CEA member Sheena Graham, a performing arts and choir teacher at Bridgeport’s Harding High School, has been named Connecticut's 2019 Teacher of the Year
Posts tagged ‘Bridgeport’
What do the events of 40 years ago have to do with teachers’ lives today? A lot, it turns out.
Active and retired teachers who gathered this May to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Bridgeport Teachers Strike reflected on how the lessons from the strike are still very relevant to teachers today. As teachers work to ensure the best for their students and keep the teaching profession strong, the motto of the strikers, “We stick together,” is still crucial today to ensuring success.
On the morning of their promotion to middle school, fifth-grade girls from the Walsh School in Waterbury had a special visitor.
About to embark on a promotion of her own—starting on her master’s degree at an Ivy League school—Georbina DaRosa had also once been a fifth-grader at Walsh, back in 2006. Like many of the girls she would now be speaking to, she had struggled as a child and faced incredible odds. With help from her teachers, she beat the odds and dispelled many myths—about immigrants, about ethnic minorities and females, and about public schools—every step of the way. Read more
Even before their first official day back, many teachers spend days preparing their classrooms, supplies, and lessons. This Monday was the first day Bridgeport schools were opened up so teachers could get back into their classrooms, and teachers at Barnum School were setting up bright and early, but they weren’t alone.
Several of the teachers prepping their classrooms had help from family members as they took on the many tasks necessary to get everything student-ready. Read more
The leadership skills that Bridgeport students have learned thanks to the bilingual Talented and Gifted (TAG) program at Cesar Batalla Elementary School came in handy earlier this spring when budget cuts threatened the program.
At the end of March, students learned that their beloved program might be cut so they organized on their own during lunch time to save it, said TAG teacher Ana Batista. “They made posters, and the older students went to city hall to protest before a City Council meeting,” she said. “I was really impressed with the kids.”
The bilingual TAG program at the K-8 school was on the list of programs slated to be cut when the amount of aid the city would receive from the state remained unknown. The City Council has managed to spare the program for now, though other Bridgeport programs and services still face cuts. Read more
Today a local CEA leader — representing Bridgeport teachers — made an impassioned plea to the State Board of Education asking that the board reject new charter schools in the city because the vast majority of Bridgeport students would be hurt by that action.
Despite the plea, the State Board of Education voted unanimously to approve the Great Oaks Charter School in Bridgeport and the Booker T. Washington Academy in New Haven to open in the fall and the Stamford Charter School for Excellence and Capital Prep Harbor School in Bridgeport to open for the 2015-16 school year. Read more
Extended time is a frequently cited strategy for improving student achievement, and educators from seven Connecticut schools today had a chance to plan how they will make use of extended time at their schools. Schools in Bridgeport, Meriden, and Windham are now planning for extended time for the 2014-2015 school year as part of the TIME Collaborative.
Teams from each school, including Wilbur Cross, Beardsley, and Edison Elementary Schools in Bridgeport, met today in Meriden to continue planning how their schools will make use of approximately 300 extra hours per year supported by the Collaborative. Schools have the option to choose how to focus the extended time, from academic support to enrichment activities, to best meet the needs of their students. Read more
Governor Malloy is all ears as he learns about plans and early progress being made in schools that are part of the new Commissioner’s Network — a key program enacted when the governor signed Public Act 12-116, Connecticut’s sweeping education reform law.
Today the governor was at Curiale School in Bridgeport. “This is a check-in. Are we moving toward improvement? Are we making progress?” The governor was speaking in the school’s library with key stakeholders, including teachers, administrators, and board of education members.
At the meeting, Malloy’s Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor credited the Bridgeport Education Association (BEA) and CEA with being “incredibly creative and flexible” about spawning innovation at the school.
One of those innovations was developing new teacher schedules to provide students with a longer instructional day and an extended day schedule. The extended day complements the strong academic program by offering dance, music, and art classes, as well as sports and recreation opportunities for students and families.
Curiale teacher Katie McLeod served on the committee that developed a “turnaround plan” for the school.
McLeod says, “We are all excited about the after-school enrichment programs and our new administrators. Teachers’ morale is through the roof, and student attendance is way up.”
With a new curriculum and more teacher professional development, enthusiasm about improvement is palpable at Curiale.
In Christine Nogueira’s fourth-grade class, Governor Malloy chatted with students Kwajana Gooden and Nayelis Perez.
Perez said she likes the longer days. “They are designed to help you,” Governor Malloy told the girls.
Beyond the extended day and after-school program, other elements of Curiale’s turnaround plan include the following.
- A rigorous kindergarten through grade three literacy initiative.
- Smaller class sizes.
- Leveled flexible groups for reading and math so students receive appropriate instruction.
- A new curriculum in all core subjects.
- The formation of Instructional Learning Teams to lead and facilitate schoolwide implementation of lesson studies and professional development.
- Common planning time for teachers each week.
- A program of Schoolwide Enrichment that will identify the strengths and talents of all students and create classes and programs to develop these talents.
UConn’s Neag School of Education is working with Curiale to develop and implement the Schoolwide Enrichment Model. Neag will offer professional development to train teachers and staff to identify students’ areas of strength and develop strategies to address them and link them to students’ areas of need. Research shows this model engages students in learning and makes them eager to participate in school programs and activities.
Governor Malloy said today that an extra $4.5 million are being allocated to the Bridgeport School District this year.
At Curiale and other schools, the hope is that extra resources and hard work will have everyone talking about “substantial change, not marginal change,” according to the governor.
McLeod explained that the extra instructional time has provided enrichment opportunities enabling teachers to go back and teach fun things that excite students, such as a unit on Pioneer Days.
Jennifer Kelemen, a teacher at Madison School, and Gregory Furlong, a teacher at Bryant School, also serve on the Curiale Turnaround Committee.
BEA President Gary Peluchette said, “Along with Katie McLeod, they are exemplary educators who have shown how much teachers can and want to be part of the solution. They are dedicated to their students, their profession, and their community.”
Kelemen said she hopes Curiale can be a model for other schools because extracurricular opportunities, from sports to the arts, really motivate kids. Furlong pointed out that wraparound services for students and families are also an enormous plus.
CEA President Sheila Cohen said that collaboration that includes all education stakeholders is a key element. “We are pleased that school reform efforts are putting a focus on families and community — essential ingredients for student success,” said Cohen.
NEA President Dennis Van Roekel heard encouraging reports from teachers, parents and principals during a visit yesterday to two Bridgeport CommPACT schools. The new school reform experiment in Connecticut’s neediest cities may be the best hope for solving some of the vexing problems of America’s urban schools.
CommPACT, headed by the University of Connecticut’s Neag School of Education, gives individual schools a significant degree of authority to transform themselves from within – a radical shift from the traditional top-down organization of most school systems.
Below are photos of the visit.