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CEA Workshop on Cover Letters, Resumes, and Interviewing: Free to All Members

resume flierLooking to learn tips for how to make your resume and cover letter stand out and participate in mock interviews with school administrators? The CEA Student Program is holding a Cover Letter, Resume, and Interview Workshop this Thursday, April 2.

The workshop is FREE to all Student Program and CEA members and will include a panel discussion with school and district administrators and small-group mock interviews. A pizza and salad dinner is also included.

Administrators participating in the workshop will include Putnam Superintendent Bill Hull, Bloomfield Metacomet Elementary School Principal Desi Nesmith, Meriden Assistant Superintendent Tom Giard, Vernon Assistant Superintendent Jeff Burt, and Montville High School Assistant Principal Tanya Patten.

The program will run from 4:30 – 7:45 p.m. and will be held at the Southern Connecticut State University Student Center ASC Theatre, First Floor at 501 Crescent St., New Haven. Parking is available in designated lots, including lot 5.

CEA Student Program members can register here. Active CEA members who are interested in attending should email CEA Educational Issues Specialist Michele O’Neill at micheleo [@]

For Teachers, Experience Does Matter

Plainville social studies speciaist Jennifer Murrihy works with fifth-grade students.

Plainville social studies specialist Jennifer Murrihy works with fifth-grade students.

Contrary to claims by some in the education world that teachers don’t improve much after their first few years in the profession, recent studies are showing that teachers’ ability to help students achieve increases over at least the first decade of their careers.

Teachers with more years of experience in the classroom were even found to be linked with unexpected factors such as decreased rates of student absenteeism.

Education Week reports, Read more

Lessons and Resources for Teaching About Spring

It’s officially here, and hopefully soon the weather will make it easier to believe it really is spring. NEA offers a variety of lessons, activities, and curriculum resources to help teach students about the new season.

Why Do Teachers Stay in the Classroom?

East Hartford classroom

East Hartford teacher Lia O’Connell with her kindergarten students.

Fewer people are entering teacher training programs and lots of veterans say they have considered a new line of work — so why are some teachers committed to remaining in education and what would convince more to stay? Those are the questions NPR posed to experts and teachers themselves recently.

Richard Ingersoll, professor of education at the University of Pennsylvania, says one big reason teachers quit is they feel they have no say in decisions that will ultimately affect their teaching. In fact, Ingersoll says, this lack of classroom autonomy is now the biggest source of frustration for math teachers nationally.

“This would not cost money to fix. This is an issue of management,” says Ingersoll whose research focuses on teacher turnover and retention.

Educators’ responses varied, but shared a common focus on the children. Read more

The Consequences of High Stakes Testing

When testing becomes too high stakes, there are lots of unintended consequences. Officials in India are seeing that this week as images of parents climbing the outside of school buildings to pass cheat sheets to their children make world-wide news.

Luckily things aren’t as bad here in Connecticut, but they are the worst in our memory. Testing is taking over schools and that’s why CEA leaders have launched a powerful effort to get the state to change course.

CEA President Sheila Cohen and Executive Director Mark Waxenberg explained CEA’s proposal to replace SBAC with progress monitoring assessments to the legislature’s Education Committee during a hearing yesterday. Watch Cohen explain some of the problems with SBAC below.

Dr. Monty Neill, executive director of FairTest, told the Education Committee why a high stakes standardized test such as SBAC limits students.

Neill, responding to a question by Education Committee Co-Chair Rep. Andrew Fleischmann, explained how CEA’s proposal would meet federal testing requirements under No Child Left Behind.

Read more about CEA’s proposal.

Testing Expert Tells CT Legislators About Value of CEA Proposal

Dr. Monty Neill

Dr. Monty Neill, executive director of FairTest, testified before the legislature’s Education Committee this afternoon.

“Parents, students, and teachers are currently rising in rebellion against the overuse and misuse of standardized tests,” Dr. Monty Neill, executive director of FairTest, the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, told the legislature’s Education Committee this afternoon.

Neill said, “CEA has proposed a rich, flexible yet strong set of proposals that would take the state well beyond the limitations and problems caused by the near-sole reliance on standardized tests as the indicator, indeed definition, of the quality of education. The evidence is that the state’s educators could build these new systems and that the result is likely to be improvement in schools, teaching and learning.”

Read Dr. Neill’s complete prepared testimony.

Later this evening CEA President Sheila Cohen and CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg will provide the Education Committee with further details on CEA’s proposal. Read their submitted testimony.

East Hartford educator Marcia Ferreira submitted written testimony to the Education Committee explaining the value of progress monitoring assessments and how she and her colleagues use them in their classrooms to meet the needs of each child. Read her remarks here.

Other States Are Moving Forward with Plans to Reduce High-Pressure Testing: CT Can Join Them

In testimony before the Education Committee tonight, CEA leaders will bust the myth that the U.S. Department of Education is not open to flexibility to address the excessive testing and test prep hurting schoolchildren in Connecticut.

CEA President Sheila Cohen says, “The assertion that Connecticut must have the SBAC test has assumed mythic proportions. It is time to dispel the myths. It is imperative that state legislators recognize the innovative options that other states are accessing. And it is Connecticut’s obligation to rescue our schools that are mired in high-pressure testing.”

Just this week, the U.S. Department of Education approved New Hampshire’s approach to reduce standardized testing in favor of more meaningful, local assessments that support teaching and learning. And on the heels of this announcement came news from North Carolina that it is exploring an assessment model that puts adequate focus on student growth over time. Read more

Helping Children Learn to Love Reading

Why do we want children to love reading? Daniel Willingham says that a love of reading isn’t essential for many traditional measures of success. Instead, the University of Virginia psychology professor hopes children will learn to love reading because of the pleasure and experiences it brings.

Willingham, the author of the new book Raising Kids Who Read, told NPR in a recent interview, “I think I gain experiences I wouldn’t gain any other way by virtue of being a reader. And so naturally I want my children to experience that.”

Willingham’s book describes strategies for parents and teachers to use to help children discover a love of reading. Divided into three parts, the sections address strategies for children birth through preschool, kindergarten through second grade, and third grade and beyond. Read more

Miles to Go Before Schools are Measured Comprehensively

Madison teacher Paul

Madison teacher Paul Coppola said that it’s important to integrate qualitative as well as quantitative indicators into a school accountability system.

Since the dawn of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) in 2001, federal law has required states to use annual standardized tests to measure schools. This narrow focus on standardized test scores finally seems to be loosening its stranglehold as a new pilot program in New Hampshire was recently approved by the U.S. Department of Education. It shows promise for a more comprehensive way of looking at schools.

The pilot program, known as the Performance Assessment for Competency Education (PACE), replaces state standardized tests with locally designed assessments in four New Hampshire school districts. Students can demonstrate learning by applying their knowledge in multiple steps and tasks.

Instead of annual SBAC exams, students in the pilot districts will be tested only once in elementary school, once in middle school, and again in eleventh grade. Read more about the New Hampshire pilot program fromThe Christian Science Monitor. Read more

Lessons and Activities for Women’s History Month

Hellen Keller. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Examine the changing cultural perceptions of women in society and honor their contributions to all aspects of life with these lessons and activities. NEA offers the following teaching resources, compiled by Phil Nast, for Women’s History Month 2015 following the theme Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives


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