Educators from around the state have been meeting with their legislators this spring to talk about the issues that matter to them. One issue that continues to be of concern to teachers is funding for the Retired Teachers’ Health Insurance Fund.
Teachers from Regional Hebron, Andover, and Marlborough (RHAM) High School met with their legislators recently to explain why the Retired Teachers’ Health Insurance fund needs to be funded properly. Senator Cathy Osten and Representative Pam Sawyer listed intently to the teachers, including Pete Joseph, Mary Rose, Amy Schiller, and Amy Farrior.
If you’re interested in setting up a meeting with legislators in your district, contact CEA Political Action Coordinator Conor Casey.
Teacher of the Year Says Best Evidence of Good Teaching is Found in the Hearts and Minds of Students
“What all of us teach is understanding. Understanding of the world around us and the people in it,” Connecticut Teacher of the Year Blaise Messinger told delegates at the CEA Representative Assembly Friday night.
Messinger, a former actor, both amused and inspired the nearly 400 educators. The Cromwell fifth-grade teacher encouraged educators to focus on their job—making a difference in children’s lives—rather than the tasks that have to be done but can sometimes overshadow the work that is ultimately more important.
Watch excerpts from Messinger’s speech below or here.
In her remarks before the CEA Representative Assembly this Saturday, CEA President Sheila Cohen reflected on some of the historical events that hold special significance for the Association. One is the Bridgeport teachers’ strike, which helped shape Connecticut’s binding arbitration law. She also did not hesitate to call attention to the efforts of the current teaching force to ensure the best education possible for Connecticut’s public school students.
Watch an excerpt from Cohen’s remarks below.
Nearly 400 delegates representing members in CEA’s 160 local affiliates voted on new business items, adopted Association policies, and elected a new CEA Treasurer, CEA Secretary, an NEA Director Alternate, and Ethnic Minority Director At-Large at the CEA Representative Assembly in Cromwell today.
Current CEA Treasurer Tom Nicholas ran unopposed and was declared elected to a three-year position as treasurer. In addition, Pat Jordan was elected to a three-year term as CEA Secretary with 210 votes to Al Robinson’s 151 votes. Gary Peluchette was elected as the NEA Director Alternate with 218 votes to Vincenza Mazzone-McNulty’s 143 votes. Faith Sweeney ran unopposed and was declared elected CEA Ethnic Minority Director At-Large.
Also in budget action today delegates voted unanimously to approve a $21.7 million budget with no dues increase for CEA members next year.
Nearly 400 CEA members are gathered this weekend for the CEA Representative Assembly (RA), which is underway tonight in Cromwell. The CEA RA is CEA’s highest policy-making body. Today and tomorrow delegates – elected from CEA’s more than 160 local affiliates – are taking action to decide Association policies.
Some highlights from tonight include a speech by 2013 Connecticut Teacher of the Year Blaise Messinger, the presentation of the CEA Friend of Education Award to long-time, recently retired CEA attorney Ron Cordilico, and a look back at the Bridgeport teachers’ strike. CEA President Sheila Cohen thanked the dedicated Bridgeport educators whose actions helped bring about Connecticut’s binding arbitration law.
Stay tuned Monday for full details from the CEA RA.
Every fall the Connecticut State Department of Education surveys public school districts to determine teacher shortage areas. Educators working under an endorsement that is considered a shortage area may be eligible for certain benefits such as loan forgiveness and mortgage assistance.
The State Department of Education recently released the Certification Shortage Areas for 2013-14, which are as follows:
- bilingual education, PK-12;
- comprehensive special education, K-12;
- intermediate administrator;
- remedial reading and language arts, 1-12;
- speech and language pathologist;
- world languages, 7-12;
- hearing impaired, PK-12; and
- school and library specialist.
The life of an education student can be a busy one—filled with classes, school work, extracurricular activities, sometimes a part-time job, and student teaching—especially at the end of the semester. A recent CEA Student Program (CEASP) banquet allowed members a rare opportunity to relax, connect with students from other universities, and be recognized for their hard work.
Over 130 CEASP members gathered at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cromwell for the annual Apple Banquet, which recognizes the most active CEASP members for their engagement and accomplishments over the course of the year. The CEASP involves education students from six Connecticut universities and offers unique opportunities for professional development, community outreach, leadership, and networking.
Michele Ridolfi O’Neill, CEA educational issues specialist and CEASP organizer, said the banquet rejuvenates students’ enthusiasm for the teaching profession. All of the other CEASP statewide events and activities are heavily focused on learning or community service, O’Neill said. The Apple Banquet gives members a rare chance to be recognized and socialize with education students from other universities.
CEASP State Chair Emily Oaks, a Southern Connecticut State University student, referenced the many initiatives the students undertook this year — which included political advocacy around the Bridgeport ballot question in November, themed curricular and STEM nights, and various school beautification projects. Oaks said, “We’re becoming better teachers by what we do for the community.”
At this year’s banquet, students heard from Masuk High School in Monroe teachers Marie Blake, Jeff Seymour, and Tricia Pagel. Their presentation focused on the lessons they have learned from their own students and from the tragedy at nearby Sandy Hook Elementary School.
CEA President Sheila Cohen told the students that the wonderful thing about teaching is the opportunity that each teacher has to make a difference in the life of a student. “Your impact on children’s lives can mean more to them than you’ll ever know,” she said.