SEA Update December, 2021
This time of the year is always crazy. Sometimes the season can be stressful. Then add COVID and the challenge of our day jobs—it all adds up. The association can’t always make something that’s just unpleasant go away. But we can be there to support each other. If someone is in need, let’s be there for support.
Towards the end of George Seaton’s classic film Miracle on 34th Street, Fred Gailey says, “Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to.” Have faith. Keep believing.
· You do make a difference.
· You are valued
· The difference you make in kids’ lives is essential.
· The support you provide colleagues matters.
Even when common sense tells you not to believe, have faith. Let’s be there for each other. We’re in this together. On behalf of the SEA Executive Board, we would like to wish everyone a restful, relaxing, festive and joyous holiday break. Best to all of you.
To improve communication and keep membership apprised of SEA matters, the Executive Board will publish a monthly update. All traditional sources of information and communication are still in place; our hope is that the monthly updates will be a supplement to the information ordinarily provided. If at any time, you feel there are areas or situations that need to be addressed, please pass that information along to your building representative. Here is an overview of current happenings:
Entering Absences—Personal Days
We continue to receive comments regarding being questioned about entering absences for personal days. Questions about the specific intent of a personal day should not be asked, nor should you feel compelled to answer. Instead, provide assurances that the personal day requested satisfies the conditions of Article 9A:
· Unforeseen circumstances
· Does not fall categorically in other types of leave provided
· Used with the utmost of discretion
· For conducting important affairs that cannot be accomplished at any other time
· Does not involve travel time or an extension of the weekend, holiday, or vacation.
The employee requesting the personal day is responsible for assurances that the requested day satisfies these requirements. Also remember that a principal, “shall grant no more leaves on a single day that ten (10%) percent of the teachers in that building.” If, after following these guidelines, there is still an issue with a personal day request, notify your building representative. We also urge you to review Article 9 of the CBA regarding all types of leaves. Additionally, if you have a unique circumstance that you would like considered, that request can be forwarded to Superintendent Palmer for her consideration.
Just a reminder that if you maintain social media accounts be careful about what you post. That includes on private accounts. We believe your best interest is not to identify yourself as a Salem School District teacher. If you choose to associate yourself with the Salem School District on social media, either in words or graphics, please understand that you are opening yourself up to scrutiny by the Salem School District. The SEA recommends that you do not do so. Furthermore, we encourage everyone to review the following school board policies:
Staff Use of Social Media Policy: https://sau57.org/ld.php?content_id=31195352
Technology Responsible Use Policy: https://sau57.org/ld.php?content_id=25546763
Discipline and Reporting Instances
We have been receiving an increased number of reports about discipline throughout the district. These should always be forwarded to your immediate supervisor. We also encourage you to keep a copy of the correspondence for your records. Building representatives will also help relay messages to building administrators as well, and we will keep in contact with Superintendent Palmer to keep her apprised as well. We all recognize the heightened sense of awareness of instances across the country. Also know that you are protected by the district. All staff must continue to follow the crisis protocol that’s reviewed at the beginning of every school year, but as long as you are in the course of performing your job responsibilities you are covered. Furthermore, in the unlikely event that any member faces litigation, NEA-NH members have a million dollar liability policy that will protect you. While discipline specifically isn’t necessarily something under the jurisdiction of the SEA, we will continue to keep administration informed about what is going on in the buildings in our district and support our members however we can.
NEA Member Benefits
As a member of the SEA, you are also a member of the NEA. Your membership gives you special access not only to professional support, but also to resources available through NEA Member benefits. These include, but are not limited to financial services, insurance, student debt relief, retirement planning, and shopping and travel deals. Explore these at the member benefits website: https://www.neamb.com/ . While you’re there, be sure to check the beneficiary on your complimentary life insurance policy.
SEA Leadership Chairs/Experts
Recently, several issues have been brought to our attention, many of which could have been addressed more efficiently by contacting an SEA member with unique knowledge and insight into specific areas. This is just another reminder, to provide a more streamlined approach to answering questions and resolving issues, we have created a list of leadership chairs and SEA Experts. In addition to your building representatives, these contacts are a way for you to start to get questions answered and issues resolved. If you have a question or concern that falls into one of these specific categories, let your building rep know and feel free to contact the “point person” directly. The list and email contacts can be found here. He or she is in the best position to provide an accurate and timely response. Throughout the year we also plan to include additional information on these topics to streamline the process as well. We also encourage you to be familiar with the CBA. That can be found on the SEA website as well. We are here for you, and we want to be as efficient and as effective as possible.
Fundraising / SEA Jeans Days
Stickers for SEA Jeans Days are available from your building representatives. Consider supporting the SEA Scholarship Fund by participating. Contact your rep for additional information. This year’s dates are:
· January 3
· March 17
· April 6