Last week was Earth week, and this past Friday, BTU joined Extinction Rebellion to say No to new fossil fuel infrastructure and Yes to clean energy and renewable energy! Please contact Michelle at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to join the BTU Climate Justice Committee.
We hope you all enjoyed your much-deserved April break last week! The days are certainly becoming warmer and sunnier by the minute – all signs of a beautiful Boston spring to come.
However, signs of climate change and severe conditions, whether it be flooding in Fort Lauderdale and Sudan to wildfires in California or Australia. We must all do our part to confront the climate crisis. Our BTU Climate Justice Committee has been actively working on issues ranging greener schools to disinvestment in fossil fuels and raising awareness, particularly during Earth Week last week. To join the BTU Climate Justice Committee, please contact Michelle.
We are happy to share that after months of negotiations, we have reached a tentative agreement for our Coordinators of Special Education (COSE). The agreement includes lowering caseloads to an individual cumulative caseload of 135, a .6 clerk, and two new positions that will enable two current COSE to work with central office to better support and align special education needs across the district. Thank you to all of the COSE Building Reps, silent reps and all COSE for this historic agreement. We will share out the final agreement once it is fully executed and signed.
We are seeking BTU members to join a School Safety Committee. The committee’s work will focus on identifying issues related to safety that have a daily impact on our members, students, and families in the hopes of working collaboratively to craft solution driven recommendations for future contract negotiations, the district, and city. We hope to prioritize solutions that support student reflection/restoration while keeping safety for all paramount. We strongly encourage members who are committed to restorative justice and antiracist work within the BTU to join. Please email Caitlin Gaffny if you are interested in joining.
We’re excited to be hosting a Legislative Mini-Conference on Saturday, May 6! All BTU members are invited to attend a morning program at the Union Hall to learn more about our legislative priorities and help determine how we will advocate for these in the current legislative session. Particularly, we will have an in-depth discussion about how we are supporting the Thrive Act (S.246), which would eliminate the state’s power to put school districts under receivership, and regarding a number of retirement issues affecting current and future retirees. We will also be joined by some of the legislators who have filed these bills. Join us as we come up with strategies to protect our members and our schools!
From the Election Committee: Our primary for secretary-treasurer is underway! Ballots were mailed out last week. If you do not receive a ballot or have another issue that needs to be directed to our election vendor, you can call 203-403-8401. You can also contact email@example.com with questions and concerns. For more information and to see candidate video statements, please go to the BTU website and follow the banner to more election documents.
Lastly, as we continue to visit schools for Contract Coffee Hours, we are happy to share with you all a short video sharing highlights from the 2021-24 union contract either as a refresher or education tool for members who may not have had a visit yet. It is important that all of our educators know what is in our latest contract, as we need to make sure our contract is implemented and enforced in a way that reflects our intent and values. We are also gearing up already for the next contract campaign, as this one will expire by the end of next summer.
The video is available on our YouTube channel, and it will be shareable via Facebook and Instagram Reels this afternoon. Thank you to all of the staff, negotiating team members and contract action committee members who volunteered to take part in the video!
BTU Events and Announcements
NEW- May 1st Coalition Rally: May 1, 4:00-6:00pm
The fight continues for living wages, democracy, and equity for all our communities!
Gather at Liberty Plaza on 216 Border St in East Boston, march begins from East Boston to Chelsea City Hall. See flyer for more details!
Tech Goes Home for Paras and Subs: Through May 16
This is a program that delivers 15 hours of instruction focused on fundamental digital skills. You get a Chromebook of your own after you complete the 15 hours. This is a first come first serve basis. Click HERE to register!
BTU Retirement Seminar: May 4, 4:30PM
BTU will host a retirement seminar in Hall 2. Please RSVP to Kendall Mosley to reserve your seat.
Legislative Mini-Conference: May 6, 9:00AM-12:30PM
All BTU members are invited to attend a morning program to learn more about our legislative priorities and help determine how we will advocate for these in the current legislative session. Particularly, we will have an in-depth discussion about how we are supporting the Thrive Act (S.246), which would eliminate the state’s power to put school districts under receivership, and regarding a number of retirement issues affecting current and future retirees. We will also be joined by some of the legislators who have filed these bills. Join us at the BTU Hall as we come up with strategies to protect our members and our schools!
NEW- Aspire & Inspire Educator Symposium: May 18, 4:30-7:30PM
Celebrate this school year with the Office of Educator Development and Leadership! Connect with educators who are leaders both in & outside of the classroom. There will be a menu of opportunities for you to engage with educators who have done powerful work in their classrooms and in leadership roles to impact student learning, their school communities, and BPS at large. Food and beverages will be served.
Professional Development Series for Paraprofessionals
All sessions are offered as part of a joint BTU/BPS collaboration to provide professional development and professional growth opportunities for all BPS paraprofessionals, CFCs and Family Liaisons. Please join us!
BRep Stipend Information
Complete the direct deposit form linked to facilitate easier and faster payment of your yearly BRep stipend. Complete the direct deposit form linked and email to Kendall Mosley.
Changes in Pay Frequency for Paras and CFCs
Applicants who wish to change their pay frequency from 10 months to 12 months or 12 months to 10 months must notify Payroll by submitting the Para Pay Frequency application or completing the Google form prior to the June 1 deadline to be effective September of the next school year.
City of Boston Expands Chiropractic Benefits
Effective July 1, 2023, a Chiropractic benefit will be added to BCBS HMO and Mass
General Brigham HMO plan (there is already coverage under the BCBS PPO plan).
NEW- Take Action: Retirement Legislation
AFT Massachusetts is supporting a number of legislative proposals supporting a dignified retirement for our retirees. Among them are: Increasing COLAs, A Second Chance at Retirement Plus and repealing the WEP GPO.
Take the Teacher Climate Survey!
The Spring 2023 Teacher Climate Survey is open! All classroom teachers will receive an email with a link to a short survey administered by Panorama. It is completely anonymous. BPS will not be able to see your email address nor be able to link your responses to your email address or employee ID. If you have any questions about the survey, please do not hesitate to contact the Office of Data and Accountability with questions.
The Teacher Leadership Fund: What challenge do you want to solve?
Grants of up to $15,000 are available for teams of educators who want to learn about, create and/or share solutions to improve student learning and well-being. You will also have the benefit of working in community with other educators and with support throughout your project implementation. For complete information about the program including application and guidelines, see here. Application deadline is April 26.
You can purchase your BTU apparel using this link. We have hooded sweatshirts, t-shirts, long sleeve t-shirts and our newest item: BTU polo-style shirts! Get them while they last!
Paraprofessionals, we want to make sure you are aware of the wonderful Para Mentors that we have to assist you. If you are struggling with your evaluation, or needing assistance with your role as a paraprofessional, the mentors can help. Please reach out to Colleen Hart at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are in need of a mentor or have any questions.
Para Pro Assessment Prep Classes
BPS is offering support in preparing candidates to take the ParaPro Assessment and start their journey to becoming paraprofessionals in our classrooms. Join to learn more about the test and how best to prepare! Five separate sessions of online test prep courses will be offered. Register now!
City of Boston Open Enrollment for Health Care
The annual Open Enrollment for City of Boston employees is May 1-19 for coverage effective July 1, 2023.
Rollins Griffith Memorial Classroom Library: Mini Grant Application
The goal is to keep the legacy of Rollins Griffith present in BPS and to promote Black authors that share the vision of antiracism, the culture of Black people through art and music. Thirty $250 mini grants are being offered to teachers in the BPS. The Mini-Awards are open to ALL BPS teachers. All teachers are encouraged to apply.
Unafraid Educators Meetings
Unafraid Educators, BTU’s immigrants’ rights committee, is meeting the second Monday of each month from 4:30 – 6 p.m. on Zoom. Please join us!
Important Dates for Paras
Please see here for important dates for excessing, pools and assignments.
SY23-24 BPS Teaching Fellowship Program
Are you currently working under an emergency or provisional license? We are currently accepting applications for the BPS Teaching Fellowship (BPSTF) for SY23-24. BPSTF is designed to support teachers through DESE’s CAP Cycle and to ensure they secure initial licensure in Elementary, Moderate Disabilities, or ESL, while also providing teachers with on-the-job mentorship throughout the year. Teachers with an emergency or provisional license who need to enter an approved educator preparation program for initial licensure should apply on TalentEd. Deadline to apply is May 31, 2023, but we encourage candidates to apply ASAP. Please contact: email@example.com with any questions.
Reoccurring Monthly Meetings
Next Membership Meeting (second Wednesday of every month)
Next Meeting: May 10, 2023, 4:30 p.m.
Next Executive Board Meeting (usually the 4th Wednesday of every month)
Next Meeting: April 26, 2023, 4:00 p.m.
Professional Learning & Development Updates
Each week, we have many new and exciting Professional Learning & Development opportunities to share with you. You can find a full description of each listing on our Professional Learning & Development Updates Page.
- AFT Member Benefit Virtual Workshops
- Bringing the Campus of Boston into Your Classroom: Teaching with Historic Places
- Creative Coding in the Classroom
- Place-Based Boston Summer Institute
- National Parks of Boston Two-Day Teacher Workshops
- Tech: Past, Present, and Future
- Critical Disciplinary Professional Development
- Mental Wellness Workshops
- Integrating SEL into Academics
- Tiered Literacy Instruction in Gr. 1 Classrooms
- HGSE Teaching and Teacher Leadership (TTL) Program
- Positive Math Identity Learning Site
- Expeditionary Learning Planning Cohort (Grade 3 – 6)
- 2023 Carolyn A. Lynch Summer Teacher Fellowship: Teaching Boston Community History
- Lifting as We Climb: Black Women Activists in Boston
- Bilingual Education Certificate Cohort 5 at Boston College
- Virtual Edcamp for Alternative Schools
- STEAM Institute
- Educational Ethics Field-Launching Conference
- Inclusive Dual Language Practices Learning Site
- Educational Ethics: A Field-Launching Conference
- STEAM PD Quilting & Math
Community News & Events
NEW- Boston May Day 2023: May 1
As we work to build a strong, unified working class movement, it is imperative that we stand in solidarity with one another as we resist exploitation and oppression in all its forms. Join at the Parkman Bandstand in Boston Common at 5 p.m. to celebrate International Workers’ Day. Workers of the world, unite!
Boston Partners In Education Gala: May 5
Save the date for the Big Cheese Class Reunion: a special 20th Anniversary Gala celebrating two decades of connecting BPS students with corporate and community leaders. Join us on May 5, 2023 as we toast to all the Big Cheese leaders who have joined students in Boston classrooms over the years.
Educational Ethics, A Field-Launching Conference: May 4-6
The goal of this conference from Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) is to build a global field of educational ethics, modeled in some ways after bioethics, that is philosophically rigorous, disciplinarily and experientially inclusive, and both relevant to and informed by educational policy and practice.
We regret to inform you that Dr. Stephen “Steve” Gordon, retired teacher and instructional coach at Copley High and Snowden International, passed away April 13. A deep believer in the power of inquiry, writing and reflection for teachers and students, Dr. Gordon was instrumental in the development of the Boston Writing Project and the BTU’s Inquiry Project. As a tribute to Steve, Paul Tritter is collecting writings about or inspired by him. The pieces will be collected and published at a memorial celebration later in the spring. You can email or share Google Docs with Paul via email. Include a reference to Steve or Dr. Gordon in the subject line or document title.
Thank You for Reading
Please send your comments and questions to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the BTU at 617-288-2000.