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NEOEA's Representative Assembly will hold its spring meeting on April 25 at Dodge Intermediate School, 10225 Ravenna Road, Twinsburg, OH 44087. Dodge Intermediate School is across Ravenna Road from the original location announced for the RA.
   The Representative Assembly will elect NEOEA officials, determine endorsements for OEA statewide positions to be elected at the OEA RA on May 8, and consider new business items submitted by delegates. OEA delegates will meet to determine their position regarding OEA Constitution and Bylaws amendment proposals also scheduled for consideration on May 8. The Representative Assembly is open to NEOEA members who register as guests. Delegates and guests register between 9:00 and 10:00, and the assembly begins at 10:00.

Leadership Summit: Join us at the NEOEA Leadership Summit on Thursday, April 30. Our topic is Developing Local Capacity for Community Organizing and Political Action. OEA staff will cover new ways to connect community outreach and organizing with political action so that local associations, parents, and community allies can come together and create a better learning environment for all students in our schools. We'll begin at 5:00 with a buffet dinner; the program will begin at 6:00 and end at 7:30. Each local president should attend. Admission is free but registration is required.

NEA Annual Meeting: Recently, locals have been electing their NEA Representative Assembly delegates. Need a little introduction to the NEA Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly? You can find one on the NEOEA Blog at https://neoea.wordpress.com/2015/03/30/annualmeetingoverview2015/.

NEOEA Scholarships to the OEA Summer Conference: You and your local association can obtain valuable training and save money! OEA will offer its Summer Academy, August 3-5 at the Columbus Hilton Downtown. The theme is "Professionally Speaking: Discover Your Voice. Deliver Your Message." For more information, see the April issue of Ohio Schools or go to http://oeasummeracademy.ohea.org. (This year’s information should be online by May 1; until then, that website will show last year’s lineup.) The deadline for entries is Monday, April 27.

Community Involvement Grant: Strengthening the relationship between a local school employee union and its community is a key element in building a strong and successful local association. Nothing cements these relationships like working together to benefit others in the community. Participation in community events also offers affiliates the opportunity to enhance their visibility as vital, contributing members of their communities. Find out more about our Community Involvement Grants.

NEOEA Day: Our next NEOEA Day is Friday, October 16, 2015. NEOEA Day represents your dues dollars at work. Attending NEOEA Day programs, most of which provide growth opportunities at lower-than-usual prices, is an excellent way to get some of your NEOEA dues dollars back! For more information, go to: http://neoea.org/NewsDetail.aspx?a=755.

Communications Contest: The NEOEA Public Relations Committee is sponsoring a communications contest--honoring printed and/or electronic newsletters. The award recognizes communications distributed directly to members on a regular basis from local affiliates of all types, including Education Support Professionals, DDs, Career Centers, and Higher Education. Winners are recognized at the fall Representative Assembly and in News and Views. The top entries from small, medium, and large associations will receive a monetary award honoring them for their work. An outstanding printed or electronic newsletter shows a BALANCE IN COVERAGE of news from NEA, OEA, and NEOEA, with special emphasis on local association news.

Our Retirees Rock! See the video created for Read Across America at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJIAjn6ivFk.

Retired Spring Conference: Come join our retirees for our annual Spring Conference on Tuesday, May 12. You'll have your choice of sessions:

  • Health Care Utilization,
  • What I Want My Loved Ones to Know,
  • Legislative Update, or
  • Travel Tips for Retirees

  • Breakfast and lunch will be provided; dessert is an ice cream social. After lunch, you'll have the option of visiting the newly-renovated, interactive Canal Exploration Center at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Learn how the canal and lock system influenced Ohio’s growth and see Ohio’s only working lock in action.

    OEA's Emerging Leaders Program: The OEA is pleased to announce that nominations are being accepted for the state-wide Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) training to take place as part of OEA’s 2015 Summer Academy, August 3-5, 2015, to be held at the Hilton Columbus Downtown. The flyer includes additional information about the program and a nomination form. This program is an excellent opportunity for individuals to grow both personally and professionally and is open to all OEA constituent membership groups. The program offers training in communication, assertiveness, team building, conflict management, and more. Nominations are due by the close of business on Monday, May 11, 2015.

    OEA Minority Leadership Training Program: OEA is offering a Minority Leadership Training Program (MLTP) on June 12-13, 2015, at the Hilton Columbus/Polaris. The training fosters development of an understanding of organizational culture, an appreciation for cultural diversity and inclusiveness, and the identification and demonstration of skills required for effective leadership in a multicultural setting. The training also explores the importance of minority involvement at all levels of the Association. There is no cost for this training, and it includes dinner, breakfast, and lunch. Hotel accommodation for Friday night is available if you do not live near the training location. Registration is due on Tuesday, May 12, on a first-come, first-served basis.

    Emerging Leaders Cookout: Join us on Friday, June 12, for lunch at the NEOEA Conference Center. We’ll offer you a one-stop shop for information on how to jump-start your local association and make life better for your members. We’ll have prizes, food, and giveaways, but most of all, we’ll have contact with people who can help you make a difference at your workplace. We’re bringing together resources from all over Northeastern Ohio, as well as guests from Columbus, who can show you how to make the association work for your members. Spend an hour networking with them, and join us for lunch.

    Vintage Ohio: Colorful tents, rolling hills, picnic tables, and groves of tall oaks provide a tranquil setting for the Vintage Ohio Wine Festival, the premier food and wine event of the year. Sample wines from Ohio wineries offering regional wines ranging from world-class wines like Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc or Riesling to fun-to-drink fruit wines made from fresh strawberries, blackberries, peaches and raspberries. Whether one enjoys red, white, blush, dry, sweet or something in-between, there will be an opportunity to find a favorite "Vintage Experience." There is also plenty of scrumptious food, cooking school demonstrations, three stages of live music entertainment, artisans, shopping, and spectacular Friday fireworks!
       Vintage Ohio has great entertainment, fine food, and the region’s best wines. It is held August 7-8, 2015, from 1:00-10:00 p.m. each day at Lake Metroparks Farmpark at 8800 Euclid Chardon Road in Kirtland, Ohio. Advance tickets are available on the web at www.OhioWines.org, www.VisitVintageOhio.com, or by calling 800-227-6972. NEOEA members receive $10 off the gate price of $35 with code 15neoea on advance sale tickets through August 2, 2015. Vintage Ohio is held in conjunction with Lake Metroparks.

    New York, New York! Come join us in New York City on NEOEA Day. Tourmeister Dave Baker has a wonderful line-up of events, including a Broadway show!

    Philadephia and Gettysburg Come join us in Philadelphia and Gettysburg. Tour some of America's most famous historic sites including Dobbin House Tavern, the Gettysburg battlefield, Independence National Historic Park, Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, America’s First Post Office, Betsy Ross House, Battleship New Jersey, a ghost tour of Philadelphia, a tour of the Eastern State Penitentiary (home to some of the most notorious criminals such as Al Capone and Willie Sutton), and a guided mural art tour of Philadelphia (world’s largest collection of outdoor public art!

    PlayhouseSquare: Purchase tickets for a discounted rate with a flat $7 handling fee! Go to playhousesquare.org/ceo; enter the promotional code "FAMTIX" and then select "NEOEA". Enjoy!

    I-X Center Indoor Amusement Park: Rides and shows -- all indoors!

    Educational Redlining School Ratings: Join a free continuing series on diversity awareness sponsored by the Heights Community Congress on Friday, April 24, at 7:00 at the Heights Library, 2345 Lee Road, Cleveland Hts.

    President Kim Richards: Things We Can Do to Be Involved — In the last News and Views, I urged NEOEA members to become more involved and to stay more involved in issues important not only to our association and our members but also to the state of education in our schools. I’d like to pick up that theme again this month.
       Our involvement in public policy issues that involve education is vital for many reasons. Did you realize that there are more K-12 teachers in the United States (3.7 million) than there are doctors, lawyers, engineers—other professions requiring a college degree—combined? Teaching is a job, a career, a vocation, a calling—and yet it is a profession more closely critiqued, inspected, and legislated than any other.
       The best educators are those who use a variety of strategies to facilitate learning. In the best sense of what teaching is all about it is our responsibility to use our experience and expertise to help inform policy-making decisions on a variety of issues that affect not only the educators in the profession but the millions of students in our schools as well.
       Let’s take the implementation of standardized testing that is beginning in our schools. Assessments are, of course, an important and necessary aspect of measuring student mastery. But the exponential increase of the amount of time preparing for standardized tests and administering them cuts deeply into time devoted to...teaching and learning in the classroom. In a real sense, to a degree the more we assess, the less opportunity students have to actually learn and master. Moreover, as currently structured, much of the testing won’t actually be used to measure student mastery at all—their purpose is to measure educator performance rather than student knowledge. That is, educators will be evaluated based in part on the results of tests that don’t "count" for the students who take them! And, as recent research has shown, standardized test scores are not the most reliable means of evaluation of educators in any case.
       As Ohio gets ready to implement the new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test, it is vital for educators to express to policy makers what we know to be true: the importance of addressing the problems associated with the ongoing implementation of PARCC points up the need to do something about the overall excessive use of testing in our schools. Policy makers allow more instructional time, and less testing, to drive student achievement.
       The issue of standardized testing is not the only one that is of grave concern to education and to educators, but it is the only one that can be explored in any depth in this space at the moment. However, there is much, much more that invites—demands—the active input from educators.
       Congress is currently rewriting the No Child Left Behind law, and the House version [House Resolution 5] would shift some funding from poor districts to richer districts. Committee chair Republican John Kline of Minnesota says it will give parents more school choice and eliminates unnecessary federal programs. The one Ohioan on the House Education Committee is ranking Democrat Marcia Fudge who voted against it. "It is tragic that students in Cleveland and in poor school districts throughout the nation will suffer as a result of H.R. 5.....this legislation weakens public education and siphons resources from poor school districts and reallocates them to wealthier school districts. We are failing a generation of young people. Those who voted for it should be ashamed." The cash-strapped Cleveland City School District alone could lose more than 25% ($14.1 million) of its federal funding. What can we do to be involved? We can make a telephone call today. The number: 866-331-7233; you will be prompted to enter your zip code and will then be informed who your house representative is and how to contact them. Please consider doing so: this issue is now coming to the floor. It is important that we make our voice heard now.
       We have just received Governor John Kasich’s proposed state budget. In it are proposals that "would continue the cannibalization of Ohio’s public schools," in the words of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
       Late last year, the State Board of Education voted to wipe out the 5 of 8 rule under the guise of permitting districts to have "local control" over such staffing decisions. As detailed in the last News and Views, however, this vote is not the absolute final word on the matter—a final vote will be held in March. Now, more than ever, the voices of educators need to be raised to inform the debate.
       These examples are listed here as further evidence that now more than ever educators' voices must be heard. This type of activity is more than political action: it is the necessity of educators taking positive steps—as we do every day in the classroom—to improve educational outcomes for our students.

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