For most members, it’s hard to fully comprehend just what Jessica Hiler, FCEA President, handles as part of her organizational duties. Here’s a small taste of some of this year’s obligations. She said she finally stopped typing because there’s no way to list it all…
President Jessica Hiler chats with Daryl Love, FCPS School Board member, at the Read Across America event.
School visits: roughly 60
School Board Meetings: 24 (2x per month, including Planning Meetings)
Committees (KEA, FCPS, etc…)
Participated on the FCPS Staffing Task Force, ESSA (KEA), FCPS Certified Evaluation Plan, FCPS Budget and Staffing, Family Reunion Planning, FCPS Compliance Hotline, FCPS New Teacher Induction, FCPS NBCT Cadre Planning, and FCPS Audit selection
KEA Lobby Team (2X per week during the legislative session)
Meeting with Manny – 2x per month
FCEA sponsored Student Growth Goal Training
ESSA Training in DC
Worked with superintendent and HR on sub issue
Meeting with KY Commissioner of Education
Meeting with FCEA Board of Directors: 1x per month
Meeting with FCEA Building Representatives: 1x per month
Winter Gathering, Parade, Dance Blue, Read Across America, Retirement Dinner
Individual Member issues — a huge chunk of her time commitment!
Due in large part to the activism of KEA active and retired members, the KTRS pension system received a much-needed infusion of cash in this year’s budget from the Legislative Assembly. KTRS will receive $973M towards the unfunded Annual Required Contribution (ARC).
Other pension-related items were:
House Bill 271, which requires all state retirement systems to report information on their members or members’ beneficiaries to the state Public Pension Oversight Board each fiscal year.
House Bill 238, a bill that creates a “permanent fund” for public pensions funded in the Executive Branch budget bill, or HB 303. It also requires an actuarial audit every five years to be conducted on the state retirement systems.
While we are pleased to see a commitment made to addressing pension funding, there’s still a long way to go before the system is secure. It is imperative that all of us continue to stay alert, stand firm, and speak up about our retirement security. Since most Kentucky educators receive little to no Social Security, it is vital the state honor the promises made at the start of our careers.
To illustrate the importance of speaking up and standing firm … during the General Assembly, one legislator said that he had stacks and stacks of phone messages and emails — all from teachers — and that didn’t even count the phone calls that couldn’t get through because voicemail and inbox were full.
We must all stay alert over the next year. Among the issues that will crop back up or surge into prominence include pension security, charter schools, standardized testing, and student and teacher safety. Just keep educating yourself on these topics by following FCEA’s social media accounts.
It’s a bittersweet time of year as FCEA bids goodbye to members who are retiring from education to follow other pursuits, many of which seem to involve grandchildren or a beach somewhere.
Our organization appreciates these members’ service, as well as the chance to help sponsor the FCPS Retirement Dinner. At this year’s event, held May 20, 2016 at Grand Reserve, President Jessica Hiler helped bid goodbye to the educators listed below.
Lisa Baradaran, a retiring Special Education teacher from Glendover Elementary, says that being an FCEA member played an important role in her career. “I have been a member of FCEA for 15 years and KEA for 32 years. Through several different presidents, FCEA has kept the members informed of important issues. The officers of FCEA have worked diligently to organize members to send emails, visit Representatives and Senators, and attend local board meetings.”
She went on to say, “When I needed advice for a personal situation, FCEA provided guidance and support. My 15 years of teaching in Fayette County were less stressful because of the knowledge and support I received from FCEA!”
We wish each and every one of our retiring members a happy and active “second life,” and we hope to see you actively involved in the Kentucky Retired Teachers Association!
One of the small ways in which FCEA gives back to its members is through the Classroom Grants awarded in both Fall and Spring of each year. With $250 to spend on a classroom need or program, winners can enrich their students’ experiences in the classroom. Sarah Ryder, of Deep Springs Elementary, and Kellie Derrickson, of Lansdowne Elementary, share the results of their awards.
In Derrickson’s 5th grade classroom, students took part in a culminating activity from the “If I Had A Hammer” math project. The kids worked on area and perimeter, scaling, and designing a home with interior walls and a roof using material their teacher purchased for their classroom.
Ryder used the funds to purchase much-needed supplies for her Special Area Art classes. She stated that the flexibility of using her own funds allowed her to find deals that stretched her dollars even further.
Congratulations go out to 2016 winners of the FCEA Award for Teaching Excellence, Steven Riley and Traci Rust.
A nine-year staff member at Henry Clay High School, Steven teaches Social Studies, while Traci, a Visual Arts instructor, has been a staff member at Arlington Elementary School for 12 years. She’ll be moving to Ashland Elementary for 2016-17. These two were part of an outstanding group of applicants for this year’s award, which grants winners $500 to use as they wish.
Be on the lookout for next year’s application announcement!
As part of KEA’s Day of Learning this year, 15 educators from Fayette County traveled to Frankfort on March 8, 2016 to learn more about the legislative process by attending the House Education Committee meeting and conversing with legislators.
As Traci Rust, one the participants said, “KEA’s Day of Learning gave me a great opportunity to sit down face-to-face with legislators to share my own personal journey and struggles within the field of education. Not only were legislators attentive and inquisitive, each and every person encountered was welcoming, polite, and very friendly. Emails and phone calls will always help in times where our voices need to be heard, but meeting with legislators face to face makes us human; it gives our opinions a face, an emotion, and a beating heart that is hard to ignore. I highly recommend others to attend KEA Day of Learning, and if you can’t fit that day in your schedule, make time on your own to make a personal connection.”
Attendees included Ida Craft, Arlene Jacina, Allison Givan, Angela Rey-Barreau, Traci Rust, Asia Baker, Tim McCoy, Sara Green, Liz Buckler, Kim Haskins, Delvin Azofeifa, Michelle Ratchford, Suzanne Weaver, Kathy Isenhour, Susan McLaughlin-Jones, and President Jessica Hiler.