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On educators
focus on educators is an award winning publication of the Pittsburg Education Association/CTA/NEA www.peateachers.org

California Teachers Association

Statement of Mission
The California Teachers Association exists to protect and promote the well-being of its members; to improve the conditions of
teaching and learning; to advance the cause of free, universal, and quality public education; to ensure that the human dignity and civil
rights of all children and youth are protected; and to secure a more just, equitable, and democratic society.
the current year. There have been so The next article will give you some
SEPTEMBER 2018 many of you advocating for students things to think about as a lifelong
and the educators of PEA. We are learner:
striving for the best quality education
for our students and the bargaining https://www.theartofed.com/2018/01/
proposals reflect this. We have also 25/means-lifelong-learner/
made sure that our working
conditions that are our students’ There is a hope I find in every new
learning conditions are valued and school year. It builds the direction
show respect for our profession. you’ll take. You are on your way in
Thank you for all that you have been the journey of 2018-2019.
doing during this time. It means more
than you’ll ever know as we continue
to stand together for student success.
Volume XXVII, Number 1
There have been many helpful pieces
of advice that seem to continue to
President’s Message help provide support to new
educators. There is a very good one
Dear PEA Members, to read here:

We are back! A whole new school https://www.neamb.com/professional-

year to be a positive part of students’ resources/advice-for-new-
lives has begun. The million or so teachers.htm
ideas you’ve had whirling around
your head are now ready to As a seasoned educator, I know I still
implement in your classroom or at have much to learn for my profession.
your site. “It’s a new dawn, it’s a There is also a sense to continue to
new day, it’s a new life for me and remember why we get into public
I’m feeling good!” so the song education. The article below will
Feeling Good goes. I hope that is give you some motivation:
what you are experiencing for 2018-
2019. https://teach.com/blog/3-ways-for-
veteran-teachers-to-prevent-burnout/ In Solidarity,
As you know we still have no contract Tammy Carr
from the 2017-2018 school year and PEA President
PEA Leadership 2018-2019 Rep. Council Meeting Calendar (Tuesdays)
President August 21
Tammy Carr September 18
PEA Office
October 16
Elementary Vice President
November 13
Michell Redfoot
December 18
Willow Cove
Secondary Vice President January 22
Nyssa Ton February 19
Black Diamond March 19
Secretary April 16
Nicole Glassel May 14
Los Medanos
Treasurer School Board Meeting Calendar
Shelly Bascomb July 25
North Campus August 8 & 29

Committee Chairs: September 12 & 26

Grievance Committee October 10 & 24
Jill Wery – Pittsburg High November 14
Chris Coan – Willow Cove December 12
Negotiations Team
Mark Maselli – Chair – Hillview Are You Getting Your PEA Information?
Chris Coan – Willow Cove, Jeff Greco – Rancho Medanos, Having our Site Reps collect your input, attend the monthly Rep
Andrea McKinney – Black Diamond, meeting and then report back to you is vital in the
Melonie Sauceda-Flemming - Hillview/MLK communication chain of our Association.
Political Action Chair
Roll call at last August 21st Rep Council Meeting:
Elections Chair Adult Ed. – present MLK Jr. – present
Sharie Chmura - Parkside Black Diamond – present North Campus – absent
Human Rights Chair
Foothill – present Parkside – present
Andrea McKinney – Black Diamond
Heights – present PHS - present
Women’s Issues Chair
Alicia Puzak – Pittsburg High
Highlands – present Rancho Medanos – present

Organizing Chair Hillview - present Stoneman – present

Laura Silva - Parkside Los Medanos – present Willow Cove – present
CTA State Council Representative Marina Vista – present
Mark Maselli – Hillview
LGBTQ Chair ***************************************************************************
Marissa Young-Padilla - Parkside
Special Education Chairs
Michell Redfoot – Willow Cove
Melonie Sauceda-Flemming – Hillview/MLK
Technical Editor
Susan Harrison – PEA Office Administrator
Focus on Educators is a publication of the
Pittsburg Education Association CTA/NEA REMINDER: Please send PEA any updated information
159 East 4th Street, Pittsburg, CA 94565 such as: change of home address; home email; school
Phone: (925) 432-0199 email: info@peateachers.org site change; name change; etc., so we have your
website: www.peateachers.org correct information! Thank you!
Meet your PEA Secretary Have you ever played the revealing game
Nicole Glassel ‘NEVER HAVE I EVER…’?
By Melonie Sauceda-Flemming
PEA Bargaining Team Member
PEA Special Ed. Committee Co-Chair

It’s a game that is played similarly to that of Truth or Dare

where deep, dark secrets are revealed or confessions are
brought forth. Well, in all of my years in the field of
education—Never Have I Ever attended an Educational
Symposium as amazing as the one held in the Instruction
and Professional Development Strand at CTA’s 2018
Summer Institute.

Every year during the last week of July through the first week
of August, UCLA rolls out the red carpet to welcome several
hundred teachers, administrators and others who work in the
world of education to provide added knowledge and
professional growth in many different areas. The various
education strands included: Communications, Community
Engagement and Coalition Building, Instruction and
Hello again! I’m back in action as your union secretary for the Professional Development, Member Engagement, Member
2018-2019 school year! I will continue to make sure all your Benefits, and last but not least, Bargaining and Finance.
thoughts being passed to your reps are heard and efficiently
recorded on a monthly basis! Here’s a little bit more about This year, I was fortunate enough to attend the IPD
me (in case you’re new, didn’t know, or were making a (Instruction and Professional Development) strand. The topic
documentary). for this year was GROWTH MINDSET: Using Brain-Based
Research to Support Teaching & Learning. We were honored
This is my 17th year at Los Medanos Elementary where I to have 3 leading authors in the field of Culturally Responsive
started as a 1st grade teacher, but am currently teaching 2nd Teaching and all of them hailed from the Bay Area! Zaretta
grade. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Hammond, a teacher educator and author of ‘Culturally
University of Oregon and returned to California where I Responsive Teaching and the Brain: Promoting Authentic
attended Chapman University for my Teaching Credential Engagement and Rigor Among Culturally and Linguistically
and Masters of Education in Curriculum & Instruction. In Diverse Students was our first keynote speaker. Ms.
addition, I have an Administrative Credential from Cal State Hammond calls herself a former writing teacher turned equity
East Bay. freedom fighter. Her heart will forever be with children and
teachers in the classroom, not in an ivory tower even if most
Prior to going into education, I worked in Hollywood at a of her current students are now new leaders and pre-service
post-production facility and in San Francisco at an teachers. When she was in the classroom, she taught
advertising agency. I have loved it all, but know my heart is composition (or expository writing)—it was where she started
truly in education.♥ to understand how important literacy was to equity, and how
neuroscience and culture should inform our instructional
As educators (and union members), we are the voices who practice. Ms. Hammond is a trained facilitator in anti-bias
advocate for our students every day, but we must remember processes and facilitates groups focused on learning to talk
to speak up for ourselves as well. For this reason, I wanted about issues of racial politics and privilege. My advice, if
to become more involved with our union (not just when it’s you’re able to get your hands on her book…read it. If you’re
contract negotiation time) and hope you will too!  Please fortunate enough to have the opportunity to hear her speak,
read your contract, be aware and informed, and know your make sure you attend and have pen and paper ready as you
rights! will be referring to the notes you take for years to come.

CHEERS! Our second keynote speaker was equally intriguing but came
from a totally different angle with ‘brain considerate’ learning.
- Nicole Glassel Kenneth Wesson, a former college and university level
faculty member and administrator spoke on the neuroscience
of learning, early brain development, design and engineering, Need is Love”. She made a good point around the song
STEM and STREAM, contextual learning and curriculum saying that she thinks it much better to engage constructively
development. He was chalk full of antidotes’, analogies, in dialogue with opponents than to devote every ounce of
activities and games all designed to demonstrate the theories energy hating them. NEA Vice President Becky Pringle
and conclusions shared regarding neuroscience and the followed — also with a crowd rousing speech preparing us
brain’s developmental process. Also, a keynote speaker for a post “Janus” era. My assigned hotel roommate and I
worth his weight in Gold! also had an opportunity to chat and touch base with Pittsburg
teacher and now CTA President Eric Heins, as well as to
And last, but by no means least—our third and final keynote meet Joe Nuñez, who is the CTA Executive Director.
speaker, Lee Mun Wah is an internationally-renowned California is a large state, but I am glad that our CTA
documentary filmmaker, author, poet, Asian storyteller, President now knows who I am and what our schools
educator, community therapist and master diversity trainer. (including Adult Ed) are doing in Pittsburg!
Lee Wah’s documentary film credits include: Stolen Ground,
The Color of Fear and his most recent film, If These Halls *********************************************************************
Could Talk. His own personal story is so poignant and Know Your Contract
relevant that Oprah Winfrey did a one-hour special on Lee
Wah’s life and his life’s work. If you are ever afforded the By Chris Coan
privilege to attend Lee Mun Wah’s seminar be sure to have Grievance Chair
not only pen and paper ready but also a box of tissue. His
exercises are sure to be both cleansing and cathartic. Trust Topic: Article 11 Safety
me when I say, you will relish the time spent in his lecture. 11.1.1 Bargaining unit members shall not be required to work
in unsafe conditions or to perform tasks that endanger their
There’s Summer Institute and then there’s Summer Institute health, safety or well-being.
but Never Have I Ever…attended Summer Institute like the
Instruction and Professional Development Strand of 2018 This can be interpreted in many ways. I have used this article
CTA Summer Institute. You might think it a tad rude of me to when I had a student who had violent behavior in my
go on and on about all of the things I learned and enjoyed classroom and I was literally scared of his presence. He was
about this past Summer Institute now that it’s over and can’t given an alternate assignment and sent to another class. You
be re-lived but that’s where you’re wrong… this year, they should not have to have your mental and physical well-being
recorded the keynote speakers and it is available on the be jeopardized by a student. The district will always try to
CTA’s website for your viewing pleasure. So please do check have you deal with this. Do try and deal with it (request
it out! Never will you ever… be happier for a missed support of admins, psychologists, behaviorists, counselors)
opportunity that you can now re-visit and get so much from. in any way that you can, but if you have not been successful
Enjoy. then state this article 11.1.1 and take care of
********************************************************************* yourself….remember your other students are also feeling the
loss of well-being and safety as well. We need you here in
State Council of Education June 2-3, 2018 PUSD so take care of yourself.
By Elza Hess
State Council Representative Alternate Teachers there is one more thing I would like to add about
safety and getting hurt on the job. If you EVER get punched,
As always, State Council in Los Angeles was full of activities kicked, bitten, stabbed with a pencil, etc. by a student
from early morning (my meetings started at 6:30 or 7:00 REPORT IT to the district nurse. Also please report it as a
a.m.), until late at night. As your Alternate State Rep, I was work related injury even if you are fine…you never know.
happy to represent our PEA members this June in both the Your school office will know the contact numbers. You are
general assemblies involving voting, and in the assigned not here to take this kind of abuse even from a child. The
committee work. An example of a local Contra Costa County child needs help and how you can protect yourself and the
representative who was voted in for state CTA office was child is to report the incident.
Robert Ellis for CTA Board of Directors at Large. He is also
a NEA Director. The assigned committee work involved
thoughtful consideration of issues that come up about
credentials and professional development. A survey was
taken about how often school sites conduct professional
development, for example. A highlight of the General
Session was NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia playing the
guitar and singing (very well) the well-known ballad, “All You
“The choice in November’s general election has never been so stark and compelling.”
– CTA President Eric Heins

solidarity to support and promote equality in all communities

to education students.

It was an honor to serve as the PEA local delegate to the

National Education Association Representative Assembly.
For more information about NEA visit our local PEA website
http://www.peateachers.org or https://www.nea.org.
By Andrea McKinney-Webster *********************************************************************
PEA Human Rights Chair & PEA Bargaining Team Member

I am ecstatic that I served as PEA delegate to the National

Education Association meeting held in Minneapolis,
Minnesota from June 30 to July 5, 2018. Educators from
every state converged on Minneapolis for the NEA 156th
annual meeting. And let me say, educators/delegates from
across the United States worked hard to establish
progressive agendas to oversee protections gained through
collective bargaining for educators and students.

Although a range of topics were debated during the seven

days of the convention, multicultural awareness continues to
be a foundational core of the amendments and actions
considered at the NEA annual meeting. The diversity of NEA
delegates is representative of the needs of our diverse
school communities across the United States. For this
reason, the topics like unionism, educational equity, racial
justices, gun violence, LGBTQ rights, Black Lives, and
immigration laws are critical issues to support no matter the
demographic of the community. To demonstrate their
commitment for standing up for students, the NEA
participated in the national day of action on June 30 to

The National Education Association (NEA) 2018 meeting site

at the Minneapolis Convention Center served as the starting
point for the demonstration march against families being
separated at the border. NEA members marched with other
organizations participates in protest as a show of educators’

Meet your PEA Child Find (RTI)
Secondary Vice President
By Diana K. Cooksey, M.A., Ed.S
Nyssa Ton School Psychologist
Heights Elementary
Black Diamond High

You may recall an article regarding Child Find, Student

Success Teams (SST) and special education assessments in
our previous newsletter. Public education is rife with
acronyms and legal jargon, which is often confusing. Our
own PEA members serving our district as school
psychologists who directly work with special education laws
and best practices have joined efforts with our union and
other special education members seeking to clarify Child
Find, Response To Intervention (RTI) and what that means
for you as a general education teacher.

Child Find and RTI Defined:

Let’s review what Child Find is. The Individuals with

Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004 includes that the Child
Find mandate states, “Schools are required to locate, identify
and evaluate all children with disabilities from birth through
age 21. The Child Find mandate applies to all children who
I feel a great connection to the city of Pittsburg, our relatively reside within a State, including children who attend private
small and but wonderful city, which I have been a part of all schools and public schools, highly mobile children, migrant
my life. Choosing to be an educator here was an easy children, homeless children, and children who are wards of
decision and I am proud to give back to this community that the state. (20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(3)” This may encompass
has been such a defining part of my life. For the past eight students with disabilities and/or suspected disabilities
years, I feel so lucky to have found a home and second requiring Section 504 Accommodation Plans or special
family in my position at Black Diamond High School; I am so education assessments which may result in a student
often inspired and encouraged by my colleagues and I feel receiving an Individual Education Plan (IEP).
privileged to teach such an amazing group of young people
every day. Just as I have made a commitment to the Jose L. Martin, Attorney at Law, RICHARDS LINDSAY &
community at BDHS, I am excited to have the opportunity to MARTÍN, L.L.P., Austin, Texas clarifies that schools must
demonstrate my dedication to our union and to do my best to maintain a system of notices, outreach efforts, staff training,
represent our membership as your new secondary vice and referral processes designed to ascertain when there are
president. reasonable grounds to suspect disability and the potential
need for special education services. At this point, you might
Personally, I am easy going and definitely a bit geeky. You be scratching your head, “So where does RTI fit into this?”
will find me playing Dungeons & Dragons most Thursdays, and may even still be unclear what the purpose of RTI is.
going out to rock shows, and digging into hands on
projects. I enjoy volunteer work, particularly when it involves Martin further explains that in 2004, Congress acted on
one of my favorite hobbies: brewing up some beer. I believe concerns about the increasing number of students in special
that if something is important and needs to get done than I education, and the related suspicion that many students
will step up and do it myself, ideally recruiting amazing currently classified as having a Specific Learning Disability
people to join me. Whether that means replacing and (SLD) might have avoided the need for special education if
installing my own toilet or going down to the district office so instructional support and interventions had been provided to
that our voices, and the voices of our students, are heard I them at an early stage in their education. Thus, the backdrop
am ready. was set in place for a move to reform to the manner in which
schools should identify students with SLD—the largest
Cheers to you and a wonderful school year! population served by special education. This reform,
moreover, was to take advantage of existing and emerging
- Nyssa R. Ton research on SLD, as well as modern ideas on how to
meaningfully address the needs of struggling students within out to the parent and inform them of the process and what to
regular education. expect next.

The RTI movement is enabling public education in the United …a parent wants to put a request in writing but doesn’t
States to evolve from a reactive model in which students had know how?
to seriously deteriorate before being moved on to special If a parent expresses they would like their child assessed but
education programs, to one that emphasizes early and high is unable to put it in writing, again please notify your school
quality research based interventions in regular programs that psychologist and administrator so we may assist the parent.
provide useful data with which to make key decisions for
each struggling student, whether it is to address academic *********************************************************************
and/or social and emotional difficulties, which may or may What is PAR?
not lead to a special education referral.
PUSD and PEA are proud to announce the re-launch of the
What do you need to take away as a general education Peer Assistance Review Program (PAR) for the 2018-2019
teacher? Academic Year. The goal of the PAR program is to support
any Pittsburg educator interested in improving their
It is important that we hold SST meetings for students you instructional practices.
have academic, social, emotional, and behavioral concerns
for. It is important to make the distinction that SST’s are NOT  Consulting Teachers can earn a stipend to assist
a function of special education, nor should they be treated as Referred and Voluntary Participating Teachers who wish
“special education review panels” but they are imperative to to improve their instructional skills, classroom
the pre-referral process. The purpose of the SST is to design management, and/or knowledge of subject matter.
a support system for students having difficulty in the general  Referred Participating Teachers work with Consulting
education classroom. Teachers to improve their instructional skills, classroom
management, and/or knowledge of subject matter as part
Education code indicates, “Student may be referred to of the teacher evaluation process.
special education only after resources of the regular
 Voluntary Participating Teachers work with Consulting
education program have been considered and, where
Teachers to improve their instructional skills, classroom
appropriate, utilized (Ed. Code, §56026, subd. (b); Ed. Code,
management, and/or knowledge of subject matter as part
§56303)” We must have Tier 1 and Tier 2 supports which
of the teacher evaluation process.
are implemented with fidelity and well documented, prior to
assessment. This also includes creating and implementing
How can I get involved?
behavior plans and school based counseling for
social/emotional concerns prior to assessment as well.
If you are interested in becoming a Consulting Teacher or a
California Department of Education (CDE) is also looking for
Voluntary Participating Teacher in the Pittsburg Unified
intervention data when students are being assessed for
School District PAR Program, contact any of the PAR Joint
special education.
Committee members by email at the addresses below.
Lastly, what do I do if....
Chris Coan ccoan@pittsburg.k12.ca.us
Joanna Hansen jhansen@pittsburg.k12.ca.us
…I suspect my student may have a disability?
Erik Grady egrady@pittsburg.k12.ca.us
If you suspect your student may have a disability, please
Shelley Velasco svelasco@pittsburg.k12.ca.us
bring it to the attention of your administrator and school
Staci Belleci Hart shart@pittsburg.k12.ca.us
psychologist for consultation and/or an SST. As always,
please document any classroom accommodations,
For additional information, PAR is listed under Article 23 in
modifications, or interventions you have tried as well as any
the PEA/PUSD Master Agreement.
other data you have collected.
…I receive a parent request for assessment/testing or a “A teacher is a compass that activates the
parent asks me about testing? magnets of curiosity, knowledge, and
If you receive a parent request for assessment notify your
school psychologist as soon as you receive it. If a parent wisdom in the pupils.”
asks you about assessment or testing, please also notify - Ever Garrison
your school psychologist and administrator so they will reach

September 2018
3 Labor Day
4 PEA Executive Board – PEA Office – 159 East 4th St. – 3:45 PM
18 Rep Council – PEA Office – 159 East 4th St. – 3:45 PM
12 PUSD School Board Meeting – 2000 Railroad Ave. – 6:30 PM
9 Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown
10 First of Muharram begins at sundown
22 Autumn begins
26 PUSD School Board Meeting – 2000 Railroad Ave. – 6:30 PM
18 Yom Kippur begins at sundown
20 Ashura begins at sundown

October 2018
2 PEA Executive Board – PEA Office – 159 East 4th St. – 3:44 PM
8 Indigenous Peoples Day
10 PUSD School Board Meeting – 2000 Railroad Ave. – 6:30 PM
15 No School/Mandatory Staff Development Day
16 PEA Rep Council – PEA Office – 159 East 4th St. – 3:45 PM
24 PUSD School Board Meeting – 2000 Railroad Ave. – 6:30 PM
31 Halloween

Next Deadline for Articles is Monday, October 8, 2018

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