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By Ed Sibby

From Friday, December 3rd through the 5th, over 250 CTA members from San Diego, Imperial, and Orange Counties (SDIOC) met in this year’s first in-person leadership conference since 2019. Members received training on many topic areas over the course of the three-day weekend event.  

From advocacy around contract issues to site rep training to addressing diversity issues and practicing self-care strategies, the SDIOC Fall Leadership Conference offered growth opportunities for members to meet their needs across the educational spectrum and all along a career path that covered new educators, veterans, and those nearing retirement. 

Among the course offerings (that were pre-approved for professional growth credit hours) was Self-Care Yoga, where trainer Karen Taylor emphasized the importance of creating emotional space through movement and pose. Regular practitioners have significantly less stress-related illnesses as they build both physiological and emotional resilience. 

Members also attended training clarifying the change in CA Education Code that will require ethnic studies courses to be in place in high schools throughout the state by the 2025-2026 school year, and how those programs may roll out differently in local communities.  

Additional electives included Working with Your School Board, Grievance Training, Engaging the Community and Building Positive Relationships, Making Regular Member Contact, Supporting Trans Students, and Legal Issues and Updates.

CTA President E. Toby Boyd’s keynote speech captured the zeitgeist of the weekend as he shared reasons for optimism amidst the many challenges faced by educators and support professionals;

“While there is still some risk of another winter surge, we really have made a lot of progress toward keeping educators and students safe. Vaccines, and now booster shots, are widely available. And we just learned a few weeks ago that the Legislative Analyst’s Office is predicting $20 billion in new K-12 funding for 2022-23.” 


The robust economy has also been good news at the bargaining table, where chapters and their members have successfully negotiated raises by capturing the state’s cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) of 5.07%.  

Boyd also reminded members of the likelihood of a vouchers scheme to be on the November 2022 ballot. Members should be prepared to reject this latest attack by cynical forces looking to dismantle the public school through its systematic de-funding.   

Service Center Council Chairs Peggy Emanuel, Kristin Montoya, and Dave Szymanski were pleased that members were receptive to both the positive information related to our public schools, and the need for greater local organizing to face threats to the creation of quality community schools every student deserves.  

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