Parents and Community

For 7th Year In a Row, Vallejo Educators Donate school supplies to their students


Vallejo Education Association members distribute much-needed school supplies to hundreds of children in the community

It’s called “Helping Hands” and it’s a community outreach project that Vallejo families have come to depend on.

To give back to their community and the children they teach, members of the union representing educators in the Vallejo City Unified School District in Solano County spent two full afternoons this week providing much-needed school supplies to hundreds of their students.

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Join the National Celebration of American Education Week, Nov. 16-22: Take Part in CTA’s Community Engagement Day, Wed., Nov. 19

Throughout California and the nation, communities are observing the 93rd annual American Education Week, a time to honor students, teachers, education support professionals, parents, and community members who help our students succeed.

And on Wed., Nov. 19, CTA is asking non-educators to “put on a teacher hat” for Community Engagement Day.
Here’s what it’s all about.

AEW began in 1921, with the NEA and the American Legion as sponsors of an event designed to help combat illiteracy.

This year and every year on the week before Thanksgiving, the nation pauses to honor students’ hard work, educators’ professionalism, and parents’ and community members’ support for schools.

Overall, the ongoing aim of the week is to rally support for our public schools and the professionals who provide a high quality education to all of our students.

In California on Community Engagement Day, community members are being invited into schools to teach classes, perform lunch and hall duty, and supervise recess – to spend a day in neighborhood schools.

It’s a great way to learn what it’s like to be a school educational professional.

It’s also a great way to strengthen the links between our schools and our communities.

Learn about American Education Week and about NEA’s Educator for a Day event, which is similar to our own Community Engagement Day. In fact, you can use NEA's Educator for a Day Promotional Kit when planning your November 19 Community Engagement Day!

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California Joins in on the Read Across America Celebration

Read Across AmericaCTA officers and board members spread out all over California on Monday, March 3 to help celebrate Read Across America.

Dean Vogel started the day with Tom Torlakson reading to 3rd graders in Sacramento, then followed that up with a visit to Suisun Elementary and their public library where he read “The Day the Crayons Quit” (photo at left).

Eric Heins spent time at Bagby Elementary in San Jose; Mikki Chichoki and Jose Alcala spent the morning at La Jolla Elementary in Moreno Valley reading to classes there, and Sue Cirillo read to eight different classes at Beachy Avenue Elementary in Arleta.

CTA Board Liaison Kendall Vaught read to two different classes at Commonwealth School in Fullerton. Dana Dillon was on hand to receive a resolution from the State Assembly in Sacramento. And prior to Read Across America Day, Tyrone Cabell and Toby Boyd both participated in large community events celebrating reading. 

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Raising Awareness: Reclaiming Public Education

A long journey begins with a single step. Educators, parents, and community members are taking part in local actions across the country to say collectively and clearly that our students deserve better than “market-driven” reforms. We’re saying “NO” to a corporate takeover of our education system and “YES” to community-driven, student-based decisions.

That’s why CTA, NEA, and the AFT are asking everyone to Raise Your Hand for Great Public Schools.

Our schools belong to all of us: the students who learn in them, the parents who support them, the educators and staff who work in them and the communities that they anchor. We cannot allow ourselves to be divided. Corporate-style reforms that disregard our voices, and attempt to impose a system of winners and losers must end. None of our children deserve to be collateral damage.

We have developed principles and are committed to working together to achieve the policies and practices that they represent. Read and sign on to the principles.

And you can join in by lending your voice, post or tweet. Please consider donating a Facebook post or tweet. Click on "read more" below for a few samples you could share with your friends. 

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Vallejo Educators Donate School Supplies to Help 2,000 Students

Vallejo Unified teacher Loree Tackmier, transitional kindergarten and childcare director for Vallejo Education Association, with one of the student recipientsTo help their hard-hit community and the families they teach, members of the union representing educators in the Vallejo City Unified School District will spend three afternoons this week supplying much-needed school supplies and books that the union is donating to 2,000 Vallejo students. This will be the fifth year in a row that educators are helping students in their community with free supplies.

As educators, we understand that investing in our students and schools means investing in our community’s future,” said Christal Watts, president of the Vallejo Education Association. “Even though the economy is getting better, many of the families we serve are still struggling in Vallejo. We are proud of this effort to give back and provide just a little bit of extra help by giving school supplies to help our kids in school.

Teachers will distribute to students 2,000 bags of pens, pencils, notebooks, coloring pencils, crayons, erasers and bookmarks at four locations in town. In addition, as in previous years, the Vallejo Friends of the Library are donating several hundred books for students to take home and enjoy.

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Parent Teacher Home Visit Project

Dana Tomlinson and Erin Major visit the Castro familyLast school year, Dana Tomlinson and Erin Major, 6th-grade teachers at Emory Elementary School in San Diego, embarked on a project to visit the families of their 66 students. At the end of the year, they had completed nearly all of the visits and brought school supplies for each student.

"At this home visit (see photo at left), we met with April Castro's mom (her dad arrived just as we were leaving to go to our next visit) and April. They showed us around their house, shared some family photos, and we talked about how wonderful April is - kind, strong, outspoken, athletic," explained Dana. "We explained how some of the programs at our school work and what she can expect from us this year, and we listened to her let us know how we can best help April. Lastly, we had her experience the Chromebook our students are using this year by taking a survey to discover parental strengths and the extent to which they would like/are able to volunteer with us this year." 

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CTA Launches 'California Reads' - Recommended Reading from California Teachers

We all know that reading is the foundation of learning and needs to be highlighted more than just once a year to make a lasting impression. A study from the National Institute for Literacy found that a person who is not at least a modestly-skilled reader by the end of third grade is quite unlikely to graduate from high school. Therefore, the Read Across America committee is piloting a project, working closely with the California School Library Association, to expand our current day of reading celebration to a yearlong promotion of reading for all ages. Rather than just one day and just one book, "California Reads" will offer teacher-approved quarterly book recommendations for four age groups.

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Every child deserves a chance to learn and no child succeeds alone.

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