Principal Gwendolyn Payton (center) hosts WTU President Elizabeth Davis (left) and AFT President Randi Weingarten (right) for back-to-school classroom visits and a WTU members meet and greet session this week at Anne Beers Elementary School. President Weingarten will join WTU for its first Delegate assembly meeting on September 9 at McKinley Technical HS.
 
The Washington Teacher
Weekender Edition, August 30, 2014
Message from President Davis
Welcome Back, COPE Endorsement Process, Back-to-School Visit at Anne Beers ES with AFT President
Dear colleague,
 
We were very excited to find that over 300 of our First Day of School survey respondents reported having a great start to the school year.  Congratulations on successfully completing your first week of school.  I hope your transition from summer vacation to school was a smooth one. The officers and staff at the WTU have been working hard to ensure that you will have the resources and support you'll need to make SY 2014-15 an exciting and productive year for you, your students and fellow educator colleagues.
  
This is a crucial election year for the future of public education in the District. At issue is the continuation of mayoral control of the schools without an elected school board and a teacher evaluation system that does not support, retain or grow teachers. During the primary election, Mayor Gray told DC residents that education is the biggest issue in this year's city wide election. We could not agree more. It's up to us, as members of the WTU to ensure that education remains to be "the biggest issue in this year's city wide election."
The WTU Committee on Political Education (COPE) has recently completed interviews of all candidates running for city council and mayor. Close to 100 members are now on the COPE committee. After they have reviewed and scored responses from the candidates, they will share their recommendations with the WTU Executive Board and the WTU membership. Over the past two weeks, COPE members have been extremely busy interviewing all candidates for the mayoral and city council races. If you want you to be a part of the decision making process, rsvp at: info@wtulocal6.net to attend the last round of interviews of candidates running for attorney general and the Board of Education. See the COPE news article below for meeting details.  Following the interviews on September 5, you and other COPE members will begin discussion on the strengths of each candidate running in all categories to determine if they will gain a WTU endorsement.

This week, American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten kicked off her back-to-school visits  with me at Anne Beers Elementary School. Together we joined Principal Gwendolyn Payton to welcome back teachers and congratulate them on last year's math and reading assessment gains. While the students above all should be commended for their academic achievements, it is the strong partnership developed and carried out by Principal Payton, her teachers and our union that has built the foundation for long-term success. I would like to personally thank Principal Payton and the entire Beers team for a wonderful visit and meeting. Click here to watch highlights from my school visit to Beers with President Weingarten.  

Lastly, our first Delegate assembly and representative meeting will be held on September 9th at 4:30 pm at McKinley Technology High School. At this meeting, the COPE committee will inform members of all candidates being considered for endorsement by the WTU and important new initiatives for the year will be presented and voted upon by qualifying delegates. All WTU members are invited to this important meeting for updates on contract negotiations and other pertinent issues. We will also have joining us once again, Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers. I hope you can clear your calendar to attend both of these very important meetings.
Please feel free to contact me directly at (202) 957-3119 with any questions, concerns and ideas. For the latest WTU news and minute by minute WTU updates, don't forget to follow us on Twitter @wtuteacher.
I look forward to seeing you at the COPE interviews next week and our first Representative Assembly meeting at McKinley Technical HS on September 9, 4:30 pm. Have a safe and enjoyable Labor Day!
A Luta continua. (The struggle continues)

In unity,

Elizabeth "Liz Davis
WTU President
Register Now for WTU Fall 2014 Professional Development Courses: Deadline is September 12
  Take Advantage of New WTU Scholarships!
The WTU Teachers' Center and Office of Professional Development (PD) registration period has begun for the Fall 2014 semester! Register now for over 10 exciting and high-quality professional learning courses and peer-to-peer PD led by WTU Professional Development Instructors and educator members.
  
Transform your instruction and teaching practice with the 3 Rs: rigorous, relevant and reseach-based, advance-level graduate courses aligned to the IMPACT Teaching and Learning Framework (TLF) and the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), and accredited by Trinity Washington University. New WTU adult learning scholarship opportunities are available for new full dues teacher members and existing teacher members with Developing, Minimally Ineffective and Ineffective IMPACT ratings. Courses will be held after school and on Saturdays at: Hart MS, Kimball ES, Savoy ES, Walker Jones EC, Whittier EC and the WTU Teacher Center/WTU Office.  Don't delay! Registration ends on September 12.  Click here to view the course catalog and pay using our new credit card payment option. For more information, email: info@wtulocal6.net.
DCPS IMPACT Professional Development
Setting Up for Success! Series
All teachers are strongly encouraged to start the new school year learning more on the TEACH Standards in professional development (PD) sessions led by master educators. The Setting Up for Success series began this week on August 26 and will be held at multiple school locations throughout the district until September 29.  Three different series will be offered.  The district will allow you to attend as many sessions as you would like! Register for individual sessions on the PD Planner. Participants receive 2 PLUs for each session. Click here to read more from the DCPS flier.
WTU IMPACT Grievances Due by September 3
Although the IMPACT Chancellor's Appeal has ended, there's still time for WTU collective bargaining unit members (ET-15 and EG-9) informed that they received an Ineffective, Minimally Effective, or Developing IMPACT rating to file a grievance with your union.
 
To begin the grievance process, you will need to complete the WTU IMPACT Information Form. Contact the WTU office immediately on Tuesday morning for an appointment with a WTU Field Representative at: 202-517-1477. The deadline for filing a WTU IMPACT grievance is Wednesday, September 3rd by 12 noon. Learn more about your appeal rights and the most common procedural violations
Members Must Activate Union Benefits to Utilize
Open Enrollment for WTU Dental & Vision Benefits with United Healthcare
Open enrollment for dental and vision benefits began on August 13th and ends on September 17th.  During open enrollment, you can update your benefits and join the Sick and/or Maternity/Paternity Leave Banks.  All members must activate their online benefits profile in order to efficiently utilize union benefits. 
  Here's how to enroll:
-Type in your username which is the first initial of your first name with your full last name combined with the 2 digits of your birth month and 2 digits of your birthday. 
Example: Jane Smith; born on February 16. Her username is jsmith0216.
-Next, type in your password which is the last 4 digits of your Social Security number. 
-Once you have logged in, you can begin enrolling for benefit and/or updating your existing union benefits.
  
Check your online profile this weekend to update and modify your personal information and to enroll for your union benefits today on the WTU Benefits Enrollment page.  If you have any questions, please call the WTU Office at: 202-517-1477, or email: info@wtulocal6.net.  
Become a WTU Teacher Leader!
See our Ad in the DCPS 2014-15 LIFT Brochure,
Apply by Friday, September 12, 2014

Have you ever seen a news report or talk show discuss issues around teaching and learning and thought to yourself or said to your colleagues, "Why don't they just ask a real teacher?"

WTU Teacher Leaders is a union program designed to help prepare YOU to be that classroom teacher, facilitating discussion of the issues that affect our profession both here in Washington, DC and nationally.

We are seeking teachers interested in collaborating with colleagues across the city and nation on:

  • Increasing an understanding of the major challenges facing the teaching profession
  • Improving leadership skills
  • Representing our profession as spokespersons
  • Becoming members of an influential and supportive network of educators
This AFT/WTU pilot program will take place on: Oct. 18, 2014; Nov. 15, 2014; Dec. 13, 2014; Jan. 10, 2015; Feb. 7, 2015; March 14, 2015; 

April 18, 2015; and May 16, 2015

 

$1500 stipends will be offered.

The application deadline for this program is September 12, 2014.

Click here to start the application process.

For more information, please contact Sarah Elwell, WTU Teacher Leaders Program Coordinator at sarah.elwell@dc.gov or Dorothy Egbufor, WTU Chief of Staff at degbufor@wtulocal6.net.

  
COPE Candidate Endorsement Process Underway
All COPE Members are Eligible to Participate
 
The Washington Teachers' Union Committee on Political Education (COPE) recently completed interviews with all DC Mayoral and Council member candidates. Next week, COPE will finish the last round of interviews with candidates running for the DC State Board of Education and the Office of Attorney General.
 
COPE members play a very significant role in deciding which candidates will win the endorsement of the Washington Teachers' Union. Please attend this last round of interviews on Wednesday, September 3, 2014 at 5 pm at the new WTU headquarters located at 1239 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE (2 blocks from the Potomac Metro station).
 
If you have questions for the candidates, this would be the time to ask. As a DCPS educator in a school system under mayoral control, it is critical for all 100 COPE members to actively participate in the endorsement process. The mayor will have the authority to select a DCPS chancellor, but you have the power to elect the mayor. Don't give your power away! Join your COPE colleagues at the WTU headquarters on Wednesday, September 3. Space is limited, please RSVP at: info@wtulocal6.net.
 
 
Click here to join COPE and immediately become eligible to partake in this highly critical political activity and candidate selection process.  For questions about COPE, email: cope@wtulocal6.net.
 WTU Summer 2014 Highlights
          New WTU Trainers, ULI, Commuity Book Fest &          DCPS New Teacher Orientation
  
New WTU Trainers/AFT Summer Institute, July 21-July 30, 2014-WTU is pleased to announce and welcome seven new WTU Professional Development Instructors to our PD team!  New and existing WTU trainers gained national certification to teach WTU courses developed by the American Federation of Teachers at AFTs Summer Educator Academy. This 10-day academy provides union-sponsored research-based professional development that addresses the complexities of teaching. Offered in July, the program is offered to help local unions build the capacity to deliver high-quality professional development services to all educators-teachers, para-professionals, and school-related personnel.  Check out our new and veteran PD instructors who will teach courses beginning in late September - December 2014. Click here to view the WTU Fall 2014 brochure. The fall registration deadline ends on September 12.  
  
WTU Union Leadership Institute (ULI), August 7-9, 2014-WTU hosted its first comprehensive training institute for local school union leaders, retitled as the WTU Union Leadership Institute (ULI). WTU-ULI took place at Trinity Washington University and brought together over 75 Building Representatives, School Chapter Advisory Committees (SCAC), Personnel Committees (PC), and Local School Advisory Teams (LSAT) for a two-day training featuring topics on Building Rep. Expectations, Top 10 Beginning of the School Year Contractual Issues, the Grievance Process, Corporal Punishment, Investigations and IMPACT. To set the tone and begin to shift the paradigm from a service model mindset to an organizing model mindset, AFT national staff and expert presentations on the AFT Organizing Model were provided along with an orientation for aspiring WTU Organizing Coordinators and part-time teachers. Several other critical information and school materials were offered to the ULI attendees, including presentations and resources on the AFT + Benefits Program, Share My Lesson and a discussion on Why Data Matters. A presentation was provided on the HR Answers online platform by the DCPS Human Resources team leader along with closing remarks and a Q/A session led by Jason Kamras, DCPS Chief of Human Capital Management. WTU local school union leaders questioned Jason on IMPACT support, the IMPACT appeal process, excessing policies and other significant matters. Stay tuned for great pictures and important resources from ULI which will be available on the new WTU website.
  
WTU Community Book Festival, August 9, 2014-As a culminating ULI activity and opportunity to model how to mobilize communities and perform community outreach, WTU school leaders hosted a free Community Book Festival where 1000+ books were disseminated to children, community members and WTU Title I teachers at the Dorothy Height/Benning Library. Over 40 WTU representatives, WTU Executive Board members and staff engaged community members and children in many ways: at the nearby shopping area as the canvassing team; as book distributors of the First Book back packs and books given to the community, and as celebrity readers and hosts of the Reading Circles taking place in the Children's section of the Height Library. Other celebrity readers included a multitude of DC city officials and candidates seeking office, namely: Mayor Vincent Gray, Councilwoman and Mayoral candidate, Muriel Bowser, former Councilwoman and Mayoral candidate Carol Schwartz, Metro Labor Council President Josh Williams, Yvette Alexander, Ward 8 Councilwoman and Anita Bonds, At-large Councilwoman seeking reelection. WHUR 96.3 FM hosted a live remote from the book fest event at the Height Library. Click here to view pictures from the book festival on the WHUR website. WTU members who showed up to receive books and complete the First Book registration form were entered into a drawing for a free classroom library.  Winners will be announced at the General Membership meeting on September 23, 2014, 4:30 pm at Luke Moore Academy.
  
DCPS New Teacher Orientation, August 13-14, 2014-WTU welcomed over 600 new teachers to DCPS New Teacher Orientation at Columbia Heights Education Campus (CHEC). Out of the 600+ new teachers, 50% joined as full members on Day one of New Teacher Orientation. 40% more joined on Day two, resulting in 90% of new DCPS teachers signing on as full dues WTU members!! In addition to hosting a WTU Club Room with great gifts and refreshments, WTU service providers and organizational partners were available to answer questions and provide information on health benefits, prepaid legal services, and membership discount programs. WTUs Professional Development Team delivered 9 learning sessions on essential beginning of the year topics, such a: Organizing the Classroom for Teaching and Learning, Managing Antisocial Behavior, Supporting English Language Learners, Differentiating Instruction, Thinking Mathematics, Effective Classroom Assessments and Using Rubrics. National staff from our parent organization, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) hosted an extra session on free Share My Lesson online resources. Although these afternoon sessions were optional for new teachers, 1/5 of the new teachers and new WTU members stayed around to participate in the WTU learning sessions and to attend the WTU New Teacher Reception with student DJ Fearless, a junior at Eastern HS, good food and plenty of fantastic door prizes. Pictures and video from the orientation will be available very soon on the new WTU website. Welcome New DCPS Teachers and WTU Members!

Emily Washington, WTU Teacher Center Coordinator signs up new DCPS teachers for full membership in the WTU Hospitality Club Room at New Teacher Orientation, August 13-14, 2014 at Columbia Heights Education Campus (CHEC).

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