Special Message from Heather about Elementary Report Cards and Paychecks:
Wow…what a terrible couple of weeks this has been for some people. I want you all to know that you are all being heard regarding how frustrated, upset, neglected, overworked, and many other emotions all the teachers are feeling. I wish there was a way I could make it all better and actually do something that makes everyone feel better about the report cards and the paychecks, but now that the damage is done, we need to figure out what will improve the situations for everyone. I hope the words that I type will have the positive impact I am hoping for, but I know that I will not be able to please everyone even though that is my goal. As an elementary teacher, I have been bombarded with teachers as well, crying, angry, etc. so I know what it feels like. Apparently here at Cove the issues have been the worst so I am seeing and hearing first hand what teachers are going through and it is making me feel awful for teachers and furious for what what is happening. I do know that at Cove the principal has been sensitive to this and has made adjustments even offering subs which we all know can actually be more work. I hope the other principals have been as responsive to all of you and your teachers.
In your spare time (!), please check out the new BTA website at
Pages so far include: contracts, meeting minutes and budget, and contact information. There is also a place for comments; let me know what else you’d like to see on the website either by replying to this email or by commenting on the site itself.
Keep It on Your Calendar:
MTA Retirement Seminar
January 14, 3:30, BHS Library
Mary Parry, the MTA’s retirement guru, will be holding a special seminar for BPS teachers at the BHS library on Thursday, January 14 at 3:30. This seminar is useful for anyone who is thinking in any way about retirement, whether you are 1 year away or 10 years away. Topics covered will include pensions, health insurance, and Social Security.
I will send out a special message in early January asking whether you plan to attend; if you know this already, just reply to this email and I will reserve a spot for you now.
Paraprofessionals’ Contract Negotiations
Contract negotiations are continuing.The next meeting date is December 17. As you know, we can’t discuss details yet but will let you know as soon as we can.
Heather, Karen and I met with Dr Hiersche and Ms. Charochak on November 18. Topics discussed included:
MMS and elementary report cards: see above.
Use of personal devices to access the Internet from school buildings: at some elementary schools, teachers and paraprofessionals had been told that they could no longer use their personal devices (phones, ipads, etc) to access the Internet because they were slowing down the entire district’s system. Dr. Hiersche seemed unaware of this and was going to talk to the tech department about this. The issue may have already gone away as the district was scheduled to implement a substantial bandwidth increase very soon.
Teacher access to 504/IEP information: the district is working on developing a uniform system for disseminating information about student IEPs and 504 plans. It is our position that teachers should not be asked to hunt around esped for required accommodations for each student. We hope to be hearing more about their revised system soon.
Reading and Math Coaches: some teachers have had questions about the role of reading and math coaches. We discussed whether math and reading coaches are evaluating teachers in any way. The administration insists that this is not happening. We requested and were promptly given coaches’ job descriptions; I have sent these to the elementary building representatives so that they are available in each building. If teachers are concerned that coaches seem to have input into any part of the evaluation process, they should monitor carefully any write ups that they receive of administrators’ walk through visits. We will continue to look at this issue.
Next Mutual Concerns Meeting:
Wednesday, December 10 4 p.m.
IPDP (Individual Professional Development Plan) Folders
Your building representative may have put one in your mailbox already. If you still need one, ask your building rep.
Governing Board Meeting
The Governing Board of the BTA will meet this Monday, December 14 at 3:30 in the BTA Office at 78 Water Street. All members are welcome. Agenda items include:
Approval of minutes
Keeping track of added work
Latest on the elementary report cards
If you can’t join us on Monday, you can ask your building rep for more information after the meeting. We’ll also publish the meeting minutes on the website after they are accepted by the Board at our December meeting.