President's Updates

President's Update September 21, 2023

Happy International Day of Peace TEA! You are doing amazing things, on top of handling increased discipline and behavior issues, increased demands from supervisors, changes to sites/ jobs/ and classes... You are the reason that TUSD is so successful. Thank you for your dedication to our students and dedication to each other. You are excellence beyond measure and I am proud to be working with each of you! 

Happy International Day of Peace TEA!

I debated between celebrating the International Day of Peace - or Batman Day! We could all use both in our classrooms from what I am hearing about discipline and behaviors. As we stretch into fall, remember that you do have rights and remember to look after each other. We need other people in this job. It can feel like an island, but thankfully we aren’t stranded and we aren’t alone. We have each other and I am so thankful that we get to work together. You are doing amazing things, on top of handling increased discipline and behavior issues, increased demands from supervisors, changes to sites/ jobs/ and classes... You are the reason that TUSD is so successful. Thank you for your dedication to our students and dedication to each other. You are excellence beyond measure and I am proud to be working with each of you! 

Here’s the latest from TEA:  

  • Compensation and Two-Year Contract: 
    • You should have each seen a 2% increase in your pay from last year at the end of August as part of our two-year agreement. That is a combined 13% from the start of last year, and the highest in the county. That also is 16% over the last three years. 
    • Thanks to COLA for the state coming in higher than we agreed we are also reopening compensation for the year. 
    • As part of our Two -Year agreement, We are also cost sharing any increases to our health care - insurance increases are still being assessed and should be released soon. Normal time of year for this is November. 

  • SPECIAL ED BEST PRACTICESDocument HERE or in picture above.
    • The Best Practices should be released around noon today from TUSD and has been worked on with TEA and TUSD combined. This will not solve all of the problems we find, nor is it perfect, but it is a step in the right direction and will continue to open the door and back those small, but mighty, steps towards improving SPED as a whole. This has taken about six months and many meetings and drafts. This is something that we will have as an ongoing, living document with times to go back and work on what doesn’t work and keep what might work. It showed commitment from the district when TEA brought our top five concerns from our meeting last year (where we had input from all areas of SPED) and provided them with a similar document from another district. TUSD was willing to sit down and work on what you see here. It is a start. I wish it was magic and fixed it all, but I’m hopeful it is a step in the right direction. 
  • Representation - 
    • This month you may not have a full ten minute meeting because all site reps were trained for the first time in way too many years. Please remember that your site rep is a source of information and is not only bringing you information from TEA, but bringing back your site issues/ concerns back to TEA. You always have a right to representation! What rights would you like to know about? Ask your site reps, or let TEA know.  
  • Negotiations - 
    • TEA’s negotiations team starts next week (Thursday, September 28th) with our new team members and working towards the compensation portion of the reopening. As bargaining goes forward TEA will update more.  Let’s all wear our TEA gear on that day in support of our team!!! 

  • NEW YEAR/ NEW ORDER - Wear your Support - 
    • It’s a new year and a new chance to order ~ Everyone who wants to wear their TEA pride is now able to do so by just picking out their favorite choice-  You may choose one item (any item) and we will handle the ordering, shipping and sending to you. Take this opportunity to wear your Union pride. Even if you don’t wear it daily (you can of course, the sweatshirt is super comfy), then wear it on Tuesdays, for TEA. Order your choice HERE.  

  • T.E.A.’s Annual Fall Event at BJ’s  - is just around the corner. Make sure to mark your calendars and save the date. We hope everyone will come and share in food, drawings, and Pizookies with us. 

  • Covid - 
    • While it feels like we are past it, it continues to be present and even has had an uptick in cases. Many things have changed since the last time we mentioned it - so here is a little bit of the latest from the state. 
      • If you have symptoms and do not feel good - TEST.
      • By the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Guidance
        • All persons with COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of vaccination status or previous infection, should:
          • Wear a mask around others for a total of 10 days.
          • ​Self-isolate and test as soon as possible to determine infection status. 
          • If positive this is from their site regarding status: 
  • After ending isolation (no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and symptoms are improving), confirmed cases may remove their mask sooner than Day 10 if they have two sequential negative tests at least one day apart. If antigen test results are positive, the person may still be infectious and should continue wearing a mask and wait at least one day before taking another test.
    • Infected persons should notify close contacts to encourage them to get tested 3-5 days after exposure. 
    • The federal and state help with sick days is no longer available so calling out is now going to be taken from your sick days. While that does not help and has put it back on us, it is better to use your sick days and isolate, recover and take care of yourselves. 
    • Make sure you are utilizing the air filters, provided by the district, in your classrooms or places of work. 
    • For more information please check out the CDPH hub that includes not just Covid, but TB, Flu and many other public health issues we encounter HERE
  • Upcoming Elections - 
    • Elementary Members will be voting on a new Elementary Director starting on September 25th. It will be electronic voting and delivered to your personal email. Please keep an eye out for it. If you need to update your personal contact information call the T.E.A. office 714.505.6365 - if you do not receive a ballot on the 25th contact that number as well so that a ballot may be sent to you.  
  • Additional ongoing Conversations with the District:
    • Induction - TUSD has agreed to bring it to negotiations when we open for compensation this month with the intention of resigning the MOU from last year. They are very much interested in keeping with the intention of last year and having our new hires only paying half of the $3,600 cost of the program. The intention overall, and they are currently working with OCDE to see if for future years they could have it covered ahead of time. This year, due to how discussions and timing came to be, at this time I believe that those who are part of induction are still being asked to pay up front. TEA is aware, as is TUSD that this is not ideal and not supportive of our newest members to the profession. Do know if you are part of induction, work is still being done to insure that the ongoing agreement from last year, where $1,800 of the price was refunded to each inductee, is mirrored this year, with the intent that we would all like it to be where that money is paid directly to OCDE by the district and new members would not have to pay so much out of pocket. 
    • Middle School Minutes - CT being over the contracted time. TEA has met with the district and starting Friday, September 25th it should be reducing back to the same minutes as last year. Please let us know if that changes. 
    • Mandated Viewing - TEA has heard, and I myself have been later on sending this out due to the amount of time spent on watching the mandated videos for the start of school. TUSD believes that the day we have to spend in our classrooms and other classroom time could be spent doing mandated videos. However, each year it takes more time to watch them. TEA has requested that meetings/ PLCs be turned into time where you have the time to spend completing these. We also have requested information to come out as to why we have to do so many (ex: if adding them, why adding - what is the mandate) and for more time to be given to complete while on contract time. 
    • Bathrooming Issues (TK/K) - TEA has discussed with the district in regards to the many issues we have heard of students coming in diapers. No teacher should be changing diapers or wiping a student. Members should be advised to not put themselves in a situation that could cause any concern for liability. Public schools cannot deny students education, no matter their bathrooming situation, but teachers are not mandated to do anything, and TEA would also mandate that you do not volunteer under any circumstances. Send students to the office and have the office set a plan with parents. 
    • Students Eloping - Please remember that educators are legally obligated to stay with students in classrooms. It is on educators to stay with students and have other staff help or to contact either admin/ office help to go after students. 
    • Behaviors - From TK through middle school we have heard and shared what we hear with TUSD. Please make sure that you are documenting everything. If you are physically being hurt fill out incident reports daily, take photos and remember that you have legal rights as well:
      • In The Classroom Teachers Have the Right To:
        • Suspend students from class for the day of suspension and the following day. Ask the parent or guardian to attend a conference as soon as possible. Ed. Code 48910
        • To find a visual copy and more Ed. Code Rights please go HERE
        • For more information please go to - or press HERE.
    • Special Education - 
      • SLP caseloads and their overseeing CFs
      • SAI numbers - SDC numbers vs. SAI
      • SAI aides and issues with not having enough, or having to deal with those that are from outside companies.  
      • Workload increase and change of placement
  • Interesting Fact:
    • In light of what has been happening in other districts and questions that TEA has been receiving…This article popped up and it answered a few questions right away. The question I was asked was “what if a student wants to go by another name/ gender ... .what am I legally bound to do”...Please take a look at the following article because currently this is an issue of State Law vs. Board Policy. This article defines what the state of California expects and no matter what side we are on personally, our job is to follow the laws that the state has made for us to work within. 
    • Can teachers be legally liable if district policy requires they break the law? An interesting article on Edsource regarding the legal liability of teachers on one law, but an interesting perspective and overview for any of us that may have to deal with what we are told to do vs. what the law is regarding our job. 
  • Contracts and Legal- 
    • Please remember your Rights: 
    • Here is a link to a very colorful print out from CTA
    • The most important right is that you have the right to suspend students from class for the day of suspension and the following day. You must notify the parent or guardian to attend a conference as soon as possible. Suspension is not to home but on site - and not to another teachers room. Ed. Code 48910
      • Ed. Code 48910 - Suspension of pupil from class by teacher
        • (a) A teacher may suspend any pupil from class, for any of the acts enumerated in Section 48900, for the day of the suspension and the day following. The teacher shall immediately report the suspension to the principal of the school and send the pupil to the principal or the designee of the principal for appropriate action. If that action requires the continued presence of the pupil at the school site, the pupil shall be under appropriate supervision, as defined in policies and related regulations adopted by the governing board of the school district. As soon as possible, the teacher shall ask the parent or guardian of the pupil to attend a parent-teacher conference regarding the suspension. If practicable, a school counselor or a school psychologist may attend the conference. A school administrator shall attend the conference if the teacher or the parent or guardian so requests. The pupil shall not be returned to the class from which he or she was suspended, during the period of the suspension, without the concurrence of the teacher of the class and the principal.
        • (b) A pupil suspended from a class shall not be placed in another regular class during the period of suspension. However, if the pupil is assigned to more than one class per day this subdivision shall apply only to other regular classes scheduled at the same time as the class from which the pupil was suspended.
        • (c) A teacher may also refer a pupil, for any of the acts enumerated in Section 48900, to the principal or the designee of the principal for consideration of a suspension from the school.
      • There have been some new laws passed that affect our classrooms and jobs - please check out the following article if you are interested in more information. I thought it was a quick read and had some interesting information on items like suspensions and what we are allowed to do. 
    • Wifi/ Email/ Texts/ Google Docs- 
      • Please remember that when you are using district owned devices, email services, saving programs (including Google) or district Wifi, IT IS NOT PRIVATE. Anything and everything may be saved or accessed at any time by TUSD tech services. Because of that please adhere to the following and stay aware of technology at your site:
        • Do not use district WiFi on your personal devices. 
        • Do not store personal files on district owned devices. 
        • Do not use Google Docs or work email for anything you don’t want the district to be seeing. 
      • Assume that all of your internet traffic is being monitored and clearing your browser history will not erase everything. 
      • Assume that even if it’s in files that you created, if it is stored on district Google areas it belongs to the district. 
      • If your device, your Wifi, your google account and your only email have TUSD in their names - change and set up your own and use your own for personal matters. 
      • When sending emails remain professional and do not use it to interact with fellow educators for anything beyond work related items. Also, assume that any and all emails may be used at any time and linked back to you.  
      • All technology leaves a footprint that can later be scrutinized if complaints or issues arise.
      • The best practice when using work email is to assume that it is always read by someone else. Key words can be searched and should there be an issue about a student in your class, or an issue on your site…your email could very easily be pulled into a request for information. 
      • If you are communicating with fellow teachers, even about students that are not directly work related and very basic in approach (Facts only) then use other means, and other email. 
  • September is:
  • Library Card Sign Up Month:
    • The campaign started in 1987 as a response to then Secretary of Education William Bennett, who stated, “Let’s have a campaign … Every child should obtain a library card and use it.” Read a detailed account in this 2015 blog post at the American Library Association Archives, A Library Card for Every Child: Library Card Sign-Up Month, by Cara Bertram.
    • The American Library Association has great resources to use in your classroom to help promote literacy and libraries  HERE
    • NEA’s Read Across America Book list for the 2023-2024 School Year. 
  • Hispanic Heritage Month: 
    • Hispanic Heritage Month is not only a time for those of Hispanic and Latino descent to celebrate their cultural roots but also an occasion for people from all backgrounds to learn, appreciate, and celebrate the rich tapestry of Hispanic and Latino cultures. Check out all of the resources on the NEA site, to use in your classroom, or to read and explore for yourself by clicking the link above or HERE
    • This year’s theme is Todos Somos, Somos Uno: We are all, We are one. You may download their poster using the link above or HERE. Some additional Historical Information on the topic as well HERE
  • International Day of Peace - September 21st, 2023
    • The International Day of Peace (or World Peace Day) celebrated annually is devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. At a time when war and violence often monopolize our news cycles, the International Day of Peace is an inspiring reminder of what we can create together. Peace.
  • California Native American Day - September 22nd, 2023
    • Commemorating and directing attention to the many contributions that Native Americans have made to this country. California Native American Day celebrates the distinctive culture of the Native American people indigenous to California and calls attention to their triumphs and struggles that comprise their rich history. Information HERE
    • Interested in helping to develop Native American Studies Model Curriculum - There is an open call for Native American Studies Model Curriculum Development for K-12 lessons and units by Humboldt County Office of Education (HCOE). Join a webinar Sept. 28 at 5 p.m. to learn more about the requirements and proposal process. Follow the link to sign up. 

  • Help Maui Educators - Support Maui Educators Recovering from Devastating Fire
    • On Aug. 8, fierce winds powered a massive wildfire that destroyed most of Lahaina, Maui, the historic home of the Hawaiian Kingdom, tragically taking the lives of hundreds and destroying the homes of thousands. The Hawaii State Teachers Association is helping raise funds for Maui educators impacted by the devastating fire.If you would like to help please click HERE or on the picture above. 
  • Member Benefit Services - 
    • You spend your career helping students prepare for their future, CTA wants to help you prepare for yours. The CTA 403(b) Retirement Savings Plan Everyone says their product is different—but ours really is. That’s because:
      • Their enrollment team has your best interests in mind. They are fiduciaries and are not paid any commissions. 
      • There are no hidden fees, and the plan is designed to keep costs low, which means more savings for your retirement.
      • The CTA 403(b) Retirement Savings Plan is the only plan that is built and endorsed by the CTA.
      • Your future awaits Ready to prepare for your future? Visit our CTA enrollment page to get started today –!
        • To learn more or if you have any questions, give them a call at 916.235.9800 or schedule an appointment with a CTA Retirement Savings Plan fiduciary advisor.
    • Student Loan Resources October marks the beginning of Student Loan Repayments and CTA Member Benefits wants to help members understand the process, programs, and pitfalls. Visit the CTA Member Benefits “Student Loan Resource” page. Members can also attend a “Generation Debt: Student Loan Forgiveness” session on October 11, 2021 4:00-5:30 PM or October 25, 2023 4:30-6:00 PM.
    • Who Wants $2,500? Since 1950, Provident Credit Union has served the needs of CTA, and in honor of all California teachers, Provident is hosting a $2,500 giveaway for all CTA members residing in California. Click on the picture to enter the raffle.
  • Retirement Workshops - It’s always nice to find out how the system is working and to plan for our futures. Click on the picture to make an appointment and attend a retirement workshop. 


I may be mentioning behavior a lot more because of what I am seeing in classes when I go in to help now. This year has afforded me an opportunity to spend time in more than one classroom each day. I am not only in awe at the incredible work each of you do, but I am in awe at the way you do it, while you have kids eloping, hanging off of furniture, showing outright defiance, and overall…making this job harder than any of us ever imagined. The district has a “see something, say something” policy at sites. Please remember that goes for each of us working towards what is best for each other. If you see something, say something. Help out a peer, offer new educators help, protect and help each other. You matter just as much as the kids that you teach! 

I am also on  a bit of a soapbox about these issues because I myself had a four year old do to me what some at the district would love to do - I was punched square in the face by a four year old - saw stars and everything. Thankfully I didn’t use the language that was running through my head. The kid has a future in the boxing ring with the right hook they used, but as an educator all I can think is that at what point is the classroom harming those of us who are in charge. Please make sure that you are filling out incident reports, make sure that you take pictures and if you need to make a police report - that is within your legal right. Take time for yourselves and be there for each other. I am glad that I was hit and not the teacher, but that was for one day - she has endured much worse. Document at all times and make sure that you keep your site reps in the loop and that TEA knows if you are having continual safety battles in your own classroom. 

May you all be finding time also for yourselves to enjoy things you enjoy. Remember you are the heart of the classroom and it could not run without you. That’s the hard part - this job matters all the time. But YOU MATTER just as much. I won’t tell you to go drink enough water, or breathe slowly, but I will always encourage you to take care of yourselves and those around you. You need just as much love as the love you give to students. 

Have a wonderful rest of your week!

In Unity,


Lisa Hickman
President, Tustin Educators Association
Teacher, Heideman Elementary School 
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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