Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year and the third issue of the Baltimore Educator, our quarterly newsletter. The pandemic continues and has altered our traditional Back to School rituals and routines. As the frontline workers in City Schools, you go above and beyond as a normal course of action. BTU members are at the heart of everything that’s going right in this school system, from the connections with families, to the innovative practices in virtual learning, to the meal site coordination.
For the sake of yourself and your students you must remain well, and well-informed of your rights. Since last spring, we have met the district at the (now virtual) negotiating table for the PSRP contract and COVID-19 working conditions MOU. I am fighting for your rights, and as we reach agreement with the district, we’ll be keeping you informed and updated. You can remain informed by checking out the updated BTU website, as well as by receiving our email blast and following the BTU on various social media platforms. Join our Facebook BTU Private Group that has over 3000 members, and check out our public BTU Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages daily.
In addition to staying informed, I am also asking you to engage deeply in community with your coworkers, your students and their families during this time. Our school district may take advantage of opportunities to divide us, but as teachers, clinicians, and PSRPs, we know our job is to advocate alongside families so that they can get what they need. Please join your school’s PTA/PTO or School Family Council (SFC), the BTU COVID Taskforce, or another BTU Committee, participate in actions like petitions and days of action, and continue to contact the school board, and elected officials about the challenges we are facing and the resources we need.
We must stand together because together we are stronger. One way we are standing together is by mailing members a Back-to-School welcome package with a BTU T-shirt, #SafeNotSilenced mask, calendar, and new contract book (for teachers, the new PSRP contract is still being negotiated). If you have not updated your contact information on this Google Form, please do so we can mail your package. Over 3100 members have completed the Google Form and will receive their package soon, if not already. We want to reach all 7000 members! Another way we are standing together is by having a Members Only section of the BTU website. The information is password protected and to receive the password, please email firstname.lastname@example.org requesting it. The Members Only section has links to our LisTEN Events on the 10th of every month, Sick Bank information, Instructional Toolbox for Educators videos and resources, Executive Board Minutes, the Digital Divide campaign, and more links will be added soon to keep members informed and engaged.
Most importantly, I am asking you to do the work you need to do internally to maintain your own peace and passion – breathe, read, spend time with people you love, be outside as much as you can, hug your family members and pets, exercise, cook a wonderful meal, and whatever else you do in order to destress and maintain balance. In order to do what we need to over the coming months, our physical and emotional health needs to be strong as it will be called upon in new ways.
Never forget – when we fight, we win.
President Diamonté Brown