fbpx
Skip to content

Posts from the ‘BuildingReps’ Category

Summer Reads for Every Age

good bookAre you or a child in your life looking for some new reading material this summer? Here are a few lists of great summer books to check out.

 

 

Granby Building Reps Create Tracking System to Address Disruptive Student Behavior

Granby fourth grade teachers and building reps Kierstan Pestana and Megan Proto.

Megan Proto and Kierstan Pestana teach math and science on the same fourth-grade team at Wells Road Intermediate School in Granby—and they make a great team when it comes to representing members in their building, too.

Proto has been a building rep for the past couple of years, and, after a colleague left the role, this year Pestana stepped up to join her.

After listening to their colleagues, the co-building reps have identified a number of concerns that Granby Education Association (GEA) members share; a primary one is how to get disruptive students the help they need and preserve learning time for all students. It’s an issue facing schools around the state and country, and Proto and Pestana have come up with the first steps toward getting a handle on the problem in their district.

In order to identify and obtain the resources for properly dealing with the problem, the two decided they first needed to document the extent to which disruptive behavior is occurring in their school. Read more

Building Rep Role Vital to Teachers

Building reps are often a teacher’s first point of contact when questions arise—ranging from practical matters to sensitive subjects. They are their colleagues’ contract enforcer, organizer, and spokesperson.

A building rep’s job is vital, but it’s time-consuming, and often receives little thanks.

That’s why we’re recognizing building reps around the state for their dedication to their colleagues and their willingness to devote time out of their busy schedules to this important job.

Building Rep Matt Taber has been a science teacher at Coginchaug Regional High School in Durham for nine years, and is in his second year as a building rep.

“I was recruited by teachers at my school, and I wanted to get more involved,” Taber says about his decision to become a building rep.” There were some issues around the school that I felt could use some addressing.” Read more

Madison Teachers Fortunate to Have Mary Rao in Their Corner

Madison teacher Mary Rao knows just how important a strong union is because, when she began her career in Fairfax County, Virginia things were very different than here in Connecticut. “I don’t remember meeting anyone from the union. I belonged to our union, but the union couldn’t do much because we had few rights. When I started teaching in Madison, Connecticut it was so nice to meet our union leaders and learn how our union was there to help teachers in need. I didn’t understand how strong and supportive a union could be until I came to Connecticut.”

After her third year teaching in Madison the Brown Middle School math and science teacher went to a contract ratification meeting and asked how she could get more involved. Someone suggested she become a building rep and, nearly 20 years later, she’s still a building rep and also serves on the union’s executive board.

“We are all the union—some members forget that and I have to remind them: you are the union,” says Rao. Read more

Co-Building Reps Work Together to Represent Members

Lori Woodruff and Donna Bosworth, building reps at the Academy for International Studies Elementary Magnet School in Danbury.

“Teachers become teachers because we want to help kids,” says Danbury building rep Lori Woodruff. “It’s the same with our union—we are here to help each other. As teachers, when we’re involved with the union we can do more to help one another.”

Woodruff, a fourth grade teacher, shares her building rep responsibilities at Danbury’s Academy for International Studies Elementary Magnet School with art teacher Donna Bosworth—an arrangement the two say serves them and their members well.

“We can finish each other’s sentences,” says Woodruff. “When we have our 10-minute meetings I’m good at pulling people back to the agenda, and Donna’s really good at explaining in-depth items.” Read more

Union a Priority for Stamford Building Rep

Teachers are often stretched thin between planning, teaching, grading, and assisting with extracurriculars. That’s certainly the case for Stamford teacher Kate Tobin, who teaches a full load of English classes, has co-organized lip-dub music videos to enhance school spirit at Westhill High, and coordinates the Westhill Alumni Network. Despite her many commitments, Tobin makes it a priority to help her colleagues by serving as a building rep, Stamford Education Association secretary, SEA newsletter editor, and as a member of the Negotiations and Grievance Committees.

“Having a teachers union is really important,” she says. “If we didn’t have our union, teachers would be a lot more abused and new expectations and responsibilities would be foisted on us without our input or any additional compensation.”

Tobin adds, “I don’t find the time, I make the time.” Read more

ACES Building Rep Goes the Distance to Communicate With Members

“I’ve always been a big advocate for educators,” says ACES teacher Salman Hamid—and now he’s formally representing teachers in his union as a building rep.

Building reps are often a teacher’s first point of contact when questions arise—ranging from practical matters to sensitive subjects. They are their colleagues’ contract enforcer, organizer, and spokesperson.

The Wintergreen Interdistrict Magnet School sixth grade teacher tells his fellow educators, “It’s absolutely key we get involved in our union and become active and proactive. Decisions made at the local, state, and national can have a big impact on our classrooms, our salaries, and our retirement.” Read more

Unions Give Teachers a Voice to Advocate for Students, Says Building Rep

Building Rep Superhero Sara GoepfrichWhat does your union mean to you? Fairfield Ludlowe High School teacher Sara Goepfrich, who serves as a building rep in her school, says it’s easy to be an island in your own classroom and do your own thing, but that approach doesn’t work so well when it comes to protecting teachers’ rights and securing resources for students.

“The union is not some entity outside of ourselves. The union is everyone we work with, it’s us, and through our union we can advocate for our needs and for our students’ needs,” says Goepfrich. “Unions give a voice to our profession to allow us to advocate for what students need to be successful in the classroom. They also create a support system for new teachers to ask questions and gain support in a non-evaluative way. Unions allow us to advocate for things that are unpopular but really necessary for students. Things that administrators might push back against or that might be seen as making waves.” Read more

Building Rep Reminds Teachers of the Many Benefits of CEA Membership

“A union allows teachers to be stronger,” says Cooperative Education Services Education Association building rep Marilyn Della Rocco. “Together we can accomplish more and have more of a voice.”

Della Rocco, a preschool teacher at Six to Six Interdistrict Magnet School in Bridgeport who also serves as co-vice president of her local association, says it’s very important for teachers to be engaged with their union because there are many groups who seek to erode teachers’ rights.

“The rights to a half-hour lunch, being able to have prep time, having class sizes that are appropriate to the developmental stage of the children—these are all things teachers enjoy today because our union has fought for them over the years,” she says. “Without a union, things would be very different.” Read more

For Bridgeport Building Rep, History Is the Best Teacher

When Amy Broad, a building rep at Bridgeport’s Winthrop School, talks about union membership with teachers at her school, she puts it in a historical context. Without the sacrifice of the Bridgeport Education Association (BEA) members who went on strike in 1978, many of whom went to jail, teachers would not have the wages, benefits, and working conditions they enjoy today.

“A lot of people who are teaching now aren’t aware of what the strikers actually did,” the kindergarten teacher says. “We have the advantage of having prep periods, and pay, and collective bargaining, and all of that, and some teachers today don’t know where that came from. They don’t realize what was going on back before 1978, and that those things had to be fought for.”

The Bridgeport Strike was a defining moment for teachers in Connecticut, and its lessons about the importance of teachers sticking together still hold true today. Read more