Bristol Federation of Teachers

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Teacher Retirement Seminars — February 11, 2018

Teacher Retirement Seminars

Teachers’ Pre-Retirement Seminar happening on Saturday, March 24, 2018 from 9am-12pm (8am registration & continental breakfast) at Norwich Technical High School in Norwich, CT with presenter Michael Cooper. This is a free seminar for our dues-paying teacher members that will retire under the TRB (as well as any guest that helps with their finances in their household).

There is also the Teachers’ Pre-Retirement Seminar on Saturday, March 10th in Meriden with presenter Mark Egidio. We wanted this seminar to be convenient for our teachers all across CT.

 Members can register here or call our office at 860-257-9782. Please have them RSVP by Wednesday, March 7th

Summer Educator Academy — January 26, 2018

Summer Educator Academy

AFT is now accepting applications to attend the 2018 Summer Educator Academy, which will be held July 19-27 at the Maritime Conference Center in Linthicum Heights, Md. This eight day academy provides union-sponsored, research-based professional development that addresses the complexities of teaching. The program is designed to help local unions build the capacity to deliver high-quality professional development services to all educators—teachers, paraprofessionals and school-related personnel.

Educators receive research-based information to build their pedagogy and content knowledge as well as develop strategies to engage students for academic success. Again this year, we are asking local leaders who are interested in sending educators to become professional development trainers to fill out a brief application outlining the requirements and expectations for Summer Educator Academy 2018. A member from AFT’s professional learning team will then contact you for additional information.

The Delivering Effective Professional Development (DEPD) course has been revised and is a prerequisite for all participants attending SEA 2018. Participants will be given pre-academy assignments, which are to be submitted before the academy begins. All participants attending Summer Educator Academy will be required to take this course unless they attended SEA 2017.

Whether you’re starting a new program or revitalizing an existing one, we want you to be able to maximize your resources to best meet your members’ needs. Space in each course is limited, and eligibility for participation is dependent upon trainers who attend the academy having the opportunity to train members of their own locals.

Benefits of AFT Professional Learning:

  • Elevates educator professionalism;
  • Builds and expands member engagement and activism;
  • Provides capacity for peer to peer dissemination of high-quality professional development;
  • Builds educator skills to support student learning; and
  • Provides the opportunity for educators to advocate for professional development to meet their instructional needs.

Click here for details and to complete the application process. The deadline to submit the application is Friday, March 23.

In Solidarity,

Lisa Dickinson
Manager, Professional Learning and Member Engagement
AFT Educational Issues

Feasibility Update: Memorial Blvd Arts Magnet Closer to Reality — January 24, 2018

Feasibility Update: Memorial Blvd Arts Magnet Closer to Reality

The city moved one step closer to creating a Magnet Arts school at the former MBMS, with the Board of Finance voting to approve a funding plan. Here is the Bristol Press article.

On a related note, here is an interesting Hartford Courant article discussing how closing schools often does not reap as many financial benefits as districts anticipate.

Also, here is an article on how the physical design of buildings can help or hinder collaboration.

In a unrelated development, the audit looking into the $2.4 million SPED shortfall has been made public. Here is the Bristol Press Article.

BFT At-Large Officer Elections — January 22, 2018

BFT At-Large Officer Elections

Elections for the six At-Large Officer positions (President, three Vice-Presidents, Secretary, and Treasurer) will be held this May. Elections for grade level VP positions will occur in the fall.

Anyone seeking to run for one of the At-Large positions should contact the BFT office to obtain petition forms, and return the forms to David Hayes with signatures of at least 63 BFT members (we currently have about 630 teachers).

Below is the relevant portion of the BFT constitution. The complete constitution can be found using the link at the top of the page.

A non-incumbent officer member seeking to be elected to any at-large
Federation office shall so inform the President in writing by March 1 in the
form of a petition containing the signatures of at least ten (10) percent of the
total Federation membership. A receipt for each petition shall be provided to
the prospective candidate by the Federation. Incumbent officers seeking
reelection shall so notify the president and election chairperson in writing by
March 1 that they wish to have their names placed on the ballot.

— January 18, 2018

AFT Connecticut’s annual Legislative Conference will be held on March 3, 2018 at the Legislative Office Building, Hartford.

 Please join us to learn more about the legislative process and the issues that will be effecting us this session.

Our state federation’s annual conference features planning and discussion of key public policy issues that AFT Connecticut and our affiliated unions will pursue in the General Assembly’s 2017 legislative session.
Registration begins at 8:30AM — conference is scheduled to begin at 9:00AM. Breakfast and lunch will be provided.
Confirmed speakers:
  • Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman;
  • Comptroller Kevin Lembo;
  • Attorney General George Jepsen;
  • Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney;
  • Six leaders of the House Democratic Caucus;
  • AFT Research and Strategic Initiatives Manager Ed Muir;
  • CT Voices for Children Associate Policy Fellow Ray Noonan & Communications Director Roger Senserrich; &
  • Working Families Party Executive Director Lindsay Farrell;
Issue areas to be addressed (final agenda linked below):
  • Progressive Agenda and Why It’s Important;
  • State Employee, Teacher, and Municipal Pensions;
  • What to Expect This Legislative Session;
  • How the National Dialogue Will Impact Connecticut?;
  • State Budget and Process; &
  • Constituent Group Break-Outs:
    • Healthcare;
    • Education; &
    • State Employees.
Click here to RSVP to attend.
Note: conference will be canceled in event of inclement weather – check back for any announcements to be posted here.
Legislative Office Building

300 Capitol Avenue



AFT Scholarships Available — January 17, 2018

AFT Scholarships Available

Each year, three scholarship programs are available for members of AFT Connecticut-affiliated local unions and their families. The 2018 application windows for these valuable benefits are now open:
  1. AFT Connecticut awards two $2,500.00 scholarships annually; one to a member for their own higher education and another for a spouse, domestic partner or child of a member;
  2. Our national AFT’s Robert G. Porter Scholars Program offers one-time $1,000.00 grants to union members and four-year, $8,000.00 scholarships to their dependents; &
  3. Union Plus awards grants to members and their families ranging from $500.00 to $4,000.00 each year.
Make your New Year’s resolution to take advantage of these unique members-only benefits for your family and apply for all three today. The first deadline is in two weeks when the Union Plus scholarship application window closes on January 31st.
BOE Hit Pause Button at Meeting — January 4, 2018

BOE Hit Pause Button at Meeting

At last night’s BOE meeting, a presentation of the feasibility study was made by DRA, the firm that conducted the study. There was also public commentary, and a motion made to accept ‘Option 4″ going forward. However, after much discussion among the BOE members, it was decided to delay any decision on the matter. This returns the issue back to the BOE Operation Committee, who can gather more information, reexamine data, and consider other options to bring back to the full BOE for a final decision at some point in the future.

BOE to Discuss Feasibility Study at Tuesday Meeting — December 16, 2017
Closures & Conversions: Results from the Bristol Schools Feasibility Study — December 7, 2017

Closures & Conversions: Results from the Bristol Schools Feasibility Study

What will the the configuration of the Bristol Public Schools look like in the fall of 2022? Continue with neighborhood schools? Convert to K-8’s? A single middle school? That is the decision that will be made by the BOE at the January 3, 2018 BOE meeting.

The four options being considered were developed as part of a commissioned “Feasibility Study” and have just recently been released. You can read the full document here- Bristol Schools Study-FINAL 11-21-2017

The options are…

Option 1 – No Change

Keeps all schools open and makes significant renovations to many schools.

Adds a 6-12 Arts Magnet School at Memorial Boulevard.


Option 2 – Full Conversion to K-8 Schools

Converts Chippens Hill to a K-8

Demolishes Northeast Middle School.

Converts Ivy Drive and Mountain View to K-8’s (with building expansions)

Closes Edgewood, Hubbell, South Side, and Stafford.

Adds a 6-12 Arts Magnet School at Memorial Boulevard.


Option 3 – One Middle School (NEMS version)

Replaces NEMS with a newly constructed middle school on the same site.

Converts Chippens Hill into K-8.

Closes Stafford and South Side.

Adds a 6-12 Arts Magnet School at Memorial Boulevard.


Option 4 –  One Middle School (CHMS version)

Keeps CHMS as is.

Converts Northeast to K-8.

Closes Edgewood and Stafford.

Adds a 6-12 Arts Magnet School at Memorial Boulevard.

“Difficult Students” Workshop — November 22, 2017

“Difficult Students” Workshop

Back by popular demand — our professional development workshop for educators to help positively influence the way we think about what is possible in dealing with difficult students. Union members who are PreK-12 teachers or school support personnel are invited to attend next month’s session:
WHEN: Tuesday, December 12 from 5:00 to 7:00PM.
WHERE: The Soifer Conference Room on the second floor of AFT Connecticut union headquarters, located at 35 Marshall Road in Rocky Hill (plenty of free parking available).
HOW: Click here to RSVP online — there is no cost for members to attend, but please sign-up in advance because a light dinner will be served.
The presenter is our own New Britain Federation of Teachers union member — as well as award-winning author, life coach and speaker — Dan Blanchard. Hear real-life lessons and inspiring stories that he’s shared with audiences of teens, parents and educators.

Click here for more info, including a flyer you can print and distribute in your workplace and local union hall.

I hope you will join us next month in Rocky Hill for this informative workshop.
In solidarity,
Jennifer Benevento