President serves on the MEABT Board.
Valuable Insurance Coverage The MEABT offers four comprehensive health insurance plans for active employees and early retirees. When you are enrolled in one of these four plans, you will be automatically enrolled in the Blue View Vision plan which provides you with enhanced vision benefits for yearly eye exams, plus coverage for eyeglasses and contact lenses. For retirees enrolled in Medicare, the MEABT offers a customized group Medicare Advantage Plan. Blue View Vision is offered as a voluntary plan to Medicare retirees at low group rates. Regardless of which MEABT health plan you are enrolled in, you can be assured that your plan provides comprehensive coverage for doctor office visits, preventive care services, prescription drug benefits, inpatient and outpatient hospital services, and emergency care services.
Who are the MEABT Staff employees? Jennifer Kent is the Executive Director; Sharon Beaulieu is the Benefits Manager; Michael Booth is the Wellness Director; Lynn Andreasen is the Field Representative; and Rebecca Mangin is the Staff Accountant.
The MEABT is committed to providing the best health insurance plans at affordable rates for the benefit of all Plan participants. They negotiate annually. In 2013, due to legislation, the MEABT transitioned to a new rating methodology. The modified risk pool approach allows school districts with 51 or more eligible employees (including retirees) to benefit in the rating process from good claims experience, while also protecting school districts with less-than-average claims experience by capping the maximum increase a school district could receive. School districts with 50 or fewer employees are part of a statewide community rate.
There are many additional valuable programs available to you as an MEABT member. Please visit the MEABT website, www.meabt.org, to see all the programs and services that are available to you. Virgin Pulse Wellbeing Program
Virgin Pulse is a unique online platform with tools and support to help you make changes to your physical health, activity level, mental health, and day-to-day stress. You can also collect up to $62.50 Pulse Cash per quarter, earning up to $250 after four quarters. 16
Maine Educator • June 2021
SmartShopper SmartShopper provides you with cash rewards for choosing a highquality, cost-effective provider for services such as MRIs, CT scans, colonoscopies, mammograms, physical therapy, and lab work. For more information, please call the Personal Assistant Team at 844-328-1582 or visit smartshopper.com.
Member Assistance Program (MAP) You and your household members can access confidential help at no extra cost to support a wide range of problems from mental health to finances to legal. Call the MAP 24/7 to set up visits with licensed therapists, attorneys, financial advisors, and other professionals at no extra cost.
Professional Development for Members MEA offers virtual Quality Schools Summit
Despite not being able to meet in-person, MEA still offered its annual Spring Quality Schools Summit. During two separate Saturdays, members logged on to receive training on multiple topics from emotional equity to leaders for just schools to social and emotional learning. MEA offers contact hours for those who attend our training sessions, which members value and appreciate. Missed these sessions? Check out what members learned below and log on to our website to catch up on our webinar offerings. Note: in order to receive contact hours, you must attend virtually, in-person.
What was the most valuable takeaway from this conference?
“There was a lot, but if I had to go with one it would be that there is help out there if a student is being abused. Having been involved with a situation where there wasn't much help for the student it was nice to hear what is out there now.” “Love MEA for continuing to provide information, training and opportunities.”
“It was refreshing to meet with colleagues who are committed to justice and equity.” “Keron Blair's message-excellent!”
“I teach in a school with high ELL. This training helped me learn a nice way to tell a story and make it visual for them.” “Playful social emotional learning. Great engaging way to teach.”
“Teachers need heightened sensitivity to implicit bias and more training regarding this.” June 2021 • www.maineea.org
Maine Education Association Tell us how long you have worked in public schools without sharing the number of years.
Nancy Grant $5000 salary for the year, in a state that was near the top of the salary lists. 30 sixth graders, taught all subjects with no library/art/music/gym/special ed/ed techs support. Equipment = chalkboard and record player.
Kelly Jewell While student teaching in 4th grade, reassuring kids that I would protect them no matter what during lockdown drills because Sandy Hook happened.
Like Comment Share
Dee Hacket Ames The US declared that Martin Luther King Day would be a national holiday and the video for “Thriller” was broadcast on MTV!!!!
Diane Whitmore The whole school went into the library to watch the aftermath of the Challenger explosion.
Noreen Stilkey Cormier We used mimeograph printers. Have to love the purple fingers.
Maine Educator • June 2021
JoAnn Lemire My first class of HS freshmen were in diapers when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.
Julia Hanauer-Milne Oregon Trail was my kids’ favorite computer game.
Anne Freeman Walker In my first year of teaching my department head gave me the only Macintosh computer they had because I was the only one who knew how to use it.
Steve Hill Retired now but my first year of teaching the news was mentioning a break-in at an office in Washington DC in a complex called the Watergate Hotel.
Advocating for Policies to Support Schools, Students and our Members From Salary to health and safety, MEA has your back! The MEA is your voice at the State House, and your Union has been working hard to push for policies that will better your work and home lives. Below are a few of the key issues MEA raised with lawmakers, who turned them into bills for discussion. While some issues will be harder to gain support from lawmakers than others, raising the topic in front of decision-makers allows our voices to be heard and helps increase awareness for hope of passage in the future. If you have questions on any issue, please reach out to MEA’s Director of Government Relations, John Kosinski.
School Funding 55%
Privacy During Remote Insruction
During the pandemic, educators were thrust into remote instruction with new challenges, including privacy issues. This bill, LD 864, would create protections for teachers while they deliver online instruction, and is a direct response to specific incidents where teachers found unauthorized videos of their lessons circulated on social media.
For over a decade, the MEA has consistently and aggressively advocated for the state to fund 55% of the cost of public schools in the state. We even supported two statewide ballot initiatives to demand the state pay 55% of the cost of schools because we know how important funding is for our members and their classrooms. As of this writing, the Governor has proposed fully funding the 55% requirement for the first time in history and we are eager to see it pass, and we are confident it will. This has been a long journey and thousands of MEA members across the state have played a role in helping us get to this point.
Ending Workplace Bullying
Increased Bargaining Rights
This bill, LD 816, will make it explicit that school board members have the right and the obligation to communicate with educators and the voters about key topics. In too many districts, educators have been told they cannot or shouldn’t talk to school board members. This bill is an effort to open the lines of communication to help increase collaboration.
The MEA continues to work to find ways to increase members’ voices at the bargaining table. The legislative changes have been difficult, but a new measure, LD 52: An Act Regarding Collective Bargaining Negotiations by Public Employers of Teachers, is a new attempt. The bill would make planning and prep time and transfers a permissive subject of bargaining. Currently, both items have been deemed prohibited subjects of bargaining, but this bill would change that and allow for the negotiation of both items. Additionally, LD 677 would bring binding arbitration to all public sector union contracts.
To prevent workplace bullying of school employees, LD 880 requires every school board in the state to adopt a policy preventing the bullying of school employees and allows school employees to file a grievance if the district fails to implement the workplace anti-bullying policy.
Delay State-Mandated Teacher and Principal Evaluations
The MEA worked with legislators to create this bill, LD 1172, which would allow school districts to forgo their evaluation systems for next school year. If passed, the bill would allow districts to temporarily waive their PE/PG systems for teachers and principals until the 2022-2023 school year.
School Board and Educator Communication
June 2021 • www.maineea.org
Health and Safety
COVID-19 Sick Leave Reimbursement
Salary and Benefits
$16/hour minimum wage for all school employees
The pandemic raised many new issues school employees have never had to deal with before, including the need to use sick leave due to quarantine. LD 993, as amended, would require school districts to reimburse any school employees forced to use sick leave due to the need to quarantine, or if they had COVID or symptoms of COVID.
Air Quality Improvement
Improving indoor air quality has been amplified as a key health and safety measure since the pandemic began. MEA has worked to advocate for improved air quality in our schools and held informational webinars on the topic. This bill, LD 705, is part of MEA’s advocacy around this issue. The bill requires the Department of Education to update the air quality and ventilation standards for all public schools after a rulemaking process which would allow for the public, including educators, to weigh in.
Menstrual Products for Students
MEA testified in support of this legislation, LD 452, that would require schools to provide menstrual products for students. While MEA understands this happens in some schools, there is currently no universal policy to require this, and this bill would change that. MEA President, Grace Leavitt, testified stating: “It isn’t only an issue of fairness or even of affordability...having access to menstrual products can help to positively impact a student’s confidence and thus even affect her future.”
An ongoing goal of the MEA is to advocate for minority involvement in the Association and educational and training programs designed to enhance human and civil rights. This bill, LD 633, would require all certified educators to have at least some training in implicit bias or diversity, equity and inclusion for recertification. MEA position: Support
Reduce Cost of Retiree Health Insurance
The MEA has been working hard to help eligible retirees afford health insurance. This bill, LD 293, would lift the state contribution towards healthcare for eligible retirees from 45% to 55%.
Maine Educator • June 2021
This bill, if passed, LD 734, would create a new minimum wage of $16 for all hourly staff in schools starting July 1, 2022.
Step Increases Despite Expired Contracts
The Labor Committee passed a bill, LD 824, that would ensure union members in schools and higher education institutions get their step increases, even if their contract has expired. MEA understands many employers use step increases to leverage settlements, guaranteeing employees would receive steps, regardless of settlement, makes the negotiation process one that won’t negatively financially affect members.
Bus Driver Unemployment Eligibility
This bill, LD 1509, is a perennial one and the MEA will once again support the proposal that will allow bus drivers to apply for unemployment benefits. The MEA will also ask that the bill cover other hourly employees such as ed techs, school custodians and others. While the MEA will advocate for this measure, the union is not optimistic it will pass, despite our efforts.
Extend Family Medical Leave to Hourly School Employees
This bill, LD 912, tries to clarify language in the Family Medical Leave Act to help hourly school employees qualify. Currently, the hours requirements make it nearly impossible for an hourly school employee to qualify. MEA believes this bill is a clarification that will help more qualify for FMLA, when they need it.
Faculty and NonFaculty Staff Members to Board of Trustees
LD 1253 responds to the voices of our members in higher education who have felt their voices were not heard by the UMaine System Board of Trustees. If passed, the bill would provide for one faculty member and one staff member to serve on the Univ of Maine system Board of Trustees. A majority of the Education Committee supported this proposal and it will now go to the House and Senate for votes.
Quotes & Numbers
Average public school teacher salary in Maine in the 2019-20 school year, according to NEA’s Rankings and Estimates data
“It’s a new day for nurses and patients across Maine,” Cokie Giles,
president of the Maine State Nurses Association, said in a statement. “I am thrilled for my colleagues at Maine Med, for their resolve to win a collective voice for their patients and their community. And I look forward to working with you for the future of high-quality patient care for all Maine residents.” Press Herald article, after nurses voted to form a union
"During this Teacher Appreciation Week I would like to show appreciation for ALL of our educators in ALL of their roles. An educator that influenced me was Senorita Fewkes. She was the most energetic, most enthusiastic, and most dedicated teacher you could have ever imagined." -Grace Leavitt, MEA President #ThankATeacher
174,446 Public school total Fall enrollment in Maine, which is a decrease of 4.46% from 2019 to 2020, according to NEA’s Rankings and Estimates data. The decrease in enrollment in Maine was the fourth highest in the nation, only behind New Hampshire (4.71%), the District of Columbia (4.9%), Mississippi (5%) and Vermont (5.26%), according to the same data. On average, public schools lost 2.4% of their students over the 2019-2020 academic year.
“It isn’t only an issue of fairness or even of affordability,” Grace Leavitt, president of the Maine Education Association, said. “Having access to menstrual products can help to positively impact a girl’s confidence and thus even affect her future.” Testimony on bill, as printed in Sun Journal article, on whether school districts should be required to provide free menstrual products to students
“The Maine Education Association generally is not in favor of curriculum mandates being passed by the legislature and especially if they are imposed without the resources, most particularly time, that would be needed in order to add them to what is already required. LD 1664, however, is different. The proposal seeks for an integration of African American studies into the already existing curriculum. The topic that LD 1664 seeks to integrate into current American history is one that has been overlooked or only superficially treated, if at all, in too many cases, not only leaving real gaps in students’ understanding of the history of our country, but possibly actually painting an inaccurate portrayal of many aspects of the history of the United States.” Testimony in front of the Education Committee from Grace Leavitt, MEA President
June 2021 • www.maineea.org
Increase Membership and Power Early Enrollment Membership is Available! Join online at maineea.org/early-enrollment/
What is Early Enrollment?
MEA offers educators an early enrollment membership option, giving you the chance to join the Association between April 1st and August 31st and PAY NO DUES until September 1, 2021! While you’re not paying dues, you’ll still get many of the benefits of membership, including the exclusive NEA Educators Employment Liability (EEL) coverage that protects you from personal financial liability stemming from employment-related lawsuits.
What are the benefits of Early Enrollment? Protection Plan New members will have access to an MEA Field Representative who can help navigate employment issues and will also receive the NEA’s Educators Employment Liability (EEL) coverage. Innovative Training Enrolling now gives potential members full access to professional development opportunities and support where and when you need it most: at the bargaining table, at professional development workshops and trainings, and so much more! Keys to Success and Savings When you’re a member you’re part of a professional association of 24,000 members statewide, and 3 million nationwide. There is strength in numbers, and as a member our collective voices are heard at the local, state and national level. Early enrollment also gives you access to NEA Member Benefits.
Maine Educator • June 2021
How to ask people to join While the appeal of free dues until September 1, 2021 sounds enticing the reason to join is much greater. The Maine Education Association has and will continue to be an influential voice in issues related to public education at the local, state, and national levels. During the COVID-19 pandemic, our educators needed their union more than ever, and MEA was there. Key Accomplishments During COVID Guaranteed Pay Required Safety Priority Vaccine Access
Classroom Management Wireless Doorbell
Tired of clapping or raising your hand for attention? Have you tried a wireless doorbell in your class yet? You can use one to gain students attention and some wireless doorbells come with different sounds so you can use a new sound for each item you need students to do. For example, one sound could be voices at level zero, another could be free, and line up, clean up or switch stations. The choices are yours! Attach the bell to a lanyard and it’s always with you and you never need to try and be louder than a group of kids!
Secret Student Each morning, before students arrive in the classroom pick a “random” student and write their name on the board. Then, stick a “secret student” sign over the child’s name. Tip: use magnetic tape to stick it to the white board. Students know when they see the sign on the board the “secret student” has been chosen for the day and the teacher will be watching if that student is on task, ready to learn and being kind. Choose which ever metrics you are working to achieve. During the day give verbal reminders to all the students saying things like: “I hope my secret student is doing x,y,z." Students don’t know if their name is under the sign, so they all behave. At the end of the day, if the “secret student” had a good day, reveal the name under the sign. If not, leave the sign up and say something like, “that’s ok we will try again tomorrow.” Without revealing the name, no one knows who the student was, and the reward is not earned. As for the reward: choose your own and what works for your class/school.
Be Silly For high schoolers, beyond consistency and no down time, blogger Luke Rosa with Students of History, says “you can also keep your class under control by being silly. When I would notice that kids’ attention spans were starting to drift, I would pronounce a word wrong. It’s totally dumb but would snap their attention back.”
June 2021 • www.maineea.org
NEA’s NEA’s READ READ ACROSS ACROSS AMERICA: AMERICA: CELEBRATING CELEBRATING A A NATION NATION OF OF DIVERSE DIVERSE READERS READERS
June 2021 - Promote Respect
Cover images used with permission. Cover images used with permission.
TITLES FOR TEEN READERS TITLES FOR TEEN READERS
Broaden understanding of LGBTQ history and lived experiences with titles that provide diverse perspectives and help students understand and value cultural knowledge and differences.
Two African-American teens find themselves working together solve Two African-American teenstofind the murderworking of a mutual friend, themselves together toParis solve Secord, aka DJ ParSec. the murder of a mutual friend, Paris Secord, aka DJ ParSec.
The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High share their The students ofSchool Marjory Stoneman emotional journeys that began on Douglas High School share their February 14, 2018, and continue today. emotional journeys that began on February 14, 2018, and continue today.
Ho’onani: Hula Warrior In this raw graphic memoir, Jarrett J. Krosoczka shares his day-to-day life with In this raw graphic memoir, Jarrett J. his grandparents andhis hisday-to-day difficult interactions Krosoczka shares life with his with his heroin-addicted grandparents and his difficultmother. interactions with his heroin-addicted mother.
by Heather Gale illustrated by Mika Song
Through 100 chapters, each 100 words, sixteen-year-old Will walks the streets of Through 100 chapters, each 100 words, L.A. to deal with and loss. of sixteen-year-old Willtragedy walks the streets L.A. to deal with tragedy and loss.
A High Five for Glenn Burke Darius’ life of dealing with depression and high school takes unexpected Darius’ life ofbullies dealing withan depression and turn travels to Iran to meet his highwhen schoolhe bullies takes an unexpected for to theIran firsttotime. turngrandparents when he travels meet his grandparents for the first time.
by Phil Bildner
Seventeen stories that offer unique perspectives to explore what it Seventeen stories that offer unique means to be young and black perspectives to explore what in it America today. means to be young and black in America today.
Young Adult The Music of What Happens
After Rukhsana’s conservative Muslim parents catch her kissing her girlfriend After Rukhsana’s conservative Muslim Ariana, they herher away to parents catch herwhisk kissing girlfriend Bangladesh andwhisk a world tradition Ariana, they herofaway to and arranged marriages. Bangladesh and a world of tradition and arranged marriages.
The lives of two cursed sisters become entwined with enchanted boys in The lives of twotwo cursed sisters become this contemporary of “Snowentwined with tworetelling enchanted boys in White and Rose-Red’ and “Swan Lake.” this contemporary retelling of “SnowWhite and Rose-Red’ and “Swan Lake.”
by Bill Konigsberg
For Silas, his presentation on the the first professional baseball player to come out as gay is more than another school report—it’s his first step toward telling his family, friends, and teammates about who he is.
When 17-year-old Max signs on to help fellow high school student Jordan run the food truck that may save Jordan and his mom from homelessnes, the boys find themselves strongly attracted to each other — but their romance is threatened by the secrets they are hiding.
Courage, Culture, Identity, LGBTQ
Courage, Family, Friendship, Identity
Courage, Culture, Family, Friendship, Identity, LGBTQ, Trauma
Ho'onani, who doesn’t see herself as wahine (girl) or kāne (boy), is happy to be in the middle and eager to lead a school performance of a traditional kāne hula chant even though she knows that some may get upset that a wahine is leading.
Epic heart-pounding fantasy set in an alternate ancient India whereset a rebel Epic heart-pounding fantasy in and a reluctant anassassin alternate ancient India soldier where afind rebel forbidden as they battlefind assassin and alove reluctant soldier to save their forbidden love as lands. they battle to save their lands.
Heartbreaking and hopeful stories about
Best friends Chelsea and Jasmine
A Muscogee (Creek) girl attending an
not U.S. citizens.
wrongs in their community.
difficulties of “dating while Native.”
nine courageous young adults stories who have lived find and use their voices toJasmine confront white school,an Heartbreaking and hopeful about Best friends Chelsea and Aoverwhelmingly Muscogee (Creek) girl high attending For resources on tohave teach these books to with courageous a secret for muchhow of theirwho lives: they are stereotypes, biases, andtoyour societal Louise “Lou” Wolfe deals with the nine young adults lived find and use their voices confront class visit: overwhelmingly white high school,
with a secret for much of their lives: they are stereotypes, biases, and societal Louise “Lou” Wolfe deals with the https://www.nea.org/professional-excellence/student-engagement/read-across-america not U.S. citizens. wrongs in their community. difficulties of “dating while Native.”
Maine Educator • June 2021
Celebrating A Nation of Diverse Readers Celebrating A Nation of Diverse Readers readacrossamerica.org readacrossamerica.org 26713.0120.JR 26713.0120.JR
Offering 100% Online Graduate Programs in Education The Online Graduate Programs in Education at the University of New England provide students with the knowledge and skills to advance their career and shape the future of education through flexible and supported study.
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800.994.2804 | email@example.com | online.une.edu June 2021 • www.maineea.org
Spring Forward with MEA 93rd Representative Assembly brings members together virtually The Maine Education Association held its 93rd annual Representative Assembly in late May, with the theme “Spring Forward.” Elected delegates, from local associations across the state, gathered virtually with both MEA and NEA presidents to work together to help shape the future of the Association, and to honor colleagues from around the state. On the following pages are the changes to the MEA structure and bylaws in addition to new business items, and belief statements voted on by the delegates. Additionally, please take a minute to honor our award and Clyde Russell Scholarship winners.
Vision for the Future
From the MEA President, Grace Leavitt I know we are all at different places in this work. But I know that we all share the vision, mission, and core values of MEA. I know that MEA members—we all believe in the value and the promise of public education. And I do believe that we must do all we can, ALL WE CAN, to be UNITED in our work to see that these values are visible—we must be united in ALL of our work going forward. United we are STRONG and POWERFUL and we will see our vision of a great public school for every student become a reality across our state.
From the MEA Executive Director, Rachelle Johnson As we talk about evolution and growing our organization, we have to find more space for the folks in their early careers to allow them to take on meaningful roles because they will be the ones who inherit the organization. It is about evolution in order to stay strong, stable and solid the organization has to evolve, and we have to challenge ourselves. It will be the buy-in ultimately in three, in five, in ten years that will result in the longterm stability of MEA. I think it’s an incredibly exciting time to be part of MEA!
From the NEA President, Becky Pringle If no one has said it to you lately, MEA members, you are remarkable. Your commitment and strength your resilience have made me even prouder to be a teacher to be a fellow educator and to lead this, the largest labor union in the country. You know this period of challenge has also been a period to rethink and to reimage, to reinvent learning new strategies for both our school and our union work. Collaborating in new and different and exciting ways always trying to find and create hidden opportunities.... You stepped up MEA.
Re-Elected MEA Leadership Team During the MEA RA, delegates re-elected the existing leadership team to serve an additional three-year term, ending in July of 2024.
Pictured from left to right: Vice-President Jesse Hargrove, President Grace Leavitt, and Treasurer Beth French
Maine Educator • June 2021
President: Grace Leavitt Vice-President: Jesse Hargrove Treasurer: Beth French
MEA honors members and community leaders who support public education. The following are the 2021 MEA award winners. John Marvin Local Association Award Auburn EA
John Marvin Local Association Award Mt. Blue EA
AEA put safety, students, and staff first as it fought back a district reopening plan that would have ignored safety protocols. Auburn EA organized their local, got support from the public and protested the district’s plan to open full-time, at the height of the pandemic.
Mt Blue worked under an expired contract and took a vote of no confidence in the superintendent who left the district. The issues in the district were good organizing and membership opportunities for the local as they worked together to both increase membership and power.
Friend of Education Award Senator Matthea Daughtry
Public Higher Ed Impact Award Rep. Rebecca Millett
As Senate Chair of the Education Committee, Senator Daughtry is a dedicated supporter of our public schools and the people who work in them. When she speaks, it is clear she understands the issues our students and educators face, and she is committed to working hard to create teaching and learning environments that are in the best interest of our students and staff.
Representative Rebecca Millett is a tireless advocate for higher education, faculty, and staff, current and retired. When higher education retirees were fighting to keep their health insurance Rebecca Millett was in the middle fighting to support retirees.
Golden Apple Award Center Theatre for the Performing Arts The Center Theatre for the Performing Arts creates cultural and fun opportunities for kids in the Dover-Foxcroft area. The theatre offers movies, drama camps and drama programs for older kids over the summer and school breaks and provides scholarships so most kids can attend for free.
John Marvin Local Association Award AFUM, UMPSA, ACSUM The efforts of our members in AFUM, UMPSA, and ACSUM, our higher education local associations in the University of Maine System, were incredibly united and showed the power of a union when they fought back health care changes pushed on to them from the UMaine System. These changes would have been detrimental to retirees and the union advocated, and won, to stop these health care rollbacks.
Golden Apple Award Equality Maine
MEA Special Recognition Ashley Bryan
Equality Maine continues to prove it is a leader in making school safer by working with administrators, teachers, parents, and students. The organization works hard to improve the climate for LBGTQ+ youth and allies by providing leadership skills, community building and selfempowerment.
MEA’s Special Recognition Award is in honor of Ashley Bryan for his lifetime commitment to education and social justice. Mr. Bryan has impacted innumerable Maine students and educators and is also credited for being the first African American to publish a children’s book as an author and illustrator.
The Clyde Russell Scholarship Fund was created by the MEA through a trust established by the late Audrey Lewis. It awards graduating Seniors monies to help cover tuition, room, board, books, and fees.
Sabrina Sperrey Presque Isle High School College: Eastern Maine Community College Program: Medical Radiography
Nathaniel Robinson Jonesport-Beals High School College: Eastern Maine Community College Program: Diesel Mechanics
Emily Lyman Skowhegan High School College: Kennebec Valley Community College Program: Nursing
Jane Dawson Freeport High School College: Dartmouth Program: Inclusive Global Politics and Math
Simona Ickia Ngaullo South Portland High School College: University of Maine Program: Pediatrics
Deanna Oakes Stearns High School College: University of Maine Program: Nursing
Camden Rollins Yarmouth High School College: University of Southern California Program: Global Studies June 2021 • www.maineea.org
1. 2. 3.
2021 NEW BUSINESS ITEMS RESOLVED: that the MEA when meeting virtually will encourage participants to list their personal pronouns. RESOLVED: that the MEA will offer opportunities for LGBTQIA+ SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) trainings for all educators on a variety of platforms. Specifically, trainings including current language practices and rights of the students and educators. RESOLVED: that the MEA will create an Award honoring an educator/ individual (such as Ashley Bryan) in the field of arts and humanities for their work and advocacy towards human civil rights and social justice.
2021 STANDING RULES CHANGES RULE 2. ELECTIONS PROCEDURES Section 1. Elections Conducted at the MEA Representative Assembly A. Notices of Intent For publication in the Maine Educator or other official MEA publication sent to members by the date determined by the Structure and Bylaws committee. Notice of Intent to run for any Association office elected by the Representative Assembly shall be filed with the Executive Director on or prior to the date set by the Elections Committee which shall be not less than seventy-five (75) days prior to the annual meeting. In order to be considered as a candidate for any Association office elected by the Representative Assembly, Notice of Intent must be filed with the Executive Director no later than thirty (30) calendar days prior to the first day of the Representative Assembly. RULE 2. ELECTIONS PROCEDURES Section 5. Campaigning C. Maine Education Association Resources Available to Candidates: 2. Announcement in the Maine Education Association's Maine Educator or other official MEA publication : Candidates who have filed a Notice of Intent to run for at-large or governance district office may submit a picture and a biographical sketch with the Notice of Intent. The MEA Executive Director shall publish the submitted pictures and biographical sketches of candidates whose elections are held prior to the MEA Representative Assembly in an the February issue of the Maine Educator or other official MEA publication sent to all members, as determined by the Structure and Bylaws Committee." The length of each biographical sketch submitted shall be two hundred (200) words or fewer and shall be written in paragraph format. The Executive Director shall publish the submitted pictures and biographical sketches of candidates whose elections are held at the MEA Representative Assembly in an the April issue of the Maine Educator or other official MEA publication sent to all members, as determined by the Structure and Bylaws Committee. Paid advertisements for political campaigns shall not be accepted by the Maine Education Association. 2021 NEW AND AMENDED RESOLUTIONS Amendment to A11 A11. RESOLVED: That the MEA believes in and supports the guiding principles on school funding: • that life-long learning is essential in creating a productive citizenry • that there should be a state-wide minimum property tax effort for education • that the local, state and federal governing bodies need to ensure that an equitable public education be fully funded • that educational equity should be the guiding principle for determining school funding, including when remote learning is necessary (Adopted 1995; Amended 2006; Amended 2009; Amended 2021) Amendment to A20 A20. RESOLVED: That the MEA believes that all children should have access to public Pre-K and K programs that are developmentally appropriate, whether in person or remote: • mandatory, full-day, free, publicly funded, developmentally appropriate, quality kindergarten programs in all school districts; • optional, full-day, free, publicly funded, developmentally appropriate, quality universal pre-kindergarten programs for all three- and four-year old children whose parents choose to enroll them; • dedicated funding for early childhood education; • increased publicly funded support services such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, et al, for children, birth through age 5, in disadvantaged families; • increased access to Early Head Start programs. (Adopted 2019; Amended 2021) Amendment to B4 B4. RESOLVED: That the MEA supports maximizing educationally effective and appropriate use of student and educator time as an alternative to increasing the length of the school day or the number of days in the school year. (Adopted 1989; Amended 2002; Amended 2020; Amended 2021) Amendment to B9 B9. RESOLVED: That the MEA supports the use of technology within the educational process when delivered by a properly trained educator. (Adopted 1993; Amended 2009; Amended 2013; Amended 2021) Amendment to B11 B11. RESOLVED: That the MEA believes every student has the right to receive an excellent education at a great public school. The MEA believes Great Public Schools have: 28
Maine Educator • June 2021
• • • •
safe, secure and supportive environments for all students and staff parent and community involvement and support educator involvement in educational policy fully qualified teachers and Education Support Professionals committed to students and their learning • appropriate funding and resources, including technology • appropriate technology and accessibility • highly skilled and collaborative professional leadership • challenging curricula that are flexible, innovative, diverse and complete • well-maintained facilities with appropriate space and proper heating/ cooling/ventilation systems. (Adopted 1995; Amended 1997; Amended 2002; Amended 2012; Amended 2013; Amended 2015; Amended 2019; Amended 2021) Amendment to B17 B17. RESOLVED: That the MEA believes that members need to be professional proactive advocates for children and public education. To accomplish that objective, the MEA also believes that: • members can be more effective at Individual Education Plan meetings if they are knowledgeable about special education laws and regulations, transition regulations, and 504 regulations. • local associations should have a resource person knowledgeable in special education/inclusion/504. • local associations should negotiate additional resources and improved working conditions in special education. • state and local organizations involved in special education need to coordinate their services. • members need to be knowledgeable of legal protections against harassment, student violence, and other unsafe working conditions for educators or students. • members need to gain knowledge about issues that face our increasingly diverse students and staff, including the District’s Lau Plan, a document which describes how school administrative units (SAU) meet the needs of its English learners and fulfills its civil rights obligations to them. • members need training on the social and emotional needs of students. • members need current training on bullying prevention. • members need training on implicit bias. • members need support in all of the above issues through local professional development. (Adopted 2003; Amended 2012; Amended 2015; Amended 2019; Amended 2021) New B34. RESOLVED: that the MEA believes during a state health crisis, a maximum class size/teacher ratio should be 7:1 for kindergarten, 9:1 for grades 1 – 6 and 9:1 for grades 7 – 12 per instructional classroom, and should follow the social distancing rules given by the Maine State CDC. Referred to Committee New B35. RESOLVED: that the MEA believes that during any time of remote learning, all staff must be provided the necessary technology tools, training and time to learn these technology tools that are required to teach students. (Adopted 2021) Amendment to C26 C26. RESOLVED: That the MEA believes that school personnel should be protected from workplace and cyber harassment and bullying. (Adopted 2015; Amended 2021) Amendment to D24 D24. RESOLVED: That the MEA believes that the collective bargaining process is the most effective guarantee for economic and professional security of school personnel. Negotiated comprehensive contracts between governance affiliates and the appropriate educational governing body should include agreements on: • compensation commensurate with the fundamental importance and worth of education to society that reflects the skill, training and experience brought to the education profession • working conditions, including but not limited to: » establishment of viable limits on class size and work loads » hybrid/remote learning models » release from non-teaching duties » health and dental insurance benefits » duty-free lunch period » time for planning » personal and sick leave plans including a sick leave bank » child care leave » professional leave » sabbatical leave • the utilization of support professionals in well-defined support positions • contract grievance provisions, including: » binding arbitration to resolve disagreements » due process and just cause in the layoff or dismissal of members, or the non- renewal of member contracts » a procedure for monitoring the contract by a grievance committee advocating and guarding member rights • full salary compensation for members selected for jury duty, or ordered to training duty with a military unit (Adopted 2004; Amended 2014; Amended 2017; Amended 2021) Amendment to D33 D33. RESOLVED: That the MEA supports adequate teacher-directed
preparation and planning time, free of other assignments and activities, of at least the equivalent of a class period daily. (Adopted 2020; Amended 2021) Amendment to E12 E12. RESOLVED: That the MEA supports the expansion of the role of the state and local association’s involvement in professional, educational, and community activities and encourages training opportunities that include human and civil rights and social justice topics. (Adopted 1996; Amended 2002; Amended 2021) Amendment to E14 E14. RESOLVED: That the MEA supports Human and Civil Rights and Social Justice programs, initiatives and statutes to improve the learning environment for all Maine students. (Adopted 1997; Amended 1999; Amended 2011; Amended 2021) Amendment to E24 E24. RESOLVED: That the MEA believes that all students should be able to use the bathroom or locker room of the gender with which they identify, including gender neutral students. The MEA supports the goal of creating gender neutral public restrooms in all Maine educational institutions. (Adopted 2018; Amended 2021) New E30. RESOLVED: that the MEA believes and advocates that all students should be able to play and participate in school sports teams, clubs, and activities that match their gender identity best, including gender neutral students. (Adopted 2021) New F8. RESOLVED: that the MEA believes that every student deserves a nutritional breakfast and lunch free of charge during a health crisis. (Adopted 2021) 2021 CONSTITUTION CHANGES ARTICLE II. PURPOSE The purpose of the Association is to protect the rights of professional and support educators and advance their interests and welfare; advance the cause of public education for all individuals in the State of Maine; promote and protect human and civil rights, promote social and racial justice, especially those of professional and support educators; advocate professional excellence among professional and support educators and secure the autonomy of the profession; and guarantee the independence of the professional and support educators and assure its benefits to every affiliated association. ARTICLE IV. MEMBERSHIP Section 1. Categories of Membership Membership in the Association shall consist of the following classes: Active, Active Education Support, Past President, Retired, Student, Reserve, Staff, Non-Teaching Professionals, Community Ally, and such other classes as may be provided by the Bylaws. Section 2. Membership Eligibility A. Application for membership shall be open to all persons actively engaged in the education profession or to persons interested in advancing the cause of public education who shall agree to subscribe to the goals and objectives of the Association and to abide by its Constitution, Bylaws, and Standing Rules. B. Members shall adhere to the National Education Association Code of Ethics of the Education Profession. C. The Association shall not deny membership to individuals on the basis of race, creed, national origin, age, color, gender, handicap, marital status, sexual orientation, or economic status, nor shall any organization, which so denies membership, be affiliated with the Association. D. Community Ally Persons interested in advancing the cause of public education who are granted membership, and who are not eligible for any other category of membership, shall not have the right to serve as officers of the Association, as members of the Board of Directors, or as delegates to the Representative Assembly. ARTICLE IV. MEMBERSHIP Section 1. Categories of Membership Membership in the Association shall consist of the following classes: Active, Active Education Support, Past President, Retired, Student, Reserve, Staff, Non-Teaching Professionals and such other classes as may be provided by the Bylaws. Section 2. Membership Eligibility A. Application for membership shall be open to all persons actively engaged in the education profession or to persons interested in advancing the cause of public education who shall agree to subscribe to the goals and objectives of the Association and to abide by its Constitution, Bylaws, and Standing Rules. B. Members shall adhere to the National Education Association Code of Ethics of the Education Profession and the Professional Educators of Maine Code of Ethics. ARTICLE IV. MEMBERSHIP Section 1. Categories of Membership Membership in the Association shall consist of the following classes: Active, Active Education Support, Past President, Retired, Student, Reserve, Staff, Non-Teaching Professionals and such other classes as may be provided by the Bylaws. Section 2. Membership Eligibility A. Application for membership shall be open to all persons actively engaged
in the education profession or to persons interested in advancing the cause of public education who shall agree to subscribe to the goals and objectives of the Association and to abide by its Constitution, Bylaws, and Standing Rules. B. Members shall adhere to the National Education Association Code of Ethics of the Education Profession. C. The Association shall not deny membership to individuals on the basis of race, creed, national origin, age, color, gender, gender identity, handicap, marital status, sexual orientation, or economic status, nor shall any organization, which so denies membership, be affiliated with the Association. 2021 BYLAW CHANGES ARTICLE II. REPRESENTATIVE ASSEMBLY Section 1. Allocation of Delegates D. Delegates representing student members shall be apportioned in accordance with the following: 1. student affiliates with 35 to 199 members shall be entitled to two(2) delegates; 2. student affiliates with 200 to 499 members shall be entitled to three(3) delegates; 3. student affiliates with 500 to 799 members shall be entitled to four (4) delegates. ARTICLE VI. COMMITTEES Section 2. Standing Committees A. Government Relations Committee A Government Relations Committee shall consist of members representing each of the UniServ Districts, one (1) education support professional member, one (1) Maine Education Association retired member, and one (1) student. Where representation from each UniServ District is not feasible, the President shall have the option of filling committee positions with at-large appointments for not more than one (1) year. Committee members shall be appointed for three-year (3) terms. If there are no ethnic minority members on the committee, the President shall have the option of creating and filling an at-large ethnic minority seat on the committee for a term of not more than one (1) year. C. Instruction and Professional Development Committee An Instruction and Professional Development Committee shall consist of one (1) member from each of the UniServ Districts, one (1) education support professional member, one (1) member of the Maine Education Association retired, and one (1) student. Where representation from each UniServ District is not feasible, the President shall have the option of filling committee positions with at-large appointments for not more than one (1) year. Committee members shall be appointed for three-year (3) terms. If there are no ethnic minority members on the committee, the President shall have the option of creating and filling an at-large ethnic minority seat on the committee for a term of not more than one (1) year. D. Statewide Bargaining Committee A Statewide Bargaining Committee shall consist of one (1) member with bargaining expertise from each UniServ District, one (1) education support professional member selected from the state at-large, one (1) Maine Education Association retired member, and one (1) student member. Where representation from each UniServ District is not feasible, the President shall have the option of filling committee positions with at-large appointments for not more than one (1) year. Committee members shall be appointed for three-year (3) terms. If there are no ethnic minority members on the committee, the President shall have the option of creating and filling an atlarge ethnic minority seat on the committee for a term of not more than one (1) year. ARTICLE I. MEMBERSHIP Section 1. Membership Categories New J - Community Ally Community Ally membership shall be open to any person interested in advancing the cause of public education, who supports the mission, vision, and core values of the Association, and who is not eligible for any other MEA membership category. The MEA Board of Directors shall adopt rules to implement this membership category. Community Ally members shall not have the right to nominate or vote for candidates for elected office, nominate, or vote for delegates to the Representative Assembly, or hold any elected office or appointed committee position in the Association. ARTICLE VI. COMMITTEES Section 2. Standing Committees B. Human, Civil Rights, and Social Justice Committee A Human, Civil Rights, and Social Justice Committee of eleven (11) members shall advocate for minority involvement in the Association and educational and training programs designed to enhance human and civil rights and shall make recommendations on ways for the Maine Education Association to promote social justice. Committee members shall be appointed for three-year (3) terms. ARTICLE VI. COMMITTEES Section 2. Standing Committees NEW G. Black, Indigenous, People of Color Committee Black, Indigenous, People of Color Committee of 11 (eleven) members shall advocate for minority involvement and pathways to leadership, support educators and students of color, promote and support Anti-Racist education, and identify policies and practices that further support the MEA becoming an inclusive, equitable, and diverse organization. Committee members shall be appointed for a three-year (3) term. June 2021 • www.maineea.org
MEA Pre-Retirement Seminars 2021-2022
MEA's Pre-retirement seminars will be held virtually by Zoom over the course of two consecutive nights from 5:00-6:15 P.M. One night will be presentations from an MEA Benefits Trust staff person providing health insurance information and then an individual will discuss WEP/ GPO (Windfall Elimination Provision/ Government Pension Offset). The next night an individual from MEA-Retired will speak about retiree membership and a person from Maine PERS will present information. Members should be prepared to attend BOTH nights.Below are the dates for the upcoming Zoom seminars. The link to attend a session will be emailed to registrants the day before you are scheduled to attend. Registration information will be sent to all MEA members. You will receive an email with event registration, if you are eligible.
Session Session 1 Session 2 Session 3
Session Session 4 Session 5 Session 6 Session 7 Session 8
Fall Seminars Date
Tuesday, October 12, 2021 Wednesday, October 13, 2021 Tuesday, October 26, 2021 Wednesday, October 27, 2021 Tuesday, November 9, 2021 Wednesday, November 10, 2021
MEA Benefits Trust and WEP/GPO MEA-Retired and MainePERS MEA Benefits Trust and WEP/GPO MEA-Retired and MainePERS MEA Benefits Trust and WEP/GPO MEA-Retired and MainePERS
Tuesday, January 25, 2022 Wednesday, January 26, 2022 Tuesday, February 8, 2022 Wednesday, February 9, 2022 Tuesday, February 15, 2022 Wednesday, February 16, 2022 Tuesday, March 1, 2022 Wednesday, March 2, 2022 Tuesday, March 8, 2022 Wednesday, March 9, 2022
MEA Benefits Trust and WEP/GPO MEA-Retired and MainePERS MEA Benefits Trust and WEP/GPO MEA-Retired and MainePERS MEA Benefits Trust and WEP/GPO MEA-Retired and MainePERS MEA Benefits Trust and WEP/GPO MEA-Retired and MainePERS MEA Benefits Trust and WEP/GPO MEA-Retired and MainePERS
Spring Seminars Date
Educators get an advantage with Horace Mann auto insurance! Receive special educator and association member discounts, as well as educator-specific features and benefits at no extra charge.
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Horace Mann Insurance Company and its affiliates underwrite Horace Mann auto insurance. Discounts and benefits are subject to terms and conditions and may vary be state. MEA has agreements with Horace Mann and affiliates where Horace Mann pays MEA to provide various services that are aimed at familiarizing MEA members with Mann brand, products or services. 30 the Horace Maine Educator • June 2021 CM-V41287MEA (1-21)
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Why Work Together? Our Experience trying a different approach The following perspectives piece outlines a real-life scenario of the benefits of union members working collaboratively with those making decisions that impact wages, work, benefits and more. About the Authors: Natalie Jones is Vice President of Human Resources at the University of Southern Maine, Paul Johnson is the Grievance Representative for the faculty at the University of Southern Maine.
On October 28th 2014, 25 faculty members at the University of Southern Maine were informed that as of December 31st 2014, they would be retrenched. Over the course of the fall 2014 semester, five academic programs were eliminated and 25 faculty retrenched. In addition, numerous other faculty decided to either retire or leave the University.
›Paul: In the spring of 2014, when I became the Grievance Representative for the University of Southern Maine, it soon became apparent that the only way to engage with the Administration or Human Resources was through filing a grievance. Over the course of the academic year 2014-2015, I filed at least 50 grievances. However, now, we rely almost exclusively on Article 5 of the CBA “meet and discuss”. ›Natalie: I did notice the number of grievances when I first arrived on campus and was trying to figure out if there was a pattern of concern – basically a root cause analysis to see if we could identify the issues and proactively address them. ›Paul: Over the past five years at USM, AFUM, Human Resources and Administration have attempted to work in collaborative rather than adversarial relationships. I would even assert that rather than adopting a reactive approach, we have attempted to embrace a proactive response. The ways in which we have gone about changing the approach and culture of the University is in the following ways: • We meet regularly and we honor those meetings in our calendars. • Every two weeks a one hour scheduled meeting between the University President, Provost, Labor Relations Manager, and the AFUM President, Vice President and Grievance Representative on the campus. • The Grievance Representative meets biweekly with the head of Human Resources for a one-on-one meeting, and semi-regularly as-needed. ›Natalie: A variety of topics are covered in these meetings. One of the most fundamental tools in our conversations is the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). This is a shared Agreement and when we are trying to address an issue or solve a problem, referencing back to it as a group to discuss potential paths forward without being in violation of our Agreement has been, in my opinion, a strong contributor to constructive conversations and solutions. ›Paul: We have discussed a myriad of topics, issues specific to a particular Department or School, how we can assist faculty in the tenure track process or post tenure review process, creating an MOU, or even how we support faculty in student advising. The overarching philosophy is improving matters proactively. ›Natalie: I agree, Paul, the overarching philosophy is improvement. We have identified areas for further education and clarification 32
Maine Educator • June 2021
around the CBA. The Provost has incorporated this into the New Faculty Orientation and the Chairs Training. The more faculty understand our contract and their rights and responsibilities beyond the contract – the healthier our entire USM Community. ›Paul: AFUM leadership members work with the Provost. Over the last five years, we have changed the way we work with our Academic Deans at the University. The Grievance Rep may now be asked to attend a meeting with a group or individual faculty member to work through issues and solutions together.
Paul Johnson is the Grievance Representative for the faculty at the University of Southern Maine
Natalie Jones is Vice President of Human Resources at the University of Southern Maine
There are numerous benefits to this approach. Firstly, the individual faculty member feels listened to, respected, and valued. Secondly, by having a conversation everyone has an opportunity to voice their concerns. Thirdly, this also demonstrates that the Dean and Administration are interested and invested in the faculty member and the Department. ›Natalie: Yes, I think it is important to make sure everyone is aware of all the support resources available to them within the Union and within Human Resources and Administration. Addressing issues--whether long standing or brand new--is difficult enough. I also acknowledge that many issues are not brought forward. We must find ways to be accessible to our employees in ways that they feel safe and supported; and we are still working on that – specifically for our historically marginalized colleagues and pre-tenured faculty. When faculty feel valued, respected, and experience a positive work culture, they are able to engage more productively with their colleagues and students.
The End Result
There is no doubt that this cooperative approach is much more time consuming up front and a great deal of work occurs behind the scenes. Frequently, Human Resources, the Administration, and AFUM disagree. However, what transpires is the following: There is a conversation in which each party articulates its position. Each group is required to actively listen to the other. At times, the parties have to go away and reflect on the issue. There is not an expectation that the answer needs to be instantaneous. Indeed, time for thought and contemplation is a vital component. To clarify, there is a respectful process! Five years ago, AFUM’s relationship with Human Resources and the Administration was one of confrontation. We were constantly filing grievances; there was a great deal of mistrust. However, we have demonstrated over the past several years that AFUM, Human Resources, and the Administration at the University can work together.
Editorial Staff Managing Editor Rachelle Johnson Editor Giovanna Bechard Layout Design Shawn Berry Leadership President Grace Leavitt Vice President Jesse Hargrove Treasurer Beth French NEA Director Rebecca Cole Board of Directors District A Robert "Bo" Zabierek District B Suzen Polk-Hoffses District C Ellen Payne District D Cedena McAvoy District E Ken Williams District F Janice Murphy District G Nancy Mitchell District H Dennis Boyd District I Allison Lytton District J Vacant District K Tom Walsh District L Rebecca Manchester District M Donna Longley District O Lisa Leduc District P Dina Goodwin Disrtict R Gary McGrane District ESP Jamie McAlpine Student MEA N/A Maine Educator (ISSN #1069-1235) is published by: Maine Education Association 35 Community Drive, Augusta, ME 04330-8005 207-622-4418; fax 207-623-2129 POSTMASTER: send address changes to: Maine Educator 35 Community Drive, Augusta, Maine 04330-8005 Non-Profit US Postage paid at Augusta, Maine and additional mailing offices. For advertising rates and information please contact: Shawn Berry 35 Community Dr., Augusta, ME 04330 207-622-4418 ext. 2206
E D I TO R ' S N OT E - J U N E 2 0 2 1
Never have I wanted a school year to end more than this one. very year, around this time, I talk about what I think will be the #bestsummerever. It’s a running joke now among some of my friends as to what we will do to live up to the ridiculous hash tag. I can’t think of a better year for this to truly be the #bestsummerever than this year.
Never have I wanted a school year to end more than this one. Trust me, I know I'm not alone. While I'm just a parent in this whole pandemic schooling scenario, the desire to never have to remind my 3rd grader to log on to his remote class is very real. The hope I will never have to say, don’t forget your mask, when he walks out the door makes me feel like maybe this could be the #bestsummerever. And maybe my 8-year-old won’t need a mask soon? Who knows? For me... that’s part of what caused this pandemic to give me a continued topsy turvy feeling.... the ‘who knows what’s going to happen next?’ Someone knows or is trying to figure it out—it's just not me. I continually feel like I don’t know anything. I read and read, and then I read more and the more I read about what’s going on, or what’s safe, or what we’re “supposed to do” now the more confused I get. Which makes the idea that we can just give up our masks, if we are vaccinated, a bit scary to me. How am I supposed to get rid of the item that has been like an additional appendage for more than a year? Now, in what seems like all of a sudden, I'm supposed to feel ok inside without a mask on, if I have a vaccine? This seems NUTS to me. But I get it-science, and I believe in science, which brings me back to—maybe this can be the #bestsummerever? Then, I flash back to reality. What about my youngest, who isn’t old enough for a vaccine? What about him? How will he be safe? There are so many questions and I have no answers.
The good news, I'm not completely in the dark here... and I feel like I do know a few things. While I'm looking forward to the school year to end, I've been thinking a lot about the benefits of this pandemic—the things that I believe have changed for the better. In my family, no one got sick this winter, COVID or otherwise. Not a sniffle to be had. I eat much healthier because I have access to my refrigerator. I'm far less stressed because I don’t feel like I'm wasting my life away driving. I am equally, if not more productive at work because I wake up early and start working while everyone is sleeping, and there is no “water cooler” chit chat to delay my progress. As a family we have discovered so many spots in Maine we had never been to before. I could go on, but you get the idea. I try to look at the positives of this and hope that some of the pandemic changes “stick” as they have been good. That’s not to say I'm hoping all the changes this pandemic brought will hang around because I really do want this to be the #bestsummerever for my family and for all of yours. While you hopefully enjoy some time to relax, always remember MEA is here. We’re working to advocate for safe backto-school reopening plans. We're working on new professional development for when you return. We’re working on contract language that will improve your working conditions and your salary and benefits. We’re promoting the profession to restore the respect you deserve-read more about our Thank an Educator campaign on page seven. Check out some of the things we’re advocating for on pages 19 and 20. Just a small sample to help you better understand that we’ve got your back, now and always. So go and have the #bestsummerever—you've earned it.
Giovanna Bechard Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow us on social media June 2021 • www.maineea.org
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