Bristol Federation of Teachers

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RX Insurance Problems — December 3, 2018

RX Insurance Problems

A number of teachers have reported problems with their prescription payments not being properly counted toward their deductible. The district is working with Cigna to ensure the problem is resolved. All teachers are urged to review their prescription payments since July 1 and log into MyCigna to compare amounts. If you find discrepancies, email Carmen and CC in that email BFT VP David Lattimer, who can advise and monitor until the situation is resolved.

All teachers are strongly encouraged to always keep all medical and RX receipts, and to log into MyCigna regularly to monitor their own expenses.

ESSA; More than a NCLB Name Change? — November 25, 2018

ESSA; More than a NCLB Name Change?

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) returned the bulk of responsibility to states and districts for how the accountability system identifies and supports Title I schools in need of improvement. All states have now submitted and had their state ESSA plans approved. All will begin to implement their accountability systems in the coming months—and identification is certainly broader than the simple test-based accountability systems required by NCLB; however, many states have unfortunately, though not surprisingly, maintained the status quo. Proficiency rates on low-quality standardized tests by and large account for the bulk of the determination of school ratings.

The way that states will identify their lowest-performing schools is largely decided and enshrined in their state ESSA plans (and, in some cases, state law), but the school improvement process was left largely undefined in most state plans. This means there is still time to ensure states and districts truly think through how to best support schools that are in need of improvement.

(For an overview of ESSA in general, see ESSA 101: Brief One; for more information on the requirements of state ESSA plans, see ESSA 101: Brief Two).


Each state’s full plan and related documents
Your state’s department of education website will have the ESSA plan for the state, along with other resources and explanations:


Key takeaways from each state:

Making ESSA’s Equity Promise Real: State Strategies to Close the Opportunity Gap
This provides an overview of five indicators (suspension rates, school climate, chronic absenteeism, extended-year graduation rates, and college and career readiness), why they’re important, and a deeper look at how some states are using them. It also includes policy considerations for implementation. Includes briefs, archived webinar and interactive map.


Once you know what’s in your state’s plan, you will have a better sense of decision points yet to be made at the state, district and school levels, and be able to develop advocacy and policy priorities based on already-determined needs. Some you may want to consider:

Funding reporting
ESSA requires reporting of each school’s per-pupil spending, a departure from the past practice of states reporting each district’s average per-pupil spending. Be aware of what this means for your state or district, and prepare for how you will help teachers, parents and other stakeholders understand these numbers.

Due in large part to the stringent requirements that come without additional funding, only two states (Louisiana and New Hampshire) have applied and received approval for an innovative assessment pilot, although four more states have signaled interest for the second round, for which applications are due in December 2018. However, there are other ways to innovate outside of doing a pilot.

Needs assessment
ESSA requires that a needs assessment be done for schools that have been identified for comprehensive support and improvement, as well as in a few other circumstances. It is potentially one of the most powerful components of the accountability process; it should help educators and other stakeholders identify, understand and prioritize the needs that must be addressed to improve performance.

  • Needs Assessment Guidebook: Supporting the Development of District and School Needs Assessments
    This guidebook is designed to support state and local leaders in the first step of the improvement process: the development and facilitation of a needs assessment. However, it is a useful guide for anyone interested in being involved in the planning, implementation or assessment of the process.

School Improvement
The most important piece of any functioning accountability system—supporting and improving teaching and learning for students—was also, in many cases, the least described in state plans. This means there is potentially a lot of advocacy to be done at the state, district and even school levels.


States with new governors and state school chiefs after the elections may lead to requests to amend state plans. If you are in a state that has had governance changes, make sure you are at the table and ready to amend the plan for the better. The administration has notified states that they would like changes to state plans to be submitted by March 1, 2019 for the 2019-20 school year.


Have questions or need our assistance? Contact Beth Antunez in Government Relations or Emily Kopilow in Educational Issues.

Union Endorsements — November 4, 2018
Student Grades — November 1, 2018

Student Grades

The BFT contract is quite clear when it comes to student grades. If you are being pressured to alter grades for students by an administrator, point out this section of the contract for them.

22:1 Teachers shall be responsible for determining and recording the grades of their pupils. No teacher shall be required to change a pupil’s grades once it has been recorded, and no teacher shall be requested to change a grade for reasons other than the student’s performance.

Is Bristol’s Tech Goal Outdated and Unsafe? — October 28, 2018
Legal Issues Training For Teachers — October 22, 2018

Legal Issues Training For Teachers

Date: Tue, 11/20/2018 – 5:00pm – 7:00pm
This popular workshop for teachers and education support personnel who are members of AFT Connecticut-affiliated PreK-12 and PSRP unions will focus on a number of legal issues facing school employees. From work-related injuries, obligations as a mandated reporter, what to do and not do in a Department of Children and Families (DCF) investigation, use of reasonable restraint of a student, and rights to union representation, a wide variety of relevant topics will be addressed.
Presenter is AFT Connecticut legal counsel Eric Chester. Light dinner will be served.
Click here to RSVP to attend.
Soifer Conference Room, AFT Connecticut

35 Marshall Road

Rocky HllCT

AFT CT Conservative Caucus — October 9, 2018

AFT CT Conservative Caucus

In an effort to include more conservative voices into the union, AFT CT will hold the initial meeting of a conservative caucus on Tuesday, October 16 at 5:00 PM at the AFT CT building located at 35 Marshall Road in Rocky Hill. All those wanting further the discussion surrounding union issues and to eventually engage more with conservative legislators are encouraged to attend.

AFT Election Mobilization — October 6, 2018

AFT Election Mobilization

For those seeking to be more politically active in support of union endorsed candidates, here are some opportunities:

Saturday, October 20 – 8:30 AM – 12 PM

Greater Hartford (Hartford, Newington, East Hartford): Labor Canvass for Ned Lamont and Gary Turco (HD 27)

Meet at: IBEW 35, 208 Murphy Road, Hartford

Groton and New London: Labor Canvass for Ned Lamont, Bob Statchen (SD 18) and Martha Marx (SD 20) and HDs

Meet at: NOTE NEW LOCATION: Fatboys Kitchen, 194 Bank Street, New London

A full breakfast will be served. “Meet and greet with the candidates before the walk.

Meriden: Labor Canvass for Jahana Hayes, Ned Lamont and Mary Abrams

Meet at: Meriden Federation of Teachers, 35 Pleasant Street, Meriden

Bristol: Labor Canvas for Ned Lamont and Kevin Fuller (HD 77)

Meet at: Bristol Labor Federation, 61 East Main St., Bristol

Saturday, October 27 – 8:30 AM -12 PM

Greater Hartford (Hartford, Wethersfield, Newington East Hartford,): for Ned Lamont

Meet at: SEIU 32 BJ, 885 Wethersfield Avenue, Hartford

Bridgeport: Labor Canvass for Ned Lamont

Meet at: LIUNA Local 665, 269 Federal St. Bridgeport

Waterbury: Labor Canvass for Jahana Hayes, Ned Lamont

Meet at: IBEW 420, 550 Wolcott Street, Waterbury


Saturday: (2 shifts 8:30 to 12 noon and 1 – 4 pm)

Meriden SD 13 Abrams

Meet at: Meriden Federation of Teachers, 35 Pleasant Street, Meriden

Hamden SD 17 Cabrera

Sunday: ( 1 shift 1-4 pm )

Groton SD 18 Statchen

Danbury SD 24 Kushner

Southington Area SD 16 Nardello


Upcoming BFT Happy Hours — October 5, 2018

Upcoming BFT Happy Hours

The BFT will be hosting two Happy Hour events in the near future. They are excellent opportunities to unwind with colleagues and catch up with old friends from other buildings. All Happy Hour events take place at Nuchies Restaurant in Forrestville and feature great food and drink – all free!

Events start at 2:30 PM and end at 5:30 PM, with fresh food brought out as each grade level wave arrives.

All Bristol teachers, interns, and student teachers are welcome.

Friday, October 26

Friday, December 14

Pre-Retirement Seminar for Teachers — September 21, 2018