On October 1, 2019, CEA President John Coneglio and third grade teachers delivered copies of an open letter to the Columbus City Schools Board of Education regarding serious concerns with a recent change to requirements for the placement of third grade students on Reading Improvement and Monitoring Plans (RIMPs). The union asked the district to immediately rescind it’s ill-informed directive, designed to avoid deductions on the flawed state report card, which will incorrectly label a vast majority of third graders in the district as “off track” and “reading deficient”.
Copies of the letter were signed by a majority of Columbus City Schools third grade educators.
The NEA Foundation today announced that Jennifer LaPlace, a Social Studies teacher at Centennial High School, is one of 45 public school educators who will receive the prestigious California Casualty Award for Teaching Excellence at the NEA Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education Gala next February in Washington, D.C.
The California Casualty Awards for Teaching Excellence awardees are nominated by their peers for their dedication to the profession, community engagement, professional development, attention to diversity, and advocacy for fellow educators.
“I am happy to represent Columbus City Schools as teacher and thankful to former OEA President, Becky Higgins for having the belief that urban education is thriving in the state of Ohio,” said LaPlace.
Each year, the Salute to Excellence in Education Gala draws almost 1,000 supporters of public education, and thousands more online, to applaud these awardees. At the gala, the educators are truly the stars, celebrated throughout the night with music, performances, videos, and more.
“Ms. LaPlace is a teacher who always goes the extra mile,” said Centennial High School Principal Stephanie Porta. “She is continually looking at ways to improve her teaching and reach her students in a meaningful ways. She never gives up!”
“This year’s awardees are fulfilling the promise of public education in classrooms, schools, and communities from coast to coast,” says Sara A. Sneed, President and CEO, the NEA Foundation. “Each awardee has met a very high standard, and together, they are celebrated for a shared commitment to educational excellence, innovative approaches to student learning, and support for their peers. We are grateful to California Casualty for its recognition and celebration of the very best in education, and we look forward to honoring the 2020 California Casualty Awards for Teaching Excellence awardees.”
Of the 45 state awardees who were nominated by their National Education Association state affiliate, five finalists will be announced at the beginning of the school year and receive $10,000 at the gala. The nation’s top educator will be revealed at the gala on February 7, 2020 and receive an additional $25,000. The gala will be livestreamed at neafoundation.org.
The NEA Foundation and the National Education Association jointly present the awards. Find more information about the awards and a gallery of this year’s awardees
Hello, my name is John Coneglio and I am the President of the Columbus Education Association. Tonight, CEA members voted overwhelmingly by secret ballot to approve a new three-year collective bargaining agreement with Columbus City Schools. This agreement is the culmination of over one hundred hours of bargaining dating back to April, and preparations that began months earlier. The new contract will impact the working conditions of the more than 4,000 members of the Columbus Education Association and the learning conditions of more than 50,000 CCS students.
From the beginning, our campaign for the Schools Columbus Students Deserve was built on a platform of six major components; including reduced class sizes and caseloads, adequate staffing of student support professionals, dedicated space for art, music, and P.E., expanding alternative programs for discipline, reducing turnover by compensating educators as professionals, and funding schools and saving taxpayers money by ending handouts for wealthy corporations that don’t need them.
I am extremely proud to report that our new contract makes progress in nearly every one of these areas; Included in the terms of this agreement are the first reductions in class size cap for grades K through 3 in 25 years. Included in this contract are 60 additional CEA student support professional positions including school nurses, social workers, and social emotional learning practitioners. Included in this contract is new language requiring educator input before an art or music room is repurposed. Included in this agreement is a commitment for each building with any combination of grades 7 through 12 to provide space and staffing for a trauma-informed in-school discipline program as an alternative to out-of-school suspension. Included in this agreement are raises for all of our dedicated educators in each year of the contract as well as the first ever parental leave for non-birth parents.
This agreement represents a huge, tangible step forward for our students, educators, and community. However, our fight for the Schools Columbus Students Deserve continues. The board rejected all CEA proposals regarding tax abatements for wealthy corporations who don’t need them. The fact that this school board was unwilling to tackle this issue at the bargaining table does not mean that the issue goes away, simply that we will work alongside our allies in the political arena and other venues to hold our elected officials accountable. It is our duty to ensure that politicians put the needs of our students ahead of corporate welfare for the wealthiest.
While we have work to do, we are very proud of what our bargaining team, members, labor, and community allies accomplished together. We look forward to the new school year, implementation of our new agreement following school board ratification, and continuing to fight for the schools Columbus Students Deserve.