Association members give Maryland middle school a facelift
NEA's “Outreach to Teach” Program began in 1996 as a school beautification project and a way to give back to public schools during the NEA annual meeting (the NEA Representative Assembly or, informally, the RA). As state budgets suffer and education funding is slashed, schools are in more need now than ever before.
Each year, the NEA Student Program, composed of college students studying to be teachers, and the NEA Retired Member Program select a high-needs public school in the annual meeting's host city. This year the RA was in Washington, D.C. and more than 400 Student and Retired delegates showed up at Thomas Johnson Middle School in Landham, Maryland, to give the school a one-day makeover. Johnson is a turnaround school in Prince Georges County.
RA delegates sign up ahead of time for the part of the project they want to work on, be it painting walls or mulching flower beds. They form member teams from across the country. As they paint, clean, repair, and refresh the school, they talk about education issues and classroom management tips, and share stories with each other about their experiences in public schools. The makeover at Thomas Johnson Middle School represents a $100,000 in-kind donation by our Association to the school and district.
CEA-Retired member Charlotte Green has participated in Outreach to Teach in many NEA Rep Assembly cities. Green said, "It's a great project and I really enjoy being a part of it. This year I got to paint the hall by the room in which the late Christa McAuliffe taught from 1971-78." (McAuliffe later moved to New Hampshire, the state from which she was named a NASA space shuttle astronaut.) Green is a member of the Jefferson County EA-Retired and is one of two retired educators on the CEA Board of Directors.