Visitor Monitoring

Paradise Intermediate School (PINT) School Lounge Makeover – The Reveal

“This brings hope. Helping us build back is really important. To make-over this space means a lot to everyone.”

That’s was the reaction from David Smith, president of the Teachers Association of Paradise as the staff at Paradise Intermediate School (PINT) was treated to their new school lounge from California Casualty.

The Camp Fire damaged PINT, forcing it to find a temporary home in a former hardware store, 25 miles away in Chico. Thirty-five PINT employees lost homes in the fire. The hardware building still has aisles and overhanging merchandise signs, but the teachers, administrators and support staff have done the best that they can under the circumstances.

Understanding the incredible stress that PINT administrators, instructors and support personnel have endured, California Casualty, which provides auto and home insurance to CTA and ACSA members, donated a School Lounge Makeover® to offer a more soothing, useful area for PINT employees to take a break, relax and recharge. To keep the warehouse leasable, designers were limited in what they could do.

EON Office designers have been working on the project for months and revealed the finishing touches. The updated lounge has new paint, comfortable furniture, coffee station, dining areas, tables and other accessories, such as artwork, book cases and rugs, to offer a more comfortable and calming environment. It is designed to be relocated to the school in Paradise when repairs there are completed.

“Thank you California Casualty. This school lounge is definitely an uplift, and a much more inviting space,” said PINT electives instructor, Heather Brown.

Educators can learn more about California Casualty’s School Lounge Makeover and enter for one at their school at

8 Simple Ways to Appreciate Teachers (When You Are One)

8 Simple Ways to Appreciate Teachers (When You Are One)

I know, I know. You don’t need someone to tell you how to appreciate teachers when you ARE the teacher; you know how to appreciate your own kind. But have you really attempted to show your support and appreciation for your fellow teachers in your building? If you have, then you’re way ahead of me. If not, then read on.

In the midst of our busy school day, we sometimes forget that there are simple ways we can show our colleagues that we care about and support them. We often need to be reminded that it doesn’t hurt to demonstrate our respect and appreciation for those with whom we spend our days. Teacher Appreciation Week is the perfect time to turn your thoughts into action!

As National Teacher Appreciation Week and National Teacher Day approach, consider showing your coworkers a little love with some of these simple ideas.


Ask for Advice

Soliciting advice from coworkers demonstrates respect. It can also be flattering for the advice-giver. Confide in someone whom you trust and pick their brain. You might like what they have to say and you’ve stroked their ego in the process.


Get Together

Spend time together with other teachers outside of school. Just being present with your fellow teachers sends the message that you care about and support them. Go out for a happy hour drink and appetizers. You might be surprised what you can learn about each other outside of work.



Working together on a common project or idea can help strengthen relationships. You don’t have to immerse yourself into a complicated, time-consuming task. Start small, like how to assess students at the end of a lesson, or what the next hallway bulletin board will look like.


Be “Friends”

No, you don’t have to be besties with all of the teachers in your building. This day in age, simply being “friends” on social media can mean a lot to someone. Many of us post about our personal lives. In many cases, our coworkers have no idea who we are outside of the school day. Getting a glimpse into one another’s personal lives can impact our perspectives of each other in a positive way.


Get Personal

Interact as much as possible with teachers in your building during the school day. Rather than shooting someone a quick email, go see them in person. If you don’t have time for a personal visit, call them on the phone. Tone in an email can often be perceived differently by the reader than what was intended by the writer. Avoid confusion, and its nasty aftermath, with a simple phone call or visit.


Offer to Help

Think of ways you can help your neighboring teacher. Maybe it’s making copies, or watching their class for a few minutes while they take a leisurely restroom break? They will appreciate the favor, and you’ve just earned yourself a few brownie points!


Bring A Teacher Their Favorite Drink

This one’s easy, but costs a few bucks. Find out one of your colleague’s favorite drinks and surprise them with it at school. Hopefully they’ll appreciate the gesture and you’ll feel good about paying it forward (and buying that second drink for yourself)!


Compliment A Coworker

Give a fellow teacher a genuine compliment about their teaching. Also inform your administrator and superintendent using specific examples. This doesn’t happen often enough. Don’t let great teachers go unnoticed!


Thank A Teacher

Join in NEAs 2019 “Thank A Teacher Campaign.” Post on social media using hashtag #ThankATeacher.


What do you do to show support and appreciation for the teachers with whom you work?


National “Create Real Impact” Contest Rewards Teen Safe Driving Messages

Students and schools across the country have won educational grants from the 2019 Spring Create Real Impact Contest, sponsored by Impact Teen Drivers and California Casualty.

A total of $12,000 was awarded for creative efforts to address the dangers of distracted driving aimed at teenagers.

Caden Turner – “Listen Up”

The following students were chosen for $1,500 grand prize educational grants:

  • Ashlee Walkowiak, Franklin, WI, in the writing category for her work titled, “Be Different”
  • Everen Graves, San Diego, CA, in the music category for the song “So Much to Live For”
  • Caden Turner, St. Louis, MO, in the video category for “Listen Up”
  • Lindsey Sanchez, Richmond Hill, GA, in the art category for the poster “Camera Filter”

The schools with the most entries that were each awarded $1,000 are:

  • Village Academy of Film, Pomona, CA
  • University City High School, San Diego, CA
  • South Forsyth High School, Cumming, GA

The contest encourages peer-to-peer messages and creative expression from students. The goal – help stem the tide of distracted and reckless driving, which is the number one killer of young drivers.

Preventing inattentive driving, especially among teens, is one of the top priorities of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and safety groups across the nation.

“The objective of the Create Real Impact Contest is to allow young people to engage, educate and empower their peers with strategies to stop the number one killer of teens – car crashes – particularly those caused by reckless and distracted driving,” said Kelly Browning, Ph.D., Executive Director, Impact Teen Drivers. “The contest meets teens in a space where they are comfortable – online. It is about the solutions to ending distracted driving, #EndDD, #WeHavethePower.”

Students ages 14-22 were invited to offer their artistic solutions to this critical teen driving danger through essays, artwork, videos and music. More than 1,300 submissions were received and winners were determined by a panel of judges and by online voting for prizes ranging from $500 to $1,500.

The winning entries can be viewed at

Impact Teen Drivers has reached more than two million teens since 2007 and the Create Real Impact contest began in 2009. California Casualty is a founding partner of the nonprofit and continues to provide support for the contest. California Casualty representatives will help present checks to the winning schools and awardees.

“The importance of this contest can’t be overstated,” said California Casualty CEO Beau Brown. “While insurance can replace a mangled vehicle, we can’t replace a teenager’s life. In a split second, everything for that family changes forever; it’s a terrible tragedy that no one should endure.”

The 2019 Fall Create Real Impact contest will kickoff in August. Entries will be taken at For more information on how to get schools and students involved, please contact

Should You Allow Social Media in the Classroom?

Should You Allow Social Media in the Classroom?

Students are hooked on their Smartphones. Just watch a group of teens – how many are typing or swiping something on their phones?

Realizing this phone-addicted reality, many educators are grappling with the idea of allowing students to use their phones for structured classroom projects. If they use phones outside of school, why not allow them to do so in school.

Channeling “Phone Urge”

The way we communicate and get our news is rapidly changing. A number of instructors are now adapting by using social media in their classrooms. Yes, certain sites, like Snapchat and Instagram, can be hard to monitor. However, integrating other social platforms into lesson plans can aids teachers in keeping students engaged. Plus, social media can help them keep up on what is trending to find “teachable moments.” It can also channel students away from using phones for non-instructional use.

Some instructors are now using Twitter to communicate with students and parents about homework, upcoming quizzes and important dates. Others are sending snap quizzes and discussion topics with a Tweet. Research is showing that engaging students via Twitter or other social media helps reduce their urge to become distracted by other platforms while in the classroom.

Teachers are also finding that using memes, GIFs and emojis allow students to express themselves and convey thoughts and feelings in papers and homework assignments that they may have trouble writing about.

There is growing evidence that incorporating smartphones and tablets during lessons can help energize student participation. Many educators are also finding that allowing technology in the classroom presents an opportunity to begin discussions about appropriate and inappropriate social media usage, and the associated dangers.


The NEA has numerous articles about the use of electronic devices and cellphones in schools.

Education Week blogger, Madeline Will, got great response after asking teachers about using social media and to share the memes and GIFS  they’ve employed.

Edutopia has a useful article on 12 Ways Teachers are Using Social Media in the Classroom. It includes creating classroom blogs, sharing school work or news on YouTube, and connecting to other schools through various social media platforms.

For educators still a bit reticent about social media in the classroom, TeachThought has created a wonderful infographic and article about Six Ways Social Media Can Change your Classroom. This reinforces the ideas of learning what students are thinking, knowing what news and cultural things are trending, allowing for easier communication with parents, and globalizing the classroom.

Let’s face it, our world is getting more and more connected. How do you feel about mobile technology in your classroom? If you’ve embraced allowing smartphones in class, what worked and what didn’t? Let us know so that we can share with others.

Resources for this article:

Pin It on Pinterest