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Virginia Journal of Education

VEA News & Advocacy


Fairfax Education Association Draws Crowd with Local 'Put Kids First' Event

FEA drew educators, legislators and plenty of community members to an event at its headquarters celebrating VEA’s Put Kids First initiative and building PKF’s momentum as the General Assembly session appears on the horizon. On the left, music was provided by a group of county elementary school students; on the right, FEA President-Elect presents a Solid As a Rock Award to Delegate Mark L. Keam, one of several elected officials honored for consistent support for public education. Featured speakers at the event included U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly, who delivered the keynote speech, and NEA Secretary-Treasurer Princess Moss, and there was also face-painting and a bounce castle for the kids.


New 'Digibook' a Great Source of ESP Pride

Education Support Professionals (ESPs) meet the needs of the whole student. Just think about all the ways that bus drivers, food services workers, classroom aides, and others attend to students' nutritional, transportation, and special needs. For further proof, check out NEA's new ESP "digibook," which is chock-full of facts about ESPs and profiles of support professionals who are making a huge difference for kids.

Check the digibook out at


Find Your ‘Spark’!

If you’re five years or less into your career as a classroom teacher or education support professional, the VEA would like to show you a good time. For free.

You’ll want to join us on the annual Sparks retreat March 11-13, 2016, at the Wintergreen Resort. Every year, members just gaining experience in their education careers gather, learn more about the Association, get to know each other, and have a good time—and did we mention that it’s free? Your only cost is getting yourself to the mountains.

So come make some new friends and learn information you’ll use forever. All the details are at Hurry though—space is limited!


e-Source Keeps You Current

VEA also publishes a monthly e-newsletter, called e-Source, which brings the latest in Association news, education policy updates, and classroom information directly to your email box. Most issues also feature links directly to members-only discounts on goods and services.

To make sure you’re getting this free resource, visit VEA’s website,, and click on the e-Source box at the bottom of the page.

It’s best to use a home email address, which we won’t share with any third party. 


You Can Still Make It to VEA’s Instruction Conference!

But you’ll have to move fast! Registration closes Friday, October 23 for this event, held every November, at which hundreds of Association member-educators gather to learn from each other. VEA’s Instruction and Professional Development Conference is a fantastic, low-cost way to gather new ideas and techniques to put into practice at your school and in your classroom. This year’s conference includes sessions on inclusive school practices, alternative assessment, diversity, online etiquette, ESP issues and many others.

The dates are Friday and Saturday, November 20-21, 2015. Materials pickup begins mid-day on Friday, and the conference concludes Saturday afternoon. This year, the conference is at the Wyndham Crossings Virginia Hotel and Conference Center in Glen Allen, just outside Richmond.

VEA members pay a $60 registration fee, which covers registration, materials, parking, lodging for one night (double occupancy) and Saturday’s breakfast and lunch. Non-member registration fee is $150. A single room may be requested for an additional $60. The commuter registration fee is $35; SVEA registration is $45.


Classroom Help Available on VEA Website

From classroom tips to training opportunities, from discounts on supplies to help for new teachers, the “In the Classroom” section of VEA’s website can help equip you to be a better professional. You can even learn more about Association grants and awards, and get a boost in your journey to earn National Board Certification.

It’s all free and easily accessible. Just go to to get started.




Make Your Vote Count!
As the media drumbeat for next year’s presidential election grows louder and louder, blaring stories about debates, caucuses, rivalries and even hairdos, let’s not forget something very critical: We have a full lineup of state elections here in Virginia next month, and those contests are even more important to what happens in our classrooms every day than federal elections are.

Every member in both houses of Virginia’s General Assembly is facing voters, and the stakes are very high. If we don’t help enough friends of public education get elected, we’re very likely to be facing serious problems in areas like funding, class size, salaries, standardized testing and more. Elections matter.

The good news is that these elections also offer us a tremendous opportunity, one that we can’t let slip away. In years where Virginians aren’t voting for presidential candidates, they tend to go to the polls in smaller numbers. These off-year contests are often decided by who makes the most determined effort to get to vote and make their voices heard. With 50,000 members across Virginia, the VEA can make a crucial difference, especially when you consider how our members can also educate and influence family and community members to vote for candidates who back public education.

Our members have been working hard for months to set the stage for November 3. Through local affiliates statewide of VEA’s Fund for Children and Public Education, educators have been interviewing candidates and researching their records and goals. Our approach is, and always has been, issue-driven and party-blind: We’re simply looking for candidates who understand how important it is to support our public schools.

Through the Fund, our members have done the necessary homework and then made careful recommendations in many of the races being contested in the Commonwealth.

What can you do? First, make sure you’re registered to vote and encourage other eligible voters to do the same. Then, spread the word on who the VEA Fund has recommended in elections where you live.

Many of your local Associations will be organizing campaign events, too, including “Days of Action,” distributing literature, canvassing neighborhoods, mailing postcards and making phone calls. Pitch in, and ask your colleagues to help, too. This is important—again, elections matter.

Let me leave you with just one example of how important educators’ votes can be. In a 2012 race for City Council in Richmond, the candidate recommended by Richmond Education Association members won a seat by a margin of only 22 votes. He later cast an important vote that resulted in an additional $9 million for the city’s public schools.

There’s another thing you can do, as well. The larger the coffers of the VEA Fund, the better able we are to help candidates who in turn will help our schools. If you’re already donating to the Fund, consider increasing the amount; if you’re not yet a Fund supporter, consider coming on board and helping steer the course of Virginia’s public schools.  See you at the polls!



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