California Educator

April/May 2024

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Page 35 of 61

In the past year, Fontana Teachers Associa- tion went from merely listing a Human Rights contact to creating an Equity Team that meets monthly and has taken on several projects. They have designed and implemented projects to inform the membership about the meaning of human and civil rights, promoted human rights training and programs, and created a social jus- tice book club that meets monthly. In addition, the chapter convinced the Fontana Unified School District professional development department to fund more than 25 members' CTA conference fees and expenses every year. Chapter members created and initi- ated plans that identify and encourage the use of teaching materials that reflect the value of diversity, with an online database of resources for teaching authentic history. The chapter worked to reduce violence and promote peace by sponsoring a "Celebrating Diversity " art/writing contest for students throughout the district. Equity Team members are an essential part of the committee working to establish the district's first community school, building effective family, school and community partnerships. Members are also involved in the LCAP process, viewing it and community schools through a lens of equity for students. Recently Fontana schools and educators were targeted by an organization that asked the school board to put a proposal for a forced outing policy onto a meeting agenda. "Our members rallied the school board so that the proposal did not make the agenda," said Angela Wysocki, an FTA member who nominated the chapter for the award. " They also showed up at the meeting so that we had a large contingent. I am very proud of the members of FTA." At the height of the pandemic in 2020, Lori de St. Aubin made home visits to all the students in her class. When she asked them what they needed, most said food. When she received her stimulus check, she purchased groceries for them. When that money ran out, she turned to others for help to keep the grocery delivery going. "She literally had a pantry set up in her living room," said Melissa Galletti, who nominated de St. Aubin for the award. When de St. Aubin saw how great the need was, she started a nonprofit called Bridging Grace. To date, Bridging Grace and de St. Aubin have made 1,600 grocery deliveries. She has delivered to the same 55 families continuously for the past three years. Many mornings before work she shops at Costco, stores perishable food in her school's staff room, and makes deliveries after work. At one point she had saved up for a root canal but ended up using the money to buy groceries for families. She has helped provide unhoused families at her school who have moved into a new place with furniture and new beds. Last year, she rallied the community for donations to replace work tools stolen from a school family father 's truck. She has also "adopted" families during the holidays, gathering and deliver- ing gifts from the community. De St. Aubin, now in her 19th year of teaching, went through the process to become a foster parent and has taken in many former students who needed a stable place to live. At school, she volunteers during her prep or lunchtime to train students to help other students solve conflicts and express their feel- ings in positive ways. Fontana Teachers Association CTA CHAPTER HUMAN RIGHTS AWARD Lori de St. Aubin San Lorenzo Education Association CTA MEMBER HUMAN RIGHTS AWARD Below, FTA's Equity Team. At right, de St. Aubin, top, with family members and a family from her school who receive grocery deliveries. 34 Social Justice

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