Hello again! We hope you have found time for much deserved rest and recuperation over the last few weeks and are staying cool during the heat waves. This is our first of a series of summer bulletins, and we have several important updates to share with you all.
Yesterday, we met with the BPS negotiating team to begin our negotiations for a successor agreement. We are happy to publicly release 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 meet again next week.
As many of you know, in addition to our own internal BTU member survey with over 3,000 respondents, we also held several community forums across the district to gather input and determine what was most important to include in the new contract. More than 400 students, parents and community members attended these sessions, providing insight into the challenges students and families faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. The extensive feedback we got from our communities on what was identified as the greatest needs at the ground level mirrored what we heard from our BTU educators and provided the foundation for drafting our comprehensive proposal.We have a lot of important ideas on how to come back from the pandemic stronger than we were before.
At the beginning of June, we were proud to elect the most diverse Executive Board in our history. Lea Serena, our new Elementary Field Representative, is the first Black person and Black woman to be elected as a field representative. She is also the first Cape Verdean staff member! Lea has 9 years of experience in education, spending the last 6 years in Boston Public Schools. Prior to her election, Lea was a second grade teacher at the Mather Elementary School in Dorchester. She started teaching in BPS at the Lee Academy Pilot School in Dorchester, serving on their Governing Board and Instructional Leadership team. At the Mather, she served as a member of the School Site Council, the Instructional Leadership Team, and the School Culture Team. As a former student at the Mather and Condon, Lea is deeply committed to ensuring that her students are given every opportunity to succeed. She cares deeply about racial equity and adequate funding for public schools. We are thrilled to welcome Lea to the board!
As Lea transitions to staff, we now have an opening on our Negotiating Team. We are currently seeking a new Negotiating Team member, preferably with early education experience. If you are interested, please email Matt at email@example.com.
BPS needs your feedback on how to spend the federal relief funding! Last week, BPS released the full proposal for how the ESSER II funding from the federal government should be used for the fall and beyond. There is a thirty day window for public comment. Please see the full proposal: “Return, Recover, Reimagine: 3-year Plan For Greater Equity And Recovery” and send your feedback by July 30. The BPS Federal Funding website also has the presentations from the past Commission meetings and much more information.
As many of you are now aware, six veteran educators were informed a few weeks ago that they no longer have their positions at the Baldwin Early Learning Pilot Academy, displacing 5 out of 11 classroom teachers. We have sent an open letter to Supt. Cassellius urging her to restore these educators and reestablish stability and good will to a school community that has sustained a reputation over many years as a great place to learn and teach. The Joint Steering Committee of parents, students, BTU and BPS representatives also voted 7-3 to have the superintendent recommend the principal rehire the excessed educators after hearing from all of the stakeholders involved. This recommendation has NOT been honored. We are calling on the Superintendent and principal to correct this short-sighted abuse of power.
Finally, we are calling on the School Committee to honor the process and consider the Exam School Task Force’s original recommendations. The Task Force participated in a public process, spanning five months, to produce a proposal supported by data and research. We believe that task forces should be able to make recommendations without political pressure or interference. City Councilors and other elected officials should not hold the school budget hostage to demand changes to the Task Force recommendations. The school committee is voting on this important policy this afternoon – supporters of the orginal plan have created a petition to #KeepIt100. The district needs to focus on equity for all students and ensure the same opportunities available at three schools are available to all.
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