We, as educators serving predominantly Black, Latinx, APIA, and indigenous students, have a duty to confront and undo our own internalized prejudices and unconscious biases, and to fight to transform the systems that perpetuate and reinforce racism. In our quest to create the truly equitable schools that our students and educators deserve, we cannot ignore how social, racial and economic disparities impact both our communities and our classrooms.
True, meaningful change must begin with us — with each individual being willing to listen, learn, self reflect, and lower our defensive reactions. All of us have both ideas to unlearn and new perspectives to gain, as we all strive to better understand our individual and collective roles in both fighting white supremacy and supporting our Black, Latinx, APIA, and indigenous students, union members, and communities.
During this time, while we are also healing from pandemic induced trauma, we remind everyone to seek mental and emotional health support and self-care, both through medical providers and/or through our networks and community. The COVID-19 crisis has already exacerbated and exposed racial inequities, adding another layer of trauma that too many in our society have already long been experiencing. Now more than ever, we need to continue to practice radical self-care and look out for one another. And to truly look out for one another, we must be brave enough to look inward, first.
If you would like to join fellow BTU members in continuing to organize our response, please consider joining the BLM at Schools Committee and our activist list.
It is especially important that we support our students in this time of crisis. While it can be hard to navigate such difficult topics, it is essential to provide our students with a safe space to process and talk through these traumatic events. BTU member Jess Madden-Fuoco has written a circle to support students with processing these national tragedies. She and others from the BTU have also contributed to the Office of Equity’s Resource Guide to help support both students and adults.
The final three episodes from the third season of the Teachers on Teaching podcast are live, and our interview with Sam Texeira is as timely as ever. Sam talks about his role as a Black, male teacher, and how he brings Black history alive for his students in hopes of bringing about a better world. Listen to all of the episodes on our website.
We are also mourning the loss of two incredibly influential Black educators in the BPS community, Keith Love and George Cox. We joined the TechBoston community in memorializing their co-headmaster Keith Love at a vigil last week. We are also remembering George Cox, a longtime and valued BPS employee, who passed away this past Thursday. As our long-time BTU President Richard Stutman shared,
“George served the children of Boston in a variety of professional capacities. Whatever work George performed, he did so with care and compassion. He was an honorable man, a great human being, and a quiet leader to all who knew him. He was a good friend and colleague to all who had the good fortune to work with him.”
Our thoughts are with Mr. Love and Mr. Cox’s families. They are already missed.
- A note for BTU Members from the Remote Learning MoU: “Evaluators will continue supervision of staff through available means for observation and feedback, including a summary memo that shall be uploaded to educator plans in lieu of DESE ratings (as a non-evaluative artifact) at the end of the closure period.” So, although educators on year-long plans will not receive a rating at the end of this school year, all educators will receive a summary memo from their evaluator. Educators can also upload artifacts to Teachpoint if they choose to do so.
- In case you missed it, please see the latest guidance from the CDC on reopening schools. You can still complete our survey to share your thoughts on reopening BPS.
- Reminder: There will be a joint BTU/BPS meeting for all BPS athletic coaches today from 3 – 4:30 p.m. Contact Avery Esdaile for the Zoom link.
- It has come to our attention that there is an unemployment scam that is attempting to hack your personal information. We are aware of some of our members who have received scam emails requesting personal details. Please do not give out any personal information to untrusted sources and let your field rep know if you are receiving mail, email, or calls asking for this information.
- Reminder: Today is the deadline to submit an application to become a member of the BTU Collective Bargaining Committee. Please apply here. One of the first tasks will be informing the new BTU/BPS Reopening Schools Task Force.
- Open Enrollment to change your health plan this year ends on June 12. Changes to the City of Boston Non-Medicare Health Insurance Plan are effective July 1. For reference, please see the various health insurance plans for active employees.
- President Trump signed his first domestic veto on Friday. The resolution he vetoed seeks to overturn an Education Department rule that makes it harder for borrowers to prove their colleges defrauded them and seek loan forgiveness from the federal government. Please see AFT President Randi Weingarten’s statement deploring Trump’s decision.
- Our new BTU parent support group will meet weekly on Tuesdays at 8 a.m., and Thursdays at 8 p.m. This will be a member-led space for educators who are also balancing parenting and teaching from home. Please register here in advance and we will share the Zoom link to join.
- For those who know families in need of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – They can use the Boston Emergency Management Resource Request Form.
- For those in need of childcare support, you can now request openings through the state’s emergency childcare program.
- Continue to submit your COVID-related questions or concerns on our Google Form.