Skip to content

Encouraging the Next Generation of Teachers

CEA President Jeff Leake introduces himself to members of the CEA Aspiring Educators Program.

It was a busy night at CEA Headquarters on Friday, with meetings being held for both CEA’s Board of Directors and CEA’s Aspiring Educators Program. It was the perfect opportunity for Board of Directors members, many of whom are long-time CEA members, to share with soon-to-be educators their experiences of union involvement.

Veteran CEA members know all that their union has to offer and want to make sure new and aspiring educators are aware of the many valuable resources to help them succeed in the classroom—and collectively with their colleagues as advocates for students, public schools, and the teaching profession.

The CEA Aspiring Educators Program is prospective educators’ first introduction into what, for many, becomes a lifetime of CEA membership.

Made up of students from colleges and universities around the state who are pursuing education degrees, the CEA Aspiring Educators Program offers unique opportunities in professional development, community outreach, leadership, and networking as a means of supporting future teachers’ preparation and entry into the teaching profession.

Presidents’ Day Activities for the Classroom

For this Presidents’ Day, observed February 17, celebrate the lives of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, their contributions to the United States, and the lives and contributions of all our 45 Presidents.

Resources for:

Your Chance to Be Recognized by Your Colleagues

Deadlines to submit nominations for CEA Human and Civil Rights Awards AND Public Relations Awards are fast approaching—don’t wait to nominate yourself or a colleague!

Human and Civil Rights Award Nominations Due February 1

Do you know an educator who has demonstrated exceptional commitment to multiculturalism, equal opportunities, LGBTQ support and awareness, conflict resolution, or other social issues pertinent to students and public education?

Nominate yourself or a colleague for one of nine CEA Human and Civil Rights Awards. Now easier than ever, nominations can be made online.

Public Relations Award Nominations Due February 28

Each year, CEA recognizes local associations, individual members, and community stakeholders who make the teaching profession shine. Awards and grants are given for best local association website and newsletter, outstanding teaching professionals and advocates, new public relations projects, best media coverage, and more.

Find out more, and nominate yourself or a colleague.

CEA Negotiations Conference Is February 1: Register Now

Learn new strategies to bring to the bargaining table to boost your salary and benefits at CEA’s Negotiations Conference on Saturday, February 1.

You will have the opportunity to network with colleagues from around the state and take part in sessions that will give you the tools and expertise you need for a better contract.

Sessions cover everything from working with your board of education to expanding your impact through social media and bargaining for the common good. See the complete agenda here. This event is free for CEA members, and lunch is included.

Register now.

Remembering Former CEA President Maxine Rothe Schortman

In this photo, which originally appeared in the June 1977 issue of the CEA Advisor, Schortman gives advice to George DeBonis, Watertown Education Association president.

CEA sends our condolences on the passing of former CEA President Maxine Rothe Schortman to her family and friends. Schortman, who served as president of CEA in 1976-77, was a third grade teacher at Lake Street School in Vernon for 33 years and served as president of the Vernon Education Association.

During Maxine Schortman’s term as president, (CEA Presidents only served one-year terms at the time), her involvement in politics led to a meeting with Mort Mondale when his brother Walter was running for Vice President, she gave interviews to the news media about teacher lay-offs and the teacher evaluation law, and met with members to discuss issues affecting teachers across the state.

In her last CEA Advisor column as president, Schortman wrote words that still resonate with CEA members today.

“We teachers have been caught in the middle. We have been caught between the pincers of those who make the demands and set the goals of the community’s schools on the one hand, and the pincers of those who want the goals achieved without giving financial priority, human and professional freedom, unhampered lay representation and the professional recognition needed to foster such achievement.”

Read Schortman’s obituary here.

Are You Missing Out on These Educator Tax Deductions?

Read these tips from NEA Member Benefits before you start working on your taxes this year. Make sure you claim your educator deductions so you can get back as much money as possible.

The tax reform of 2017 kept the $250 above-the-line deduction for classroom supplies, and it’s still available for the 2019 tax year (the year for which taxes are due on April 15, 2020). The $250 deduction is particularly advantageous because it is above the line on Schedule A, which means you don’t have to itemize to take it and it reduces your overall adjusted gross income (AGI).

This becomes even more important under the most recent tax reform, which virtually doubled the standard deduction, setting the threshold even higher for choosing to itemize. Legislation in 2015 indexed the amount to inflation—though it is unchanged at $250 for 2019—and allows professional development expenses to be included in the deduction. If both spouses filing jointly are educators, each can claim the deduction, for a total of $500. Read more

Ten Free Things for Valentine’s Day

  1. Valentine’s Day Coloring Pages & Bingo Sheets
    Valentine-themed cards, coloring pages, and 10 different Bingo games! (Grades K-3)
  2. Free printable Valentine’s Day Coloring Pages
    Add a little color to Valentine’s Day with our free coloring pages—for kids and adults!
    (Grades K-3)
  3. Heart Bookmark
    Make a bookmark template with card stock and Valentine bookmarks from decorative paper. (Grades 2-4)
  4. The Story of St. Valentine (PDF icon PDF,  22 KB, 4 pgs.)
    The legend of St. Valentine with reading comprehension questions and a brief essay assignment. (Grades 3-5)
  5. Crayon Hearts
    Make Valentine hearts to hang in a window with wax paper, crayons, and an iron. (Grades 4-6)
  6. Valentine’s Day
    An archive of art activities. (Grades K-12)
  7. How To Make A Heart-Shaped Garland
    Festoon your classroom with a Valentine’s Day garland. (Grades 6-8)
  8. DIY Double Knot Bracelet
    An instructional video. (3:44)  (Grades K-12)
  9. Valentine’s Day Facts: Gifts, History, and Love Science
    A brief history of Valentine’s Day from its less than tender beginnings in Ancient Rome to the big business it has become. (Grades 6-12)
  10. Valentine’s Day
    Twelve short videos on the history of Valentine’s Day; chocolate; the science of attraction, kissing and love; and, more. (Grades 10-12)


  1. St Valentine’s Day Massacre (17:53)
    The History Detectives investigate a shotgun possibly used at the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. This episode looks at the contributions of one of the pioneers of ballistic science and includes additional video on weapons dating and ballistics. (Grades 6-12)

Winter County Forums Starting Soon!

CEA’s second round of 2019-2020 county forum meetings runs January 28 through February 19.

Meet with your colleagues and local union leaders to hear about issues impacting education and your profession, and learn how you can advocate for yourself, your students, and public education.

Attend a CEA county forum near you, and encourage your colleagues to join you. Click here for dates, locations, and more information.

NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellowship Accepting Applications

Applications are being accepted through February 1, 2020, for the 2021 NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellowship—a year of professional development that includes a summer field study in South Africa.

The fellowship is an opportunity for K-12 educators to integrate global competency into their daily classroom instruction, advocate for global competency in their schools and districts, and help students thrive in an increasingly interconnected world.

NEA Foundation Global Learning fellows participate in a 12-month professional development program that includes in-person workshops, online coursework, webinars by leading experts, peer learning, and a field study experience.

The Foundation welcomes applicants with global experience as well as those who have never left the country. The top requirement for the program is caring about the world and sharing that passion with students.

Apply at

Connecticut Education Foundation Receives Grant to Help Students in Need

Hundreds of schoolchildren across the state facing extraordinary hardships will receive a helping hand—as will minority students planning on entering the teaching profession—thanks to a generous donation from Dalio Philanthropies.

The organization donated $40,000 to the Connecticut Education Foundation’s (CEF) Children’s Fund, which provides disadvantaged public school students across the state with many of the necessities that their own families cannot afford, including clothing, eyeglasses, and medicine. CEF also awards scholarships to minority students pursuing teaching careers.

“We are grateful for the generous donation from Dalio Philanthropies,” said CEF President Tom Nicholas. “The funds will build on the success of the Connecticut Education Foundation’s commitment to changing lives for the better by allowing us to further our reach and provide assistance to more students in need across the state. We know that students cannot learn if their basic needs are not met. That is why teachers turn to the Children’s Fund for help, and that is why the Dalio Philanthopries’ support of CEF is so deeply appreciated.” Read more