Good day and we hope all is well. The union office is open throughout the summer during regular business hours. We will have periodic mailings throughout the summer.
School Department Cuts Back Extended School Hours at 2 Schools Without Consulting or Alerting FamiliesIn the last e-bulletin we reported that the school district had -- on the very last day of school -- announced a decision to cut back the extended school hours at two of our schools, the Timilty and the Umana. This decision came without notice or warning and will affect the families of 1,300 students this fall. Parents and students will have to change their after-school plans to accommodate a new dismissal time in September wherein students will be released at least one hour earlier than parents were promised when they chose the school last winter.
School Department Silent on Impact of DecisionThe school department has been silent on this issue. No apology for the inconvenience, no announcement of a plan to remedy. Well, the district has done something. It finally changed the school hours on the district web page to accurately reflect the change. But it took the district until five days after the end of the school year -- after we alerted them -- to finally update their web page.
BTU to Take Out Ads to Point Out How School Department Decision Disrespects Families of Our StudentsOn behalf of the teachers and paraprofessionals affected, we have already challenged the department's decision. But the affected families have no one to stand up for them. So we will. We will be taking out full page ads in a variety of weekly newspapers shortly.
Summer Institute for all: check it out
Here's some information on the summer institute.
Performance Evaluation: How will the new state regs affect you?
NEW: BPS-BTU to Co-sponsor Workshop on New Evaluation System
The BTU and the BPS will co-sponsor a workshop on the new evaluation system and focus on Goal Setting, Plan Development, and the new online system for collection and presentation of evidence and tracking of one's plan. The workshop will run three separate times, July 17, July 19 and August 9. The time for each presentation is from 9 AM to 1 PM. Please contact Patrick Connolly at 617-288-2000 to register or if you require further information.
New Perf Eval State Regs Kick inNew state regulations on performance evaluation have kicked in, and while negotiations are not yet complete, the district has implemented a plan, some of which may have to be unscrambled once negotiations are concluded. For now, here's what the district will implement next year. Please review here (PDF) to see how this affects you. If you have any questions. please contact Caren, Michael, or Patrick.
Here's a note from Patrick Connolly:
Time to check your Performance Evaluation Rating for School Year 2012-2013
As the 2012-2013 school year begins each educator will have a new rating. The categories of Meets Standards and Does Not Meet Standards will no longer apply. To find out where you are in this ratingplease use the attached link.
Performance Evaluation IssuesApplication deadline extended to July 6, 2012. DISREGARD THE 6/19 DEADLINE STATED ON THE ONLINE APPLICATION.
The BTU is sponsoring a week-long Summer Institute to assist permanent teachers who are having evaluation issues. If you are in the category of Needs Improvement or Unsatisfactory, this is an opportunity to work on the prescriptions your evaluator provided. The Institute will be held the week of August 6-10 from 8:30-12:30. The new evaluation process has shorter time lines than the previous system. Download an application or apply online.
Health Insurance: Some Changes and a (Slightly) Misleading Announcement from Neighborhood Health Plan
Some health insurance copays and deductibles have increased as of July 1 in accordance with the 4-year deal we (and all other city unions) negotiated with the city last year in an agreement that will run through 6/30/2015. You may recall that we negotiated a few changes in our health coverage structure in order to prempt the changes that were about to take place at the state level. The changes at the state level -- which our action has forestalled until 2015 -- will place all public employees in Mass into coverage that more closely parallels the state's GIC plan, which is inferior as well as more more costly than our current city-sponsored array of plans. See here, pages 6 and 7, for a list of changes that took effect in our plan as of July 1.
Members of Neighborhood Health Plan should have recently received a note describing a rebate process under a federal health insurance law. The notice from NHP is mandated under the Affordable Care Act but isinapplicable to city employees. Therefore no one in the city's group insurance program who uses NHP (or any other health plan offered by the city) is eligible for the rebate. It would have been preferable for the NHP document to have added the information concerning city employees' ineligibility -- or, even better, to have not sent the notice out at all. Apparently the specific wording of the mandatory notice cannot be amended under federal guidelines. (It's sort of like the Do Not Remove label that comes attached to pillows: remove at your own peril).
If any other health provider sends out this notice, it, too, is irrelevant.
BTU Nurses, BPS, and the Boston Haiti Health Support Team Volunteer at Mildred Ave. School
Boston school nurses gathered at the Mildred Avenue School in Mattapan in collaboration with BPS and the Boston Haiti Health Support Team to connect health
Collaboration is a two-way street. Or it should be.
Snowden High School, located near the Copley Library, is a highly sought after, well run, and prideful school. Students love their school. Faculty love their school. Make no mistake: it is their school.
It is truly a school that works well. All who attend and work there have pride of ownership of their school. So it was a bit worrisome for all when their current headmaster announced her retirement a few months ago. She had been headmaster for a very short time, taking the place of a headmaster who had helped lead the school for decades. Naturally the school community wanted to have a say in how the new leadership would be chosen. Naturally the school community wanted to be partners in this most important decision. So they reached out to the school district a few months ago looking for their voice in the process. Here's what the Snowden Faculty Senate said:
"...Snowden is a unique school. Our location, rare status as a campus school (operating in more than five different buildings around Copley Square over the last decade), and our recent success in becoming the only district high school in the BPS that offers the International Baccalaureate all render us a competitive, popular, idiosyncratic, and challenging school to run. The key to Snowden's successes over the past twenty years lies in the tight-knit, supportive faculty and the dedication of so many individuals to our international, college preparatory mission. We, the Faculty Senate of Snowden International, are eager to build on our recent successes with the International Baccalaureate Program and study abroad trips. We look forward to working collaboratively with our next headmaster to further grow our vision of global-mindedness and academic excellence, yet we find it hard to build collaborative spirit when we are entirely left out of the search and hiring process. It is our firm belief and modest request that members of the school's faculty, teachers and support staff alike, as well as students and parents, should be provided opportunities to meet the candidates and given a voice in the selection process. We sincerely hope that such activities can begin immediately and, if the school department does not see fit to do so, that we deserve, at the very least, a prompt, thorough explanation of why we are being excluded..."
A week went by. Another week went by... by now you know the end of the story. On July 4 the faculty heard that a new headmaster had been chosen by the superintendent and her staff. The Snowden community had no input and no voice. And it was given no respect. In this new era of school reform where robust partnerships are encouraged, preferred, and seen as the only way to make progress in building a better school, our school district has fallen on its face. Once again.
BTU Members Take Action
Your help is needed. Lots is happening this election cycle! Contact our Political Director, Angela Cristiani, and get involved.
BTU members are canvassing, helping at various campaign headquarters, sign holding, and can attend events to support ourendorsed candidates. We are reaching out to BTU members one by one this election cycle! Check the BTU Facebook page for political events, opportunities to help the candidate of your choice, and up-to-date information.
Join labor activists on July 24 at 4:30 PM at the Ironworkers Local 7 Union Hall (195 Old Coliny Ave, South Boston) for a Labor Walksponsored by the GBLC and AFL-CIO in support of BTU-endorsed Elizabeth Warren. Your help is appreciated. Your voice and activism make a difference!
RTC Corner: part-time position next Jan-March
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) testing program is looking for retirees to work on a part-time basis next January, February and March. See here (PDF) for details.
The Boston Teachers Union regrets to inform you that Ruthann Kelly-Russell passed away on Sunday after a long battle with ovarian cancer. She retired in 2008. She was Assistant Headmaster at BLS and the wife of Jerry Russell, retired math and physics teacher at BLA. She was the sister-in-law of teacher/department head Bob Russell who passed away last November, as well as the sister-in-law of Maureen Gannon, who retired from the Beethoven School. Read her Globe obituary here. The Boston Teachers Union sends its most sincere condolences to Ms. Kelly-Russell's family. Services have been held.
The BTU Online