Wyoming Education Association

Winter 2017

Issue link: http://digital.copcomm.com/i/916449

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Page 7 of 31

Building on WEA's efforts to create a statewide sup- port system for Early Career Educators, three mem- bers of the Albany County Education Association (ACEA) recently attended an NEA Early Career Edu- cator conference in Portland, OR. Jennifer Benkman, Mariah Learned, and Megan Plant spent three days learning about ideas for engaging/supporting our Ear- ly Career Educators (ECEs). ECEs are defined as those in their first five years of teaching, regardless of age. Troubling statistics show us that between 40 and 45% of new teachers leave the field in their first five years of teaching, and that one out of nine new teachers doesn't make it through her/his first year of teaching. The primary reason cited for this exodus is a lack of support/time demands. Statistics for our support staff are more difficult to come by, but are also a cause for concern as districts struggle to fill these posi- tions. ACEA local co-presidents Ami Cass and Mariah Learned have taken a proactive approach to building an ECE program for both ACSD#1 staff and the Univer- sity of Wyoming Student WEA (SWEA) membership, in an effort to ease the transition from the role of student to that of educator. These supports are a joint effort between WEA and the local. Statewide, locals have developed bazaars designed to get materials from retiring teachers into the hands of new staff. The Cheyenne Teachers EA ECE group recently hosted an NEA webinar that outlined what first-year teachers can expect heading into a parent-teacher conferences, with more webinar topics to follow. Natrona County EA has hosted social events which have allowed ECE staff to mix and share ideas. ACEA has created a legislative postcard writing campaign and has also worked closely with SWEA on preparing student teachers for their next steps in the field of education. WEA has developed and trained staff on a variety of topics designed to support all teachers, but with a nod to our early career members. A new topic available is NEA's Degrees Not Debt program. This training is designed for those educators who are looking for ways to deal with burdensome student debt. Judy Trohkimoinen, Central and North- east UniServ Director, is the WEA staffer to contact for this training. But we need you, each of our members, to visit with an ECE staff member, regardless of membership status, to share why you are a member of the Asso- ciation and what the Association/the local can do for them. This is not a formal interview but a brief contact, asking how things are going, answering a question, and being there to support. If you think an ECE group in your local would help support your Early Career Educators, contact your regional UniServ Director for more information. "e Early Career Educator Conference in Portland helped solidify for me what we can be doing to not only support our early career educators, but to empower them. While teachers early in their careers have a steep learning curve to navigate, they also have enthusiasm, energy, and a drive to be involved." – Mariah Learned, Albany County EA member 5 Your WEA at Work Early Career Educators: NEA Portland Conference Greg Herold, Southeast Region UniServ Director, gherold@wyoea.org Left to right: Megan Plant, Mariah Learned, Jennifer Benkman

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