California Educator

August / September 2018

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Page 61 of 71

A S FA M I L I E S E S C A P E the high cost of liv- ing in the San Francisco Bay Area, districts like Liberty Union High School District just 50 miles east in Contra Costa County are going through their own population boom. Along with an increase in students and schools is rapid growth in the teaching staff, as educators find a more hospitable and affordable environment in the changing rural towns beyond the bay. As a result, the 400-member Liberty Edu- cation Association, based in Brentwood and nearby towns, is looking for innovative ways to engage newer members. Putting their heads together, LEA leaders came up with a simple program to welcome the influx of members who may not be new to teaching but are new to the district. Even better, the chapter received a $3,200 membership engagement grant from CTA to help kick off the LEA Friend program (LEAF), which pairs up veteran teachers with newer mem- bers to provide a friendly introduction to the district and community. "New teachers have BTSA [Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment], but we've also been getting experienced teach- ers who are new to this district," says LEA President Hillary Pedrotti, a Heritage High School English teacher. "We want them to feel part of the community." LEAF buddies may provide advice and insight regarding the culture of the district, or may be asked questions like: Where do LEA's Eli Swanberg- Souza, Marty Dodson and Karin Rowland at the chapter's first event to recruit members to serve as buddies for new colleagues. Chapter finds a fun way to engage new and new-to-the-district members By Dina Martin A Buddy System 60 CTA & You

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