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January 8, 2021

Dear Members,

There are many lessons we can take away from how the transfer of power is playing out in the other Washington. There is outrage over ignoring the voting rights of the people.  Yet where has been our outrage over the centuries-long disenfranchisement of BIPOC citizens.  There is the hypocrisy in our policing system.  For what would happen if BLM protesters had stormed a federal building?  There is the fear lawmakers experienced from an aggrieved predominately white mob.  So why has congress been unable to pass an anti-lynching law?

We must see with new eyes.  We must act to create a system that is just for all.  We must apply what we personally take from these experiences to our own practices in education and in unionism.  The hope coming out of Georgia through the hard work of the Black community demonstrates that through concerted action change can happen.  These are the lessons we need to embrace for our students to thrive.  My hope is that you find your path to hope through your students.  

Against this backdrop, Cascade Middle School was showcased at the school board meeting on Wednesday evening.  It was inspiring to hear the beautiful relationships educators are forming during a pandemic with their students and families.  At the same time, I hear directly from you that the emotional toll of the workload and the interpersonal nature of those relationships can feel too high.  Finding that balance and knowing where that line is drawn can be personally and professionally challenging.  Please listen to your body and find a way to care of yourself.  Reach out to me, a friend, or a colleague if you need help.

My heartfelt appreciation for all you do,

Sandy

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Elementary In-Person Instruction.  The stresses many of you are experiencing are now heightened with the pressure of the state to return to in-person instruction.  The district reports that in December, 67% (of the 40% of elementary student families who returned surveys) expressed interest in returning to buildings.  Doing the math, that is 26.8% of elementary students spread across our school system.  This is an evolving situation.  Now is the time to be listening to your families.  How are they feeling?  Gather their stories if you can and share what you learn with your administrators.  Complete the HPS Elementary survey as well as the HEA Elementary Survey.

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Connect with Our School Board.  Local school board meetings are now accessed through zoom and are the ultimate decision-makers about the appropriate date of return to working in-person.  You, your team, your building, and your students/parents can communicate your needs and those of your students by emailing them. You can also submit an email for public comment at the next school board meeting by sending it to: Kyle.Minaglia@highlineschools.org.  The school board typically meets the first and third Wednesday of the month.  See the HEA calendar for these and all upcoming Events.


HEA Elections. HEA Representative Assembly Delegate  Ballotpoint ballots are in your personal in-box and must be submitted by January 20.  Check your spam filter and if you did not receive a ballot, please contact LFleck@WashingtonEA.org  to register your personal email and receive one.  Write-in spots are available.  Email Sandy.Hunt@WashingtonEA.org  if you would like more information about this year’s virtual WEA RA and NEA RA.