On a regular Saturday, the parking lot at Victoria Soto Elementary School in Stratford’s south end sees some 150 families come through for a monthly food pickup from the Connecticut Food Bank. Lately, however, those numbers have nearly doubled. And the same teachers who have spent the first Saturday of every month this school year volunteering to distribute food have stepped it up to accommodate the growing number of families struggling to make ends meet.
Teachers and their fellow volunteers pose on a recent Saturday morning before preparing to distribute food to the growing number of families struggling to make ends meet.
Back in September, Victoria Soto kindergarten teacher Judee McMellan spearheaded the food donation effort with the Connecticut Food Bank. Her school, which serves grades K-1, shares a campus and driveway with Stratford Academy Johnson House, for grades 2-6. Colleagues from both buildings as well as Franklin Elementary and other Stratford schools joined in the project, forming a corps of nearly 30 volunteers whose ranks also included custodial staff, administrators, family members of teachers, a board of education member, a town official, and local high school students.
“My school is in a low-income neighborhood,” says McMellan, who has spent the last 37 years of her 40-year career in Stratford. “There is tremendous need in our community as well as a huge outpouring of support.” Read more
Teachers, parents, and community members were shut out of a Stratford Board of Education meeting Monday after the board refused to change venues to a room big enough to accommodate all who wanted to participate.
Public officials are elected to represent the interests of local residents, but members of the Stratford Board of Education abdicated their responsibility to town residents Monday by shutting them out of a public meeting.
Though the board had received notice days in advance that the number of teachers, parents, and community members expected to attend the first meeting of the board, which was elected in November, would exceed the room’s capacity, the board refused to change the venue.
Some teachers, parents, and community members were consequently shut out from participating in their town’s democratic process at a crucial time for Stratford’s schools and students. Read more
At a town budget meeting December 18, hundreds of teachers, students, and community members made their views known by carrying signs and wearing stickers that said, “Cuts Hurt Kids,” “Fund Public Schools,” and “Every Student Matters. Every Teacher Matters.”
A tremendous turnout of Stratford educators, families, and CEA leaders and staff at a special budget meeting of the new town council last night ensured that municipal leaders heard—and sent—a clear message to Stratford’s superintendent of schools: No teacher layoffs.
While the nine-member council ultimately voted 8–1 to accept a budget that includes $700,000 in education cuts, they strongly denounced any plans to cut teachers’ jobs. At issue was the superintendent’s proposal to lay off 43 teachers, including half of the district’s reading specialists, in the middle of the current school year. Read more