East Windsor Education Association

June 13, 2016

Crowning Achievement!

YOUR East Windsor Education Association was recently honored by NJEA!
Vice president Marie Blistan, Director of Government Relations Ginger Gold-Schnitizer (PLD alumni!), and Ana Hanzes, Mercer County lobbyist, presented us with a plaque in recognition of our fearless leadership, commitment to what’s fair and right, and the fact that 74% of our members donate to PAC, making us one of the top locals in the state for PAC donations. The second highest local has 22% participation. Well done, members!

May 23, 2016

FAST Literacy Night…FANTASTIC!

On May 11, 2016, more than 125 students and families took part in our second FAST event, “Multicultural Literacy Night.” Funding for this event came from a NJEA FAST grant that our PRIDE/FAST chairperson, Esmeralda Garcia, applied for.
Families were treated to a scrumptious meal that they enjoyed together. There were different literacy stations where students listened to stories, designed quilt squares, made maracas, and more!
Every family went home with books..and more books! They also received small emergency kits…all courtesy of EWEA.
We want to personally thank the teachers who volunteered to help that night. We are all so busy, yet these folks gave up a nice quiet evening at home to be part of an enriching experience with our district’s ELL students.
Thank you:
Meagan Moran
Janet Reyes
Yvonne Santiago
Rosanna Paco
Robert Bucci
Keith Samber
Jessica Myers
Ellen Ogintz
Jolly Becerra
Lisa Tanikawa-Brown
Milagros Roux
Jeanette Rivera
Tiffany Acevedo
Jennifer Elgolany
Angela Castaneda
Veronica Lubrano
Michelle Gonzalez
Virginia Caamano
Maida Reyes-Cote
Linda Pohl
Robin Headen
Ilene Edgerton
Lauren Keener
Maureen Bongiorni
Ana Martinez
Mariellen Bradley
Stephanie Benjamin
Barbara Herrera
Nicole Bekefi
Esmeralda Garcia
And to quote Rod Stewart, “Every Picture Tells a Story”…so enjoy!
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May 2, 2016

NJEA HIPP Foundation Grant Goes to …

Yes! Our very own Kristen Cifuentes and Leah Nittoso have been awarded an NJEA HIPP grant for the 2016 – 2017 year!
The NJEA Frederick L. Hipp Foundation for Excellence in Education makes it possible for public school employees to receive grants that will help them bring creative ideas to life.
The only foundation of its kind in New Jersey, the Hipp Foundation supports initiatives to promote excellence in education. More than $1.6 million in grants for innovative educational projects that represent a bold, fresh approach by public school employees has already been awarded. And these funds come from YOUR dues! So your dues money goes to members…and to students.
Leah and Kristen’s project, , “Service Saturday” was awarded the full amount they requested… $6,500! They can now fully fund 5 service learning projects at the Melvin H. Kreps Middle School.
The plan is that to have 5 Service Saturdays per school year. The events include:

Service Saturday #1: October – Students will support the local food bank by creating bagged lunches. Each lunch will contain one apple(or seasonal fruit), one juice box, one peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich and one granola bar. Each bag will be decorated seasonally with drawings and positive messages. We will collaborate with the food bank about drop off/pick up of the items.

Service Saturday #2: December – Students will create personal care packages for the local, community women’s shelter. This shelter assists women and their families to escape from abusive living situations. The personal care packages will be put together to support the various cultural needs of the women and families. Each kit will contain full size shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, feminine hygiene items, hair brush and deodorant.

Service Saturday #3: February – Students will make no-sew blankets. These blankets will require large amounts of uncut fleece. Students will be placed into small groups to cut the fleece into required sizes based on their child (infant, child, teenager) and then cut the edges and tie them off. These will be donated to the local children’s hospital.

Service Saturday #4: March – Students will assist our local soup kitchen. For this activity we will require silverware, napkins and lots of fun, colorful ribbons. The students will be responsible for sorting the silverware, create bundles, wrapping the bundles in napkins, and securing the bundles with ribbon. In addition, the soup kitchen asks for individuals to stuff and seal informational envelopes. During this Saturday, seeds will be planted and placed in our school’s greenhouse so they can begin growing in time for May’s Service Saturday.

Service Saturday #5: May – Students will focus on campus cleanup and will identify areas of the school campus that would benefit from gardening. We will have students in small teams raking leaves and pulling weeds. These students would place leaves and weeds to be disposed of properly. Other students will create a composting bin for leaves to be placed into. The school would also like to host a “compost off” where students will be taught during lunches which items can be composted (banana peels, apple cores, but not chicken patties) and encouraged to add to the compost bin during lunch. Students will complete the activity by planting plants that have sprouted in our greenhouse and mulching those areas to keep weeds away.

Congratulations again!
Stay tuned for more information next year so that you too can be a part of this initiative!

April 29, 2016


Thanks to funding through NJEA PRIDE, the East Windsor Education Association was able to partner with the United Way and set up a “CLIP” program (Child Literacy Improvement Project). Our favorite United Way person, Denise Daniels, was our partner in setting up the Rogers School “Reading Oasis”.

“CLIP” sets up a reading corner in a local barber shop/salon so that kids can have a place to read and enjoy books while their parents, siblings, or themselves wait for a haircut!

The bookcase has OUR NAME on it, and each book thanks us with a label too. There are kid sized chairs for the “Readers” to relax in. The PRIDE funding we received ($500) also pays for upkeep and re-stocking of books for the youngest “customers”.

An extra bonus for the East Windsor Education Association president, Ellen Ogintz, was that this particular barber shop, Legends Barbershop of Hightstown, is owned an operated by her former student Izzy Vargas! Izzy knew from his “favorite” teacher “way back when” that reading is magical. She still agrees 😉

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March 15, 2016

LAT Dinner Recap and Pictures!

The Legislative Action Team dinner on March 10th is our opportunity to thank those legislators who are influencing the education landscape in a POSITIVE way.
It is also the time to ask them the tough questions about issues we are currently facing, and make SURE they are still on the RIGHT side of the issues.
This year’s dinner accomplished both…and the prime rib was delicious too!
We asked about the fiscally responsible pension funding amendment (more of which you will hear about from your Building Rep next month).
This amendment is co-sponsored by our own Senator Linda Greenstein and she spoke eloquently about it and explained why it is the ONLY solution to the pension crisis…and explained that it won’t add to what NJ already owes. This amendment allows the state to phase in payments over several years, making it MUCH easier to reach a responsible level of funding.
Our Assemblyman Dan Benson applauded the amendment and agreed that each year the state fails to make responsible payments, the liability grows and taxpayers OWE MORE.
Andrew Zwicker, the new LD 16 Assemblyman, added there must be creative and innovative ways to lower health care costs.
No kidding!
NJEA Vice President Marie Blistan applauded us all for our hard work and tireless efforts on behalf of our members.
She asked for a show of hands of people taking home LESS money today than we did in 2010.
MOST of the people in the room raised their hands.
This cannot continue.
We will need your help getting this amendment passed…but more of that later.
I’d like to thank the EWEA Legislative Action Team members for attending the dinner…in the middle of the week…exhausted and ready for Spring Break.
Thanks, Chairwoman Rachel Cunningham, Jessica Myers, Chris Gabbi, Randi Tompkins-Byock, Patricia Winthrop-Murphy, Kathy Dziuba, and Andrew Koontz (who is running for re-election as a Mercer County Freeholder…shameless plug).
I’d like to also thank EWEA Executive Board members Chris Carpenter, Karen Rogers and Sarah Vandervort.
United we stand, my friends…
Ellen Ogintz – President

MCEA LAT queen Grace Rarich and our Chair Rachel Cunningham

MCEA LAT queen Grace Rarich and our Chair Rachel Cunningham

Assemblyman Dan Benson

Assemblyman Dan Benson

MCEA President Christine Sampson Clark

MCEA President Christine Sampson Clark

newbie Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker and his educator wife Barbara

newbie Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker and his educator wife Barbara

Assemblyman Zwicker and NJEA Vice President Marie Blistan

Assemblyman Zwicker and NJEA Vice President Marie Blistan

Freeholder John Cimino, NJREA member Stacy Santos, Councilwoman Bonnie Watson-Coleman

Freeholder John Cimino, NJREA member Stacy Santos, Councilwoman Bonnie Watson-Coleman

EWEA VP Chris Carpenter, WCB Building Rep Karen Rogers, EWEA LAT member from PLD Chris Gabbai, and EMK Building Rep Sarah Vandervort

EWEA VP Chris Carpenter, WCB Building Rep Karen Rogers, EWEA LAT member from PLD Chris Gabbai, and EMK Building Rep Sarah Vandervort

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Assemblyman Zwicker and NJEA Vice President Marie Blistan

Assemblyman Zwicker and NJEA Vice President Marie Blistan

NJEA VP Marie Blistan, EWEA VP Chris Carpenter, and LTEA President Michele D'Angelo

NJEA VP Marie Blistan, EWEA VP Chris Carpenter, and LTEA President Michele D’Angelo

NJEA VP Marie Blistan chats with one of her favorite locals...us!

NJEA VP Marie Blistan chats with one of her favorite locals…us!

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March 10, 2016

Election Results! NEA Fund donations totaled!

Thanks to all of you who voted to decide who will represent YOU at the NEA Representative Assembly this summer.
POSTIVELY joining me will be Chris Carpenter and Jerry Simonelli…God help them.
The next runner up is Esmeralda Garcia and then Sarah Vandervort.
We can ALL go IF YOU elect Chris, Jerry and I to be State delegates!
I will be emailing you more information very soon.
Now money…
EWEA raised $1242 to give as a donation to the NEA Fund for Children and Public Education!
That is a tremendous show of support, and we thank you.
Those Drew Dragons had the highest percentage of contributions with 78%! They win the Visa gift card 🙂
Again, thanks to all of you who contributed and made EWEA Day more than just a chance to wear that alluring t-shirt.
Now here are some pictures to see just how fabulous many of you looked:














January 25, 2016

EWEA Hosts the Optical Academy!

  EWEA had their yearly Optical Academy last week and many members walked away happy, stylish, and not broke! We invited ALL district employees to take advantage of the savings and opportunity. The folks from Optical Academy were great and spirits were high. It was a fun event planned by Chris Carpenter, with treats from Donna Ratner.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           IMG_5081 IMG_5082 IMG_5083 IMG_5084 IMG_5085 IMG_5086 IMG_5087 IMG_5089

January 25, 2016

EWEA at the Dr. King Human and Civil Rights Celebration!

We had a wonderful time representing EWEA at this event. We were inspired by the words of Larry Hamm (google him and be amazed), had a table including a vegan, a vegetarian, a gluten free meal, and danced and sang with Chaka Khan! Look for this event next year…it is well worth it and EWEA can send two members!

Making up our Fantastic Six were Robt Seda-Schreiber, MCEA Human Rights committee member and his remarkable wife Cynthia ,Sarah Vandervort, EMK Building Rep, Casey Fox, 2nd vice president and MCEA Human Rights committee member, Chris Carpenter, 1st vice president, MCEA secretary, NJEA Elections Chair, and Ellen Ogintz.

We “hobnobbed” with our friends from TEA and HVEA, as well as NJEA secretary/treasurer Sean Spiller and his wife Lauren, and NJEA Vice-President Marie Blistan.

Sorry for the poor quality…crazy pink lights for Chaka Diva Lip-syncher…let the fans do the singing…too tired to perform singer. IMO…

'Rob and Cyndi...power couple!'

December 2, 2015

EWEA’s Candice Bland to be on Classroom Close-up!

Good news! Our colleague, Candice Bland, has been selected to be on Classroom Close-up!

Classroom Close-up is a 13-time Emmy winning half-hour show, produced by the New Jersey Education Association,  that airs year round on New Jersey’s public television station NJTV. The show focuses on all the wonderful things happening in New Jersey public schools.

On February 26th, the students who participated in the Spanish Study Abroad program will be simulating their experience in the classroom; using the target language, talking about the program, how it has changed them, what it provided for them academically/socially and why this program is unique to EWRSD.

November 1, 2015

EWEA Fall Social…A Success!

Thank you, Social Committee Chair Melanie Bowen for organizing a fun, filling, and relaxing EWEA social at Charlie Brown’s on October 29th.
Thanks too for the raffle prizes…Towne Diner, Prestige Diner, Charlie Brown’s and YOUR EWEA!
Also, thank you, Dan Benson, for dropping by during this EXTREMELY busy campaign season. We support you and your efforts 100%. You have our vote on Tuesday!

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