CEA advocates for teachers and public education. We've been a driving force in lobbying legislators
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Our proud history spans more than 150 years.
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The Teacher Education and Mentoring Program (TEAM) is a two year induction program for
beginning teachers that includes mentorship and professional development. Beginning
teachers participating in the program are assigned a trained mentor to guide them
through developing individualized growth plans, uniquely based on their own needs as
Windsor Choral Teacher Cheers on Former Student, Finalist on The Voice
Choral teacher Tracee White (left) is delighted to welcome NBC's The Voice finalist Kymberli Joye back to Windsor High School, where she was White's student all four years. Joye serves as an inspiration for White's current students, who watch each episode as a class and are rooting for their hometown celebrity.
December 4, 2018
A teacher's good work often shines in her students, and for Windsor High School choral director Tracee White, the product of her hard work now shines on television.
White is the former teacher of rising star Kymberli Joye, a current finalist on NBC's television reality competition The Voice. Joye's vocal talents have landed her a spot in the top 10 on the program, which airs Mondays and Tuesdays.
White, who taught Joye for four years and learned that her protege was auditioning for the show earlier this year, has been following her former student's successes, even incorporating her progress into lessons for her choir classes.
"I make it educational," White says, adding that she shows each performance to her classes. "They write reflections and critiques on the vocal performances. They look forward to that every week."
An aded bonus was when her star student was able to visit Windsor High School recently to share her experiences on The Voice—a huge morale-booster for current students.
"Kymberli told them to never give up on their dreams, no matter what it is you are doing, and even if it doesn't happen right away," says White.
The world stage
Often, a music teacher will work with a student for the duration of that child's school experience—forming a relationship that lasts many years.
White recalls watching Joye transform from a shy freshman to a confident vocalist who sang the national anthem at her 2009 graduation. She then left to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston.
"You can see growth and confidence building up," White explains, adding that in Joye's high school career, she performed various types of music with different groups. "You see their growth not only as musicians, but as people."
White knows that a teacher's influence can be profound. Growing up in Bloomfield, she dreamed of being a teacher. Her connection to music, however, was born at school when her elementary school music teacher saw a musical spark in her.
"When I was eight, my music teacher contacted my mom and asked, 'Who is Tracee studying with?'" White recalls. "When my mother said I wasn't taking lessons anywhere, my teacher said, 'I can see something in her'—and so my parents got a piano."
White went on to play French horn, sing, and ultimately combine her love of music with her desire to teach. She credits her elementary school teacher for helping her find that vision.
"It was she who got me to where I am now," says White, adding that she strives to do the same for her students.
Indeed, former students of White's have gone on to become music teachers, perform on Broadway, and travel the world—all the while keeping in touch to share their successes and remind her of the positive influence she has had.
Kymberli Joye, of course, is currently her most high-profile former student. Before landing on The Voice, the 26-year-old was singing backup for various performers and working with gospel singer J.J. Hairston, for which she has been nominated for a Grammy.
But it's Joye's role on The Voice, as part of pop superstar Kelly Clarkson's team of talent, that White is able to witness personally each week on the small screen, however nerve-wracking those episodes may be.
"I'm screaming, hollering, rewinding... It's like I'm there! I'm just as nervous!" White confides. "I feel like she can win this whole thing. She has the voice, and she's teachable... She was always open to hearing what could better her performance...She just has it. She's the whole package."
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.
Once again, the Connecticut Education Foundation's Board of Directors invites you to support the Children's Fund by joining Association members and CEA staff at the 25th Annual Hands Across the Green Golf Tournament on Monday, July 15.
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.