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How Connecticut Schools Honor Veterans

Many schools around Connecticut are closed tomorrow in observance of Veterans Day, which is why schools around the state honored Veterans and taught students about their service on Friday. From school-wide assemblies to classroom visits by students’ family members who are Veterans, below are some of the ways schools have been honoring Veterans.

Election Day Is Here! Get Out and Vote!

CEA Vice President Tom Nicholas and President Jeff Leake have already voted, have you?

Watch their Election Day video message to find out why all teachers should make it a priority to participate in today’s election.

Not sure where to go to vote?

Polls are open until 8 p.m. If you still need to register to vote, you can do so by going to your town hall.

And if you’re still deciding who to vote for, check out where the candidates stand on education issues at cea.org/reportcard.

Unions Give Teachers a Voice to Advocate for Students, Says Building Rep

Building Rep Superhero Sara GoepfrichWhat does your union mean to you? Fairfield Ludlowe High School teacher Sara Goepfrich, who serves as a building rep in her school, says it’s easy to be an island in your own classroom and do your own thing, but that approach doesn’t work so well when it comes to protecting teachers’ rights and securing resources for students.

“The union is not some entity outside of ourselves. The union is everyone we work with, it’s us, and through our union we can advocate for our needs and for our students’ needs,” says Goepfrich. “Unions give a voice to our profession to allow us to advocate for what students need to be successful in the classroom. They also create a support system for new teachers to ask questions and gain support in a non-evaluative way. Unions allow us to advocate for things that are unpopular but really necessary for students. Things that administrators might push back against or that might be seen as making waves.” Read more

Stand Up for Human Rights This Saturday at the State Capitol

36414722_1078060318998592_187624701432954880_nTo mark the beginning of a year-long campaign to celebrate and commit Connecticut to Human Rights advocacy, the CT Human Rights Partnership is having a #StandUp4HumanRightsCT kickoff rally in Hartford this Saturday, September 8th.

The campaign aligns with the United Nations campaign of the same title and commemorates the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

From 1-3 p.m. at the State Capitol, speakers from across Connecticut will share perspectives on how human rights are being advanced in our communities and outline the work still to be done. There will be music and spoken-word performances, as well as information on how to continue the work in your own local community.

Find lists of speakers and cosponsors as well as more information here.

September 4 Is National #RedforEd Day—Please Join Us

While we remember the history of the labor movement this weekend and the sacrifices of generations of union members who went before us, this Labor Day weekend we also stand with our colleagues in Arizona and around the country whose plight shows so clearly why unions are still so vital today.

In places like Arizona, where unions have been weakened, teachers’ voices have been silenced, salaries and benefits have plummeted, working conditions have eroded, class sizes are higher, and outcomes for students are often lower. Many students in Arizona are not receiving the high-quality education they deserve because Arizona’s public schools are severely underfunded. Read more

Haddam-Killingworth Teachers Start the Year with a Splash

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A team of middle school teachers takes the trophy for the pool race at Haddam-Killingworth’s convocation. For more photos from the day’s events, visit CEA’s Flickr page.

Forget the crowded auditorium and the motivational speeches. At Haddam-Killingworth schools, convocation is about dunk tanks, pool races, DJs, and human games of Hungry Hungry Hippos.

“All that fun and energy, that’s who we are as people, and it’s what makes us successful as teachers,” says Haddam-Killingworth Education Association President Donna DiGregorio, who came to convocation in a blue tutu. Together with her colleagues, also decked out in tulle, DiGregorio helped organize a team-building activity—Hungry Hungry Teacher—in which educators, administrators, and staff competed in a wheelbarrow-style race to collect as many plastic balls as possible in small, round laundry baskets. Read more

Guilford Education Association Serves Up a Day of Fun and Fellowship

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Guilford teachers Kristie Whitcomb, Kevin Buno, Regina Sullivan (who is the local president), and Peter Cuticelli dish up a warm welcome for their colleagues at a pizza lunch provided by the Guilford Education Association.

Following their convocation this morning, Guilford teachers were treated to a pizza lunch, courtesy of the Guilford Education Association.

“We want to celebrate our teachers—about 320 GEA members—and welcome 18 new educators into our district,” said GEA President Regina Sullivan, a physical education teacher at Guilford High School, where the back-to-school celebration was held. “It’s important to start the year off with plenty of positive energy and let our teachers know how much we appreciate them.” Read more

CEA Summer Conference, Day Two: The Deep Dive

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Trumbull Education Association President John Mastroianni and Tolland teacher Tiffany Reynolds exchange ideas at CEA’s Summer Conference.

Energy levels remain high on day two of CEA’s Summer Conference, where hundreds of teachers have reconvened in Cromwell for intensive training, networking, and the sharing of ideas, concerns, and best practices.

“This is my second time attending,” says Tolland teacher Tiffany Reynolds. “The first time was last year, as an emerging leader. Since then, I’ve worked on two grievances, and I’m here to learn how to do that more effectively so that I can be the best advocate for my colleagues.” Read more

New CEA President Kicks Off Summer Conference

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CEA President Jeff Leake welcomes more than 300 teachers to this year’s Summer Conference.

Newly elected CEA President Jeff Leake welcomed more than 300 Connecticut teachers to CEA’s annual Summer Conference in Cromwell, featuring workshops for educators at every stage of their career looking to strengthen their profession and their collective voice.

Showing archived photos and footage of the 1978 Bridgeport Teachers Strike, including recollections of those who were jailed for speaking up for their rights, Leake thanked teachers for “understanding the importance of standing together as a union and working hard to make sure that every teacher and student has the resources they need to be successful.”

Once again, he added, “We face those whose intent is also to break this union. We must confront them and defeat their decades-long campaign to destroy public education, collective bargaining, and even the middle class. We must stand strong against the millionaires and billionaires who see education as a giant pool for profit. We must not let our voices be diminished. Read more

Teachers Cheer Yard Goats and New CEA President

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CEA President Jeff Leake throws out the first pitch at the Yard Goats’ CEA Teacher Appreciation Day game yesterday.

CEA President Jeff Leake kicked off Teacher Appreciation Day at the Yard Goats baseball game last night by throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. Hundreds of teachers and their families, wearing CEA buttons that say “Teachers Love Kids,” were on hand to watch Leake take to the mound at the second of three CEA member appreciation days this baseball season.

Many were happy to see Leake, wearing his Red for Ed shirt, on the field representing educators not just in Connecticut, but across the country.

“Teachers are a vital part of our community, and it is greatly appreciated when we are recognized for all the good work we do,” said Granby teacher Christina Fleming who attended the game with her family and friends. Read more