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1. Pay Day

  • In order to get paid you need to complete the Direct Deposit form!

  • Review your first paycheck!

    • You want to make sure you are on the right place in the Salary Schedule. You can view the Salary Schedules here.

    • Familiarize yourself with your Employer Paid Benefits (Health Benefits) and Voluntary Employee Deductions (403b Plan) 

  • Know when you get paid! MOST Months it is the last working day of the month.

  • If you have any questions regarding your paycheck, you can contact payroll.

2. Retirement

As a California educator, you are a member of the largest U.S. teachers' retirement fund and one of the largest pension systems in the country. From day one you want to make sure you are building for retirement. Your STRS Contributions will be reflected on your paystubs. Make sure you take a moment to verify your contributions are set up.

SMEA suggests you set up a 403(b)/457 plan!

Do some research on the differences between the plans utilizing 

  • We also suggest you request a copy of our district's 403(b) plan document and/or 457 plan information, including a summary of the plan provisions such as loans, transfers, exchanges and any fees.

  • Be sure to get the list of approved vendors for both ongoing contributions and exchanges.

  • Ask for enrollment forms and any associated paperwork.

3. Health Care

Make sure one of the first things you do is get your Health Insurance set up! Speak with Kitty Ross (760) 752-1241 for assistance. 

  •  Review the Plans here. You can view the Certificated Employee Costs for each plan here

  • Review additional plans available to all employees here.

  • Additionally and have more benefit programs available to all members. Some require no medical appointments if you sign up within a certain timeframe. Check out Programs here and Programs here. 

SMEA Voice

  • It is of utmost importance that SMEA has two-way communication with our members. SMEA communicates with our members in many ways, make sure you take the time to hear from us so that you are always in the know!

    • We send emails through MailChimp, with vital information regarding SMEA. Open and read these emails. Subscribe below.

    • Read the SMEA DEfender, our newsletter. You can read a previous issue of the Defender here.

    • Join our Facebook page!

  • ​We also want to hear from you! 

    • Complete the surveys you receive from us via We always want to hear feedback from our members!

    • You have a voice when it comes to voting in officers and site representatives. Make sure you take your time to vote!

    • Email us! We love to hear from you. 

Top Ten Things to Do as You Start  with SMEA and SMUSD

We are excited to have you join SMEA! Starting at a new job can be exciting and stressful all at the same time! We want you to know you are not alone, your SMEA is here for you.  Please let us help you in any way we can. Take care of yourself, and you'll be taking care of your students, too! We look forward to connecting with you personally, until then, congratulations and welcome! 

Below are the Top 10 things we want you to know and make sure you do to make your start is a successful one! 

5. Credentials

  • If you transferred from another district, make sure you completed the transfer of sick leave form with Human Resources.

  • You have 5 years to complete BTSA. You are not required to start this program in your first year. 

  • You also want to make sure all of your credentials are up to date. Stay in touch with your HR Credential Analyst to review your credentials, longevity steps, and salary schedule.

  • When you joined SMUSD you should have completed a Verification of Employment form, if you didn't make sure you contact the Human Resources Department.

  • Stay on top of your credentials, they expire every 5 years!

  • Contact the Human Resources Department if you have any questions about your credentials.

6. Member Benefits

When you join SMEA, you are also joining CTA and NEA! Upon enrollment you will get a CTA#. You can contact the TVEA office to find out what your CTA# is, if you haven't received your CTA card.

You will immediately want to register with CTA and NEA! 

  • Register with CTA Member Benefits today! Register Here!

  • Learn more about automatic and voluntary  
    CTA Member Benefits here.

  • From your Smartphone device, download the CTA Member Benefits App! 

  • Register with NEA Member Benefits today! Register Here!

  • Learn more about NEA's Member Benefits here.

7. Contract

  • Know your rights!!!

  • Read your contract so you know your contractual rights. We have made it easy for you to read one section of the contract at a time, visit our SMEA Contract page today!

  • If you believe your administrator is not following the contract, reach out to your site representative, they are here to help you problem solve concerns or issues you are having at your site. They can help you to decide if your concern is grievable. You can also check out the most frequently asked questions to our Grievance chair here.

8. Leaves

  • If you are planning a Leave of Absence, make sure you understand what your rights are, according to the contract, for taking leave. You can review the article in the contract here

  • Familiarize yourself with the FRONTLINE Substitute System and know how to code your absence.  Remember you only get 10 Sick days a year, if you go over you will receive a dock in pay if you are out of sick leave. 

  • When you take a leave, you want to make sure you don't lose any of your membership benefits. Make sure you follow the steps to keep your benefits active. Read about the importance of keeping your membership benefits here. 

  • If you are taking a maternity leave of absence, please make sure to read all about what you need to know here and here(your contract). 

Pay-Scale Advancement

  • The benefits of moving to the right on the column on the pay-scale are substantial and provide a lifetime of benefits.

  • A reputable graduate school program will not only enhance and improve your effectiveness in the classroom

    • Over a 30 year career, the difference is hundreds of thousands of dollars

    • Additionally a Master's Degree will earn you an annual stipend.

  • The best way to get started is to ask colleagues where they earned their units. Recommendations are always a great way to go.

10. Networking

We want your time here to be a positive one! We want to get to know you!

  • Get to know your colleagues at your site, but also around the district! Network with colleagues in and out of your department or grade level to overcome teacher isolation!

  • Meet the leaders of SMEA, your elected officers, one of them might be at your site! 

  • Meet your Site Representatives, they should be one of the first people you get to know at your site, they are here for you!

  • Get involved! There are many ways to get involved in SMEA, take a look at the many committees that are here to help make SMEA a better Association!

  • We hope you will attend the social activities SMEA Sponsors and hosts! You'll find out about these events via our Website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, the SMEA Defender, emails as well as your Site Representatives! 

  • We can't wait to meet you!!

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