Published On: October 12, 2023

When we collaborate with our community partners, we elevate our collective voice. The state legislature’s Joint Committee on education heard us loud and clear last week during a hearing on the Thrive Act. As one of our major priorities this legislative session, the Thrive Act would replace the MCAS graduation requirement with a coursework evaluation crafted with community input. It would also end the state’s ability to enact harmful and ineffective state intervention and receivership maneuvers based on high stakes testing.

Our members from the UP academy Holland and the Devers school spoke passionately about how receivership has pushed dedicated educators out of the building because of poor working conditions. We also heard from students and parents about how MCAS centric curricula limits their education and reduces a student’s abilities to a data point. We received strong support from lawmakers in both chambers and we will continue to build on this momentum as we advocate in support of legislation that will support our educators of color and retired members.

This week, BTU staff members will testify in support of the Educator Diversity bill, an act that would remove significant barriers that prevent the recruitment and retention of educators of color. We’ll also be testifying in support of the CARE Act, a bill establishing statewide standards supporting Ethnic Studies curricula. Check out our legislative priorities video for more details. We are also in support of legislation from the MA Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, a coalition we are proud to be a part of.

We also have are eyes on the local level. The Boston General Election is less than a month away. Check out our Political Action page to see the full list of our city council endorsed candidates.  Sign up to join our City Council candidate phone banksContact BTU Political Director Johnny McInnis to join our BTU Electoral Action Team. We’ll also be sending a special bulletin each Thursday leading up to the election to publicize events where you can get involved. ICYMI, the first one went out last Friday. Be sure to check it out and meet our new interim Political Organizer Krista!

Our advocacy isn’t limited to Beacon Hill or the city council. A group of our members made the trip to Mansfield to walk the picket line in support of United Auto Workers for an AFT National Day of solidarity. Nurses from the MNA were there that evening as well! The union is striking against the Big Three automakers in pursuit of fair wages, healthcare and pension benefits in addition to equitable work schedules.

Finally, we hope to see you all at our monthly membership TONIGHT. We had one of the largest turnouts in the past decade last month. If we continue to show up for each other, our union will only grow stronger. Register for childcare in advance. Seats are limited.

BTU Events and Announcements

Para 101: October 5 & 26
Para 101 is about building a community of paras who are knowledgeable about their rights and are aware of the support and strategies that they can use to build stronger relationships with students and teachers in the classroom. This is a two-part session. We will also be discussing our contract, and our goals for the next bargaining session. Learn more and register here!

NEW-Housing Justice Committee School Visits: October 16, 5:30PM
Join the next Housing Justice Committee meeting to learn what BPS does to support homeless families and students. The HJC is planning to begin school visits to discuss how BPS can help improve that support system so our families can afford housing in Boston. If you would like the HJC to come to your school, submit your request.

AFT Black Caucus, Boston Chapter: October 17, 5:00-6:30PM
The first in-person meeting of the AFT Black Caucus Boston Chapter is happening at the BTU Hall at 180 Mt. Vernon St., Dorchester.

NEW-Haitian Educators Committee Meeting: October 17, 5:00PM
Join the Committee’s monthly meeting to help plan a meet and greet for the second week of November to welcome new members. Contact Bianca Pierre for the zoom link.

NEW-Ethnic Studies Meeting: October 17, 4:30-5:30PM
Join other BTU members interested in fighting for Ethnic and Black studies curricula that encourages critical thinking, knowledge, respect, and justice. Email Amrita Dani for a zoom link.

Paraprofessional Informational Meeting & Resource Fair: October 18, 5:00-7:00PM
Come join us for important information and great resource materials from colleges, housing agencies AND MORE! You can register here.

NEW- Inclusion Done Right Community Forum: October 24
Save the Date! The BTU Inclusion Done Right Committee is hosting a Community Forum on Tuesday, October 24th at the BTU Hall from 6-8PM. Please join to learn, share and collaborate on Inclusive Education. Check out our flyer. Food will be provided. Childcare and interpretation are available with registration by October 17th.

NEW-AFT MA Fall Leadership Conference: November 4
Not able to make the BTU Leadership Conference? Join our state level union siblings for a convention that offers training for building reps on grievance handling, training for bargaining and organizing committees, creating a contract campaign, and training from our legal department and meet fellow AFT-MA activists from across the state!

Para Pro Assessment Prep Class
Gain study skills, access to online resources, BPS coaches and testing experts. Individualized coaching and office hours available! Register now.

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
  • Asynchronous Spanish for BPS Educators: Fall 2023
  • ERAFANS Outdoor Teacher Retreat
  • NAEP 2024 Job Opportunity
  • Mentoring For Professional Licensure
  • Secondary Open Up Math Unit Virtual Previews
  • Fall Telescope Learning & Leading Survey by 10/20
  • Secondary ESL Planning Cohort: Grades 6-12
  • Become a Wellness Champion


Community News & Events

Hopewell Organization: RISE Program
The RISE program pairs experienced educators with children in the Massachusetts foster care system. The Educator specialist will work in person with youth from kindergarten through 3rd grade, their caregivers and school personnel to ensure that they are receiving the services they deserve and reaching their academic goals. If you are interested in this program please email Peter Newman.

NEW-Arnold Arboretum tour for BPS staff: October 14
The Arboretum is offering a free tour for BPS staff as a thank you. Come to enjoy the foliage and learn about the changing fall landscape of this beautiful park. Staff are welcome to bring family! See the flyer for more information and to register.

NEW-Empowering Teens through Health: October 15
The Empowering Teens Through Health (ETTH) Youth Advisory Board in the BPS Office of Health and Wellness is recruiting BPS students ages 14-19 to join! Students learn about public health, plan student-led health campaigns, and give feedback on BPS health programming. The board meets on Monday afternoons starting in November.

NEW-18th Annual Schools on the Move Prize Ceremony: November 8
Each fall, the $100,000 School on the Move Prize recognizes some of the most improving Boston Public Schools. This ceremony will feature the chosen school.

NEW-Boston Partners in Education Mentorship
The BPIE has matched students with mentors for more than 50 years. Mentors meet with students in-person or online – for one hour a week – to help with classwork and homework. Any BPS student in grades K0-12 is eligible to be matched with a mentor in any school subject. Students can be nominated for a mentor on their website.

BTU in the News

Paid parental leave for Mass. teachers gains traction
BTU member Neema Avashia as well as President Tang spoke to GBH News about the powerful impact of the parental leave policy that the BTU won in our last round of contract negotiations. One of our goals this year is to continue to promote the positive impacts our union has for our members and the broader community.

Documentary explores obstacles faced by Boston Public Schools city-wide cross-country team
The BTU Health and Welfare Fund Office Manager Hatim Jean-Louis has revitalized the district-wide cross country team. As a coach and BTU member, “Coach H” has used our hall as a basecamp for team practices as they continue to defy expectations. A documentary “The Strength is in the Pack” premiered at Boston Latin Academy last week.

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