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Reggie Smith Organizing School 2019

Are you looking to retain and grow your membership in your Local Union? Well, we’ve got the opportunity for you! Join your fellow union members at the Reggie Smith Organizing School. This informative and fun event runs July 17-19 at the University of Richmond. Our theme is, “Educate, Agitate, Organize!”

You will have the option to check-in on Tuesday, July 16 from 5:30 pm – 8:00 pm or Wednesday, July 17 from 7:00 am – 10:00 am. If you choose to check-in on Tuesday, please note that dinner is on your own. Also note that if you are not able to arrive by 8:00 pm on Tuesday then you will not be able to check into your dorm room until Wednesday.

We have two optional fellowship events available! Pre-registration is required

  • We will offer a special workshop called "Finding Peace Within" that will feature deep relaxation (Yoga Nidra), deep breathing (Pranayama), meditation, self-massage, and stress management strategies.
  • There will be an evening social offered so that you can unwind and spend time with your Union Brothers and Sisters.

You will leave our three-day organizing institute with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to improve the working conditions where you live and work. Veteran organizers and seasoned colleagues will lead the training. Consider attending with a group of members from your Local as a team!!

When you register for the Reggie Smith Organizing School, you’ll either register as a first year, second year, or third year attendee. What follows is the content for each year’s classes.

RSOS costs $50.00 per person and includes conference registration, materials, parking, lodging and meals. The fee must be paid by all participants regardless of commuter status. Pre-payment is required.


RSOS 1st Year Program

Note: Register for this class if you've never attended RSOS before or if you attended the RSOS LGBTQ Strand in 2017. You'll take all three courses listed.

Political Action and You
Every decision in your school started as a political one. Join us to learn the basic principles of political action, including how to target your message. You will also get an overview of current legislative and political issues that are headed our way. This isn’t about Democrat or Republican, it is about protecting our public schools and our communities. You will leave ready to take action!

Organizing & Mobilizing 101
No one wants to live in a house with a shaky foundation. So why organize and mobilize that way? No, you don’t have to be Bob Villa. We will give you the tools you need, and we’ll show you how to use them. You will fill your toolbox with the assessment tools necessary for the foundation of a successful campaign. Together we can build a plan that has the pieces necessary to support all of us!

Organizing Around Instructional Issues
VEA’s Office of Teaching and Learning will provide important updates on instructional policy issues that are currently being reviewed by decision-makers. Find out more about these issues and organize to bring about change at the state and local levels.


RSOS 2nd Year Program

Note: Register for this class if you attended RSOS 1st Year Program in 2018 or if you attended the RSOS General Track in 2017. You''ll take all four courses listed.

Influencing Elections and Electeds
We’ll focus on the power of Political Action Committees to influence elections and how to use lobbying skills to influence elected officials. You will learn how building a strong PAC will increase your ability to influence elections at the local, state, and federal level. Whether you are part of a strong local PAC or have no PAC at all, you will leave with real skills to help you strengthen your PAC and your candidate recruitment and recommendation processes. We will finish our training with a focus on lobbying skills to help effectively influence your elected officials to create real change.

Understanding and Taking Ownership of the Evaluation Process
You have power in the evaluation process! Through this workshop you’ll gain a better understanding of the evaluation process for educators, enabling you to take charge of your goal setting and professional growth. You’ll also walk away with tools to educate members of your Local about how they can ensure their evaluation process is positive and not punitive. 

Cultivating Justice – Exploring Racial Bias
We are witnessing racism being normalized in our country. We see it in the media, in our laws, and in our institutions. We experience it in our daily interactions, and we see our politicians use race to further polarize our country, divide us, and weaken us. Come join us as we explore why NEA/VEA cares about Racial Justice and why we have a long-term commitment to it. In this very interactive workshop, we will also learn about the "brain science" behind implicit bias and racial bias and we will explore our own biases, by using tools like pictures, videos, and fun tests. You will walk away with an understanding of how you can join our fight for racial justice in schools and communities.

Great Local Association Communications: The Building Blocks
You can’t grow your local Association’s influence, win a campaign, or build your members’ commitment without effective communications. Learn the basics of effective messaging and how to put together a communications program that gains you support and loyalty.


RSOS 3rd Year Program


Note: Register for this class if you attended RSOS 2nd Year Program in 2018. You’ll take all three courses listed.

Ultimate Activism: Recruiting VEA Candidates to Run for Office
The highest level of activism is running for office, and we need to prepare more VEA members and VEA supporters to run. If you can’t change an elected’s mind, you need to change their seat. This session will give you the tools to do just that. In this session you will learn

  • How to build a local education platform that addresses your local issues
  • How to recruit and support candidates who support your platform
  • How to win an election
  • If you are considering running for office, you will learn the basics on how to run for office and the resources available to you as a VEA/NEA member.

If you can’t change an elected’s mind, you need to change their seat. This session will give you the tools to do just that.

Effective Digital Mobilizing
Are you ready to take your mobilization efforts digital? Learn how to use Action Network, a powerful but user-friendly platform that can serve as a communications hub for email messaging, events, online petitions, or multi-faceted campaigns. Best of all, this free tool is available to local Associations through a VEA-NEA partnership. 

Bring It Home
As your final class at the RSOS, you’ll use everything that you’ve learned in the three years of the program to prepare for your return to your "home"/Local. We’ll talk about the nuts and bolts of a strategic plan and sort through ideas for next steps. You’ll leave fired up and ready to engage on the Local level when you go back.


All RSOS Attendees Take


Note: All Participants will take the New Ed & Early Career Educator Organizing Session.

New Ed & Early Career Educator Organizing
The NEA indicates that "the top reason new educators leave the profession in the first five years is because they don’t feel supported." The VEA has a specific focus on ensuring that we all build relationships with new and early educators throughout Virginia. You’ll receive an update on the VEA’s statewide plan for 2019-2020 New & Early Career Educator Organizing.



Online registration for Reggie Smith Organizing School is now open. Register now. For more information, contact VEA's Breanne Armbrust, at 800-552-9554. Ext. 334. The registration deadline is April 1st, 2019.




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