California Educator

May / June 2017

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T ea ch er p a ssion i s a p ow er ful thing. E d u c a t o r s' i n n o v a t i v e ideas and drive to share them e x p a n d y o u n g m i n d s a n d can inspire even greater creativity and l e a r n i n g . It 's w h a t C TA's In st itu t e f o r Te a c h i n g ( I F T ) c a l l s "st re n g t h - b a s e d teacher-driven change." Since 2008, IFT has been building on teacher passion with its grant program that funds educators' instructional projects. e grants have helped launch everything from middle school girls constructing a full-size, fully functioning R2 droid to an elementary school expanding on its student newspaper with live interviewing and video produc- tion across multiple grade levels. Others are noticing what's happening. Education Week's Charles Taylor Kerchner recently wrote of the program: "Want more innovative teaching? I know the secret sauce. Find teachers who already inno- vate, get out of their way, give them a little money, and invite them to share the results with other teachers." As we point out in "IFT Sees Big Jump in Interest" ( page 10), applications for IFT grants have skyrocketed, underscor- in g w hat we already kn ow : E du cators don't lack for great ideas and vision to execute them. Take, for example, how so many of you seized the moment on CTA's May 1 state- wide Day of Action (see "A Day of Action and Unity," page 38). Edu- cators d emonstrat ed th eir commitment not only to high- level teaching, but to quality public schools that are safe places for all students to learn and grow. e walk-ins, marches, rallies and protests on that day gave notice to those who would undermine and defund public schools. ey include corporate charter schools, as our cover story "Let's Be Clear About Char t er S cho ol s" ( page 18) expl ains. W h i l e s o m e c h a r t e r s c h o o l s a re stu - dent-centered and deserve support, others take taxpayer dollars for their own gain, failing both students and educators. The lack of accountability and transparency has led to criminal investigation of char- ter management organizations, including Celerity Educational Group and Tri- Valley Learning Corporation. Legislation to hold charters to the same standards as tradi- tional schools is important to support (page 33). O n a m o re p o s i t i v e n o t e , s t u d e n t - centered themes run throughout CTA's new media campaign on T V and radio, online, and in social media ("Welcoming Walls," page 56). Featuring CTA members, the campaign reminds ever yone of the value of public education. TV ads highlight public schools' central roles in commu- nities, welcoming all and bringing us all together. Radio spots focus on the pledge that educators live by, advocating for stu- dents through such essentials as smaller class sizes, a well-rounded education, and a belief that all can succeed. Lynwood educators did just that, as "District of the Year" (page 53) shows. In a remarkable achievement, teacher passion and investment in mostly minority and immigrant students in an area of high poverty and high crime led to Lynwood Unified School District being named 2017 College Board Advanced Placement Dis- trict of the Year. And suddenly, it's summer. Our veteran educators should not miss " When Is It Time to Retire?" (page 48), with tips on planning life after school. Others of you are set to travel , relax at home or hone your professional skills. Maybe you'll want to learn something new — and Lauren Bowman would recommend the ukulele. We're sure you' ll agree after reading our Member Spotlight, " Th e Ukulele Gets Respect" (page 15). Katharine Fong E D I T O R I N C H I E F Teacher Passion — and Power 7 May / June 2017 Beth Micari, with scissors, celebrates a new garden. She won a 2016-17 IFT Impact Grant that helps Kaweah High School students gain hands-on experience in the nursery and floral industries. The Exeter Teachers Association member was recently named California Continuation Education Association State Teacher of the Year.

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