Arizona Education Association

Summer 2020

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4 ADVOCATE | SUMMER 2020 IN SOLIDARITY by Joe Thomas Joseph H. Thomas, President Arizona Education Association A s we enter a 'back to school' time unlike any other I have experienced I am comforted in knowing that you will be the ones keeping our students safe and supported. You have shown a courage, a resolve, and a perseverance over the last few months that has not gone unnoticed. That is why parents and the community trust educators with their children. When school buildings were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, educators did what we always do – we made adjustments to our plans so we could continue to meet the needs of our students. Within a week we transitioned to online and distance learning, set up meal kits and pick up centers and deliveries, and performed deep cleanings of entire schools and districts. We did this because the health, well-being, and success of our students is at the center of everything we do. During this time of social distancing, educators and our supporters collected 435,669 signatures to qualify the Invest in Education Act for the November ballot. We took the extra steps – masks, disinfectant wipes, and a whole lot of pens – to ensure our safety and that of the community. And the community supported us. They took the time to sign our petitions because they trust educators—because they trust you. Placing an education funding initiative on the ballot during a global health crisis is an amazing accomplishment. Few thought we would be successful. You made adjustments. You found a way. At this point, no one should be surprised by what educators can do when they unite together to achieve a goal. But our work is not done. The new school year is already before us. A year which will require new ways of working, of meeting the needs of our students, and of providing a quality education, but not at the expense of safety. Just as I know you will keep students safe and supported in these unprecedented times, I know your union will keep you safe. We will accomplish both with our best thinking, our best practice, and our collective belief in the common good. Our students and colleagues deserve as much. And I know you will deliver. You always do. In solidarity, AEA OFFICERS Joe Thomas President Marisol Garcia Vice President Angela Philpot Treasurer AEA STAFF Luis A. Heredia Executive Director Sheenae Shannon Editor Roxanne Rash Graphic Design Advertising The AEA Advocate is published by the Arizona Education Association, 345 East Palm Lane, Phoenix, Arizona 85004-1532. Phone: 602- 264-1774 or 800-352-5411 Fax: 602-240-6887. Email: AEA's website may be found at Permission to reprint any material originating with this publication is granted provided that credit is given to the AEA Advocate. The AEA Advocate (ISSN 0194-8849) is published in Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer for $3.50 per year by the Arizona Education Association, 345 East Palm Lane, Phoenix, AZ 85004-1532. Periodicals postage paid at Phoenix, Arizona. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to the AEA Advocate, 345 East Palm Lane, Phoenix, AZ 85004-1532. Moving? Please let us know before you go. Simply clip your mailing label from the back of the Advocate and send it along with your new address to: AEA Advocate 345 East Palm Lane Phoenix, Arizona 85004-1532

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