Saturday, November 24, 2012

Information on ProTeach (ProCert) Portfolios from the WEA

To: Washington certified teachers needing to earn Professional Certification via the ProTeach® Portfolio
From: Jim Meadows, Ph.D., Washington Education Association

**If you do not need to earn Professional Certification, please forward this message along to a colleague who does. Thank you!**

Washington teachers who certified after Aug. 31, 2000 are required to attain professional certification. The
ProTeach® portfolio, a fully online assessment run by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), is the means by which teachers earn their professional certification. This email contains two important pieces of information for those needing to achieve their ProTeach® certification now. Please also circulate this email with colleagues who may need to meet this requirement:

1. WEA Announces Winter and Summer ProTeach® Jump Start Seminars
The WEA ProTeach® Jump Start Seminar provides candidates with important information about the portfolio requirements, time to examine the three-entry portfolio in detail and the opportunity to plan how to meet requirements. This pre-candidacy support option helps candidates to prepare for the process and complements work with a support group during candidacy. Click
here for more information about the ProTeach® Jump Start Seminar.

Winter Seminars: WEA will offer two 2-1/2 day winter versions of its ProTeach® Jump Start Seminar.
Registration is now open. The cost for this 20 hour event is $125 for full WEA members and $400 for non-members (non-members are welcome to attend on a space available basis only):
Spokane 2 1/2-Day Seminar (20 hours) -- Jan. 31-Feb. 2, 2013 (Thursday evening 5-8:30 p.m. through Saturday at 5 p.m.).Edmonds 2 1/2-Day Seminar (20 hours) -- Feb. 21-23, 2013 (Thursday evening 5-8:30 p.m. through Saturday at 5 p.m.).

Note: Trainings will be 3.5 hours on Thursday evening and 16.5 hours total on Friday/Saturday. Registration cost includes dinner on Thursday, and breakfast & lunch on Friday & Saturday. Participants must cover their own substitutes for the Friday portion of the training and lodging, if needed. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Up to 20 clock hours are available (clock hour fees are waived for Jump Start). To run each seminar we require at least 25 registrants. If there are insufficient numbers, we will fully reimburse registrations that have been submitted. Course registration will close if a given event reaches capacity.

Summer Seminars:
Hold the dates!  WEA will offer two, 4-day ProTeach® Jump Start Seminars in Summer 2013. Costs have not yet been finalized, but will be between $200 and $250 for full WEA members. Registration will open in March 2013.

  • Spokane 4-Day Seminar -- Week of June 24-28, 2013 (location and exact dates to be determined pending winter weather)
  • Western Washington 4-Day Seminar -- July 29-Aug. 1, 2013 (location to be determined)
Registration will open in March 2013. Check back here in March 2013 for more information.

2. Other resources
WEA also has a ProTeach® Portfolio Facebook page. Become a fan
here to stay current with the latest information from Olympia around ProTeach® and professional development opportunities. If you are considering seeking National Board Certification, these three resources may be of help to you in your pre-candidacy planning:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

DRS On-Line Retirement Seminar

For those of you thinking about retirement, or who would just like to check and see how it could be, it's worth your time to take the on-line class here.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The WEA-Eastern Sounding Board Newsletter

For those of you with an interest in what is going on at the Uniserv Council Level, the WEA-Eastern Washington newsletter for this autumn can be accessed here.  There will be a ton of political information coming as we lead into the election, as well as discussion about the changes to health insurance and evaluation, so the website is worth checking!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Reminder re: Approved Clock Hour Providers

We've had a concern pop up recently where a member submitted their paperwork for recertification to OSPI, only to be told that 20 clock hours she'd turned in wouldn't count because they didn't come from "approved providers." OSPI maintains a list of approved clock hour providers here, and it could be worth your time to check before any summer learning you might be thinking about.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Next Year's Calendar

The vote to move the first day of school was close, 55% for Wednesday versus 45% for Tuesday, but as a result of the voting we'll have our usual back-to-school meetings on Tuesday, September 4th, with the first "real" day of school falling on Wednesday, September 5th.

Regarding having two snow days scheduled during the year, the overwhelming majority (66% to 34%) favored building in the days. However, the school board has decided that they would prefer to have one day built into the school year and one day after school is normally scheduled to end, and that's the calendar they'll be voting on this evening.

There were also a number of comments made regarding the potential to take the Wednesday before Thanksgiving as a holiday with no school, which would help the elementary schools avoid having a single day with kids on Monday followed by two days of conferences. That idea was rejected because of the potential to push the end of the school year from Friday, June 14th into the following week, but it's certainly something the Committee will keep in mind for coming years.

Thank you to everyone who filled out the survey--we had 116 responses from throughout the district, so good on you all!--and best wishes for a great spring break!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Who Are These Folks Saying Vote No on the Levy?

Many of you around town--indeed, around Spokane County--received flyers in the mail yesterday encouraging you to "Vote NO, Reject New Taxes" when considering the local school levy. If you didn't get one, you can see the Medical Lake version here. Some facts for your consideration:

Who are these guys?

They call themselves Citizens for Responsible Taxation, and they're based in Spokane. That tells you nothing--the real fun is that, since they're engaged in politics in Washington State, they have to register with the Public Disclosure Commission and reveal who their donors are. You might remember that around this time last year they were organizing against the levy elections in Mead and Central Valley.

So, who are they really?

According to the PDC, there isn't really a they, it's a he: Elvin "Duane" Alton, who last year donated $32,150 to Citizens for Responsible Taxation. That's 98% of their operating budget.

Wait a minute.....that Duane Alton?

One and the same. Grandma Alton's baby boy, neighbors helping neighbors, "We merged with Tire Rama!"--that's the guy. He also recently spent $6,300 trying to buy a school board seat in Spokane, so he's got an obvious interest in education. Right now, he's got an interest in making sure our kids don't get one.

What about the facts presented in the mailer?

The headline number, $3,390,000? You get that by reading the levy resolution the school board passed and adding up what the three year total would be. The mailer doesn't tell you that's a three year number; it's very intentionally designed to make you think that the MLSD wants to raise your taxes $3 million dollars plus next year.

The numbers at the bottom are similarly misleading; when they say that the cost to you on a $150,000 home is $895 dollars, that's really only $298 a year in local property taxes, or $25 a month. This is the classic lie of omission, and the rest of the flyer needs to be seen in that light.

OK, that's where they got their numbers from--what about the rest of the flyer?

"$3.39 MILLION IN EXCESS NEW TAXES!" is a lie--this is a replacement levy. The levy committee had a very frank discussion and took in a ton of input on the question about whether to run the levy at a higher amount, and they decided not to. This is not a new tax, at all.

"Did you know that YOUR TAX $$$'s already fund 100% of our children's education without requiring excess tax levies??? Why pay more???"---Is there anyone out there who really believes this? When our libraries have been cut in half, when there is no more elementary art, when we've had to tolerate reduction after reduction, do you as someone who works in the schools feel like our schools are being funded at 100%? When we just had the State Supreme Court affirm, essentially unanimously, that the state isn't living up to it's duty to provide basic education, isn't it a little silly for them to make the argument that 100% of our children's education is being funded?

Any other missing facts?

The biggest one--levy equalization. The reason they call it levy equalization is because it takes the levy you pass locally and puts more state money into it--if there's no local levy, there's no state matching. If we lost the levy, we'd also lose the $1.5 million a year in levy equalization. If that were to happen, I don't know that the District could continue on as a going concern.

So what now?

First we recognize that this hit was paid for by people with an agenda, people who don't live in the Medical Lake School District, and then we push it aside the same way we would the opinion of someone who says to you, "You know, your kid is kind of ugly."

After that, we communicate. Please tell your neighbors about the good work that we're doing in Medical Lake. If you live outside the district, take a look at the levy for your local school (almost everyone in the county is running a levy in February), and vote your conscience.

With thanks,


Monday, January 16, 2012

On the School Levy

PLEASE NOTE: Canvassing was last Saturday, January 21st. Thank you to everyone who was able to participate!

Valentine's Day is going to be critical for most every school district in the county this year, as that's also election day. THANK YOU to everyone who signed up to donate to Citizens for Medical Lake Schools on a continuing basis, as well as those of you who made one-time donations to the levy committee. Every bit helps and is appreciated!

This Saturday at 10:00 we'll be gathering at Denny's to do some door-knocking around town. It's an easy time--assuming there's not two feet of snow, anyhow--and anything we can do to help get the message out will help the cause. If you're able to attend, please let your building principal know, or you can email me at