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Posts tagged ‘back to school’

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

NEA Webinar: Safely Returning to In-Person Instruction

NEA’s Office of General Counsel and Collective Bargaining and Member Advocacy teams will host a webinar about returning to in-person instruction this Friday, July 10, at 3 p.m.

Sign up here.

When school buildings reopen, the health and safety of students and educators must be a top priority. What rights do you have as an educator when schools return to in-person instruction? How can you advocate for your health and safety and those of your students?

The webinar will cover:

  • Recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health experts;  
  • Educator rights related to accommodations, leave, and liability waivers; and  
  • What educators and NEA affiliates can do to advocate for safe, healthy schools.    

When you register, please submit any questions you may have about your rights or other considerations.  


Connecticut Releases Full School Reopening Guidelines

The state has released its full 50-page reopening guidelines that leave educators and parents with many questions and concerns.

Read more

Norwich Free Academy Teachers Share Their Hopes for the Year Ahead

More than 500 ninth graders from nine different Connecticut towns arrived for their very first day of school at Norwich Free Academy (NFA) yesterday. And their teachers were ready for them.

Here’s what some NFA ninth grade teachers are planning on and looking forward to this school year.

Social studies teacher Michael Byrne.

Michael Byrne had his very first official day of teaching yesterday as a first-year social studies teacher at NFA. That first day mostly featured tours of campus. Because the incoming class is so large and the campus-style layout of the school can be intimidating for new students, the first day of school serves as an orientation for ninth graders.

Byrne graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University last spring and student taught at NFA last year. “I”m looking forward to getting to know my kids and building those relationships,” he says. “Our school welcomes students from every walk of life, and I hope to make a difference in their four years at NFA” Read more

East Hampton Teachers Prepare for Back to School

East Hampton Education Association members are ready for the 2019-20 school year.

Students in East Hampton don’t start school until September 3, but teachers are back this week learning and preparing for the year ahead.

At the district’s convocation teachers caught up with their colleagues and recognized their own—including the 2019-20 East Hampton Teacher of the Year Ehren Brown and Rookie of the Year Katherine Robinson. Read more

Haddam-Killingworth Teachers Put the Cool in School


Educators have a ball playing Hungry Hungry Teachers.

When it comes to kicking off the school year, the teachers of Regional School District 17 pull out all the stops.

The district’s convocation, which includes life-size, live-action versions of Hungry Hungry Hippos, Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, and other childhood favorites, is an opportunity for teachers and staff from all buildings to come together, mix, mingle, and get the academic year off to an upbeat, productive start. Read more

East Haven Teachers: We Deserve a Fair Contract


In a show of solidarity, East Haven teachers wear RedforEd at this year’s convocation.

In the early hours after dawn, members of the East Haven Education Association (EHEA) assembled outside the high school on the morning of their convocation. Greeting them with warm pastries and hot coffee, members of their union’s bargaining team—working hard on their behalf to secure better contracts—also distributed RedforEd shirts and stickers asking for a fair contract.

“We are in a tough negotiations process,” said EHEA President Cynthia Wintjen, who has served in that role for 25 of her 30 years as an East Haven high school science teacher. “The incoming proposal is probably the worst I’ve ever seen in 30 years. Overall, it diminishes the environment for our profession. At the same time the town government has been cutting taxes and lowering the mill rate, it’s giving nothing to our board of education.” Read more

Litchfield and Region 6 Schools Launch New Collaboration at Joint Convocation

Arriving at Wamogo Regional High School in Litchfield this morning you might have thought there was a concert or festival in progress given the number of cars filling the parking lots and spilling over onto surrounding lawns. The crowd, however, was really assembled for the first-ever joint convocation of the Region 6 and Litchfield public schools, kicking off a new partnership for the districts.

As seen from a drone flown by Wamogo Education Association President Darren Ranft, Litchfield teachers wearing blue form a W while their Wamogo colleagues make an L, symbolizing a new collaboration between the districts.

Starting this year, the two districts are sharing a superintendent and collaborating on a number of fronts. The goal is to offer better opportunities for students. High school students will be able to take advantage of extracurricular offerings and even some classes at the neighboring school. Wamogo Regional High School, part of Region 6, is located in Litchfield, only two and a half miles from Litchfield High School, but serves students from Warren, Morris, and Goshen. Read more

Wishing You a Great School Year!

Students and teachers are back to school this week in districts around Connecticut. A new year represents a myriad of new opportunities, but also new challenges—and CEA stands with you every step of the way.

Watch this 2019 back-to-school message from Cheshire teacher and CEA President Jeff Leake.

‘We Is Always Better Than Me’: New Education Commissioner Kicks Off School Year

New Connecticut Commissioner of Education Miguel Cardona addressed superintendents and other education stakeholders at an annual back-to-school meeting today in Hartford.

“In a few days, half a million kids will come through our doors. What we provide will be the best chance they have at success in life,” Connecticut’s new Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona told superintendents gathered for a back-to-school meeting this morning.

“Let’s learn together and grow together and give them the best we’ve got,” he continued.

CEA President Jeff Leake, who attended the event at A.I. Prince Technical High School in Hartford along with CEA Executive Director Donald Williams, said he appreciated Cardona’s emphasis on working together and reaching out to the entire education community.

“We’re looking forward to working with Miguel and other stakeholders in the education field to move our state forward,” Leake says. “Teachers do so much to ensure the success of every child, and there is still much to do, especially when it comes to making sure zip codes don’t determine the success of our students.” Read more