Collective Bargaining Mediation to Begin
The mediation process will begin in early June. We will keep all informed but expect the process to be relatively slow. The biggest obstacle is the coordination of schedules among and between around 20 individuals. That said, we are committed to working as expeditiously as possible. We have multiple dates scheduled and are looking for more.
New Video from AFT and BTU Shows Who Really Stands for Children
The BTU and the AFTMA have collaborated in a newly-released video
that attempts to debunk some of the myths surrounding the Stand for Children petition. You may recognize a few familiar faces in the video. Thanks to all (especially Angela Cristiani and Brian LaPierre from the AFTMA) who made this happen.
Math Competition: Working out Final Details on T-shirt Distribution
Thanks again to all who participated in the April Math Competition. We are trying to wrap up final details. See here for a list of all T-shirt orders we have received
(PDF). If you were in charge of your school's order you should have received by now a specific list of instructions as to how to order (more) T-shirts, certificates and ribbons. Trophies will be available soon. If you had responsibility for a team and your name is not on the attached list, please let me know. Again, thanks.
We will honor individual award winners at the June membership meeting. Please let us know if any of the individual awardees can attend. Otherwise, we will give the individual and group trophies to anyone in attendance who can get them back to the school. See results here.
Mass DESE Releases Report on Turnaround Schools
Leadership and Collaboration More Important than Shuffling Teaching Staff
The Mass DESE has released a report on its view of what has made for success of lack thereof in the state's Turnaround School process. One of the big takeaways: strong, competent leadership as well as mutual respect are more important that the wholesale excessing of 50% or more of staff. We cannot say we are surprised at all. Please see the report here
, too, had a report yesterday on the same topic:
"A motivated principal able to galvanize teachers and foster a respectful school climate is a major factor in helping underperforming Massachusetts schools boost standardized test scores, but there is no hard evidence that replacing half the teaching staff makes a significant difference, according to an independent report commissioned by the state.
"The lack of concrete evidence on mass dismissals is rekindling debate about the strategy, which has stirred emotions in Boston, Springfield, and elsewhere..." Read more
Transfer and Open Posting Lists Out
The transfer and open posting lists are out as of April 18. If you have any questions, please email or call Caren
at the office. The transfer list will be up until 5 PM on this Friday, May 4. Open posted positions will be up until they are filled. All other assignment information -- teacher pools, mock pools, and the Para processes -- will be announced as soon as specific information is available. For questions on Para-related issues, please email Jenna
NB: As of last night the district has once again changed the excess pool schedule for teachers. The new TENTATIVE
dates, according to the most recent information we have, will be on 5/29, 5/30, and 5/31.
BTU Files Three Charges Against School Department for Bargaining In Bad Faith
On Thursday, April 19, the BTU filed three separate charges against the Boston School Department for bargaining in bad faith. Read the charges here (PDF).
Count 1 involves regression bargaining, Count 2 details how the AWOL school department kept us waiting 4 hours and 23 minutes on Sunday on the second-to-last day of negotiations and Count 3 details how at the last minute the school department -- after nearly 300 hours of bargaining -- suddenly changed its position from seeking a 30-minute extension of the school day to a 45-minute extension of the school day.
Job Sharing Fair
All Permanent Teachers who have submitted an application for job sharing are invited to a Job Sharing Networking Fair this Thursday, May 3, at the BTU from 4 to 6 pm. The purpose of this fair is to facilitate the job sharing process. This will be a "speed dating" format, where teachers will be able to talk with other teachers in their content area and form a match for the up coming school year.
Register Now for the Second Annual Boston Area Educators for Social Justice ConferenceRegistration is now open for the Second Annual Boston-area Educators for Social Justice Conference, to be held on Saturday, May 19. The conference is produced by Teacher Activist Group Boston and will be held at the Curley School in Jamaica Plain. Over the next few weeks, we will be updating our website with details about the conference schedule and keynote speakers, but we promise you that we've got some fantastic workshops and panels planned. We are also still accepting workshop proposals. The conference will take place on Saturday, May 19 at The Curley School in Jamaica Plain from 9 AM to 5 PM. For more info, visit the conference registration website.
All Souls Author to Speak at the BTU Save the date!
On Tuesday, May 22, Michael Patrick MacDonald, author of All Souls
and a South Boston native and Boston activist who continues to work for social change nationally, will speak at the BTU at 5:30 PM. All Souls
books will be available for a reduced price (cash and checks only), along with free teachers guides. Everyone is welcome to this free event. Light refreshments will be served.
Comedy Night at the BTU
Save the date! June 9 is comedy night at the BTU to benefit the BTU school. More information to come.
See all upcoming events on the BTU website.
Education in the News: New York City Targets "Underperforming" School for Closing... Then Retreats. A Compelling Story
Don't Close My School
"I was 18 years old with a baby and three high school credits. I was a gangbanger. I was shot and left for dead.
"My life was a pane of glass fractured into a thousand shards. And this place saved me....
"Few who venture to this corner of Bushwick walk away unmoved. Members of the state Board of Regents sing its praises, as have visitors from across the city.
|Bushwick High School. Photo courtesy NY Times|
"But that could all come to an end on Thursday night. The Education Department has recommended that the Panel for Education Policy, which is controlled by the mayor, vote to lay off the principal and half the staff. Give department officials credit: they don't really try to argue their indictment on the merits, but on the metrics - that is, test scores and graduation rates.
"A majority of the students fail to graduate within six years, which is one of the city's inviolate metrics. Right-o. If a young man wanders into this high school at 18 with five credits to his name, the odds are strikingly good that he will not graduate within six years of his freshman year.
"The Panel for Education Policy could vote to let the school remain untouched. That's unlikely. Mayor Bloomberg's education officials have recommended shutting down 140 schools, and this panel has voted in the mayor's favor 140 times..."
Read the whole April 23 article from the New York Times: "A Brooklyn School Saved Lives, and Some Now Try to Return the Favor" by Michael Powell.
"The schools chancellor, Dennis M. Walcott, retreated on Thursday from a plan to shut down a last-chance high school for students who have dropped out or have failed at traditional schools...Read the whole April 26 article from the New York Times
: "City Decides to Spare School of Second Chances" by Anna M. Phillips.
Warren To Speak at BTU
Elizabeth Warren, BTU endorsed candidate for US Senate, will be speaking at the BTU at our regularly-scheduled membership meeting next Wednesday, May 9, at 5:15 PM.
The School Department's Fuzzy Math Revealed... One More Time
Last fall in its own version of musical chairs the school district proposed moving the Fenway High School to the Mission Hill site, and the Mission Hill Elementary to the Agassiz site. Both school sites need renovations to accommodate the new programs. And both schools deserve a good and adequate facility to call their own***
. In trying to sell its proposal to all, including the respective school communities themselves, the school district came up with a projected cost of the needed renovations. Only one problem: the school department's math was way off as it didn't take into account a number of different costs.
Here's what the Globe
editorialized yesterday about the district's calculation:
"...School department officials acknowledge that their initial numbers didn't reflect the final costs of the move. Apparently, they (the school district) missed bonding insurance, inflation factors, architectural fees, and other costs more recently factored in by the city's public facilities department..." Read more
(Calculations and estimates aside, both the Fenway and Mission Elementary deserve every penny that will be spent on their new homes. After all, both schools were forced into new facilities, both schools have tremendous waiting lists, and both schools deserve to be well-situated.)
So why do we call attention to the fuzzy math? Well, the district often plays fast and loose with the numbers to the detriment of all of us.
During negotiations, for example, we repeatedly questioned how the school district could say with a straight face that the cost of a 30-minute extension of the school day for 3,000 teachers would cost close to $45M. We have always maintained that the real cost was closer to one quarter of that amount, or $11M. So let's do the math once again: 3,000 teachers at $20 per day for 180 days is $10.8M, nowhere near the $45M broadcast by the school district. (At the time, the district had requested a school day extension of 30 minutes; the demand for 45 minutes didn't come until much later.)
Why do we raise this issue once again? Because the district likes to make use of numbers strategically -- understating or overstating when it suits its fancy. In the case of the its facilities plan, it understated the cost. In the case of our demands during negotiations, it wildly inflated the cost. What we really need is for the district to be held accountable.
We don't wish to rehash the divisive issue of one school's taking over another facility with another school as a current inhabitant who doesn't wish to vacate. We've commented on that before, and it is not right to pit one school against another. There are enough facilities to go around. To wit, the district just leased so-called surplus facilities (Dickerman and the Stone) to charter schools and is about to lease a third, the Endicott. So there is enough space to go around and satisfy all -- it's just that the district has other priorities.)
AFT-Sponsored Innovation Grant at the Edwards Seeks Social Studies Teacher
Get Paid $4,000 to Design Social Studies Lessons This Summer
21st Century Lessons is currently recruiting experienced, highly-effective and creative Social Studies teachers to design lessons for our summer session. 21st Century Lessons is an exciting AFT-sponsored initiative focused on creating free online multimedia lessons for teachers across the nation. Participants will receive a stipend of up to $4,000.
This is an excellent opportunity to be a part of an innovative program which we are optimistic will continue to receive funding going forward. Please feel free to contact Tracy Young if you have any questions at781-724-3710. If you are interested in being part of our dynamic team, please email your resume, an overview explaining how you plan a lesson, and a sample lesson (including PPT, classwork and homework)here.
PJ Kennedy School Promotes Wellness Run
As part of an effort to promote wellness education and healthy eating, the Patrick J. Kennedy School in East Boston will host the "PJK 5K and Fun Run" on June 3.
Come run to benefit the PJ Kennedy's outdoor classroom initiative. This flat and fast 5K will start and finish at the beautiful Piers Park with one of the most amazing views of downtown Boston! Even if you can't run, this promises to be a fun filled family activity with Zumba, Yoga, Music, and Raffles. For more information and to register visitpjk5k.com
. Email ratmazz (at) aol.com
TEACH: Teachers are Talking Garners Award at Film Festival
TEACH: Teachers Are Talking, Is the Nation Listening?
has received the Indie Spec Best Cinematography Award from the Boston International Film Festival. The winning films were announced at the closing ceremony of the 2012 festival at the AMC Loews Theater, Boston Common on April 22. TEACH was screened at the festival on April 16 before a large and enthusiastic audience. The screening was followed by a spirited Q and A discussion. Many additional screenings are being planned for the Boston area and in cities all across the country. Please visit the Teach documentary website
for details. Congrats go to Robert Lamothe and Yvonne Troxell! The BTU is proud of these two wonderfully creative and dedicated members.
Pauline Dodd, Joseph Lee School
Thursday, June 7, 6 until 11PM
Florian Hall at 55 Hallet Street in Dorchester
Cost per person: $50 (includes gift, meal, and DJ)
Payments may be made by check. Mail checks to:
Joseph Lee School, Attn: Sara Smith
155 Talbot Avenue, Dorchester, MA 02124
Please make checks payable to "Joseph Lee Sunshine Fund." Please RSVP by Thursday, May 17.
Kathy Giberti, O'Donnell School
Friday, June 15 at 4 PM
Winthrop Arms Hotel at 130 Grovers Avenue in Winthrop
$30 includes dinner & gift. Cash or check payable to the O'Donnell School. Please RSVP by June 1 to Barbara Grato at 617-635-8454
Claire Dewey, Arlene LaSane, & Sandra McDowell, Henderson (O'Hearn) School
Saturday, June 9 at 1:30 PM
Maggiano's Little Italy, 4 Columbus Avenue in Boston
$60 per person includes appetizers, lunch, dessert and gifts for the retirees. Cash bar and discounted parking will be available.
Please make checks payable to "JoAnn Brown-Henderson Retirement" and submit to JoAnn Brown, Henderson School, 1669 Dorchester Avenue, Dorchester, MA 02125 no later than May 9.
Janet Amrock, ML King School
Thursday, June 7, 5;30 to 9:30
The Common Market, 97-110 Willard Street in Quincy
$60 per person includes dinner and gift; $390, gift only
RSVP by May 31 and make checks payable to King Sunshine Fund.
: Maria Harvey, Maryalice Jennings, Diane Thornton
Looking for Valuable PD from NBPTS?
If so, please plan to attend the May 17 National Board Recognition event. This event is to promote Take One! as a strong Professional Development option for individual teachers and schools, honor the contribution of National Board Certified Teachers, and première the movie Mitchell 20.
This event is open to all teachers, and administrators interested in bringing Take One! and/or full Board Certification as PD options to their classrooms and schools. This event is a wonderful way to get started on next year's PD planning. Please join us on
Co-Sponsors: BTU & BPS Office of Teacher & Leadership Effectiveness, MTA, AFT-MA & NBPTS If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Karene-Sean Hines at 781-267-9122.
- Thursday, May 17 at BTU Hall, 4:00- 7:30 pm
- Refreshments served