All APS Certified Educators, Take This Survey! "HYBRID SCHOOLING: WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?"

Take the COVID Return to Work Survey!

Your union needs to hear your concerns and opinions about any possible return to school using the hybrid learning model.

We want safe working conditions for all of our educators, students, and families. Your responses to this survey will help us establish our position and to guide the district toward a safe return.

WE NEED EVERYONE TO TAKE THIS SURVEY! If you are a member, take the survey. If you are a not yet a member, take the survey. If you have never taken a survey from the union, take this survey. The district needs to understand the severity of the situation and we need to provide them with the data.


ATF Position Letter to the BOE on Re-Opening Our Schools

July 15, 2020

Dear Superintendent Elder and Members of the APS Board of Education,

Educators clearly know that in-person school is best for their students and have expressed deep concerns about meeting the instructional needs of our students in a hybrid or distance learning setting. However, they also have legitimate worries about the safety of educators, students, and our communities.

We are working in good faith to negotiate contract language that addresses the complexity of terms and conditions of employment during COVID-19 and the reopening of schools. We have yet to reach agreement and I cannot overemphasize the overwhelming concerns of your employees about reopening in-person instruction too soon – even in a hybrid model.

I am sure you have heard that Las Cruces, West Las Vegas, Los Alamos, and Silver City are beginning full remote learning starting in August and lasting, at least, until Labor Day.

I trust that this will soon become a state-wide phenomenon, but for the sake of your employees' peace of mind, please consider changing the recommendation from your administration that would have us starting hybrid schooling on August 25th. Instead, decide tonight to start in-person school after Labor Day IF the data shows 14 consecutive days of declining cases in Bernalillo County. Let the data, CDC guidelines, and science determine the return of in-person instruction, not an arbitrary date on the calendar.

In response to APS educators’ concerns and questions, ATF Leadership drafted a proposal on re-opening and asked our members if they agreed with the following statement:

 

PROPOSED ATF STATEMENT ON 2020-21 SCHOOL YEAR RE-ENTRY

As educators we know that real school (brick and mortar with in-person instruction) ​ is best for students.

We all want to return to real school.

However, real school has to be really safe for all staff and every student.

We do not believe that the current data supports a safe return to in-person schooling in early August.

We, the members of the Albuquerque Teachers Federation, propose the following:

  • Start school on the original start date in August for all staff.
  • Delay in-person schooling for students until, at least, after Labor Day.
  • Start the hybrid model for students on September 8th if the data indicates that it is safe.

 

During the first month of school educators will:

  • Engage in virtual home visits in order to establish a relationship with students and their guardians/parents.
  • Assess what supports the students/families need in order to successfully engage in online learning.
  • Distribute technology and establish in-home broadband hot spots for all families and staff.
  • Learn more and develop expertise in online learning.
  • Collaborate with our peers to develop engaging age-appropriate online learning lesson plans.
  • Coordinate with fellow educators who share students in the same family to establish workable schedules for online learning.
  • Coordinate with administration and bus drivers to ensure that families with multiple students have the same school schedule when we return.
  • Work with site administrators to create an appropriate schedule for September that takes into consideration the complexity of High School and Middle School course needs and that purposefully includes an advisory period that supports each students' social emotional learning.
  • Work with community partners to assess the day-care needs of every family.
  • Coordinate the daycare needs for our own (educators') children.
  • Rearrange each classroom and school to ensure social distancing is possible.
  • Work with our district to identify bathrooms and other school facilities that are out of date or broken and do not support current cleaning and safety guidelines.
  • Work with the district to conduct a survey of all employees in order to determine who may be at-risk because of age and/or preexisting conditions, ensure that they have an appropriately safe position within the district so that we do not suffer mass retirements, ensure that parents have choices for their online learning beyond September, and provide online learning for medically fragile students.
  • Develop school-based plans for lunches, specials, etc.
  • Order and receive the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for all staff and every student.
  • Teach... and more!

 

 

ATF MEMBER RESPONSES TO PROPOSED STATEMENT ON RE-OPENING

Agree with Statement as Written     88%

Conditionally Agree                                       8%

Do Not Agree (Ready to go back

On Aug 12 w/hybrid model)                4%

Conditions that were repeatedly voiced by the 8% who clicked “I disagree” but expressed partial agreement with the statement “with some conditions” include:

  1. Childcare for educators’ kids and the community: How will this work?
  2. How will we provide help for students with IEPs, English Learners, and other at-risk students with the extra in-person support they will need for distance learning.
  3. It is not safe to go back. We need to teach online until the pandemic is under control. This is especially important to educators, students, and their family members who have pre-existing conditions (health and age).
  4. We are worried about provision of PPE. The ventilation and HVAC are inadequate at many of our schools. We don’t have access to sanitizing stations and we are worried about staffing for cleaning. How available will COVID testing be? We need more nurses and health aides.
  5. We must plan better and address access to technology, ability to use technology and/or home support for online learning so that we can better reach and teach more students.

APS educators are not alone in feeling these concerns. The American Federation of Teachers, our national union, polled members​ across the United States. "The nationwide survey of nearly 1,200 K-12 educators, paraprofessionals and higher education faculty and staff found that 76 percent of educators say they’d be comfortable going back to school if key safety precautions are met. The precautions they identify are specific to preventing virus spread, including appropriate physical distancing, adequate ventilation and cleaning, and necessary face coverings and other personal protective equipment. The poll also shows a plurality of educators expect a hybrid model for schools this fall, with 82 percent saying distance learning has not been nearly as effective as face-to-face instruction."

Although ATF members echoed the assertion of other union educators across the nation that distance learning cannot perfectly replace the in-person classroom experience, a safe school environment and logistical planning will take more than the one week of time educators are scheduled to have for planning before students arrive. Again, we want to teach and interact with students in-person when it is safe. However, our district is not prepared to implement the hybrid model and meet the safety needs of our staff, students, and their loved ones who will all be exposed to COVID-19 if we do not take adequate precautions. Exacerbating these problems is the inadequate funding of our schools to meet these new requirements and challenges. We also assert that, as online learning will be a necessary component of any school re-opening model, access to technology is a basic right of our public school students and staff. We believe that the City of Albuquerque, the State of New Mexico, and APS should act now to develop a public utility internet option that will make Bernalillo County a "hotspot" where internet access is available for all.

The safety of our students, staff, and families is our #1 priority. We hope that you will join the growing number of districts waiting until after Labor Day at the earliest to start hybrid schooling.

Sincerely,

Ellen Bernstein

President, Albuquerque Teachers Federation

Cc: ATF Bargaining Unit

-- Ellen Bernstein, NBCT, Ed.D. President, Albuquerque Teachers Federation Tel: 505.262.2657 Ext. 202 Fax: 505.266.1967

Your union has your back! We are working through negotiations and advocacy to make sure that schools are safe before educators and students return to in-person learning. Imagine how loudly our voice will be heard when 100% of APS educators raise it together! Not yet a member? JOIN YOUR UNION TODAY!

 


Join the 2020-2021 ATF/AFT-NM Union Leadership Program!

ATF/AFT-NM Union Leadership Program Class of 2020 with Lt. Governor Howie Morales

The Albuquerque Teachers Federation and AFT New Mexico recently completed our 2019-2020 Union Leadership Program (ULP) and we're ready to recruit candidates for next year. The ATF/AFT-NM Union Leadership Program is intended to support the development of union leaders to also serve as leaders in their school sites and in their districts. The program meets for a full day on one Saturday per month from September until April. Participants conduct action research on topics they are passionate about, speak with policymakers, and examine issues in public education and unionism. We usually have potluck lunches and the program has led to greater comradery and fostered friendships among union members. Participants are also paid a $1,500 stipend from the American Federation of Teachers after completing the entire program.

Our most recent cadre of candidates came from diverse role groups and AFT-NM locals around the state. This year our group included nurses, teachers, educational assistants, and participants from outside Albuquerque. The group featured two newly elected ATF officers, the local president from Los Alamos, and the Vice President from Rio Rancho. Our Saturdays were informed by the richness of wide-ranging experiences our participants brought to our discussions. Our culminating activity took place on Saturday, May 16th, when we held a Google Meet showcase to present our research and findings. You can access the research of each participant below.

Members who participate in the ATF/AFT-NM Union Leadership Program have opportunities to serve on union committees and joint union/district Task Forces. It is our hope that participants will run for union office someday. ATF/AFT-NM ULP participants are part of a nationwide educator leaders network. Through their completion of action research projects this year, ATF and AFT-NM members are taking an active role in influencing policy in areas like:

  • Restorative Justice Practices;
  • Social-Emotional Learning;
  • Multicultural Gifted Education;
  • Teacher Evaluation;
  • Union Recruitment and Organization;
  • Student Access To Fine Arts and Certified Librarians;
  • Student-Centered Learning;
  • Career and Technical Education;
  • Improving Special Education Practices;
  • Student Awareness of Available Counseling Services;
  • Student Perspectives on the Effectiveness of Out of School Suspension;
  • and much more.

We are seeking a diverse group of ATF/AFT-NM leaders who are active in their school communities to comprise next year's ULP. All AFT members are eligible to participate: certified and classified employees.  Download the application and JOIN us here.

Union Leadership Program Class of 2020 Research Summaries and Presentation Materials

April Baca, Middle School Educational Assistant, AFCP Buidling Rep,  "How to keep consistency in the classroom when SPED teachers are absent" (Presentation Included)

Katrina Garcia Spillman, Elementary Teacher, Fed Rep, Organizing Team, "Equity Issues with Gifted Evaluation Practices in Albuquerque Public Schools" 

Aide Gonzalez Espindola, Special Education Teacher, Fed Rep, "In what ways can we improve teaching culturally and linguistically responsive in Special Education?" 

Sarah Hager, Middle School Art Teacher, Fed Rep, ATF Secretary, Organizing Team,  "What role does visual art play in the social-emotional learning of adolescence?" (Presentation included)

Whitney Holland, Elementary Teacher, President of Los Alamos Federation of School Employees, Secretary of AFT-NM, "What Are The Elements Of An Effective Student Survey System?".  Whitney's Presentation

Bonnie Kavanagh, Nurse, Fed Rep, "Building Membership in a School Nurse’s Role Group" 

Phillip King, Elementary Teacher,  Fed Rep, Organizing Team,  "Cooperative Learning & Student Engagement Within a 5th Grade Classroom" (Presentation Included)

Lisa Lopez, Elementary Teacher, Fed Rep, "In what ways does play impact the behavior and emotional well-being in kindergarteners?"  

Cindy Mathews, Elementary Educational Assistant, "Beyond the Safety Team- A Holistic Approach to Disruptive Behavior" Cindy's Presentation

Tracy Nichols, Librarian, Fed Rep, Organizing Team, "In what ways do classroom teachers value a Full-Time Teacher Librarian at their school?"

Julieana Reed, Middle School Educational Assistant, AFCP Building Rep, "How can we help students with disabilities understand and reach their career or college goals?" (Presentation Included)

Paul Reichbach, Technology Teacher, Vice President Rio Rancho School Employees' Union, "The Difficulties in Implementing Distance Learning" (Presentation Included)

Ben Temkin, Middle School Teacher, Fed Rep, Organizing Team,  "Counseling Awareness in Albuquerque Middle Schools"

Derek Villanueva, High School Teacher, Fed Rep of the Year 2020, ATF Treasurer, "Incorporating Mindfulness as a Component of Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)".    Derek's Presentation

Bren Vitter, Middle School Teacher, "A Correlation Study of Restorative Practices Implementation and School Climate".  Bren’s Presentation

Facilitators: Donna Teuteberg, Ellen Bernstein, Dwayne Norris


Negotiations Update: ATF & APS Make Agreements On Working Conditions During the Pandemic!

 

July 23, 2020

 

TO:                  APS Employees

FROM:           Scott Elder, Acting Superintendent Albuquerque Public School (APS)

Dr. Ellen Bernstein, President: Albuquerque Teachers Federation (ATF)

We hope that this joint communication finds you, and yours, doing well and staying healthy.  As the District prepares to implement its Instructional and Operational Reentry Plan for this upcoming school year, APS and ATF staff worked diligently and collaboratively to create the attached COVID-19 Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) between Albuquerque Public Schools and the Albuquerque Teachers Federation.  APS and ATF know that in-person schooling is best for our students.  Unfortunately, there are still significant COVID-19 related concerns about the safety of students, educators, and our communities. To that end, we believe this MOU will continue to move us forward to the safe return to in-person schooling.

APS and ATF will continue to work collaboratively to determine how to most effectively utilize staff during this time. All paid staff should be available to participate in the ongoing improvement of the educational process to best meet the needs of our students during this very challenging time. APS and ATF mutually agree and understand that schools and educators will face challenges and barriers that will need to be addressed. We believe that the negotiated MOU will help all of you to keep safe and keep schools running.

Lastly, we share the mutual belief that providing a high-quality education for the children of Albuquerque is our paramount objective.  We also believe and affirm that it must be safe to do so.

 

BEGINNING OF-THE-YEAR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT & PREPARATION DAYS Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU)

Although no one knows what the future holds regarding re-opening during the pandemic, ATF and APS agreed that we would have a common calendar for all schools and worksites. The first issue that had to be settled was the start date and the beginning of the year Professional Development and Preparation Days. You can download the MOU here.

MIDDLE & HIGH SCHOOL ADVISORIES (ARTICLE 5 of APS/ATF NEGOTIATED AGREEMENT)

We know that students will return to school next year with a lot of social and emotional needs. ATF and APS had already begun to address these needs by re-booting advisories in Middle & High Schools. These were the Advisories agreements from March 2020. We also sent out an FAQ entitled "Advisory Reboot #1" and "Advisory Reboot #2". Finally, here are a couple of articles that guided the APS/ATF Advisory Task Force to make our decisions: "The Challenge of Advisory and Why It's Worth the Effort" and "Advisory: 22 Ways to Build Relationships for Educational Success".

TEACHER LEADER FACILITATORS MOU

ATF & APS revised last year's language on Teacher Leader Facilitators (TLFs), drafted additional language, and agreed to continue the program for the coming school year. This is an important position, as educators are able to elect their TLFs and this furthers the cause of democracy in our schools. You can download the MOU here. 

APS/ ATF made agreements about End of the Year procedures and the tone of our joint work: collaboration. Here is the first Joint Memorandum. You can download the document here.

ATF leadership met the last week of school with APS Administration and released the following Memorandum of Understanding. The two parties are working together to create a re-opening task force that will include administration and practitioners. The task force will work on the 7 areas listed on the Memo.


APS/ATF Joint Memos on End of the Year and Re-opening

APS/ ATF made agreements about End of the Year procedures and the tone of our joint work: collaboration. Here is the first Joint Memorandum. You can download the document here.

 

ATF leadership met the last week of school with APS Administration and released the following Memorandum of Understanding. The two parties are working together to create a re-opening task force that will include administration and practitioners. The task force will work on the 7 areas listed on the Memo.

 


Spotlight on ATF Members in Action

All over our district, members of the Albuquerque Teachers Federation are stepping up to build online lessons and provide social and emotional stability for students. We want to thank all APS employees who have risen to the challenge of distance learning on the fly by shining the spotlight on some of these dedicated, innovative educators.

Julie Rombach-Kendall (Mrs. R-K), Music Teacher/ATF Member at John Baker ES

“Like a Bridge Over Troubled Water”

As teachers, most of us thought our students would be better than us at navigating online platforms. After all, they visit Tik Tok and Instagram regularly.  Some of them even have their own YouTube channels. However, many students are having to learn the online platforms along with us.  They need moral support!

Music is soul food, and we all need it now more than ever.  After thinking about how to create some stress relief, a morning Dance Break and Friday afternoon Karaoke Party came to mind.  It has provided an online place to unwind and have some fun with the personal touch of knowing the hostess.

Every Wednesday morning at 10:30 AM, I host an online Dance Break through Google Meet. A meeting code is posted on my JBES music, their general education classroom and our library Google pages 5 or so minutes before it starts.  Students of all ages are encouraged to come for a dance or two or stay for the full 30 minutes. The dances are meant to be a break, so we do not spend time going over specific moves unless it is a line dance. With the line dances, we go over the moves quickly and then do it.

Every Friday afternoon at 3 PM, we have a 5th Grade Karaoke Party Google Meet.    They are instructed to use two devices:  1) for the Karaoke song and 2) for us to see and hear them. Their songs have to be without swear words, no sexual references (romantic is fine) and no references to getting drunk or high. At first, I thought I was doing it for the kids.  It became clear though after hearing their wonderful singing that it was feeding my soul as much as theirs. There is nothing more beautiful than the sound of children singing. It has become a great outlet for our students who love to sing. Everyone has been supportive and encouraging like a bridge over troubled water.

 

                     Allie Bailey, 5th Grade Teacher/ ATF Member from John Baker ES

Allie Bailey and the 5th Grade Team at John Baker created a read-aloud activity to engage their students based on the popular TV show THE MASKED SINGER. They dubbed their creation THE MASKED READERS. JBES staff donned costumes and created virtual avatars, read books to students, and let them solve the mystery. KOB-TV, Channel 4, featured them on their newscast. See the report here.

 

Alison Bowles, ATF Fed Rep for Tierra Antigua Elementary

I have been teaching third graders about character traits after reading a story to my class. Students were asked to use text evidence to support their thinking and submit their answers via Google Slides. Students also worked on defining and illustrating two new vocabulary words. On the next Google Meet Call, I conducted a class discussion to extend students’ analysis of key text elements. Students enjoyed sharing their thinking with each other.

 

 Cherry Malaque, Special Ed. Teacher/ATF Member from Sombra Del Monte ES

“While all the world clamors for more heroes, we find heroes within each one of us”.

Sombra del Monte Special Ed quickly responds to make connections and strengthen relationships with students and families immediately after the lockdown on March 13, 2020. A variety of efforts to reach students and families were made to ensure no student slipped through the cracks. Whenever a  student or family didn't respond after many attempts, teachers felt concerned. Each teacher thought of ways to extend more efforts offering more support to students and families.

It was and still is a roller coaster ride. These pictures show the teachers’ dedication to making connections really authentic. We visited students' residences  (after acquiring permission from parents and following social distancing) and gave them rewards for their performances in iReady, Seesaw and Google Classroom.  To make our visit fun, we wore character costumes and showed signs of support to the families.

The happiness we saw on the faces of our students and families was indescribable and meaningful. We looked at positivity amidst COVID-19. We may be bombarded with fears and uncertainties but we assure families that if we do this together, we will survive. As Sombra says: “ Together we’re better, together we shine”. Now we say: “Together we are braver, together we survive”.  Go, Sombra, go!

 

Christie Marrs, Title I Reading Teacher/ATF Fed Rep, Zuni Elementary School
"The teachers at Zuni are doing all manner of things to reach our families and keep our students engaged. Most support staff, like myself, have created our own websites and we pop into Google Meets to read to students and just chat. We have a volunteer system set up where staff who feel comfortable doing so can assist in passing out lunches and technology and other items to families through a drive-thru system. We are having weekly virtual staff meetings and our principal has been absolutely amazing during this pandemic. Our principal should be a model to others in how to treat and take care of a staff! He has put zero pressure on us and his main concern has been our safety and health. He has urged a "less is more" approach and has recognized us all for our creativity and dedication and our engagement with one another from a distance. I thank my lucky stars that I work at Zuni! "

Shelly Goodman, Special Education Teacher/ATF Member @ Petroglyph ES

"I teach second- through fourth-grade students with learning disabilities. It has been wonderful seeing all the kids in the online meetings. They are real troupers. I want to say thank you to all the families for helping them get set up with all the technology and learning programs. During our classroom meetings, students have been able to participate in a number of different lesson formats, including online workbooks, learning games, taking a virtual field trip, and participating in writing conferences with peers.

This week, we are writing opinions using Google Docs where students are able to type and add pictures while working online with me and with peers. The students used Google Docs in the classroom this year, so they know how to open it up and share the writing with me during the online meetings. Students are also familiar with the writing accommodations provided by APS that help them with spelling. Another helpful accommodation is the text-to-speech option that allows the writing to be read back to the student by the computer. Some students, who have more difficulty spelling, also use the speech-to-text feature which allows them to get more ideas on the page."

 

 Matthew Newman, PE Teacher/ATF Member @ Dolores Gonzales ES and his son

"We've made a YouTube channel named "Backyard PE". In the videos, my son and I go through numerous physical activities you can do with everyday household items. We, then, put the videos on our school’s class dojo page where the kiddos can go to see the videos and such.

We created a Google classroom where we put weekly assignments up, strictly optional of course. The assignments on the Google classroom are about nutrition, anatomy, and other health topics. Lastly, we try to go into as many Google classrooms a week to visit with the classroom teachers and students in an effort to touch base with everybody."

 


Vote Our Values: ATF Unified COPE 2020 Primary Elections Endorsements

If nothing else, this pandemic has brought the shared value of a greater good front and center, as we are reminded daily that we are “all in this together.”

As we have reflected on the last two months, we are grateful that we’ve worked hard to get strong political leaders elected in our state and local governments. These leaders are proving to us that they have the greater good in mind with every decision they make. Currently, we have a governor who has continued to fund our schools and has made sure that all public education employees maintain an income. We have elected state legislators who continue to investigate ways to support our communities, as the stakes are higher than they’ve ever been.

It is now time to vote in the Primary Election and it is critical that we continue to support and vote for leaders who share our values. We all value a better life and a better future for all of us—namely:

  • Good jobs;
  • Quality, affordable healthcare;
  • A secure retirement;
  • Affordable college;
  • Great public schools;
  • Collective bargaining; and
  • A healthy democracy with justice for all.

When we vote, our shared values have a good chance of becoming future realities. That future is more at risk now than ever. We must elect leaders who will stand by us and our families, as well as by our students and their families because the fight forward requires strong leadership.

Join the ATF Committee On Political Education (COPE) or increase your dues here!

 Please sign up to virtual phonebank with your COPE Committee.

2020 ATF/AFT New Mexico/AFT COPE Endorsements

Your union does not tell you how to vote. However, you can be sure that we have carefully vetted each candidate to ensure that our recommendations reflect individuals who most closely align with our goals of preserving and promoting public education and labor rights. The endorsed incumbent candidates were recommended by the ATF Unified COPE committee based on their previous voting record. All new candidates have completed the ATF Unified COPE Questionnaire and have submitted to an interview with the ATF Unified COPE Interview Team. The endorsements were ratified by the ATF Fed Rep Council on April 20, 2020. All statewide endorsements and endorsements for candidates outside of Albuquerque/Bernalillo County were vetted by the AFT-NM COPE Committee. National endorsements are made by the American Federation of Teachers.

Thank you to the Unified COPE Interview Team: Sara Attleson, ATF COPE Chair, Kathy Chavez - AFCP President, Therese Saunders - AFTNM Retirees, James Macklin - Fine Arts, Chelsea O’Connell - John Baker Elementary, and Jorge Serrano - West Mesa High.

Important Dates

  • May 5th: Last Day To Register or Change Registration for the Primary/ County Clerks Begin Mailing Out Absentee Ballot Applications
  • May 16th- May 30th: Early Voting
  • May 28th: Last Day To Request An Absentee Ballot
  • All absentee ballots may be returned by mail (with postage already paid for by the state) to your County Clerk’s Office, or in-person at an alternative voting location, mobile alternative voting location, or any Election Day polling location no later than 7pm on June 2, 2020.
  • June 2nd: Primary Election Day 
  • NOTE: All county clerks in New Mexico will provide early in-person voting on Saturday, May 30, 2020. Because of the nature of postal delivery, the Secretary of State encourages any voter considering making an absentee ballot request on Thursday,   May 28, 2020, to consider voting in-person during early voting hours on Saturday, May 30, 2020, or to vote in-person on Election Day, Tuesday, June 2, 2020.

Stay tuned for early voting information. Meanwhile... Sign Up for an Absentee Ballot here.

The New Mexico Supreme Court has denied a request for an all-mail election for our state primary on June 2. There is no way to know what our quarantine status will be in early June. Protect yourself and your vote, sign up for an absentee ballot today.

The following national candidates are endorsed by the American Federation of Teachers:

U.S. President

Joe Biden

U.S. Senate:

Ben Ray Lujan, U.S. Senate

U.S. Congress:

Debra Haaland, U.S. House of Representatives, District 1

Xochitl Torres Small, U.S. House of Representatives, District 2

No Endorsement Until After the Primary, U.S. House of Representatives, District 3

The following candidates are endorsed by the Albuquerque Teachers Federation and the American Federation of Teachers New Mexico:

NM Judicial Races:

Supreme Court, Position 1: Shannon Bacon
Supreme Court, Position 2: David Thomson
Court of Appeals, Position 1: Zach Ives
Court of Appeals, Position 2: Shammara Henderson

New Mexico State Senate (SD= Senate District):

SD 9 Benjamin Rodefer

SD10 Katy Duhigg

SD14 Michael Padilla

SD15 Daniel Ivey-Soto*

SD16 Antoinette Sedillo Lopez

SD17 Mimi Stewart*

SD18 William "Bill" Tallman

SD 19 Claudia Risner

SD20 Martin Hickey / Rebecca Stair dual endorse

SD23 Harold Pope

SD29 Paul Baca

New Mexico State House of Representatives (HD= House District):

HD10 Andres Romero *

HD13 Patricia Roybal Caballero

HD14 Miguel Garcia*

HD15 Dayan “Day” Hochman

HD17 Deborah Armstrong

HD18 Gail Chasey

HD19 Sheryl Williams Stapleton*

HD20 Meredith Dixon

HD21 Debbie Sariñana*

HD22 Jessica Velasquez

HD24 Elizabeth “Liz” Thomson *

HD25 Christine Trujillo*

HD26 Georgene Louis

HD27 Marian Matthews

HD28 Melanie Stansbury

HD29 Joy Garratt*

HD30 Natalie Figueroa*

HD31 Julie Ford Brenning

HD 44: Gary Tripp

HD 50 Matthew McQueen

HD 57: Billie Helean^

HD68 Karen Bash

HD 69: Harry Garcia

HD 70: Anita Gonzales^

* Denotes a current, retired or former member of the Albuquerque Teachers Federation

^ Denotes a current, retired or former member of the AFT-NM

Join the ATF Committee On Political Education (COPE) or increase your dues here!

 Please sign up to virtual phonebank with your COPE Committee.


FEED OUR FAMILIES: A Partnership Between ATF and Roadrunner Food Bank

(artwork: "Our Community Banner" by Marianna Anaya)

Help Combat Hunger During This Crisis! Donate Now!

“Together, we can achieve what would be impossible on our own.”- AFT President Randi Weingarten

We are fortunate and thankful as educators to still have our jobs, our incomes, and our health insurance. All of these things provide a sense of security during “normal” times, much more so during these times of uncertainty and in the midst of a global pandemic. Many, many families across our country, in our state, and in our district have been less fortunate. Shutdowns, furloughs, and cut hours have left many families struggling to make ends meet and put food on the table.

 Unionism is about solidarity and social justice. It is about supporting our fellow workers. It is about lifting each other up. Unionism is caring about the communities in which we live in every possible way we can. With so many of our students' families, fellow workers and neighbors struggling, we have partnered with Roadrunner to come together stronger to feed our families.

Nationally, food banks are reporting a 40% increase in demand, with two, three, and even four times the number of people seeking help to feed their family. We have seen it here, locally, on TV and in the news, our families are also struggling. Roadrunner Food Bank, the largest food bank in our state, is running out of funds and is low on non-perishables. In a recent news story, it was reported that they have spent their entire year’s budget in just two to three weeks. They need us. More accurately, the families that are depending on the food bank for survival need us. These are our student’s families. These are our neighbors and fellow workers. This is our community.

Although we are in a fortunate place as educators, we also know that some of our colleagues are struggling as family members and significant others face job insecurity. That being said, we are asking all educators who are able to help out by donating in this time of great need.

Donate what you can. It may be that we can donate what we normally spend on gas since we are not traveling to work each day. Perhaps the money you normally spend to have snacks in your classrooms. Every little bit helps. If all 6,800+ employees we represent pitch in, we can collectively make a tremendous difference in our community and for our families.

Let’s support the community in which we live and serve! Take action! Donate today!

 


School Climate Matters! Take the ATF Principal Survey!

School Climate Matters! Take the APS/ATF Principal Survey April 6th-13th

Very few employees have the right to provide feedback about their supervisor's performance, but you do thanks to language in Appendix K of your APS/ATF Negotiated Agreement. Your union leaders worked hard so that your thoughts on your school climate are taken into account. Who has this kind of voice? You do! Your responses come to ATF and we compile them before sending them to APS leadership so that your anonymity is protected. Take the survey now. We need 100% of certified employees to chime in about their principals' strengths and areas in need of improvement.

School Climate Matters! Read the March/April Teacher's Voice.

“To improve the quality of teaching,” Dr. Richard Ingersoll says, you need to “improve the quality of the teaching job.” And, “If you really improve that job… you would attract good people and you would keep them.”

Why Do Teachers Quit? And why do they stay?, The Atlantic, Liz Riggs, 2013

This quote from Dr. Richard Ingersoll, University of Pennsylvania, speaks to School Climate. Ingersoll's research is concerned with the character of elementary and secondary schools as workplaces, teachers as employees and teaching as a job.

Our union President, Dr. Ellen Bernstein, considers addressing the need for a positive school climate to be “The One True Reform.” In this edition of the Teachers’ Voice Ellen asserts that if we neglect the primacy of school climate, very little can create deep and lasting change. School climate matters.

Check your mail. Hard copies of the March/April Teachers’ Voice are coming to your home.

Until then, hope you enjoy the online copy https://atfunion.org/download/2020-v-22-4-mar-apr-tv-climate-matters/.

 

The APS/ATF Principal Survey is one of the many initiatives your union fights for every day. Not yet a member? Join your union today!


ATF's Practitioner's Guide to Distance Learning: The Dos, Don'ts and Helpful Hints

For many of us, the thought of teaching online is quite intimidating or overwhelming and can leave educators at a loss of where to even begin.

Fear not!! Our union is working hard to research, question, and consolidate information that will help all of us thrive in these uncertain times. We are pulling from resources already available, as well as our own very knowledgeable, creative, and capable membership.

For most of us, content and curriculum will not be the challenging part. We know our subjects and craft. And through collaboration with colleagues, we will certainly come up with modified lessons and plans that are meaningful even though they will be delivered via the internet.

ATF Launches Distance Learning Resources

Your union has created a Google Doc with links to distance learning resources. Find help with technology, adapting lessons to meet special needs, nurturing students' social-emotional learning, and much more here.

TIPS FOR TEACHING THROUGH ONLINE VIDEO

Have you thought about your environment while delivering lessons and materials online? Lighting? Camera angle? Sound? Space? What will be seen on the screen? Here are a few logistical tips:

  • Space – It is ideal to find a space that is quiet and away from distractions. Maybe setting up a table or desk in a corner of a room would work. Consider hanging something educational behind you or even something like a whiteboard that you can write on. Make your space a “mini-classroom.”
  • Sound – Most laptops have adequate sound and mics, but a cheap headset with a mic can go a long way (especially if you have trouble hearing). Either way, it is important that your space is in a quiet area so background noises are not a distraction.
  • Lighting – This is a tricky one. Ideally, you want something like a white sheet or board behind your computer facing you so that light can be reflected on to you. Try to avoid any direct lighting in the video as it can wash everything out. Reading lamps can work, especially if adjustable, and especially if you have two (one on each side of your head).
  • Camera angle – This is very important. Try to focus the camera at eye level. If the camera is below eye level, it can look like you are towering over your student (plus they’ll be able to see up your nose…oops). Books, boxes, extra packs of toilet paper that you have laying around, etc., can all be used to elevate your computer.
  • Test your setup – If possible, test out your setup with a colleague or friend. Schedule a Zoom or Facetime meeting (whatever you have access to) and see how everything works.
  • Make sure that you're logged into an account where you have the power to mute others' mics. Use an online platform where you can have a virtual waiting room so you can approve who has access to the meeting.
  • Don’t beat yourself up – Remember, nothing can replace proper public schooling in a brick and mortar building where students and educators have actual, in-person interactions. This is a crisis situation and we are working on stopgap solutions. Your students are most likely feeling the same stress and uncertainty you’re experiencing. They will appreciate seeing you, speaking with you, interacting, and just connecting with you. Hopefully, some of these tips will help facilitate those interactions.

Tips for your teaching and building routines:

 Note: These ideas came directly from APS educators and are suggestions, not mandates.

  1. As educators, we should take into consideration that parents may not have the technological knowledge that we do, so we should create detailed instructions that are easy to follow. We should make sure that parents can access online educational materials with as little difficulty as possible.
  2. Try not to teach too many new concepts at one time. Many of us are worried that we did not get to cover all the Common Core State Standards and content that we planned. We can use this opportunity to go back and fill in any gaps to solidify student learning.
  • Projects Based Learning is a great strategy to use. We can assign students a project that they can complete with minimal adult assistance and with daily work embedded. Students can turn in a final project online or by drop-off that demonstrates their mastery of standards.
  • Focus on students collaborating and thinking rather than just "doing." Message boards and Google assignments in groups foster that type of environment.  Having discussions on reading material allows for participation at students' comfort level while still engaging in the material.
  1. Focus on the quality of the work rather than the quantity. Although students can benefit from drill exercises, try not to over assign “busy work.” To expect all students to work at the same pace is unreasonable. All student efforts need to be appreciated. Many of our students are dealing with challenging home life situations. Many parents and families (including our own families) are being challenged with managing multiple children who are being “homeschooled”. We must not add stress to the lives of our students. Many of them are busy babysitting siblings, etc.  Some students and/or their family members may become sick during this timeframe.
  • Tip: Construct lessons and activities that hit 2-3 learning objectives and/or standards at a time. In this way, we can reduce the number of assignments and offer quality over quantity.
  1. Building relationships & fostering social emotional well-being are extremely important. The overwhelming amount of information everyone is exposed to places stress, fear and anxiety on us all. Our greatest fear is of the unknown. That is why having a safe place for students to voice their concerns, share this tough moment, and build hope is essential. The following site is a resource that provides recommendations for educators from experts in the National Child Traumatic Stress Network https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/a-trauma-informed-approach-to-teaching-through-coronavirus?utm_source=Teaching+Tolerance&utm_campaign=4ecffc4e9e-Newsletter+3-24-2020&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_a8cea027c3-4ecffc4e9e-100576307
  2. Meet online in small groups or offer pre-recorded lessons. Trying to talk to 20-30 kids in an online learning platform could be difficult.
  3. If others in your house will be using online learning, that will definitely affect the quality of your internet feed. Try to build a schedule at your house that doesn’t conflict with others and help the families you serve do the same.
  4. Give students/parents plenty of time to respond. None of this has to be done on the fly. Take extra time to explain instructions. Make sure you explain exactly what is expected of your students. Plan to field lots of student questions for clarification.
  5. This is a major historic event! Encourage students to journal and create projects that portray their daily lives in the time of Covid-19.
  6. Parents are working and may not have time to assist their children, so make assignments easy and short in duration. Do not assign a great deal of work and give students plenty of time to complete work in ways that fit their home situation.
  7. If you are using Google Hangouts to connect with students make sure that everyone has left the meeting before leaving yourself. In this way, we can help monitor students’ online behavior and avoid problems.
  8. Teachers need to be aware that parents and other non-student viewers may be watching/listening. Be extremely careful what you say and how you interact with your students. Interactions that may have been "appropriate banter in class” could be misinterpreted by someone when heard out of context.
  9. All of your teaching does not have to occur in an online meeting format. We can record video podcasts using our desktops as recording devices. Use lots of graphics and high-quality videos. Provide links to Khan Academy, PBS, or Discovery Education videos. Use AFT's sharemylesson.com. Create assignments that nurture student creativity such as recording their own short videos or audio products using cellphones or whatever devices they have on hand. Live online classes can then be used for explanation and addressing individual issues in small groups. Don’t be afraid to merely facilitate meetings and allow them to be student-led.
  10. Pick 1 key standard or “Big Idea” each week. These standards should be the most important ones to finish out the year.
  11. Let students share what they are learning on their own while at home. They may be focused on something that has nothing to do with school but is important to them and their family. Offer lots of student choice when designing an assignment. Ex:  Student reads a novel of their choice and presents a summary in a way that works for their home situation.  Some students may use technology where others may create a picture on a piece of paper or cardboard.
  12. One teacher suggested that students have a short reading lesson and math lesson each day. Writing could be done a couple of times a week and integrated into other topics. Another suggestion: social studies could be incorporated into the reading lesson and science could be incorporated into the math lesson.
  13. Find ways to engage students that are fun and enjoyable! These activities often require the least amount of materials.
  • Example: Teach families basic games to practice math fluency and general comprehension questions they can ask about any story they read.
  1. Try to incorporate activities the students can discuss with parents or siblings at home. A time capsule or a daily journal is something students can create with siblings or parents. They could also create this with friends over the Internet.
  2. Parent involvement is crucial for building structure. Encourage families to schedule learning times similar to normal class routine times.
  • Example: Meet with each class in small groups during the normal time you would meet in the classroom. This doesn’t have to be an everyday occurrence: 2-3 times per week should suffice. Use the time for discussion and introducing any new concepts or activities.
  1. Think about what is available in students’ households. Use common items that most people have in their homes.
  • Baking could cover chemistry concepts, ratios and proportional relationships, as well as fractions. Analyzing charts and models can incorporate social studies and math.

These are but a few of the many wonderful ideas members have sent to us. Have a great idea you want to share? Email your lesson or idea to act@atfunion.org. 

We will all learn from this experience. Take care of yourself and your family. Be well.