Published On: October 17, 2017

This past weekend, over 200 members participated in different activities at our BTU Leadership Conference: BTU ALL-IN, Building Power for Union and Schools! It was a wonderful opportunity to learn, share, reflect and even unwind. Attendees participated in a film screening of Circle Up, attended informative workshops, learned from community panels, heard from speakers, and then danced the night away at our Pink Gala Welcome Back Party and Breast Cancer Fundraiser.

BTU Vice President Erik Berg and President Jessica Tang with keynote speaker Amy Mizialko, VP of the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association, and ED Benjamin Ward.

If you missed this weekend, please save the date of February 10, 2018, when we will be holding our BTU Winter Conference. There is also an opportunity for skill building at the AFT-MA Leadership Conference coming up on October 28. Please see below for details!

One important topic of the conference was our next steps for contract negotiations. The new 2017-2018 BTU Contract Survey is now open! This is your chance to have a voice in our next contract! In addition to our Listening Tour, Organizing Committees, and small group meetings, we are using this survey to get as much input as possible from as many members as possible. We appreciate your help in getting some insight into how to proceed in this very important matter. You can fill out the survey by signing into the BTU portal:

From our Listening Tour, we know that the ELT schedule, particularly at late schools, has been a challenge. The district is looking into changing school start times for next school year. There is a working group formed, and there will be a number of community forums to get input. The BTU will be hosting one on Monday, October 30 from 5:30-6:30 PM with a presentation from John Hanlon, BPS Chief Operation Officer. Please save the date and time.

BPS Superintendent Dr. Chang joined conference attendees Sunday morning to share reflections and answer questions.

Lastly, this week the state’s new test scores are being released. We know that the high stakes test scores do not accurately reflect authentic teaching and learning or school quality, and we are proud to be a part of a pilot for an alternative system via the Massachusetts Consortium for Innovation in Education Assessments to create meaningful assessments (please see more below!). A couple of timely articles from the Washington Post and local Cambridge teachers are good reminders of what does and doesn’t work and why. This is a good time of the year to remind our students that these tests are not a reflection of their intelligence, effort or limitless potential.

A few last reminders:

  • When you visit the BTU, please note that while UMass has set up a parking attendant booth and is charging students to park on their lot, BTU members DO NOT HAVE TO PAY TO PARK. You can let them know that you are visiting the BTU, and you MAY park in the spots adjacent and surrounding the BTU lot if our lot is full. Picking up a BTU window decal at the office is a way to help ease the confusion.
  • Please remember that if your classroom has exceeded the class size maximum to fill out a class size grievance and do NOT accept the waiver without contacting a Field Rep (Caren Caren or Michael McLaughlin) or BTU VP (Erik Berg) first.
  • If we haven’t visited your school or scheduled a Listening Tour stop, please do make sure that a Building Rep has followed up with Marimar at to schedule one!

Thank you and have a wonderful week!

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