E Bulletin #42 2010-11


Good day.

Contract News and Updates

Excessing and Transfer Postings

The Transfer and Open Posting lists for teachers, nurses and so on are out now. All who were excessed over the weekend are eligible to apply for vacancies on the transfer list. Any questions on excessing or transfers, please call the BTU office, or e-mail Caren or Michael.

Where there are groups of teachers who are excessed (from closed or merged schools, for example) the BTU office will be glad to send out someone to explain to your group the ins and outs of both processes.

Para Excess and Layoff Notices

Excess notices will be sent to paras on April 15th and layoff notices will be sent to paras on April 20th. Also, The para transfer list will be available on the Hub on April 25th, the para pool is June 3, place not yet decided.

Community Forum on BTU/BPS Contract Negotiations: Please attend!

On Wednesday, April 6 at 5:30 PM, at the 12th Baptist Church is an important forum on the state of our negotiations. The 12th Baptist Church is located near Dudley Station on 150-160 Warren Street. We hope you can attend this event.

Boston Foundation Seeks Reduction in Teacher Benefits

This week the Boston Foundation is holding a forum — you'll enjoy this — "Municipal Health Plans: Gilded Benefits from a Bygone Era."Yes, "Gilded"! At this time, they will release a report suggesting that our health benefits be cut substantially.

We won't be able to attend this forum but we note the irony in the use of the term, 'Gilded.' The Gilded Age was a time of wealth and excess, and great fortunes were made. Some of the fortune was shared by those who actually did the work, but most of the fortunes went to the very wealthy, like the Rockefellers, Mellons, and the Carnegies.

There is a juicy irony here inasmuch as the head of the Boston Foundation, Paul Grogan, earned $570,000 in salary and benefits in 2009. Yet it is the Boston teacher, earning an average salary of $71,000 who is overpaid and swimming in too-rich benefits!

By the way, Mr. Grogan has been instrumental in setting up Wednesday's BTU/BPS community contract forum at the 12th Baptist Church. One subject of discussion Wednesday will certainly be the richness of our benefits. We hope you can attend the Wednesday forum. We'll leave the other forum to the robber barons.

Education in the News

Ravitch on Rhee's Cheating Scandal

The corporate education reform movement has had no more visible star than Michelle Rhee, the former chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools. After she left office last fall, she formed a new political organization to raise $1 billion to advocate for the changes she believes in. She has been advising some of the nation's most conservative governors to fight the teachers' unions and rely on standardized tests to fire or reward teachers. Her credibility was her alleged success in lifting up test scores in the low-performing public schools of the nation's capitol during her nearly four years in charge.

Now, however, that credibility has been directly challenged by revelations of possible widespread test fraud in the D.C. schools while she was in charge. Read more.

Read a Great Blog in the Washington Post: "5 Myths About Teachers"

  • teacher preparation doesn't matter
  • teaching experience doesn't matter
  • merit pay is a great motivator
  • tenure makes it impossible to get rid of underperforming teacher
  • removing incompetent teachers will fix our schools

Read more.

BTU Union News and Events

Candidates for BTU Elective Office

Anyone running for BTU office is able to purchase address labels for BTU members if he/she wants to contact members by mail. He/she can also purchase building representative labels.

AFT President Randi Weingarten visits the Edwards and the BTU School last week

AFT president Randi Weingarten visited the the Edwards and the BTU school last week. She visited classrooms in each building and met with teachers and other people in her visit. At each stop Pres. Weingarten reinforced the notion that good schools and good collective bargaining are not mutually exclusive. The Edwards, a school that is one national praise, has an extended day program that was created through the efforts of collective bargaining. The BTU school, one of the only teacher run schools in the entire country, is operated exclusively by teachers and staff, all of whom are BTU members.

We are proud of both schools, as we are proud of all of our schools. Listen to Pres. Weingarten's interview on WBUR.

Reminder: Annual Paraprofessional Conference

Saturday, April 9, 8:30AM to 3:00PM, at the BTU

SPED Faculty Senate Committee

April 28 from 4-6PM, SPED Director John Verre is scheduled visit the BTU. More information to follow.

Educators of the Year Nominations and Event

The committee to honor the Boston "Educators of the Year" is delighted to announce that its annual Boston Educators of the Year event has been scheduled for Monday, June 20 at the Citi Performing Arts Center/Wang Theatre. At that time, they will publicly honor a select group of educators — teachers, paraprofessionals, nurses, therapists, and others — who have made a unique contribution to their students, to their classrooms, and to their schools.

How to nominate? At your earliest convenience, but no later than April 27, please fill out an application and send it here. Applications are available in your school office as well.

Town of Pelham, MA Leads Way to Correct Charter Funding

A warrant article is coming up for approval in May in the town of Pelham, MA which reads:

  1. Whereas Massachusetts funds charter schools by withholding aid to the cities and towns that send students to charter schools, and
  2. Whereas the amount of such aid withheld for each student leaving to attend a charter school exceeds by a large factor the amount of per pupil aid that the district receives from the state, and
  3. Whereas the loss of monies to a district results in either reducing programs in the local public schools or raising local taxes, thus shifting additional costs onto local taxpayers without their approval,

Thank you, Pelham, for leading the way.

Inquiring Minds Want to Know: In schools the Obama and Duncan kids attend, are teacher evaluations tied to student test scores?

We all want what is best for our own kids,right? Bill Schechter, retired now after teaching 35 years in Lincoln Sudbury, is an enterprising (as well as an award-winning teacher) member of the board of the Mass Citizens for Public Schools. He sought to find out how teachers are evaluated at Sidwell Friends, a private school in Washington, D.C. where President Obama sends his children, and in the Arlington, Va. public schools where US Secretary of Education Duncan sends his.

Mr. Schechter poses the question:

"Do these excellent schools evaluate or pay teachers on the basis of student standardized test scores? This question is important because the issue of  "Pay for Performance" models of teacher evaluation now dominates the intense debate over education reform. Nationally, Secretary Duncan has voiced his support for performance-based merit pay. In Massachusetts, the State Board of Education is going to hold its April public hearing on whether teacher evaluation should be tied to student test scores, and, if so, to what extent."

Here is the answer he received from an active teacher in each setting.

"We do not tie teacher evaluations to scores in the Arlington public school system."
-- Arlington school district teacher, March 31, 2011

"We don't tie teacher pay to test scores because we don't believe them to be a reliable indicator of teacher effectiveness."
— Sidwell Friends faculty member, April 1, 2011

Thank you, Mr. Schechter, for passing this along.

Career and Professional Development Opportunities

Boston Debate League Seeks Coordinator

The Boston Debate League is seeking to hire a Professional Development Coordinator. The Boston Debate League (BDL) is a non-profit organization that works in partnership with the Boston Public Schools (BPS) to support academic debate teams in local high schools and train BPS teachers to use debate as a regular part of their classroom practice.

The Boston Debate League seeks passionate urban educators to lead their Debate Across the Curriculum (DAC) Initiative. This program trains BPS high school teachers to use debate as a pedagogical tool within their classrooms.

The Coordinators of Professional Development will be primarily responsible for working as a team to take the DAC Initiative to scale; training all teachers in member schools to use debate in a fun, yet academically rigorous fashion.

For more information, please visit the Boston Debate League's website

National Board Certified Teacher Candidate Outreach

May 16th, 4:30-6:30 PM,;CLD; or June 6,  4-6 PM, BTU

Meet NBCTs & learn about opportunities to become a National Board Certified Teacher!

Contact Maggie, Karene or Suzanne

MTEL Preparation Workshops

The catalog of upcoming MTEL preparation workshops is now available on MyBPS>Central Admin>HR - Licensure and Certification page. In addition to the workshop schedule, the MTEL Handbook provides helpful information about the MTELs including online resources for self preparation.

All staff are welcome to participate in the MTEL support and workshops which are coordinated by the Office of Human Resources. Workshops fill quickly so please apply as soon as possible. Applications for workshops must be made using the Zoomerang survey link included on page 7 in the catalog. For more information concerning MTEL, please email.

Office of English Language Learners (OELL) Seeks to Hire Teachers

The Office of English Language Learners is hiring teachers to create curriculum maps and write assessments. There is a 60 hour time commitment, including 3 days over April vacation (April 19, 20, 21). The remaining hours will take place after school during May and June. Teachers will be compensated $2520. Interested applicants, should email their resumes to Kristen D'Avolio

BoomWriter Workshop

A free BoomWriter Educator Training Workshop will take place Saturday, April 16th from 9am-Noon in the Microsoft Research and Development Center in Kendall Square, Cambridge, and is open to any Grade 5-12 educator.

BoomWriter is a web-based, interactive writing competition where students read a first chapter created by a professional author, create and submit their own Chapter 2, then vote on the winning entry. The competition continues for as many chapters as the teacher chooses, and the end product is a complete, collaborative book... and supercharged literacy skills! BoomWriter is now being piloted in several schools throughout the country, and WGBH recently reported: "BoomWriter is inspiring youngwriters." Best of all, workshop attendees will receive free membership to BoomWriter for their entire school! REGISTER NOW. For questions, please contact Lillie Marshall.

BPS Tech Tune-Up: L4L In Motion

The Office of Instructional and Information Technology (OIIT) is partnering with three schools for L4L support sessions across the city to help teachers improve the performance and usability of L4L laptops, as well as learn some quick tips and advice on how to maximize the use of the L4L in the classroom to accelerate student learning.

  • April 14th @Umana Middle School Academy
  • April 28th @Jackson-Mann/Horace-Mann Schools
  • May 12th @Dever/McCormack School

Data Warehouse Training Stipend Opportunity for Grades 3-12 Classroom Teachers

This three-hour professional development session provided by the Office of Research, Assessment, and Evaluation and the Office of Instructional and Information Technology will focus on the Boston Public Schools' Data Warehouse. Teachers may enroll on MyLearningPlan for the following dates: 4/5, 6, 7, 12

Instructional Technology

The Office of Instructional and Information Technology has a posted the following spring workshops available to teachers to support the integration of various technology tools in teaching and learning. Visit MyLearningPlan to register for:

  • Universal Design and Your MacBook
  • Get Up and Running with Your Mobi
  • SAM Animation: Using Simple Software to Enhance & Assess Conceptual Understanding
  • Introduction to iTunes, Podcasts, and Audiobooks
  • Get Up and Running with Your SmartBoard

RTC Corner

RTC members: Friends and colleagues of Nancy M. Sheehan, who passed away last year, are invited to a Library Dedication in her honor on Thursday, April 28th<, from noon to one o'clock at the Richard J. Murphy School in Dorchester.

The donation of a new book for the library's collection will be gratefully accepted.

Softball League

Applications for the BTU's Health and Welfare softball league are due 3:45 PM on April 13. Questions, please e-mail here or call Tom at 617-312-0270.

All teachers and paras are invited to play. This is always a great time.

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Richard Stutman
Boston Teachers Union