California Educator

November 2013

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Page 9 of 61

N editor's Note A kidney, an atomic fairy and a strategic plan Dagnabbit! I admit to using that expression (and sounding like my mother) when grousing about technology as I attempt again to figure out how to set one particular digital clock back one hour. Did you remember to "fall back" when daylight saving time ended? D E PA RT M E N T S Know&Tell Know & Tell introduces useful and fun tips and provides the latest on scholarships, grants and resources. Perspectives Perspectives amplifies members' voices and includes the ever-popular Point/Counterpoint series, plus guest columns, and book and movie reviews. Advocacy Advocacy showcases the great work of CTA members in the bargaining, member rights and legislative arenas. Learning Learning highlights members' best practices and practical advice and showcases education trends. CTA&You CTA & You covers all things CTA, including events such as State Council, trainings and conferences, plus member benefits and services. Anyway, that darn clock is one reason we're featuring tech gift ideas (page 18). It is that time of year, isn't it? Personally, I love giving and getting books as gifts. In fact, I'm considering the books recommended by CTA members on page 21. Hmmm. Is this a spoiler alert for my friends and family? Read about a special gift on page 28 — a Rialto member donated her kidney to save the life of a colleague she hardly knew. Some people consider their teacher on special assignment (TOSA) a gift. Others, not so much. TOSAs walk a fine line between teacher and administrator. Read how Calexico, Richmond, Lake Tahoe and Moraga members navigate that line on page 30. Do you think homework really helps learning? Read what two Atascadero members say on page 24. And find a great recap of education and legislative issues on page 38. Readers requested more on Common Core. Read a review of tools and accommodations for special education and English learners on page 46. And there's good news for retired members: A study validated the economic impact of CalSTRS benefits (page 36). The bad news: There's a proposal to cut retirement benefits (page 37). State Council met last month and reviewed CTA's Strategic Plan, which will be voted on in January (page 54). You can read about the planning process and download the plan, titled "Our Union, Our Future," at This plan for the future is coming out just as we wind up CTA's 150th anniversary celebrations. Read about State Council actions on school funding, mandatory kindergarten and teacher preparation on page 52. I still appreciate the photos and comments you've sent about the content and redesign of the magazine. I loved the member-submitted photo of a Riverside colleague who dressed up as the Atomic Fairy to teach how stars are formed (page 48). He sounds like a character. And speaking of characters, enjoy reading about a yoga fan and maintenance man in Tehama County (page 26). We'll continue to tweak and fine-tune this magazine. In the meantime, please keep the feedback coming! Cynthia Menzel EDITOR IN CHIEF Read about the rest of the story online! Read behind-the-scenes stories in the California Educator at, and see additional photos from stories in this magazine at 8 Educator 11 Nov 2013 v2.1 int.indd 8 NOVE M B E R 2013 11/13/13 6:30 PM S o O ED Ed ult un or Ed kn th Sp th • • • •

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