What a long year it has been with all of the virtual meetings we have all had. We want to bring an update to you all on what happened during Meet and Confer this year. For those of you who are unsure of what Meet and Confer is, let us fill you in. This is the process that takes place yearly. It allows the district and CEA to work together to negotiate changes in the handbook. So, on to the update….
Many items were discussed throughout this process that began in October 2020. All proposals were submitted electronically between the district team and CEA team until the final meeting on April 15, 2021.
The following proposals were agreed upon by both the district and CEA teams.
The District Team did not accept the following proposals brought forward:
I know this had a ton of information in it and is lengthy, but we wanted to make sure you had all of the facts.
Thank you for all the emails, questions, concerns and comments throughout this process.
Special thanks to our Meet and Confer Table Team for your willingness to be the face of the Cartwright Education Association during a pandemic:
Mitchella Stevens: CEA Chair
Alex Cazares: Table Member
Gia Giosa: Table Member
Betty Frantz: Table Member
Shelley Knipe: Table Member
Additional thanks to the Meet and Confer Committee that met almost every weekend from October on to discuss and plan for each meeting!
Valeria, Betsy, Chris, Amy Jo, Jesse, and Cesar.
Thank you Liz and Greg, two Organizational Consultants with the Arizona Education Association for the time, energy and effort you put in to help us find solutions to some of the tougher proposals we were met with.
Meet & Confer (Negotiations) CEA committee and table team (11 of us total) meets every Saturday to plan proposals (based on survey results), work on counter proposals, research, and discuss questions we may have.
We are grateful for each other’s time and dedication because...It. Is. A. Lot. 😱
Alex, Chris, Betty, Betsy, Valeria, Amy Jo, Jesse, Gia, Shelley, Cesar you are appreciated! 🤗
We are also grateful to be in a district that values collaboration in planning district wide policies and procedures.
There is already quite an extensive list of CEA and District/Board proposals.
These proposals have not been agreed upon as yet but here is a taste of what is going on:
1. CEA Proposed Change to Job Classifications for ESPs:
Again, nothing has been ratified by members or is official. And if you’re craving more info...check out the meetings on the Cartwright YouTube channel. Meetings are available to you by Friday.
Check us out and happy watching!
Mitchella Stevens, CEA President
First, thank you to all who called and emailed thoughts and questions in the Call to the Public segment. It is important that we utilize the time and let the Board know the thoughts and questions we have.
This was a jam packed Board Meeting but I’ve decided to highlight the burning topic....
Return to In-Person Learning:
This was first brought with possible specific dates to the Governing Board in January 2021. After this was proposed, a special meeting was held on 2.4.2021 with a doctor answering provided.
Prior to the Governing Board meeting on 2/11/2021, there were over 300 questions submitted to CEA leadership. As we looked through the questions we noted that common themes seemed to come up. CEA leadership began the tedious process of reading each question and placing them in one of the following categories:
Many of the questions were answered during the Special Governing Board Meeting on 2/4/2021 while other answers were found in the Mitigation Plan that is located on the district website. For those questions that were not answered, we are still asking and seeking out answers for you and many have been provided to the COVID Task Force for resolution.
CEA leadership requested during the Governing Board meeting, continue to utilize the plan from the fall by having the metrics be a focus of the decision. Much was brought up through the discussion about returning to in-person learning. The Board voted unanimously to continue the remainder of the school year utilizing the distance learning setting we are currently in. So, for now, we will remain in distance learning.
Although there are mixed emotions regarding the Governing Board’s decision, we are grateful to have concrete information and dates to share with our students, their families and our Cartwright community.
Shelley Knipe, CEA Secretary
Happy 1st Governing Board Meeting of the New Year!
There was lots of information covered but I am going to report on what I think is on everybody's mind: COVID and Distance Learning.
Our new school board consists of re-elected President Marissa Hernandez, Vice President Denice Garcia, Pedro Lopez, and newly elected Anna Lynn Abeytia (a former Cartwright student). Lydia Hernandez was not in attendance.
The COVID Task Force Committee chairs Patricia Lopez and Dr. Durden reported the work of the last task force meeting. Additionally, Dr. Maes shared a detailed report that included our current metrics (Cartwright continues to be in “Substantial Risk”), the vaccinations that are available through group 1B, and the opening of the Phx Union Vaccination POD. Dr. Maes also shared the side effects of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccinations. It was reported that 17% of Cartwright’s staff have signed up for vaccinations and that over 100 have received the 1st dose. I personally have had my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. So far, my arm is sore and I am fatigued and I am looking forward to my 2nd dose.
We all know of staff who have taken or are planning on taking the vaccine as well as colleagues who cannot or will not partake. Anna asked an important question in regards to our student community. She questioned how the vaccine would affect our students as they are not in the age range for the two available vaccines. There were no specific answers as this is still something that is being discussed.
The Board voted to reexamine vaccinations and the metrics at the February 11th meeting. Even though the Board voted to continue with Distance Learning at the moment, it is important to have a plan ready for when we do return to in-person learning. This plan was shared by Patricia Lopez. Lopez was very clear that the plan is intended for “when it is deemed safe to return.”
A two (2) week notice will be given to staff which will be broken down as follows:
-Week 1: staff returns to work on site
-Week 2: ½ day with students (to include classroom set up)
-Week 3: families/staff will have decided if they will return to campus or continue distance learning
Personally, I am grateful for a district that continues to observe metrics and cares for the safety of staff, students, and community members. Thank you to colleagues who reminded me that getting the vaccination will keep the vaccinated person safe, however a vaccinated person can still carry COVID and infect others, so community spread is still a concern. As we look forward, keep sending your areas of concern and questions our way. We are taking them to the task force and are working on getting information out to you.
Mitchella Stevens, CEA President
This semester has not been normal. It has been the exact opposite of what we as educators are used to. Back in March, when lockdowns and stay in place orders were first put in place, I never thought that in December we would still be at home teaching. Safety and health being a priority remains the same in our district, but the world of masks and temperature checks is new to me.
Despite the distance, we are still working together. Educators and families, parents and teachers, communities and school districts, one department with another are all working to create a healthy school and community to ensure safety measures when we do return to in-person learning. We are all one big, crazy, combined, and overlapping support system.
There have been many concerns that have come up over the past few months in regards to working during a global pandemic. Let me assure you that CEA is working in collaboration with district personnel to find solutions that will reflect our efforts as educators and our values as a district
Early in the school year, CEA worked with District Office on what evaluations would look like during the pandemic. Since the state is not going to allow districts to suspend Evaluations for a 2nd time, district office personnel and Cartwright teachers met to define how to give individuals grace during distance learning and establish which principles are relevant and accessible during this time. What a collaborative effort! I personally want to thank all that were part of the Evaluation Committee for the changes that were made.
Longevity pay is a recent concern. Through conversations with many in our district leadership is clear that the district values every single employee's work, education and years of service. There has not been a concrete solution to this as of yet, however CEA leadership is in talks with district personnel, the state retirement system and legal counsel on how to continue providing the longevity bonus. The topic is part of Meet & Confer. At this moment, I know efforts are being made with ASRS and legal council to ensure that payments made for longevity will not resort to a hefty fine for the district.
Cartwright’s COVID 19 Task Force has had many accomplishments since its May 2020 establishment. The task force is made up of site admin, district personnel, ESP and certified members and was formed to address concerns, issues, and find support for students, staff and families during this uncertain time. The task force has provided supports and solutions in varying forms from food to technology support and classes. The most recent accomplishment has been working on how we will reopen our school safely when metrics allow our return.
Dr. Lawlor has clearly maintained that we will not return until it is safe for our families and staff. This was echoed by the COVID 19 Task Force at the December 10th Governing Board Meeting. They also stated there is no set date as to when we will return. Patricia Lopez, co-chair of the task force, stated that once a date has been set based on the metrics, there will be a 2 week window for teachers to return and teach from their classrooms. The district will also be finding out which students will return in person and what families would rather continue with distance learning. Families will be made aware if their children’s teachers may change. Teachers will choose to teach solely in the distance learning environment or teach only in the in-person environment. Teachers may be asked again if they are willing to do simultaneous teaching (both in-person and online). Currently, numbers are showing substantial risk if we were to go back in person, so again, there is no in-person return date as of now.
Throughout this pandemic, we have been separated through distance, but working together. We have continued to collaborate with families. We have continued to collaborate with colleagues. One thing that your Cartwright Education Association guarantees to continue to do is collaborate with the district to ensure we are not just hearing but listening the voices of all educational support professionals, families, teachers, and the community.
Shelley Knipe, CEA Secretary