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Posts from the ‘Member Stories’ Category

East Hartford Teacher Helps Students, Families, and Faculty Commit to Stay Fit

A group from last year’s Commit to Stay Fit program in East Hartford.

Leading into May—National Physical Fitness and Sports Month—the last week of April is Every Kid Healthy Week, which shines a spotlight on students’ health and wellness and the link between nutrition, physical activity, and learning.

“Healthy kids are better prepared to learn,” says Monique Butler, a fifth-grade teacher and building rep at O’Brien Elementary STEM School in East Hartford, which kicks off its own celebration this Wednesday with Commit to Stay Fit: Children and Families. The program, now in its seventh year, promotes wellness, good nutrition, and exercise habits. Read more

Danbury Students and Teachers Celebrate Cultural Diversity Thanks to Carnival

Rogers Park Middle School in Danbury used to hold a Hispanic Heritage Month event, but as students from Brazil, Portugal, Haiti, and numerous other countries made up larger and larger shares of the student body teachers sought out a more inclusive celebration.

Then they hit upon Carnival. The festive season is celebrated in countries around the world, including many where Danbury students and their families hail from.

The school recently held its second annual Carnival Around the World featuring songs, dances, and more from many cultural backgrounds. Watch the celebration and students’ and teachers’ reactions below.

Connecticut Teachers Share Their Winter Holiday Celebrations

How do you celebrate the holidays with your students? Here are just some of the ways CEA members and their students are having fun during the last days before December break.

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East Lyme Kindergartners Make the Holidays Brighter for Others

Thanks to the efforts of their teachers and parents, kindergarten students at Flanders Elementary School in East Lyme had the opportunity to find out how good it feels to give this holiday season. Through the Holiday Bear Project kindergarten teachers at Flanders organized their students to purchase gifts for thirteen needy children who attend another Connecticut school.

The Connecticut Education Foundation (CEF), CEA’s charitable arm, runs the Holiday Bear Project every fall to assist families who otherwise wouldn’t be able to provide holiday gifts for their children.

Kindergarten teacher Caryn Novick said her students got a lot out of participating in the Holiday Bear Project.

“As the donations came in, the kids really enjoyed watching the bags get bigger and bigger,” she said. “They were very excited to see all of the toys and clothes.”

CEA Vice President and CEF President Jeff Leake went to East Lyme to collect the wrapped donations.

“The kindergartners were excited to be part of the Holiday Bear Project and excited to be watching their packages leave,” Leake said. “It was really a great morning.”

Thank you to all the teachers and students around Connecticut who participated in the Holiday Bear Project this year and helped make the holidays brighter for over 500 children!

Connecticut Teachers Share Their School Thanksgiving Celebrations

How do you celebrate Thanksgiving with your students? Teachers and schools recognize the Thanksgiving holiday in a wide variety of ways depending on the grade level and subject matter they teach.

Here are just some of the ways CEA members and their students and schools are giving thanks.

Read more

Why Public Education?

This year marks the 95th anniversary of American Education Week. The original purpose of American Education Week—to create awareness and support for public education—continues today.

Watch CEA members talk about the importance of public education and share why they’ve chosen the teaching profession.

Tolland High School Students Get Out and (Mock) Vote

Most students at Tolland High School are not yet old enough to vote, but that hasn’t prevented them from civic engagement. Social studies teacher Sarah Goldman’s civics class ran a mock election recently at the school, anView postd the students learned a lot about the electoral process and what it takes to hold an election.

The civics students, all seniors, ran the election, but all students in grades 9-12 had an opportunity to vote on ballots identical (save for color) to the ones Tolland voters will use this November 8.

Watch the civics students describe the experience of running a mock election and share who they voted for and why.

(Update 11/9/16: Trump won the Tolland High mock election with 41% of the vote. 771 students and staff voted.)

CEA Stronger Together: Listening, Learning & Addressing Teacher Concerns

Teachers, parents, and students in Vernon are gathering for a show of solidarity and a “walk-in” at Rockville High School tomorrow to draw attention to the need for the state to fully fund education for all students.

It’s part of a nationwide effort to support public education. Schools in Manchester and Bridgeport will also participate in the walk-ins sponsored by NEA and the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools.

Burlington, VT teacher Andrew Styles and Vernon teacher Peter Borofsky (right) stopped to talk to East Haven teacher Kathleen Pyne at her home this summer.

Burlington, VT teacher Andrew Styles and Vernon teacher Peter Borofsky (right) stopped to talk to East Haven teacher Kathleen Pyne at her home this summer to find out what issues are on her mind.

The Vernon Education Association (VEA) expects teacher participation to be high—but that’s not due to luck. It’s because of CEA support for the local Association’s efforts to listen and respond to members’ concerns.

“After we learned how to hold organizing conversations last year from CEA Training and Organizational Development Specialist Joe Zawawi we went out and talked to a significant number of our members,” said VEA President and Rockville High teacher Peter Borofsky. Read more

Teachers Growing Community Through STEM

The public school teachers who run the Connecticut STEM Academy have a deep belief in STEM’s ability to engage students and in the importance of family and community involvement in student learning.

Since its founding in 2012, support from CEA, the NEA Foundation, and other groups has allowed the STEM Academy to multiply its program offerings, serving hundreds of students in many different Connecticut towns. The innovative enrichment program places a special emphasis on gender equity, cultural diversity, and direct family involvement.

Watch what the teachers who run the academy have to say about why the programs it offers are so important for students.

East Hartford Teachers Strengthen Professional Skills to Benefit Students

IB World Rebecca Tubbs, Laura Griffin, Lia Hickey, and Darcy Noble Malone.

East Hartford kindergarten teachers Rebecca Tubbs, Laura Griffin, Lia Hickey, and Darcy Malone at the I Teach K! conference this summer.

When it comes to professional development, research shows that sustained, job-embedded, collaborative professional learning opportunities are most likely to help teachers better support students. The opposite of a morning lecture on a generic subject, this type of learning opportunity requires a substantial time commitment and a focus on the specific skills teachers need for their content area.

It’s just the type of professional development East Hartford kindergarten teachers Laura Griffin, Darcy Malone, Lia Hickey, and Rebecca Tubbs were able to participate in this summer thanks to a grant from the Fund for Teachers.

“I feel like kindergarten is kind of a stand-alone grade,” said Hickey. “It’s very different from pre-K and very different from first grade.” Read more