March 2021 NCAE News Bulletin

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NCAE North Carolina Association of Educators

News Bulletin March 2021

Vol. 51, No. 7

2021 Virtual NCAE Convention Set for March 26-27


Candidates running for NCAE of ces can be found on pages 6-9

Information about the NCAE Operation Cooperation Service Project is on page 10

NCAE News Bulletin


Springing Forward to Better Times Can you believe we are approaching the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown? In midMarch 2020, our whole world shifted. Many of Tamika Walker Kell us walked away President from our classrooms not knowing if we would be gone for a few days or a few weeks. Well, almost a year later, here we are, with things slowly moving back in some respects to life as we knew it. Things have changed dramatically in these almost 365 days. There have been a lot of changes in our political landscape and there have been lots of changes in our profession. So, as we think about this month of March, let’s be reminded of a time of renewal and growth that accompanies spring. There are a lot of lessons we have learned during this process that are helping us grow as educators, and there are a lot of lessons we can use to help us grow in the profession and grow within the Association. We have had to rethink how we connect with each other, how we advocate for public education and issues relating to public education, and how we do organizing work. If we apply those lessons correctly and effectively, they will help us continue to reimagine public education and help us continue our growth in new and innovative ways. In comparison, last March we went from casual everyday interactions to not leaving our homes for

Tuesdays with Tamika Returns!




Please join President Walker Kelly for Season 2 of “Tuesdays with Tamika.” The next episode airs live on Tuesday, March 9, at 6 p.m. Shows are scheduled for the second Tuesday of each month and will be streamed on the NCAE Facebook, Twi er, and YouTube social media pla orms. We hope you will tune in!

extended periods of time. We went from freely enjoying our surroundings with others to wearing masks and six feet of social distancing. Society came to a slow crawl, forcing us to adapt on every front. And we all rose to the challenge – you with your students and other school responsibilities and NCAE as an organization continued the work on your behalf. We made it through one of the most harrowing elections in history, we launched the We Heart Public Schools RV Tour that is currently in route to all 100 counties, and we are just weeks away from hosting the 2021 NCAE Convention, which we are working to make feel as close to an in-person experience as possible. In addition, we coordinated a successful virtual statewide Read Across America Program, and will watch closely legislation that comes through the General Assembly during this Long Session. As we venture further into the spring season and life gets back on track, let’s focus on celebrating all that we accomplished this past year and begin looking at ways to make the end of the 2020-21 school year special for our students because they have endured a lot. There really was no closure for them or us. Signing off on a computer at the end of the year is not the same as closing your classroom door after spending the last day of school with students and watching the buses roll out of the parking lot. Instead of dancing together and waving goodbye as we usher students into summer vacation, we just logged off and that was that! The warmth and richness of how we typically end a school year was missing and was missed. The year 2020 has left an indelible impression. One that we will talk about for years to come. However, the lessons learned, the experiences shared, and the creativity that was born from this time in our history will serve as the driving force for us to become even better educators and develop an even stronger public education system for our children.

NCAE News Bulletin


Remembering the Life and Legacy of Former NCAE President Ruth Watkins

Ruth Watkins, former NCAE president from 1979-1980, passed away recently at the age of 98. She and her husband, J.C., both led amazing lives as educators and champions for equality and social justice. Watkins began her career in public education in 1944 as a social studies and French teacher in Rockingham, N.C., after graduating Summa Cum Laude from North Carolina College (now known as North Carolina Central University). It was there that the love story between Ruth and J.C. began. As an educator, Watkins organized a student council and drama club at her school and was instrumental in bringing the first black-and-white television into the school giving students the opportunity to take a teaching class from UNC-Chapel Hill. She was also named North Carolina Teacher of the Year in 1978-1979. Watkins and her husband overcame generational barriers as well as racism, both personally and institutionally, time and time again. Despite their quiet dispositions, they were never idle in their fight for what was right and just. The couple has left a lasting legacy in Richmond County. Watkins used to have the words “in spite of” posted on the wall of her classroom. Generations of young people have had and will continue to have opportunities “because of” the example they exemplified. In 2019, the town’s Leak Street Cultural Center was renamed the James C. and Ruth P. Watkins Cultural Center in the couple’s honor. To read more about the life of Ruth Watkins, click here.

NCAE News Bulletin


1 RV, 5 Months, 100 Counties…the We

Public Schools Tour 2021

The NCAE We Heart Public Schools RV has been on the road since January, and before June, will visit all 100 North Carolina counties. From Murphy to Manteo, the stories of how public schools are working for our communities, along with those of educators and students, are being captured and shared. Follow the tour on Facebook, Instagram (@ncaepics), and Twitter. (@ncae). For a complete tour schedule, visit the We Heart Public Schools website,


More tour photos are available on the NCAE Flickr page.


NCAE News Bulletin


Members Share on Being Prioritized for the COVID-19 Vaccine

Last month, Governor Cooper prioritized COVID-19 vaccinations for all educators in North Carolina beginning on February 24, a decision in which NCAE played an instrumental role. We know that many of you have returned to in-person learning in some capacity (some after nearly a year away from your schools), and that your main concern has always been the safety of your students and yourselves. We wanted to know your thoughts on being prioritized for the vaccine, if you feel more comfortable knowing that you and your colleagues will be vaccinated, and if you plan to receive the vaccine. Here are some of the comments you shared:

“I definitely want to take the vaccine. In January, nine educators at our school developed COVID. We all wear masks and stay home except for visiting the grocery store. Having COVID was awful! I don’t want to contract it again. I will feel much better about teaching once I have the vaccine.” – Ruth Ashe, Ashe County “I am pleased that Governor Cooper moved North Carolina public school employees up the COVID-19 prioritization list, and I do plan to get the vaccine as soon as possible. The vaccination of North Carolina public school employees will not only help protect all of the adults and students in our school buildings, but also our vulnerable family members, who too often have gone without consideration in the school reopening plans. I am, however, concerned about the significant time gap between the employees receiving the vaccine and the reopening of our public school systems for in-person instruction. As a person with health conditions, I would be predisposed to severe COVID complications or death if I should contract the virus. As the caregiver to an elderly immunocompromised patient, I still find this risk unacceptable.” – Laura Perdue, Alamance/Burlington “I definitely plan to get the vaccine, however, this should have been prioritized early on. I am disappointed that it took so long for Governor Cooper to make educators a priority. We know everyone wants students back in person, so why wasn’t this done sooner? Also, due to the fact that no one is coordinating uniformly, most educators still will not be able to receive their vaccine until late March if that is even possible. Bring a ‘vaccine mobile’ to schools and get them expedited!” – Tiffany Jones, New Hanover County “I cannot tell you how relieved I am feeling knowing that I will be vaccinated soon. I teach high school. Our sixth-12th grades have been on Plan B all year. My school is small so this has allowed us to follow all CDC guidelines. I felt safe the entire first semester. However, the grade level I am teaching this semester seems to be the age where students are catching the virus. We have not had school spread but my students are contracting the virus outside of school. On February 15, six weeks into the semester, was the first time I met with my entire second period because of quarantines. I do feel the virus is getting closer and closer and I am more apprehensive than ever.” – Jeanie Robinson, Caldwell County “I do not plan to take the COVID vaccine. I feel I need to wait longer to see what the long-term effects are. I personally don’t think we should return to in-person instruction with students. It’s been reported that the COVID or strands of the virus does affect children. I know that some of my colleagues will get the shot and some won’t. I think it’s a personal decision and plan to take every precaution to keep myself and family safe, even if that means retiring early.” – Yolanda Barefoot, Cumberland County “I will be much less anxious after I am vaccinated. I want to be in person but am so nervous about getting sick. We are so close to being able to get vaccinations that it seems irresponsible to send us back without that protection. The state needs to show that it values educators by guaranteeing our vaccinations before opening.” – Beth Sanderson, Durham County

Click here to read more comments.

NCAE News Bulletin


The NCAE Election is a Few Weeks Away and Here Are the 2021 Candidates Who Are Running


LeAnna Delph Region 1A

Jeff Roberts Region 2

Eyanna Lessane Region 2

Tripp Jeffers Region 2

Cherie Feemster Region 3

Beryl Torrence Region 3

Symone Kiddoo Region 5

Giselle Elias Region 5

To read more about each candidate, click on the member’s name. The NCAE/NEA Election will begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 27, and end at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, April 9. Yolanda Freeman Region 6

(Continued on page 7)

NCAE News Bulletin


The NCAE Election is a Few Weeks Away and Here Are the 2021 Candidates Who Are Running


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Dr. Hilliary Boutwell Region 7A

Cleta Harrell Region 7A

Beverly Eatmon Region 7A

Jassmin Smith Region 7A


James Hopkins President

Dr. Michael Putney Region 5 Director

Tiffany D. Smith Secretary

Dr. Hillary Boutwell Assistant Principal Rep

Dr. Cathy Tomon Region 7B Director

(Continued on page 8)

NCAE News Bulletin


The NCAE Election is a Few Weeks Away and Here Are the 2021 Candidates Who Are Running


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Michelle Burton President

LaShana Richards Vice President

Keisha Horton Secretary

Jason Kubota Region 1B Director

Michelle Honsa Region 2 Directo

Gerri Hawkins Treasurer

No Photo Available

Laina Stapleton Region 1A Directo

Joanna Pendleton Region 4 Directo

No Photo Available

Margaret Putney Region 7B Directo






Gerri Hawkins Region 6 Directo

(Continued on page 9)

NCAE News Bulletin


The NCAE Election is a Few Weeks Away and Here Are the 2021 Candidates Who Are Running


Tammy Smith Secretary

Ilah Zettlemoyer Secretary

Tim Bird Region 1B Director

No Photo Available

Mamie Davie Region 3 Director

Beverly Eatmon Region 7A Director

Social Studies Standards Update

The North Carolina State Board of Education has approved new social studies standards for the state’s kindergarten through 12th grades that underscore the study of more diverse perspectives on history. Click to read more.


NCAE Operation Cooperation Outreach Projects 2021 Because the NCAE Convention will be held virtually this year, NCAE has made a change in how the Operation Cooperation Outreach Project will be implemented. You will have the opportunity to support one of three organizations — one in the western, one in the central, and one in the eastern region of the state, or you can choose to support all three. Each of these organizations do an outstanding job of providing assistance to children and their families and closely align with the Association’s core values. Donations can be made from March 26 - April 30, 2021. Please note the contribution is on behalf of NCAE Operation Cooperation.

At schools across 16 counties of WNC, MANNA helps feed children facing hunger every weekend through our MANNA Packs for Kids program. The program is brilliant in its simplicity. Every Friday, a bag of nutrient-dense food is given to thousands of local school kids. Every year when school is in session, MANNA works hard to provide packs to over 5,000 children at 184 sites in WNC every week. It costs just $3 to ll a backpack with enough nutritious food to feed a child for an entire weekend. A gift of $12 helps provide a child with a pack of food every weekend for an entire month. A really generous gift of $112 will make sure a child can have a pack of food to eat for the entire school year

Western, NC

Backpack Beginnings offers two programs — the Comfort Backpack Program, offers care, comfort, and basic necessities for children during traumatic situations. They provide backpacks full of comfort items such as blankets, stuffed animals, books, hygiene products, school supplies and more to abused/neglected, homeless, foster, and refugee children. The Food Backpack Program helps to ght childhood hunger in the community by lling the weekend food gap for children in need. More than 49,000 Guilford County children qualify for free or reduced-priced meals at school. The program reduces the negative impacts of hunger so children are ready to learn in school and succeed in life.

Central, NC




The mission of the Mustang Outreach Program is to supplement the de ciency in today’s schools cultural arts programs by offering music lessons to community kids; and to cultivate their interest in music through world-class, professional music performances, residences, and mentoring programs.

Eastern, NC



NCAE News Bulletin

Educators Can Now Deduct Out-of-Pocket Expenses for COVID-19 Protective Items Eligible educators can deduct unreimbursed expenses for COVID-19 protective items to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the classroom. COVID-19 protective items include, but are not limited to: •face masks •disinfectant for use against COVID-19 •hand soap •hand sanitizer •disposable gloves •tape, paint or chalk to guide social distancing •physical barriers (for example, clear plexiglass) •air purifiers; and other items recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to be used for the prevention of the spread of COVID-19. Rev. Proc. 2021-15, issued last month, provides guidance related to educators and their expenses under the COVIDrelated Tax Relief Act of 2020, which was enacted as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. The new law clarifies that unreimbursed expenses paid or incurred after

March 12, 2020, by eligible educators for protective items to stop the spread of COVID-19 qualify for the educator expense deduction. The educator expense deduction rules permit eligible educators to deduct up to $250 of qualifying expenses per year ($500 if married filing jointly and both spouses are eligible educators, but not more than $250 each). Eligible educators include any individual who is a kindergarten through grade 12 teacher, instructor, counselor, principal, or aide in a school for at least 900 hours during a school year. This deduction is for expenses paid or incurred during the tax year. Taxpayers claim the deduction on Form 1040, Form 1040-SR or Form 1040-NR (attach Schedule 1 (Form 1040) ). For additional information regarding the deduction for certain expenses of an eligible educator, see the Instructions for Form 1040 and Form 1040-SR or the Instructions for Form 1040-NR. For more information about this, the COVID-related Tax Relief Act of 2020 and other tax changes, visit

March 28, 6-7 p.m.

Governor’s Educator Discover Award “Africa and the African Diaspora Past and Present “Racial Slavery in the Americas: Resistance, Freedom, an Legacies Applications for the Student Ste Enrichment Program (SSEP Awar








Click here for more information

NCAE News Bulletin


NCAE News Bulletin


Early Career Educator Seminars Being Offered by NEA NEA is offering a social and racial justice webinar series for Early Career Educators. The Center for Organizing, in collaboration with the Center for Social Justice, will host a series of webinars for Early Career Educators centered around racial and social justice, specifically focusing on supporting educators of color. NEA hopes to assist educators in understanding the effects of injustice on their ability to effectively teach in the classroom and how it manifests in various ways in a school environment. All webinars are scheduled from 7-8:30 p.m. It is the expectation that participants will continue to utilize the professional learning supports and leadership development supports offered. If you have questions about the program, please contact Matt Bennet at or Aesha Baldwin at directly. Zoom meeting details: Meeting ID: 951 4505 5416. March 17, 2021: “Understanding Implicit Bias Microagressions and Stereotypes” -- Implicit Bias refers to the attitudes, beliefs or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner. These biases often manifest themselves in the forms of micro-aggressions and stereotypes. Everyone has Implicit Bias, but few of us are aware of it and how it impacts our daily experiences. For educators, Implicit Bias may have a negative effect on our students’ behavior and academic outcomes. This session will share real-life examples of different Implicit Bias, Micro-aggressions and

Stereotypes, how they impact our schools. and provide practical strategies to address and confront them in ourselves and others. April 21, 2021: “Engaging in Racial Justice Organizing and Action” -- Sharpening our racial analysis to end systemic patterns of racial inequity and injustice and catalyze communities to action. By leveraging our collective voice and power, we can begin identifying and actively supporting solutions aimed at increasing racial equity and preventing racial injustice. May 19, 2021: “Racial Justice in the Classroom” -Talking about racial justice in public education — constructively, honestly, and openly — is difficult. We as educators must continually challenge and dismantle, piece by piece, the structures, policies and implicit biases we all have that prop up white privilege at the expense of students and families of color. To do anything less is to deny the world in which our students live, to concede that some students deserve less. June: 21 Day Equity Challenge (exact dates still TBD) -Intensive 21-day challenge that will take a deep dive into diversity, equity, and inclusion in the Association and use the skills learns to build Black and Brown capacity and create more Black and Brown member organizers. This challenge will culminate in a virtual art build.

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YOU DESERVE MORE Including a clean break


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for NEA Members Marketplace Discounts The NEA Discount Marketplace, powered by Rakuten, enables members to earn Cash Back when they shop and save on brand-name merchandise from over 2,500 top retailers and online stores.* Check out the following member-exclusive deals in March at •H&R Block -- It’s time to think about filing your 2020 taxes! Get professional assistance and your maximum refund guaranteed with H&R Block’s® Free Online Edition. •TurboTax -- Tax filing is fast and easy with TurboTax software. File yourself or with expert assistance through TurboTax Live! •EveryPlate -- Meal kits from EveryPlate are up to 58 percent cheaper than other meal plans, with dinners at an economical $4.99 each. Deep discounts on your first 3 orders! •Lenovo -- For a limited time, save up to 70 percent on laptops. Get a price guarantee, financing as low as 0 percent, and student discounts! •Reebok -- Get ready for spring! Check out endof-season sales on shoes, apparel, and accessories. Join the Reebok UNLOCKED loyalty program for special rewards. Keep Your Home Office or Virtual Classroom Humming Save up to 75 percent off regular prices on or’s Best Value List of preferred products. From office furniture, computer equipment and accessories, and printers, paper and ink, to calendars and planners and other basic office supplies, find it all at!


Dates to Remember March 2nd 3rd 4th 13th 14th 19th-21st 20th 21st 26th 26th-27th 30th

Read Across America Day Simplify Your Life Day National Grammar Day: Link World Book Day: Link SNCAE Spring Conference: Link Daylight Saving Time Begins NEA ESP Conference Spring (Vernal Equinox) International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination NEA ESP Conference NCAE Convention (virtual) I Am in Control Day: Link

Expanding Girls' Horizons in Science & Engineering Month Link Music in Our Schools Month Link National March Into Literacy Month National Social Work Month Link National Women's History Month Youth Art Month

“Education is supposed to be our great equalizer, but when only half of lowincome students are enrolling in college and only three tenths are graduating, you have to gure some of our children are getting a greater equalizer than others.” — Chris Meledandri

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Positions stated in this publication do not necessarily reflect the official position of NCAE unless so identified. The NCAE News Bulletin, a journal of the Association, is published by the North Carolina Association of Educators, 700 S.Salisbury St., Raleigh, NC 27601, 1-800-662-7924.

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Linda Powell-Jones, Editor/Designer

NCAE News Bulletin