Last evening we held a telephone town meeting. More than 2700 members participated, exceeding expectations for this first-time event. During the 1-hour event we took a few poll questions and managed to answer 10 or so questions from members. In all it was a great way to communicate, to listen to concerns, and to share ideas. Thanks to all who participated. Another telephone town hall is planned for next month. The poll results were interesting, though not surprising.
A more in-depth report on the poll results of the telephone town hall will be forthcoming in a future e-bulletin. A couple of points: It took ten minutes to dial up 12,000 numbers for our 10,000 members. This cannot be avoided, and we are hamstrung by the capacity of local technology. We thank you for 'holding on' while we completed the dialing process, and we will try to make this an easier process next time. Of the 2738 participants, an estimated 2400 were active members; the remaining were retirees. While the poll results are not scientific per se, the sampling of active members was large enough to give a clear indication of where the membership stands on these issues.
BTU Welcome Back Party a Huge Success
This has been a busy week.
New Pension Bill Proposed
First, the state senate adopted last week a new pension bill that negatively affects (see here) municipal and state employees who are hired post- 12/31/11. The bill still has to go through the House, a conference committee, and the governor and may be amended, tweaked, or even defeated.There is still time to have some influence. Please see here, and kindly spend a minute or so to write a short email or make a phone call to your House Representative. (Who is your state rep.? See here.)
Stand for Children Stands Against Good Schools
Stand for Children is collecting signatures right now to place their petition on the ballot in November 2012. Stand is funded by business interests determined to weaken public education through privatization. (See an excellent piece here.) Stay tuned, and in the meantime, please do not sign. Here's what the MTA sent out to its members. The AFTMA is soon to launch its campaign as well.
BTU Building Rep. Conference
Note: The annual BTU Building Reps Conference is coming up on October 21-23, in Quincy.
We have decided to invite and include a number of members who are NOT current building reps. If you are interested in attending, please send a short statement of interest — the who, what, and whys — to Charles Johnson, BTU Secretary-Treasurer.
We are looking to invite interested members who want to get more involved in working to help make us a more responsive, effective organization. All are welcome to apply to attend the three-day conference. We will choose a number based on available space and interest. It should be an interesting conference, and we will share ideas, get an update of where things stand with negotiations and the other issues of the day.
|Education in the News|
From the New York Times, a report on a Federal bill to expand charter schools:
"In a rare display of bipartisanship, the House approved a bill on Tuesday supporting the expansion of charter schools, the first part of a legislative package planned by Republicans to carry out a piecemeal rewrite of the main federal law on public education, No Child Left Behind."Read more.
Tacoma teachers strike enters 2nd week
Tacoma teachers are entering their 2nd week of striking over several important issues, most notably teacher seniority rights and teacher assignments. For up-to-date information, see here.
The AFT urges its members to join the push to get the federal jobs bill passed.
"The bill includes $30 billion to prevent layoffs of teachers and other educators, and another $25 billion to repair and modernize public schools. The president said the bill will help keep as many as 280,000 educators on the job. "All across America," he said, "teachers are being laid off in droves-which is unfair to our kids, it undermines our future, and it is exactly what we shouldn't be doing if we want our kids to be college-ready and then prepared for the jobs of the 21st century. We've got to get our teachers back to work."Read more.
|As of 1/1/12, Blue Cross master Medical will no longer be offered to any city employee. Within the BTU only retirees have been eligible for this plan, shortly to be ended. To accommodate people on the switch to another plan. a meeting has been set up for Monday, 10/17, from 10-2 at the BTU. Present at the meeting will be representatives from all organizations, vendors, and the city. The BTU consultant John Brouder, will also be present. Food will be served.|
A letter will soon be going out to explain the procedure. No one will be left without coverage, and there will be no interruption of coverage. Replacement coverage is more than suitable.
|Payroll Information: Make Sure Your First Paycheck was Accurate|
The first payday for BTU members was last Friday, 9/16. Pay schedules can be found here: for teachers, for paraprofessionals, for substitute teachers. While all payroll information is stored electronically, for easy access, it is recommended that members retain hard copies of their pay stubs. If you have any questions as to the accuracy of your pay level and grade, please call the BTU office at 617-288-2000, or email Michael, Caren, or Jenna. Do not procrastinate in trying to rectify payroll matters as some problems are NOT retroactive once corrected. In all payroll matters, retain a copy of all correspondence.
BTU members will continue to get paid at last year's pay rate until a successor collective bargaining agreement is ratified. Those eligible for newly-acquired lane changes, career awards, and so on, are entitled to apply for them. See here. The BTU is seeking a base salary increase retroactive to September 2010.
|Teaching Tips for New Teachers--Please Share Your Toolkit.|
Today's bulletin announces the kickoff of a new BTU initiative called Teaching Tips. A new column, which will be found on our webpage, will contain Teaching Tips for the novice as well as the experienced teacher. The content will include links and articles submitted here, to firstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome your written personal submissions and/or links to articles you may have found helpful.
We want to start with a column that answers the following: "I wish someone had told me ??????? when I first started teaching." Please email here what you wish someone had told you...and we will print your submission to help others!
|Flexible Spending Plan Sign Up at BTU on 10/18|
The BTU has negotiated a flexible spending program that allows BTU members and other city employees to use pre-tax dollars for a variety of expenses--medical, dependent care, and certain transportation. There shortly will be announced an open enrollment period for 2012 sign-up. In the meantime, you can mark the date (10/18) to sign up at the BTU from 2:30 to 4:30. See the vendor's web page here and also the BTU has prepared a quick summary here. More information will be forthcoming.
This is a great benefit with tremendous tax savings. More than 400 BTU members participate.
The open enrollment period is from 10./18 through 11/18. If you cannot make the meeting at the BTU, you can always call 1-781-848-9848 for more information or look at their web page.
|Trivia Night at the BTU|
|NEW BTU EVENT!|
Trivia NIGHT at the BTU to Rosie's Place and Pine Street Inn.
A fun night for good cause!
Please note that teams are forming around the city to participate. Rumors abound as to the possible 'poaching' of members buy one team or another. Poaching will not be tolerated. Anyone charged with enticing a member to quit one team and join another will be have to stand before Commissioner McLaughlin for possible discipline. Seriously, this will be a fun event, and we will have a lot of laughs--not to mention outstanding competition. Entrants ought to start studying now.
|Join us on Friday, 9/30, for the 1st Science Social of the school year! Appetizers will be generously provided by the UMass Boston COSMIC (Center for Math and Science in Context) office.|
For driving, public transit, and parking directions, please visit.
|Opportunities for Our Members|
International Opportunities for BPS Teachers
Fulbright Classroom Teacher Exchange
Are you interested in participating in an exchange for the 2012-2013 school year? Click on this link to find out more information. For help with your application process, you may contact Bethany Wood.
Deadline: October 15, 2011
Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching
Would you like to develop a project based on your own research interests for the 2012-2013 school year? Click here to find out more information. For help with the application process, you may contact Bethany Wood. Deadline: December 15, 2011.
Fulbright Hays Seminars Abroad
Seminars are currently offered for elementary educators (Columbia & Mexico) and secondary educators (Brazil, Uruguay, and India) in the summer 2012. Seminars usually take place from late May to mid-August for a duration of four to six weeks. BPS educators are encouraged to apply. For application support, please contact Bethany Wood
Deadline: October 25, 2011.
BPS Educator Scholarship to China
Education First is offering a full professional development scholarship to one BPS educator for the summer of 2012. For questions, you may contact Bethany Wood.
Find Out More About Overseas and National Learning Trips
Make this academic year one of the most rewarding for you and your students! Organize a national or international service learning trip with your students for your 2012 April or summer vacation... and let our local Quest Adventures nonprofit organization lead you through the process.
Please join us at our Educators Informational meeting on Wednesday, September 21, 4:30 - 6:00pm, at the Curley K-8 Library. You will also learn about the application process to receive a $5000 support grant from Quest Adventures, along with our 7-month program of personal guidance and direction.
Harbor Islands Conference October 1
This is a great opportunity for Boston Teachers to become familiar with what the Boston Harbor Islands offer themselves and their students. On Saturday, October 1, from 9 A.M. until 5 P.M., Liz Eddy from the Boston Harbor National Recreation Area, National Park Service, will speak at our annual conference. A number of classroom oriented workshops will be available. Coffee & Pastries, as well as a bag lunch, will be included. Pre-Registration is $40 and at the door is $50. A narrated boat ride to Georges Island and Tour is included in the day's itinerary. Door Prizes will be given out during the day. If interested, E-Mail Carl Johnson (retired BPS Science Teacher).
|Charitable Walk for Alzheimer's Research|
Gary Palmieri, a teacher at the Murphy k-8, is walking with his family to raise money for Alzheimer's research. He is seeking contributions to this most worthy cause. See here. Gary is walking for his father.
|Need Help in Quitting Smoking|
FREE Stop Smoking Group available for BPS Employees. This 6-week group session will include free nicotine patches (for those who medically qualify) and counseling.
Where: BTU Hall, 180 Mt. Vernon Street, Boston, MA
When: 6 Tuesdays, starting October 18th, 4 - 5pm
Please contact Jaime Lederer, 617-635-6644x41253, in the BPS's Health & Wellness Department for more information or for other questions.
The BTU regrets to announce the passing of retired teacher Joseph McLean, who taught at the Wheatley Middle School. His full obituary can be found here. The BTU sends its most sincere condolences to Mr. McLean's family, friends, and colleagues.
The BTU regrets to announce that Helen E. Durham, mother of Kenny School teacher Keith Durham and his wife, retired teacher Cathy Durham, has passed away. Mrs. Durham resided in Rye Beach, New Hampshire. The BTU sends its most sincere condolences to Mr. and Mrs. Keith Durham, their family and friends.
|The BTU Online|
Boston Teachers Union