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Posts from the ‘CEA News’ Category

Mindfulness During Stressful Times

Teaching is stressful under ordinary circumstances, but add a pandemic that closes schools across the nation, and that stress can be overwhelming. Many teachers, with virtually no time and limited professional development, have had to transition from face-to-face instruction to online delivery. In difficult times such as these, it is more important than ever to set aside time to look after yourself.

If you are feeling overwhelmed or highly anxious, you should first know you are not alone. Consider forming or joining an online community of educators, many of whom likely understand what you’re going through and can share coping strategies and teaching ideas. Take time each day to walk outside, prepare the garden for spring, or just sit in the sun. Remember to take long, deep breaths. Take at least three full breaths, counting to five with the inhale, holding your breath for five counts, and exhaling for five counts. Each time you exhale, try to picture the tension in your body as a color and imagine it fading slowly away. This will begin to calm your nervous system. Read more

Updates on Teacher Certification and TEAM: Find Out More in CEA Webinar

The news regarding the coronavirus is changing daily. Teachers are doing all they can to stay safe and keep students engaged during this health crisis, but keeping up with the daily educational developments and changes can be difficult.

Join CEA tomorrow from 3:30 to 4:30p.m. for a webinar—Navigating COVID-19: Stronger Together—to share the latest developments that impact you and your students.

In order to participate, you must pre-register for the free webinar.

Register Now ►

After you pre-register, an email link will be sent to you on Friday afternoon with information about how to participate.

Some of the most recent updates from the State Department of Education involve teacher certification and TEAM. Read more

Teacher Evaluation Requirements Waived; Join CEA Webinar for Latest on Navigating COVID-19

The news regarding the coronavirus is changing daily. Today’s announcement from the State Department of Education is that, effective immediately, all components of the educator evaluation and support plan are waived for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.

“I encourage educators to continue collaborative dialogue around teaching and learning as we continue to serve our Connecticut students,” Dr. Shuana K. Tucker, the Department’s chief talent officer, wrote in a letter to superintendents. “Opportunities for professional learning and career development can and should continue to the greatest extent possible.”

With so much in flux, keeping up with the daily educational developments and changes can be difficult.

CEA is here to help you.

On Friday, March 27, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., CEA is hosting a webinar—Navigating COVID-19: Stronger Together—to share the latest developments that impact you and your students. Read more

Governor Lamont: Schools Could Be Closed Until Fall

In a radio interview Governor Lamont said that he thinks it is likely that school closures will extend through the end of the school year.

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CEA Guidance for At Home Learning

Every teacher must start with this idea. No one knows how long working at home for teachers and students will last but it could extend to the end of the school year, and we do know that the pressures and expectations of this new paradigm can be overwhelming. That’s why it’s more important than ever to stay healthy and rested:

  • Take regular breaks.
  • Make time to exercise.
  • Keep to a regular sleep schedule.
  • Limit distractions when possible (turn off social media notifications, for example).
  • Set daily and weekly goals.
  • Make time to socialize virtually with family and friends.
  • Limit the time when you can be contacted to ensure you have time to recharge, be with family, and prepare for the next day.
  • Access Employee Assistance Program or other mental healthcare options to help meet any unique challenges.

Links and articles:

Education Week—Here’s How to Prevent Burnout During a School Closure

CNN—How to Work from Home Without Losing Your Sanity

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Coronavirus and School Closures: FAQ for Teachers

We've compiled the answers to some of your most pressing questions and will have more to come as more information becomes available.

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Commissioner Announces Flexibility, Urges Teachers to Do the Best They Can to Keep Students Learning

State Department of Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona today told CEA leaders that his department is focusing on the big picture: ensuring safety for students and staff and keeping students engaged. He urged teachers to “give it your best effort to serve kids” and provide continuity of education with today’s reality.

In a conference call, the commissioner said his agency will be as flexible as possible when it comes to keeping students engaged, but he said, “Everyone has to be doing something.” Whatever teachers are doing to keep students engaged and learning, interaction between each educator and other individuals must be limited to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Read more

Connecticut Teachers Testify in Support of Minority Teacher Recruitment Bill

Teachers testified in favor of a bill that would assist more minority teachers in obtaining teacher certification.

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CEA Members, Staff Urge Passage of Legislation to Improve Air Quality in Schools

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Testifying before the legislature’s Public Health Committee, CEA legal counsel Melanie Kolek talks about the explosion of illnesses and workers’ compensation cases linked to sick schools.

Classrooms were over 100 degrees. Crayons were melted, tables warped, magnets curled and fell off the boards, candies melted, floors buckled. Medical concerns when the temperature of the room was unbearable consisted of dizzy spells, headaches, blackouts, concentration issues, and difficulty breathing. Extreme temperatures caused mold to grow throughout the building, including in the HVAC systems. Teachers discovered mold behind ceiling tiles, around pipes, behind the wallpaper, on baseboards, on student shared materials, and around windows. We began to notice that many of us, including students, were having medical concerns that affected our ability to function. We are concerned that the exposure to these elements will have lifelong effects on our overall health. 

Testimony from CEA’s members and legal team before the legislature’s Public Health Committee earlier this week has painted an alarming picture of classroom environments throughout the state. Dirty air vents, water intrusion, rodent droppings, and black mold have given rise to respiratory ailments, rashes, and debilitating illnesses among students and teachers.

Sharing personal accounts of the conditions in their own classrooms, teachers have been urging lawmakers this legislative session to pass House Bill 5431, An Act Concerning Indoor Air Quality in Schools. If enacted into law, it would improve environmental conditions in classrooms across the state and set minimum and maximum classroom temperatures. Read more

Coronavirus Update

Governor Lamont declared civil preparedness and public health emergencies in Connecticut yesterday afternoon, in order for the state to take specific actions in response to the coronavirus. The declarations allow the governor to take broader measures to protect public health.

There are currently school closures in six Connecticut towns. Wilcoxson Elementary School in Stratford, Nathan Hale School in New Haven, as well as Woodbury and Bethlehem public schools (Region 14) will close for the remainder of the week, and Westport and Wilton Public Schools will remain closed until further notice. Those schools will be closed for deep cleaning, and Region 14 noted that missed school days will be made up in June.

CEA has been working closely with the State Department of Education and other education stakeholders on protocols for other possible school closures in response to coronavirus. CEA agrees that it is better to be overprepared than underprepared and the Association is taking numerous steps to help prevent the spread of the virus and to keep students, teachers, and communities safe, including Read more