Mideastern Region PSEA

May Newsletter

Welcome to the Mideastern Region newsletter! Each month we will be featuring information to help our members stay informed, get involved, and advocate for our profession.

Our region represents the 15,168 public school educators across the 35 school districts and two intermediate units of Bucks and Montgomery Counties. Your hard work and the power of collective bargaining help to bring an exceptional education to the 195,426 students in our buildings.

Not Your Traditional Ending

Part of our grade 8 Language Arts curriculum in Central Bucks is to review Freytag's Pyramid with students. Each fall we dutifully go over some variation of exposition, rising action, climax, and resolution in our classrooms. Later in the year, we'd read "The Lady, or the Tiger?" and the ending (spoiler alert) often incites exasperated and hyperbolic adolescent reactions - "WHAT?? That's not an ending?? What happens?!" We'd eventually ground ourselves in "well, this story is missing a resolution, and that's why you're so frustrated." (This did nothing to quell their frustrations.)


And here we are, near the non-traditional ending of the 2019-2020 school year. On March 13, the needle was lifted off the record, our normal ebb and flow became turbulent, and we were, in many ways, left with a school year that has none of the traditional elements of a resolution. Our members are packing up classrooms, offices, and libraries that are frozen in time - the story of the year unfinished in many ways.


Thank you to our members who are working their hardest to bring a resolution to our students - the move up videos, the virtual class celebrations, the graduation signs, and everything else designed to support our kids and give them some semblance of normalcy. It's not the ending we planned, but as usual, our educators are rising with a challenge to help our students.


What we do for our schools and communities is important and valuable, and that will always be the constant in the story of public education. As our story continues to take twists and turns in the future, continue to do what's best for kids and we will use our collective voice to support one another.


-Bill Senavaitis, Central Bucks EA

Mideastern Region President

Vote By Mail

As of this week, close to 4,000 of our 15,000 members in the region signed up to vote by mail for the June 2nd PA primary! The final deadline to request a ballot is May 26th - don't delay! If you requested a ballot but have not yet received it, you can check the status of it here. If you have your ballot, be sure to check out this website for a list of recommended candidates and then get it back in the mail to your county elections office ASAP!

Your Clearances Will Soon Expire - FBI Deadline Extended

Act 153 of 2014 requires school employees to provide or renew State Police/FBI record checks and child abuse clearance statements. Additional changes to the law went into effect July 1, 2015. PSEA wants to ensure that all members understand how this policy affects them. Updated clearances are required every 60 months from the date of the oldest clearance. If you obtained your clearances when this law went into effect, you are approaching the end of the 60 month term. Please reach out to your HR department or visit this website for more information.


"But how am I supposed to complete my clearances during a pandemic??"


Good news - you have until December 31, 2020 to obtain (not apply for) your FBI clearance. For complete information on this legislation, please take a look at this document from PSEA.
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140,000 Meals for Students

Kudos to our members in Norristown! on May 13 at Norristown Area HS and Gotwals Elementary School they helped to distribute 70,000 breakfasts and 70,000 lunches to their community. This was the latest food distribution day at Norristown which has been ongoing since March 13. Well done!
NASD Food Distribution provides the District Community meals during the COVID Stay at Home order

Back to School?

Educators know what happens in our buildings during each season of the year. However, the pandemic has put a question mark behind the phrase "back to school." What will the fall look like for our public schools? No one is sure just yet, but PSEA has a seat at the table. Check out this article detailing the organizations that are working to address the uncertainty of next school year.

Spreading Positivity and Thanks in Spring-Ford

Organized by Dan Miscavage and Rhiannon Zimmerman, the members of Spring-Ford EA recently created 850 cards and 25 posters to distribute to the residents and workers of four area senior centers. On Wednesday, May 13th, SFEA members, Spring-Ford police, and members of the community came together for a car parade through the Parkhouse Nursing & Rehabilitation Center complex. Residents and workers waved, drivers honked, kids cheered, and dogs barked, showing their support during this hard time. Sally Hawk-Jones, the Director of Activities and Volunteers at Parkhouse told SFEA “Please tell everyone how much their time and effort was appreciated - cards, posters, balloons, cheers and waves, spinners, old cars, honking horns, police sirens and traffic control - and Mother Nature cooperated too, couldn't have had a nicer day.”

Google Educator Certification Camps

Our Google certification camps are back! We have shifted the format from a live event at DelVal University to online. Take a look at the information below and sign up today! Registration is capped at 50 members per event.


Google Educator Level I Certification Boot Camp: Fundamentals Training

For Educators who are new to Google tools, this course will teach you the best strategies for integrating Google into your classroom.


When: July 6, 9, 16, 20, 23, 27, 30 at 10am; July 13 at 12 Noon

Where: synchronous 1-hour events using Google Meet

Cost: $100 per member for course and Google Exam voucher


Please use this link to register for the Level I camp.


Google Educator Level II Certification Boot Camp: Advanced Training

Moving beyond fundamentals, this advanced course teaches cutting-edge strategies for integrating Google into your classroom.


When: August 3, 5, 7, 10, 12, 14, 17, and 19 at 10am

Where: synchronous 1-hour events using Google Meet

Cost: $100 per member for course and Google Exam voucher


Please use this link to register for the Level II camp.

Save on your Prescriptions

No matter what type of insurance you have or who provides it, this group has the potential to save you and your family money! Give it a try... this will go one of two ways:

  1. You enter your information, discover that there's a savings, and use the coupon

  2. You enter your information, discover that the prices listed are not less than your current copay, and continue to use your insurance for the prescription as you have in the past.

In short, you can use one method, but not both, to get the lowest price available. GoodRx operates this website as well as an app.

PSERS Call Center

Even though the offices of the Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS) remain closed, PSERS has re-opened its call center on a limited basis.


During this initial opening transition, the call center will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., but we anticipate these hours will be expanded over time. We also anticipate that call volumes and wait times will be higher than usual. You may continue to email PSERS using their online contact form or call them at 1.888.773.7748 during the hours noted above.

Celebrating Our Retirees

As we move closer to the end of the month, many of us have mixed emotions about the conclusion of the academic year. There is also an entirely different set of emotions for our members who are retiring in the very near future.


Our region and CAPS would like to take extra care to recognize our new retirees via our social media platforms. We would love your help, and the help of your colleagues, in this endeavor. We’ve made the process as simple as possible: just enter the information into this Google form and upload a photo. Our team will do the rest, and format the information into the template you see here!

PSEA Hardship Grants

The PSEA Education Foundation provides financial assistance to PSEA members who are experiencing dire hardship through illness, disability, and/or financial need. Applications are submitted to the PSEA Retirement & Welfare Committee, which reviews the applications and makes recommendations to the PSEA Education Foundation. For more information or to apply, please scroll to the bottom of this page

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Need a Home/Auto Insurance Quote? Earn a $25 Gift Card Today!

The NEA Auto & Home Insurance Program provided by California Casualty has enhanced their “Summer Skip” policy benefit! "Summer Skip" is one of California Casualty's EZ Pay payment options. It allows members, if they wish, to skip their auto insurance premium payments for two consecutive months between May and September. Essentially, CalCas members who choose this plan are on a 10-month payment plan, which some members prefer for budgeting purposes.


With an average savings of $423/year, each policy includes Educator-specific benefits, free ID Theft Protection, Pet Injury Coverage and Exclusive member-only rates. AND for a limited time, they are offering a $25 Amazon.com gift card for completing an auto quote via this link.

Thank you, LMEA!

Lower Merion EA members generously provided breakfast for our fellow PSEA members of the Bucks County Nurses Association. Employees of Neshaminy Manor were able to grab a bagel and cream cheese earlier this week at a shift change, thanks to the Chalfont location of Manhattan Bagel and LMEA members. Thanks a million!

Don't Wait Until You are Sick

Many of the healthcare plans offered in our area feature some type of service such as Teladoc or MDLive for members to have remote access to a physician - but there's a one-time medical history set-up before you can utilize the service. Take a few minutes today to create your account while you are well so that you have quick access to care if you become sick.

When and How to Report Suspected Child Abuse

The documents below, prepared by our PSEA Legal Division, are the most current guidance available on reporting obligations of mandated reporters. Periodic review of this information helps us all to make sure we are in compliance with the law and our duty as educators. Please take a few minutes to review the content, and save it in case you or a colleague need it in the future.

Sue Castle Memorial Scholarship

Sue Castle was a member of Colonial EA and president of our region from 1995-1997. Each year the Montgomery County/PSEA Retired Educators group offers a scholarship to a college junior or senior enrolled in the field of education. The individual needs to be a graduate of a Montgomery County high school. If you have a family member or know of someone you respect who may benefit from the scholarship, please email Carol Cohen (carolco328@gmail.com) to get a copy of the application.


Thank you,
The Susan K Castle Memorial Scholarship Committee

Carol Cohen (carolco328@gmail.com

Diana Kernop (Kernop.mea@gmail.com)

Helping Our Communities

If you've ever been at our region office, chances are that the meal provided for the event was prepared by Our Towne Catering. Just like every other small business in the area, they have been impacted by the Pandemic.


We recently worked out a way to support both our communities and this small business: our region is focusing some of the funds that we would have spent on meals at the office to help two non-profit groups. This month we will be sending 100 meals to Manna on Main in Lansdale and 100 meals to the Emergency Relief Association in Levittown.


Our Towne is also offering a 10% discount on curbside pickup for educators - check out their menu today!

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Virtual Author Visit

Roberts Elementary School in Upper Merion was to be a scheduled stop last month on author Aimee Bissonette's CAPS tour of our region. The in-person meeting has been postponed until next school year, but that didn't stop librarian Dorothy Raginsky from bringing the author to students virtually! Take a look at the interview here!

Coming to a Screen Near You

Thanks to all of our members who submitted content earlier this month, our CAPS campaign is off and running with this video helping to show our communities that we are still hard at work supporting our students. This 30-second spot will be featured on Hulu, WHYY, and multiple websites over the course of the next four weeks. Thank you to everyone who helped move this piece from idea to reality!

Save Money

We spend a lot of time talking about how much our members earn - and maybe not enough time talking about how those earnings are spent. PSEA Member Benefits can save you and your family money on everything from insurance to hearing aids. Spend some time browsing our website today!

COVID-19

As we all work through the many, many questions that our new temporary normal has introduced in our professional worlds, PSEA is working to communicate with our members about concerns they have. Visit the COVID-19 page of the PSEA website for a current listing of all available documents, and be sure to read the latest issue of Keeping Connected.

Stay Connected

There are multiple ways to stay connected to our organization. If you're not yet a member of our private Facebook group, please consider joining (be sure to answer the question and let us know the name of your local). Our website it also a great place to get information about critical alerts and upcoming events.

Previous Editions

Did you miss our newsletter last month? Was there something from earlier this school year that you'd like to reread? Look no further!


September

October

November

December

January

February

March

April

Mideastern Region PSEA

Bill Senavaitis, President (bsenavaitis@psea.org)

Alan Malachowski, President- Elect (amalachowski@psea.org)

Bill McGill, Vice President (wmcgill@psea.org)

Kathy Hornberger, Treasurer

Susan Brown, Secretary

Theresa Prato, PACE Director

Debbie Lee, NEA Director (dlee@psea.org)