NEA-NH’s Public Education & School Support (PESS) Happenings
by Dr. Irv Richardson and Ally Snyder
Summer Leadership Week
NEA-NH hosted an excellent week of trainings, August 1-5, 2016, offering 29 classes to 119 members – some of whom attended workshops during each day of the leadership week. Many of the classes were presented by our own staff and board members. Though four classes were cancelled due to low class registrations, we added two Grievance Processing sessions as well as an entire day (August 22) of Collective Bargaining training because the need for those workshops was overwhelming! We believe this is due to a successful 36-participant Jim Sweeney Leadership Academy (where we orient new association leaders) and the powerful energy of many newly-formed locals (Litchfield, Keene, Andover, etc.). We continue to focus the workshop content on union association building and membership reinvigoration. Special thank you to Bob Whitehead and Michelle Couture, UniServ Directors, for going above and beyond to meet training needs.
Sharry Sparks, your ESP Representative on NEA-NH’s Executive Board, and PESS Coordinator Irv Richardson wrote and received a $5,000 grant from NEA to support and strengthen our Education Support Professional (ESP) contingent of membership. Adding it to $500 from previous grants, they prepared a two-day workshop and team-building academy on September 16 and 17. NEA-NH hosted the retreat in the Concord office with 30 ESPs from around the state, including eager members from our newly-organized locals! Participants were recommended by UniServ Directors for their leadership capacity or their desire to be mentored. Engaging trainings were provided by Chris Hobson of ParaPotential and Floyd Cox from NEA. A lovely dinner reception offered members a chance to build relationships, and participants were very pleased with the overall event.
Fall Instructional Conference
On October 7, NEA-New Hampshire held its 162nd Fall Instructional Conference at Bow High School, and the reviews we received were excellent! Offering 87 courses, NEA-NH provided high-quality instruction and support to a total of 548 participants: 505 members, 5 NEA student members, 16 non-members, and 22 participants with the Future Educators Academy (FEA). We held two mini-conferences during this day – the annual FEA conference for high school students considering a career in education, and a full-day training for our SLO Consortium*. We also hosted many vendors, including SchoolCare and NEA Member Benefits, to communicate and connect with our members.
The most significant and impactful speaker of the day was Former NH Supreme Court Chief Justice John Broderick, Jr., who delivered a moving keynote address on the importance of noticing and responding to mental health issues in schools. He is working with Change Direction New Hampshire and they have offered multiple free resources for schools and local associations. The HCR and ESP Committees collected donations for End 68 Hours of Hunger, and the Membership Committee, NHFTL, and AppleCorps raised money and awareness for their programs.
*SLO Consortium – Year Three
Our Student Learning Objectives (SLO) Consortium is in its third and final year, and is proceeding strongly with 25 members – both seasoned and new participants – who are working with targeted districts: Claremont, Berlin, Keene, and Pembroke. The third year began with an intensive, three-day training on August 16-18. We meet monthly to provide education through May, 2017. We have an incredible leadership team built from the first and second-year veterans and with Irv’s guidance, they are doing exactly what we hoped from the beginning: disseminating and deepening opportunities for student learning achievement and for teachers to improve their instructional practice. The districts targeted have made a commitment to learn the SLO process, share it with their staff, and carry on this work after the grant project ends.
We continue to provide leadership, expertise, and reporting to NEA; to work with the DOE and the Center for Assessment; and to coordinate with 9 states involved in this nationwide project.
Retirement Planning Seminars with NEA Member Benefits
The PESS department supports Jeff Kantorowski and the Member Benefits team in setting up online registration and handling customer service for their very popular retirement planning seminars. Six were offered this fall and we expect that other retirement seminars will occur during the spring.
We have our hands in many projects around the state! If you are looking for more information or training on a particular topic (ESSA, mentoring, PACE, competency-based education, performance evaluations, conflict resolution), chances are, we can help. And we love to support members!
Have your local President contact us any time!
Irv Richardson, PESS Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org; (603) 224-7751 x317
Ally Snyder, PESS Assistant – half-time, email@example.com; (603) 224-7751 x316