Bristol Federation of Teachers

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Two Important Bills in CT Legislature — March 13, 2018

Two Important Bills in CT Legislature

The Connecticut General Assembly is in session and has several bills of
interest to teachers. Please contact BFT President David Hayes if you are willing to give
testimony in person, or would be willing to submit written testimony.
More information is below.

Regarding the bills, any new language to an existing law is underlined. Any
language being eliminated will have a line going through it.

SB 453 is a law dealing with classroom safety and disruptive behavior Please
consider offering testimony on this bill. Testimony on this bill needs
to be submitted by Tuesday evening.

HB 5430  “An Act Concerning Teachers Retirement System Contribution”
is a bill  that would repeal the extra 1% tax teachers started paying
into the Teachers’ Retirement System in January. Testimony
on this bill needs to be submitted Thursday evening.

Also, please use the link at the top of this page to contact your
legislators and ask them to support these bills.

Janus Case Summary — March 10, 2018

Janus Case Summary

Here is an article from The Atlantic that perfectly sums up the Janus case that promises to severely weaken unions.

And here is a link to listen to the openly contentious oral arguments that took place at the Supreme Court on March 2, 2018.

Free College Credit for AFT Members — March 8, 2018

Free College Credit for AFT Members

Yes, that’s what I said—free college. Eastern Gateway Community College in Ohio is a fully accredited, nonprofit public institution that is part of the University System of Ohio. Students can enroll in the online distance-learning program with no costs for tuition, fees or e-texts. Credits earned can be transferred to a four-year college; to date, credits have transferred to 320 educational institutions in 39 states. The program offers seven associate degrees, including business administration, early childhood education, accounting, paralegal, criminal justice and two certificate programs.


This is open to all AFT members, including retirees, as well as their spouses/domestic partners, children, grandchildren, step-children, step-grandchildren, and legal dependents.

How does it work?

Under an academic partnership with Eastern Gateway Community College, the Union Plus Free College Benefit offers grants—known as “last dollar scholarships”—that fill the gap between any federal, state and employer education grants for tuition, fees and e-books for certain online programs at Eastern Gateway.

Is it too good to be true?

The AFT did a thorough review of this program and the institution. Faculty and staff are represented by our colleagues at the NEA. Ohio state law doesn’t allow adjuncts to be unionized, but the college president has made a commitment to meeting the AFT’s standards for employment of adjunct faculty.  So it is true.  And it is good.

Education is core to our mission, so we can’t think of a better program to offer as one of our newest benefits.

Share this link to the Union Plus website:

Or request a flier to distribute to members, contact

The Janus Case: What Does it Mean? — March 6, 2018

The Janus Case: What Does it Mean?

U.S. News & World Report: The Future of Unions
Politico – Morning Shift Blog: Teachers brace for Janus ‘hurricane’
AFT CT Offering TEVAL workshop —

AFT CT Offering TEVAL workshop

Back by popular demand, we’re once again hosting our professional development course for members of AFT Connecticut-affiliated PreK-12 teachers’ unions on Student Learning Objectives (SLOs). Plan to join us for this unique opportunity to learn more about creating SLOs that are both challenging and realistic:
WHEN: Wednesday, April 4 from 5:00PM 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 sign-up online – there is no cost for dues-paying members, but please RSVP in advance because a light dinner will be served.
 The presenters are our own Hartford Federation of Teachers union members Kathleen Chao and Jackie Ryan. Their workshop is designed to maximize interaction among participants with an emphasis on peer review and assistance in creating SLOs.
 I hope to see you in Rocky Hill in four weeks for this invaluable course.
In solidarity,
Jennifer Benevento

Professional Issues & Development Coordinator, AFT Connecticut

Teachers With Guns? — February 24, 2018
Bristol Educators Needed for Regional Legislative Meeting — February 23, 2018
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.