Edmondson-Westside wins $5,000 grant
According to Carla McCoy, Executive Board Member, BR and teacher at the school, Edmondson-Westside plans to use the money they received from the AFL-CIO grant to enhance awareness of the union. Every student at the school is involved in a trade, such as, Media Production, Carpentry, Cosmetology, Culinary Arts and several others. Ms. McCoy says the grant will help the school to bring the union to the forefront in those programs.
“Most of the students here will have the opportunity to join a union when they are working in their trade,” McCoy said. “So we want to expose them to it now and let them know the benefits of joining and being a part of the union.”
McCoy says they plan to start the implementation of this program in January. Part of the program will include the students and teachers in the trades to work closely with the union they would be affiliated with.
“The programs at Edmondson-Westside are wonderful,” Marietta English, President Baltimore Teachers Union said. This grant will help the school to further their involvement in the unions and gain great knowledge of how unions work.”
First Book gives one millionth free book to Baltimore student
Volunteers from AFT, City Union of Baltimore (CUB), AFSCME and BTU are gathering at a warehouse on Kane Street in Baltimore this week to distribute more than 160,000 free books for students in Baltimore City. Volunteers helped to open boxes, move boxes and label boxes with books to be shipped. Baltimore teachers and PSRPs can pick up the books they ordered during the registration last month, on Thursday and Friday of this week.
First Book holds eight to 10 National Book Drives per year and the last one for 2013 is here in Baltimore. Most of the books will be going to Baltimore Students. On Wednesday, BTU President, Marietta English, AFT President, Randi Weingarten, AFT Secretary-Treasurer and President Emeritus of the BTU PSRP Chapter, AFT Executive Vice-President, Fran Lawrence, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and First Book Chief Operating Officer Chandler Arnold were in Baltimore to commemorate the one millionth book given out and to celebrate reading in Baltimore.
“I want to thank First Book and the mayor for getting these books here,” Ms. English said. “The mayor secured the warehouse for us and First Book brought us the book.”
“I am so happy to see this in Baltimore,” she said. “Reading is so important and this gives our students a head start.”
The Mayor, Ms. English, Randi Weingarten, Dr. Johnson and BCPSS Chief of Staff Jennifer Bell-Ellwanger gave out books and read to Pre-K through 2nd Grade students at Bernard Harris Elementary School.
“This collaboration is so important,” Weingarten said. “Reading is vital to the future of these students.”
After First Book gave its one millionth book to a Baltimore student earlier this month, it gave the left over books back to Baltimore teachers. . .for free!
Those left over books were at a warehouse on Kane Street on Saturday, December 7th. Several teachers and PSRPs came from all over the city to collect free books for their students. Stephanie Dagenhart and Christine Overstreet, both 5th grade Math and Science Teachers at Monarch Academy came to collect books and said 90 percent of the books they collected will go into the school’s library, the rest will help to build up their Middle School curriculum and be given as gifts to students.
“Free books are awesome,” said Dagenhart. “As soon as we heard about it, we volunteered to come and get the books.”
Ms. Compton who teaches at Samuel F. B. Morse Elementary School said she was getting all types of books for her students. “Activity books, chapter books, everything,” she said. “My school is in a poor area and a lot of my students don’t have books at home, so most of these will go to my students as gifts.”
Sarah Smilkstine and Chanel Traboldt both third grade teachers at Harford Heights, agree that their students will appreciate the books as gifts. “This is so wonderful,” Smilkstine said.
AFT President Visits Two Baltimore Schools
AFT President Randi Weingarten along with BTU President, Marietta English and AFT Secretary-Treasurer and President Emeritus of the BTU PSRP Chapter, Dr. Lorretta Johnson were in Baltimore on Friday, Nov. 1st visiting teachers and students at Violetville Elementary/Middle and Lakeland Elementary/Middle. Ms. Weingarten, Ms. English and Dr. Johnson were visiting with several teachers who are participating in the AFT’s Innovation Grant where teachers work into their curriculum lessons on healthy eating, the atmosphere and certain technology.
At Violetville, Ms. Weingarten and Ms. English met with James Triebwasser who teachers 6th and 7th grade science. His lesson was about precipitation, condensation and how weather works. His students were making small books on how weather works and conducting an experiment. Mr. Triebwasser, a former banker, who decided to become a teacher in 2008 said he loves what he’s doing. “I think it’s great,” he said. “This program with the innovation fun is really getting the kids to learn and they are enjoying it.”
Ms. Weingarten and Ms. English also met with Keri Ensor, a third grade teacher at Violetville who is the facilitator of the STEM and Innovation Fund program, she was teaching her students about a food journal and getting them to think about food choices and who makes those choices. “This program is great,” Ms. Ensor said. “It really makes our students think about where their food is coming from.”
Next, Ms. Weingarten and Ms. English went to Lakeland Elementary/Middle School, where they spoke with a few more teachers participating in the Innovation Fund grant. Lakeland is also a community school and has a garden growing in the back of the school. They met with Ashley Smith facilitator of the program at Lakeland, Katie Poist, Marissa Knaus, and Caryn Horrigan all fourth grade teachers participating in the program. Lakeland is a community School and they were able to meet with Community Liaison, Jessica Baker as well.
While at Lakeland, Ms. Weingarten and Ms. English learned from Ms. Smith, Ms. Poist, Ms. Knaus and Ms. Horrigan that they really like the innovation fund program. “It has given us time to work together and really put together some great programs,” Ms. Knaus said. She said the fourth grade team gets the opportunity, through the grant, to meet and come up with new ideas together. “The students love this,” Ms. Smith said. “They love the garden too, sunflowers and peppers have been their favorite so far and some students have even had the chance to eat raw red beats.”
The fourth grade team said they would like to continue with the grant, and they need more time to come up with new ideas. “Forty-Five minutes a day isn’t enough for us to collaborate and come up with some good ideas, it takes hours and days,” Ms. Poist said. In addition, the team needs the funds to make sure their ideas can actually take place.
“We don’t want to do anything to hold you back,” BTU President, Marietta English said. “I’ll do everything in my power to help you.”
Weingarten added that once the team knows what they want to do, to let her know, she wants to help them get funds for their ideas.
Please Support the Baltimore City Combine Charities Initiative
Various unions and community organizations that partner with Baltimore City Public Schools are getting behind this year’s Combined Charity Campaign for Baltimore City and urging their members to give to those charities that support City Schools students. Nearly one dozen of the more than 300 area charities that benefit from the campaign are programs that exist solely to serve City Schools students, and the district is urging employees to direct their giving to those causes. The city’s employee unions and other leading community and advocacy organizations echo that request.
Baltimore City’s Public School Administrators and Supervisors Association (PSASA), the Baltimore Teachers Union (BTU), AFSCME Local 44 Baltimore, the City Union of Baltimore (CUB), the Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and Baltimoreans Untied in Leadership Development (BUILD) are all encouraging their members who work for City Schools and other city agencies to join the effort. Specifically, these organizations are asking their members to support a new fund created by City Schools to provide uniforms to students in need.
Attendance is a significant barrier to student achievement and for many families, the inability to pay for uniforms is a barrier to getting their children to school. This new uniform fund (#8721 in the 2013 Combined Charity catalogue) is designed to remove that barrier for families, and make it easier for them to get their students to school.
For more information about the 300 available charities, the 11 City Schools charities and the uniform fund, visit City Schools’ 2013 Combined Charity Campaign webpage.
Let’s work together to help Baltimore City’s students succeed!
QuEST Conference Draws Large Crowd
More than 700 teachers and PSRPs attended the BTU’s 31st Annual QuEST Conference at Heritage High School on Oct. 18th. Teachers and PSRPs were treated to a wonderful keynote address by Rob Weil, Director of Educational Issues at the AFT who talked about the state of Education in America and what we can do to make it better.
They also heard from Baltimore City Mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Interim CEO, Tisha Edwards, President of the Board of School Commissioners Shanaysha Sauls and Baltimore City Teacher of the Year, Ketia Stokes. All brought a message of hard work, dedication and standing up for their students.
In addition, participants were treated to more than 20 dynamic workshops with presenters who are elite in their field. Here are some of the presentations that were shown at the Conference. Food and Nutrition 10.18 Quest Conference. Managing Anti-Social Behavior AFT MAB Chapter 1 ID-Quest
Next year’s QuEST Conference will take place Oct. 17, 2014 at the Baltimore Convention Center.
New Dance Studio at Poly, revealed
Yovanni Markland, a Spanish teacher and the dance coach and Baltimore Polytechnic Institute saw her newly renovated dance studio for the first time and couldn’t have been happier.
Ms. Markland applied for the BTU’s Extreme Classroom/Library Makeover Contest at the end of last school year, she was thrilled to win, but wasn’t sure what her new studio was going to look like. She and her dance team wanted the studio to be new and improved.
So after several months of work, the new dance studio was revealed on September 4th. The studio is complete with a new Marley floor, storage cabinets and ballet bars. “I couldn’t be happier,” Ms. Markland said. “I love it and I can’t wait to start dancing!”
Summer School for Union Women
The 38th UALE Northeast Regional Summer School for Union Women took place July 20-25 at Cornell University in Ithica, New York. BTU’s own June Perry, who served as a BR at school 237 was in attendance at the school.
The Summer School is a five-day residential program, hosted by Cornell and co-sponsored by the United Association of Labor Education (UALE). The summer school is co-coordinated by union and university labor educators.
The school brings together union women who are rant-and-file members, staff and officers to strengthen their knowledge and understanding of the American labor movement in an effort to develop skills that will prepare them to be more active union members and leaders. All students attend classes designed to teach and improve leadership skills. During this time, students choose two workshops, which they attend daily for the duration of the school.
Ms. Perry, says she learned a lot and was very enlightened by the work she did.
March on Washington
Hundreds of Thousands of people flooded into the National Mall in Washington DC on August 24th to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington. From the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument, there was a sea of people watching and listening as Civil Rights Leaders spoke about the struggle over the past 50 years.
Some of those speakers included, Martin Luther King, III who mentioned the significance of speaking on the same steps his father stood on nearly 50 years ago. The guest speaker, Rev. Al Sharpton spoke to the crowd and told them African Americans need to start working and helping themselves. He was well received by the crowd.
AFT’s Secretary-Treasurer and President Emeritus of the BTU PSRP Chapter, Dr. Lorretta Johnson spoke as well. Dr. Johnson attended the first March on Washington in 1963 with her sons, she talked about how she didn’t really understand the significance of it back then, but how much it has changed her since then.
AFT President, Randi Weingarten also spoke, she talked about how far we have come in 50 years, but that we have much more work to do.
“Much has changed over these 50 years, but much remains to be done. That 1963 march, lifted by the thousands on this Mall and by Dr. King’s soaring oration, helped create a better world, although we don’t yet have the world King dreamed of.
So while many have written commemorations of the 1963 March on Washington, it would be wrong to stop there. Instead, this is a continuation of the righteous fight to achieve real justice and opportunity for all—at the voting booth, in our schools, in our workplaces and in our communities.”
AFT/BTU Teacher Leaders Program
The AFT Teacher Leaders Program is a nationwide effort to identify and bring together a select group of teachers each month throughout the year to learn how to take active leadership roles in their schools, unions, and communities. This school year, the program will develop cadres of 15 teacher leaders in each of 10 locals to help build and strengthen relationships with the community as well as generate support for public schools and their unions.
The AFT Teacher Leaders Program began as a pilot program at five locals this past spring. Based on its tremendous level of success, the AFT is delighted to expand this program to 16 locals for the 2013-14 school year.
Key Objective: To identify and develop a cadre of teacher leaders who will serve as catalysts to strengthen the union and its connection to the community in order to generate support for public schools.
The AFT Teacher Leaders Program will support the goals of the union locals and provide them with:
- a strong tie to community organizations and community leaders;
- an informed teacher voice;
- a vehicle for positive messaging about public schools and their unions; and
- a pipeline for future school and union leaders.
Participating teachers will develop skills related to:
- creating a collaborative culture;
- accessing and using research;
- reaching out to families and communities;
- becoming advocates for teachers, students and their families, and for public education;
- understanding policy issues and making recommendations to and through their unions; and
- doing oral and written presentations.
Through their participation in the AFT Teachers as Leaders Program, teachers will:
- become conversant with both the local and national dialogue on education;
- develop relationships with local policymakers and community leaders;
- connect practice, research and policy; and
- serve as a sounding board and advisory group for union leaders.
To support the creation of the Teacher Leaders Program at local affiliates, the AFT will provide:
- travel to a meeting for selected union local leaders and local program facilitators to learn more about the program;
- technical assistance for implementation;
- stipends for participating teachers;
- materials for implementation;
- ongoing support; and
- access to a nationwide online community of teacher leaders from all locals engaged in this work.
- The AFT will provide a stipend (for an eight-month program) for 15 teachers.
- The facilitator will convene teachers on one Saturday each month (9 a.m. – 4 p.m., October 2013 – May 2014) to support them as they learn to take active leadership roles in their schools, union and communities. Because this is a nationwide program, all locals will meet on the following eight Saturdays (9 a.m. – 4 p.m.):
- Oct. 19, 2013
- Nov. 16, 2013
- 3. TBD: Dec. 14 OR 21, 2013 (Dec. 14 is an ACT testing day, and Dec. 21 marks the beginning of vacation for many schools; the final December date will be determined at the orientation meeting.)
- Jan. 11, 2014
- Feb. 22, 2014
- March 15, 2014
- April 19, 2014 ( this date will have to be modified since if falls within our spring break)
- May 17, 2014
The AFT has invited Ellen Meyers, founding director of the Teachers Network Leadership Institute and author of The Power of Teacher Networks (Corwin, 2009), to assist the AFT in leading this initiative.
BTU BRs and Principals meet to discuss new Teacher Evaluation
More than 50 BRs and Principals met this week at the Mount Washington Conference Center to discuss the new teacher evaluation. BRs were shown examples and were able to ask questions. They know this will be a learning process and that BTU will continue to work with the district on this so that the process is seemless.
New Teachers Get Ready for School Year
More than 500 newly hired Baltimore City Public School teachers flooded the auditorium at Digital Harbor High School in South Baltimore on Monday to begin a week long training. The new teachers will get the opportunity to meet veteran teachers and learn some strategies for helping students to learn.
They also had the opportunity to hear Interim CEO, Tisha Edwards speak and tell them, they need to more than just teach English and Math in the classroom. She said they would have to make sure their students can leave “where they come from” outside and come to school ready to learn and leave school being proud of who they are.
Kenya Campbell, Chair of the BTU Teacher Chapter, spoke on behalf of BTU president Marietta English. Kenya told the group that union membership is paramount in their careers and that the Union would also be there to help them in any way they could.
The teachers in attendance will go through several classes and workshops before the week is over that will help be successful in the classroom.
BTU President hosts panel at AFT TEACH Conference