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Members Tackle Tough Issues, Pound the Pavement

In one building on the University of Richmond campus, teachers and paraprofessionals tried to work through the challenges of inclusive classrooms: How do you juggle the roles of several educators, students with a variety of special needs, parents who may have unrealistic expectations, and administrators who are themselves under pressure to produce results?

A couple buildings over, another group of educators listened intently as members of the Chesterfield Education Association laid out the details of their “Just Let Me Teach” campaign, which got the attention of the school board and led to wide-ranging revisions in county policies.

Others were preparing for a field trip to a local neighborhood, where they would go door-to-door on behalf of a candidate for state Senate.

In still another building, teachers walked through the process of creating SMART goals, an integral part of Virginia’s new system for evaluating teachers.

That’s just a sampling of the buzz of activity at this week’s Reggie Smith Organizing School, an annual summer training opportunity for VEA members. Participants chose one of four content strands to focus on while at UR: Developing Organizing Skills, Political Action Leaders, Teacher Evaluation and Inclusive Classrooms, and also had the opportunity to attend workshops on student growth measures, managing time for teaching and preparing for retirement.

Members from around Virginia arrived Wednesday and will wrap up RSOS Friday. For many, it was literally “back to school,” living in college dorms and eating in the dining hall.

To see photos of this year’s event, visit, and be sure to check in on Facebook ( or on Twitter at @VEA4Kids. On both social media sites, check out #RSOS2015.


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