TVEA Spotlight

It is my honor to share the TVEA Spotlight with you for June 2020.

We look forward to continuing to work with the District to overcome the massive challenges associated with planning for the 2020-21 Return to School.

As you might expect, some of our teachers and specialists are quite anxious about their own safety with the planned return to the traditional brick and mortar model.

It is my hope that parent and student demand for instructional models will dovetail with teacher supply. In other words, there will be enough staff who can safely return to serve the number of families who believe their students are able to return to traditional learning.

While we all agree that a return to traditional learning and all the elements that come with it including performing arts, athletics, and school assemblies is most desirable, is it realistic?

In viewing last Tuesday’s meeting, I noted that none of the policy makers and public officials who gave direction will be at school campuses every day inside of classrooms filled with students.

This direction was also given despite that TVUSD Governing Board Meetings are still being held remotely, without the ability to even gather a maximum of 10 people in the Conference Center as we last did March 17th. Food for Thought: If the State of California and Riverside County have moved away from “Stay at Home” Orders this spring incrementally in stages, why is TVUSD moving to what could be a full reopening? Staff and Student Safety must be THE primary consideration moving forward.

In closing, I would like to share with you today what I e-mailed to our TVEA members the last day of the Teacher-Student Calendar June 5th.

The communication was intended as a message of Unity and Hope for our TVEA member educators in speaking to the social distress caused by the recent tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. I am pleased to share it publicly in our TVEA Spotlight tonight:

TVEA is a rather large local association of 1372 members. Our focus has been at the local level. We continually analyze and reflect on how we can act as “Dedicated and Committed Advocates for Teaching and Learning” and in doing so have a primary voice in TVUSD direction and policy. While our parent groups CTA and NEA often adopt stances on national political issues, we typically do not.

I commonly share with new hires and potential members that TVEA is not a partisan nor ideological organization. Yes, we are Pro-Public Education, yet we are not Democrat nor Republican; Liberal nor Conservative.

The death of George Floyd in Minnesota has sparked political participation across the country. As a Social Science teacher, it reinforces to me our first amendment rights for peaceful protest minus the disappointing destruction of property and looting of a few.

Despite your political leanings, there IS something for us as public educators to unify around here. As leaders of students, we set the tone and climate of our classrooms and campuses which we belong to. We should support such principles as equity, respect, and tolerance to ensure each student and staff member feel welcome and have a chance to succeed. When this does not occur, we arguably have a moral obligation to speak up. We may rightfully disagree across our membership on instructional and grading models, approaches to student discipline, etc. yet we should seek solidarity on making our classrooms and schools models of opportunity and justice for all.

It is my hope that your summer period is peaceful and rejuvenating and you are able in some manner to safely return to your classrooms in 2020-21 and be allowed to have the greatest positive influence on TVUSD students

TVEA is pleased to announce our candidate recommendations for TVUSD School Board for upcoming 2020 fall elections.

Last month, we interviewed multiple candidates in Trustee Areas 1, 4, and 5 and through our governance processes will work as an association to see the following candidates elected:

Trustee Area 1: Steve Loner

Steve is an Ysabel Barnett Elementary Parent who has been an involved parent stakeholder in both the site LCAP process and the Watchdogs Program. He is also a Fire Captain with the City of Riverside and previously worked in the financial sector.

Trustee Area 4: Adam Skumawitz

Adam is a known commodity in TVUSD as he was elected in 2018 before vacating his seat after a labor code conflict of interest was brought forth regarding his wife’s return to full-time status. He is a parent of two students at Abby Reinke Elementary and works as a financial planner. Adam also served previously as a CIF championship soccer coach in TVUSD.

Trustee Area 5: Steve Schwartz

Steve is a retired educator who taught both elementary and middle school in New York. He has experience in working with ELD programs and taught both Math and Spanish at the middle school level. Steve also taught math remediation at MSJC for five years and has been a Trustee Area 5 resident since 2004.

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