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Posts tagged ‘Senator Blumenthal’

Teachers Reject Immigration Ban: Read Statement from CEA President

Teachers were among the many rallying in Boston yesterday.

Teachers were among the many rallying in Boston yesterday.

The executive order President Donald Trump signed Friday banning immigrants and refugees from seven majority-Muslim countries has teachers expressing condemnation and outrage.

CEA President Sheila Cohen said,

Teachers strive to create a safe and welcoming environment for our students every day. We endeavor to make sure each child recognizes his or her self worth and feels secure in order to learn and grow—emotionally and academically.

President Trump’s executive order flies in the face of teachers’ efforts—causing fear and confusion for students and their families. Read more

Teachers Continue Push Against DeVos on Last Day Before Committee Vote

North Haven High School teacher Tom Marak talked with Senator Richard Blumenthal about his oppostion to DeVos' nomination today.

North Haven High School teacher Tom Marak and Senator Richard Blumenthal talked about their opposition to DeVos’ nomination as education secretary today.

Odds may not be in their favor, but teachers are continuing to stand strong against the nomination of Betsy Devos for U.S. secretary of education. The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee is scheduled to vote tomorrow morning on DeVos’ nomination, and yesterday teachers held rallies in cities around the country urging senators to vote no.

Today in Hartford, North Haven teacher and local Association president Tom Marak met with Senator Richard Blumenthal and explained why he thinks DeVos is the wrong choice to head the department of education. Read more

U.S. Senator Takes a Lesson in School Reform

What school reform model has no student lotteries and doesn’t require youngsters to leave their neighborhood schools?  U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal may not have known the answer prior to a visit to Waterbury last week.  Now he knows the answer (CommPACT Schools) and much more!

Senator Blumenthal listens to CEA Policy Director Mary Loftus Levine at a CommPACT roundtable in Waterbury.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal visited Washington Elementary School in Waterbury. “I was very excited and impressed with the CommPACT model, and the enthusiasm and engagement of the teachers and parents working together and collaborating,” he said after a roundtable discussion at the school.

The Connecticut Education Association invited Blumenthal to the session that included representatives from Washington and West Side Middle Schools, Waterbury’s two CommPACT schools.

CommPACT involves a partnership of Community, Parents, Administrators, Children, and Teachers who share in school  decision making. Experts from the University of Connecticut’s Neag School of Education help too with expertise and technical planning.

Senator Blumenthal visits a classroom at Waterbury's Washington Elementary School.

At the outset, Blumenthal told the group that he made the visit to listen and learn, and that he was looking for models that could be used to improve education in the state. Those seated around the table took every opportunity to explain the CommPACT education model to their visitor from Washington.

Allysa Lombardo, a third-grade teacher at Washington School, said that before CommPACT arrived the teachers had little input into how the school was run. Now it’s just the opposite with the principal getting and needing input from teachers and parents.

Donna Vignali, president of the Waterbury Teachers Association, said, “Teachers are on the front lines and they know what has to be done. Research shows that when you work together, parents and community leaders too, wonderful things happen.”

Allysa Lombardo, a third grade teacher at Washington Elementary, explains to Senator Blumenthal why she has embraced the CommPACT model.

Jassie Meyers, a parent liaison from West Side Middle School, said she has six children, four who have passed through the school and two who will be attending it.

“So I have a vested interest,” she said. “I love CommPACT and West Side. When I started it was not welcoming to parents but CommPACT has changed that. After its first year, I thought something was wrong. People were smiling. They couldn’t wait for school to start again. That shows CommPACT is working and I hope they do it all around the U.S. because parents have a voice.”

CommPACT facilitator Marianne Lusk, right, describes to Senator Blumenthal what goes on at a CommPACT school. CommPACT Director Michele Femc-Bagwell (in jacket) and Washington Principal Roxanne Augelli listen.

Marianne Lusk, who is a speech and language pathologist at Washington and the school’s CommPACT coach, said she has been at the school for 14 years and the transformation that has taken place since the CommPACT model was introduced three years ago is unbelievable. Washington teachers, working on their own time and with help from UConn, use data and have undergone professional development so that they can work together in groups called cadres to make the school better in their fields of expertise, such as math, science or behavior, she said.

Also speaking from the audience was Heather Greene, whose daughter had attended a magnet school but is now at West Side Middle School. “At first I was worried about West Side,” she said, “but I love the staff. I would not want my daughter at any other school.”