Monday, August 19, 2013

LCEA Welcomes 18 Colleagues to the LCEA Team

The LCEA is excited to welcome our 18 new and one returning colleagues to the classrooms of Lewis Central Schools and to the Lewis Central Education Association team.

We know that as they join our team, they are committed to our Association's passion of positively changing the lives of our students and preparing each of our students for a successful life.

As we already know that you will do your best to help them in their transition and know that you will do whatever you can to make their transition to LC a pleasant and uneventful one, we ask you to share from your supplies and materials reserves

We are excited to have these enthusiastic new and veteran educators join the Lewis Central Education Association team in advocating for a quality public education for each of our students.

The LCEA will welcome them to the district at a picnic Sunday, August 11, 2013 at Dave and Kelly Bergman's home, we will be giving them some complimentary Titan gear, sharing our referral guide, offering them help in moving, offering them a tour of the district, and even more.

  • Christian Carper, Family & Consumer Science, begins his career at Lewis Central High School.  Christian is a graduate of Iowa State University.
  • Molly Clark, Language Arts, launches her career at Lewis Central High School.  Molly is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa.
  • Katie Coltrain, Spanish, comes to Lewis Central after four years at Ottumwa Community School District and two years at Cardinal Community School district in Eldon, Iowa.
  • Daniel Craney, Industrial Technology, brings 32 years of experience Lewis Central's team after 15 years at Springfield Platteview Community School District in Springfield, Nebraska and 17 years at Millard North High School in Millard, Nebraska.
  • Katie Klosterbuer, Family & Consumer Science, launches her teaching career at Lewis Central High School.
  • Kailey Mangum, Special Education, begins here career as she becomes a Titan.
  • Suzann Morin-Steffen, Alternative Education, shares 17 years of experience from Westside Community School District and other districts with the LC Team.
  • Alyssa Wallace, Math, continues her career at Lewis Central after two years with the Council Bluffs Community School District.
  • Kim Denning, Special Education, joins Lewis Central's team after teaching for two years in the Glenwood Community School district.
  • Danielle Guntly, Social Studies, begins her teaching career at Lewis Central Middle School.
  • Hannah Haarhues-Casey, Science, brings her experience from Hills College all the way from down under in Australia to Lewis Central.  Before that, Hannah taught for eight years at Riverside High School in Oakland, Iowa.
  • Clara Luquette, Guidance Counselor, brings 24 years of experience to Lewis Central. She has four years of experience from Council Bluffs Community Schools and 20 years of experience in Texas.
  • Burke Swenson, STEM Educator, brings 19 years of experience with him to Lewis Central.  He spent six years in Oakland, Iowa, eight years in Iowa Falls, a year at Carroll High School and four years at New Hampton.
  • Carrie Trecek, Language Arts/Literacy, begins her teaching career at Lewis Central High School.
  • Aubrey Eckhart, Fifth Grade, begins her career at Titan Hill.
  • Laurie Kammrad, Fourth Grade, is back at LC after a year in Council Bluffs Community Schools.
  • Alison Nurre, Fourth Grade, launchers her career at Titan Hill.
  • Tina O'Donnell, Fourth Grade, brings 20 years of experience to Lewis Central after 16 years at St.  Alberts, a year at Council Bluffs Community Schools, and three years at Holy Name Elementary School.
  • Amber McGreevy, Kindergarten, joins Kreft Elementary after four years at Council Bluffs Community Schools and four years in the Waterloo Community School District.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

E-Dues and You

It's  truly sad that many of America's legislatures have waged war against unions.  Wisconsin, Arizona, Michigan, Tennessee, North Carolina and many others have seen attacks on their collective bargaining, dues deduction and the laws that protect public employees and their hard-earned rights.

It used to be true that although the parties disagreed about the best approach to public education that they supported the idea of public education.  That is no longer true with many radicals looking to sell the cornerstone of our democracy to the highest bidder.

One of the first things that legislatures and governors due when they win control of both chambers of their legislatures is to "immediately" remove dues deduction.  The unorganized and unprepared frequently see a drastic blow to membership and the collective voice that unions provide America's educators.  As a result, those who want to "stay at the table" and avoid "being on the menu" have circumvented this with e-dues payment for membership.

There are a variety of good reasons that Lewis Central has joined in this push: (1) we want to protect our state and local Association that is currently guarded by a single vote in the senate; (2) your dues deduction is split over 12 months vs. 10 months; (3) the school district no longer has a list of who is a member and who is not; (4) it puts your dues dollars in the same category as your cable bill, car payment, electric bill and simplifies bill paying; (5) you directly see your monthly contributions without the help of a middle-man.

Please join us in becoming an e-dues LCEA member.  Want to know more?  CLICK HERE for FAQs about e-dues.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

E-dues. Just set it and forget it!

Frequently Asked Questions E-Dues Questions

ISEA’s continues its Electronic Dues Deduction (E-dues) program that is a quick and easy method to pay local, state, and national Association dues; special funds; and PAC contributions without having to go through the school district.

There are so many reasons why E-dues is the way of the future for Association dues:

State associations around the country have seen a coordinated attack on labor organizations and their ability to collect through payroll deduction. Almost a dozen states have seen an outright challenge to their payroll deduction systems so far.

Arrange E-dues and all future payments are set. Payments will be taken directly out of your bank account. No more going through your school district’s accounting system, no more wasting valuable Local Association time and money collecting dues.

Just like with other monthly bills, the funds are transferred with no worry and no extra charge. The Association dues amount collected is the same as what would have been collected through payroll deduction only it’s faster, easier, and no one needs to file unnecessary paperwork through the school district office. E-dues places all Association business where it should be—with you and our local.

No more going through your employer to make sure amounts and paperwork are correct. All Association business is done with our local Association.

Branstad names Dr. Brad Buck as new Iowa Department of Education director

Gov. Terry E. Branstad today named Dr. Brad Buck, 44, to be the next Iowa Department of Education director, calling him a visionary leader with the right skills to implement the landmark education reform package passed by the 2013 Legislature.

 Buck has served as superintendent of the 1,300-student Saydel school district in rural Polk County since July 2011. He previously worked as a school administrator in the Waukee, Hudson and North Mahaska school districts from 1997 to 2011. Buck began his education career in 1992 as a science teacher at Parkview Middle School in Ankeny. He is also a past president of School Administrators of Iowa.

“Dr. Buck’s passion for giving all students a world-class education and his knowledge of how to better utilize teacher leadership to accomplish that goal played a critical role in his selection,” said Branstad. “He understands the importance of collaboration as educators and parents work together to assure students are prepared to compete in the global economy.”

Friday, August 9, 2013

NEA Back to School Guide

Educator-tested tips, advice, and resources for a successful start to the school year. Students may still be enjoying their summer vacations, but for educators, the beginning of the next school year is just around the corner. NEA editors have compiled a list of our best articles and resources to help you - whether new or veteran - get ready for the fall semester. 


Classroom Beautiful: Do It Yourself  8 veteran educators share photos of their classroom and tips on how to organize your space for better learning.

Assessing Your Space  What to consider when planning your classroom setup.

Using a Theme  An elementary school teachers shares advice for decorating a classroom around a theme.

Stocking the Classroom—For Free  Savvy educators' tips on scoring no-cost classroom resources.


Classroom Survival Kit  NEA members recommend must-have items for the classroom.

33 Ways to Start the First Year Off Right  A little planning before school begins can pay big dividends throughout the school year.

NEA's Custom Lesson Plan Search Engine  We've customized a Google search engine with 1,000s of lesson plans from across the Web, each one hand-picked and vetted by our Search Editor.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Classroom Observations are Not About Compliance

by Peter DeWitt on August 5, 2013 8:25 AM

 "The best thing about being a teacher is that it matters. The hardest thing about being a teacher is that it matters every day." Todd Whitaker 

As much as Todd Whitaker was talking about teachers, I'm sure he'll agree that the same can be said about school administrators. I enjoy reading about systems change, and try to abide by servant leadership every day, but Todd has always been a game changer for me. Long ago when I began to read his books he provided me with the hope and inspiration that what I do as a school leader matters. His words cut to the heart of most issues. Todd gives feedback and it doesn't involve a point scale.

Getting ready for the school year, that seems to be quickly approaching, I have been reading a lot about evidence-based observations. If you're a teacher, and maybe even a principal, you're probably sick and tired of hearing about evidence-based observations. That's most likely because it is accompanied by some state-mandated training.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

LCEA Executive Board Training & Retreat

Your dedicated and member-elected LCEA leaders decided at their May LCEA Meeting to give part of their summer for some planning time, collaboration and training and team building before we kick-off a great 2013-2014. 

Here's what they decided (with a change of location).

WHAT:  LCEA Association/Building Representative and Executive Board Training/Retreat

WHERE:  Lewis Central High School Drama Room

WHEN:   Wednesday, August 14, 2013 from 8:00 AM-Noon

BREAKFAST:  LCEA will provide a continental breakfast of assorted bagels and pastries, fresh fruit, orange juice and coffee.

OVERVIEW:  We will take some time to have some breakfast; work with our wonderful SWUU Directors, Pat Shipley and Cindy Formeller (our new director who we are very lucky to have in SWUU) to evaluate the LCEA program; discuss our goals and expectations for the year; work with our building teams and more.

Welcome to Lewis Central Picnic

We are excited to have you here at Lewis Central.  Because you're so busy getting ready for a new start, we'd like to invite you to join us in an informal family friendly picnic.  Please bring only yourself/yourselves and an appetite.

 Welcome to LC Family Friendly Picnic
WHEN:  Sunday, August 11, 2013 * 5:00 PM
WHERE:  22383 Stonybrook Drive  CLICK HERE  for directions.

The LCEA will be providing the cookout meats, drinks and amenities.  Our welcome team from each
building will be bringing side-dishes, cover dishes and desserts and probably some funny stories and bad jokes.

We hope you can join us for some informal fun and a chance for someone to cook for you and yours as you prepare for a great year.

Please RSVP with number attendees to our host Dave Bergman or let Tom McLaughlin, LCEA president, know.

51 Top Sources to Become [an even] Better Teacher

Teachers may spend their days imparting knowledge to others, but that doesn’t mean they should stop learning themselves. Whether they choose to take classes, read books, or just talk with their colleagues, professional development offers a chance to become a better and wiser teacher.
There are numerous resources out there on the web, making finding, sharing, and accessing great tools for development easier than ever. We’ve collected just a few here that can get you started on learning and growing as an educator. So, in addition to TeachThought, what other resources are out there?


Don’t miss out on these sites which are filled to the brim with articles, resources, and learning materials for teachers.
1. TeachThought favorite edutopia has for years been among the best resources anywhere for project-based learning ideas, videos on successful schools, and blog articles written by educators across the field.
2. Education Week Teacher PD SourcebookThis sourcebook is filled with amazing resources for teachers, including great articles, a directory of useful sites, and links to PD events.
3. Educators Professional DevelopmentEPD bills itself as “professional development for teachers, by teachers” and that’s just what you’ll find here. Listings for local events, conferences, and a monthly newsletter can help you stay in the loop.
4. Teacher VisionTeacher Vision offers articles on a wide range of education topics, from learning how to be a better teacher to surviving your first year in the classroom.
5. Teacher TapTeachers will find a wealth of great reading material on this site, touching on topics like technology, information literacy, and high-tech learning.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

5 Tools to Increase Our Productivity

Teachers these days are up to their ears in work that must be accomplished each day. In addition to time spent in front of students, teachers spend hours writing lesson plans and learning objectives, creating and grading tests and assignments, as well as attending meetings, professional development seminars, and courses for keeping up with certification. Any tools that can help a teacher manage time and get tasks done in a timely manner are hugely beneficial. Below are some of the best ways for teachers to become more productive with technology tools.
1. RescueTime
RescueTime is an online time tracking and management program for any busy person who wants to get more done with their time. When entering grades into online grade books, it is too easy to flip over to email or Facebook and lose track of time. RescueTime can block those distractions to make it easier for you to stay focused. It also runs timers in the background to track how much time you spend on different applications. You can check these statistics to see where you are losing time with unproductive activities. RescueTime also helps you track your time off of the computer and sends you alerts to get you refocused on your work tasks.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

NEA Member Benefits: NEA DUES TAB

NEA DUES-TAB: Free automatic coverage for all members. All members can take advantage of the valuable, automatic life insurance coverage provided by NEA DUES-TAB. It’s a guaranteed benefit provided at no cost to Active, Staff, Reserve and Life** members by the NEA Members Insurance Trust®. All one has to do is register his or her beneficiary for:
• Up to $1,000 of life insurance
• Up to $5,000 of accidental death and dismemberment coverage
• Up to $50,000 of AD&D insurance for any covered accident that occurs while on the job or
while serving as an Association leader
• $150,000 coverage if death is caused by homicide which occurs while the eligible member is engaged in any activity in the express or implied terms of the member’s occupation.
• NEA-Retired members are able to receive the $50,000 benefit associated with Accidental Death & Accidental Dismemberment caused by an accident or assault while acting on Association business in the capacity of Association leader.

** Life members must be actively employed in the field of education in order to be eligible for the DUES-TAB benefit.

Click here to learn more about your FREE DUES TAB with NEA Member Benefits.

Click here to get help with forgotten login names and passwords.

If you are having problems with a forgotten user ID, just call the Member Service Center at 1-800-637-4636, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (or Saturday, 9 am. to 1 p.m.) ET for assistance.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Thank a Union: 36 Ways Unions Have Improved Your Life

Orignally posted at this site.
Posted by the LCEA INSIDER on August 20, 2012 with some grammatical/content revisions.

Let's get one thing straight...

Employers and Corporations did not feel generous and decide to give (workers) two days off every week to enjoy a meaningful personal life. (Most Americans call these days off) weekends. Corporations did not just feel like being nice one day and give their employees paid vacations. CEOs didn't (brainstorm) together in a board room and say, "Let's give our employees more rights at work" or "Maybe there should be laws to limit our (unreasonable) power(s) over an employee".
Virtually ALL (of) the benefits (that union and non-union American workers) have at work--whether you work in the public or private sector--all of the benefits and rights you enjoy everyday are there because unions fought hard and long for them against big business who did everything they could to prevent giving you your rights. Many union leaders and members even lost their lives for things we take for granted today.

The right-wing attack on unions is nothing more than ignorance, lack of education, and propaganda.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Take a Risk...Flip Your Parent Communication!

by Peter DeWitt on July 7, 2013 6:17 AM|

The Flipped model can clearly be a fad, but it doesn't have to be if it is done with integrity.

Old model of parent communication - Monthly newsletters with important dates & info.

New model of parent communication - Classroom websites, district Facebook pages, school Twitter pages...and monthly newsletters.

But what about flipping communication? Most schools are looking for new and innovative ways to engage parents. Connected leaders have been flipping their faculty meetings in order to model the method for teachers who want to flip their classrooms. Some leaders are doing it because their teachers who flip their classrooms have influenced them and inspired them to take a risk. Yes, risk-taking is reciprocal.

Unfortunately, due to outside influences such as increased accountability, or to inside influences such as...well, staff and school leaders that don't get along, some school leaders are nervous about flipping anything.

They have a fear that the reaction to flipping will look something like this...

Last year I posted a blog about flipping parent communication and there were mixed reactions. I get it! There are educators who hate discussing technology because they believe it is a fad or feel that techies inflate the need for technology in the classroom. I have written numerous times about finding a balance, so even though I feel like it's implied when I write, I will say it's about finding a balance (Finding Common Ground) between being old school and school.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Three Things to Make Next Year a Better One

by Jill Berkowicz and Ann Myers on July 9, 2013 5:55 AM

In 2007, Karl Fisch, Director of Technology at Araphoe High School in Colorado, and the author of The FischBowl, and Scott McLeod, widely recognized as one of the nation's leading academic experts on K-12 school technology leadership issues and author of Dangerously ! Irrelevant, developed the video, Did You Know; Shift Happens - Globalization; Information Age. They surprised everyone with some pretty overwhelming information. This link is to the original version. It has been updated several times over these past six years, but even the original message still rings true. We are faced with a world that is continuing to change at an increasingly accelerated pace and we are charged with leading learning institutions inside of the tornado that has become our life.

 Every day there are blog posts and articles that give us (as an example) the "10 most important things to do in order to...." They all have good pointers and are very helpful in helping us manage to keep our feet on the ground and move forward in spite of that tornado that sweeps us off our feet and throws us around. Each of us must choose which applies to our environments and which applies to the readiness level of our teachers and schools. We offer 3 things to do in order to figure out which of the other 10 things are worth doing for your classrooms and schools. If we do these three things, we may be better prepared to handle this next year with more wisdom and preparation than we had in the last.

 Take Control of Your Time

As impossible as this seems, we can do it better. In a long ago post, we talked about the work of Paul Bambrick-Santoyo. In his book Leverage Leadership he suggests that controlling our schedules gives us the opportunity to provide "Quality School Leadership." Certainly this seems impossible with interruptions, a child or parent in need, meetings, Email, phone calls to take and return - especially for building level leaders.

Monday, May 6, 2013

ISEA at Work for US: Education Reform Update


How many of us would be willing to invest a little time now to save time that might be wasted later?  This is our busiest time of the year "IN" and "OUT" of the classroom.  We do a great deal of our job in the classroom and most of us know that some of our most valuable work for the profession happens when we do "the other half of the job."  None of us in the LCEA is willing to only do half of our job, so now is the time for all good Association members to come to the aid of their profession.

Weeks ago when I traveled to each of the building's in the school district, I asked you to take a pledge with me about taking action during this legislative session.  You took the pledge with me and now is when I need to take action on that "ask."

The ISEA management, leadership and staff have--as usual--done a fabulous job in breaking down the Education Reform Issue here in Iowa that is in conference committee in the legislature. So, here's what we need you to do:




Tips on Writing to Legislators
Tips on Phoning Legislators

(3)  Please call or e-mail today, each member of the Education Conference Committee below and tell them to support the Senate Democrats' new counter-proposal.

Senate Switchboard: 515-281-3371

Co-Chair Sen. Herman Quirmbach (D-Ames) -
Sen. Tod Bowman (D- Maquoketa) --
Sen. Mary Jo Wilhelm (D- Cresco) --
Sen. Joni Ernst (R- Red Oak) --
Sen. Amy Sinclair (R-Allerton) --

House Switchboard: 515-281-3221

Co-Chair Rep. Ron Jorgensen (R-Sioux City) -
Rep. Quentin Stanerson (R-Center Point) --
Rep. Cecil Dolecheck (R-Mt. Ayr) -
Rep. Sharon Steckman (D- Mason City) -
Rep. Frank Wood (D-Eldridge) -

Friday, March 1, 2013

NEA INSIDER--March 1, 2013

Automatic budget cuts to the education programs and services on which middle-class families and the nation’s 50 million students rely go into effect today. Congress’ inability to reach a compromise means $85 billion in across-the-board cuts, including $3 billion to education and Head Start, have been triggered.

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel said, “The real consequences of the budget cuts—fewer educators and reading coaches, ballooning class sizes, and no after-school tutoring—are keeping educators and students up at night, and they are causing uncertainty and angst as school districts are making budgetary decisions for the upcoming school year… It’s wrong to balance the budget on the backs of students without demanding that corporations and the rich pay their fair share.”
This week, NEA partnered with labor allies AFSCME, SEIU and AFT to create a television spot about the cuts that will begin airing March 4. Called “Remembered,” it singles out Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and six members of the Republican-controlled House: Reps. Gary Miller and Jeff Denham of California, Rep. Bob Gibbs of Ohio, Rep. Daniel Webster of Florida, Rep. Tom Latham of Iowa, and Rep. Dan Benishek of Michigan.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

ISEA HOTLINE--February 28, 2013

Attend your local legislative forums this weekend! Last week the House passed HF 215, which includes their amendments to the Governor's Education Proposal.

A summary of the bill is located in the Legislative Action Center on under the Updates tab. The House version only provides 2 percent allowable growth; lowers the minimum teacher salary to $32,000; takes peer review out of the bargaining process; requires principals to do annual summative evaluations; and allows schools to opt out of the Teacher and Career Leadership Pathway.

 Here are the questions you need to ask your legislators at the forums in your area this weekend:

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

You Better Start Listening to Teachers

from EDUCATION WEEK by John Wilson on February 25, 2013 6:15 AM

This past week I noticed a storm brewing, and I am not talking about the snowstorm that swept through the Midwest. I'm talking about the indications of unrest found in the latest MetLife American Teacher Survey. The results were dismaying but not surprising to me. I've talked to teachers who, like most in their profession, care deeply for their students and weep with anger over the bureaucratic intrusions into their classrooms that prevent them from doing their best for those students. I've talked to teachers who say they can't afford to teach, and I've talked to teachers who are exhausted from the struggle to provide resources and attention to classes too large for students so needy.
I have also heard that the average salary of teachers has declined---declined for the first time in my lifetime. Their profession is not getting better for teachers. Politicians, education leaders, business CEOs, and parents must listen to teachers before serious damage is done to the public schools of America.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Education Votes--February 23, 2013

"They gave their lives to protect the precious children in their care. They gave all they had for the most innocent and helpless among us." - President Obama

WI Gov. Walker delivers a blow to public education, takes aim at schools and working families...again

"Parents, teachers, education support professionals, school board members and administrators see past the lip-service and recognize that flat-lining public school funding while at the same time expanding taxpayer funding for private schools will harm neighborhood public schools." - Mary Bell, junior high library media specialist and WEAC president

Lawmakers prepare for hearing on school safety

More debate and discussion on gun violence and school safety is expected on Capitol Hill next week. Click through to find out more and let us know what you want to say to lawmakers.

Wisconsin teacher fights for his students and immigration reform

72 percent of Americans support a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million aspiring citizens living in the United States. Increasingly, there is bipartisan support for DREAMer students and comprehensive immigration reform from congressional Democrats as well as prominent Republicans.


Walking off the “fiscal cliff” would be an absolute disgrace. The innocent, most vulnerable, and neediest among us would be devastated. I understand that coming to a consensus is difficult. But our representatives in Congress are adults who know how to fend for themselves, not innocent children who need all the support they can get. Put ideologies and party stances aside. Do the right thing. Stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. — NEA member from Illinois

 Democrats, Republicans, business leaders, economists, and educators agree: across-the-board cuts — “sequestration” in Washington-speak — is a terrible idea. Yet some in Congress seem willing to let them happen.

Next week, Congress returns from recess and unless it acts, automatic across-the-board cuts will begin March 1. We expect votes in the Senate as early as Wednesday, including a plan from Democratic leaders to raise new revenue from the very wealthy and profitable corporations instead of making indiscriminate cuts.

Now is the time to pull out all the stops — Contact Congress immediately! Personalize the impact of the cuts with real-life stories like those submitted by your fellow educators.


Millions across the nation continue to demand stronger, sensible measures to prevent gun violence and keep our children and communities safe. But it will be very difficult to pass even common-sense measures that most Americans support — for example, criminal background checks for all gun purchases. We must keep up the drumbeat to succeed!
NEA supports a multi-pronged approach to curbing the gun violence plaguing our nation. In addition to stronger laws to limit access to weapons of war, we advocate:
  • Enhancing school safety while giving local districts the flexibility to decide what they need — counselors, nurses, or other personnel.
  • Providing professional development for all school staff in cultural competence, conflict management, and anti-bullying initiatives.
  • Expanding and improving mental health services.


NEA’s priorities for comprehensive immigration reform include providing a path to legal citizenship, promoting family unity, and passing the DREAM Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for talented young people who were brought to this country as children. Read NEA’s letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee on this issue.



Cheers to:
thumbsupHouse Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for holding the hearing at which NEA member Megan Allen testified to the havoc across-the-board cuts would wreak on her students.

thumbsupRepresentatives Rob Andrews (D-NJ), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elijah Cummings (D-MD), and John Sarbanes (D-MD) for their support for stopping the looming cuts.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Every Child Counts

The past two weeks of session were quite busy. Here is a recap of some of the most notable happenings related to kids and their families.

Last week, the HHS Budget SubCommittee heard presentations on Medicaid expansion which is a pretty hot topic at the Capitol right now. And, this week, the SubCommittee heard from 1st Five.

You can download the presentations below:

DHS - Medicaid Expansion Presentation
DHS - Iowa Care Presentation
1st Five

CLICK READ MORE below and read about specific EDUCATION and STUDENT/CHILDREN legislation.

Duncan Blasts Congress Over Sequestration Cuts.

USA Today (2/21, Toppo) reports, "Education Secretary Arne Duncan came out swinging Thursday, directing his harshest words at congressional lawmakers before what he calls 'increasingly likely' mandatory spending cuts for 'real kids, real teachers and real classrooms' from sequestration this March." Duncan told reporters that districts are already laying off teachers in anticipation of sequestration cuts, and "blamed what he called 'the height of dysfunction' in Congress." USA Today quotes him saying, "There's no one in their right mind who would say this is good for kids and good for the country, yet somehow it becomes tenable in Washington. I just think people don't spend enough time in the real world. And if we spent more time in the real world, we wouldn't have this kind of intransigence here." The article notes that the Administration has estimated that some $725 million in Title I funding and $598 million in special education funding would be eliminated if sequestration takes place.

The Washington Post (2/22, Brown) reports that Duncan "criticized Congress for failing to reach a deal to stop the across-the-board cuts...which could force thousands of teachers out of their jobs." Noting that most of the roughly $1.3 billion in education funding in jeopardy "goes toward programs for poor children and students with disabilities," the Post adds that "schools that receive more federal aid - including Department of Defense-run schools and those on Indian reservations - are likely to feel the squeeze immediately, which could mean shorter school weeks in spring or a shorter school year." The Post quotes Duncan saying, "These are two populations that we owe more to, not less, and those cuts are going to kick in quicker."

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Time for a Music Break

Do you have the mid-winter blues? Us, too! So we thought it was time to shake it off and have a little dance party. We asked our Facebook friends to share their favorite educational songs in the hopes that it would give us the energy we need to make it to spring break. Here’s what they said:

Works for Me: Tips for Teachers by Teachers February 20, 2013

Featured Post:

Dance Like No One is Watching
From May Ryan:
Would you do this? Ms. Ryan knows a teacher who rewards her class with a solo dance routine. Of course the kids love it! Click below to read more no-cost rewards to motivate your students.
Question of the Week:
Class Competitions
From The Worker Bees:
Do you challenge your class to compete, battle or race? Against their classmates, their teacher or themselves? What educational competitions do your students enjoy? Send us your “winning” ideas!
Adding Machine Scrolls
From Janet Keohane:
A fifth- and sixth-grade teacher in Beach, North Dakota:
Ms. Keohane's students compete to see who can identify the most instances of words from a weekly list: nouns, adjectives, multi-syllabic words - the list varies. Most interesting is the adding machine tape. Find out how she uses it (hint: displaying the results is a great decorative idea).

Teaching Idea--Vocabulary Paint Chips

Friday, February 15, 2013

ISEA HOTLINE--February 15, 2013

Iowa House Education Committee amends Governor's education proposal
Late Wednesday night the Iowa House Education Committee passed House File 215, a 38-page strike and replace amendment to the Governor's education proposal. Major changes include setting the minimum teacher salary at $32,000, which is $3000 lower than the Governor's originally proposed $35,000 minimum starting salary and allowing schools to opt out of the Career and Compensation Matters provisions. Those provisions pay for stipends for teachers who would become Model, Mentor, or Lead teachers. As written, HF 215 would also not provide additional resources to those districts who opt out of the Career and Compensation Matters provision in order for them to raise the minimum salary. No play, no pay.

Additionally, HF 215 replaces the peer review structure created by SF 2284, last year's education reform proposal, with an annual evaluation conducted by an administrator, thus completely eliminating the opportunity for peer feedback and reflection. Please note that this is only a proposed change presented by the House Republicans. It does not affect existing statute which calls for peer review for the upcoming school year.
It is very important to remember that this is only the first offering by the House Republicans. This bill does not reflect the goals and objectives of the entire legislature including the Senate, which is controlled by a pro-public education majority. This bill will be eligible for debate in the House as early as Tuesday of next week and we will continue to update you on its movement.

Allowable GrowthThe pro-public education majority in the Iowa Senate, voted today to set the Allowable Growth rate for the 2014/2015 school year at 4 percent, which would provide an additional $114 million to Iowa schools for FY 2015. The vote in the Senate fell along party lines with all Democrats voting yes, and all Republicans present voting no. We would like to say thank you to the Senate Democrats for following the law and setting Allowable Growth for FY 15 in a reasonable and timely fashion. The bills, along with Allowable Growth for FY 2014, have all now been sent to the House, where they await action.
Take Action Now!
There are two things you need to do right now.

Attend legislative forums in your area and write to your legislators on Allowable Growth and House File 215.

When you talk with your Legislators, explain what this means for your students and your community. If this proposed Legislation would affect the bargaining of your contracts and your school's ability to budget, tell your Legislators about those consequences. Take positive action and let your Representatives know how this affects you!  

Thursday, February 14, 2013

New Face of Teacher Unionism, Eyes Fixed on Testing Mania

In 1946 more than 1,100 St. Paul teachers staged a five-week walkout for better pay and working conditions. It was the nation's first teacher strike. Over the next six decades, the sight of striking teachers walking a picket line became the indelible image symbolizing teacher might. Now a new face of teacher militancy is emerging.
In Seattle, a small but passionate group of educators is using the art of disruption 2.0 to express their dissatisfaction with the status quo. Over a month ago, teachers at Seattle's Garfield High School took a courageous step to stand up for their students by refusing to administer the flawed and irrelevant Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test. While the Garfield staff doesn't object to the mandated state test, they oppose the district-wide MAP for solid reasons. Aside from being poorly designed, MAP doesn't line up with state standards or district curriculum; it doesn't measure what students are actually learning in their classes; it's not an appropriate tool for assessing students or their teachers; and it wastes valuable class time.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

ISEA Hotline--February 7, 2013

Find out if there is a Legislative Forum near you this weekend! Here's what to talk about:
Allowable Growth = small class sizes

Four percent Allowable Growth (which helps keep class sizes small, provides funds for Professional Development and Teacher Salary Supplement) was passed by the Senate last week and is now in the House but hasn't been assigned to a committee yet. The Governor doesn't want Allowable Growth passed until after his Education Proposal has passed. The House does not have a pro-public education majority so urge members in your district to debate and pass Allowable Growth NOW so schools in your district will have the ability to budget for 2013-2014 and 2014-15. Everyone needs to be held accountable for student success - including teachers, students, parents, AND elected officials. For a more detailed explanation of Allowable Growth, read the ISEA Talking Points on Allowable 
The Governor's Education Proposal-- Are elected officials listening to educators?
Thanks to the VIVA Report, Reimagining School Leadership for the 21st Century, Legislators have an opportunity to hear the 17 solutions proposed by hundreds of Iowa educators who are in classrooms every day. Iowa's educators have proposed practical solutions that truly do place students at the center of education reform.
Read this report written by Iowa educators to better explain the issues to your legislators.
The Governor's education proposal passed through the House Subcommittee and has been referred to the Full Committee. The House Education Committee may debate the bill as early as next week. Be prepared to contact the Chair and members of the House Education Committee and let us know how they responded by using the Contact Us form on

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Walkthroughs & Your Right to Respond

LCEA's Teacher Quality Committee has discussed walk-throughs and the role they play in the overall evaluation process several times.  Through these disucssions, administrators and educators on the committee have concluded and agreed that walk-throughs are indeed "formative snapshots" that directly and indirectly impact the summative evaluation of an educator.

As a result, these walk-throughs, the information gleened from them, the written feedback forms are subject to response from our members. If you would like to formally amend the material collected in a walkthrough, respond to the data, challenge observations, you may do so.  Guidance for this can be found in the Master Contract.  Grievance and Contract Maintenance Co-Chairs, Tom McLaughlin and Dave Bergman, are also willing to assist our members by answering questions.

The timelines are process are outlined in Article I of the Master Contract:

LCEA Mandatory Reporter Training Free to Members

CLICK HERE to see if we have your RSVP.

Monday, February 11, 2013
Lewis Central Media Center
4:30-7:30ish PM

COST: Free for members, $30.00 for non-members
Coffee, soft-drinks and light snacks will be provided.
Please feel free to bring a packed dinner with you if you need to eat more than snacks.

Even if your certificate is not going to expire, feel free to join us and RSVP so that we will have enough certificates on hand. }

It is important to note that individuals MUST stay for the entire 3 hours in order to receive a signed certificate.
The training features a 3 hour video and no test. When I did the re-certification this summer it was better than I expected.

Certificates will be delivered to Julie Williams at the Lewis Central ERC on February 12, 2013. This open to educators from other districts as well.

Thanks and remember to RSVP. Deadline for RSVPs is Friday at noon. We hope to see you at the training.

February 7--KIDS NOT CUTS--NEA National Call In Day

LCEA Colleagues,

Thanks to some of your hard work, we've made progress in the fight against the "fiscal cliff" cuts to education, but we're not in the clear yet. That's why this Thursday NEA members from across the country, as well as supporters from hundreds of other organizations, will be taking part in a National Call-In Day against education funding cuts.

Call 1-866-293-7278 on Thursday, February 7 to be connected to your members of congress and urge them to support Kids Not Cuts!

At a minimum, education could still be hit with a cut of more than $3 billion this year. That's a scary prospect for educators like Marian from California, who shared her Kids Not Cuts story with us through our Education Votes website:

"We have class sizes over 40, no libraries, no computer labs, one nurse for 5,000 students and no music or art in our district. That is not what is needed to educate our students. Restoring funding is crucial and must happen, now!"

Monday, February 4, 2013

ISEA HOTLINE February 1, 2012

It is essential that we go to our Legislative Forums 

$670,762.00 IN NEW MONEY

 Council Bluffs, IA 51501
9:00-10:30 PM

and contact our elected leaders to urge them to pass four percent allowable growth quickly this year!  

Here's what you need to know:

On Wednesday, the Iowa Senate passed a package of education funding bills, including four percent Allowable Growth for 2013-2014 (Senate File 52), four percent Categorical Growth (SF 51), and a Property Tax Fund Distribution Bill a.k.a. School Property Taxes (SF 53).

Allowable Growth and the companion Categorical Allowable Growth bill would go into effect for the 2013-2014 school year. The two Allowable Growth bills provide schools with the money they need to employ educators and keep class sizes small. These two bills passed along party lines. Republicans voted against setting Allowable Growth because, like Governor Branstad, they believe the Governor's Education Reform


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Negotiations 2012-2013

The LCEA has put together this chart summarizing the proposals made by the LCEA and the LEWIS CENTRAL BOARD OF EDUCATION.  Negotiations continue, Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 5:30 PM at the ERC.  Complete proposals are being sent to LCEA members on Wednesday, February 6, 2013.

LCEA Proposals
Board Proposal 1/13/2013
Due Process
Eliminate current language ensuring due process   for non-probationary teachers who receive two or more “DOES NOT MEET DISTRICT STANDARDS” and eliminate the right to grieve the evaluation.  Board claims this is in violation of statute.  ISEA attorneys at work
Recall Provision
Change current 14 month language to 12 months.
Leaves of absence.
Personal: Remove restrictions of holidays.
Pregnancy: pregnancy included in sick leave for females; males may use 10 days.
Family Illness: Increase number of days from 5 to 15 days.
Personal: Cannot take a personal day on a staff development day.  Provide no payment for unused days which is currently $100.00 per day.
Heath Insurance
Attempt to provide the current dollar amount as a fixed flat contribution and not the percentage or single policy.
Dental Insurance
Attempt to use the verbage “substantially similar” which could allow a smaller district contribution or higher premium.
$1500.00 increase on the base to increase starting pay to $30,360.  Payment changed from first working day to first of each month.
No step.  No vertical movement.  No increase on the base.
Peer Review
Review becomes a collaborative process that professionals manage.  There is a caveat that the review process remain between colleagues and no discussion, documentation or evaluation be done colleague to colleague.
The 36 hours required by legislation be accomplished during professional development and PLC time.  Additional time outside of the “contract day” will be paid by at the per diem rate.