April 25-27, 2019 was the Washington Education Association Representative Assembly, and GPR was able to get some powerful New Business Items passed for the next school year. Read the article below for all the details.
The last weekend of April two members of the WSASP GPR committee attended the Washington Education Association Representative Assembly (WEA RA) as elected representatives from their school districts; Carrie Suchy, NCSP, from Franklin Pierce Schools, and Laurie Harrison, PhD from Snohomish School District. At the WEA RA delegates from across the state decide the business of the Union for the next year. Attending the WEA RA as an elected representative from your local union is a great advocacy opportunity for all members of WEA. In the past, the WEA RA has been supportive of ESA and school psychologist driven business. This year was no exception, and we are excited to report some BIG wins!
Carrie Suchy proposed 6 “New Business Items” which passed with significant support. These are the proposals that determine the business of the WEA for the next year. Several of these had second authors, and she did not present all of them to the body herself. She also submitted one Continuing Resolution and supported a second Continuing Resolution. These are ongoing beliefs of the WEA. Both of these passed as well. These are summarized below. The business items are numbered based on when they are submitted and are presented here with the official item numbers.
New Business Item #2 – Equitable benefits for ESA members
Carrie Suchy made this motion to the body. This new business item required the WEA to allow ESA organizations to work directly with a WEA Lobbyist on legislative advocacy that does not conflict with WEA priorities. This is a repetition of a New Business Item from 2018 (NBI #13) but expands this from members of the ESA Behavioral Health Coalition to all ESA organizations.
New Business Item #4 – National Board Parity for ESA Staff
Heather Graham, a school nurse from the Spokane area, made this motion to the body. This new business item requires WEA to continue to lobby for National Board Parity for ESA staff who have national certifications at the state level.
New Business Item #5 – School Psychologist Working Conditions
Laurie Harrison made this motion to the body. This new business item requires the WEA to publish their ongoing work to pass legislation for Washington to meet the national recommended ratio for school psychologists, 1:500-700. This is a repetition of a New Business Item from 2018 (NBI #25).
New Business Item #6 – Equitable Recognition for ESA’s
Carrie Suchy made this motion to the body. This new business item creates, for the first time in Washington or nationally that we are aware of, an ESA of the Year award to be presented annually beginning in the RA of 2020 along with the Teacher of the Year and ESP of the year. ESA’s will now have an equitable opportunity for recognition at the state level from our union.
New Business Item #7 – Publication and Recognition of the ESA Professional Organization’s Annual Awards.
Laurie Harrison made this motion to the body. This new business item requires the WEA to use existing methods of communication to publish and recognize the annual awards given by ESA organizations like WSASP, when those award recipients are members of WEA.
New Business Item #8 – High Quality Information on Multi-Tiered System of Supports
Kristen Baker, a special education teacher from the Franklin Pierce Schools, made this motion to the body. This new business item requires the WEA to use existing means of communication to publish information on high quality training for MTSS at this time. It is not asking for WEA to provide this training, only to provide resources to member on high quality training on the topic.
Amendments to Continuing Resolution E-3
Carrie Suchy made a motion to amend this continuing resolution to match the recommended ratio of school psychologists to students from 1:1000 to 1:500-700 to match the recently passed NBI.
Liz Nelson, a school social worker from North Thurston Public Schools, made a motion which Carrie Suchy seconded, to add a line to this same continuing resolution recommending a ratio of 1:250 for school social workers.
Again, these are beliefs of the WEA, not action items.
We are excited about all of the support WEA is showing for ESAs, and again, encourage ESAs to get involved in their locals and at the WEA RA!