Published On: May 1, 2020
Dear BTU Family,
Happy International Workers Day! This afternoon we invite you to join the Greater Boston Labor Council’s “car rally” this afternoon to show our support and appreciation for essential workers on International Workers Day and to deliver 500 union-made masks to our sisters and brothers on the frontlines. The caravan will start at the USPS facility near South Station, then caravan with the police escort up to BCEC/Hope Hospital.
We are also writing to share the latest COVID-19-related updates:
  • New BPS remote learning guidance was released to school leaders this morning. We will be reviewing it and sending updates regarding the new guidance next week and as needed. If you have questions about it, please do remember to submit them to our Google form
  • The Boston School Committee approved of the MOU between BPS and the BTU on remote learning. This included the addendum clarifying that the two-hour cap on consecutive synchronous hours applies to both teacher and para bargaining units as well.   
  • BPS has also clarified that principals CAN credit teachers for remote learning professional development completed after March 17 for the “additional 5 hours of professional development” in the MOU. The date of completion for these hours is May 15, NOT May 8. If there are extenuating circumstances that impede your ability to complete the 5 hours of remote learning PD before May 15 and you are not able to work something out with your principal, please contact your Field Rep.
  • Individualized Remote Learning Plans are only needed for students who would normally be identified to the Student Support Teams for Tier 2 or 3 interventions under MTSS. They are not exected for every single student.
  • We are continuing to advocate for BPS to resolve the Google form problemand the redundancy of data submission and tracking on multiple platforms.  We are hopeful that BPS will have new guidance out shortly.
  • On Tuesday morning, BPS parents testified at the DESE board meeting to once again call for a freeze on the DESE-BPS MOU which resulted from the state’s review of BPS (different from the BPS-BTU Remote learning from MOU). You can watch a recording of the livestream, where the testimonies begin at the 24:31 mark. We want to thank Xiomara Garcia, Arelis Restrepo, and Tarina Harrison for taking the time out of their mornings to make their voices heard. Together, we believe the focus right now should be on addressing the immediate and long-term needs of our students stemming from COVID-19’s impact, not new, top-down initiatives lacking stakeholder input.
  • The last day of school has not yet been confirmed by BPS and DESE. We will let you know when it is finalized. 
  • The AFT, our national affiliate, has released “A Plan to Safely Reopen America’s Schools and Communities.” We will be adapting this plan to guide our own local advocacy and planning as well.  
Please continue to submit your questions or concerns about the COVID-19 related school closure on our Google Form
For prior special bulletins and to stay up to date on the latest resources and volunteer opportunities, visit our COVID-19 webpage and it’s never too late to join the BTU Volunteer Corps if you are able to! 

Finally, we continue to hear about how hard everyone is working and how challenging it is for educators who are also parents and taking care of family members. This continues to be a challenge for all–including our frontline health care and service workers, who are not able to work from home at all and put their own health and families at risk on daily basis. We salute them on International Workers Day and every day.

While we know it is difficult, we are grateful that as public-sector union members we do still have our jobs, health care, and the ability to work from home, and that is why we are working so hard to help those who also should, but do not.  With that being said, please don’t forget to care for yourselves–we must put our own oxygen masks on first to be able to help others.     

We will be in touch soon, and please don’t hesitate to reach out in the meantime. If I am unable to personally respond to you individually, please know that we are reading your questions and concerns and the appropriate member of our team WILL respond.  

Wellness Resources
  • The BPS Office of Health and Wellness also has a resource page on practicing social-emotional learning (SEL) during COVID-19 and physical distancing. It is more important than ever to recognize our emotions, thoughts, and assets and how they influence a well-grounded sense of self. Check out the resources here!
Professional Development and Events
  • The BPS Tech team and the BPS/BTU Telescope Network are co-hosting a series of “Connect and Share” conversations for secondary teachers. Connect with colleagues and share ideas about what’s working so far with remote learning. See session topics and RSVP here. 
  • Join the Telescope Network for a live pub-style trivia game via Zoom on Tuesday, May 5 at 8:00 PM. More than 70 teachers joined last week for a chance to have fun and socialize with colleagues across BPS. See here for more info and play previous quizzes! 
  • BTU and AFT are hosting a Teacher Leaders Policy Symposium this Wednesday, May 6 at 4:30 PM. Join our 2019-2020 fellows as they share their research and recommendations into the issues that matter most in their classrooms and schools. This event is open to all – please RSVP here.
As always, we are #InThisTogether.
Be safe and be well. 
Jessica Tang and the entire BTU staff

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