PRESIDENTS CORNER
WELCOME BACK
CRITICAL UPDATES TO YOUR HEALTH COVERAGE

Welcome Back PGCEA!

Prince George’s County Educators’ Association (PGCEA) is excited to welcome you for the 2019-2020 school year. Last year, we had successful contract negotiations that resulted in well-deserved pay increases that restored wages due to the recession, movement on smaller class sizes, less testing, additional time for special education students and more! Thank you to everyone who participated in our Bargaining for the Common Good negotiations. We win when we work together. This year we will be focusing on the transformation in education brought to the local level by the 2015 ‘Every Student Succeeds Act’ implementation and the ‘Blueprint for Excellence’ legislation. The transformation includes community schools, improving our evaluation system, class sizes, and securing the correct funding formulas from the Kirwin Commission to fund the mandates.

While PGCEA appreciates efforts to build healthier school environments for students and educators, news that the Prince George’s County Board of Education’s decision to increase health insurance premiums up to 10 percent for all employees ( See PGCPS Proposal Here ) starting in January 2020 is alarming. The health insurance hikes will not only increase premiums , but also implement plan design changes that impact deductibles, co-pays, and prescriptions.

PGCEA has been informed about the changes and has challenged the legitimacy of the need for these increases . We have reviewed trends in costs as the system is self-insured. We want to ensure that educators aren’t blindsided by health insurance increases in the future. Therefore, we’ve proposed the formation of an insurance council dedicated to reviewing claims, trends, and communicating with the Board of Education to properly allocate funds, find solutions that limit employee harm and articulate them clearly to all educators. We must address the variance in medical claims and develop solutions to contain costs.

Our union is strongly advocating to keep rates low , but we need your help to keep health insurance premiums low. That means two critical ways to limit healthcare costs; choosing urgent care instead of emergency rooms for minor injuries and illnesses and keeping healthy with exercise along with maintaining a healthy food regimen. We want to ensure healthy school environments and that starts with each of us doing our part to keep ourselves healthy.

We have voiced your concerns about the increases in medical erasing some of the gains we made with this contract to the administration. The response was indifferent and the administration's perception is that you are going to be happy about it because we have good insurance despite you having to pay more . If you take issue with the health insurance increases, email the CEO at ceo@pgcps.org , or sign up for the Board of Education meeting on September 5th to speak and let them know that an increase in your health insurance coverage is not okay.  

PGCEA is continuing to reclaim public schools to provide educators with the resources they need to be successful at work and home. We are looking at creative ways to include exercise and nutrition into our strategic plan this year. Please click here free to review our new contract

Join us in calling on school officials to review this matter. Check your personal email Sunday evenings for our weekly Newsette.

GET INVOLVED
JOIN A COMMITTEE
Welcome back! This school year will be great for educators, students and communities but only with your support. The union is only great when you are involved. Take a moment to let us know what committees you are potentially interested in joining or share this quick survey with a colleague.

Evaluation Workshop
Per last negotiations and work with Office of Employee Performance, there have been some evaluation changes. PGCEA Professional Development and Leadership Committee in conjunction with PGCPS Office of Employee Performance will offer Evaluation Workshop Sessions on Wednesday, September 11 and Thursday, September 19 th .  Sessions will be held at Prince George’s County Educators Association (PGCEA) Headquarters. Space Limited. Register now!

Choose one of the sessions listed below. Please search for the session date you would like to attend and register. Registration for courses should be made in the MyPPS PD Course Registration System .  
PEIP Recap
CHECK OUT HOW PGCEA WELCOMED NEW EDUCATORS TO THE ASSOCIATION & DISTRICT!
PGCEA President Theresa Mitchell Dudley and members stood in support of our new educators welcoming them to the district this year at PEIP. 

MSEA DELEGATION to the NEA Representative Assembly in Houston
PGCEA DELEGATION to the NEA REPRESENTATIVE ASSEMBLY! RED FOR ED! #TEAMPGCEA
Bazaar and Back to School Cookout
On Friday we welcomed the new educators into the district by providing many of them with supplies for their classrooms. We also celebrated with cookout and drinks. Thanks to all of our sponsors listed below. If you know any new educators to the district that are in need of classroom supplies have them call our office.

OUR SPONSORS
Bowie Baysox
Educational System Federal Credit Union
Employee Plan Services
Kaiser Permanente
The W2 Group LLC
NEA
President Theresa Mitchell Dudley gives out prizes to our raffle winners.
Members took to the dance floor for a little electric slide!
Educators socialized and connected with new educators to the district.
Your Union Update: Closing Out School Year 2018-19
Take a look at a short recap of some of our victories from last year. All of this work is only possible because of your commitment to fighting for great schools for all of our children.

CIVIC ACADEMY: Community Schools Roll Out
We partnered with the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools to hold a Civic Academy on the new community schools that will be coming to the district. Ensuring that teachers, parents, and community are prepared for changes to come.

Prince George’s County Six pillars of community schools 
Prince George's County Community Schools:
A community school is a community hub — both a place and a set of partnerships between the school and other community resources. Its integrated focus on academics, health and social services, youth and community development and community engagement leads to improved student learning, stronger families and healthier communities. Community schools offer a personalized curriculum that emphasizes real-world learning and community problem-solving. Schools become centers of the community and are open to everyone — all day, every day, evenings and weekends.
Educator Tips and Tools
The students return next week and so the school year truly begins; smile an take a moment to reflect on some of your first days back; maybe share such a day with your students; it can be a step toward building a constructive and responsive learning relationship with your students.

  • First week students are back, is an excellent time to learn a bit about them and their interest as it may give you insight into making your instruction more interesting and innovative to engage students.  

  • Don’t be afraid to be innovative in instruction or tweak a lesson or learning task; such as allowing students some flexible seating, assisting in a lesson.

  • Establishing class norms and routines without being rigid can go along way toward students self- management and independent learning habits as well as classroom order and community; allow students as feasible to help set those. 

  • At end of first week with students, ‘Find Five’ (minutes) next Friday at end of the day before you leave school and ‘reflect on five’ things that went well or better than expected and then one thing at least you might improve on starting next week.  

“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
-Albert Pike, 
attorney, soldier and writer 
Know Your Contract
We are excited to have a new contract, be sure thqt you know what the contract says:
ARTICLE 6 - WORK YEAR/WORK DAY
d. 6.2.D: Any Unit I member who volunteers or is assigned to cover or teach a class other than their regular scheduled class shall be compensated in addition to their regular pay at the hourly rate of eighteen dollars ($18.00) payable in no less than one (1) hour increments.
Labor Day Parade
Show Up, Speak Up, Step Up!  Join PGCEA members at the 2019 Greenbelt Labor Day Parade on Monday, September 2, 2019, from 10 AM to Noon.  

The parade route starts from Crescent Road to Greenhill Road to Southway. PGCEA Parade participants are asked to check-in with PGCEA at Buddy Attick Park between 8:00 AM and 9:00 AM in order to be in position by 9:45 AM. We will provide breakfast, banners, signs and a cookout after the parade. 

Please wear Red T-Shirts and your PGCEA hat.  

Click here to RSVP.
PGCEA Health and Fitness
Reminder! Sick Leave Bank Open Enrollment is underway and will end on September 30 th . Click here to access the application.   Please submit your completed form to sickleavebank@pgcea.org .

Questions? Contact: Melissa Robinson, 240-492-3360
Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools
Protecting our public schools is our responsibility. As such, we have joined a coalition of individuals and organizations committed to improving our schools. To find out more about the nine uniting principles click below.
Need Supplies?
Imagine a classroom. What do you see? The walls are decorated to create a welcoming learning environment. The teacher is drawing on the board with chalk. Students are writing in notebooks with pencils, or using hands-on tools to understand math, or looking through magnifying glasses to learn science. here.
What is ESSA?
The Every Student Succeeds Act, also known as ESSA, is the new federal education law, signed by President Barack Obama in December 2015. For 14 long years, students and educators lived under the deeply flawed No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. ESSA returns decision-making to where it belongs: in the hands of local educators, parents, and communities.

Three members of PGCEA participated in the re-authorization of ESSA and are looking for educator leaders to serve on the school based committees to represent PGCEA.

If you are interested CLICK HERE .
Albert Barnes
Suzanne Windsor
WELCOME NEW BOARD MEMBERS!

This summer the union held elections and is bringing on two new board members. Join us in welcoming Albert Barnes and Suzanne Windsor.
Back 2 School Worship Experience: Educators and the Power of Your Purpose
Sunday,September 1, 2019
10:00 AM
Turner Memorial AME
555 Crescent Rd., Greenbelt, MD 20770
Click here to RSVP
Labor Day Parade and Cookout
Monday,September 2, 2019
8:00 AM
Buddy Attick Park
555 Crescent Rd., Greenbelt, MD 20770
Rep Training on New Contract
Tuesday, September 17, 2019
4:30 PM- 7:00 PM
PGCEA Center
8008 Marlboro Pike, Forestville, MD 20747
Click here to RSVP
Evaluation Work Session 1
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
4:30 PM- 7:00 PM
PGCEA Center
8008 Marlboro Pike, Forestville, MD 20747
RSVP
Get involved! Join a committee.
From Our Parent Organizer

The PTA Needs YOU!

The first day of school is right around the corner and for most parent groups, that means the start of the annual membership drive. Do you have plans to join this year?

What is the difference between a PTA and PTO? In everyday operations, the difference between a Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and a Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) may not be obvious to members. A PTA (or PTSA at the middle and high school levels) is a local unit of the State and National PTA. The group pays dues to Maryland and National PTA and are subject to the governance of those umbrella organizations. This also means they receive the benefits of being National PTA members, including individual member discounts; grant and award opportunities; training resources; and oversight at the state level.

In contrast, a PTO is an independent organization and may or may not be registered as a non-profit within the State of Maryland. As a PTO, the board is solely responsible for ensuring that all legal and financial obligations are met with regards to the State of Maryland and the IRS. This does not mean that a PTO is any less involved in the school or advocacy, but a PTO establishes their own mission and bylaws to govern how the group will operate.

Why does educator involvement matter? A PTA should be much more than fundraisers and teacher appreciation lunches. The mission of National PTA is “to make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children.” ADVOCACY is at the organization’s core, and we are much stronger advocates when parents and educators are working together. At the most basic level, joining the PTA/PTO shows that you want to be involved and support the group at your school. Teachers have insight into how schools operate and what children need in classrooms that parent volunteers may not see. Your feedback is also valuable when volunteers are planning activities, both for staff and students. An event that seems great to parents, may be ill-timed or inconvenient in the classroom. For most PTA/PTOs, the School Principal serves as part of the Executive Board. Many bylaws also provide opportunities for a staff and student representative to help ensure that all voices are considered. If your school does not have a teacher representative, consider teaming up with other staff to take turns attending meetings and sharing updates with fellow staff.

How can educators help start a PTA/PTO?  If your school does not have an active PTA/PTO, you can absolutely help start one! Because of the differences in PTA vs. PTO governance, the paths vary slightly. If the school previously had a PTA or PTO, the first step is verifying with Maryland PTA or the State of Maryland as to whether or not the group can be reinstated. This could save time in acquiring a federal EIN from the IRS. To establish a PTA, interested parents/teachers can contact Maryland PTA (mdpta.org, 800-707-7972) and staff can help you with the process. There is also a group of parents actively working to reactivate the Prince George’s County PTA Council this school year. If members at your school prefer not to be aligned with National PTA, you can establish your group as a Non-Profit within the State of Maryland. Some guidance is available through Maryland Non-Profits ( https://grants.maryland.gov/Documents/ChecklistNonProfit.pdf ) and the Maryland Secretary of State Charities Division ( https://sos.maryland.gov/Charity/Pages/Non-Profit-Organization.aspx ). There are costs involved in establishing a proper non-profit, however there are significant benefits in being able to accept charitable donations. One word of caution: staff are prohibited from managing PTA funds at the school where they work in accordance with PGCPS Administrative Procedure 3350, PTA, PTSA, PTO ( https://www1.pgcps.org/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=161990 ).

If you have questions or would like additional assistance, contact Lori Morrow, PGCEA Parent Organizer at parent@pgcea.org .


THE UNION DIFFERENCE