California Educator

August / September 2018

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LEA President Hillary Pedrotti John Dodson, Lauren Foehr, Jolene Foster and Marty Dodson at the LEAF buddy recruiting event, held in May 2017. " We want the union to not only have a presence, but to have a positive presence." — Liberty Education Association President Hillary Pedrotti I find a copy machine? Who do I talk to about ordering supplies? What do you do after school? Sam Cooper, who teaches world history at Freedom High School in Oakley, says he was made to feel welcome and valued by his LEAF buddies when he relocated from Southern California. "Having this group to share stories and pick up nuggets of advice is lifesaving. My colleagues are now my friends. e work env ironm ent i s fri end ly and h elpful , rather than hostile and discouraging." Not only is the program a welcome wagon for newly hired teachers, it also e n ga ge s v e t e ra n L E A m e m b e r s w h o may not be ready to take on a leadership position in the union but still want to contribute. In its first year, the program has reached out to 35 new teachers and enlisted 40 veteran members. "Brentwood hasn't been the cool place to be, but now we're getting a lot of new teachers and experienced teachers, and we want to keep them," says Martha Dod- son, an organizer of the effort and a math teacher at Heritage High School. "I think everyone is having fun doing this." D o d s on an d th e L E A Memb ership En ga gem ent C om mitt e e a re al re a dy working on ways to expand the program next year. " We want our m emb ers to b e con- nected to their union," Dodson says. LEAF is not the only new venture by the association. LEA currently has an LCAP Steering Committee and a Social Justice and Equity Team in place. Pedrotti and the leadership team have been making concerted efforts to get more members to CTA regional conferences and onto State Council. She hopes to build up a Political Action Team and a Community Outreach Team in the coming year. "We want the union to not only have a presence, but to have a positive presence," Pedrotti says. A Little About LEAF From the Liberty Education Associa- tion Friend program description: What do LEAFs do? A LEAF 's major job is to make sure a new member has a positive, relevant connection to the association, site and district. LEAFs are advisers, advocates, resources, sounding boards and friends who: · Offer problem-solving strategies. · Encourage excellence. · Listen and support. · Encourage reflection on teacher instruction and practice. · Build positive connections and relationships. · Attend all LEA and LEAF events with their new member. What do LEAFs not do? LEAFs do not take the place of Peer Assistance and Review (PAR), Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA), or administra- tive evaluations. 61 A U G U S T / S E P T E M B E R 2 018

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