IEA Reporter Winter 2014


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IEA Reporter Winter 2014 includes Jamie Elser Idaho's 2014 Teacher of the Year

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IEA Reporter Winter 2014

  1. 1. REPORTER Winter 2014 / Issue 2 Idaho Education Association JAMIE ESLER – Idaho’s 2014 Teacher of the Year He also appreciates opportunities to converse and collaborate with other teachers. “It is inspiring to work with veteran teachers and mentors. I am just one of many teachers who work this hard—I am surrounded by others on a daily basis.” Esler is in his sixth year teaching at Lake City High School. The Illinois native and graduate of Illinois State University was on the verge of moving to Alaska when the position opened up in Coeur d’Alene and he has felt at home since day one. Specializing in environmental and physical science, Esler provides his students with meaningful and engaging learning opportunities that challenge them to apply what they have learned in the classroom to the natural world around them. Jamie Esler, the 2014 Teacher of the Year in Idaho. The Coeur d’Alene school district has laid claim to the Teacher of the Year in Idaho for the third consecutive year, with IEA member Jamie Esler earning recognition for 2014. The Lake City High School science teacher receives $1,000 from the Idaho State Department of Education as well as an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. to represent Idaho as the state’s nominee for national Teacher of the Year. Esler admitted to being surprised by the honor and overwhelmed when the announcement was made at a school assembly. “I am honored and humbled,” he said. Especially heartwarming were the congratulations from his students and fellow teachers. “Nothing feels better than when a student offers congratulations; because I am a big believer that everything we do should be student-centered.” “The great thing about the IEA is that so many other people in the association feel the same way that I do about doing what is best for kids. I can’t imagine being an educator without the support of the Idaho Education Association and the Coeur d’Alene Education Association.” – Jamie Esler In addition to his substantial teaching credentials, Esler’s Jamie Esler works with students on researching water resources at Lookout philosophy and attitude enable him to stand out from Pass in Idaho‘s panhandle. the crowd. “What’s really neat is that people have a natural curiosity about science,” noted Esler in talking about his students. “Kids are more willing to express curiosity about bigger questions 1 Idaho‘s 2014 Teacher of the Year 5 Member Spotlight and pursue their own answers. I am just 2 Leadership Letter Master Teacher Project facilitating and guiding.” 3 Nampa Retreat 6 Idaho Core Standards IN THIS ISSUE Esler is also a strong advocate of the IEA’s mission and of proper support for public education. 4 Day of Action Local President‘s Meeting IEA Election and Delegate Assembly People and Passages 8 American Education Week See more photos of IEA events at
  2. 2. Legislative Session Kicks Off CRUCIAL YEAR FOR EDUCATION The holidays were a wonderful time of rest and rejuvenation for all of us; and we hope for each of you too. But now, it’s back to business as usual and the Legislature is coming to town. As you and your students get back into the swing of lesson planning and homework, we are preparing for the commencement of the 2014 legislative session. Conventional wisdom, combined with comments from legislators, points toward a potential attack on the Idaho Core Standards. Whether the plan will be to slow down or outright repeal the standards approved in the last legislative session is yet to be seen. The IEA will be working with stakeholders to educate legislators about why the Standards are good for students, and how implementation of the standards will require time for professional development; curriculum development and collaboration with colleagues. You can read more in this edition of the Reporter about the work we’ve been doing in partnership with a coalition of business leaders, education stakeholders and others to support the Idaho Core standards and get the implementation right. With the economy continuing to trend positively, we can expect the usual debate over whether the state should be cutting taxes or increasing spending. If public schools do not receive the funding they need to operate, then local school boards will need to continue asking local property owners to tax themselves in order to keep the schoolhouse doors open and programs operating. IEA began speaking out about the need to increase funding for our schools at our “Day of Action” on the Capitol steps on December 9. You can read more about that in this edition of the Reporter. We will be working to make sure elected officials understand the necessity of reinvesting in and recommitting to public education and adequately funding our public schools. However, if Governor Otter’s recent statement that we’ll likely see “more of the same,” is accurate, then we all have our work cut out for us. We can also expect legislative proposals from the education interim committee that met this summer. IEA testified before the interim committee about three pieces of “sunsetted” teacher contract legislation approved this past legislative session. We will continue to gather information over the next year to use in working to replace those laws with more reasonable and workable statutes. We will also be encouraging lawmakers to lay out a plan to assure the governor’s recommendations are properly implemented and appropriately funded. Transforming our K-12 education system will require significant change. That’s why the IEA supported the 20 recommendations of the Governor’s Task Force on Education. We will continue emphasizing to legislators that the recommendations are a package, not a menu from which to choose things they like and ignore others. Some recommendations will be easier to implement because work is already underway on these issues. There are other ideas that need work How to Contact YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS By Phone: Legislative Information Center 208-332-1000 800-626-0471 2 | IEA REPORTER IEA Executive Director Robin Nettinga and President Penni Cyr to assure proper implementation. We’ll be encouraging lawmakers to fund those areas that can be implemented immediately, and urging them to commit to a plan of action for developing and implementing those recommendations that will take a bit more time. The decisions made over the next few months will set the course for the work of school districts, the association, and educators across the state. You can take an active role in helping policymakers understand that education is an investment that pays off for Idaho. As educators, you must engage with your local legislators; build relationships, invite them into your classrooms, tell your stories about what is happening in your classrooms and how additional resources can help. A great way to stay in touch with Legislative actions on education is to sign up to receive the daily IEA Hotline messages throughout the session. Sign up for the IEA Hotline at hotline-home. Educate yourself on the issues and share your perspective with your legislators. It is your right and your responsibility to advocate for your profession and for your students. Also, be sure to contact us if you have any questions or thoughts and ideas as the session unfolds. Find out how to stay in touch during the session in the following pages. The IEA will continue to stand strong and stand up for what is right. We ask you to stand with your colleagues and write to and call your legislator. Demand that our elected officials do what they were elected to do: to represent the people of this state and what is best for them. Penni Cyr, IEA President Robin Nettinga, IEA Executive Director
  3. 3. Frigid temperatures did not deter education supporters at the IEA‘s Day of Action on the Capitol steps. DAY OF ACTION Draws a Crowd Dozens of public education supporters shrugged off bitterly cold conditions to gather on the steps of the Capitol in early December. One of many Day of Action events held around the country, Idaho’s gathering was highlighted by several guest speakers and generated extensive media coverage. With the 2014 legislative session on the horizon, the speakers encouraged elected officials to reinvest in public education and recommit to the children of Idaho. They also noted that many of Idaho’s economic issues Read more at are a direct result of misplaced priorities news/education-dayregarding education, and that an increase in college and career ready high school action-big-success/ graduates will benefit the entire state. SPEAKERS AT THE DAY OF ACTION EVENT INCLUDED: BEA President Stephanie Myers at the podium with speakers Hy Kloc (left) and Aaron White waiting in the wings. l Penni Cyr, President of the Idaho Education Association l Stephanie Myers, President of the Boise Education Association l Hy Kloc, Idaho State Representative, District 16 l Mike Lanza, Parent and co-founder of Idaho Parents and Teachers Together l Aaron White, White Electric and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers NAMPA BUILDING REPS: Fall Retreat at Ste. Chapelle The Nampa Education Association provided training for building representatives during a retreat at the Ste. Chapelle winery this fall. The group enjoyed excellent weather in a gorgeous setting as they bonded and brainstormed ways to engage members and potential members in their schools. NEA leadership is all smiles at building representative retreat. NEA Building Reps and IEA staff at picturesque Ste. Chapelle winery. “This representative retreat was a wonderful opportunity for the reps to interact, determine their building goals, and for the local leaders to establish a rapport with each of them. It also provided the state president, Penni Cyr, a chance to work with a local in an interactive manner.  The team building was fantastic and if any local would like to commit to doing a similar activity, the staff of WROC (Western Regional Organizing Center) would be happy to work with them.” – Faith Risolo, IEA Region Director © WINTER 2014 | 3
  4. 4. LOCAL PRESIDENTS MEET The IEA hosted more than 50 local presidents representing local associations from every region of the state on November 22nd and 23rd. The two-day meeting was designed to provide presidents with training, information, and an opportunity to network on issues that matter to their members. LOCAL PRESIDENTS: l Learned about the NEA Academy and the Common Core Standards l Discussed how to best honor and appreciate members l Learned more about Idaho’s bargaining law l Got a better understanding of local finances and their roles as fiduciaries l Learned how to identify new leaders l Planned for membership for the remainder of the program year IEA ELECTION and Delegate Assembly Information IEA Statewide Positions Local association presidents listen as NEA‘s Lisa Guzman speaks about Common Core. IEA PEOPLE AND PASSAGES There are five IEA positions open for election in 2014, with a three year term for each position. l IEA President-currently held by Penni Cyr l IEA Vice President-currently held by Rick Jones l IEA Resolutions-currently held by William Lower l IEA ESP at-large-currently held by Debbie Flory l IEA Retired-currently held by Dick Chilcote Candidates are encouraged to file for office by January 31, but nomination forms will be accepted until March 12, 2014. An online voting process will be conducted April 12-May 2 for IEA President, Vice President, Resolutions and ESP at-large. Paper ballots will be used for the IEA Retired election. Candidates will have an opportunity to speak at the Delegate Assembly in Boise, April 11-12. For more information, please call the IEA office at 208-344-1341. NEA Representative Assembly Delegates The NEA Representative Assembly will be held July 1-6, 2014 in Denver, CO. IEA members wishing to run for a state delegate position to the NEA RA should complete a resume form, including photos, no later than January 17, 2014. The NEA and the IEA are committed to ethnic-minority involvement and strongly encourage ethnic-minority members to submit a resume. Delegate expenses are funded by the IEA. For more information, please call the IEA office at 208-344-1341 or e-mail Venny Baker, Manager of Administrative Services, at IEA Delegate Assembly The IEA’s annual Delegate Assembly will take place April 11-12, 2014 in Boise. Registration information will be sent to local associations in mid-late January. 4 | IEA REPORTER JOHN WHETZEL, Region 6 Director John Whetzel is moving on to a new position with the Boulder/ Westminster UniServ Unit in Colorado. He has spent the last three years working with the IEA and expressed his gratitude to his colleagues in a letter of resignation. “The leaders in Region 6 have been especially great partners and they represent the very best the profession has to offer. I have worked with some amazing people in my time at the IEA and I am proud to have worked with you and for the IEA.” IEA 24/7 Sign up for our email digest on education news, resources and politics. Join the conversation with other members on Facebook and Twitter.
  5. 5. MEMBER SPOTLIGHT Teaching Runs in the Family for Dawn King Now getting great satisfaction from her role as the Reading Specialist at Grace Jordan Elementary in Boise, Dawn King recently reflected on the genesis of her career as a professional educator, and found that the seeds were planted at an early age. Born in Pocatello, King has early memories of her mother teaching on the Bannock Indian reservation. Then the family moved to Boise, where her mother was a first grade teacher at Hillcrest Elementary. Her father taught English at North Junior High School and later was the longtime principal at Capital High School. With the importance of education instilled in her from an early age, King went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree from BYU and a Master‘s Degree from Boise State. She then embarked on her own teaching career, starting as an early elementary teacher in Utah and Wyoming before returning to Idaho. Jackson Elementary School was her home away from home as a first grade teacher for 22 years before closing six years ago, prompting King’s move to Grace Jordan. When her long-time teaching partner, Donna Moore, retired three years ago King took on a new challenge as the school’s Reading Specialist. The family ties to education are seemingly endless for King. Her sister, Becky Gibson, is a teacher at Chief Joseph Elementary in Meridian. Two of Dawn’s sons are teaching in Boise—Terance at South Junior High School and Cameron at Fairmont Junior High School, and both of her daughters are teachers in other states. Two nieces and a cousin are also teachers in Boise. IEA member Dawn King is flanked by sons Terance (left), who teaches at South Junior High in Boise and Cameron, a teacher at Fairmont Junior High in Boise ADDRESSING KEY ISSUES IN READING AND LITERACY King’s extensive background in the classroom has served her very well as a reading specialist, and King recently brought her expertise to the Idaho Reading and Literacy Summit, which the IEA helped to sponsor. “I firmly believe that every K-12 teacher should be a reading specialist”, says King in discussing how to improve reading and literacy in Idaho. She also points to some recent trends in identifying obstacles to better reading among today’s children. “Reading can be hard work in comparison to the ease of video games and television. We have taught kids to speed read, when comprehension is the most important aspect of reading”. King is somewhat encouraged by the impact that the new Idaho Core Standards can have on reading skills. “Raising the bar will help, and I am confident that teachers and students will rise to meet the higher expectations”, she says. King is also a proponent of moving past the concept of “drill and kill” and on to teaching a more analytical approach. Another suggestion? Give students more choice in selecting the books that they read, rather than demanding that everyone read the same book. IEA Members Build Lesson Plans for MASTER TEACHER PROJECT A pair of highly regarded Idaho teachers (and IEA members) are taking part in the prestigious Master Teacher Project, which was launched jointly by the National Education Association and BetterLesson. Julia Withers of Vallivue Middle School in Caldwell and Glenda Funk of Highland High School in Pocatello were selected for the MTP following an extensive application process. The Master Teacher Project is ambitious and rigorous. Participants are required to post a lesson plan every day—in narrative form and complete with student work samples, teacher resources, a video component, and different levels of tagging. “The goal of the project is to put other teachers in the classroom of accomplished teachers by giving them access to an entire year’s worth of unit and lesson plans with all the resources they need to teach the class using those materials,’ said Funk. “In my utopian world the MTP will open doors to other unique, paying opportunities in education.” 25 of Funk’s lesson plans are expected to be included when BetterLesson goes “live” with 50 lessons from each of the MTP teams. Funk also recently met her MTP coach, Debra Block, while attending the National Council of Teachers of English conference in Boston. You can read more about Glenda Funk and her work by visiting her blog at www. “Being a part of the project makes me a better teacher every day, and my coach Glenda Funk Julia Withers challenges me to increase the rigor of every lesson I create.” – Julia Withers “I’m excited to have virtual conversations with the folks who will try my lessons, and I want to see how my lesson writing translates into another teacher’s classroom and personal style.” The two Idaho teachers will be attending a two day conference in Washington, D.C. this February to work on the project and celebrate the webpage launch. © WINTER 2014 | 5
  6. 6. IDAHO CORE STANDARDS Media Awareness As a key partner in the Idahoans for Education Excellence Coalition, the IEA recently put together panel discussions on the Idaho Core Standards for media outlets in Boise and Idaho Falls. These events were designed to provide accurate information about the Idaho Core Meridian teacher Kendra Wisenbaker was featured in KTVB‘s coverage of the Idaho Core Standards from people with firstStandards media event. hand knowledge of the Standards’ implementation. In Boise, IEA member Kendra Wisenbaker (Meridian) outlined how the Idaho Core Standards are impacting learning in her fifth grade classroom. At the Idaho Falls event, Stefani Cook shared the teacher’s viewpoint with the media. KTVB-Channel 7 led their 10:00 PM news with a story on the Boise Idaho Core Standards event, and the Idaho State Journal ran an extensive story on the discussion in Idaho Falls. IEA member Stefani Cook (right) joined Idaho Falls Curriculum coordinator Jennifer Jackson on the Idaho Core Standards panel in Idaho Falls. The panel in Boise included (left to right): Skip Oppenheimer, Anne Ritter, Don Coberly, Kendra Wisenbaker, and Mike Lanza. FAQ About Idaho Core Standards Q - What are the Idaho Core Standards (Common Core State Standards)? A - A single set of educational standards for K-12 students in English language arts and mathematics that are voluntarily adopted by states. Q - Why does Idaho need the Standards? A - More rigorous standards are necessary to ensure that Idaho students are ready for college and/or career. Q - Were teachers involved in the development of Common Core? A - Yes. The National Education Association, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the National Council of Teachers of English were among several educational organizations that participated in developing the Common Core State Standards. Q - Do the Idaho Core Standards tell teachers what or how to teach? A - The Standards have established what skills and knowledge students will be required to learn, but do not specify what methods or curricula will be used. Local districts and individual teachers have considerable autonomy in designing the best curricula and lessons for students to achieve the goals of the Idaho Core Standards. Q - When do the Idaho Core Standards go into effect? A - The Standards are in place beginning with the current (2013-2014) school year. Q - Will there be testing associated with the Idaho Core Standards? A - Yes. However, the exact procedure and timeline for testing related to the Idaho Core Standards is still being discussed. Idaho is among a group of states that belongs to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. This consortium of states will be field-testing the new test questions in the spring of 2014. Q - Where can I find more information about the Idaho Core Standards? A - Two good resources for additional information about the Standards are: 6 | IEA REPORTER IEA Hits it Big Watch a short video showcasing the fun, fellowship and learning at last summer’s Playing for Keeps event in Jackpot. Stay tuned for information about the 2014 Summer Organizing Institute—you won’t want to miss it. See it now on the IEA website at IEA Funds Provide ASSISTANCE TO MEMBERS The Idaho Education Association maintains two funds for the benefit of members in need of assistance. Contributions to both funds are strongly encouraged so that resources are available to help our fellow members. The IEA Dues Hardship Fund has been established to assist members facing significant financial hardship. The DHF provides the opportunity to apply for funds that assist in covering the costs of national and/or state and/or local association dues. The IEA Catastrophic Emergency Fund can assist members in replacing personal possessions lost or destroyed by an unforeseen catastrophic event at the school worksite (fire, flood, tornado, etc.). To apply for either fund, to make a donation or for more information, please contact the IEA Office of Business and Finance at 208-344-1341. SHARE IEA Stories Submit your story ideas to Dave Harbison at:
  7. 7. Are you missing out on educator tax savings? Find out and discover more ways to save at Whether you need tax advice or ways to beat the winter blues in your classroom, we’ve got you covered. Drop by and you’ll also find exclusive deals, and exciting opportunities to travel, learn and grow—both inside and out of school. You’ll also find: Tax Preparation Tips and Advice Spring Travel Values and Insights Classroom Winterization Visit NEA, NEA Member Benefits and the NEA Member Benefits logo are registered service marks of NEA’s Member Benefits Corporation. CO150114
  8. 8. Classroom Visits Highlight AMERICAN EDUCATION WEEK The IEA helped celebrate the 92nd anniversary of American Education Week, November 18-22, 2013. Outreach during the week emphasized the value and importance of professional educators and provided a platform for the IEA to weigh in on important education issues. Specific days were State Representative Holli Woodings, D-District 19 spent part of the day with IEA member designated to recognize Karen Schow, a special education teacher at parents, Education Hidden Springs Elementary School. Support Professionals and substitute teachers. Thursday, November 21 was set aside for teachers to invite elected officials into schools and classrooms for a firsthand look at what takes place on a daily basis in the critical learning environment. State Senator Fred Martin, R-District 15 visited IEA member Kelli Cullen, a fifth grade teacher at Summerwind STEM Academy. Dave Harbison Writer, Photographer and Editor Robin Nettinga Managing Editor Lynette Q. Member 1234 Main St. Viola, Idaho 87654 Penni Cyr President 620 N. 6th PO Box 2638 Boise, ID 83701 PERMIT 227 BOISE, IDAHO PAID NONPROFIT US POSTAGE