For this week’s update, I want to focus on some positives and share some points of hopefulness for the 2022-2023 school year. We are just now wrapping up the first full week of class, and it appears much of the chaos and disruptions faced when we first returned last year, has ebbed. That is not to say everything has returned to “normal” or that everything is great. All of us continue to face difficulties beyond those of several years ago and some buildings and staff are struggling more than others as the result of staffing shortages, bussing concerns, and more. But this year does show promise in a way we never saw throughout the course of the past two years.
Over the summer, REA leadership worked on finding avenues for a better relationship with the District and School Board. That is not to say we have forgotten about the issues surrounding the vote of no confidence, of what most staff rightly recognize as serious concerns with communication, or any of the many other issues we face. Simply, we are working on improving the relationship so we can better meet member and student needs.
In this effort, REA leadership and School Board Directors are meeting informally in small groups twice each month. These gatherings consist of 2-3 REA leaders and 2-3 Board Directors at each meet-up. The goal is to enhance communication between us. These informal meet-ups create an space for REA to discuss at length issues as they happen, and to give the Board a head’s up so they are not surprised by them through public to be heard. It also gives Board Directors room to ask questions of REA, get clarification on issues, and to hear clearly REA's understanding of difficulties facing educators, students, and the District at large. To date, we have held five of these gatherings.
Additionally, the October 12 School Board Work Session hopes to focus on public discussions between REA, OSEA, and the entire School Board. While I do not yet have an agenda for this--and am honestly unsure how it will look--the current goal is to hold two of these a year.
REA Leadership also met with the majority of the District Cabinet and leaders over dinner at Dr. Diaz’s house. This gave us all an opportunity to meet as there are a lot of new faces in both REA Leadership and in the District office.
Lastly, I want to regularly give some shout-outs to members for all the amazing work you do throughout the District and for the Union. Please click here and complete the form if you have some positive news to share that I could possibly include in a future Union Update.