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President Signs $2.2 Trillion Coronavirus Stimulus Package

1-us-bank-note-47344The aid package the U.S. House passed this afternoon and President Trump has now signed into law includes $13.5 billion in dedicated aid for K-12 schools and billions more for child care and nutrition services.

Among the elements of the bill are:

  • Immediate stimulus checks for most households—up to $1,200 per person and $500 per child
  • $30.7 billion Education Stabilization Fund to help fill expected state budget gaps, provide more dollars for student and school needs, and prevent educator layoffs
  • Expanded unemployment insurance
  • Six-month suspension of federal student loan payments
  • Tens of billions of dollars to help prevent housing insecurity

Click here for more information on the specifics of the bill.

“The bill is not perfect, but it does address many urgent needs of our students, educators, and schools,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García.

The language in the legislation also makes clear that any state or school district receiving money from the stabilization fund “shall to the greatest extent practicable, continue to pay its employees and contractors during the period of any disruptions or closures related to coronavirus.”

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.

Read more

CT Schools to Remain Closed Until at Least April 20

IMG_20200208_070320In a press conference this afternoon Governor Ned Lamont announced that the earliest Connecticut schools will be allowed to re-open is April 20.

To support students who are out of school for an extended time, the governor said that the state is working to get laptops and internet access for more children.

The Partnership for Connecticut has pledged as many as 60,000 laptops to high school students in Alliance Districts, saying the laptops will be prioritized for students in the most need. The Partnership will work with the state Department of Education and school districts to get the computers in students’ hands as soon as possible. Laptops will belong to districts, which will retain ownership once students return to school.

The governor also said that the state is working with internet service providers to expand WiFi access to families who do not currently have internet access.

CEA Issues Guidelines for Teachers, Schools to Protect Against Coronavirus

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CEA Executive Director Donald Williams and President Jeff Leake talk to Governor Ned Lamont about plans to protect Connecticut’s schools and communities against coronavirus.

As the threat of coronavirus disease spreads, CEA is working with Governor Ned Lamont, State Department of Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona, and others to ensure that Connecticut’s public schools are prepared.

“We must be proactive about ensuring the health and safety of our students, teachers, and school communities,” said CEA President Jeff Leake. “CEA is taking every step to make sure our teachers are up to date should this virus make its way into our state.”

Earlier this week, CEA posted to its website protocol developed especially for schools, based on recommendations issued by the Centers for Disease Control. Read more

West Hartford’s Future Educators of Diversity Share Achievements, Plans

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Conard High School senior Kaliya Ortiz (center) says Future Educators of Diversity Clubs help students like her “see a path to becoming an educator.”

Future Educators of Diversity were at the top of the agenda at West Hartford’s Board of Education meeting this month, where the Board and community members learned about the organization’s mission, achievements, and planned activities.

Future Educators of Diversity was piloted in West Hartford, where it has grown and is very active.

Since then, similar clubs have been established in four other Connecticut school districts as part of CEA’s ongoing efforts to bring greater diversity to our state’s teaching force,” says CEA Vice President Tom Nicholas, who was awarded a grant from the National Education Association to create and expand “grow your own” high school clubs that provide underrepresented students with the tools, knowledge, and support to enter the teaching profession. “We are excited to see new groups starting up, as well as established organizations—such as the one in West Hartford—grow and thrive.”

West Hartford’s FEoD, a combined group of students from Conard and Hall high schools, meets every Thursday during the school year and encourages students of diverse backgrounds to examine issues related to race and equity in education and to explore careers in teaching—a profession that is largely white and female. Read more

$1,000 Scholarship Giveaway for NEA Members

business-money-pink-coinsCould you use some breathing room in your budget? Enter by December 31 for a chance to win $1,000 from NEA Member Benefits.

NEA Member Benefits also partners with Sallie Mae to offer members the NEA® Smart Option Student Loan® by Sallie Mae®, the NEA® Parent Loan by Sallie Mae®, and NEA® Graduate Loans by Sallie Mae®.

Quality Professional Development for You From CEA

SC19-381The CEA Professional Learning Academy offers a wealth of professional development opportunities, aligned with Connecticut’s professional learning standards, to improve teaching practice and enhance student learning.

Through the CEA Professional Learning Academy, members can attend free workshops, conferences, and trainings developed by experienced educators, administrators, and experts in law and special education. CEA is a State Department of Education designated provider of professional development.

CEA offers workshops and seminars on dozens of topics, including
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  • Classroom Management
  • Social Media Safety
  • Teacher Evaluation
  • Maximizing Your Time
  • Building a Culture of Empathy
  • Strategies to Help New Teachers Survive and Thrive
  • Strategies to Foster Social-Emotional Well-Being in School
  • The Gender Achievement Gap
  • Implicit Bias 101: Its Powerful Effect on Instruction and Learning
  • Section 504: An Emerging Issue for Educators
  • Mythbusters: Understanding Your Legal Rights and Responsibilities in the Special Education Process
  • Teachers and the Law
  • Knowledge Is the Best Protection: Preventing and Responding to Aggressive Student Behavior
  • PDEC Strategies to Save Time and Promote Collaboration
  • ESSA: Implications for Your District – Title I Accountability
  • Introduction to Student Trauma: Developing a Trauma-Sensitive Classroom

And more!

Check out the complete list of offerings, which are continually updated to include new strategies and address evolving needs.

For more information or to schedule a professional development workshop, contact CEA’s Professional Learning Academy at 860-525-5641 or at myprofession@cea.org.

How to Conduct a Summer Financial “Tune-up”

how_to_conduct_a_summer_financial_tuneup_1131998484_842x474Summer’s here and the time is right for … financial planning?

That’s right. For educators who are busy during the school year, there may not be another opportunity to do so. And before you know it you’ll be back in the classroom. So consider following these steps from NEA Member Benefits to ensure you’re on the right track with budgeting, spending, and investing. Once you nail that down, you’ll be on better financial ground and have less money stress this upcoming school year. Read more

Scholarship Giveaway for NEA Members

cash-collection-currency-47344 money dollarNEA Member Benefits is offering NEA members a chance to win $5,000 cash to reward you for your dedication and help you further your own educational pursuits.

Now through August 31, 2019, you can enter each month. If you’re the lucky $5,000 winner, you could choose to fund professional development courses for yourself, cover some of your expenses toward National Board Certification, or even help family members with their college tuition!

Enter now.

Tips to Get Through the Summer Without a Paycheck

tips_to_get_through_the_summer_without_a_paycheck_1130684882_842x474.jpgIt’s no surprise that many educators don’t have regular income over the summer. And while careful planning and part-time work can help manage the summer-budget blues, there are times when you simply have to make those dollars stretch a bit further.

Don’t ignore a financial crunch hoping that somehow everything will work out okay. Plan it out now and you’ll save stress and worry—and hopefully come out ahead!

Start with these 10 tips from NEA Member Benefits to have a fabulous summer even on a tight budget. Read more