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On educators
focus on educators is an award winning publication of the Pittsburg Education Association/CTA/NEA

California Teachers Association

Statement of Mission
The California Teachers Association exists to protect and promote the well-being of its members; to improve the conditions of
teaching and learning; to advance the cause of free, universal, and quality public education; to ensure that the human dignity and civil
rights of all children and youth are protected; and to secure a more just, equitable, and democratic society.
matters, we are saying it for all of classroom and on the campus of
FEBRUARY 2018 us. their school. We have to continue
to advocate for safety and
Smaller class sizes have been conditions of facilities that are part
proven to increase student of a great place to learn. If
achievement. This is imperative emergencies happen, we need to
for the students of low-income be prepared to act in an effective
areas. Teachers want to teach with manner for the wellbeing of our
low class sizes to ensure that they students as well as ourselves. It’s
Volume XXVI, Number 6 are better able to assist and deliver important to have communication
effective curriculum. Students in devices provided in case of a
large classes of 39 in a high school power outage or if the campus
President’s Message is a massive backwards move for system of communication no
education. Can a student get all longer works. We need this in
they need when a teacher is place for so many reasons that
Dear PEA Members,
stretched so thin? When we have point to the changes in our world.
no class size limits in our
Class size matters. No, it really secondary schools this is a It is important that our students
does matter! disservice to our students. When have quality teachers that advocate
special education classes do not for them, because our students
At the March 7th PEA Mega Rally, have firm caps of class size this should be provided an education
we will Stand Up for Student limits more time and opportunity that allows them to flourish.
Success and shout it to the roof for growth of our students.
tops that class size matters. In our yellow PEA t-shirts on
We have to say enough is enough! March 7th from 3:30-5:30 at 2000
You’ve read the proposals for Railroad Avenue we will Stand Up
Special Education classes and We became educators because we for Student Success, because our
General Education classes. You know the power of an education. students’ success matters to us!
recognize that you and your A quality education affords many
colleagues are doing something opportunities. We can’t let that be
In Solidarity,
valuable for students. You also taken away from our students.
recognize that effectiveness is Tammy Carr
synched with class size in many We also want to assure our
ways. When we say that class size students that they are safe in their
PEA Leadership 2017-2018 Rep. Council Meeting Calendar (Tuesdays)
President February 20,
Tammy Carr March 20
PEA Office
April 24,
Elementary Vice President
May 22
Michell Redfoot
Willow Cove School Board Meeting Calendar
Secondary Vice President
February 7 & 21, March 7 & 21
Irwin Manangkil
April 11 & 25, May 9 & 23
Black Diamond
June 13 & 27, July 25
Nicole Glassel
Are You Getting Your PEA Information?
Los Medanos
Having our Site Reps collect your input, attend the monthly Rep
meeting and then report back to you is vital in the
Shelly Bascomb
communication chain of our Association.
North Campus
Roll call at last January 16th Rep Council Meeting:
Committee Chairs:
Grievance Committee Adult Ed. – present MLK Jr. – present
John Kleinjans – Pittsburg High Black Diamond – present North Campus – absent
Chris Coan – Willow Cove Foothill – present Parkside – present
Negotiations Team
Heights – present PHS - present
Mark Maselli – Chair - Hillview
Highlands – present Rancho Medanos – present
Political Action Chair
Jim Vaughan – Black Diamond Hillview - present Stoneman – present
Elections Chair Los Medanos – present Willow Cove – present
Sharie Chmura - Parkside Marina Vista – present
Human Rights Chair
Andrea McKinney – Black Diamond
Women’s Issues Chair
Alicia Puzak – Pittsburg High
Organizing Chair
Laura Silva - Parkside
CTA State Council Representative
Mark Maselli – Hillview
Marissa Young-Padilla - Parkside
Special Education Chairs
Michell Redfoot – Willow Cove
Melonie Sauceda-Flemming – Hillview/MLK
Technical Editor
Susan Harrison – PEA Office Administrator

Focus on Educators is a publication of the

Pittsburg Education Association CTA/NEA
159 East 4th Street, Pittsburg, CA 94565
Phone: (925) 432-0199 email: REMINDER: Please send PEA any updated information
website: such as: change of home address; home email; school
site change; name change; etc., so we have your
correct information! Thank you!
Know Your Contract Special Education Referrals:
A different kind of mandated reporting
By Chris Coan
Grievance Chair By Michell Redfoot
Topic: Safety Special Education Committee Co-Chair

By now many of you have experienced many forms of safety We teachers are trained every year about our obligation to
at your site: active shooter training, site safety plans, report any suspected child abuse and/or neglect. But how
supplies replenished or provided, etc. All of these events are much training have you received about referring students for
as a result of PEA filing a grievance with the district on their special education assessment? Did you even know that you
violating the contract with regards to safety. It seems the have an obligation to identify students in need of special
district only conforms to the contract language on getting us education? Have you ever heard of the “Child Find
up to speed on safety when grieved. How unfortunate. This Mandate”? If all this sounds new to you, you are not alone.
dialogue regarding safety with the district began last May and
continued with a level 2 grievance with the Superintendent Our Federal “Individuals with Disabilities Education Act”, or
which ended in November. Supposedly we should be close IDEA, includes specific language addressing a school
to good on this…..I have my doubts and so continue to press districts obligation to identify students with disabilities. This
the issue. Please make sure you have and are aware of the mandate is called “Child Find”. California also has state
following from Article 11 of the contract: code specifically obligating school districts to “… identify,
locate and evaluate all children with disabilities who may be
Article 11.1.3 Does your site have posted rules for eligible for special education, including those who are
safety and its prevention of accidents? attending private schools or are homeless or wards of the
court.” 34 Code of Federal Regulations [C.F.R.] Sec.
Article 11.1.6 Is your classroom provided with a stocked 300.111; California Education Code (Cal. Ed. Code) Secs.
first aid kit? Do you know where the 56300 & 301. “This includes all children who are suspected
disaster preparedness materials are of having a disability, including children who receive passing
located for your site? grades and are ‘advancing from grade to grade.’” (34 CFR
Article 11.1.7 Is your room phone working properly so 300.111(c)) The law does not require children to be
that you can call out for assistance? "labeled" or classified by their disability. (20
U.S.C.1412(a)(3)(B); 34 CFR 300.111(d))
Article 11.1.11 Does every working room at your site have
an emergency preparedness flip chart So what does this all mean to you? As a teacher you are
posted? Do you know where your site obligated to keep your administrator and the child’s family
safety plan is located? Has it been aware, through the SPED referral process, when you suspect
reviewed? When assigned a job on the your student may have a disability. While we as teachers are
Incident Command System were you given not school psychologists trained in identifying a specific
training on how to fulfill this responsibility? disability, we are professionals that can and are obligated to
THAT WOULD BE A BIG FAT NO FOR address concerns regarding our student’s educational
ME…..How about you? progress.
Your site Rep will be surveying their sites to get answers
back to PEA on the status of the implementation of the We must also understand the difference between the SST
district’s safety plan….please let your site rep know. process and the process of determining qualification for an
Individualized Education Plan (Special Education
Services/Referrals). The SST process cannot be used to
deny a parent request for evaluation for special education
services. The SST process cannot be used to avoid or delay
evaluation for special education services. The SST process
and Special Education Referrals due to Suspected Disability
are two very separate processes that can overlap but do not
depend one on the other. While a school district must
“consider and utilize, where appropriate, the resources of the
regular education program, this process cannot be used to
delay assessment for special education.” Some of you might
be familiar with this particular conundrum. We are obligated

to provide RTI to our students, but we are also obligated to
identify students with a suspected disability. In cases where
Read Across Pittsburg is
a student’s difficulties are mild to moderate, how do we March 2nd
determine if a student just needs extra support through the
SST process/RTI- verses -I suspect the student has a
disability and we need to Evaluate for Special Education? I We are seeking volunteers
can only quote an attorney to whom I presented this very to read at various preschool
question: she stated, “If a client comes to me with more than and Head Start locations
one SST, I know I have a case for denial of FAPE.” I will
leave you with one more thought. You are an educational around Pittsburg! Slots are
expert. Trust your own professionalism and professional available!
recommendations. I have included a link below to a PDF
created by a disability rights group in California which If you’re interested in reading to our
explains the process for parents, but might help answer future students, please e-mail Michell
some question you may have. Redfoot at by Tuesday, February 27th

PEA Scholarships
PEA Scholarship applications are available for
graduating high school seniors who will be attending an
***************************************************************** institution of higher learning in the fall of 2018.
January State Council Report Applicants must be the son or daughter of a parent who
is a current member of the PEA/CTA/NEA. You may
By Mark Maselli request a scholarship application form from the PEA
State Council Representative office at 432-0199 or email

January state council was a very exciting experience for Scholarship forms must be returned to the PEA Office
many of us. On Saturday we had the opportunity to take part (159 East 4th Street)
in the 2nd annual Women’s March in Downtown L.A. After
our morning session we banded together with hundreds of no later than Monday, April 9, 2018 by 4 p.m.
thousands of other people for a march calling for love and *****************************************************************
acceptance of all peoples regardless of gender, sexual
orientation or immigration status. We listened to exciting PEA Bowling Night at Delta Bowl
speakers and chanted in unison. February 7th
On the floor of state council, we celebrated Martin Luther
King, Jr.’s birthday and heard a rousing speech by Tony
Thurmond, who is our pick for superintendent of public
instruction. Please remember to vote for Tony this June
when the election will really be decided.

With the concept of fair share looking to go down in defeat in

the Supreme Court, we still discussed our theme of member
engagement. How are we going to show our members the
importance of joining the union? You will hear the ideas in
the coming weeks. We are all looking forward to an eventful

(Pictured left to right): Marissa Young-Padilla, Ryder Young-Padilla,

Aaron Pressman, Sharie Chmura, Nyssa Ton, Jim Vaughan, and
Laura Silva

We are ALL the Pittsburg Education Association. Proudly stand some new educators!

 Incorporate black history year-round, not
just in February.
 Reinforce to students that black history is
American history, relevant to all students.
 Connect issues in the past to current issues
to make history relevant to students’ lives.

Black History Month recognizes the rich cultural Do Not:

history and contributions of African Americans,  Limit the presentation to lectures and
important contributions being made by African reading. Allow students an opportunity to
American teachers and education support discuss and reflect.
 Talk about black history in solely “feel-
professionals in our public schools, and we honor
good” language, or as a thing of the past.
the dedication and leadership of all of our
 Shy away from controversial, ambiguous or
members who are working hard to close unresolved issues. Share the real-life
achievement gaps and raise graduation rates. We experiences about racial realities in
have a moral and civil obligation to give all of our developmentally appropriate ways.
students’ a fighting chance.

February 2018
2-4 Good Teaching Conference – Fairmont Hotel, San Jose
6 PEA Executive Board – PEA Office – 159 East 4th St. – 3:45 PM
7 PUSD School Board Meeting – 2000 Railroad Ave. – 6:30 PM
10 School Board Breakfast – Double Tree Hilton, Pleasanton
14 Ash Wednesday
14 Valentine’s Day
16 Lincoln’s Day (no school)
19 Presidents’ Day (no school)
20 PEA Rep Council – PEA Office – 159 East 4th St. – 3:45 PM
20 NEA-RA Local Election begins – February 20-March 20
21 PUSD School Board Meeting – 2000 Railroad Ave. – 6:30 PM

March 2018
2 Read Across Pittsburg – 3:30-5:00 PM
6 PEA Executive Board – PEA Office – 159 East 4th St. – 3:45 PM
7 PUSD School Board Meeting – 2000 Railroad Ave. – 6:30 PM
11 Daylight Savings Time begins
17 St. Patrick’s Day
20 Spring begins
20 PEA Rep Council – PEA Office – 159 East 4th St. – 3:45 PM
20 NEA-RA Local Election Ballots Due
21 PUSD School Board Meeting – 2000 Railroad Ave. – 6:30 PM
25 Palm Sunday
29 Board Holiday (no school)
30 Cesar Chavez Day (no school)
30 Good Friday
30 Passover begins at sundown

Next Deadline for Articles is Monday, March 12, 2018