California Educator

April 2015

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Left: The "Google Classroom" was presented by Jamie Smith. Above: "Elements of Art in Elementary" was presented by Sheila Kincade (left). I F Y O U H A D A S K E D M A D E R A T E A C H E R S two years ago about collaborat- ing on a professional development project with the Madera Unified School District, they would have scoffed. Loudly. After all, they were on the verge of a strike over increasing class sizes, loss of staff, pay and benefit cuts, and top-down dictates. On March 14, however, the Madera Unified Teachers Asso- ciation, in collaboration with their school district, presented a Professional Development Academy for 210 educators that addressed virtually every academic discipline in the K-12 school curriculum. The idea of a teacher-led professional development day came from Common Core Steering Committee union facilitator and MUTA vice president Amanda Wade. The district's Common Core Steering Committee is the result of negotiations between MUTA and the district. "Creating the Common Core Steering Committee wasn't easy," says MUTA President David Holder, who was a strike coordinator two years ago. "We were turned down for many months. You need to know what's happening politically to help make change happen." He credits Madera teachers discover formula t h e p o l i t i c a l m o m e n t u m o f Proposition 30 passing and the change in school funding that brought in the LCFF and the LCAP with bringing the district officials along. "We are stakeholders. That means teachers and the association are at the table more so than ever. Public education will improve if people doing the job are at the table." Ultimately, the Steering Committee became an ongoing memoran- dum of understanding (MOU). Adding to the "waves of change" were the tide shift from explicit instruction to facili- tated learning as part of the Common Core State Standards, and the selection of Wade as a participant in the Instructional Leadership Corps (ILC), a partnership between CTA and Stanford University to produce professional development on Common Core implementa- tion. Holder also credits CTA's strategic plan for its focus on classroom teachers. Knowledge of these moving parts helped union mem- bers on the Steering Committee have more discussion for successfully bargaining professional development by Cynthia Menzel P H O T O S B Y J O S H K O B David Holder Bargaining Advocacy 34

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