Feb 2016 Advocate: Strategic Campaign Initiative Update


Report from the field

By Katharine Harer, AFT 1493 Co-Vice President & Strategic Campaign Initiative (SCI) Organizer

Michelle Kern and I are in our fourth semester of our Local’s Strategic Campaign Initiative Member Outreach project, grant-funded by the California Federation of Teachers and matched by our union.  Over the last year and a half, we’ve visited with nearly 100 of our colleagues, FT and PT.  We’ve given out our spiffy Welcome to the Union tote bags full of helpful information and goodies and carried on lively conversations about the good, the bad and the murky in between of our teaching lives. Mostly, we’ve listened and, when asked, we’ve connected faculty up with union resources to help them resolve problems and clarify confusing situations.
Last semester we focused most of our energies on Maurice Goodman’s election campaign for the SMCCD Board of Trustees, working alongside Maurice and his family and a team of dedicated union activists. We were delighted when voters chose Maurice, an experienced advocate for teachers, staff and students and the first graduate from one of our colleges to be elected to the Board.

Schools Our Children Deserve

Last summer we began partnering with two local teachers’ unions – AFT 3267, Jefferson Elementary, and AFT 1481, Jefferson High School – to envision a public education conference, Schools Our Children Deserve–to be held at Skyline College–geared for families, students, teachers, staff and the larger community of northern San Mateo county.  You can see the program of speakers and breakout sessions on page 10 of The Advocate, but here are some of the highlights:  Tom Ammiano, former California Assemblyman, who currently teaches a class on LGBTQ issues at Skyline, is our opening act, and Jeff Duncan-Andrade, teacher and passionate advocate for students, is our Keynote Speaker.  The National Office of AFT in Washington D.C. is flying out a crew of their best presenters to offer workshops, and they’re also providing 1500 best-selling children’s books to be given out free to conference participants.

We’ve scheduled eighteen different breakout sessions, four of which focus on college-related topics; the other 14 sessions will cover everything from Early Childhood Education to High School concerns, including community issues such as housing insecurity and inadequate funding for education and much more.  Plus we are offering free childcare at Loma Chica Childcare Center on the Skyline campus, so you can bring your little one(s) along with you. We’re giving out Certificates of Participation, so you can use the conference for flex day credit, and students may be able to receive extra credit from their instructors for attending, so please spread the word about the conference to your students.

This amazing get together is FREE if you register before February 29!  Go to: AFT1481.org/SchoolsOurChildrenDeserve to register.  You can also register via our union’s website.  If you would like to volunteer to help out at the conference, please contact Katharine at harer@aft1493.org.  We would love to have you by our side, and we can definitely use your help!  Join us for a half-day of inspiration and community building for public education.

Adjunct Teaching & Learning Symposium

On Saturday January 16th, Michelle and I lassoed our union comrade, Najla Abrao, who teaches Math part time at Skyline, and the three of us set up an information table at the Adjunct Teaching & Learning Symposium at Skyline organized by Professional Development Coordinator Nina Floro.  We had a ball!  During the lunch break we were able to have substantive conversations with over 20 part-time faculty members; we answered questions, gave out information, listened to stories and connected with this motivated group of hard-working colleagues.  Thank you to Nina Floro and the Professional Development program at Skyline for reaching out to part time teachers.