WTU News and Information 
DECEMBER 5, 2015
Representative Assembly & 
Union Meeting 
Tuesday, Dec. 8
4:30-6:30 pm 
McKinley Technology HS 

meeting will allow local school union leaders and members to ask questions, and discuss individual matters and key issues with President Davis
and the WTU Executive Board and staff.

To add a topic and be included on the list, members must sign up between 4 - 4:30 pm for a
 two-minute presentation. 

The purpose of this meeting is to authentically engage
and listen to rank-and-file members and representative from local schools.

Full members can also sign up to serve as observers for the Elections Committee full membership validation process of candidates seeking positions on the WTU Elections Committee and as Delegates to the AFT Convention and Delegates to the MD/DC AFL-CIO convention. 

Gas card incentives will be provided to all members volunteering to serve as observers. Elections Committee meeting dates will be provided at Tuesday's meeting. To volunteer, email: dialogue@wtulocal6.net.

Join us on Tuesday!
You'll talk. We'll listen.

The holiday season is
upon us and you won't
want to miss the

Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015
6 pm to 12 am
St. Francis Hall
1340 Quincy St. NE
Great Food, Fun, Networking, and Dancing

Featuring musical performances by the DC Labor Chorus and spins from DJ Wah-Heed!

BE A  

We are looking for 30 "WTU Angels" to share in the gift of giving this holiday season by purchasing selected unwrapped gifts for children and young adults with disabilities for our partnership with the Kellogg Conference Center at Gallaudet University and the Quality Trust for People with Disabilities organization.

Gifts are due to the WTU office by the close of business on Monday, December 14th.

Members can sign up to sponsor a child at the next Union meeting on Tuesday, December 8th, 4:30 - 6:30 pm at McKinley HS.

If you would like to be an "Angel" send an email to:

A Conversation on
Monday, Dec. 7
11 am - 2:30 pm
A merican Federation of Teachers
555 New Jersey Ave. N.W.

Americans generally believe in the importance of teachers and the quality of teaching in U.S. public schools, according to a recent "PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools," but they think improvements still should be made.

On Monday, Dec. 7, the Albert Shanker Institute will host a two-panel conversation on these poll results and their implications for policy and practice, taking on the question of how government, schools of education, school districts and schools can promote, nurture and support high-quality teaching. The panels will run from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., with a break for lunch.

Panelists will include:
JOSHUA STARR, chief executive officer, PDK International
RANDI WEINGARTEN, president, American Federation of Teachers and Albert Shanker Institute
JAMES T. JACKSON, chair, Department of Curriculum and Instruction; associate professor and coordinator of special education, Howard University School of Education
JOSEPH VINCENTE, 10th Grade chemistry teacher and science team leader, East Side Community High School, New York, NY

Unable to make it to 
WTU meetings? 
Go HERE to find the agenda and meeting materials 
Our website also has documents outlining
your rights as a D.C. Public School educator, as well as an ever-growing list of
Check it out!


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Quick Links
President's Message
WTU, DCPS reach VEBA settlement 
Elizabeth A. Davis
As I am sure you all know, under the terms of the 2007-2012 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between WTU and DCPS, excessed teachers have a right to choose to receive Option 2 Supplemental Unemployment Benefits (SUB) under the provisions of the Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA). You may also know that a dispute existed between WTU and DCPS; DCPS stopped paying the 1.7 million dollars per fiscal year WTU believes DCPS is obligated to pay under the terms of "Memorandum of Agreement" (MOA) signed by the Parties. WTU filed a grievance over this dispute, and this grievance was scheduled to go before an Arbitrator for a decision.
In what I consider to be an encouraging sign that the WTU/DCPS labor-management relationship has improved significantly, the WTU and DCPS met, and after negotiations, agreed to a partial settlement provided that DCPS would pay to the WTU Option 2 VEBA the amount of money needed so that the WTU VEBA could then pay that amount as VEBA Option 2 SUB benefits to those WTU VEBA beneficiaries who were then eligible to be paid VEBA Option 2 SUB benefits.
Because the parties were able to reach this partial resolution, the WTU Option 2 VEBA issued full Option 2 VEBA SUB checks to all 28 of the eligible WTU Option 2 VEBA beneficiaries just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday!
I would like to express my sincere appreciation to DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson for the positive part she played in the partial resolution of this matter. It was, in large part, Chancellor Henderson's willingness to negotiate, in good faith, with the WTU led to this positive result for 28 DCPS teachers and WTU bargaining unit members!
Finally, in another case, a union discharge grievance has successfully been resolved by a Consent Arbitration Award between WTU and DCPS. We look forward to continued collaboration and successful outcomes with Chancellor Henderson and our DCPS colleagues and educational partners!
First-ever event gives leaders and members an
opportunity to weigh in on key contract proposals

More than 100 leaders and members turned out for the union's Contract Action Event at Gallaudet University on November 19.
The first-ever WTU member engagement event on contract negotiations provided an opportunity for local school union leaders to utilize state-of-the-art audience response technology to vote on specific contract  proposals presented by members of the WTU bargaining team.

President Elizabeth Davis set the tone for the event by assuring attendees that the union's contract team is committed to putting in the time and work that it will take to reach a settlement. The union's bargaining team, she said, would be taking into account the feedback it receives from the Contract Action Event during its ongoing talks with DC PS negotiators. 

Here is some of the statistical breakdown from the event: 
  • About half of those in attendance were elementary school teachers and about half were either middle or high school teachers.
  • Two-thirds of those in attendance had served as local union reps for three or less years.
  • Ninety-eight percent of the attendees said the union should focus on giving teachers "voice through the contract."
  • Sixty-nine percent want the district to provide more and better professional development opportunities. 
Respondents felt strongly about a number of issues, including improving the grievance and arbitration process; cutting back on teachers' administrative duties; increasing in the investment in related services; providing teachers with more instructional supplies and materials; making changes to the teacher evaluation system; and taking steps to improve and streamline student discipline procedures and paperwork.

Contract negotiations progressively moving forward
On Wednesday of this week, Chancellor Kaya Henderson and her new contract team and senior DCPS staff met with the WTU bargaining team for a full day session at the union headquarters. Henderson and Davis facilitated courageous conversation and discussion on key membership issues and the top proposals completed by the WTU bargaining team; which were also shared with local school union leaders in attendance at the Contract Action Event on November 19. 

Both teams will meet again for a full day session on December 9; this time at DCPS Central Office. Additional contract updates will be provided by President Davis at next week's union meeting.
District officials release PARCC assessment
scores for students in grades 3-8

Last Spring, DCPS students took the PARCC assessment for the first time. The tests are aligned with the Common Core State Standards, and, according to Hanseul Kang, who heads up DC's Office of the State Superintendent for Education (OSSE), will provide "a fuller, more authentic picture of student learning."

On November 30, OSSE released grade 3-8 results of student performance in math and English Language Arts. The agency says 92 percent of students in those grades took the PARCC assessment online.

Results show that 24% of the students in grades 3-8 in public and public charter schools met or exceeded expectations in math and 25% of those same students met or exceeded expectations in English Language Arts.
Significantly, only 17% of black students and 22% of Latino students met or exceeded expectations in math, and only 17% of black students and 21% of Latino students met or exceeded expectations on the English Language Arts assessment.
"We continue to have a large and growing achievement gap that we must come together as education stakeholders to address," WTU President Elizabeth Davis said.
Kang told the press conference held to release the results that DCPS would be "providing more support and resources for students in the low-performing schools."

Community schools that give students access to wraparound services that address their non-academic needs are sorely need, Davis said. "I was glad to hear that Chancellor Henderson mentioned wraparound services as a possible solution for helping our most at-risk students. Community schools are something that the WTU has long advocated for and Mayor Bowser is on record supporting the expansion of these schools."
Henderson says she would like to see more of the city's top teachers working in the district's low-performing schools. However, the union wants assurances that the IMPACT teacher evaluation system does not penalize those educators who take on the most challenging assignments. Many of those who teach in low-performing schools say there are serious problems with IMPACT when it comes to measuring their job performance.

The WTU will continue to work with DCPS to address the concerns that members have regarding their need for more training in the administration of the PARCC assessment. A number of teachers have reported that the technology available to them in their schools is inadequate for administering the online exam.
Parents and families will receive their child's PARCC results later this month. In early 2016, educators will gain access to PARCC review site to view results, Kang said.

The next round of PARCC tests is 
March 28-May 20, 2016

WATCH a video of WTU President Davis discussing PARCC on FOX5 News 
School Without Walls educator James Cunningham
is DCPS "Teacher of the Year"

James Cunningham, an art teacher at School Without Walls High School, has been named the 2015-16 DCPS Teacher of the Year. A WTU member and activist, Cunningham is chairman of the Visual Arts Department at SWW where he has taught Drawing, Painting, AP Studio Art and Design since 2008.
On Tuesday, December 8, the Washington Teachers' Union will recognize James during its monthly membership meeting at McKinley Tech High School at 4:30 pm.
WTU heads up massive book giveaway at 
SE Tennis and Learning Center

On Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, a partnership of 9 organizations came together to give away 40,000 new, free books to kids, parents, teachers, libraries and community organizations. Sponsored by the Washington Teachers' Union, the American Federation of Teachers, First Book, DC Public Libraries, the Delta Sigma Theta sorority and others, the book giveaway took place at the SE Tennis and Learning Center. Books were also given to ARC, the Smart from the Start early childhood education program, and other groups. WTU is planning the next quarterly book distribution for early 2016.

WATCH a time-lapse video of the book distribution at the SE Tennis and Learning Center from set up to finish.

The AFL-CIO's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Civil and Human Rights Conference  is coming to D.C. in 2016. It will be held Jan. 15 -18 at the Washington Hilton Hotel.
The conference was established to reinforce the powerful legacy and historic bond between the labor and civil rights movement and honors Dr. King's vision that collective action-whether at the voting booth or in the workplace-will mobilize participants to continue their work in order to make his dream a reality.
This year's conference theme is Change the Rules, Be the Power and rank-and-file members, union leaders, constituency groups and community activists will gather to define a shared vision to influence the labor movement's key priorities, including: raising wages, racial justice, voting rights, immigration, LGBTQ equality, criminal justice, education and a myriad of other issues affecting working families and our community.
Through plenaries, workshops, intensive trainings and community engagement, attendees will be able to build knowledge, forge deeper labor-community relationships and build capacity for the rising American electorate to activate, engage and shape the country's political agenda.
Are you ready to build power with our nation's dedicated civil and human rights activists? Then join us Jan. 15 -18, 2016, in Washington, D.C.

WTU is making available 10 learning scholarships for building representatives who want to attend the AFL-CIO conference. Interested building reps should e-mail dialogue@wtulocal6.net by December 18.   

Go HERE to register 
WTU food drive benefits Payne Elementary School families

Families at Payne Elementary School in southeast were the beneficiaries of a food drive mounted by the WTU in early November. Members and staff donated canned food, gift cards and money to help some needy Payne students and their families have a Happy Thanksgiving. The WTU and the staff, students and families at Payne send a big "THANK YOU!" to the WTU members who contributed to the food drive.

WTU makes contribution to family of Brightwood Education Campus student killed in church van crash

On November 23, a memorial service was held at Brightwood Education Campus for Stanley Rodriguez-Gomez. Stanley, a kindergarten student at the northwest DC school, died in a deadly crash in Hyattsville, MD on November 8 involving a church van and a truck. Three other people died in the crash.

WTU President Elizabeth Davis was on hand at the memorial service to speak and present gift certificates to  Stanley's family and another Brightwood family who lost a family member in the crash.

The union is also supporting an online fundraising drive on behalf
of the families. You can make a contribution  HERE.
First Book partners launch book drive for Philippines with help of WTU member

The Philippine Humanitarian Coalition (PHC), in partnership with the Philippine Embassy in Washington, DC and the US-Philippines Society, marked the second anniversary of Super Typhoon Haiyan in November at the Philippine Embassy. PHC is assisting in rebuilding lives and contributing to the restoration of communities affected by natural and man-made disasters.

Representatives of the non-profit First Book, have come together to help as well. Working with WTU member Maria Angala, First Book launched a Book Outreach Project to help school children in Leyte by replacing some of the books and other educational resources that were lost and destroyed by Haiyan's onslaught.

WTU members and others are urged to donate to the fundraising campaign. Your $20 will purchase 5 brand new books for our students, 10 books for $40, and 100 books for $400.

The goal is $150,000 in 150 days for 40,000 books to send to students in Tacloban. You can help promote the campaign via social networking tools like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogs. Use the hashtag #FirstBook2Philippines.

Here's the link to donate:  firstbook.fundly.com