Horseheads Teachers Association

Fall 2015 Newsletter

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A word from HTA President Hether Gillette

Welcome to a new school year! Teachers still face many challenges, but we are making some advances locally and statewide. All of these gains are due to the activism of our members and the parents who support the hard work and excellence we provide in the classroom.


Locally, the HTA endorsed candidates for the school board and had a great impact on that election. We are making progress in attending Board of Education meetings to show that we are paying attention to the decisions being made that affect the welfare of our students, impact our profession, and affect the financial status of our district. Our district has big decisions ahead with the merger study and the consolidation proposals. It is important for HTA members to stay informed and to give our input on these decisions. They will affect our students, as well as our work environment.


On a state level, activism has started to make some strides in fixing the state’s broken test and evaluation system. On September 16, the Regents were supposed to vote on permanently adopting the new APPR regulations. This did not happen. Instead, the Regents, “directed the commissioner to work with stakeholders to develop legislative changes.” This reset the clock and triggered another 30 day period of required public input. The Regents received over 30,000 emails from NYSUT members. We need to keep up the pressure. Please be sure to call our Regent, James Tallon at (212) 494-0777 or email: Regent.Tallon@nysed.gov, to give him your thoughts on APPR.


On September 15, a federal judge ruled that, “NYSUT’s challenge of state ‘gag orders’ can proceed.” The case is about state test confidentiality agreements stifling a teacher’s right to free speech.

We are also awaiting the ruling of a Long Island teacher’s case against the VAM (value added model) used to calculate the state growth score. The good news in this case is the judge seemed to get it. The questions that he was asking during the hearing were very positive to our cause. He understood that the way the state is calculating the growth score was unfair and unreliable. Hopefully, the ruling in this case will be out soon.

As educators, we are still facing many challenges, but collectively we are starting to make headway against those challenges by voicing our concerns and outrage. It is working! Please keep up the good work in letting your voice be heard.

--------Negotiations Update--------

Negotiation meetings between the HTA and the District are scheduled for September 23rd and 30th. This is the second year that we have started school without an updated collective bargaining agreement. To view or download a copy of our most recent contract please check out http://seethroughny.net/contracts/schools/
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Game Time

Youth Downloads offers several free customizable PowerPoint templates to make games suitable for students, including jeopardy, Family Feud and MadGabs. The site also features video tutorials to guide you in setting up the games. Visit www.youthdownloads.com/games for more information or to download. (NYSUT United June 2015)


Brain Breaks and Movement

www.GoNoodle.com is website which provides amazing video brain breaks and movement activities. This site is often mentioned as a transformative power in the classroom! (NEA Today Spring 2015)


The NEA GPS (Great Public Schools) Network

www.gpsnetwork.org is an online place where educators join forces to improve student success. More than 120 groups address today's most relevant instructional topics. Includes free high quality resources to create customized learning tools. (NEA Today Spring 2015)

----Excellus Blue Cross/Blue Shield Data Breach----

Excellus BCBS was the target of a sophisticated cyber attack! If you take advantage of the district's health insurance plan, you should have received both an email and a letter notifying you of this breach. Due to this unauthorized access, Excellus is offering members TWO free years of identity protection services which includes Web Watcher, Credit Monitoring an Consultation and Restoration Services. If you haven't done so already, please take advantage of this service through the link below. You must click the Red "Activate Free Credit Monitoring Now" button at the top of the page.

www.excellusfacts.com

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To Attend Board of Education Meetings!!!!

Teacher representation is incredibly valuable, especially considering that we are working without a current collective bargaining agreement. Please let the BOE know we are interested in what they are discussing and that we're watching what's happening in our district!


  • October 22nd- Ridge Road 6 pm
  • November 19th- Intermediate School 6 pm
  • December 17th- Multi Media Center 6 pm

-------------HTA on Social Media---------------

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----------Save The Date!----------

Education Inc. to be shown at the NYSUT Elmira Regional Office.

October 29th at 4:30 pm


For more information on this film or to watch a trailer visit www.educationincmovie.com

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----------The Last Laugh----------

Baby Got Class Back To School Song Parodie