Skip to content

Posts from the ‘CEA Events’ Category

Teaching SEL Remotely: CEA Teachers Share Strategies

Student anxiety and mental health issues were a serious concern before COVID-19 and are even more so now that schools are not physically in session. Distance learning is no substitute for in-person interaction and emotional support, and many educators are struggling to support students and colleagues during this difficult time.

Earlier this month, more than 800 educators attended a webinar hosted by Marc Brackett, Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and Betty Sternberg, Director of Connecticut’s Teacher Leader Fellowship Program, a collaborative program run by CCSU, CEA, and AFT-CT. The webinar, titled, “SEL Best Practices for Supporting Educators and Students During Distance Learning,” featured 23 teachers and administrators from around Connecticut.

Three CEA teachers were featured on the panel. Anthea Groton, a kindergarten teacher at Birch Grove Elementary School in Tolland, shared strategies to help elementary school students deal with anxiety and feelings of isolation and loneliness. She focused on the importance of warm connections between teachers and students and engaging learning activities like Lego Challenges and Living Room Fort Construction. She spoke of the challenges of distance learning and the emotional toll it is taking on teachers, and reminded colleagues, “What you are doing matters. It matters a lot.” Read more

Funniest Home Videos—Teachers Share Trials, Tribulations, Tips, and True Stories from Distance Learning

A virtual forum hosted by CEA brought elementary school classroom teachers, special education teachers, media specialists, literacy coaches, school social workers, and others together to share tips, tricks, and challenges—and a few laughs—related to distance learning.

Among the hurdles teachers reported:

  • “Different schools and districts are comparing themselves to each other, but we don’t all have the same capacity and resources.”
  • “If we have to do this in the fall, we need time—teachers need time, teams need time—to really plan and make this work. We are already finding ourselves working long days and nights, often until 11 p.m.”
  • “The level of documentation for special education teachers is through the roof. It took me four hours to update my assignment log and parent contact log. I’m working 10-to-14-hour days, seven days a week. It’s a good thing my own children are grown, but many of my colleagues also have school-age children at home.”
  • “Some Facebook groups have become pretty hostile, so set your boundaries.”
  • “One student told me she left her apartment yesterday for the first time in eight weeks. How can that be good?”
  • “My own son has regressed a little bit during this time, needing me—his parent—around all the time.”
  • “I’m afraid we’re either going to see a zillion new referrals for special education in the fall or none at all. And neither is a good scenario.”
  • “Student engagement has not been tackled or figured out, so grading is going to be a challenge.”
  • “There is a huge difference in live versus asynchronous learning within and among districts. Some districts have legal guidance prohibiting certain things, such as live video conferencing, while others allow it. There’s no consistency.”
  • “As a school media specialist, I’ve been on the tech end of it, rolling out Chromebooks, figuring out how to get them handed out, helping students and parents learn how to use them, getting families access to Wi-Fi. Not every parent or child has the same facility with technology. Not every family has the same access.”
  • “I had a parent say this about his student: ‘I had no idea he would be like this. I am so sorry.’”
  • “You can definitely tell that some students are getting a lot of help from parents while others are left on their own.
  • “In the beginning, we were told that we didn’t have to track students’ assignments, but now we are having to track all of this and to pick standards for grading first-graders with all these varying degrees of help at home.”
  • “Sometimes you are seeing students who were having trouble composing a complete sentence and are now submitting whole opinion pieces with an introduction, body, and conclusion. I had a parent admit to me that she’s been doing all of her second-grader’s work all week.”
  • “What is this going to look like in September, if we are still doing virtual learning and I have five-and six year olds that I don’t know? At least with this class, I had more than half the school year to get to know these little ones. I just am so concerned about what’s going to happen when these very young children are new to this, and I’ve never met them and have to teach them this way.”

Read more

Virtual CEA RA Continues Work of Association

As well as being CEA's highest policy-making body, the CEA Representative Assembly (RA) is also usually a chance for teachers from across the state to meet up and converse with their fellow CEA members.

Read more

Education Commissioner Addresses What’s Next for Public Education

Hundreds of teachers tonight heard answers to some of their biggest questions about how public education will move forward in Connecticut, as the state begins looking at a possible phased-in reopening of businesses, schools, and other facilities and services.

How will teachers and students be protected? Will distance learning continue even as schools reopen? What happens if someone at school has COVID-19 symptoms?

These were just a handful of the many questions posed to State Department of Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona, Deputy Commissioner of Academics and Innovation Desi Nesmith, and Deputy Commissioner of Educational Supports and Wellness Charlene Russell-Tucker during a live, hour-long webinar hosted by CEA and AFT Connecticut.

CEA President Jeff Leake and AFT Connecticut President Jan Hochadel acknowledged members of both unions for taking time after a full day of teaching to join the webinar and make their questions and concerns heard, and Dr. Cardona thanked teachers for continuing to engage students academically and provide emotional connections while also caring for their own families and loved ones.

Highlights from tonight’s Q&A with Commissioner Cardona and his staff follow. Watch for a full video to be posted to cea.org in the coming days. Read more

Schools & COVID-19: Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona Will Answer Your Questions

Do you have questions for the State Department of Education about distance learning, school reopening plans, or other issues related to COVID-19?

Join a live webinar this Wednesday, April 29 from 4-5:00 p.m. to watch State Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona and members of his staff answer your questions. Hosted by CEA President Jeff Leake and AFT Connecticut President Jan Hochadel, the webinar is open to members only and registration is limited.

>Register and submit your questions.

Learn About Loan Forgiveness, Teacher Retirement, and More With CEA Online Trainings

CEA is hosting a variety of free, timely, online trainings, just for you.

Upcoming webinars include a Degrees Not Debt virtual seminar where you can get information about loan forgiveness programs, workshops about preparing for retirement, and a yoga class especially for teachers.

Google Classroom – Rubrics, Grading & Collaborating

April 21, 3:30-4:30pm

Are you comfortable using Google Classroom? Are you doing all you can to engage and teach your students using this platform? CEA members are invited to a free webinar that will help you improve your knowledge of Google Classroom and ultimately the learning environment for your students. Read more

More Free Online Training for CEA Members

Sign up for one or all of CEA’s upcoming webinars via the links below. To receive notice of future online training for CEA members, subscribe to BlogCEA.

‘The Big Seven’: Strategies for Healthy Emotion Regulation in Uncertain Times

Thursday, April 9
4 to 5pm

In uncertain times, it is easy to feel out of balance emotionally. Join Dr. Marc Brackett, director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, for a webinar on helpful emotion regulation strategies. Dr. Brackett will discuss how we can address some of the unhelpful ways we deal with our emotions and use evidence-based strategies to achieve greater overall well-being.

The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence conducts research and offers training that supports people of all ages in developing emotional intelligence and the skills to thrive and contribute to society. The Center works with district and school leaders and educators to support the systemic implementation of social and emotional learning (SEL) and foster SEL skills in all stakeholders.

The goal of the Center’s work is leveraging emotions to create healthier and more equitable, innovative, and compassionate communities. RULER is the school-based approach to SEL developed at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence that is being implemented in over 200 Connecticut schools.

Register now> Read more

3 Free Virtual Events for CEA Members This Week

These are challenging times for teachers, and CEA is here to make things easier. You’re invited to three free virtual events over the next week designed to help you minimize stress, maximize tools for distance learning, and gain deeper insights into social emotional learning.

  • Manage online instruction and connect with your students using Google Classroom
  • Bring your mind and body into mindfulness with a local yoga teacher
  • Learn about emotional regulation strategies for the classroom, teacher stress, and more from a renowned local expert

Read more

Documentary Assists Teachers in Helping Students Dealing with Trauma

Toxic stress in childhood can lead to all sorts of negative outcomes later in life. Abuse, neglect, witnessing violent events, prolonged hunger, and more can wreak havoc on children’s developing brains, putting them at an increased risk for many types of disease, as well as homelessness, addiction, and incarceration

Teachers today are seeing more violent outbursts, withdrawn behaviors, and other possible symptoms of exposure to toxic stress—and they want to know what they can do to help.

Bloomfield teachers had the opportunity to watch the documentary Resilience recently. To watch the film and hold a facilitated discussion in your local, contact CEA at myprofession@cea.org.

CEA has purchased copies of the movie Resilience: The Biology of Stress & The Science of Hope so that local associations can learn more about the effects of toxic stress on children as well as ways to protect children from those devastating effects. CEA trainers are available to facilitate discussions following the movie so that members can have open and honest discussions about the sometimes troubling content of the film.

After a recent screening for all educators during a PD day in Bloomfield, teachers gathered in school-based groups to discuss their reactions and ideas for how to help students.

“This is my second time seeing the film,” Bloomfield Education Association President Susan Sumberg told her Laurel Elementary School colleagues. “The first time I watched it the correlation between toxic childhood stress and heart disease, diabetes, and other ailments really surprised me.” Read more

Teachers Talk. Education Commissioner Listens.

DSC_4326

Haddam-Killingworth Middle School teacher and building rep Ruth Masci shares with Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona strategies that have had a positive effect on school climate in her district, a challenge still facing many districts.

“It’s unconscionable what we’re doing to these kids,” said a kindergarten teacher who described long days of math, reading, and writing instruction, with no opportunities for play.

“I am voiceless,” confided a special educator whose 14 students include children with autism, learning disabilities, Down syndrome, and emotional and behavioral issues. “I had five PPTs this week, and when I am in PPTs, I am not providing specialized instruction. I am drowning.”

When new and experienced educators stepped up to the microphone last night to talk about underresourced schools, overtested students, and dysregulated behavior in classrooms, Connecticut Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona stood with them—and listened.

Teachers throughout the state are increasingly reporting that student trauma, disruptive behaviors, staff ratios, and caseload limits are not getting the attention and resources they deserve. Classrooms are often evacuated, and children in crisis are failing to receive the supports they need. Everything from trauma in the home to excessive testing, class size, and kindergarten start age has been examined for its potential impact on students’ well-being and their classroom environment. Read more