Published On: November 9, 2021

We have heard from many of you about the turmoil that is happening in our schools. Without a doubt, the last nearly two years of pandemic-related school closures and interruptions have made for an incredibly difficult time to be an educator or a student. Returning to the classroom has presented unique challenges that are unsurprising based on the trauma our communities have endured. While the violent incident at the Henderson Upper School was highlighted in the media in the last week, we know that many schools are also dealing with incidents that have resulted from the trauma in our communities.

Our thoughts are with Principal Lampron and the other staff member who was injured. While we are supportive of the time and resources that were dedicated to crisis response at the Henderson and some other schools, we will continue to advocate for counseling and intervention resources to be available across all of our schools on an ongoing basis. The BTU, educators, parents, students, administrators, and the community are in strong agreement that all schools must be safe places to learn and to teach. What we are experiencing only highlights the need for adequately staffed schools and programs so that we can meet all of our students’ needs every day.

In our ongoing contract negotiations, the BTU has already brought demands to the bargaining table that would help our schools at this moment.  They include increased social-emotional and mental health supports, better staffing ratios in our special education classes, more support for educators of color, increased support and funding for parent mentor programs, more time set aside for planning, increased funding for wraparound services, and engaging, culturally responsive curriculum. The addition of social workers and family liaisons this year has been helpful, but more must be done. We hope to reach agreement on these issues so that our schools are more successful.

We are also calling for expedited hiring processes to ensure that gaps are filled and our schools are able to meet the needs of students including daily SEL time, more outdoor mask breaks, and a pause on new initiatives. New initiatives are unwise and unsustainable when staffing shortages are already leading to educators taking on additional responsibilities. We also must avoid an over-emphasis on so-called “learning-loss” and rushing back to a sense of normality while skipping the crucial step of healing. To avoid unnecessarily burning out our educators and stressing out our students we also must avoid over-testing, too much data collection, and other tedious tasks that take time away from healing, learning, and building relationships.

We are joining with Superintendent Cassellius to host a virtual opportunity for BTU members to share with BPS Central Office Administrators and BTU Staff what they are experiencing and what they need. The event will be an opportunity to take a breath, reflect, connect, and be heard. In order to avoid doing it at the end of a busy workday, we have scheduled a listening session on November 11 from 9:30-11:00AM.  We understand that this is a holiday, and not everyone will be able to join, but all are welcome to attend this meeting and share your perspective. This event is for BTU members, and attendance may be capped due to limitations on zoom meetings and facilitation constraints. RSVP here and we will email a link to you. For those who cannot make it, please send your thoughts to your union rep, and we will work on scheduling another session at a later time.

Finally, we wanted to congratulate the BTU-endorsed candidates that were elected to the Boston City Council, as well as make note of the ballot questions that passed; thank you to everyone who made the effort to get out and vote!

Michael Flaherty, At Large
Ruthzee Louijeune, At Large
Julia Mejia, At Large
Lydia Edwards, District 1
Ed Flynn, District 2
Ricardo Arroyo, District 5
Kendra Hicks, District 6
Tania Fernandes Anderson, District 7
Kenzie Bok, District 8
Liz Breadon, District 9

Ballot Question 1: For a Better Budget in Boston
Ballot Question 3: To Elect The Boston School Committee


Our next membership meeting is TOMORROW, Wednesday, November 10 at 4:30 p.m. It will be virtual on Zoom. As always, registration in advance is needed to verify BTU membership and to receive the link.

Quick reminders for registering: 

  • Please remember that you must register at least one hour in advance, or you will not receive a link.  
  • Each link is unique and cannot be shared.
  • Links are sent after your registration and membership status are verified – please do not register multiple times if you do not immediately receive a link.
  • Remember to include your exact BPS ID# in order to expedite approvals. If you are retired or don’t have an ID# for another reason, please enter “000000″.
Please make sure that you have updated your Zoom account with the latest update before the meeting in order to avoid complications with your link.

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