3/16/2015: Jayme Allsman, HDTA President
Good evening, governing board members: I have been visiting some of our campuses in the last month to discuss on-going issues for our Association such as negotiations, evaluations, lock-down trainings, and assorted personnel concerns. In these meetings, I have also been promoting the “Tax Extension to Fund Education and Healthcare. Initiative Constitutional Amendment” and helping to gather signatures. I have brought some of the signature forms with me tonight to leave with you for signing since this initiative will have a direct impact on the future budgets of our school district.
One of the other things that I have been promoting with our 1000 plus members is my story gathering campaign. At every board meeting you all get to see me and you get to see John and I am sure now that you have a fairly good idea of who we are as teachers and as teacher advocates. However, the other 1000 plus folks might still be a mystery and I want you to know their voices even if you don’t know their faces. Hence, my story gathering process. It has been a slow start but I have already found some gems on our website. Some are long and some are short; some are irritated and some are sweet. Tonight I will share two with you. One is a junior high voice and one is an alternative school voice. These are some of the many people who are shaping the lives of our next generation:
From my junior high colleague: Both my sisters, my brother and I all attended both Sierra Vista and Canyon High School. I have always wanted to be a teacher but was heavily influenced by several Hart District teachers, counselors and administrators including but not limited to Karen Warschaw, Justine Cubbage, Linda Storli, Les Herschberger, Randy Gilpin, Vicki Engbrecht, Rose Romeka, Dr. James Foster, Andrea Lockfield, and Marilyn Pilkey. I love teaching in the Hart District because of all the equal opportunities it provides to its students like me. You see, I grew up below the poverty line throughout high school, yet I never felt cheated going to Hart District schools. I always had access to quality books, technology, teachers, community outreach service programs and more. I am proud to be a Hart District teacher now providing for my own family. I really hope to remain in the Santa Clarita Valley so my daughter can also get the same opportunities I did in Hart schools. Furthermore, my passion is to help all the students I encounter in our valley become well-rounded, contributing citizens so our community can continue to thrive. I cannot tell you how many students have come back to visit me to tell me I made a difference in their lives not just academically but also personally (students with drug/alcohol, depression, and suicidal issues in particular), and that is what keeps me going day in and day out. I appreciate feeling needed and wanted in my profession, and I am happy to serve.
And from my alternative school friend: This is my nineteenth year in the classroom and my tenth in this district. I like to tell people that I didn’t find teaching, teaching found me. My unique personal story figures greatly into why I’m an effective teacher. Raised an Army brat, I grew up on Army Bases around the country and the world. Military history wasn’t something I studied formally; it was something I acquired. I am also a life-long guitar addict/musician and even studied classical guitar at UCLA. (B.A. Music 1991) I teach at the district’s continuation high school and couldn’t be happier with my assignment. Not to say there are not unique challenges to working with at risk students but I know I’m in the right setting. Relationship building is important at all sites but one really sees the absolute necessity for it at a site like Bowman. And it is there that all background, experiences, and knowledge I’ve compiled over all these years come into play. I’ve walked on beaches American soldiers fought and died on in WWII, lived in Europe at the height of the Cold War, and played lead guitar to Arena sized crowds. Sharing those experiences always helps engage my students and then I can engage them in curriculum. Win Win