About 100 classified members attended this year's professional development conference on Saturday, March 16, at Giaudrone Middle School in Tacoma.
Attendees took workshops on managing student behavior, effectively handling workplace stress, advocating for their profession, and choosing healthy nutrition for kids and adults. Todd Hahn, Chair of the Classified Council and President at AFT Renton Classified, emceed the lunch program. AFT Washington Sandra Schroeder spoke about Classified Employee Appreciation Week and ensuring that the $1.4 billion in education funding that is mandated by the Supreme Court (McCleary decision) is allocated to the work of school employees. Colleen Philbrook, from the TONE program at Tacoma Public Schools, thanked everyone for the backpack, uniforms, and school supplies for homeless students and spoke about the growing problem of homelessness among children. AFT Washington Executive Board members Karen Strickland (VP for COPE) and David Ortiz (VP for Human Rights Committee) also spoke and attended workshops.
Thank you to presenters Lee Williams (Bates Technical College), Paul Figueroa (Peace Enforcement LLC), Kira Acker (Renton School District), and Merrilee Miron and Dorothy Gibson from AFT Washington for facilitating great workshops.
This year's conference was co-sponsored by Tacoma Public Schools. Tacoma Federation of ParaEducators donated gift certificates as well as a number of businesses: Starbucks Coffee, 5 Guys Burgers & Fries, Olive Garden, Torero's Restaurant, Unimark Construction Group, Outback Steak House, Seattle's Best Coffee, Top Pot Donuts, and Cheesecake Factory. AFT Renton Classified and Clover Park Technical College Classified locals donated gift baskets.
Thank you everyone for attending!