Many Challenges Bring Many Opportunities
Welcome back to another school year. I hope you had an opportunity to recharge over the summer and are ready to take on the new school year with much enthusiasm. As your SDEA President, I want to assure you that your leaders and staff are here to support and help you with any challenges that you face.
The new school year also means another SDEA membership campaign. First, let me say thank you for making the decision to join our Association. When you joined SDEA you didn’t only sign up for the traditional reasons: the liability insurance, the member benefits, access to a UniServ Director, a professional obligation, you made a commitment to join other educators in your district, state and nation to be a voice for your schools, profession and, most importantly, your students. As your SDEA President, I am grateful that you made that choice because having your voice in the room makes our organization stronger.
While recruiting new members is a focus year-round, SDEA really utilizes the back-to-school period to start the conversations we must have to recruit more members. While we do talk about the ‘benefits’ of being a SDEA member, the thing we really need to talk about are the opportunities you have when you join the effort to do important work. There are opportunities to grow as an educator and leader through our professional development and leadership offerings. At the local level, you have an opportunity to have a say in your working conditions and your students’ learning conditions by being involved in the collective bargaining process whether that is being a part of the bargaining team or by casting your vote to ratify your local contract.
There are many decisions at the state level, that you, as a member, help shape. By joining, you are helping other educators as we voice our concerns about the lack of support and resources that have led to an unprecedented educator shortage. You can work side by side with your fellow educators as we look for solutions to solve the mental and behavioral health crisis that is impacting so many of our students and educators. Finally, you have an opportunity to join other educators and parents to demand that the South Dakota Board of Education Standards adopt social studies standards that afford students the opportunity to learn an honest and accurate history while giving them the freedom to learn by exploring the topics that pique their curiosity. By joining SDEA, you are making a difference in the lives of your fellow educators and your students.
My ask of you for the coming year is that you help us encourage those educators who have yet to make the choice to become a member of SDEA to join the effort. We are stronger together. The more voices we have working together, the louder we will be. Now is not the time to be silent. We must work together to ensure our students receive a great public education.
Thank you for everything you do for your students and lets all work together to have a great school year!