SEA-side with Chery 11-10-16

Happy Thursday!! Trimester 1 almost done 🙂

  • Are those underwear boxes filling up? Don’t forget to help our Community Closet by filling those boxes with socks and underwear for all ages .
  • Do you know an ESP that goes above and beyond? Please consider nominating them for ESP of the year. online form or paper form

Paper form attached J

  • Hungry? Head to the Village Tavern this month with your school ID for 20% off your own meal!
  • HAPPY AMERICAN EDUCATION WEEK – you will receive a small token of appreciation from the SEA at the beginning of the next week. Thanks for all you do for our students!! YOU ROCK!
  • Here is the link to our current board policy on the pledge – this has not changed since 2002 – the board revisited the policy in 2013 but no changes were made. Basically the stance is you can’t require a child to stand or to say the pledge, but you can require they be respectful for those that choose to do so. Click on the link below and go into “Instruction” –  policy number 6:390

  • Are you looking for an amazing opportunity to expand your educational horizons AND add to your Domain 4?  Sign up to be a delegate for the upcoming IEA Representative Assembly!  This assembly meets March 30-April 1 in downtown Chicago with lodging and meal expenses paid by Region 35 and SEA.  The RA is your chance to be a voice for the district at the state level.  16 SEA members will be attending in addition to the hundreds of other IEA members from around the state.  Complete the attached nomination form and send it to Kara Zielinski at Enders-Salk. The deadline is Tuesday, November 15th.
  • Online Open Enrollment for 2017 Benefits –please read and follow the guidelines if you wish to change your benefits package – you received this email this past week from Nancy Rogers – this is your responsibility!!!

Monday, November 7th – Tuesday, November 22nd – Closes before Thanksgiving break

  • This is also a great time while you are in your employee access account to make sure everything else is up to date. If there are mistakes, contact HR asap to get it corrected.

SEA-side with Chery 10-6-16

BEST OF LUCK TODAY J I know that you will all be very successful today and your parents and students will benefit from your planning and care!

  • A note from Hobbs for all Jr High and Middle level @ LP – “The collaboration piece is REALLY easy for Junior High teachers because you have Google now! You can make splitting up the workload and having access to each other’s materials way more efficient with Google! And if you need help with this, you can always contact me (Hobbs) or your building tech coach. (reply to Hobbs @
  • Not having enough time in our day is the biggest concern I hear about in our district. Although personal plan time is laid out in our contract, it is up to you to ensure it is protected. If you schedule meetings of any kind during this time, it will become an expectation thus losing your most precious commodity…time! I understand that you have very full plates but please don’t give up what we bargained so hard for. Do your best to keep that time for you! If you need support in discussing this topic with your administrators or other staff, please enlist your SEA building rep’s help.
  • For those that are “close” to retirement – there is a meeting next Wednesday, October 12th for TRS @ Schaumburg High school, 4:30pm in room 200. This is a good time to come hear their latest news, find out the new rules and ask questions.
  • Those that are interested in doing some political phone banking for a local candidate, please take a look at our webpage for information. You can rsvp to me and I will let the IEA know you are interested

Have a wonderful long weekend – you have all earned this time and MUCH MUCH MORE!!


PS – There’s a Mumbai-based pizzeria that now delivers pizza by drone – if I order one will it still be hot when it gets here?

SEA side with Chery 9-29-16

Happy Fall!!

  • There have been some questions about whether or not we can share lesson plans, common assessments, etc., YES, YES, YES! It is also more than ok to divide and conquer in your PLCs. (having a few members of the PLC split up the workload – one creates the low level plans, one the mid-level and one the high level) Not only is it ok, it IS ENCOURAGED!! According to our district office administrators, this is what makes us great – sharing the wealth of info and ideas we have. Set up a folder in sharepoint today and start loading it up so all may find these items. Send ideas and plans to other buildings. You can tailor them to your building and your class but why reinvent the wheel when we don’t need to. COLLABORATION IS THE KEY!!!
  • Health insurance (THIS Fund) contributions – just in case you were wondering what this deduction was for J

o   (5 ILCS 375/6.6)

o   Effective July 1, 1995, all active TRS members, including substitute and part-time teachers who are not employees of a state agency covered by the state employees’ health plan, are required to make contributions to the Teachers’ Health Insurance Security (THIS) Fund.

Contribution Rates

Contribution Type 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
TRS Contributions  
Member TRS retirement contribution 9.40% 9.40% 9.40% 9%
Employer TRS retirement contribution 0.58% 0.58% 0.58% 0.58%
Employer TRS contribution on federally-funded salary 35.41% 33.00% 36.06% 38.54%
THIS Fund Contributions        
Member THIS (insurance) contribution 0.97% 1.02% 1.07% 1.12%
Employer THIS (insurance) contribution 0.72% 0.76% 0.80% 0.84%


  • I have been asked to several buildings to learn about how PLCs are running nowadays and to hear about some inconsistencies from building to building and even from grade level to grade level within a building. If you would like to “weigh in,” please contact me; I would love to come over for a chat and gather more info and take suggestions on how to fix this issue.


That’s it for this week. If you need assistance from me, don’t hesitate to contact me.


PS – did you know that Dr. Seuss invented the word, “nerd?” Makes sense to me!!

SEA-side with Chery 9-22-16

Hello! I hope everything is going as you would like today J


  • Care to confront – if you have an issue with a colleague, go to them FIRST before heading into the building admin’s office. It is better to talk it out and come to some kind of mutual agreement (even to agree to disagree) then one or both of you ending up with a reprimand in your file. Be professional and talk to that person and not behind their back. Nervous? Have your building rep help you, or your building mentor or even another staff member. You need to work together all year – try to make the working relationship what it should be – collaborative, cooperative, respectful and peaceful.
  • Please invite our wonderful para-pros (SEEO) to supported ed meetings and to any meeting if you are making plans that involve specific students. It is part of their contract to be invited and SEA does not want to violate the SEEO contract. If there is no way they can attend, please, please make sure they are kept informed. Our para-pros spend much of their time one on one or in small groups with the kids and they need to know the expectations and have great insight on them. Ask for their input and pass it on to the parents as well. We are in this together!!!
  • SEA will soon be on FACEBOOK and Twitter – I will send you more details as we “login”.
  • And finally – please remember to take care of yourself. Get outside when you can, take a walk, watch a great movie, do something that is just for you.


Have a great day and an even better weekend!



  1. No one really knows who invented the fire hydrant because the patent was burned in a fire!

SEA side with Chery 9-8-16

  •  Can’t find IEP info? Teachers should have access to IEPs on infinite campus. Psychs should inform you of 504’s and also give you copies of the 504’s. Nurses also should give teachers care plans, at least info that you need to have as their classroom teacher. Remember HIPA laws prohibit us from getting some information. When you look at your rosters in infinite campus, the students have blue stars next to their name with special information and a “document” icon that might indicate an IEP or other paperwork. Checking with the CST coordinator at your building is a good resource as well. It is your responsibility to “know” your kids.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Share resources with others in your PLC and your department all across the district. Contact someone who teaches the same course or book at another building and share ideas with each other. District 54 is FULL of resources of all kinds including people – talk to your coaches, mentors and tech coaches. The item you need is out there. We are all in this together.
  • Care to confront – if you have an issue with a colleague, go to them FIRST before heading into the building admin’s office. It is better to talk it out and come to some kind of mutual agreement (even to agree to disagree) then one or both of you ending up with a reprimand in your file. Be professional and talk to that person and not behind their back. Nervous? Have your building rep help you, or your building mentor or even another staff member.

That’s it for this week. Here’s hoping the week finishes strong for you. IF you get a chance – answer the question below either by sending the info to me here in district or with the email address after the question.

Have a wonderful day!!



PS – Record’s Day – the Friday before the last day of school or the day after the students are done? Don’t know what records day is? Ask a colleague.

No rationale, yet, just your vote – “Friday before” or “day after” – choose one and send it to me if you want. Send to my home email

SEA side with Chery 9-1-16

Hello! I hope MAP testing is going well. Here are this week’s topics.

  • Base salary x 26 and compare to the lane and step you believe you belong. Problems? Contact Sally Skalany 5020 or Diana Peters 5035 – please be patient if they don’t return your call or email right away – the first pay could have errors – we all make mistakes – the new salary schedule is attached.
  • SCORE grant information attached – it is for early career staff (10years experience or under) and SEEO please buddy up with a veteran staff member if you like. Deadline is September 26, 2016 and notification of winners by the middle of October. Please use the link below to find out more – you can actually see some grants that were awarded from years past to get ideas J Talk it up in your buildings and get those great ideas flowing – please include your paras – they can apply as well!!
  • Jr High staff and Chromebooks – you are not “on call” 24/7 – yes, your students will email you all the time with questions. You do not need to answer them – if we didn’t have the Chromebooks you wouldn’t be expected to answer their email at all hours and that has not changed just because we added this new piece of technology. It’s up to you to decide when you stop answering emails but if you begin the year by answering every single one that comes in at all hours, you will set that as the norm and Dr. Myers said that is NOT the expectation and it is not wise. If you have concerns, please share them with me and I can get further clarification.
  • Urban grant information
  • Those jr high staff members who have fall student teachers – please contact your tech coaches – your student teachers should have logins for the Chromebooks – if you have questions or need help, contact Carolyn Lejman.
  • The School board relations team is looking for 2 more jr high reps. Eating dinner and having great discussions with a board member every other month is the basics. If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact Anjum Poonawalla.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me. Have a great rest of the day and an even better weekend.


PS – did you know that in Alaska it is illegal to wake a bear to take its picture? It begs the question…why would you? Yikes!!!

SEA side with Chery 8-25-16

CONGRATULATIONS! You have almost made it through your first week!!! I hope you all had a chance to see the PowerPoint from the SEA/SEEO yesterday. If you have questions, please contact me.


  • You should be checking the portal to make sure you have all your degrees listed and that you’re being compensated for them – has your address changed? Your name?  Any changes in contact info? Are all your sick days correct in AESOP? Any personal business you did not use last year should have changed over to sick leave for this year. Making sure that all of this information is correct is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY! Check the portal periodically to see that everything is correct. (There is a link to the portal on the  district’s SharePoint page)
  • Licensure update – you should have received an email from Pete Hannigan about recertification. The original system is still in place. PD can be entered at any time during the renewal cycle up to the time of renewal.  Teachers with advanced degrees can take a reduction in the amount of PD owed for the remainder of the renewal cycles through 2018. (120 for bachelors/80 for masters/40 for doctorate) There are no more reductions for advanced degrees for anyone whose first full 5 year renewal cycle began July 1, 2014 or after. You cannot pay for your license until April of the year that it expires.  Principals should continue to send CPDU forms to their employees. J Read through the attachment Pete sent and if you have questions, contact me  (6005) or Diana Peters @ 5035. Those that did not renew this past June (and should have) please do it immediately!!!
  • After you pay for your license through ISBE, please make sure the payment clears. We had a member who was notified that his payment never cleared so he paid again and now ISBE contacted him and he paid twice! They are going to take care of him but please make sure you are tracking payments like this – just a word to the wise! (Thanks, Chris!!)
  • Jr High staff – please remember that the Chromebooks are the property of the school district and, just like our laptops and desktops, they can see what you are searching for in any browser at any time. They will not spend time looking at what each staff member is doing 24/7 but if concerns arise they can. Please remain professional as we add this great new piece of technology into our classrooms. By the same token, let’s share with each other the wonderful websites, techniques and uses for the Chromebooks.


If you need me, call me. I will continue visiting more buildings next week. If you are doing something you want me to see, or you just want me to come over, call me or email me. I would love to see what is happening J



PS – did you know that the Wednesday staff development was an item that the union bargained for? Without that staff development, we would all be looking outside the district for our 120 hours of professional development and possible paying for those as well. KUDOS to the team bargained that into our contract!!


SEA-side with Chery 6-2-16

Wonderful SEA Members –

CONGRATULATIONS – Because of your hard work, we have all earned the 1% enhanced compensation!!! It will be attached to next year’s salary schedule. We will receive a copy of that schedule in the fall. I am so proud to represent you each and every day. Again – Congrats on all your work with all of the students!!

I will be working for you on and off throughout the summer. If you have questions, concerns, need assistance, please email me using either account (listed below). I will check my email accounts over the summer but cannot promise an immediate response. Please only call my cell if you need immediate assistance. I will be in Washington DC representing you at the NEA-RA (National Education Association Representative Assembly) with others from our region the first 2 weeks in July and then on vacation the rest of the month.

Survey Monkey – if you haven’t completed the survey, please try and find time to do so. Thanks J

630-400-8887 – I will not answer right away – please leave a message – I receive many annoying robocalls.


PS – 100% of district 54 SEA members are the best of the best and I wish every single one of them the greatest summer. I hope you can relax at some point and let thoughts of the school year go for at least a little while. You are appreciated and supported by the SEA, IEA and NEA. Enjoy your time off. I can’t wait to hear about all the wonderful things you did over the summer.

Much respect – Chery

SEA side with Chery 5-26-16

*I will be sending a survey monkey out very shortly after this email. It only has 15 questions and shouldn’t take longer than 5 minutes to fill out. Your executive team would really like the input so we may plan for next year. You will have until June 3rd at midnight to complete and you may forward the email home if you feel more comfortable doing so. Thank you.

* Your administrators can observe you at any point. At this time of the year, however, unless they see a huge issue, they should not input any info into common ground. Please contact your building rep or me if you are feeling troubled by an observation.

*Thanks so much to those you attended paper tigers last night. It was a very informative session. Many of us are attending the training session on June 14th in Elgin. If you are interested, please check the IEA website for more info.

*At this point of the year I do not spend much time in my office at Mead, so if you need me, please call my cell number. (630-400-8887) I have been visiting buildings, watching field days, presentations, and working out of the Palatine office.

*I will be working for you through June 10th. If you have questions, concerns, need assistance after June 10th, please email me using either account (listed below). I will check my email accounts over the summer but cannot promise an immediate response. Please only call my cell if you need immediate assistance. I will be in Washington DC representing you at the NEA-RA (National Education Association Representative Assembly) with others from our region the first 2 weeks in July and then on vacation the rest of the month.

630-400-8887 – I will not answer right away – please leave a message – I receive many robocalls (annoying).

SEA-side with Chery

Records Day is our last day of school. It is a full day. You should be using this time to complete any final report card corrections, the student cumulative folders, special education IEPs and any other records. If you have time during the day you may also finish packing boxes for any potential move. This is a WORK day and if we do not use it as such we run the risk of losing this day in future bargaining sessions. Yes, having a faculty luncheon is acceptable and appropriate (and fun!!). If you have questions, please contact me.

o   You should have received your placement for next year but only if you are making a significant move. IF you are staying right where you are you may not receive “official” notification. I also understand that some of the numbers for Special education are not completed. If there is a question or concern, please contact me.

o   On the same note, the 30% IEP students on a class is a State rule – this question was asked at the rep meeting.

o   When your schedule is set for next year, please check to make sure you have a duty free lunch, and all of your plan time (240 per week – 150 of which is your “personal” plan time). If there is an issue, NOW is the time to discuss with your building administrator. If you have concerns, please talk to your rep first and then your administrator. If it cannot be resolved, contact me.


IEA/NEA-Retired has nearly 10,000 members and represents ALL education retirees: Certified Educators, ESPs, Higher Education and their interests and retirement issues. $1 million in liability insurance for members who wish to continue part-time employment or substitute in public education. The IEA lobbying team works for active and retired members on education issues and to protect our pensions and 133,000 members collectively across the state stand together when attacked. Involvement with the organization that has a big impact on TRS. All four elected teacher positions on the TRS Board of Trustees are filled by IEA members and both annuitants on the TRS Board of Trustees are IEA-Retired members.

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A full range of Member Benefits Programs that can save you more in one year than the cost of lifetime dues. Check them out at:

A toll-free line so you can contact your organization and the retired staff person without cost. Call 1-800-252-8076 and ask for the retired contact or call Kim Riley directly at 309-662-5359.