California Educator

MAY 2010

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Education Support Professionals Conference N early four years after several thou- sand education support profession- als in t he state merged with the California Teachers Association to become CTA ESP, these members are finding they have an even stronger voice in the state’s largest professional organization — so much so that “We are One: One Voice, One Union” was the theme of CTA’s ESP Conference, which drew paraprofession- als, school secretaries, custodians, mainte- nance workers, bus drivers and other clas- sified staff from throughout the state. More than 100 ESP turned out for the conference at the Westin Hotel in Millbrae on May 15 to take part in trainings in top- ics such as building a strong leadership team, reaching out to the community, nav- igating through the grievance process, and strategically using social media. “It’s wonderful to be part of such a strong organization and have the same voice,” said Doreen McGuire-Grigg, con- ference c hair a nd president of the Lake- port Unified Classi- fied Employees Asso- ciation. The co nference was held the weekend that kicked off Edu- cation Support Pro- fessionals Week, lead- ing to CTA ESP Day on May 18. This year, education s upport professionals w ere part of CTA’s TV ad honoring educators throughout the state. CTA’s ESP members were also the focus of a poster created to recognize their work. “I look forward to more of these confer- ences, learning more and taking it back to our members,” said Jacqueline Lee of the Association of Classified Employees of Culver City. “It’s important to take back this information to those who can’t at- tend.” Vickie Stegemann, a member of the Redlands ESP Association (RESPA) and manager of the school cafeteria, said that after 14 years of being on the job, she is ready to step up and become more active in the union. “It’s not about one person, it’s for all of the children,” she said. ESP of the Year awarded Conference-goers recognized Duval “Sam” Phillips, who was presented with the CTA ESP of the Year award by CTA Presi- dent D avid A. Sa nchez a nd Michael Downey, the award committee chair. A utility maintenance employee in Pot- ter Valley Community Unified School Dis- trict, Phillips is also president of the Potter Valley Classified Employees Association. “During these tough economic times, Sam stands firm in his belief that all mem- bers are important in the education of all CTA ESP of the Year Duval “Sam” Phillips (left) was presented with the CTA ESP of the Year award by CTA President David A. Sanchez and Michael Downey, the award committee chair. students in Potter Valley, and has success- fully recruited new members to the associa- tion by explaining to them the benefits of membership,” said Sanchez in his remarks. Phillips is trained as a special education adviser/liaison for the students and parents in Mendocino County and has served in this advocacy role for over a decade. Phil- lips also served on the NEA Anti-Bullying Work Group, and has worked extensively with the Native American tribal commu- nity in Potter Valley. He also works with other tribal leaders and Northern Califor- nia educators to encourage Native Ameri- can students to enroll in college, and has been taking students to College Motivation Days at Mendocino Community College and Humboldt State University. Many ESP layoffs Although the atmosphere of the confer- ence was upbeat and positive, ESP mem- bers also had stories to share about how the state’s budget cuts are affecting stu- dents in their schools and affecting them personally as well. “I’ve lost one-fifth of my take-home pay due to budget cuts, while I’m watch- ing my own kids struggle more and more because there is no one there to help,” said Continued on page 36 MAY 2010 | 35 CTA photo by Dina Martin

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