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This is how we show our teachers RESPECT

Making sure every PSEA member earns what they deserve is what our RESPECT – Raise Educators’ Salaries Provide Economic Certainty Today – initiative is all about.


It's also one of Gov. Tom Wolf's top priorities for the year. At his February budget address, Gov. Wolf laid out his proposal to raise the minimum teacher salary to $45,000 and increase the minimum wage to $12/hour now and $15/hour by 2025.


In attendance at the state Capitol that day were members whose lives would change for the better if the governor's proposals are passed. Below are their stories.

Bridgette May

Bridgette is a fifth-year certified school nurse from Erie City and the full-time caregiver to her two children, 12 and 9. She left a high-paying job as a critical care nurse in Texas and moved back to Erie to be closer to her disabled mother and, she hoped, be able to spend more time with her kids. 

Instead, she has had to work multiple jobs just to make ends meet. She struggles with student loan debt, providing for her family, and spending quality time with her children, one of whom has asthma.

“Initially I started thinking, I’m a new nurse, it wouldn’t be that much of a difference in pay. But it was."

Denise Kennedy

Denise Kennedy, PSEA’s 2018 Education Support Professional of the Year, is an elementary school secretary in the Upper Darby School District. She's worked at Garrettford Elementary for the past 22 years.


“Our support professionals are like the glue that holds our schools together,” she said. “Very often, we have that one-on-one connection with students. We help to keep them safe and supported and challenged every day.


She supports Gov. Wolf's plan to raise the minimum wage and says it'll give her and her colleagues a chance to make a livable wage. Current minimum-wage workers in Pennsylvania earn less than $300 per week. “No matter where you live, that's just not enough money to make ends meet."

Luis Vanderhorst

Luis teaches sixth-grade social studies in the Reading School District. In order to provide for himself and his mother, he's had to work three additional jobs on top of teaching.


"Even though I come from a single-parent home where my siblings and I were taught to work hard for the things that we need in life, living off of a teacher salary has been a challenge," he said.

Tori Koerbler

Tori is a third-grade teacher specializing in English Language Arts. Married with three kids, she and her husband live paycheck to paycheck, struggling with mortgage, car payments, and student loans. 

Now she has to pay for courses to obtain Level 2 certification. She works a second job on weekends and in the summer at a smoked kielbasa shop, and she's taken on other responsibilities to earn extra credit.

"I think teachers are not always given the respect they deserve," she said. "We are the hardest working professionals in our tax brackets. We are professionals just as much as the next professional. We have gone to school, and we have paid our dues."

Help us celebrate National Reading Month!

March is the month we remind our students, our members, and ourselves of the joys of reading. All this month we'll be encouraging members to share photos and videos from school events, including events with parents and students.

Connect with us on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter and share any fun or innovative programs or events happening in your area. Or just share some book recommendations!

Deadline reminders: Fabric of Unionism art contest

Every two years PSEA offers members and their students the chance to submit their original artwork to the Jenifer J. DuBois Fabric of Unionism art competition. The contest features art that celebrates the importance of the labor movement and its accomplishments. Any two-dimensional artwork is acceptable.

The top three winners in each category will take home $1,000, $500, or $250 prizes and be honored at a June 1 reception.

Fabric of Unionism submission deadline: March 29

Upcoming professional development seminar

We're hosting a webinar on March 11 from 5-6 p.m. on Universal Design for Learning (UDL). UDL is a framework for teaching all students based on scientific insights about how people learn.

This webinar will provide an overview of the concepts behind UDL and examine how to utilize these ideas to strengthen instruction in your educational environment. As part of our Professional Learning Exchange, this webinar counts toward both Act 48 and Chapter 14 learning hours.

Have you taken a brain break today?

Consider this your monthly reminder to give your brain a breather for a few minutes throughout your day. If you find yourself zoning out, try something physical like jumping jacks, pushups, stretches, or a walk around the block.


Neuroscience overwhelming supports brain breaks to optimize learning. Our brains crave novelty, and work best when they're calm. Brain breaks are a great way to reset our wiring and help you stay focused through the next round of concentration. Click the link below for some creative brain break ideas to use with students.

Member Benefits Spotlight: PSEA Signature Visa Card

PSEA has partnered with Commerce Bank to bring members the PSEA Visa Signature Credit Card offer. With this card, members can earn cash back rewards with every purchase, with no point cap or opt-in required.

  • Earn 3% Cash Back on Coffee Shops, Fast Food and Ride Sharing services
  • Earn 2% Cash Back on Gas and Restaurants
  • Earn 1% Cash Back on all other Purchases

Check it out and get the card that rewards you and supports Pennsylvania educators with every purchase

400 N. 3rd Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101

This content is intended for PSEA members and their immediate families.

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