October/November 2016

President's Message

Esteemed Colleagues,

Tomorrow is Election Day and whatever your political persuasion this election has been one heck of a wild ride. Regardless of how the various races are resolved I am confident that we will continue to do the best we can for our students. As teachers our voices are trusted and people listen to us. So going forward VTA will continue to speak out for public education and for doing what’s right. We are the VTA and we  can make a difference.

To all of you that helped with the election here’s a big THANK YOU.  For the first time ever VTA supported two of our own. Rosemary Smithfield is currently a VTA member. Heather Emaus used to be VTA.  Whether you phone banked, precinct walked, waved at ralleys or put up signs it mattered. You are appreciated for your participation. We were noticed and we will continue to advocate for what’s best for our students. We are VTA and we will make a difference.

So as Thanksgiving approaches let's all stop and take stock of all the good out there. Let’s give thanks for the positives in our daily lives. We get to be educators in the Vista Unified School District, a district that strives to be  the model of educational excellence and innovation. Jenny Anderson was chosen to represent San Diego for California Teacher Of The Year, VHS was awarded the XQ: The Super School Project Grant and  VUSD earned another Golden Bell Award. There’s a lot of good things happening in VUSD. There are also things that still require work. We need to continue in our efforts. We are VTA and we need to make a difference.


Tod Critchlow


Important Dates 

Veterans’ Day - Nov 11, don’t forget that there is no school this Friday. LESSON PLANS

Nov 28, 4:00 - 6:00: Rep Council Meeting, VTA Office, Please RSVP

Nov 30, 4:00 - 5:30: Teacher LCAP Forum #1 - Innovation Center, 836 Olive Ave

Dec 2-4: Fall Leadership Conference - Palm Springs, INFO, Contact VTA to RSVP

Jan 19, 4:00 - 5:30: Teacher LCAP Forum #2- Innovation Center, 836 Olive Ave

Feb 3, location and time TBD: New Teacher 100 day celebration

It's A Good Idea to....

Understand how your rights to privacy as it applies to use of district email/devices. While this may seem obvious it still needs to be said. You don’t have any right to privacy if you are using district email, devices or even WIFI. Here are some suggestions. Don’t access your personal account(s) on a district device or through district WIFI. Remove your vistausd.org Google account from your smartphone or tablet. If you need to access your vistausd.org account from a private device use a alternative browser or an incognito tab.


Bargaining Update

On a positive note, you should have all seen an increase of 1.9% in your October pay warrant. In addition you should be getting a retro for the months of July, Aug and Sept for the 1.9% increase for those three months. It is very important that you check your pay stubs and contact VTA if you think there was an error.​

CTA Conference Opportunities

Do you want to find out more about VTA? Want to get involved with your union? What does it mean to be a rep? What does CTA offer as member benefit? The answers to these questions and more are covered at the Fall Leadership Conference. Dec 2-4, Palmsprings. Click here for INFO. Space is limited so please contact VTA to RSVP.

Your CTA

Have you ever wondered how CTA makes decisions? Who is CTA?  What policies does CTA support? It’s really a pretty simple answer. Your CTA is a democratic organization overseen by the State Council which is made up of representatives elected by members of local associations. VTA sends three members to represent us at quarterly meetings in Los Angeles. It is at these meetings where reps from all over the state of California come together to debate and decide policy. Your three representatives are Tod Critchlow, Reagan Duncan, Paula Keen and Therease SilvaBaroa as an alternate.  

As CTA’s top governing body, State Council has 22 committees ranging from assessment and testing to school safety, and from curriculum and instruction to professional rights and responsibilities. Council delegates do not consider an issue until it has been thoroughly reviewed and recommended by the committees. A summary of  policy statements is a good place to start if you want to find out more.

Here are a few specific links:


Assessment and Testing

Curriculum and Instruction

Educator Rights

Member Benefits

Another aspect of being a member of VTA and thus CTA and NEA are the many benefits. Click on the link above or go to www.CTAMemberBenefits.org for more information.  You might be able to REDUCE DEBT (Student Loan Forgiveness), save time by watching this Video on Benefits, Save Money by ACCESSING DISCOUNTS and prepare for your future with these RETIREMENT TOOLS.