Granby fourth grade teachers and building reps Kierstan Pestana and Megan Proto.
Megan Proto and Kierstan Pestana teach math and science on the same fourth-grade team at Wells Road Intermediate School in Granby—and they make a great team when it comes to representing members in their building, too.
Proto has been a building rep for the past couple of years, and, after a colleague left the role, this year Pestana stepped up to join her.
After listening to their colleagues, the co-building reps have identified a number of concerns that Granby Education Association (GEA) members share; a primary one is how to get disruptive students the help they need and preserve learning time for all students. It’s an issue facing schools around the state and country, and Proto and Pestana have come up with the first steps toward getting a handle on the problem in their district.
In order to identify and obtain the resources for properly dealing with the problem, the two decided they first needed to document the extent to which disruptive behavior is occurring in their school. Read more
Teachers have a lot to say on issues from their pensions to classroom safety this legislative session, which is why local associations around Connecticut are meeting with their legislators and making their voices heard.
Hamden Education Association members including President Diane Marinaro, standing at right, had a number of questions for Rep. Mike D’Agostino, Rep. Josh Elliott, Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, and Senator George Logan.
“Politicians make decisions that affect our students and our profession,” says Hamden Education Association Vice President David Abate. “Sitting back and waiting isn’t a solution. I don’t like politics, but for legislators to know what’s going on in our schools they have to hear from teachers.” Read more
Connecticut teachers Danielle Fragoso, Jennifer Reynolds, and Cindy Mazzotta prepare to testify before lawmakers about their experience with aggressive student behavior.
At a public hearing of the legislature’s Education Committee today, classroom teachers—along with CEA leaders and staff—gave powerful testimony urging lawmakers to address the crisis of violent student behavior in rural, urban, and suburban schools throughout the state.
They asked their legislators to support a bill—House Bill 7110 An Act Concerning Enhanced Classroom Safety and School Climate—that would require schools to help students exhibiting extreme behaviors, provide increased student supports and teacher training, and address children’s mental health and social-emotional needs.
More than a dozen teachers and CEA staff testified in person at the hearing, while over 100 others submitted written testimony describing behaviors that continually render their classrooms unsafe and inhibit learning for all students. Read more
Teachers, CEA leaders, and staff testified yesterday before the Connecticut General Assembly’s Black and Puerto Rican Caucus on issues critical to teachers this legislative session. These issues included school climate, classroom safety, the persistent shortage of ethnic minority educators, and funding for public schools.
CEA members and staff, including CEA Research and Policy Development Specialist Orlando Rodriguez, CEA Vice President Tom Nicholas, Westport educator Faith Sweeney, community organizer Shamare Holmes Bridgeport teacher Tiffany Ladson-Lang, and Stratford teacher Kristen Record shared CEA priorities with the legislature’s Black and Puerto Rican Caucus yesterday.
“It is vitally important that members of the caucus hear from teachers and get a clearer understanding of what’s happening every day in our schools,” says CEA Director of Government Relations Ray Rossomando. “Teachers came from every corner of the state and stayed late into the evening, on a school night, to testify before their elected officials about what matters most to their students, their profession, and the communities where they teach. That has an impact.” Read more
Many Connecticut children are losing out on learning time when disruptive behavior from another student continually interrupts the school day. Problematic student behavior is a major problem in our schools, but many legislators aren’t aware of what’s happening in your classroom. They need to hear your stories.
On Friday, February 22, the legislature’s Education Committee will be holding a public hearing on legislation that protects students and teachers from dangerous situations in the classroom, and provides support and services for students who act out. Legislators need to hear from you!
Click here to submit written testimony now.
You can submit your story under your own name, or anonymously.
If you are interested in testifying and sharing your story in person with the Education Committee on February 22, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
There’s a crisis of disrupted learning not just in Connecticut, but across the U.S., and the Oregon Education Association today released a report on the conditions students and educators are facing in schools.
Some Oregon teachers talked to a local news station about the disruptions they face daily.
Teachers in Connecticut experience many of these same situations, but legislators are unaware of the severity and pervasiveness of the problem.
Share your own story (anonymously if you so choose) to make legislators aware of the need for action to make classrooms safe for all students and teachers.
To arrange for a teacher-legislator get-together in your district, contact your local association president and CEA’s Chris Donovan or Robyn Kaplan-Cho.
CEA Program Development Specialist Robyn Kaplan-Cho and CEA Executive Director Donald Williams serve on the Classroom Safety Working Group
At its second meeting today, the classroom safety working group continued an ongoing discussion seeking to come to agreement on language for a bill that could be raised by the General Assembly in 2019.
The group, which was created after Governor Malloy vetoed a classroom safety bill that had resoundingly passed the state House and Senate last spring, has been offering feedback on a new draft bill authored by CEA.
CEA Executive Director Donald Williams reminded group members of the critical nature of their task.
“The Connecticut General Assembly last legislative session heard extensive testimony from teachers about the increase in problematic student behaviors that are causing harm to other students and teachers,” Williams said. Read more
Legislators failed to protect students and teachers—and lost the best chance Connecticut has had to increase classroom safety for all students and reduce discriminatory discipline for students of color and special education students—when they failed today to override Governor Malloy’s veto of the classroom safety bill.
“It is truly disheartening that legislators and the governor denied protections for the safety of students and teachers, and proactive supports to help students who cause physical injury to others,” said CEA President Sheila Cohen. “The only way to end the school-to-prison pipeline is to take actions that hold administrators accountable for ensuring that students receive the resources they need. We are disappointed that legislators, who passed this bill with overwhelming bipartisan support, failed to override the governor’s veto and enact this bill into law.”
Thanks to the many teachers who reached out and shared their stories with lawmakers, the House and Senate overwhelmingly passed SB 453, An Act Concerning Classroom Safety and Disruptive Behavior.
Unfortunately, the fight is not over. Governor Malloy has vetoed the bill, based on false information and a misrepresentation of the facts.
Your legislators need to hear from you—especially if they have not heard from you yet. This is our last chance to persuade lawmakers to override the governor’s veto. Without your calls to action, this bill will die, and students will lose the best chance they had to get the help they need before it’s too late.
Help set the record straight. Give your legislators the facts and ask for their support in overriding the governor’s veto.
CLICK HERE to contact your legislators one last time on this important issue.
CLICK HERE to contact legislative leaders.