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The e-Advocate
Updated On: Aug 05, 2015

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Sizzlin' at the Summer Academy!

This year, FEA hosted the 2015 FEA Summer Academy on June 14-19 at the Saddlebrook Resort. It was a huge success. We had more than 280 participants, not including FEA staff and trainers. Participants had a great variety of trainings to choose from. FEA offered a total of 10 trainings that participants could attend and AFT sponsored three more – many of them were filled to capacity! Topics covered everything you may need to know, including trainings for new officers, treasurers, bargaining, tips on running your local, management skills, women and minority leadership, student engagement and more.

The reviews were overwhelmingly positive. Attendees applauded everything from the trainings, hotel, registration, food, and the activities after hours. Participants even got to enjoy a live band at the group dinner on Wednesday. “I had a WONDERFUL time, even though I was only there from Wednesday on,” one attendee commented. “Otherwise, the staff from Saddlebrook & FEA was WONDERFUL! The Women's Leadership, which I attended was EXTREMELY NURTURING & ENLIGHTENING!”

Look out for the FEA Advocate! Coming soon to a mailbox near you…

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FEA Volunteers Play Key Roles at 2015 NEA Representative Assembly in Orlando 
Seven thousand delegates and 3,000 registered guests descended on Orlando from July 3-6 to recommit themselves to their union and the future of public education as part of the National Education Association’s annual Representative Assembly (RA).

And a group of 250 volunteers from all over the country, led by FEA member and RA Host Committee Chair Kali Davis, was a key part of making it all happen.

Davis, a literacy coach in Pinellas County and a Pinellas CTA Executive Board member-at-large, was appointed by FEA President Andy Ford and Vice President Joanne McCall about a month before last year’s RA in Denver.

“I first met Kali when she was president of Student FEA. She was a dynamic, energetic leader then and even with balancing her career and motherhood it continues today,” said Ford on why he and McCall appointed her.

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NEA Ed Summer 
by Mary Thomas-Proud 
This summer FEA was invited to participate in the 2015 NEA Ed Summer program. Ed Summer’s objectives are to join together with other locals and state associations throughout the southern region to standup for great public schools for all students through local and state activism and a coordinated campaign that moves student-centric/educator-supportive legislation in our state houses and champions in our school boards.

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FEA Members Got Involved at 2015 AFT TEACH Conference
The bi-annual AFT Teach (Together Educating America’s Children) Conference was held July 13-15 in Washington D.C. This conference is meant to inspire educators and all activists involved in public education and to provide workshops and demonstrations with the latest tools and information for these individuals. Tracks at the conference included advocating for public education, professional practices, the union at work, the teaching profession and many more.

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Updates to VAM
The State Board of Education met on Thursday, July 23, to adopt a new set of rules pertinent to the use of the VAM on teacher evaluations. The passage of HB 7069 lessened the impact that the VAM has on teachers’ evaluations from counting for half of the evaluation to at least one third. HB 7069 also requires a new statewide standard for the test-based portion of the teacher evaluations had to be devised, formerly decided by the districts. These standards were set for 4th – 10th grade language arts teachers and 4th – 8th grade math and Algebra 1 teachers – or one-third of all Florida teachers.

After holding several workshops throughout this summer, two rules were adopted during that board meeting that will have an impact on our members and the work FEA does on their behalf. The first rule defines the evaluation process, courses included in the evaluation and how districts are to go by evaluating their teachers. The second establishes the standard for highly effective, effective, needs improvement/developing and unsatisfactory teachers.

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