NEA Today is featuring retired educators who are still making a difference—and one of those highlighted is Connecticut’s own Jon-Paul Roden. A former CEA-Retired president, Roden was recently elected to his second term on the NEA-Retired Executive Council.
Read about Roden’s continuing contributions to the teaching profession below.
Computer Science Teacher, Vernon, Connecticut
When Jon-Paul Roden started teaching in 1965, he needed to take on a second job to help supplement his income. This side job, along with others, made him eligible for Social Security benefits when he retired in 2000. His colleagues who didn’t take outside work and had only teaching pensions were left without a Social Security benefit, and most importantly, the Medicare Part B coverage. Read more
Coach Mary Kay Rendock, at right, and assistant coach Lauren Serafino, at left, with last year’s 5th-8th grade softball team.
Ninth-grade girls in Bloomfield have been arriving at the high school and joining the varsity softball team never having touched a glove before. Without a town league or a middle school team, there were few opportunities for students to play.
Now all of that is changing, thanks to the time and dedication of Carmen Arace Intermediate School math instructional coach Mary Kay Rendock.
It’s not just about teaching students what a strike zone is and how to swing a bat, though. For Rendock, the relationships students develop and the confidence the sport offers are what truly make the experience worthwhile.
“Being on a team is really special,” says Rendock. Read more
In an era when arts and music education sometimes lose out to subjects more easily assessed by standardized tests, Torrington is being recognized for choosing a different path. For the 17th consecutive year, Torrington has been named one of the best communities nationwide for music education by the National Association of Music Merchants.
The commitment Torrington teachers, students, parents, and community members have made to music education was on display this spring at the All City Elementary Honors Orchestra & Band Concert. Fifth graders from all five of the districts’ elementary schools, along with their middle and high school mentors, came together under the direction of band director Ashlee Casko and orchestra director Tia Ward-de Leone for an evening performance that left parents and community members deeply inspired and impressed.
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.