Presidents Corner

Happy New Year, OGEA Educators! We've reached and passed our 100th day, but it certainly feels a lot longer than that, especially considering not just what’s been happening in our district, but also all that's going on in our state and nationally. It is difficult to turn off the information that flows from our TVs, phones, etc. News about the vaccines and their distribution, news about the insurrection at our Nation’s Capitol, the politicizing of masks, and the pressures from folks for schools to reopen to in-person instruction, putting the blame on Unions and teachers, alike. 

And through it all, educators here in Oak Grove, and in Santa Clara County, persevere and keep going one day at a time, engaging our students, talking with families, collaborating with colleagues. I have seen you lift each other up, encouraging each other. I have also seen the stress and trauma of this situation affect our relationships and how we interact with each other. Please be mindful that others may be going through their own difficult time and to give each other grace and have more compassion.  Let’s find ways to strengthen our bonds as union siblings, colleagues, and/or friends. 

We do not know when we will be returning to in-person instruction. However, because OGEA and management are working together, there will need to be a mutual agreement, and negotiating an MOU before returning. Our board members, management, and OGEA are on the same page that we have safety for our staff and students as our priority. 

This past Fall we worked and helped elect our endorsed school board candidate, Beija Gonzalez. It is our goal to build and cultivate relationships with our school board members, Tami Moore, Brian LoBue, Jorge Pacheco, Jr., and the newly elected, Carla Hernandez. Through hosting our Town Hall series, we are able to share our concerns, passions, and needs so that they gain a better understanding. When they know us, they can make more informed decisions.  Our PAC Team will be organizing more Board Member Town Halls. Stay tuned!

Our organizing work around having more robust supplemental materials during distance learning is working! It started with a survey, then another survey. And next was consulting and afterwards, additional seats on the District Curriculum Team. Now there is an offer to have permanent seats at the table as we move toward a core adopted curriculum in the future. 

Though the curriculum is not a bargainable item, we have flexed our union muscle to move that needle for ourselves and our students! We will not stop there! Our work is not complete until we get an updated Math and Science curriculum, in addition to others. 

Let’s keep it going, OGEA! 

In Unity,

Maripaz Berlin

President, Oak Grove Educators Association

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