E Bulletin #48 2010-11


Good day.

Let's please keep the phone calls and the emails to our state senators coming. Our message: We value our health insurance and want to keep it within the realm of collective bargaining. You can send an email here or you can call your state senator. If you don't know who your state senator is, see here. Please do one or both activities. The health insurance agreement we and other city unions have reached with the city can be found here.

Notice to Provisionals

Provisional teachers who receive a non-renewal letter are encouraged to apply for any and all vacancies that come out over the next few months, whether those vacancies are open posted positions or new traditional vacancies. Any questions, please e-mail or call Caren or Michael. Provisional vacancies continue to be filled from this point through 12/1/11, and sometimes later.

Public Comment on Proposed Performance Evaluation Rules Begin

The Mass DESE (Department of Secondary and Elementary Education) has released its proposed changes to teacher performance evaluation, and the public comment period has begun. You can access all of the information you need here. You can also comment on the proposed new changes.  The BTU and the BPS are negotiating now on many of the same topics proposed for change. You can learn more by visiting the AFTMA's webpage.

Vote graphicBTU Election: Wed., June 1, 9:00 AM — 6:00 PM

The BTU Final Election is scheduled for Wednesday, June 1, 2011 from 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM at the BTU  Hall at the Bayside Mall in Dorchester. You must bring your BTU Membership Card and a Picture ID in order to vote!

Complete coverage here.

Contract Reminders: Tuition Reimbursement & Longevity Awards

Tuition Reimbursement Program

As part of our contract, there is a tuition reimbursement program for teachers who are permanent and on steps, but not yet getting their first career award. The tuition reimbursement also goes to paras with 5 or more years. See the Superintendent's Circular for more information on how to apply.

We currently have a contract proposal on the table to extend the reimbursement to provisionals and increase the dollar amount for all.

Longevity or Career Awards

These are for both teachers (nurses et al) and paras. Essentially teachers get their longevity pay after completion of 9, 14, 19, 24, 29, and so on years. Paras get theirs after 9, 14, 19, 24, and 29 years. For more information, see the BTU web page for teachers, or for paras. See Superintendent's Circular for more information.

Pay careful attention to these awards, as you will want to obtain these as you are eligible.

When in doubt, find out. If you have any questions on this, please email either Michael or Caren for teachers (elementary and secondary, respectively) or Jenna for paraprofessionals.

BTU Union News and Events

Teacher Excess Pools

The pools were slated to be held on 5/13, 5/16, and 5/17. The pools have been postponed to 5/24, 25, and 26.

New Date for Para Pool: June 6

Any questions, please call the BTU office.

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.

Other Important Upcoming Dates and Events

  • Building Rep. evening-5/19
  • Para Informational-5/26
  • End-of-year-party-6/10
  • Charity Golf Tournament-6/17
  • Michelle Rhee is coming to town on November 9. We'll be there! More information to follow.

Superintendent's Weekly Bulletin: The Rest of the Story

The Superintendent has taken to writing weekly bulletins of late. That's great — as long as the information is not misleading or less-than-compete.

This week the Superintendent and her staff released information suggesting that Boston has the third shortest workday of the major cities the school department selected. That may and may not be true  — a lot depends on how one defines the issue. Regardless, the length of a school day may not be a measure of...anything. Even if it has become trendy. We took a look at student achievement.

There is only one national test given right now, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test. Using the NAEP, Boston — and Massachusetts — have done quite well over the years in comparison to other cities and states.

So we took a look at the school department's selected longer-school-day districts to see how Boston compared. Five of the cities with a longer school day participate, as does Boston, in what may be termed an urban competition. Those cities that participate and have a longer school day than Boston are Atlanta, Philadelphia, Baltimore, DC, and Milwaukee. How did we fare? Quite well.

We looked at reading, math, and science achievement in grades four and eight, for total of six categories. These are the only tests given. Boston's scores exceeded the other five districts in each category. At each grade level. No exception. See the data below. So the next time the superintendent says we have the shortest day in America, she ought add, "but we have the best schools according to NAEP."

Now you know the rest of the story.

 Math 4Math 8Reading 4Reading 8Science 4Science 8

(Data, courtesy of NAEP)

Education in the News

Scale of justice graphicGates Study on Value-Added Debunked (Again)
Value-Added Measure Loses Even More Ground as Teacher Assessment Tool

Picture a balance scale that measures evidence that either supports or rejects the notion that teacher effectiveness can be measured by the 'value-added' model. On the left side of the balance beam is a study funded by CEO Bill Gates last year and a handful of others. On the right side of the beam, outweighing the lonesome Gates study many times over, are a number of studies done by educators, economists, mathematicians, and a lot of others.

Last week yet another study was added to the right side of the balance beam. This study done by a leading mathematician drives one more nail into the value-added coffin:

"The latest instance of the phenomenon (misuse of mathematics) is valued-added modeling (VAM), used to interpret test data. Value-added modeling pops up everywhere today, from newspapers to television to political campaigns. VAM is heavily promoted with unbridled and uncritical enthusiasm by the press, by politicians, and even by (some) educational experts, and it is touted as the modern, "scientific" way to measure educational success in everything from charter schools to individual teachers.

Yet most of those promoting value-added modeling are ill-equipped to judge either its effectiveness or its limitations. Some of those who are equipped make extravagant claims without much detail, reassuring us that someone has checked into our concerns and we shouldn't worry. Value-added modeling is promoted because it has the right pedigree - because it is based on "sophisticated mathematics."As a consequence, mathematics that ought to be used to illuminate ends up being used to intimidate. When that happens, mathematicians have a responsibility to speak out."

Read more. View and download the study.

If you want to take a break from reading, check out this YouTube short that debunks the Value Added Model in a slightly less academic way. You'll love this.

Local Non Profits Can Have HUGE Profits But Pay Very Little in Property Taxes

In an interesting news story, it was reported that Partners Health, composed of the MGH, Brigham and Women's Hospital and many other affiliates, had a record fiscal quarter ending March 31, earning $71 million over last year's $13 million. Good for them; they do good work and we are proud to have them in the city.

But what do they pay in taxes to the City of Boston given that they are a nonprofit? Not very much. They voluntarily pay $3 million in taxes to the City. Read the report by the City here. Were they to pay as if they were profit-making institutions, these two hospitals alone without their affiliates would pay north of $60 million per year in property taxes.

The City is to be given some credit for finally turning up the heat on these institutions and others, which get away virtually scot-free from paying taxes under a law that dates from 1830(!). By the way, the medical non-profits have lots of company on the academic side: Northeastern, for example, paid only $30,571. in FY 09 to the city (see p. 64 of the City's report).

More and more cities are demanding more from non-profits in these hard times. See a report in the NY Times.

Rally in DCGet  Involved: March on DC to Protest ED Policies

The BTU membership has endorsed a Save Our Schools March in DC on July 30. Here's what the organizers are saying:

We're putting the Public back in Public Schools!

We, a collection of people from all walks of life and every corner of this nation, embodyWhite House a mixture of ideas and opinions regarding how we can improve educational opportunities for all children. We stand united by one belief - it's time for teachers and parents to organize and reclaim control of our schools.

As concerned citizens, we demand an end to the destructive policies and rhetoric that have eroded confidence in our public schools, demoralized teachers, and reduced the education of too many of our children to nothing more than test preparation.

A well-educated society is essential to the future of the United States of America. Our students must have access to a fully funded, world-class public education system, and it is our responsibility to hold our government accountable for providing the means to achieve it. Please join us!

Depending on numbers and interest, the BTU will probably rent a bus to send some members to the rally. Our plans are flexible. For more information and to let us know of your potential interest, please email Garret Virchick.

Career Opportunities

OELL Stipend Opportunity

The Office of English Language Learners is hiring teachers to create curriculum maps for teachers who are responsible for teaching both the ESL and the ELA curriculum to their students. There is a 60 hour time commitment, including six 3 hour sessions after school in June and three 6 hour sessions on June 29, June 30, and July 1. Teachers will be compensated $2,520.

We are also looking to hire team leaders who will assist in writing curriculum maps, as well as coordinate teachers and act as a liaison between teacher groups and the Office of English Language Learners. Teacher leaders will be asked to work 75 hours and will be compensated $3,900.

For more information, please see the full job description on the OELL website (Academic Offices<English Language Learners).

Interested applicants, should email their resumes. Please write June Curriculum Institute in the subject line. Include in the email the grade you are currently teaching and to which grade level team(s) you are applying.

OELL PD Opportunity

The Office of English Language Learners will be having two professional development institutes. One, called Program Planning for ELLs, will accept SCHOOL BASED teams who want to learn more about building or expanding SEI, TBE, TWE, and HILT for SIFE programs.

The second institute is called the ESL Summer Institute. This week-long PD is geared towards certified ESL teachers who want to learn more about linguistics, ESL methods and research from the field.

To apply or learn more about these institutes, please go to MyBPS<Academic Offices<English Language Learners.

ESL Summer Pathway

BPS staff members interested in applying for the ESL Pathway Program are urged to attend the following information session: May 24 - 2:30-3:30 pm  or  4-5 pm

Moderate Disabilities Pathway Program

BPS members are urged to attend ONE of the following information sessions:
May 17 - 2:30-3:30 pm  or  4-5 pm
May 23 - 2:30-3:30 pm  or  4-5 pm

Quality Literacy Education for Students with Interruptions in their Formal Education (SIFE): Acceleration, Differentiation, and Access

The content of this course will provide a framework for developing multiple literacies in the first and second language, bridging home and school culture, and accelerating student learning in ways that will enable SIFE to meet required standards. Priority will be given to Native Language and ESL SIFE teachers.

Questions? Please email here or call Lunine Pierre-Jerome at (617) 635-9435.

Graduate Courses for Paraprofessionals and Substitute Teachers Spring 2011

The Center for Leadership Development and the Boston Teachers Union are jointly sponsoring professional development courses for Paraprofessionals and Substitute Teachers. To enroll you must have a bachelors degree.

The Northeastern University graduate courses are hybrid consisting of class meetings and on-line instruction. Participants who complete the courses are eligible for either 2 In-Service Credits or 4 quarter-hours of N.U. graduate credits. There is no cost to take the courses for In-service Credits.

The deadline for applying for all courses is May 20, 2011. For more information about the courses, please contact George Cox at 635-7914.

All of the Northeastern University courses will be located on the N. U. campus.  The cost of undergraduate credit is $480.00 for each course.

To enroll in the courses, call the BTU office for an application.

BoomWriter Workshop

A free BoomWriter Educator Training Workshop will take place this Thursday, May 19, from 6pm-8pm in the beautiful Microsoft NERD Center in Cambridge, and is open to any Grade 5-12 educator.

BoomWriter is a nonprofit, web-based, interactive writing competition, that teachers can customize. The end product is a complete, collaborative book... and supercharged literacy skills!

The workshop will feature pizza and prizes, and attendees all receive free membership to BoomWriter for their school. REGISTER NOW.

Activities for Teachers, Staff & Students

Boston People and Places Summer Institute

The Summer Institute will be presented the first week in August. This is a wonderful opportunity for teachers to learn about the resources right here in their back yards. The National Park Service and six partner sites along the Freedom Trail have been in collaboration for 26 years presenting free programs for Boston Public School Children.

Our Summer Institute is a week long intensive study of historical places emphasizing the role of women in shaping Boston's history from 1760-1860. Presentations by site educators and local scholars and researchers will focus on the city and state frameworks of social studies and English language arts. We offers not only professional development points, but college graduate credit as well. Email here for more information.

Global Education Resource Fair for BPS Teachers

Thursday, June 2, 2011, 4:00 - 6:00 PM
Boston Teachers Union Hall

At this "drop-in" resource fair, teachers will find resources to take their students abroad on service learning trips, language immersion experiences, study tours and exchanges. In addition, there will be organizations represented which focus on learning experiences abroad for teachers.

For more information, please contact Bethany Wood. To register, please go to MyLearningPlan.com.

Retirement and End-of-Year Parties

Winship Elementary School Retirement party for Mary Costello and Lula H. Evelyn

June 15, 2011: Rooftop Reception (cash bar): 5-6 PM; Dinner: 6:00-8:00 PM
Doubletree Guest Suites Boston, 400 Soldiers Field Road, Boston, MA  02134
$65.00. Make checks payable to:  Winship School Enrichment Fund
54 Dighton Street, Brighton, MA  02135

Retireement Party for Robin Williams

Thursday June 16, 2011: 6:00-11:00 PM
Dedham Holiday Inn  Dedham, MA
$60.00 to Gary Marion  63 Tacoma Street, Hyde Park Ma.02136 by June 1,2011
RSVP to Gary Marion or call 617-905-4662.

Emily A. Fifield School Closing-Farewell Get Together

Tuesday, June 28, 2011:  6:00-10:00 PM
Adams Inn at the Gazebo, Quincy MA
Cost is $50 per person includes dinner, DJ.  
Please make check payable to Emily A. Fifield Sunshine Fund
25 Dunbar Ave. Dorchester, MA 02125
Please contact Tracy or Paula or call 617-635-8618.

Retirement Party for Ann McLaughlin, SLP, Condon School

Thursday, June 9, 2011:  4:00 -7:00 PM
The Village Manor  (781-407-9191)
427 Sprague St., Dedham, Ma.  02026
Music, Appetizers, Cash Bar @ $15/person;
Contact Maureen Gage 617-957-7186 or Coleen Perry  617-335-8794
Please RSVP by June 2nd.

End-of-the-Year Agassiz Farewell and Retirement Party for Armando Landing, Brenda Fergus, and James O'Donnell

Tuesday, June 28, 2011: 6:00-11:00 PM
The Neighborhood Club in Quincy
Cocktail Hour, Appetizers, Dinner, Piano Bar, Jazz, Dance
RSVP by May 30th
Cost: $60.00 (choose chicken or shrimp)
Please contact Ms. Candida Mundo-Arboleda or call our office and ask for Mayra or Yoralba at 617-635-8198

Retirement Party for the Irving's Demetri Hanzis, Ann Murphy (retired from Snowden) and Sharon Maalouf.

Thursday, June 23, 2011: 6:00 - 10:00 PM
Four Points by Sheraton, 1125 Boston-Providence Turnpike, Norwood
Cost per person: $55 (includes hors d'oeuvres, dinner, DJ, and gifts)
Payments can be made by check.  Please mail checks and make payable  to: Linda Moran, 36 Oakmere St., West Roxbury, MA  02132

Retirement Party for Rosa Bodden and Karen Silipigno

Thursday, June 16, 2011: 6:00 - 11:00 PM
Quincy Marriott
$60.00 per person includes gift.
Make checks payable to: Donalee Dixon, 3 Kovey Road, Hyde Park MA 02131

A Retirement Party for Betty Killgoar & Deb Wright

Friday, June 10, 2011: 6:00 - 10:00 PM
Florian Hall, 55 Hallet Street, Dorchester, MA 02124
Cost per person: $50 (includes gifts, meal, and DJ)
Payments may be made by check. Mail checks to:
Joseph Lee School, Attn: Sara Smith
155 Talbot Avenue, Dorchester, MA 02124
Make checks payable to 'Joseph Lee Sunshine Fund' by 5/27

Alumni, friends, staff of Madison Park Technical HS Reunion

Saturday 6/18/2011: 8:00 AM -1PM
BTU Hall
Tickets soon available at Nubian Notion
Questions: shonarj@yahoo.com

Retirement Party for Martha Cotton

June 23, 2011: 5:00 PM
The Common Market Restaurant, 97 Willard Street, Quincy MA
Cost:  $45 includes dinner, dancing and gift
Checks payable to Charles Taylor Sunshine Fund no later than June 13th

Save the date: John D. O'Bryant School of Mathematics and Science Retirement Party
More information to follow

Wednesday, June 22, 2011: 6:00 –11:00 PM
The Lantana, 43 Scanlon Drive, Randolph, MA 02368

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Richard Stutman
Boston Teachers Union