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The Teacher Education and Mentoring Program (TEAM) is a two year induction program for
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Change Is on the Horizon This Back-to-School Season
Commissioner of Education Dianna Wentzell welcomed superintendents to a new school year at the State Department of Education's annual back-to-school meeting.
August 16, 2018
While the last weeks of summer vacation bring much of the same back-to-school prep across Connecticut as they do every year, superintendents and other education leaders attending the Commissioner of Education's annual back to school conference yesterday looked ahead to some changes that could have a big impact on Connecticut classrooms.
The laws and policies that govern much of what happens in schools are set by politicians, and, with elections taking place this November, the winners elected to these crucial positions will have the ability to shape our schools for years to come.
"The State Board of Education may see substantial changes in the coming school year," said board chair Allan Taylor. The terms of six of the 11 members of the State Board of Education will be up this February, and whichever candidate is elected governor this November will have the power to appoint members of his choosing. In Connecticut, the Commissioner of Education is also a position appointed by the state's governor.
Every seat in the state legislature is up for election this year, and one key player, State Rep. Andrew Fleischmann, the co-chair of the legislature's Education Committee, is already out of the running. Fleischmann, a 23-year incumbent, lost Tuesday's Democratic primary to political newcomer Jillian Gilchrest.
"We'll have two new chairs of the Education Committee," said Robert Radar, executive director of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education. "We'll have a new governor, things are going to be pretty different." Former Senate Democratic Education Committee Co-Chair Gayle Slossberg decided last spring that she would not seek reelection.
An Emotion Revolution
One change that's already coming to Connecticut classrooms is a new focus on social and emotional learning.
Dr. Marc Brackett, director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, says he wants to make Connecticut the first emotionally intelligent state. (Click image for larger version)
"It's time for an emotion revolution," Dr. Marc Brackett, director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, told superintendents. "If you address how students feel, it makes a big difference."
Research has shown that school-based social and emotional learning programs not only improve students' proficiency in managing their emotions and behavior, but also substantially improve academic outcomes.
"All of us in education need to have these skills so that we can best support our students," said Commissioner of Education Dianna Wentzell.
"The life of a student is replete with hundreds of emotions a day. How much direct instruction are we giving kids on managing their emotions?" Brackett asked.
He said that when he and other researchers conduct interviews and surveys with children, they find that students are not doing well, emotionally. "The top three emotions that our nation's youth tell us they're experiencing are tired, bored, and stressed."
Some may dismiss social and emotional learning as "soft skills," but Brackett argues there is no such thing. "Emotional skills are harder to manage than cognitive skills," he said.
The RULER approach, developed by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, takes a systemic approach to addressing social and emotional learning in schools. "A piecemeal approach doesn't work," Brackett added. "It's so important to start with the adults."
For teachers, Brackett says, the primary emotion they feel at school is frustration. Yet teachers who work with principals with higher levels of emotional intelligence are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs and less likely to experience burnout.
"If you want less teacher burnout, think about hiring emotionally intelligent principals," he said.
Brackett encouraged superintendents to work with him and the Yale Center to make Connecticut the first emotionally intelligent state. "Together we can build a healthier and more equitable, innovative, and compassionate Connecticut, so all children can thrive and achieve their dreams."
iHeartRadio joins the Connecticut Education Foundation to bring the joy of reading and free books to students in five Connecticut towns. The year’s biggest literacy event rolled into Plainfield this morning to kick off the third annual Read Across America Reading Bus Tour to celebrate the joy of reading with hundreds of students.
Dalio Philanthropies donates $40,000. Hundreds of schoolchildren across the state facing extraordinary hardships will receive a helping hand—as will minority students planning on entering the teaching profession—thanks in large part to a generous donation from the Dalio Philanthropies.
Woodland Regional High School’s 600-plus students rose to their feet and cheered as beloved teacher Meghan Hatch-Geary was honored in a surprise ceremony announcing Connecticut’s 2020 Teacher of the Year (TOY). The announcement came this morning at the Beacon Falls school where she and her husband, building rep Paul Geary, teach English.
“From Stamford to Manchester and towns in between, teachers have been reporting illnesses related to environmental problems within their schools,” says CEA President Jeff Leake. “There’s black mold, rodent droppings, extreme heat and cold temperatures, dust, asbestos, and other issues that are putting our students and teachers at risk every day.”
Educators from every corner of the state came together at CEA’s first-ever teacher tailgate party this weekend at UConn football’s homecoming game. More than 100 teachers, friends, and family members enjoyed breakfast, music, a fan photo booth, and games of KanJam, cornhole, and ladder golf.
The #RedForEd movement is only getting stronger—from Chicago, to Fairplay, CO to Little Rock, to Mendota, IL. Educators and their allies are coming together in communities across the country to create better schools for our children.
The National Education Association (NEA) and Connecticut Education Association (CEA) today applauded Rep. Jahana Hayes, longtime NEA and CEA member as well 2016 National Teacher of the Year, on her introduction of the Pell Grant Restoration Act, H.R. 4298.
There are those, including current U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who argue that spending more on public education doesn't lead to better outcomes. School finance expert and Rutgers Professor Bruce Baker begs to differ, and he has research to back his position up.
Teachers are a selfless group who choose their profession because of a love for children and teaching, not for any expectation of accolades or honors. And that makes those times teachers are recognized and have a chance to be in the spotlight all the more special.
Teachers have a lot to say on issues from their pensions to classroom safety this legislative session, which is why local associations around Connecticut are meeting with their legislators and making their voices heard.
Speaking to hundreds of students at Harding High School in Bridgeport today, Governor Ned Lamont encouraged his audience to pursue a career in teaching and be role models for the next generation of students.
Wearing #RedForEd T-shirts, several hundred Waterbury teachers showed their strength as a union, their dedication to their profession, and their value to the community they serve when they packed a March 7 Waterbury Board of Education meeting.
Community schools, minority teacher recruitment and retention, the opportunity gap, and school literacy were just some of the issues members of the legislature's Education Committee heard public input.
"Our students would only benefit from having more opportunities to learn about the culture, struggles, and contributions of African-Americans and Latinos throughout history," Waterbury teacher Sean Mosley told the legislature's Education Committee
"Teachers become teachers because we want to help kids," says Danbury building rep Lori Woodruff. "It's the same with our union—we are here to help each other. As teachers, when we're involved with the union we can do more to help one another."
Connecticut Education Foundation's (CEF) second annual Read Across America Reading Bus Tour kicked off on February 25, featuring a customized blue bus decorated with well-known Dr. Seuss characters and outfitted with bookshelves, benches, carpeting, and hundreds of new books.
At a public hearing of the legislature's Education Committee today, classroom teachers—along with CEA leaders and staff—gave powerful testimony urging lawmakers to address the crisis of violent student behavior in rural, urban, and suburban schools throughout the state.
Teachers, CEA leaders, and staff testified before the Connecticut General Assembly's Black and Puerto Rican Caucus on issues critical to teachers this legislative session. These issues included school climate, classroom safety, the persistent shortage of ethnic minority educators, and funding for public schools.
CEA supports sensible ways of assisting the state in its efforts to make up for decades of underfunding teachers' retirement, including the governor and treasurer's plan to smooth out the state's payments to the fund over a longer period of time and lower the investment earning assumption to a more realistic rate.
"We reject the idea of cutting our way to prosperity. That has never worked," said Connecticut AFL-CIO President Sal Luciano. His remarks came at a press conference yesterday where members of the labor community, including CEA, called on the state to adopt a pro-growth, investment budget.
Project Oceanology and New England Science and Sailing are partnering to offer "Sound Education: Working with NGSS and STEM in Long Island Sound". This is a FREE two-day PD event from April 5 - April 6 for teachers in grades 4-12, with overnight accommodations provided in Project Oceanology's waterfront hostel.
Legislation passed late in 2015 made many "tax extenders" semi-permanent, but there are still a few esoteric items that keep everyone on tenterhooks when, as once again this year, Congress fails to pass the tax bill by the end of the year.
Marks the inauguration of a new governor and the beginning of the 2019 session of the Connecticut General Assembly. It's likely to be a busy session with many issues for legislators to tackle over these next five months.