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The Northwood Howler

The Student News Site of Northwood High School

The Northwood Howler

The Student News Site of Northwood High School

The Northwood Howler

Looking into ITA’s recent accomplishments

Neil Godse
AMAZING ADVOCACY: Teacher and ITA state council representative Zane Pang discusses his in-depth involvement with ITA and CTA.

Getting the best education possible starts with school staff who can create a safe, healthy environment and are willing to diligently work to educate and inspire students. However, this is difficult, if not impossible to do without good working conditions for educators across California. Fortunately, unions such as the California Teachers Association, and local unions, such as the Irvine Teachers Association for school staff at Northwood, can help them acquire the necessary benefits and conditions they need to help students learn to their fullest potential.

ITA has negotiated for renewed benefits last year, such as a week-long break for Thanksgiving and pay for coaches proportional to years served, to go into effect next year. Actively working with Northwood administration to negotiate positive financial and work-related changes to improve the quality of learning at schools, ITA has previously negotiated for personal protective equipment for employees during the pandemic as well as safe zone markers and pride flags in support of the student LGBTQ+ community. 

“We advocate for all students to be safe and happy,” ITA representative Cathleen Zeleski said. “We’re fortunate because we have an amazing school board that also supports us. I’m happily able to say that I’m in a safe classroom.”

The process ITA takes to negotiate for changes in working conditions varies depending what they are advocating for. To decide which policy changes they should negotiate for next, ITA communicates with teachers to determine what would be the most beneficial to the most people. Teachers are also free to form groups associated with ITA to push for changes themselves, such as equal funding for the arts departments or equal pay for male and female coaches.

However, there are occasionally bigger issues that need to be addressed by the state legislature instead of local school boards. In this case, each branch of the CTA sends representatives to a yearly council to vote on CTA’s actions at the state level.

We meet together and we vote and debate on state policy issues. We’re representatives from all of the local unions from all of California.

— ITA state council representative Zane Pang

“We meet together and we vote and debate on state policy issues,” ITA state council representative Zane Pang said. “We’re representatives from all of the local unions from all of California.”

ITA hopes to continue working closely with Northwood and IUSD leadership to advocate further for the safety and health of employees and create a teaching and learning environment that is more fair and equitable for everyone, with specific goals set on increasing healthcare benefits and giving teachers more grading days to optimize students’ academic experience. 

“You want things to move in a positive direction and make positive results,” Zeleski said. “It’s really easy to sit back and complain. I try to be there to help and advocate for them. You need to have somebody who could sit there and listen to everything. It’s just communication.”

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About the Contributors
Timothy Shin
Timothy Shin, Staff Writer
Tim is a Staff Writer on the Northwood Howler. You’ll catch him in his free time hanging around his favorite clubs (like Ecclesia, Aviation Club and Thrive Club), practicing the trumpet for the marching band, and ranting on how Oppenheimer was the greatest film of the decade.
Neil Godse
Neil Godse, Photographer
Neil Godse is a Photographer and Junior at Northwood. He used to love aviation, traveling, and youtube - until junior year happened. Now you can see him doing Physics homework, and in his 13 seconds of break time, he is mindlessly scrolling through reels until the time is just right to start work again (12:00 AM sharp). If it wasn’t obvious already, he loves taking photos, and can be seen stalking people around the school (only for Howler of course).

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