The last couple of weeks have been particularly busy at the BTU as we prepare for the fall start of school and return of our students. We have a number of important updates to share with everyone in this summer bulletin:
1) We know there are many questions about the announcement from the city last week regarding vaccines and regular testing expectations for the fall. We have already begun impact bargaining with the city and BPS around the implementation of the new policy and will have more to share soon about the specifics.
2) We are also meeting with BPS to negotiate a safe reopening of school. You can visit the Hub home page for the most recent city updates. Please see also this message from BPS to families that shares relevant information as well. Again, we will share more details as soon as we are able to and are working hard to get the details settled as quickly as possible, including the policies for quarantines and positive cases, leaves, impacts on instruction and safety protocols for the fall.
3) Here is the latest information from the Boston Public Health Commission and BPS on COVID-19 as it relates to the 2021-22 school year. We met with leaders from BPHC last week to learn more about guidance as well as new measures and efforts as we head into the fall and have invited them to speak at our membership meeting in September.
4) Vaccinations are your best protection for in-person learning: Please be sure to visit btu.org/vaccines for the latest updates on COVID-19 vaccines, including upcoming vaccination sites and other information for both staff and students. We urge all who are eligible to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
5) Superintendent Dr. Brenda Cassellius and members of the district’s leadership team will be holding a BPS Back to School forum on August 24 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. to discuss back-to-school safety protocols, operational updates, and vaccination resources and options. Here is the Zoom link to join.
6) Thank you to all of our incredible BTU Organizing Committee chairs and members! We took a moment to recognize their incredible work and leadership during the 2020-2021 school year.
7) Save the date for our Fall Leadership Conference! 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! Registration coming soon.
8) We also wanted to congratulate Natalia Cuadra-Saez and Erica Kouka who are taking on new roles at the BTU! Natalia is BTU’s new BTU Organizing Director, replacing Khalida Smalls beginning September 1. Natalia has been an internal organizer with the BTU for four years after coming from teaching civics at the Snowden. Erica has joined us as an organizer, previously working at the Holmes and leading our BLM at School work. Congratulations, Natalia and Erica!
Last, but not least, in case you missed it, we publicly released the full initial contract package we shared with BPS for our 2021-2024 contract. The proposal, entitled “Creating the Schools Our Students Deserve Post-Pandemic and Beyond”, features 19 priorities addressing a broad range of needs and resources for educators and students throughout Boston, including supports for social-emotional learning and mental health, increased supports for multilingual learners, as well as sustainable workloads and smaller class sizes to meet the needs of students.
We met with BPS to negotiate our master contract last Thursday and will meet again tomorrow with BPS. For a summary of our last meeting, please see a brief update from the session.
We’re getting organized for our Contract Campaign! There are three ways you can get involved:
1) Interested in helping with our media efforts? Join our Speakers Bureau, where our Communications staff will help you learn to be a spokesperson, write an op-ed, or share your story. Sign up here.
2) Want to help come up with our overall campaign strategy? Our new Contract Organizing Committee (OC) will be making a plan to link bargaining to organizing our members, community outreach, communications, and more! Sign up here.
3) Excited to learn what really happens at Negotiations? Become a Silent Representative: commit to attending negotiating sessions to silently observe, attend caucus meetings, and help to create summary reports to keep all of our members informed about the process and developments. Sign up here. You can see a summary of the last bargaining session here.
Don’t forget: Do we have your correct mailing address on file? It is important to us that we are able to reach all of our members by phone, mail or email. Please check here to make sure we have your correct information.