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Webinar Series for CEA Members on Stress Mitigation, Transforming Trauma, and Reestablishing School as Community

Whether schools begin remotely or in-person this fall, we will need to focus on the social-emotional wellbeing of all of our students.

Please join fellow educators for a free webinar series on healing stress and trauma, and how to establish core capacities for transforming trauma in schools during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. Funded by NEA, this series is co-sponsored by affiliates in Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

This five-part series begins July 28 and runs through August 19. Find out more, and register.

NEA Virtual Town Hall – Reopening America’s Schools and Campuses Safely and Equitably

Join NEA for a virtual town hall Tuesday, July 28, at 7 p.m. to discuss how parents, educators, students, and communities can advocate for the safe reopening of public schools, facilities, and campuses.

Whether students return to school in person, online, or a hybrid of both, we need to come together and make our voices heard so that proper safety materials are supplied, health protocols are put in place, and adequate funding is secured.

We’ll discuss the current landscape, answer your questions, and talk about actions we can take to ensure all students receive the high-quality learning opportunities they deserve.

Sign Up

Bloomfield Teachers Organize Black Lives Matter March

Storm clouds couldn’t keep teachers away from a rally last night in Bloomfield to support the Black Lives Matter movement.

Bloomfield fifth grade teacher Gail Jorden marches with 12-year-old Avery Kerrigan, whose mother, fellow Bloomfield fifth grade teacher Liz Kerrigan, also participated in the march.

Hundreds turned out for a community march for students, teachers, and families—Black Lives Matter in Bloomfield Schools—organized by Carmen Arace Intermediate School fifth grade teacher Mary Kay Rendock and her colleagues throughout the district.

“The idea to do this came to me after seeing East Hartford teachers rally for their kids and Windsor High School students organize their own event,” Rendock says. “I wanted ours to combine both teachers and students to show that we are one voice. Our students, most of them being black or brown, deserve to hear their teachers loudly proclaim, ‘Your lives matter! Your voice matters!’”

Rendock, who is Connecticut’s 2006 Teacher of the Year, gathered all 2020 Bloomfield Teachers of the Year—representing seven schools—to help plan the event. Read more

Teachers Facing Challenges With District Reopening Plans

Marlborough co-presidents Amy Farrior (pictured) and Pam Farrington have been serving on their district’s reopening committee and have been able to share members’ questions and concerns.

Districts around Connecticut are preparing to send their reopening plans to the State Department of Education by tomorrow’s deadline, but how those plans have been developed and the provisions they contain vary widely by district.

Despite Commissioner of Education Miguel Cardona’s repeated urging that districts collaborate with educators and local unions, in some districts, teachers’ voices have not been included and their concerns have not been addressed.

CEA’s Safe Learning Plan calls for local school reopening committees to include teachers from the elementary, middle, and high school levels, parent representatives, a school health representative, and the presidents of local bargaining organizations; however, some districts have not met even this easily achieved requirement.

Local association leaders have been working day and night to advocate for their members during this time of uncertainty as the stakes are higher than ever before. Here, three local association leaders share how their districts, Danbury, Stratford, and Marlborough, have been preparing for school reopening. Read more

Join the CEA School Safety First Car Rally on July 30

Join your colleagues in Hartford or at one of the simultaneous rallies being held in towns across the state and send a strong message to the governor that safe schools save lives and any school reopening must focus on safety, equity, and funding.

WHO: All educators, staff, parents, students, and others supporting a safe school reopening.

WHERE: Hartford and several other towns across the state. Click on Register Today for specific locations.

WHEN: July 30, 2 p.m.

Register today.

View flier.

CEA’s Safe Learning Plan Provides A Safe Way Forward

The health and safety of our students, our educators, and our communities cannot be sacrificed in order to get students back into the classroom. The reopening plan released by the state of Connecticut—which calls for a full-time return to school—raises serious questions about maintaining the safety of everyone in our school communities during a pandemic that is not fully under control.

CEA’s Safe Learning Plan, released today, requires that health, safety, and equity remain at the forefront of any school reopening plan. It prioritizes strategies for student learning and educational equity, providing a safe way forward whether in school or through remote learning.

“Nothing is more important than keeping our students, our educators, and our families safe,” says CEA President Jeff Leake. “We owe our students and educators the measures of safety and security they deserve. We must not fail to provide the necessary protections and risk new increases in COVID-19 infection rates. No one wants to return to school more than our dedicated educators, but during a global pandemic, the health and safety of our students and educators must be our first priority.”

CEA’s plan calls for six specific actions that must be taken before schools reopen. Those actions focus on physical health and safety standards, combined with CDC protocols and commonsense approaches to keeping our school communities safe.

Read the full plan here.

NEA Answers Questions on Returning Safely to In-Person Instruction

Recent NEA webinars covered a lot of ground, including CDC guidance on how to reopen for in-person instruction and when to reclose, accommodations for high-risk groups, federal leave laws, waivers, health and safety committees, and bargaining for the common good to protect school communities during a global pandemic.

Find out more and watch the webinar here.

CEA’s Legal Department has also put together guidance regarding school safety, accommodations, sick leave, and other important issues concerning your rights and COVID-19.

Read guidance from CEA Legal.

Statement from CEA President Jeff Leake on Governor’s Pledge to ‘Have Teachers’ Backs’

While we appreciate Governor Lamont’s pledge of “safety first” for our students and schools and his word that he will “have teachers’ backs” when it comes to masks, sanitizing, and social distancing, local districts need assurance that state funding will be provided for virus-related expenses.

We can’t allow students living in high-poverty districts, students with special needs, and English learners to be at greater risk and have lesser safety protections. Without adequate state funding, that is likely to occur.

Reopening Connecticut schools safely this fall will cost significantly more and may involve staggered schedules to reduce density and risk. We must ensure that all students and school districts have the resources they need, especially in our poorest communities. In order to protect against the pandemic, restore our economy, and address racial disparities in our schools, the state must provide the needed funding for our schools to reopen safely.

CEA Virtual Summer Experience Coming August 3-5

Save the date! CEA will be holding the CEA Virtual Summer Experience August 3-5. Join us for a great opportunity to learn from your colleagues in a relaxed atmosphere and at your own pace.

These live, interactive sessions of an hour or more each are open to all CEA members.

Sessions include:

• Best Practices for Virtual Learning (K-5)
• Best Practices for Virtual Learning (Middle/HS)
• How to Engage Students in Conversations About Race (K-5)
• How to Engage Students in Conversations About Race (Middle/HS)
• Member Engagement in a Virtual World
• Signing Up New Hires
• Teacher Rights and Responsibilities in a Virtual Teaching Environment
• Treasurers/Membership Chairs Training

Check out the flier for full session descriptions.

At each session, members in attendance will be entered for a gift card drawing.

Watch for more information in your inbox and by subscribing to BlogCEA. Registration opens on Monday, July 27th.

Enter to Win an Academic Award

This week is your last chance! Enter to win $2,500 to put toward teaching supplies and school-related items courtesy of California Casualty, the NEA Auto & Home Insurance provider. The contest ends July 17.

Realizing that every dollar counts when it comes to educating children, California Casualty created the $2,500 Academic Award to offset the amount NEA members use from their own funds to provide essentials for their students.