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NEW SCIENCE STANDARDS CHANGE INSTRUCTION Page 20

CALL HER MISS MICHIGAN OR MISS RIVARD Page 17

October-November 2019  |  Vol. 97  |  Issue 1  | mea.org


LETTER TO MEMBERS

A Good First Step— What’s Next? The state education budget that passed the Republican-controlled state Legislature last month is not what we had hoped for, but it is a good first step.

This budget addresses a fraction of the $2,000 gap in per-pupil funding schools face. It doesn’t end the effects of 25 years of last-in-the-nation education funding increases.

charters and private religious schools. In her speech, she blamed all of our state’s education woes on labor unions which she contends care neither about teachers nor students.

The pressure we brought to bear through our June rallies at the Capitol, postcard writing campaign, and ongoing contacts with lawmakers helped to bring about a $304 million increase in per-pupil funding and an additional $60 million in money dedicated to special education.

We must provide equitable funding that accounts for the differing needs of students and the differing resources required to meet those needs. We owe it to these students—at-risk, special education, English language learners, career/technical, to name a few—to recognize that “equal” and “equitable” are not the same.

Her power to wield such influence comes from her pocketbook. Her family writes the checks that fund campaigns and—sadly—drive education policies that affect hundreds of thousands of Michigan children.

Yes—that was a far cry from the historic $507 million increase proposed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who also pushed for a weighted funding formula that did not pass even though it has been recommended by numerous studies and bipartisan panels of experts.

Meanwhile, study after study has clearly identified how we are shortchanging our youth.

How serious are GOP leaders about tackling these very real, systemic, long-running problems in how we fund education in this state? Not very—judging by where they went for direction and inspiration immediately after passing the spending plan.

Not enough revenue exists to fully fund our state’s priorities, including education and infrastructure. Whatever revenue options you prefer, they won’t be passed into law to fund our schools and fix our roads unless we create the political will in Lansing.

Yet the higher foundation allowance of $120-240 per pupil represented an increase over House Republicans’ initial lowball offer. And the 2 percent increase in special education funding will save that money from coming out of school districts’ general fund budgets.

Two days later, many of them could be found eagerly soaking up the words of the de facto head of the Republican party in this state—U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, whose speech opened the Republican Leadership Conference on Mackinac Island that weekend.

That means we must now turn our attention to doing the organizing work to elect leaders in 2020 who will listen to what the people want. Our parents and our communities are with us—they desire strong investment in public education to build a healthy future for our state.

A good first step. But only a step.

DeVos’s “solutions” all surround privatization, including for-profit

Let’s make it happen.

Paula J. Herbart President

Chandra A. Madafferi Vice President

Brett R. Smith Secretary-Treasurer


CONTENTS

4 Editor’s Notebook Hearing an echo 14 Strength in Union New teacher store 15 My View Third grade reading 26 In Memoriam A 55-year educator 27 Region Elections Rules and open seats On the cover: Four early career educators from different areas of the state are launching the first phase of a new program—MiNE—to bring muchneeded supports to Michigan New Educators, on page 7.

Executive Director����������������������Michael Shoudy Director of Public Affairs������������������� Doug Pratt Editor������������������������������������������������ Brenda Ortega Staff Photographer�������������������������Miriam Garcia Publications Specialist��������������� Shantell Crispin The MEA Voice ISSN 1077-4564 is an official publication of the Michigan Education Association, 1216 Kendale Blvd., East Lansing, MI 48823. Opinions stated in the MEA Voice do not necessarily reflect the official position of the MEA unless so identified. Published by Michigan Education Association, Box 2573, East Lansing, MI 48826-2573. Periodicals postage paid at East Lansing and additional mailing offices. Payment of the active membership fee entitles a member to receive the MEA Voice. Of each annual fee whether for active or affiliate membership, $12.93 is for a year’s subscription. Frequency of issue is October, December, February, April and August. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to the MEA Voice, Box 2573, East Lansing, MI 48826-2573 or via email at webmaster@mea.org. Allow at least three weeks for change of address to take effect. MEA Voice telephone: 517-332-6551 or 800-292-1934. Circulation this issue: 111,482

7—MEMBER VOICES: A higher-ed leader in Traverse City explains why unions are gaining ground.

17—MEMBERS AT WORK: Miss Michigan Mallory Rivard is living her dream-come-true in Bay City.

20—MEMBERS AT WORK: Michigan science teachers have been phasing in dramatically different new science standards over the past three years. This year for the first time, the results will be assessed.

24—INNOVATION SERIES: An Ann Arbor English teacher is helping others to replicate his innovation.

34—MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: The president of a custodial unit in Clarkston wants to unite people to win. MEA VOICE  3


NEWS & NOTES

Editor’s Notebook Like many of you who remember as children playing “school” with siblings, friends, dolls and stuffed animals, I recall when I first began to imagine what it would mean to be a teacher. I was in my first career in my late 20s, writing for the Los Angeles Times, covering education—a job that allowed me to see master teachers in action. I was reporting a story about an innovative third-grade teacher changing her approach to science by inviting a scientist to collaborate. The students were asked to explore answers to questions they wondered about. Once a week for several weeks, the scientist came to help teach scientific methods. He and the teacher showed the eight-year-olds how to design and execute experiments, and collect and analyze data. The curiosity, the joy, the discovery happening in that classroom were palpable. I remember later sitting at my computer, struggling to write my story, because all I wanted to do was go back to that brilliant place where people were jazzed about learning. Sure enough—not much later, I began the second phase of my professional life as an English teacher after getting my Master’s degree at University of Michigan. I spent 14 years in the classroom surrounded by amazing colleagues doing this difficult and world-changing work. Now I’m in the third leg of my life’s journey as editor of this magazine, where it all comes together for me. I’m still surrounded by amazing educators, and once again I get to share their incredible stories with the world. In this issue, I hear echoes of that California classroom I found so thrilling 25 years ago. Today K-12 science teachers across Michigan are shifting their practice in dramatic and systemic new ways to teach kids scientific content and methods through inquiry. It is daunting but exhilarating change that MEA members are embracing together. Read about it on page 20. I know that you, too, are quietly innovating to little public fanfare but with big payoffs in student engagement and learning. That is the story on page 24 about Jeff Austin, an Ann Arbor English teacher who has determinedly built a student-led writing center at his school. And on pages 15 and 17, two elementary teachers bring their concerns and expertise to policy conversations they should be leading—about how children learn best and what educators need in terms of working conditions and supports to nourish young minds. On page 26, read about another innovator—Grand Blanc member Vickie Weiss—who finished her 55th year teaching in June and passed away in August at the age of 79. At her funeral, her community celebrated the thousands of lives affected by her good heart and committed work. Bottom line: educators change lives. You continue caring and learning and innovating because you know your expertise and persistence will impact the world in ways that few professions can. You’ve known that since you first started dreaming about becoming who you are today. 

4  OCT-NOV 2019

—Brenda Ortega, editor

2,538 Number of Michigan classrooms run by long-term substitute teachers in the 2018‑19 school year—a staggering tenfold increase in five years, according to an investigative series of reports by Bridge magazine.

“Students who need good teachers the most—low-income and academically struggling students—are the most likely to be stuck with long-term substitutes who aren’t required to have a four-year degree or any teacher training,” the report said.

QUOTABLES

“Our current educational deficits and crumbling infrastructure… are the result of deliberate policy choices to keep taxes and public investment low.” Mike Addonizio, professor of education economics and policy at Wayne State University, in a recent op-ed in Bridge magazine, “Fix the damn schools, Michigan.” He argues lawmakers must address an “antiquated and unfair” tax system to address sinking K-12 outcomes, rising higher education tuition, crumbling roads and drinking water issues.


NEWS & NOTES

ICYMI A recent educator op-ed in Forbes magazine brought a macroeconomic perspective to teacher recruitment and retention. The column, “We Need To Stop Talking About The Teacher Shortage,” makes a straightforward point: “If I can’t buy a Porsche for $1.98, that doesn’t mean there’s an automobile shortage… And if appropriately skilled humans don’t want to work for me under the conditions I’ve set, that doesn’t mean there’s a human shortage.” Pennsylvania educator and blogger Peter Greene says the problem includes low pay but also disrespect. Over 20 years, a “reform” movement focused more on threats than support has stripped away educator autonomy. Meanwhile, the exodus of educators has led to a rise in uncertified teachers and alternative pathways to teaching that send the message “any warm body will do.” Greene argues a “shortage” implies no fault, but the truth is society can do better to bring educators back.

QUOTABLES

“As a teacher, I’ve seen how these policies hurt kids, families, and entire communities; I’m fighting back with comedy and laughter.” MEA member Quinn Strassel, Ann Arbor drama teacher, who has written a musical comedy— Betsy Devos! The Musical!— to change the conversation about public schools. Strassel is fundraising to finance a stage production of the show, which includes satirical songs such as “The Best Kind of Teacher is a Teacher with a Gun.”

Above and Beyond MEA member Nicole Haney has been heart-broken by images of immigrant children in detention. The news has forced her to imagine being separated from her one-year-old son, Liam. A Waverly schools instructional coach, Haney found inspiration to act in her own front yard. Two years ago, she and husband Dustin bought a Lansing home previously owned by a gardener who planted varieties of perennial flowers. As the blossoms emerged this year, Haney created arrangements of cuttings which she advertised on a Facebook group of her neighbors. Those interested could take a vase of flowers and leave a donation. She dubbed it Border Blooms, @borderbloomsmi on Instagram. She has raised hundreds of dollars to donate supplies to a relief organization. Haney and a neighbor have discussed keeping the effort going by baking pies for donations. She says, “I don’t know what will come of it, but a lot of people are feeling and thinking what can we do? I think it gives people a way of doing something and helping.” MEA VOICE  5


NEWS & NOTES

UPCOMING EVENTS FEBRUARY 6-7 MEA Winter Conference Marriott Renaissance Center, Detroit Save the date for MEA’s biggest conference of the year, featuring training in bargaining, organizing, member advocacy, political action, communications, and more.

MARCH 2 Read Across America Nationwide Educators across the country will be “Celebrating a Nation of Diverse Readers.” Visit nea.org/readacross to order a free classroom calendar and access activities for all year long.

MARCH 13-14 ESP Conference MEA Headquarters, East Lansing Education support professionals will gather to network and train on topics such as legal issues, ESP certification, privatization, school violence, and member engagement.

Do You Have a Claim on this Money? By Paul Helder MEA Retirement Consultant Are you eligible for retirement benefits you were not aware of ? That is a possibility if you were a student who worked part-time at a Michigan community college before July 1, 2014. The problem is this: The state doesn’t have information to identify and notify those people. Instead, eligible individuals have until Jan. 31, 2020, to step forward and claim their retirement benefits. Those eligible people who had been incorrectly left out of the Michigan Public Employees Retirement System (MPSERS) now can join the retirement system. Current MPSERS members who are eligible can claim the added service credit—and might even be able to retroactively change their MPSERS plan. So who’s eligible? For students who worked part-time at a Michigan community college before July 1, 2014: • If you are not a MPSERS member, you can now join and choose a plan. • If you are already a MPSERS member, you can add service credit. • If you are already a MPSERS member and you belong to Pension Plus, Pension Plus 2 or DC plans, you can switch to a plan that is more advantageous to you—maybe even one that includes health insurance in retirement. To find out if you are eligible, go to michigan.gov/ccstudents and complete the verification form no later than 5 p.m. on Jan. 31, 2020.

MARCH 21 AEM Conference MEA Headquarters, East Lansing Aspiring Educators of Michigan will gather from universities across the state for training sessions that cover legal professional and personal issues affecting education and school employees.

MEA Scholarship Opens The MEA Scholarship application is now open. Interested applicants can find it online at mea.org/mea-scholarship. The application deadline is Feb. 20, 2020. Questions can be directed to Barb Hitchcock at bhitchcock@mea.org or 517-333-6276. To be eligible for the MEA Scholarship, applicants must be a dependent of an MEA member or MEA-Retired member in good standing. The criteria for awarding the scholarships include academic achievement, extra-curricular activities, and school and community service. The MEA Scholarship Fund is financed through voluntary contributions of members, staff and friends of the Michigan Education Association. Since 1997, the MEA Scholarship Fund has provided a total of $710,000 in scholarships.

6  OCT-NOV 2019


MEMBER VOICES

Inequality Brings Union Gains

By Carolyn Moss and Brandon Everest Workers in Traverse City often hear the saying “a view of the bay is half the pay.” On behalf of everyone who experiences the impact, we beg to differ. Employees in Traverse City scorn the notion that location is an excuse for poor pay and poorer working conditions, and many of us stand our ground. Despite being a region without much private sector union activity, organized labor has been here for decades. Public school teachers, law enforcement and firefighters, postal workers, members of construction trades, factory and service workers—we advocate for better working conditions through unions. We represent the newest wave of resistance to the old guard that has done its entitled best to strangle our economy. Unionization at two of our largest employers—registered nurses at Munson Medical Center in 2017 and faculty at Northwestern Michigan College in 2015—brought empowerment to hundreds more workers in our area. We’re gratified by the community support and bolstered by our connections with established unions. Our momentum is partly attributed to recognition of problems associated with the decline of the middle

class and economic inequality. As unionists maintain, economic inequality threatens not only the American dream but our democracy. This is true across the country and our community. A recent report from an economic development agency spawned by the local chamber of commerce, TraverseCONNECT, explains that growth is stunted by the fact that the cost of living in the Traverse area is more than 3 percent above average while wages are more than 3 percent below the state average. The agency calls for reversing this by creating “family-sustaining” jobs, meaning employers need to pay workers more. Organizing efforts at Munson and NMC reflect gains made by organized labor in the previous five to 10 years to fight for economic equality. The gains also reflect the strong principles of our community. When we told neighbors and family members we worried about the erosion of community values at our hospital and our college, they listened and cared. We told them teachers and nurses weren’t heard in decision-making processes affecting our organizations and our community. Our community put up yard signs, attended rallies and wrote letters in response.

Finally, we won support from coworkers who were new to unions and concerned about untrue stereotypes. They understand unions don’t just advocate for their own members, but also for the well-being of citizens and clients—in our case, patients and students. Unions are made up of people committed to their work who expect equal commitment from their employers. Our unions will grow and flourish here. Our unions will support local workers and families like always. If we want our community to thrive, employers must commit to sharing the power and prosperity generated by our economy. A view of the bay can and will come with fair pay. Carolyn Moss is a registered nurse who has worked at Munson Medical Center since 2003. She is president of TCMNA Munson Nurses Union. Brandon Everest is a social sciences professor and assistant director of the Experiential Learning Institute at Northwestern Michigan College. He is president of the NMC Faculty Association. Editor’s note: This editorial was originally published in the Traverse City Record-Eagle and is reprinted here with permission. MEA VOICE  7


MESSA

Omada: Help for a healthier you More about MESSA’s weight loss and diabetes prevention program This year, MESSA began offering eligible members free access to the Omada weight loss and diabetes prevention program, and the results are pretty impressive. Since January, the 2,352 members who have enrolled have lost a combined 16,257 pounds. Losing weight is about more than slimming down—it’s about prioritizing your health and reducing your risk for diabetes, heart disease and other illnesses. It’s about helping your body feel better by reducing the pressure on your joints. Think about this: For MESSA members who spend much of the work day on their feet, joint pain can be a constant burden. Losing just 1 pound of excess weight reduces the pressure on joints by 4 pounds, according to a study by Stephen Messier at Wake Forest University. An important thing to know about Omada is that it’s not a diet—it’s a lifestyle change program. There are no set meal plans, calorie counting or extreme workouts. Instead, participants make gradual changes to the way they eat, move, sleep and manage stress—four lifestyle behaviors that have a direct impact on weight and health. Check out the testimonials below to see what surprised participants about the Omada program, then see if you’re eligible for this free program by visiting messa.org/omada.

8  OCT-NOV 2019

1

 ou don’t have to Y give up any foods.

2

 ou’ll have a team Y supporting you.

“Going in, I had my mind set that I would NOT give up eggs, meat or my real butter,” says Linda, 65. “I have not given up any of those things, and I still lost the 7% goal from my weight.”

“You aren’t in it alone,” says Nancy, 65. “You will have a lifestyle change coach as well as a whole team of others who have similar struggles.”

3

 ou’ll learn the why, Y not just the what.

“Omada transforms your unhealthy habits through education and guidance so that you can make better choices for the rest of your life,” says Adam, 23.

4

 o calories to N count.

5

 mada fits into O your life easily.

“Omada considers the whole of a person’s life, not just simply calories in and calories out,” says Lana, 55. “Hallelujah! Food tracking focuses on what I eat and portion sizes, with an emphasis on seeking out whole foods.”

“I love that this program is online,” says Donna, 56. “You can get to know people but at the same time keep your privacy. You can check in from anywhere. This program is the perfect mix.”


COVER STORY

Early career educators band together to strengthen colleagues and the union By Brenda Ortega MEA Voice Editor MEA VOICE  9


COVER STORY

What is MiNE The Michigan New Educators (MiNE) program is planned to roll out activities and events geared toward early career educators in phases over the next three years. Eventually, this first cohort of leaders envisions: l regional “hubs” surrounding each of their locals in Lansing, Monroe, Rochester, Bay City l social media connections and outreach l personal and professional learning opportunities l socializing and networking events l “tricks of the trade” information campaigns l expanded leadership in other regions of the state 10  OCT-NOV 2019

For fourth-year educator Danielle Werner, the stress of phoning parents about their child’s misbehavior or lackluster effort is one of the hardest parts of being a new teacher. “In general, I still don’t even like calling to order pizza!” the Bay City Public Schools teacher quipped. Werner knows that to survive in the profession, beginning educators must learn how to handle difficult parents. Last year for the first time she followed the advice of a mentor and began calling home with good news, too, so that “It’s not always one kind of call.” “I didn’t choose this profession to call and complain about kids,” she said. “If only the parents knew—I get no enjoyment out of this; I’m just as stressed as they are. But knowing you’re a professional, holding your ground, finally having that confidence—it comes with time.”

Unfortunately, for the 44 percent of new teachers who leave the field within the first five years, time is a luxury they don’t have. Early career educators need connection and support to thrive in the job—which is the basis of a new MEA initiative starting a three-year rollout. The Michigan New Educators program, known as MiNE, aims to build community around new educators across the state to reduce attrition and empower the next generation of union leaders. The initiative will work to fill gaps that too many promising educators slip through, said Annette Christiansen, MEA professional issues organizer. “I read somewhere that new teachers decide in October if they’re going to quit at the end of the year. Our job is to not let that happen.” Bay City’s Werner is one of four early career educators stepping up to leadership roles in the first phase. The four will develop regional “hubs”


for programming, networking, and socializing in areas surrounding their locals. More leaders and chapters will be added in the future. It’s important to have connection with other young professionals whose memories of the challenges are fresh and who haven’t necessarily figured everything out, Werner said. “The biggest fear as a new educator right now is when you come in, you feel like you have to know everything. And we’re here to say it’s OK to not know everything. I don’t know everything either.”

Meet the 2019-20 MiNE team Skye Kapinus

grade 4-5 teacher second year Lansing Public Schools

“I appreciate the support that you get from being part of a union. You don’t feel so alone. I have this community with me; they’ve been through this before, and they know what I’m going through.”

Brittney Maczala

grade 2-3 teacher fourth year Monroe Public Schools

“My first year I stayed late all the time, but my second year people said, ‘No. Go home.’ So I slowly did change. And then last year I said, ‘Nope. I’m going to go work out after school and release this stress.’”

Werner did figure out the difference between the sounds of a fire alarm and tornado siren at her school— learning the hard way early in her first year. “I took my kids outside for the tornado drill, not knowing which siren was which, and they’re like, ‘Where are we going?’” She laughs about the mistake now but says it taught her an important lesson: “The people that stay in teaching are the ones that aren’t afraid to ask a lot of questions.” However, asking for help can feel like an admission of weakness for many beginning educators, said Amanda Henderson, a MiNE leader from Rochester Community Schools who has started her fourth year teaching high school German. “Especially with Instagram and Pinterest, you want to be the teacher with the perfect classroom and the perfect lesson, and that puts a lot of pressure on people. But this career is all about learning, right? We want students to learn, and good teachers are always learning—whether it’s year 25 or year one.” As a “traveling” teacher, split between two schools, Henderson experiences unique challenges but feels fortunate to teach in the district where she grew up and graduated—with friends and family nearby, former teachers-turned-colleagues, and other new educators starting out at the same time.

Amanda Henderson

high school German teacher fourth year Rochester Community Schools

“Personal learning and growth is just as important as learning about a new classroom management technique because if you’re not happy, if you’re not enjoying what you do, you can’t give students what they need.”

Danielle Werner

grade 4 teacher fourth year Bay City Public Schools

“We can keep new educators from leaving—we can. But we need to make sure they’re feeling supported and having opportunities to connect with people that can relate to them.” MEA VOICE  11


COVER STORY

Connect with us! Facebook.com/MiNewEducators Twitter @MiNewEducators And watch for the debut MiNE podcast in October, available on SoundCloud!

Did you know? A 20-year trend toward the “graying” of the teaching profession is largely over, and the teaching force nationwide is increasingly “green,” according to a study released last fall by noted researcher Richard Ingersoll, a professor of education and sociology at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. The study, “Seven Trends: The Transformation of the Teaching Force,” gathered 30 years of data and documented the increasing percentage of beginning teachers and the relatively high rate of turnover among this group. The most common public school teacher in the U.S. was in his or her first three years of teaching by 2016, the last year for which data were available. The research also pinpointed beginning teacher attrition at 44 percent over the first five years, with higher turnover among teachers of color. MEA is looking to continue diversifying the new MiNE program during its three-year rollout. We need you! Want to help build a network of connected new educators in your region of the state? For information, contact your local membership chair or Annette Christiansen at achristiansen@mea.org.

“One of the ways I survived my first year was I had a really strong community. With this MiNE program, it’s important to me to help new teachers find a community of people who have similar struggles or problems 12  OCT-NOV 2019

or triumphs to be able to share in that together.” Another priority for Henderson will be finding ways to encourage early career educators to care for themselves, in addition to fretting over students, classrooms, lesson plans, professional development, and grading. “It’s good to take a break,” she said. “It’s OK to leave on a Friday and leave the papers on the desk; they’ll be there on Monday. And sometimes new teachers need to hear that not every single piece of paper that you hand out to the kids needs to be graded with perfect feedback and put into the grade book. It’s OK to give yourself that grace.”

“I was one of four new educators, and they hired more throughout the year, and I was the only one that lasted,” she said. “They leave the field—great teachers—because they’re like, ‘Wow, I can’t handle this stress. I come home crying every day. I can’t handle this anymore.’” It was her school’s custodians who urged Kapinus to stop staying late every night. “They said, ‘Honey, you’re going to burn yourself out. Go home.’ They would literally kick me out of the school.” When she came in during a snow day to catch up, a custodian told her, “No. You can’t come in. Go home, get in your PJs, and sit there,” she said, laughing.

The MiNE team has talked of doing giveaways to signal the importance of self-care. “I love the saying that you can’t set yourself on fire to keep someone else warm,” Henderson said. “That’s so true with teaching. If you are burned out and exhausted, the kids won’t get what they need.”

One of the biggest challenges she would like to address is new educator naiveté. In her first year, she bought her own paper and worked lunch duty for free before learning the district was supposed to supply paper and pay her for working during lunch time.

They’ve also discussed the possibility of podcasting a talk show with the theme, “Knowing when…” Knowing when to ask for help, call parents, go home, say no, read your contract.

“I don’t think I ate lunch last year at all,” she said.

MiNE leader Skye Kapinus is a second-year elementary teacher in Lansing Public Schools who decided to get involved after watching several new educators leave her school last year.

This year Kapinus agreed to serve as her MEA building representative, because she came to understand the importance of union camaraderie, support, and expertise. But she found the union wasn’t well explained to younger teachers coming in without awareness of its strengths.


COVER STORY

A Better View Look out, women of The View! The MiNE team is producing an occasional podcast to discuss topics of interest to early career educators. Judging from a recent group interview, their talk show would be more entertaining than most television gabfests.

“New teachers don’t understand why they need MEA, so that needs to be explicit,” she said. “The union knows my rights. They’re here to help me. I appreciate the support that you get from being part of a union. You don’t feel so alone.”

“A union is about being a collective, united voice to protect our profession,” Madafferi said. “This is about embracing our profession and owning it essentially, and as young millennials they can help redefine what that looks like.”

Add to that the contracts where the union negotiates everything from class sizes to extra pay requirements, said Brittney Maczala, a MiNE leader and fourth-year elementary teacher from Monroe. “There’s so much the union provides that you don’t even realize,” she said.

One of the biggest concerns for Maczala arose from her first-year experience struggling with severe student behavior issues she hadn’t encountered in her pre-service teaching.

Put them all in a room together, and the conversation goes from light to serious and back again— but always fun and interesting. Here’s a snippet from one discussion they had about the struggles faced by an overlooked constituency: teachers’ spouses and partners. Skye: There should be a support group for teachers’ significant others. Because I know my partner says all the time, “I had no idea what educators went through. Why don’t people know about this?” And I’m like, “This is the silent struggle of educators.” Danielle: The best thing ever is when we’re going out to eat, [my fiancé] Cody will say, “Where do you want to go?” But then immediately he goes, “Why did I even ask you that?” Because he knows my response is going to be, “Teachers make more decisions in a day than a brain surgeon. I’m not making another decision.”

For example, in her district, teachers get partial reimbursement for graduate coursework, which is helping her to pursue a Master’s degree.

“I didn’t know what supports were in place or who to call, and I had an administrator who was changing jobs, and I didn’t think I had a voice to be able to say, ‘I need help with this. You need to help me.’”

Maczala learned about the importance of being involved with a union from her dad, a shop steward, so she signed up to join MEA early on and has attended leadership listening tours and national NEA conferences to be an active member.

The big tasks of navigating curriculum and assessments added to the sense of overload in that first year as it does for many beginning teachers, Maczala added. The union offers the voice and support that teachers need to make it.

Brittney: That’s my internal struggle. I don’t know what I want to do, because my brain shut down. I’m done.

“I think any new educator wants to connect with people that relate to what they’re going through.”

Skye: I don’t want to do anything! And my patience is this big [measured in inches with finger and thumb].

“It’s so inspiring to see it on the national level and all we’re fighting for,” she said. All four of this year’s MiNE leaders were recruited to participate through their involvement in events where they met MEA Vice President Chandra Madafferi, whose passion is in building MEA’s capacity to deliver professional development.

Ultimately, that is the goal of MiNE. Put enough hopeful young educators together and they can change the world, Bay City’s Werner pointed out: “It won’t get better unless we make it better.”

[Group laughter]

Danielle: Even better is when you talk to them like, “Cody are you making a good choice right now?” And he says, “Don’t even.” [Laughter] “Just don’t.”

MEA VOICE  13


STRENGTH IN UNION

Jenny Schneider

First-year educator Stephanie Connell briefly paused and held her head in her hands to contain the overwhelm she felt while shopping in the New Teacher Store at Rochester Community Schools a few days before school started this year. The high school English teacher and new MEA member could take what she wanted from a room crowded with items donated by Rochester EA members: books, games, manipulatives, art supplies, posters, office supplies, bulletin board materials, storage containers, and more. “I don’t want to be wasteful,” she said. “I’m trying to stop and think and save things for other people, because I know how big this burden is.” The New Teacher Store was started this year by Jenny Schneider, the Rochester Education Association Secretary and a kindergarten teacher, as a way to welcome the district’s newly hired teachers into MEA and to help them see the union as a caring community. “I want them to know the union is not just there for your legal rights or to fight for a good contract. They’re there to support you; it’s your support system.” 14  OCT-NOV 2019

New Rochester Teachers Shop Free Supply Store She unveiled the store at the district’s new hire orientation. Anyone who joined MEA could shop for free for as many items as they needed—all donated by teachers in the district. “Teachers remember what it’s like starting out, and they have that heart,” Schneider said. Connell had been out shopping garage sales, second-hand stores and Facebook Marketplace for flexible seating for her classroom. Now she was filling a box with books, supplies, and storage bins. She still needed to purchase a box fan or two, and already she had spent $637 out of pocket. Schneider borrowed the idea from an NEA Leadership Conference she attended last summer. She held two spring drop-off days to gather donations and secured space from the district. She spent about 20 hours gathering, moving, and sorting materials, some of which was brand new. First-year social studies teacher Nicholas Reed was grateful to find materials he was planning to buy— history and geography materials and storage bins. “This is better than Christmas!” he said. Jamie Rabaut, an elementary speech and language pathologist, shrieked

at the sight of one discovery in a crowded corner of the store. “Oh my gosh, white boards!” she cried. “Jamie—wait! How many?” replied her friend and fellow speech and language pathologist, Courtney Batten. The two friends bantered about finding supplies in the style of tributes from the dystopian novel The Hunger Games. Later, Rabaut explained she had already spent about $800 buying materials to address the wide variety of speech and language disorders she will encounter in her work. Mini whiteboards were an especially good find. “For non-verbal children, these are good for language tasks and visually representing language.” Schneider opened for one more day before the space had to be cleared. Already she was planning for next year, hoping for a bigger room to allow for furniture donations. “It’s nice to be able to say to the new teachers you’re not walking into an empty classroom, and you’re not alone. Your school is supporting you, your colleagues are supporting you, and we’re a welcoming community.”


MY VIEW

Two—My Third-Grade Questions My preparation for a new school year follows a similar routine: buy new classroom supplies, organize and set-up the classroom, look over and revise lesson plans, and my favorite part—get to know my newest third graders. I can’t wait to meet the young people I will work with to develop a collaborative team, where they can grow their strengths and improve their weaknesses. This year, as I looked over second-grade report cards, old test scores, and notes from their former

teachers, I felt a sense of fear and anxiety for my incoming students, myself, and my third-grade colleagues. The Read by Grade Three Law goes into full effect this school year. My newest group of children will need to achieve a designated cut score on the M-STEP standardized test by the end of this school year or they may be retained. Looking over my notes, I realized some of their reading scores were low and some were significantly below second-grade reading level.

Nicole Droscha Third-grade teacher Mason Public Schools

So many thoughts, concerns, and questions swirled in my head.

MEA VOICE  15


MY VIEW

In less than nine months, how will I help each one of these precious individuals make a year’s growth and several of them 1-2 years of growth in reading? How will I meet each of my 26 students’ individual needs in reading, while trying to teach all of the Common Core curriculum standards in writing, math, science, and social studies without more support in my classroom? How will I find the time to devote to the endless cycle of modeling, practice, coaching, and feedback with so much of our learning time being pulled into testing? Are all of these tests really necessary: weekly tests; formative tests/exit tickets; unit tests; benchmark tests; beginning-, middle- and end-of-the-year tests; pre/post tests; progress monitoring tests; and state M-STEP testing? We are spending too much time teaching to tests, preparing or reviewing for tests, taking tests, and providing feedback about tests. We need more time to teach and allow adequate practice time to help kids develop reading skills and strategies and prevent them from being labeled “struggling” readers in the first place. All of this test prep and test taking leaves little time to promote a love of reading and allow children time to practice reading. Research has shown that increasing the amount of time kids spend engaging in reading is the best way to increase reading skills and achievement. Unfortunately, testing and test prep also don’t allow for student choice over reading material. 16  OCT-NOV 2019

Struggling readers could be more motivated to read and persevere in reading if allowed to choose high-interest texts. Reading about what they love and having choice over their reading material makes youngsters feel more content, which leads to comfort and confidence in reading ability. These positive feelings encourage children to spend more time reading, which further increases their skills. We need emergent readers to practice reading as much as possible, and to believe in themselves as readers, in order to achieve their full literacy potential. However, building authentic connections between life and learning is often sacrificed to quickly “cover” all of the material and make time to give another test. I wonder what message this intense focus on test-taking sends to my impressionable third graders. Are we telling our children that rushing to obtain a score is more important than doing quality work to demonstrate learning? I worry the children will get sucked into a sickening cycle of comparing themselves to a cut score or other people’s scores to define their value and self-worth as a person.

How many times can they rally to get back up and persevere to overcome their challenges in reading? How many times can they fall short of the target and still believe they can read and they will succeed? Over time will scores deflate their sense of self-worth and convince them they can’t read, won’t ever be able to read, and should just give up? Giving up in third grade seems like a disastrous outcome for any child. This could not have been the intention of the Read by Grade Three Law. We all want our children to flourish, and reading is a vital component to their future success. I hope by sharing my experience with this first year of full implementation of the Read by Grade Three Law other educators will similarly speak up as well. I hope to encourage educators, community members, students, and policy makers to be courageous enough to have honest conversations about what the real intentions and effects of this law mean to the daily lives of students, families, teachers, and school districts.

My constant fear is for my lowest-performing students who never seem to get close to the cut score.

We all need to collectively examine questions and concerns about this new law, so we can collaboratively design sustainable solutions to providing the best education for our children and their future. Asking for the help and support we need, to give our children what they deserve for the best education possible, demonstrates our caring and strength.

How do they see themselves as a learner or as a reader?

Will stakeholders’ voices be heard and respected?

How will they ever believe they are enough if they are basing their self-worth on these ever-present, constantly fluctuating scores?


MEMBERS AT WORK

Call Her Miss Michigan or Miss Rivard: ‘It’s all good’

By Brenda Ortega MEA Voice Editor

Pardon the cliché, but MEA member Mallory Rivard is living her dream—and not only because she’s on her way to compete in the Miss America pageant representing Michigan in December. “My dream has always been to be Miss Rivard,” she says. “It’s always to be a first-grade teacher. It’s always to help kids succeed.” People are surprised to learn the state’s top beauty queen is a working educator in a low-income neighborhood school in Bay City. “They’re like, ‘Wait. What?’ They think all [pageant winners] do is take pictures and look pretty all day. “I’m a real person, I do real things, and I’m here to do my job. Yes, I get to be glamorous sometimes, but at

the same time I’m wiping boogers. It’s OK.” The same gifts that help the 24-yearold compete in pageants also allow her to run a classroom: a passionate commitment, dazzling smile, and commanding presence. So it’s not surprising that one youngster in class was having trouble distinguishing between the two. “One little girl calls me Miss Michigan every day, because she thinks that’s my name,” Rivard said. This year marks the first time in the state’s pageant history that Miss Michigan is being allowed to keep a full-time job during the busy oneyear title reign. The allowance by the Miss Michigan board of directors came at Rivard’s insistence.

“I wouldn’t be myself if I had to give up a year of teaching. This is where I’m meant to be.” Even so, Rivard says she’s glad to have two years of teaching experience under her belt or she might not have been able to juggle all of the demands on her time. She logged 15,000 miles this summer making appearances as Miss Michigan. “Now all of my appearances or obligations are either on weekends or after school, and there is something every weekend or every other evening. I have a business manager that schedules me outside of school, so I’m very, very busy, but it’s such a dream come true.” In June, Rivard took home the crown after seven tries and two back-toMEA VOICE  17


MEMBERS AT WORK

Raising Readers Academy, a free 12week program to help parents learn tools and strategies for building their children into strong, joyful readers. In Bay County, she joined “Milk and Bookies” events featuring Rivard in her crown and sash doing a readaloud that concluded with milk and cookies plus a free Scholastic book for every child in attendance, thanks to community sponsors. “I just try to help out in any way possible,” she said. “I also have talked to different legislators in the state about bills that have been or might be introduced that I could testify for in the coming months. That’s what I see as my role this year.”

In June, Rivard was crowned Miss Michigan after two consecutive first runner-up finishes. Photo: Lindsay King Portraits

back first runner-up finishes. Through competing in various pageants she has earned $35,000 in scholarship money to finish college debt-free at Saginaw Valley State University. She is pursuing a Master’s degree. Most importantly to her, winning the state title puts a spotlight on the social impact initiative she chose to champion based on her school life: a literacy effort known as “Read to Succeed.” “After two years of teaching first grade here at MacGregor Elementary, I saw the need,” she said. “Parents don’t necessarily know how to best help their children learn to read at home, so I started digging into different organizations to see what else I could do.” Her research brought Rivard to the READ Association of Saginaw County, where she helped develop and lead several sessions of the 18  OCT-NOV 2019

Another concern that led Rivard to her literacy platform is Michigan’s three-year-old third grade reading law which requires K-3 students to be tested and retested throughout the year. Struggling readers below a certain level are given an Individual Reading Improvement Plan (IRIP). Educators across the state have complained that the law’s required testing crowds out time for teaching and learning. “There is a two-page list of testing I have to get done in three weeks, and we’re going to try to teach, but our number-one goal is getting through testing,” she said. In addition, the law includes a controversial retention mandate taking effect next fall for third graders who do not meet a prescribed cut score on the standardized M-STEP test next spring. The experience of other states with similar policies suggests that retention will disproportionately affect children from poorer communities, such as the one where Rivard teaches. “This is going into effect, and many parents across the state don’t know about it, and some people think it’s a fix-all, and it’s not.” Rivard has many ideas about real fixes to address Michigan’s reading

woes, starting with the most obvious: smaller class sizes. “I give 100 percent, and I try my best to get to know all of my students individually, but what if you could really hone in on goals with fewer students?” What if all four-year-olds had access to free preschool through Head Start and Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP), she wondered. “And maybe we need to start providing busing for GSRP to help parents be able to use it,” she added. A big problem she encountered in her first year of teaching was that her children didn’t have their own reading materials or library cards. “I was telling Johnny, ‘Read before bed! Read before bed!’ And Johnny said, ‘Miss Rivard, I don’t have any books to read before bed.’” She asked for donations on Facebook and was able to fund a free monthly $1 book for all of her students, which she expanded to include all of her school’s first-grade classrooms the next year. “Sixty-six percent of children living in poverty don’t have a single book in the home. These kids are resilient; they want to do their best, but how do we expect them to read when they don’t have books? They need access to books that they like, that are new and current and representative of who they are.” Rivard grew up in Bay City “on the other side of the river,” a mostly rural, white, middle-class area. Her experience teaching on the opposite side of town has revealed harsh disparities she didn’t know existed between the lives of residents, which she believes need to be discussed. “If we want change, we have to talk about it,” she said. “Every kid, regardless of their zip code, deserves the same opportunity. Just because these kids live on this side of the bridge doesn’t mean they deserve any different or any less.”


MEMBERS AT WORK

MEA member Mallory Rivard, a first-grade teacher in Bay City, promotes literacy for her Miss Michigan platform.

She inherited a nearly empty classroom when she started teaching fulltime in 2017 and estimates she has spent more than $1,200 outfitting it with books, flexible seating, soft lighting, and friendly décor to make school a safe and welcoming space for her students. “I would love to invite lawmakers into my classroom to see what it’s like to be one person and have 27 first graders, who may come to school without breakfast in their belly or go home and not have dinner. “These kids have so many different struggles that sometimes in the morning you come in and think OK, what bugs will I have to squash before they even walk in the door? What worries can we put away so they can focus on trying to learn and grow?” The game changer for Rivard has been literacy coach and MEA member Jayme Johnson, who models

best practices, gives feedback, and helps out in the classroom at times. “He’s been such a blessing, because I’ll be completely honest—first year, I knew what best practices were, but I didn’t know how to implement everything. I feel like I use little tools from his tool belt every day.” Rivard also credits another MEA member—her mentor, nine-year first-grade veteran Whitney Legner— with teaching her systematic tricks of the trade for smooth classroom operation. In addition, Principal Brad Pennell gave her time to observe experienced teachers when she struggled in her first year. Pennell has told Rivard she got the job two years ago because of her stellar interview—a skill she developed and sharpened through pageants and related appearances. Now as she prepares for the 99th Miss America pageant, airing live on

NBC on Dec. 19, Rivard believes her classroom experience has prepared her for the competition, which includes talent and interview portions. “With teaching, literally every single day is an interview prep. You never know what those kids are going to ask you or what weird circumstances will come up, and there’s something about sitting for parent-teacher conferences that is like no other experience.” Whatever happens, the national competition is “a cherry on top” of her already amazing life. “It’s special to meet the candidates from around the country, who are spectacular and motivated professional women,” she said. “I’m going to go there and wear fabulous clothes and have a lot of fun. And win, place, or draw, I get to come back and be Miss Rivard, so it’s all good.” MEA VOICE  19


MEMBERS AT WORK

New Standards Transform Science Instruction By Brenda Ortega MEA Voice Editor

MEA member Holly Hereau teaches science in a suburban Detroit setting, but she grew up in the wild. The 15-year veteran of South Redford School District fondly recalls a childhood in the Upper Peninsula’s Escanaba area playing outside with her friends—mostly in the woods, discovering nature by following her curiosity wherever it took her. “Nobody had a cell phone back then; we’d be exploring and checking stuff out and always asking questions,” Hereau says. “I think that’s what spurred me on to be a biologist in the first place.”

But her early experience teaching at Thurston High School was disappointing. She found herself delivering the same content in the same way every year. The kids who were good at memorizing facts got good grades but were bored. The kids who weren’t good at memorizing hated class. “And nobody was good at figuring anything out,” she said. That has all changed.

Several years ago, Hereau began following her curiosity about a new approach to teaching science, which eventually became known as the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Today every K-12 Generation science teacher in Michigan is required to follow suit.

What are the Next Science Standards?

Many educators across the state have been test driving NGSS for three years since the Michigan Board of Education adopted them as the Michigan Science Standards in late 2015. Next spring the rubber hits the road: students will take NGSS-aligned standardized science tests in grades 5, 8, and 11 for public release.

The NGSS are K–12 science content standards intended to help students deeply understand core scientific concepts, to understand the scientific process of developing and testing ideas, and to have a greater ability to evaluate scientific evidence. Hereau was studying entomology in graduate school at Michigan State University when she first became interested in teaching—drawn in by her work as a teaching assistant doing hands-on project-based learning with undergraduate students. 20  OCT-NOV 2019

Developed by scientists and educators from across the country over several years, the NGSS grew out of frustration that science standards and curricula nationwide focused too narrowly on facts and recall, in-

stead of exploration, discovery, and problem-solving—the cornerstones of science and engineering. Now adopted by 20 states, the standards represent a dramatic paradigm shift. Instead of learning about scientific topics, students are asked to use scientific thinking and practices to figure out natural phenomena that are not easily explained. “So they’re asking questions and getting ideas of investigations that could answer those questions, and then they put all the pieces together to explain it at the end,” Hereau said. Everyone agrees the change is important for improving scientific literacy in the U.S. and attracting more students into STEM-related studies and careers, but it’s described as complex and time-consuming for educators. For Hereau, it’s also exciting. “This shift has really made me excited to teach again,” she said. “It’s so much fun, because it gets the kids to think. I spend my time asking questions and discussing instead of telling them stuff they need to memorize.” Hereau is spreading the love. As an early adopter who attended lots of professional development, she has become an expert on the new standards, training teachers at conferences in Michigan and across the U.S. in addition to writing and reviewing open-source curriculum and assessments.


MEMBERS AT WORK

Holly Hereau

Last December, Hereau was named the 2019 high school Michigan Science Teacher of the Year.

provided MEA-member middle and high school biology teachers with six NGSS-aligned teaching units.

“Prior to the release of the NGSS, I was pretty overworked, burnt out and ready for a career shift,” she said after receiving the honor. “I’m still overworked, but seeing the progress my students are making has given me a second wind.”

Two cohorts of MEA-member teachers (including Holly Hereau) received training at MEA headquarters, went back to their schools and field tested at least three of the Carbon TIME units, provided feedback to MSU, and acted as a resource to other educators in their school district and region.

The NGSS call for a “three-dimensional” approach to K-12 science instruction that marries content and process. Those three dimensions weave together core ideas specific to each scientific discipline (life, physical, earth and space, engineering and technology) with scientific and engineering practices (investigation into answers, designing solutions and constructing model-based explanations) and crosscutting concepts that are common to all areas of science (cause and effect, stability and change, etc.).

Vicksburg High School science teacher Liz Ratashak agrees the standards are strong, but making the change requires training, time, and work. “In my experience, people are excited about it because it feels really authentic,” the 28-year veteran said. “We’re in the business of educating people, so when we see a way that works, it’s exciting even if it’s difficult.” Ratashak served as lead teacher in a three-year MEA collaboration with a Michigan State University project called Carbon TIME (Transformations in Matter and Energy). Funded with a grant from the National Science Foundation, the program

“Anybody who’s going to survive in this job needs to work together and not try to do it alone,” Ratashak said. “If people in your district aren’t there to help, join MSTA, Michigan Science Teachers Association. Go to conferences. Seek it out yourself.” Now MEA and the Ann Arbor Education Association, working cooperatively with the school district administration, have helped to bring the Carbon TIME training to members’ doorsteps. Science teachers in Ann Arbor are participating in local professional MEA VOICE  21


MEA member Holly Hereau, the 2019 high school Michigan Science Teacher of the Year, says before adopting the NGSS standards she was headed toward burnout and a career change.

What will NGSS-aligned assessments look like? How to assess student learning is one of the challenges of making the shift to the Next Generation Science standards.  The Next Generation Science Assessment (NGSA) group is a multiinstitutional collaborative that is designing classroom-ready formative assessments for teachers to gain insights into their students’ progress on achieving the NGSS performance expectations at nextgenscience.org.  The Michigan Department of Education released sample science assessment items to help teachers and students prepare for the science M-STEP test for grades 5, 8, and 11 at tinyurl.com/MISampleSci.

development workshops and other forms of ongoing support that will connect educators together in helpful professional learning networks going forward. More locals are expected to launch similar initiatives in coming months. Educators need coherent and continuous professional development on the standards, because the learning goals and classroom practice expectations are much more ambitious than in the past, said Christie Morrison Thomas, the MEA Carbon TIME network leader and an MSU graduate student in Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Education. “The kind of classroom discourse that’s required for students to be figuring out a natural phenomenon instead of learning about scientific topics is hugely different than teachers generally have practiced before,” Morrison Thomas said. “It’s required a lot of time and experiences with colleagues and professional learning experts in a planned course of 22  OCT-NOV 2019

study—not just one or two days in a workshop.” Educators across Michigan are at widely varying stages of progress in making the switch to the new standards, with some still at a beginning phase and others farther along the path. Carbon TIME is available for free online at carbontime.bcbs.org. More and more freely accessible material is coming available as time passes—much of it the result of grant-funded collaborations between university researchers and educators in the field. The hope is that school district administrators who understand the magnitude of the change in standards will redirect money from buying textbooks to supplying teachers with quality professional development. One virtual resource for exploring the standards— stemteachingtools.org—also

includes open-source professional development modules for educators and clear but distilled “practice briefs” for learning more about opportunities and challenges of teaching the NGSS, according to Morrison Thomas. A widely recommended curricular resource—Next Gen Science Storylines—is praised for its engaging approach at nextgenstorylines.org. A related full-year biology course curriculum (which Hereau contributed to) and middle school magnetism unit is also open source, including assessments, at colorado.edu/ program/inquiryhub/.

MEA member Beth Lehner was one of many elementary teachers in several west Michigan districts who piloted an NGSS-aligned open-source curriculum developed through a partnership between three universities, including University of Michigan and MSU, called Multiple Literacies in Project Based Learning. “The kids are way more engaged and excited about science than ever before,” the third-grade teacher at Sparta’s Appleview Elementary School said.


MEMBERS AT WORK

NGSS teaching resources  The official website of the NGSS includes numerous resources for understanding the standards and offers “badge units” that have met quality standards at nextgenscience.org/badgeunits.

However, as with many educators learning the new standards, Lehner found the time required to complete a unit is the biggest challenge. “We didn’t get to everything last year, because that time is split between science and social studies. The people that did finish all the science didn’t get to the social studies.” Lehner liked that the curriculum targeted reading and writing skills along with the science. Students were reading to explore answers to their questions and writing summaries and reflections that made connections. “It’s a lot less teacher-driven and a lot more hands-on with kids figuring things out and drawing conclusions,” she said. “It brings science alive and gives students the thought process of how to work through questions about a phenomenon.”

In Zeeland, middle school science teachers are using a curriculum developed at Michigan Technological University, known as Mi-STAR. MEA member Lara Minnear volunteered to be a lead teacher for the district and helped phase in implementation over three years in grades 6-8. Educators wishing to use Mi‑STAR must complete professional development before getting access to the courses.

 Carbon TIME offers six free units for middle and high school use focusing on processes that transform matter and energy in organisms, ecosystems, and global systems at carbontime.bcbs.org—developed by the Environmental Literacy Project at MSU.  Next Gen Storylines are high-quality free units developed by science education leaders, including units for elementary, middle school and high school at nextgenstorylines.org.  A free one-year high school biology curriculum related to Next Gen Storylines, known as Inquiry Hub biology or iHub Biology, can be found at colorado.edu/program/inquiryhub.  A year-long high school physical science curriculum, called Interactions, is another high-quality, free resource at learn.concord.org/interactions. Available through MSU’s Create for STEM Institute, along with fee-for-service professional development.  MiSTAR is a middle school curriculum with 12 units available to Michigan educators who complete the required professional development. Learn more at mi-star.mtu.edu.  Phenomenal Science is a set of free K-5 science units developed through a regional collaboration between the Science, Mathematics, Technology Center at Central Michigan University and the Great Lakes Bay ISDs at lor.mivu.org/phenomenal-science.  A variety of useful tips, tools, and short briefs about NGSS-oriented instruction is available at stemteachingtools.org/tools.  The Michigan Science Teachers Association will hold its annual conference March 6-7, 2020, in Lansing. Find information at msta-mich.org.

“Now that we’re in year three, we’re starting to see the benefit of having our students utilize these standards in the classroom,” Minnear said. “And we’re seeing our teaching come around to the point where we can understand how best to teach them. We see that our students are learning how to think about science rather than just the what of science.”

The NGSS represent a major change in practice for every science teacher in the state, she said. The lessons and units are time-consuming. Not as much content is covered, which can be hard for educators, she added.

Mi-STAR is not a perfect resource, but few things are, the Creekside Middle School seventh-grade teacher said. “What we’ve loved about working with the people at Michigan Tech is they are continually looking for teacher feedback and then revising and tweaking the units.”

“I have seen students making more real-world connections than I’ve ever seen before with them being able to see, OK, we’re learning science concepts in class but then this is how they’re used in the world,” Minnear said. “That has given real validity to what we do in class.”

But the benefit is that students get to explore their own curiosity and understand the application of what they’re learning.

MEA VOICE  23


INNOVATORS

Innovation:

Peer Tutors Fight Inequities When MEA member Jeff Austin started a writing center at Skyline High School in Ann Arbor six years ago, he didn’t have a mentor or a network of support to help him. Now he wants to be one and build that for others to follow in his footsteps. Austin’s innovative tutoring program provides quality writing support by students, for students, throughout the school day and online to address achievement and opportunity gaps.

The program operates as a for-credit class, with trained tutors who are juniors and seniors. “We use peer-to-peer learning to disrupt some of the inequities we’ve seen around literacy and writing,” Austin said. Achievement and equity gaps exist between special and general education students, between students of color and white students, and between students from low and high socioeconomic backgrounds, he said. Those issues exist at Skyline and across the country. “Our writing center can be a spoke in the wheel of support that helps students, because a lot of these issues are rooted in reading and writing.” Students can drop in for tutoring any time of day, and teachers can request tutors to come into their classes to work with individuals or small groups. Student tutors also run an online writing center serving Skyline and two other schools, including the district’s alternative high school. According to data collected by Austin, in one school year Skyline writing center tutors completed 1,207 consultations for 31 teachers across content areas. Students who used the center reported a median improvement of one full grade, greater writing confidence, and improved ability to evaluate their own work.

24  OCT-NOV 2019

“There’s a lot of information out there about really good things that happen when kids start to get metacognitive—when they start thinking about their writing and their work in deeper, more meaningful ways,” Austin said. Now Austin has found a way to reach even more students. He is using a grant from the state to help train and mentor educators from five other schools in Washtenaw County who are interested in starting a writing center. For his innovative approach, Austin was among the first cohort of educators selected to be part of the Michigan Department of Education’s Innovative Educator Corps. The designation includes a $5,000 grant for program improvements and a $5,000 stipend to help spread his ideas to other educators. Both the grant and stipend are renewable for up to two additional years. He is using the money to design and fund a training program that includes a weekend retreat and two conferences for both director and student participants from schools in Ann Arbor, Saline, and Dexter. A second group of interested educators from the county is being recruited. Dexter High School English teacher Andrew Parker signed up to join the project after kicking around the idea with a colleague for several years.


INNOVATORS

The MEA member teaches ninth graders, who often need extra help with essay writing. He planned to start small with a few tutors working alongside him in an independent study arrangement. “The plan is eventually we would expand to serve all grades and all classes once students see the benefits,” he said. Building a writing center over several years has not been easy—especially given the fact that Austin still teaches three classes of humanities and sophomore English. Creating a student-led program is “immensely complex,” he said. The job involves recruiting and training tutors, maintaining and reporting data, marketing and promoting services, and advocating for resources. Student tutors have to learn how to give meaningful and encouraging feedback while developing a comfortable relationship. “There’s never enough time, but the tutors are committed and work really hard,” he said. “They’re reading research, they’re practicing, they’re thinking and working through the complicated issues of what it means to talk to people about writing and help them through a process without taking it over or owning it for them.” Not a lot of writing centers existed when he first ventured into the arena, Austin said. For help and support, he joined national organizations to tap into professional resources. Now he’s a leader and conference presenter in the International Writing Centers Association (IWCA) and Secondary Schools Writing Center Association (SSWCA). In addition, he built partnerships with faculty who operate writing centers at Eastern Michigan University and University of Michigan— both of which are helping him to

Jeff Austin

train educators and students from his Washtenaw County Writing Centers Project.

a network in Fairfax County, Va., which boasts writing centers in 18 of 21 high schools.

Recently he designed a Secondary School Writing Center Census which he administered to 115 writing center directors across the country. He found 67 percent of the programs were started in the past five years, and 40 percent began in the last two years.

One of the best outcomes he has witnessed through the writing center is when tutors have positive ongoing interactions with students they are helping, Austin said.

One-third of those surveyed learned how to run a writing center through self-training and research. Almost none had ongoing support or collegial networks to help sustain programs. “What people said to me over and over was ‘I wish I had support when I started,’ or ‘because I’m new, I really want a network.’ Locally, too, there was a hunger for it, so I worked with my community partners and we put together a comprehensive coaching and mentorship program to get people off the ground.” Austin modeled his grant-funded training and support program after

“The best use of the writing center is when people are returning multiple times for a single assignment, and that’s when these powerful relationships develop. Those students leave with a relationship with a peer that they know they can go to.” The system encourages literacy connections across departments and content areas. Student tutors in his program are helping to train others from the five startup schools. They also do community service and present at conferences along with Austin. “What I’m most proud of is that over the last seven years we’ve become the student-centered, student-led organization that I always wanted us to be.” MEA VOICE  25


IN MEMORIAM

In Memory of an Innovator A former student wrote in the online guestbook for Vickie Weiss: “Everyone who reads these letters will have their own collection of moments that comprise the ways this quintessential teacher fostered their intellectual curiosity, sense of possibility, drive to make change, community awareness, artistic creativity, scientific enthusiasm… the list is too long.”

Something was missing from opening day in Grand Blanc Community Schools this year. For the first time in more than a half century, MEA member Vickie Weiss was not in attendance. In June she completed an astounding 55th year teaching elementary school in the district, and in August she passed away at the age of 79 following a brief illness. Described as a legendary innovator and “ambassador for learning” in the community, Weiss was largely responsible for creating City School (now the Perry Innovation Center) in the district nearly 30 years ago. There she was able to put her beliefs about how children learn into action.

multi-age classrooms of grades 1-2 and 3-5 where they could move fluidly across groups based on skills rather than age. Every student experienced being youngest and oldest in class. The school ran on an extended school year similar to what is now called a balanced calendar. Parent involvement was required. In addition, City School focused on experiential learning. For example, Garner said, in the last couple of years her fifth graders studied the history of Detroit and visited areas of the city being revitalized to examine the cultural impacts of redevelopment.

“She was very much ahead of her time, and her legacy is going to live on long after many of us have gone,” said Grand Blanc Superintendent Clarence Garner, who was mentored by Weiss when he began teaching in 1988.

Pam Bachner taught alongside Weiss for seven years at City School, and their friendship endured for decades. Weiss was known to be tough because of her high expectations, “but she always gave students an opportunity to make improvements,” Bachner said.

The school that Weiss started in Grand Blanc in the early 90s was cutting-edge. Students learned in

“Every day was a fresh start in her eyes. She taught me and everyone that life is about learning.”

26  OCT-NOV 2019

Weiss always came up with real-life themes and issues to build mentor texts and learning experiences around, Bachner said. For example, when the city council considered a proposed park, students read council meeting minutes, met the politicians, and wrote letters on the issue. She brought in musicians, dancers, visual artists, and jewelry makers to demonstrate and discuss their art. “And so on. Those opportunities weren’t every three or four months,” Bachner said. “It was on a regular basis. Her wheels were always turning.” Most importantly, she fostered relationships that made students and adults feel heard and important, Bachner said. Outside of class, Weiss coached students for 25 years in a competitive problem-solving program called Odyssey of the Mind, taking teams to World Finals five times. Hundreds attended her funeral service, including former students who flew in from around the country and stood up to share remembrances. No one has found records to determine if Weiss was the longest-serving educator in state history, Bachner said, but she added with certainty: “Vickie was the best ambassador for learning ever.”


REGION ELECTIONS

Region Elections 18

16

17

14 REGION ELECTION INFORMATION Following is a description of the election procedures to be followed in the regions. This process complies with relevant federal laws. (See positions to be elected following this section.) Election dates for regions using online voting Monday, March 2, 2020, at 8 a.m. through Monday, March 16, 2020, at 3:59 p.m.

15 12 13

Election dates for regions using paper ballots

11 9

The region at-large election shall be conducted on March 3, 4 and 5, 2020.

10

If your unit is not scheduled to work during the above days, the election shall be conducted on March 10, 11 and 12, 2020. If inclement weather or another emergency interrupts the election listed above, it shall be completed on the next consecutive workday(s), but no later than March 24.

The candidates for the region atlarge positions shall be printed in the February edition of the MEA Voice. Persons interested in running for a position should contact their region elections chairperson or nominations chair. If a Region does not have a December meeting they cannot use acclamation. In order to elect by acclamation, there must be a quorum. Absentee balloting (From the Region Council Constitution, Article VIII, Sec. 3.f.)

6

8

5

The region at-large election is an on-site election. However, eligible voters who are not able to vote on site during the election period may notify their local association president of their need to vote by absentee ballot. The request must be in writing, include the specific reason necessitating an absentee ballot and be received no later than February 21 by the local association president. Eligible voters requesting an absentee ballot and complying with the above requirements shall be mailed an absentee ballot by the

4

7 3

2

local association election committee. An absentee ballot must be returned by U.S. mail and received by the local association no later than the last day of the election. Late absentee ballots shall be unopened and set aside as void ballots. Eligible voters Voter eligibility listings will be created from information received by the MEA Membership Department from the local associations by February 7, 2020.

MEA VOICE  27


REGION ELECTIONS

Attention ESP members 2020 Region 50 statewide election for ESP only ESP members of MEA send delegates to the National Education Association Representative Assembly, which will be held next year in Atlanta, GA. Expenses to attend the RA are reimbursed according to the state delegate expense policy. All Michigan ESP candidates for NEA statewide at-large delegate seats run as delegates for Region 50. All Michigan ESP members vote as part of Region 50 to elect statewide at-large delegates to the NEA RA. A secret ballot is

required. Elections are held at the region level and results forwarded to MEA for counting. Each nominated candidate may submit a biographical statement of 150 words or fewer to be printed and distributed with ballots. Statements must be in paragraph form and will be printed as received by Dec. 31, 2019. Photos and lists will not be printed for regions using paper ballots, but pictures can be submitted for regions participating in online elections. Statements can be emailed to mostertag@mea.org, or mailed to MEA Executive Office c/o Mike Ostertag, PO Box 2573, East Lansing, MI 48826-2573.

MEA ESP members in good standing are eligible to be nominated or self-nominate at the region nominations meeting or by using the nomination form. Additional forms are available from your region president or region election chairperson. A candidate’s consent must be secured before that name is placed on a ballot. Mail the form to Mike Ostertag at MEA Headquarters no later than Dec. 31, 2019. Late nominations will not be accepted. If you have questions, contact your region elections chairperson or call Mike Ostertag at MEA Headquarters, 800-292-1934, ext. 5411, before Dec. 15, 2019.

Region 50—NEA Representative Assembly, ESP Delegate At Large Nomination Form (please print) Supply the following information regarding the nominee. Remember, the consent of a candidate must be secured before that name is placed on any ballot. Nomination form must be received no later than Dec. 31, 2019. Mail to: Mike Ostertag, MEA PO Box 2573, East Lansing, MI 48826-2573. Nomination forms received after Dec. 31, 2019 will not be accepted. Biographical statements of no more than 150 words may be submitted. Statement must be in paragraph form. Lists are not accepted. Pictures will not be accepted for regions using paper ballots. Pictures will be accepted for regions participating in the online elections.

REGION 2

Position 1–MEA Board of Directors/ NEA RA Delegate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 Position 3–MEA RA At-Large Delegate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 3 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20 Position 4–MEA RA At-Large Alternate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 4 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 6–EA NEA RA At-Large Alternate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 5 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 7–EA/ESP NEA RA AtLarge Delegate 28  OCT-NOV 2019

The named candidate is nominated for the following position(s):

  ESP NEA RA at-large delegate: 4 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20   E  SP NEA RA at-large delegate-Representing Minority 3-1(g): 2 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20   E  SP NEA RA at-large delegate-Representing Minority 3-1(g): 1 position*, immediate thru 8/31/20 Name����������������������������������������������������������������� Home address���������������������������������������������������������� City_______________________________ State______ Zip����������������������� Home phone__________________________ Work phone���������������������� Local ESP association����������������������������������������������������

1 position, immed. thru 8/31/20 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/22 Position 8–EA MEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/20 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20, same seat as above Position 9–EA MEA RA Cluster Alternate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 Position 10–ESP MEA RA Cluster Delegate 2 positions, immed. thru 8/31/21 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/21

Position 11–ESP MEA RA Cluster Alternate 3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 Position 12–EA NEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/21 Position 13–EA NEA RA Cluster Alternate 1 position, immed. thru 3/31/21 Position 14–ESP NEA RA Cluster Delegate 2 positions, immed. thru 8/31/20 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20, same seats as above

1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/20 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20, same seat as above Position 15–ESP NEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 Elections Chair: Tov Pauling, tov0727@gmail.com

REGION 3

Position 1–MEA Board of Directors/ NEA RA Delegate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20


REGION ELECTIONS Position 2–MEA Board of Directors/ NEA RA Delegate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 Position 3–MEA RA At-Large Delegate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 2 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20 Position 4–MEA RA At-Large Alternate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 4 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 5–EA NEA RA At-Large Delegate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 Position 6–EA NEA RA At-Large Alternate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 5 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 Position 7–EA/ESP NEA RA AtLarge Delegate 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/20 Position 8–EA MEA RA Cluster Delegate 4 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/20 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20, same seat as above Position 9–EA MEA RA Cluster Alternate 3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 10–ESP MEA RA Cluster Delegate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20 2 positions, immed. thru 8/31/20 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20, same seats as above 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/21 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/21 Position 11–ESP MEA RA Cluster Alternate 5 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 Position 12–EA NEA RA Cluster Delegate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/20 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20, same seat as above Position 13–EA NEA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 14–ESP NEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, immediate thru 8/31/20 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20, same seat as above 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/21 Position 15–ESP NEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Election Chair: D’Andra Clark, dandra.clark23@gmail.com

REGION 4

Position 1–MEA Board of Directors/ NEA RA Delegate 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/21 Position 3–MEA RA At-Large Delegate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 Position 4–MEA RA At-Large Alternate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 2 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 6–EA NEA RA At-Large Alternate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 4 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 8–EA MEA RA Cluster Delegate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20 Position 9–EA MEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 10–ESP MEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/21 Position 11–ESP MEA RA Cluster Alternate 3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 12–EA NEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/20 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20, same seat as above Position 13–EA NEA RA Cluster Alternate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 Position 14–ESP NEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/21 Position 15–ESP NEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Elections Chair: Not Available

REGION 5

Position 1–MEA Board of Directors/ NEA RA Delegate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 Position 3–MEA RA At-Large Delegate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 3 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20 Position 4–MEA RA At-Large Alternate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 4 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 5–EA NEA RA At-Large Delegate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 Position 6–EA NEA RA At-Large Alternate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 6 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 8–EA MEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/22

Position 9–EA MEA RA Cluster Alternate 3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 Position 10–ESP MEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/21 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/22 Position 11–ESP MEA RA Cluster Alternate 3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 12–EA NEA RA Cluster Delegate 3 positions, immed. thru 8/31/22 2 positions*, immed. thru 8/31/21 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/21 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/22 Position 13–EA NEA RA Cluster Alternate 4 positions, immed. thru 3/31/22 1 position*, immed. thru 3/31/22 Position 14–ESP NEA RA Cluster Delegate 2 positions, immed. thru 8/31/22 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/22 Position 15–ESP NEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, immed. thru 3/31/22 1 position*, immed. thru 3/31/22 Elections Chair: Mary Cooper, mcooper@mymea.org

REGION 6

Position 1–MEA Board of Directors/ NEA RA Delegate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20 Position 2–MEA Board of Directors/ NEA RA Delegate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 Position 3–MEA RA At-Large Delegate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 Position 4–MEA RA At-Large Alternate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 5 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 5–EA NEA RA At-Large Delegate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 Position 6–EA NEA RA At-Large Alternate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 5 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 9–EA MEA RA Cluster Alternate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 Position 11–ESP MEA RA Cluster Alternate 3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 12–EA NEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/20 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20, same seat as above

1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 Position 13–EA NEA RA Cluster Alternate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 Position 14–ESP NEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/21 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/22 Position 15–ESP NEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 Elections Chair: Heather Schulz, hschulz28@gmail.com

REGION 7

Position 1–MEA Board of Directors/ NEA RA Delegate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 Position 2–MEA Board of Directors/ NEA RA Delegate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 Position 3–MEA RA At-Large Delegate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 2 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20 Position 4–MEA RA At-Large Alternate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 4 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 2 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 5–EA NEA RA At-Large Delegate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 Position 6–EA NEA RA At-Large Alternate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 6 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 7–EA/ESP NEA RA AtLarge Delegate 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/20 Position 10–ESP MEA RA Cluster Delegate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/22 1 position, immed, thru 8/31/22 Position 11–ESP MEA RA Cluster Alternate 4 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 Position 14–ESP NEA RA Cluster Delegate 3 positions, immed. thru 8/31/20 3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20, same seats as above 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/20 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20, same seat as above 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20 Position 15–ESP NEA RA Cluster Alternate 4 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 2 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 MEA VOICE  29


REGION ELECTIONS Elections Chair: Thomas Silak, northvilleea@gmail.com

REGION 8

Position 1–MEA Board of Directors/ NEA RA Delegate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 Position 3–MEA RA At-Large Delegate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 2 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/20 Position 4–MEA RA At-Large Alternate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 4 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 5–EA NEA RA At-Large Delegate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 Position 6–EA NEA RA At-Large Alternate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 6 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 7–EA/ESP NEA RA AtLarge Delegate 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/20 Position 8–EA MEA RA Cluster Delegate 2 positions, immed. thru 8/31/21 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/22 Position 9–EA MEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 10–ESP MEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/20 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20, same seat as above 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/21 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 Position 11–ESP MEA RA Cluster Alternate 5 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 Position 12–EA NEA RA Cluster Delegate 4 positions, immed. thru 8/31/21 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/22 Position 13–EA NEA RA Cluster Alternate 4 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 Position 14–ESP NEA RA Cluster Delegate 2 positions*, immed. thru 8/31/21 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/21 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/22 Position 15–ESP NEA RA Cluster Alternate 4 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 2 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Elections Chair: Dawn Levey, dawndelightlevey@gmail.com

30  OCT-NOV 2019

REGION 9

Position 1–MEA Board of Directors/ NEA RA Delegate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 Position 4–MEA RA At-Large Alternate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 5 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 6–EA NEA RA At-Large Alternate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 7 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 7–EA/ESP NEA RA AtLarge Delegate 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/21 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/22 Position 8–EA MEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 Position 9–EA MEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 10–ESP MEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 5 positions, immed. thru 8/31/21 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/21 Position 11–ESP MEA RA Cluster Alternate 3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 12–EA NEA RA Cluster Delegate 3 positions, immed. thru 8/31/21 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/21 Position 13–EA NEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, immed. thru 3/31/21 Position 14–ESP NEA RA Cluster Delegate 5 positions, immed. thru 8/31/21 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/20 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20, same seat as above Position 15–ESP NEA RA Cluster Alternate 5 positions, immed. thru 3/31/21 2 positions*, immed. thru 3/31/21 Elections Chair: Joseph Guy, josephguy@ymail.com

REGION 10

Position 1–MEA Board of Directors/ NEA RA Delegate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20 Position 3–MEA RA At-Large Delegate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 2 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20 Position 4–MEA RA At-Large Alternate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 4 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 6–EA NEA RA At-Large Alternate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 4 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 8–EA MEA RA Cluster Delegate

1 position, immed. thru 8/31/22 Position 9–EA MEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 10–ESP MEA RA Cluster Delegate 2 positions, immed. thru 8/31/20 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20, same seats as above Position 11–ESP MEA RA Cluster Alternate 3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 12–EA NEA RA Cluster Delegate 2 positions, immed. thru 8/31/21 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/21 Position 13–EA NEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 14–ESP NEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/20 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20, same seat as above 2 positions, immed. thru 8/31/21 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/22 Position 15–ESP NEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 Elections Chair: Karen Christian, kchristian@mea.org

REGION 11

Position 14–ESP NEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/21 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/21 Position 15–ESP NEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 Elections Chair: Toni Scribner, tonicrandall@gmail.com

REGION 12

Position1-MEA Board of Directors/ NEA RA Delegate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 Position 4–MEA RA At-Large Alternate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 4 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 6–EA NEA RA At-Large Alternate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 4 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 7–EA/ESP NEA RA AtLarge Delegate 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/20 Position 8–EA MEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 2 positions, immed. thru 8/31/22 Position 9–EA MEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 10–ESP MEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/22 Position 11–ESP MEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 Position 12–EA NEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 2 positions, immed. thru 8/31/20 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20, same seats as above 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/22 Position 13–EA NEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 14–ESP NEA RA Cluster Delegate 2 positions, immed. thru 8/31/21 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/22 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/21 Position 15–ESP NEA RA Cluster Alternate 3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 Elections Chair: Jenny Oster, jjvandui@svsu.edu

Position 4–MEA RA At-Large Alternate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 3 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 6–EA NEA RA At-Large Alternate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 6 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 8–EA MEA RA Cluster Delegate 4 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 Position 9–EA MEA RA Cluster Alternate 5 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 Position 10–ESP MEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/20 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20, same seat as above 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/22 Position 11–ESP MEA RA Cluster Alternate 3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 12–EA NEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 Position 13–EA NEA RA Cluster REGION 13 Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 4–MEA RA At-Large 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 Alternate-Representing Minority 3-1(g)


REGION ELECTIONS 3 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 6–EA NEA RA At-Large Alternate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 3 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 9–EA MEA RA Cluster Alternate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 Position 11–ESP MEA RA Cluster Alternate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 Position 12–EA NEA RA Cluster Delegate 2 positions, immed. thru 8/31/21 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/22 Position 13–EA NEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 Position 14–ESP NEA RA Cluster Delegate 2 positions, immed. thru 8/31/21 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/22 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 Position 15–ESP NEA RA Cluster Alternate 3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 Elections Chair: Sally Purchase, sally.purchase@gmail.com

REGION 14

Position 3–MEA RA At-Large Delegate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 Position 4–MEA RA At-Large Alternate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 2 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 6–EA NEA RA At-Large Alternate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 2 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 8–EA MEA RA Cluster Delegate 3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20 Position 9–EA MEA RA Cluster Alternate 3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 10–ESP MEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/20 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20, same seat as above 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 Position 11–ESP MEA RA Cluster Alternate 3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 12–EA NEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/20 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20, same seat as above

1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/20 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20, same seat as above 2 positions, immed. thru 8/31/21 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/22 Position 13–EA NEA RA Cluster Alternate 3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 Position 14–ESP NEA RA Cluster Delegate 2 positions, immed. thru 8/31/20 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20, same seats as above Position 15–ESP NEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Region 14 MAHE EA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 Region 14 MAHE EA RA Cluster Alternate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 Elections Chair: Not Available

1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20, same seat as above Position 4–MEA RA At-Large Alternate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 Position 6–EA NEA RA At-Large Alternate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 Position 9–EA MEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 10–ESP MEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 Position 11–ESP MEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 12–EA NEA RA Cluster Delegate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20 Position 13–EA NEA RA Cluster Alternate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 Position 14–ESP NEA RA Cluster Delegate REGION 15 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 Position 1–MEA Board of Directors/ Position 15–ESP NEA RA Cluster NEA RA Delegate Alternate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 4–MEA RA At-Large Elections Chair: Al Beamish, Alternate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) abeamish@mymea.org 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 Position 6–EA NEA RA At-Large REGION 17 Alternate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) Position 4–MEA RA At-Large 2 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Alternate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) Position 9–EA MEA RA Cluster 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 Alternate Position 6–EA NEA RA At-Large 3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Alternate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) Position 10–ESP MEA RA Cluster 2 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Delegate Position 9–EA MEA RA Cluster 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 Alternate 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/22 3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 11–ESP MEA RA Cluster Position 10–ESP MEA RA Cluster Alternate Delegate 3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20 Position 13–EA NEA RA Cluster Position 11–ESP MEA RA Cluster Alternate Alternate 3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 Position 12–EA NEA RA Cluster Position 14–ESP NEA RA Cluster Delegate Delegate 3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20 Position 13–EA NEA RA Cluster Alternate Position 15–ESP NEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 Position 14–ESP NEA RA Cluster Elections Chair: Harvey Miller, Delegate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20 hmiller@netonecom.net 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 REGION 16 Position 15–ESP NEA RA Cluster Position 3–MEA RA At-Large Alternate Delegate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/20 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20

Elections Chair: Lisa Carubini, lcarubini@gmail.com

REGION 18

Position 1–MEA Board of Directors/ NEA RA Delegate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 Position 4–MEA RA At-Large Alternate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 Position 6–EA NEA RA At-Large Alternate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 2 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 8–EA MEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/22 Position 9–EA MEA RA Cluster Alternate 3 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 10–ESP MEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 Position 11–ESP MEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Position 12–EA NEA RA Cluster Delegate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 1 position, immed. thru 8/31/20 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20, same seat as above 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/22 Position 13–EA NEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 1 position*, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 Position 15–ESP NEA RA Cluster Alternate 2 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 4/1/20 Region 18 MAHE Cluster Delegate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 9/1/20 Region 18 MAHE Cluster Alternate 1 position, 3 yr. term begins 4/1/20 Elections Chair: Steve Elenich, selenich@copperisd.org

REGION 50

Region 50–ESP NEA RA At-Large Delegate 4 positions, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20 Region 50–ESP NEA RA At-Large Delegate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 2 positions*, 3 yr. terms begin 9/1/20 Region 50–ESP NEA RA At-Large Delegate-Representing Minority 3-1(g) 1 position*, immed. thru 8/31/20 KEY: * is used to represent a Representative of Minority 3-1(g) seat

MEA VOICE  31


MESSA helps you take your mental health seriously We at MESSA know that teachers and education support professionals often face extraordinary pressure at their jobs that can leave them feeling overwhelmed and stressed. We’re committed to helping keep educators physically and mentally healthy and on the job—and that’s why we provide excellent coverage for mental health services. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and stress is negatively affecting your work and family, talk with your doctor about the value of seeing a therapist. Traditional, in-person talk therapy and substance abuse treatment is covered like a typical office visit, with no limits on outpatient therapy visits. In addition, you can talk to a therapist from the comfort of your own home through MESSA’s online doctor service, provided through a partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Using your smartphone, tablet or computer, you and each of your covered family members can choose from a roster of certified therapists, counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists. You can then schedule a 45-minute appointment between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m., any day of the week, to talk through difficult challenges you may be facing.

By Ross Wilson MESSA Executive Director

If you need help finding an in-network provider, call our East Lansing Member Service Center at 800.336.0013. If you’d prefer to try the online route, visit messa.org/onlinevisits or download the Blue Cross Online Visits mobile app and enter your MESSA health plan information.

Classifieds CONFERENCE

EMPLOYMENT

TOURS

Join educators from across the country and the globe for the 2019 Place-Based Education Conference on November 7-9 at University of Michigan–Flint. Offering 70+ informative presentations/workshops, two keynote addresses (by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha and Laurie Lane-Zucker), field experiences, and time to network, it’s a great opportunity to learn and share. Organized by the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative. Register by October 31st at placebasededconference.org.

Are you looking for an exciting career change? The Michigan Consortia for Teacher Preparation, an MDE developed consortia of universities, provides on-line programs for Michigan certified teachers to obtain an additional endorsement in Deaf/Hard of Hearing or Blind Visual Impairment. Partial tuition reimbursement is currently available to Michigan certified teachers. Go to mictp.org.

Visit the Homesites of Laura Ingalls Wilder. 2020 brochure available. Phone 810-633-9973. Email lhsitetours@email.com. Visit our web­site lhsitetours.homestead.com.

Our ad policy, rates and schedule can be found online at mea.org/voice. The classifieds deadline for the December 2019 issue is Nov. 19. 32  OCT-NOV 2019

TRAVEL PLANNING What are your travel dreams? We can help you go anywhere. We are professional travel advisors who can help you plan your next vacation. We are experts in Disney, Universal, Europe, and cruises, but can help with any travel. Learn more at farfarawaytravels.com or email nichole@farfarawaytravels.com or call 877-508-5008.


Coverage you can depend on for the ones you love.

As an eligible NEA member,* you’ve got the protection of NEA Complimentary Life Insurance, issued by The Prudential Insurance Company of America — but you should name a beneficiary to make sure your loved ones are covered. Go to neamb.com/free-tote and register your beneficiary to get this FREE tote. Or call 1-855-NEA-LIFE (632-5433) and mention offer code: TOTEBAG

* Visit us online or call for eligibility requirements. NEA Members Insurance Trust is a registered trademark of the NEA Members Insurance Trust. NEA Complimentary Life Insurance is issued by The Prudential Insurance Company of America, Newark, NJ. 0302614-00002-00

Visit neamb.com/protect to learn about all the solutions available to help meet your insurance needs.

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MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

Terri Spencer clocks in to her custodial job at Clarkston High School at 9:30 a.m. By 1:00, the union president has helped clean three lunch periods and mop up at the end. Then room cleaning begins.

How many classrooms do you clean? After 2:00 I’m responsible for 19 rooms, the girls and boys bathrooms, and I do another single bathroom, sweep the hallway and get all the garbage. Is there any time built in to your day for the unexpected? We have to wear a radio for the first half of the day, and if we have to turn off the water because a toilet is overflowing, or if we have to clean up spilled coffee, or vomit, or any of the other things that happen quite often, other people try to take over when you’re gone. We make do, and we have that much more workload added on those days. Is it hard to get it all done every day? We have a “time study” that says how long each job should take. You have seven minutes for a classroom, half an hour for large bathrooms, and maybe 10 minutes for a small single stall. We actually run over our time studies. They’ve cut people in the past, so we’re a skeleton crew. What do you enjoy about your job? I take pride in my work. I like the kids. The teachers are welcoming. I think teachers are appreciative of us because they’ve seen too many districts privatize. They’re like, “I know Terri; she’ll be in every day, and if at all possible my room will be clean from top to bottom.” 34  OCT-NOV 2019

Has your unit ever been threatened by privatization? Our contract was opened up in 2009. They said if we didn’t open our contract, they would privatize us. We took a $2.50 pay cut per hour, and that was hard. We finally negotiated a raise these last two years. Why is your union shop better than a privatized district? In some [privatized] schools there’s a lot of turnover, it’s not as clean, and you have a tendency for private companies to say, “Hey, we’re not supposed to do that. That’s not custodial work.” Where we shovel

snow 10 feet out, they say, “No, that’s outside of the building.” They have a problem with doing setups, like for parent-teacher conferences. We’re Johnny on the spot. We’ve had plumbing backing up on the floor, and we’re there, cleaning it and redirecting the children so they’re not going through raw sewage. We work together and get things done. Why is the union important? Divided we fall and united we win. I had an older parent—my father was born in 1915—and he was part of GM before they had a union. Back then if somebody went and got a drink of water out of the water fountain because the heat was so bad, they were carried outside the door and dropped. The conditions were horrible. He went to World War II, came back, got a job. Consequently, he was part of the union when the union came in. So I understand what it was like before unions, and how people were treated before and after the union. What I’m trying very hard to do is unite the custodians because when we are a group together, we can make a difference. When we’re separate, it makes it very hard. We are the union.


Many Options Under One Roof ADVISORY SERVICES • Retirement Planning • Financial Advice

INVESTMENTS • 403(b)s • 457 Plans • 529 Plans • Roth 403(b)s • Traditional and Roth IRAs

CREDIT CARDS

INSURANCE

• An MEA Visa for every member • Low Rate or Cash Back

• MEA Member discounts • Auto, Home, Renters, Commercial, ATVs, Motorcycle, Life, Long-term care

Our door is always open to MEA members! Contact our office today at 800-292-1950 or find your rep at www.meafs.com.

Paradigm Equities, Inc., and Fairway Investment Group, LLC. are wholly owned subsidiaries of MEA Financial Services. Paradigm Equities’ clients are offered securities through Paradigm Equities, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advice is offered through Fairway Investment Group, LLC. – A Registered Investment Advisor.


You deserve THE BEST

MESSA has plan options to meet the unique needs of educators, support staff and their families. No matter which MESSA plan you choose, you have access to the best doctors and hospitals in the nation. You also receive personal support from our member service specialists, field representatives and case management nurses, who can help you navigate the complex world of health care. Go ahead and choose MESSA — you’ve earned it.

> Learn more at messa.org.

Profile for MEAVoiceMag

MEA Voice Magazine - October 2019 Issue  

The MEA Voice Magazine is an official publication of the Michigan Education Association.

MEA Voice Magazine - October 2019 Issue  

The MEA Voice Magazine is an official publication of the Michigan Education Association.

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