SOL16: A Deadline Looming

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It’s Tuesday.  Time for a Slice. You can find more at Two Writing Teachers.

August 30, 2016

  • All certificated staff will meet to either vote on a settlement, vote to work without a contract, or strike.

August 31, 2016

  • It’s the first day of school for K-12 students.
  • Our teaching contract, our bargaining agreement ends.

It’s not the way to begin school.  We have been bargaining since last winter.  In our state, we have a statewide salary schedule, so we can’t really bargain for salary.  Instead we bargain Time-Responsibility-Incentive (TRI) and we can ask the district to put money toward our health benefits (of which the state gives us $780 per month).

After interviewing almost every certificated teacher in preparation for the bargain, the team came up with these five areas:

  1. Our counseling and other special services need to be appropriately staffed and better supported so that our children are ready to learn.

*Students deserve access to a counselor. Currently, the student/counselor ratio does not allow counselors to support students one on one.

  1. More supports need to be provided for special needs children so we can adequately educate them in the classroom.

*Our special education students deserve sufficient teaching and paraprofessional staff to provide 1-1 help. Currently, EPS does not fund appropriate staffing levels and curriculum to ensure this happens. (SpEd programs & staff to help kids have been cut over the years rather than supported)

  1. The jobs we do must be more satisfying and less overwhelming for all our members as a result of this bargain.

*Students deserve to learn in classrooms that have up-to-date curriculum and supplies, no matter the zip code. Evergreen teachers need the basic materials, curriculum, and instructional time to teach our children.

  1. Create incentives to bring more substitute teachers to our District.  

*Our students deserve access to librarians, music, PE, and the arts. Right now, students suffer as these specialists are pulled to cover sub shortages. The District must do everything possible to secure adequate substitute staffing. (This means ourstudents lose out on our curriculum)

  1. Evergreen Education Association Members need to be compensated at a rate commensurate with the TEN largest school Districts in the state of Washington. (We are the 4th largest district in the state)

*The District must do everything possible to maintain the best and brightest educators by paying competitive salaries and benefits, especially during this time of a teacher shortages.

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I should be planning for the year and I feel hijacked by the bargain and all the activities that go along with putting pressure on the district to settle.  Last week, I greeted both district and our bargainers as the entered the session on Thursday.  On Friday, I held a sign and waved at cars on the corner of a busy intersection. Tonight I will be at the school board meeting with my sign, tomorrow and Thursday I will walk in with the other staff as a way to demonstrate solidarity. And on Friday, there will be more sign waving.

This is the second time in my career that the bargaining has been so intense.  It happened in 1981.

1981eea

Yep, that was me and it was in the local newspaper.  That year, we fought for class loads.  and the district locked us out.

Such a different time: no cell phones, no social media, and the only “live” coverage was that of the television stations.  There wasn’t a letter to parents put on the web page on a Friday night that basically blamed the teachers for the lack of a settlement.  The wasn’t someone posting on the district Facebook page a link that shows our salaries (granted it is public information but still…)

This weekend, I had to literally not look at Facebook and other social media.  I felt so distracted by all the noise and chatter of our current bargain.

I hope that the pressure building in the community will bring about a settlement.  It’s time to focus on the work for the year and not be watching a deadline loom.

 

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SOL16: Late Edition, Tualatin Wildlife Refuge

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I am late with this slice.  To see more, go to Two Writing Teachers.

Twenty minutes from my house is the Tualatin Wildlife Refuge.  On Sunday, husband and I went exploring.  It’s been on my to do list. Here’s a brief description from the website:

Located on the outskirts of Portland, OR, Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge is one of only a handful of urban national wildlife refuges in the country. Situated within the floodplain of the Tualatin River, the Refuge comprises less than 1% of the 712 square mile watershed. Yet, due to it’s richness and diversity of habitats, the Refuge supports some of the most abundant and varied wildlife in the watershed.

There are amazing oaks at the refuge.

The path is about three miles during the summer months.  On Sunday, the morning started clear and warmed up quick.  following the path, we came upon the Tualatin River.

20160814_102331(0)-2I think in fall and winter, one might see eagles on the bare trees.

This year the Queen Anne’s Lace appears abundant, like fields of it.

We continued walking the path serenaded by the background white noise of grasshoppers and unidentified birds. below our traveling feet, grasshoppers flitted around.  It’s been awhile since any have crossed my path.

Somewhere hidden must have been a skunk napping as the musky odor filled the air.  Soon in the air swallows swooped and dove above us.  As we neared the waterway, we could tell by people at standstill on the banks, there was something of interest; a nutria family.

Nutria were introduced to help with the fur trade in the 1800’s.  Unfortunately, as cute and fun to watch as they are they are invasive and destructive.  They burrow into banks and dikes destroying them.  But they certainly made for great photo ops.

However, if there was one animal I saw on Sunday that was the king of posing, it was the great blue heron.  He really struck a pose for me.

I am looking forward to returning soon to this place.  I think watching the seasons here will provided food for the spirit and soul.

Posted in Natural World, Observations, SOL16, Writing | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

SOL16: Summer in Seaside, OR

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It’s Tuesday and time to share our life slices courtesy of Two Writing Teachers.

Each summer for for the last ten summers, we spend at least four days in Seaside, OR.  We’ve rented the same perfect house each year.  Our dinners don’t vary much: tacos or crock pot fajitas, spaghetti, and always an evening for pizza.

This is a week to eat eat elephant ears, drink birch beer (which is not easily found on the west coast), and nibble on doughnuts or other treats.

Until last year, it was definitely a time to disconnect as the house didn’t have Wi-Fi.  Last year, the house joined the 21st century.  I don’t mind this change as I can sit and contribute to SOL without going to a place with Wi-Fi.

We don’t worry about the weather even if it says there might be showers such as it did this week.  The showers seem to schedule themselves for when we are sleeping.  Both Sunday (the day we arrived) and yesterday had sun and was it was warm.

No schedule for us.  We tend to stay up later than usual and sleep in (if, for me, you can call 7 AM sleeping in).  I love getting up, letting the dog out, making tea, and sitting in the quiet.

13939501_10210169440175840_4554787560403221815_nYesterday, we rode around on a surrey.  Last time we did this, oldest rrandgirl was a toddler.  Yesterday, it was like a preview into driving lessons  They are about four years away. What a workout especially when Grandpa thought maybe he didn’t have to pedal.

One of my favorite jaunts is the trip to the local bookstore, Beach Books.  Grandgirl and I peruse books and then pick out a couple.  It’s been fun watching her grow as a reader.

This summer, grandgirl asked to go to antique stores.  This is a new twist and I wonder if she was born in the right century.  She loves old things, wants a rotary phone and vintage clothing.  Her sunglasses above are in homage to John Lennon.  She turns twelve in November.

This place is typically the last hurrah before the start of school.  I bring the peace and fun with me as I prepare for the new school year.

 

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SOL16: Returning

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It’s Tuesday and time for slices.  Thank you to the bloggers at Two Writing Teachers for making this happen.

July was filled with lots of adventures.  Starting with an eleven day trip to Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana.

IMG_0033.JPGAt the Buhl, ID parade.  Alway serenaded by the fellow with the ukulele before the parade starts.

We always spend July 4 with our good friends in Idaho to watch the small town parade filled with politician floats, candy thrown, horses, big tractors, and church floats.  It’s always is followed by a cookout and fireworks.  However, this year, since we were getting up and on the road by five in the morning, we skipped the fireworks.

July 5, we were up and at it early to Yellowstone.  I had never been there.  It was great as we were in the park by ten in the morning.  And I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t as crazy busy as I anticipated.

The first day we traveled the northern loop.

Day two we traveled the southern loop. Old Faithful and the Grand Prismatic Spring.

Then we headed to Cody, Wyoming.  We spent three nights there at a B&B thirty miles out of town.  We took in the Cody Museum, buffalo burgers, and the Night Rodeo.  On Friday, our hosts took us to see petroglyphs and something called ‘the whales’.  These are definitely off the beaten track.

We said good-bye to our wonderful hosts and traveled to Helena on Saturday, July 9.  And by Sunday, we were ready to be heading toward home.  Eleven days is  long for us to be gone.  We missed our Buster boy.

I am so ready to return to Yellowstone.  I know what I want to do the next time I am there.  For one thing, I want to be at Old Faithful at sunset.  We stayed in West Yellowstone and I would love to stay at the lodge.

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SOL16: Reflecting

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It’s Tuesday.  Time to share a slice over at Two Writing Teachers.

Last week, several teachers and staff met over several days to pre-plan the 2016-2017 school year.  One was the huge puzzle called scheduling.  Which we accomplished in four hours with rich conversations.

Someone asked me about why Library only met once a week when Music and PE are twice a week.  They just didn’t get it.

I started reflecting on the vast changes in the world of library media since I began thirty-two years ago.

In the mid-1980’s, besides teaching class, I also brought projectors and filmstrip projectors to rooms. (Wonder if anyone reading this will remember).  Today pretty much everyone has the media the need in the room.  I provide support when technology is problematic.

We didn’t computer scan books like today but created these elaborate check out books that had pockets and were laminated.

Inventory was laborious, a to person job with the shelf card list and massive amounts of paperclips.  We used them to indicate missing books.  After three paper clips, the book was declared lost.  Today, books are lost and then found in a simple scan of the bar code.

I have been feeling the crunch of time.  This coming year, I proposed that all classes have a forty minute section.  This is so I can utilize GLAD strategies and have time for technology.  And being able to work in book talks and check out time.  I am excited and a bit nervous to add 200 minutes to my schedule.  But I think it will be worth it.

On Friday, husband I are leaving for a road trip.  I am tentatively taking a blog break for July. But I may pop in.  Happy summer.

 

 

 

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SOL16: Serenity is My Default

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It’s Tuesday and I am ever grateful to Two Writing Teachers for providing a place to share our slices.

The end of the school year.
The shooting in Orlando.
The busyness of this time of year.
The overwhelming sorrow of the loss of lives.

I find myself thinking about “Serenity is my default.”  It’s become part of my focus (and focus is my OLW).

A couple weeks ago I fell and cracked open my elbow.  Needed stitches.  In some odd way, to me it was the universe saying “Slow Down!”

Saturday was the first weekend where the weekend calendar wasn’t littered with events and to dos. I had a choice to work out or not.  I chose to sit at home and catch my breath.

For me to maintain serenity as my default, I need down time.  Even though much of what I engage in is fun, I need down time.  I don’t allow that a lot.

And then Sunday, how many more mass shootings must we have  to eliminate assualt rifles?  And those victims, where is their serenity?  How will serenity become their default once more.

I say the Serenity Prayer a lot. Serenity~Acceptance~Wisdom are key words to meditate upon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Writing

SOL: Yikes! School’s End Speeding Up

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It’s Tuesday and time to share a slice at Two Writing Teachers.

I entered Memorial Day weekend in a panic.  So many things scheduled.  But at the weekend’s end, I felt calmer and ready to take on the hectic pace of the next 10.5 days of school for me.

But then, I got to school today and wowza!  I felt the treadmill speeding up.  Will I get done?  The students are restless and I am restless.

Thank goodness one of my dearest friends came to school with me today and worked solely on getting ready for the used book fair.  She sorted books all day and will return Thursday to work them.

Tomorrow is the volunteer tea.  In the library.  I hope it goes well.  I feel the school year speeding to the finish line.  A line in which I miss the last day and a half because of a state meeting for a philanthropic organization.  And I am already hating that I am missing those days.

And today the weather is giving us a heat wave which will continue all week.  So much. So fast.

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