Published On: September 21, 2021

We hope you all have had a nice week so far, and for those who observed Yom Kippur on Thursday, we hope you had a meaningful fast. We are also excited to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, which began last Thursday. To celebrate, First Book and AFT are offering a $25 credit (first come, first serve until funds run out) using code AFTHHM2021. Registration with First Book required! 

This week, we are holding our 8th annual Back to School fair! We’re giving away 40,000 free books for BPS families on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Union Hall. Please share this flyer (available in 7 different languages) with your students’ families to come pick up their free books! Hours have been extended on both Thursday and Friday.  We still need volunteers if you can spare a couple hours! BTU members can also pick up free books, but need to register at to receive a classroom set. We will have vaccination clinics at our Back to School Fair as well this year!

This week we are continuing to meet, discuss and negotiate continuity of learning plans. We want to ensure that the district has plans in place both for students who miss in-person learning and for students who may need virtual learning, should DESE allow for virtual instruction. It is important that there is a plan that allows educators to pivot as needed and provides supports so that students, both in-person and remote, have the best possible education possible. We encourage everyone to maintain some online resources and platforms even for in-person learning. We will keep everyone posted on any developments.

Some members have informed us that they are being directed to complete a mandatory two-hour training in de-escalation on their own time. While BPS may be required to provide this training to all educators, administrators should provide members with contractual time to complete the training. If you are being directed to complete this on your own time, please contact your field rep. 

We are continuing to advocate that BPS address late and missing buses ASAP and provide immediate solutions. As we shared in the special bulletin on Thursday, new drivers have been hired and are being trained. There are also other solutions being considered, and we hope they are executed quickly. In the meantime, we have asked for the deployment of additional staff from central office to support schools with the greatest need. As much as we (and families) appreciate educators stepping up to bring students home, we strongly advise against this.

We have been working diligently with the folks at Horace Mann School to identify the best, safest next steps in regards to the location of the school building. About a week ago, Supt. Cassellius notified the school community that HMS will be staying in their current location for an additional year, with short-term plans to move to the former Edwards building in Charlestown in September 2023. Long-term plans are still being discussed. We encourage all members of the HMS community to register and attend a virtual meeting to discuss these decisions next tonight at 6:30 p.m.

Reminder: The city mandate for uploading vaccination status or submitting weekly testing was due yesterday. Wearing masks indoors is required for all adults working in schools. In addition to wearing masks indoors (fully covering your nose and mouth), we urge all who are eligible to get vaccinated as soon as possible and socially distance when possible. Vaccinations are your best protection for in-person learning. Please be sure to visit for the latest updates on COVID-19 vaccines, including upcoming vaccination sites and other information for both staff and students.

Great news on the legislative front – our Retirement Plus bill has been assigned a number: HD4453, an Act authorizing the city of Boston to establish an alternative superannuation retirement benefit program. We are working on co-sponsorship in the Senate and will share more details and advocacy efforts soon. If you would like to join that committee, please contact Michael McLaughlin.

Save the date for our Fall Leadership Conference-REGISTER BY OCT 1! Join us October 22 – 24 at the Sheraton Harborside Hotel in Portsmouth, NH. Our theme this year is “Be Water: Power, Unity, Flexibility & Strength”. Free and open to all BTU members! Register here.

Lastly, in case you missed it, this year we created a lighthearted new video to introduce our staff–including a couple new staff members that joined us over the summer.  It was a homage to the need for arts, particularly Broadway musicals.  We hope you enjoyed it. 

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