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Two Connecticut Teachers Receive Prestigious Awards for Teaching Excellence

New London teacher Elizabeth Sked is the recipient of the CEA John McCormack Award for Teaching Excellence.

Two educators from New London and Danbury were recognized before nearly 400 of their Connecticut colleagues for receiving two prestigious awards honoring educator excellence. CEA President Jeff Leake made the announcement at the CEA Representative Assembly last weekend.

New London teacher Elizabeth Sked was named the recipient of the CEA John McCormack Award for Teaching Excellence, which puts her in the running for a national award recognizing the year’s most outstanding educators.

Danbury teacher Luanelly Iglesias was recognized as the winner of NEA’s 2019 Human and Civil Rights George I. Sanchez Memorial Award honoring teachers who significantly advance equal opportunities for Hispanics. Read more

CEA Seeks Input from Teachers of Color to Increase Diversity in the Profession

DSC_2558Nearly 40 educators met and mingled at the first-ever Hartford Regional Ethnic Minority Teacher Social hosted by CEA on Monday. The event was an opportunity for teachers of color to network, discuss ways of diversifying a predominantly white teaching force in Connecticut, and explore avenues for becoming more involved at all levels of the union—from their local and state associations to NEA.

“This was a great event,” said CREC teacher Anjanee Wright. “I got to meet other educators I wouldn’t necessarily have a chance to meet because we work in different districts. It was a good opportunity to talk to each other.” Read more

Memorial Day Lesson Ideas

Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day, a day to honor American Civil War dead. Following World War I, Memorial Day became a day to honor soldiers killed in all wars. Honor the nation’s fallen military men and women with the following lessons and activities.

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Legislators Need to Hear from You: No Cost Shift

Legislators are still considering a proposal to shift the cost of teacher retirement onto cities and towns—and they need to hear from you. If this plan passes there will be less money for our schools, higher property taxes (especially in middle-income towns and Alliance districts), and districts with more experienced teachers will be penalized.

Contact your legislators now and tell them: NO Cost Shift

 

 

Thank You for Your Dedication to Your Students and Your Profession!

This week students, families, and communities around Connecticut are expressing their gratitude to teachers, and we want to extend our thanks for all that you do. Your dedication to your students makes an impact far greater than you will ever know.

Your patience, caring, creativity, and flexibility make this profession one that we are proud to be a part of. You truly believe in your students, and that knowledge of your belief in them will stay with them, inspiring them for years to come. Read more

Still Time to Register for Teacher Leader Institute!

How can teacher leaders enable creativity, collaboration, and innovation in their classrooms and beyond? Come to the third annual Teacher Leader Institute May 20 at Central Connecticut State University to find out.

The day will feature three outstanding keynote speakers, Andy Hargreaves (professional collaboration), Peter Gamwell (back by demand on creativity), and Marc Brackett (social/emotional learning). Participants will also be able to choose from among 22 breakout sessions by and for teachers and administrators—who will offer multiple perspectives on the role of teachers as leaders and the conditions that support them. Read more

Connecticut Supreme Court Rules in Favor of New Milford Teachers

A four-year court case regarding a contract violation by the New Milford Board of Education against its teachers ended last Friday with a ruling in favor of the teachers. In a unanimous decision, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that the New Milford Board of Education violated the terms of the collective bargaining agreement by improperly extending the workday for teachers on multiple occasions.

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Building Rep Karen Rivero, New Milford Education Association Membership Secretary Joyce Tuz, and NMEA President Kim Patella react to the news of New Milford teachers’ victory in a contract dispute.

The decision requires the town to compensate members of the New Milford Education Association for 20 hours of additional time they were required to work without pay.

“This is a huge victory for us and for the teaching profession, and a testament to the incredible power of our union and expertise of CEA’s legal team,” said New Milford Education Association President Kim Patella. “This case has proven that regardless of the number of times a board tries to get a ruling appealed, when we stand together as a unit, part of something we believe in, which is our union, we can prevail.” Read more

New Program Seeks to Recruit, Retain Minority Teachers

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CREC Education Association President Lisa Cordova testifies before the State Board of Education about a new program to recruit, prepare, and train ethnic minority teachers. 

CEA is developing and supporting a number of initiatives—from public policy to practice—to ensure that Connecticut’s teaching force better reflects the diversity of its student population.

Lisa Cordova, president of the CREC Education Association, testified this morning before members of the State Board of Education about one such initiative—created by CREC—that is aimed at recruiting, preparing, and retaining greater numbers of ethnic minority teachers.

“We hope you share our enthusiasm for our program and grant us the opportunity to begin in June,” she told the Board.

The CREC Teacher Residency Program would place highly qualified minority teaching candidates with active class practitioners—exemplary CREC teachers who would mentor and guide them in sound instructional practices.

“This residency program was developed and would be taught by CREC classroom teachers, who understand what a candidate needs to create an effective learning environment,” Cordova said. “We are proud of the collaborative spirit that created this comprehensive program, which addresses the continuing need to have teachers of color instructing CREC students,” she added, noting that the program’s development was a joint effort of CREC teachers and district administrators, with support from CEA.

Look for details about this and similar initiatives in the next CEA Advisor.

Retired Teachers Lobby Legislators to Support Teacher Pensions and More

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Members of the CEA-Retired Legislative Advisory Council prepare to meet with their elected officials at Retired Teachers Lobby Day.

In an overwhelming turnout for Retired Teachers Lobby Day, hundreds of former Connecticut educators gathered at the Legislative Office Building this morning to meet with their elected officials about issues critical to public education and the teaching profession. Among the biggest of these are funding teacher pensions and avoiding a proposed cost shift.

 

“We must avoid any shift of the state’s responsibility to fund teacher pensions onto cities and towns,” said CEA-Retired member and legislative co-chair Karen O’Connell—a move she cautions could impact education budgets, and in turn, students and teachers. The Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee is expected to vote on the issue by the end of the week.

O’Connell and legislative co-chair Myles Cohen said that Retired Teachers Lobby Day—a joint effort of CEA-Retired, the Association of Retired Teachers of Connecticut (ARTC), and AFT Connecticut—brings longtime educators and legislators face to face to discuss issues ranging from adequate funding of teachers’ retirement and healthcare benefits to the resources necessary to support public education. Read more

Exploring How Teachers Can Combat the School-to-Prison Pipeline

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Connecticut Teacher of the Year Sheena Graham listens in on a discussion about teachers’ roles in addressing the racial imbalance in our juvenile and criminal justice system. Seated with Graham are CEA Vice President Tom Nicholas and Bridgeport Education Association Vice President Ana Batista.

Despite the tremendous progress Connecticut has made in reducing the number of incarcerated youth over the past 10 years, a troubling trend continues: Black and brown children continue to come in contact with the juvenile and criminal justice system in disproportionate numbers compared to their white peers. Studies have confirmed that bias is one factor—meaning that white children are less likely to be referred to the juvenile or criminal justice system than their nonwhite peers, even for the same behaviors.

To address this continued racial imbalance, CEA’s Ethnic Minority Affairs Commission (EMAC) hosted a film screening of CPTV’s Color of Justice Revisited, followed by a discussion—led by experts in their fields—about how educators can help end the school-to-prison pipeline. More than 60 educators attended the event at Testo’s Ristorante in Bridgeport on April 25. Read more