Archive for News

Salary checking

With the new year comes new paychecks and concerns about their accuracy.

This year, there are two options to check that things are all right.

First, Donna Snyder told Ben that she’d explain it to anyone who sends her an email as being “the easiest way.” (This is one of many reasons that we at have been a fan of Donna since our hiring date.) You can do that through school email.

If you like to do things yourself, log in and use the spreadsheet I’ll put up in the next Members Only post.

Most of the time, things should “just work.” If they don’t, JETA is always standing by to help out! Move

If you’ve been using my website for quick links, I had to move it this weekend.

It’s now up at Sorry for any inconvenience.

The December Meeting

The Executive Committee met on December 15th and got quite a lot accomplished:

–Decided on a form for building reps to use to report problems and concerns to both the Executive Committee and school administration when necessary.

–Decided that to increase turnout at Board Meetings, the High School would represent JETA at the meetings in January & April, Elbridge would represent at February and May, and the Middle School would represent at April and June. See your Building Rep to show the JETA colors!

–Decided to urge members to go to the NYSUT MAC (Member Action Center) to urge the Governor not to make Regents Field Testing mandatory.

–Decided to empower our Social Chair Jessica Paquette to set up a NIGHT OF JETA BOWLING AT DESTINYUSA IN FEBRUARY!!!! Stay tuned for more details!

Some Teacher Love from the Gov

I was having a great day teaching today.

Then I read this article about how the governor is saying that the APPR standards aren’t tough enough and he is going to look to make changes.

And another one saying that he won’t sign the bill that he introduced and negotiated making things easier for teachers who were hurt by the not-so-smooth rollout of the Common Core. The links are in the article:  It’s About to Get Real

That made me a little bitter, but it turned out just to be an appetizer when sent me this one.

In it, the Director of State Operations writes to the Chair of the Regents and Commissioner of Education how the governor “does not want to demonize teachers” and then proceeds to ask twelve questions that would seem to do just that, asks for suggestions on how to do it better, and insinuates he will use his budget to do so: Governor’s Letter. This letter will show the direction the governor is going as we head into 2015 and is worth a read.
No matter what they say, no matter what they think, for whatever it is worth, I believe that we do a fantastic job making our students the most important people in our district!

Mandatory Field Testing

The Board of Regents has proposed an amendment to state Education Law that explicitly would require school districts to participate in “field testing.” State Education Department officials maintain the action is necessary to offset the increasing number of parents keeping their children from participating in field testing, which is the practice of administering test questions that aren’t scored but serve to generate feedback and help testing companies enhance future exams.

Please consider visiting the NYSUT Member Action Center to email your comments about mandatory field testing to SED.

Points to Consider in Your Comments:

-Students should not be subjected to over-testing or burdened with field tests.
-The main purpose of field tests is to benefit for-profit test makers.
-Mandatory field testing would only further the erosion of learning time.
-Parents and teachers want more time spent on teaching and learning and less time spent on testing.
-The state’s priorities need to be recalibrated to emphasize teaching and learning, not more standardized testing.

New Coaches and Advisors, Listen Up!

This past week, Ben resolved an issue with the district that involves only first year coaches and first-year club advisers who are paid under Schedule A-3.

If you fall into one of those categories, please check with your building representative to be sure that you are being paid what you should be for your time.

Thanks for all you do for our kids.

Vote on Tuesday and Some Other Things

I wish I could take credit for writing this, but it was written by Maggie Estlinbaum, one of the high school building representatives in a letter to the high school faculty that was too good not to reprint here:


Hello Everyone,


Tuesday November 4th is Election day.  It is of the utmost importance that we all take the time to vote and make our voices heard.  It was mentioned at our last faculty meeting that only 43% of NYSUT members voted in the last election.  As I am sure you are aware, if we do not vote, it is difficult to convince our elected officials that the issues that we value like a great education system is important.  So please, take the time to vote, and make sure that you vote for all of the contested offices.  It is almost more important that you vote for your local officials as  your voice is more powerful at a local level.


To help you in forming your decisions below are links to the Onondaga County Board of Elections and the Cayuga County Board of Elections.  On both of these websites you can find a sample ballot for each of the contested races so that you can do your research before heading to the polls on Tuesday November 4th.


Here is also a link to the NYSUT endorsed candidates in case you are interested.


Finally, there are two things that I need to request from you:

  1. We are looking for members to attend Board meetings and take notes at them.  As Mindy mentioned following our last faculty meeting we have done this in the past and it holds the Board more accountable for what they say about teachers in a public forum.  There is a sign-up sheet in the staff lunch room and I will likely walk around and try to sign folks up in the next week or two.
  2. We are looking for members who would like to join the APPR committee.  This committee will be in charge of looking at our APPR agreement and discussing any developing any potential changes.  I have already heard from Marlena Nivison, Pam Mead, and Jason Kufs that they are interested in being on this committee.

Thanks JETA

Thanks for setting this up! It is a great way to communicate.

Uncle Sam Needs You to Vote this November, but Aunt Kiki Needs You this Friday

Kiki Gugel asked me to ask around the high school for two volunteers to work at the snack bar at the Pep Rally on Friday night, September 12.

Please don’t tell her that I didn’t because I forget things like that. Hopefully she won’t read this post and know that I’ve let her down because the 43 people who have registered for updates so far (YEAH, JETA!) will read this and turn out in force.

I worked it last year, and it was a blast. And I don’t just mean the fireworks.

She told me to beg. Unfortunately, at, we (will eventually) have such high standards that we prefer to ask nicely.

Sporting the Blue on December 9


State Education Commissioner John King has decided to repeal the Common Core Standards after seeing JETA members dress up in blue today. “That’s strange,” pointed out JETA co-president Ben Alexander. “All we wanted was a three-year moratorium on high-stakes testing so that test results don’t hurt kids or teachers any more.”

Well, that actually didn’t happen, but it was fun to sport the blue. More pictures will follow as they are received at Central.

 DEC9JEMSAt the Middle School this morning.

Kiki Gugel (8th Grade Resource), Jim Sherman (MS Home & Careers), Paul Farfaglia (Data Co-ordinator), Angel Bevilaqua (8th Grade Science), Doug Hickman (MS Technology), Leo McCormick (7th Grade Science), Mark Donabella (8th Grade Math)


DEC9JETAEXECThe JETA Executive Committee members who made it to the end of the meeting at 6:00

Leo McCormick (Treasurer), Happy McClurg (Health & Safety), Kiki Gugel (MS Building Rep), Jennifer Weaver (Secretary), Paul Farfaglia & Ben Alexander (co-Presidents), Dave Sipley (Hiding in the Background), Pat Smart (Elbridge Building Rep).