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NEA to Offer Early Enrollment Starting April 1, 2015

They are union leaders. They are education leaders. They are creative to their core.

Thomas Lentz, Amanda McCallister and Christina Vega are educators at Ridge Community High School in Polk County, Florida.

They understand the power produced when you give leadership and authority to people.

They thought of their own students who were at risk at becoming lost in a system of bureaucracy that only counted test scores. These powerful educators began to think outside the box.

To those powerful educators the answer is always in teaching students to see the possibilities of their own lives and the power they have in their own hands. Thus was born Sigma Alpha Sigma.

Sigma Alpha Sigma is an extracurricular organization for high schools, designed to foster leadership skills among students who will promote academic excellence within the student body of a school.

These three educators used their union as a vehicle to build a student-educator led partnership after being inspired by their attendance at two NEA conferences.

Members of America's largest education association benefit from strength in numbers to make a difference in their schools. Without the power of their Association behind them, Thomas Lentz and his colleagues wouldn't have had such a strong impact on student success.

Starting at the National Education Association in Washington, D.C. and extending to state and local affiliates, the Association works to improve learning conditions for public school students. Membership rewards go far beyond the legal protections that some might consider the main benefit. Membership in the National Education Association provides help on the job, a ready-made professional network of support, and a strong voice for educators who want the power to control what happens in their schools, rather than handing control over to lawmakers or corporations.

Educators can now sign up for early enrollment and receive complimentary membership until the start of the new school year.

The influence of a collective voice that can impact the profession is why over 3 million educators belong to their local Associations and why we encourage your colleagues to do the same. Join to advocate for your profession and add your voice to the millions of educators who make their commitment to public education through their membership.

Educators can also benefit from having salary and benefit watchdogs on their side. Experienced Association staff help educators to fight for pay increases, benefits and better working conditions for students and school employees. They provide mentoring to educators who are leading union-community campaigns to make the public aware of the importance of investing in public education. They also offer trainings to help individual members sharpen their skills to become advocates for their students and profession.

"I wanted to be a part of a professional organization that would have my back and best interest in times of need," says Debbie Meaux, a French teacher and State President from Louisiana’s Vermilion Parish.

For help around the clock and on the spot, members can visit NEA’s Great Public Schools Network. It’s a free professional network for NEA members where they can collaborate with other members on professional issues, search for resources to enhance lessons plans and share ideas, read educational blogs and up-to-date educational news, share opinions and explore practical educational tools.

There are lots of professional reasons educators are interested in early enrollment, but there are also some perks that help out in their personal lives. Insurance discounts, cheaper movie tickets, and coupons for stores like Target, Ann Taylor, and Best Buy are a few of the money saving offers from NEA Member Benefits.

However, most members agree that the best reason to belong is that it demonstrates support for public education. Find out if your state offers early enrollment or ask your school’s building representative how you can belong today.

To access early enrollment organizing materials, please email listeningtour@nea.org.

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