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Start the New School Year Strong with Tips and Ideas from NEA Member Benefits

NEA MB back to school 16Visit to find the resources you need to prepare your classroom and yourself as you get ready to head back to school:

  • Classroom organization project ideas: Get inspired to organize your room with these clever projects! Watch as a professional organizer helps 3 teachers create functional classrooms—and get ideas to spruce up your own space.
  • Classroom management advice: Find expert answers to NEA members’ toughest classroom management challenges so you can start the new school year on the right foot.
  • Tips to create a positive work-life balance: Get ideas on ways to manage your school day, your work relationships, and your own health.
  • Savings just for educators: Access special discounts that’ll help keep more money in your pocket as you shop for your back-to-school essentials.

Visit today to get your back-to-school resources!

Data is State Priority

Connecticut Commissioner of Education Dianna Wentzell addressed superintendents at a back-to-school meeting this morning at A.I. Prince Technical High School.

Connecticut Commissioner of Education Dianna Wentzell addressed superintendents at a back-to-school meeting this morning at A.I. Prince Technical High School.

The state Mastery Examination Committee is scheduled to meet again on September 21 as it prepares to answer key questions posed by the General Assembly, including whether Connecticut’s Mastery Examinations, and in particular SBAC, respond to student needs and inform teachers of student progress.

In the meantime, Connecticut Commissioner of Education Dianna Wentzell told superintendents gathered for an annual back-to-school meeting this morning that her department continues to pore through the voluminous data provided by SBAC. She pointed to what she called a source of pride—SBAC scores in half of the Alliance Districts grew at a faster rate than did the state’s SBAC scores overall between 2014-15 and 2015-16. Read more

Broadway Experience Inspires Cheshire Teacher

Teachers, including Cheshire's Dawn DeMeo, were able to talk with Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda during the Broadway Teachers Workshop this summer. (Photos contributed by DeMeo.)

Teachers, including Cheshire’s Dawn DeMeo, were able to talk with Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda during the Broadway Teachers Workshop this summer. (Photos by DeMeo.)

Hamilton is the most exclusive show on Broadway, yet Cheshire English teacher Dawn DeMeo was able to join a couple hundred other teachers to not only see the show, but talk to its creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, earlier this summer.

Both opportunities were thanks to the Broadway Teachers Workshop, which aims to inspire teachers and directors of school theater productions with “new teaching methods, enhanced production skills and an exchange of ideas with peers and professional Broadway artists.” Read more

Coming this Fall: CEA Retirement Workshops for Teachers

img_robyn-kaplan-choWant to learn more about planning for retirement? Comprehensive CEA workshops held around the state cover all issues related to the State Teachers’ Retirement System, such as retirement eligibility, purchasing additional service, how Social Security may be affected, retiree health insurance, and choosing a retirement plan.

CEA Retirement Specialist Robyn Kaplan-Cho will cover a wide range of issues and offer time for questions following the presentation. The workshops are held at various locations around the state throughout the fall and in the early spring.

Any active CEA member who wishes to begin planning for retirement is encouraged to attend a workshop. It is never too early to educate yourself!

Click here for more information and to register for a workshop.

Diversity in School is Key to Achieving Equity and Student Success

“Schools save lives and make a difference. School saved my life,” U.S. Education Secretary John King Jr., told more than 200 community members, parents, teachers, students, and policymakers gathered in Hartford today.


U.S. Education Secretary John King Jr., (right) and U.S. Senator Chris Murphy discussed diversity in schools at a roundtable in Hartford

King joined U.S. Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal to draw attention to the need to increase diversity in schools to drive positive student outcomes in school and in life.

The Education Secretary said schools are facing many challenges, including a lack of diversity, and more must be done to find solutions to make them diverse and successful. Read more

Underestimating Inequality in Schools

student in hallwayWhen it comes to public schools, we generally measure student poverty by looking at the number of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. According to a recent piece in The New York Times, however, looking at students eligible for subsidized meals as a homogeneous group severely underestimates the achievement and opportunity gaps.

Susan Dynarski, a professor at the University of Michigan, looked at data from her state and found that, although approximately half of eighth-graders are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, only 14 percent had been eligible every year since kindergarten.

Dynarski writes, Read more

CEA Advisor Showcases Student, Teacher Innovation and More

innovation on display, summer

From a 3-D printed boot for a disabled Mystic Aquarium penguin to environmentally friendly ice melt to a solar house design, students and teachers from across the state showcased innovative ways they are using technology in the classroom to promote teaching and learning.

Read about these technology-driven projects and much more in the summer issue of the CEA Advisor, an online-only edition.

Other articles featured in this issue include

With Close of Education Funding Trial, Students, Parents, and Teachers Now Await Verdict

Bridgeport teacher Greg Furlong shared his firsthand experiences with inadequate resources and support as a witness for CCJEF.

Bridgeport teacher Greg Furlong was one of several CEA members to share his firsthand experiences as a witness for CCJEF earlier this year.

After months at trial in Hartford Superior Court, the historic education funding case, CCJEF v. Rell, concluded with post trial arguments today. The Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding (CCJEF)—a coalition made up of students, parents, towns, and education organizations including CEA—had filed suit against the state of Connecticut for failing to adequately and equitably fund public schools.

As a result of the state’s education funding failure, lawyers for CCJEF argued that many children in high-poverty districts—including Bridgeport, Danbury, East Hartford, New Britain, New London, and Windham—lack the critical educational resources they need to succeed. Additionally, their educational opportunities are significantly unequal and inequitable when compared to those of students in wealthier districts. Read more

Classroom Makeovers and a Chance to Win

classroom makeoverGet inspired as the new school year approaches with expert tips to organize your classroom.

See how a professional organizer helped three teachers transform their classrooms to meet their needs. You’ll get creative ideas that can help you maximize usable space, organize supplies for easy access, store infrequently used material, and more.

Watch all three episodes from NEA Member Benefits, and then be sure to enter for your chance to win a $500 Visa gift card for your back-to-school expenses.


August Deals and Discounts from NEA Member Benefits

summer flowersThe last month of summer is here! Remember to check out these special offers from NEA Member Benefits as you prepare for back-to-school time.

NEA Click & Save “Buy-lights” for August 2016

It’s time to get ready for the school year! NEA Click & Save, the online discount buying service for NEA members, highlights select retailers and merchants each month. Check out these featured “Buy-lights” for August! Read more


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