CEA advocates for teachers and public education. We've been a driving force in lobbying legislators
for the resources public schools need and campaigning for high standards for teachers and students.
Our proud history spans more than 150 years.
Whether it's your first time in the classroom or your sixth year, we are here with
all the resources early-career professionals need. We've got classroom management
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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
2018 CEF Read Across America Reading Bus Tour Makes Final Stop in Plainfield
Classmates in Jeni Czekala's class show off the books they'll be bringing home today.
March 2, 2018
After rolling through six towns in five days, the Connecticut Education Foundation's (CEF) 2018 Read Across
America Bus Tour made its last stop this morning at Plainfield Memorial School, where—in spite of wet and
windy weather—eight fourth-grade classes were treated to guest readers, bookmark crafts, a new book of
their choice to take home, and of course, time on board the magical blue bus. To add to the cozy feeling, today
was pajama day at Plainfield Memorial School, and both teachers and students—in fuzzy slippers and
onesies—took full advantage.
Jeni Czekala said for her fourth-graders, time aboard the reading bus was a welcome break—and a reminder
that reading is a joy.
Decorated with characters from popular Dr. Seuss books and outfitted with bookshelves, benches, carpeting, and
thousands of books donated by CEF, the bus has made stops in the northeastern Connecticut towns of Putnam,
Sterling, Brooklyn, Killingly, Thompson, and Plainfield.
Sponsored by CEF, the nonprofit arm of the Connecticut Education Association, the weeklong Reading Bus Tour
included guest readers, costumed characters, literacy and craft activities, and new books for nearly 1,000
"There is so much excitement among students this morning about the Reading Bus," said Plainfield Education
Association President Janet Piezzo. "It brings literature right into their environment in a way that makes it
their own and makes it fun. Some of our children have seen the blue bus rolling through town, and now they get
to say they've been on it."
The morning's activities kicked off with reading specialist Jackie Ibbitson reading aloud Patricia Polacco's
picture book Thank You, Mr. Falker, based on the author's own struggles as a young reader and her journey into
literacy, thanks to intensive help, understanding, and encouragement from a teacher who recognized both her
challenges and her gifts.
Reading specialist Jackie Ibbitson was one of the Plainfield's guest readers.
"Many times when you read books, you relate to them," Ibbitson told the PJ-and-slipper-clad fourth-graders
gathered on the bus. "They touch your heart." Ibbitson revealed that she, too, had struggled with a learning
disability as a child and related to the teasing and embarrassment Polacco's character felt.
Teacher Jeni Czekala, whose class was first to board the bus this morning, said, "It's so nice to see kids have
a moment to enjoy literature and carry out that love of reading. We get to give them time to experience the joy
of a good story, to empathize with its characters, and to see something of their own lives or someone else's in
the tales they read and hear." In the classroom, Czekala explained, "We are so data-driven and pressed for time
that to be able to be able to stop, sit and listen, and enjoy a story is refreshing."
What's better than a bookmark to hold your place? A bookmark you've made yourself!
"Children sometimes lose their love of reading because of testing and other pressures at school," Ibbitson
agreed. "I want to bring back the idea of reading just for joy."
Other guest readers on the weeklong bus tour have included teachers, library media specialists, mayors, school
administrators, legislators, and other local luminaries.
The brainchild of Plainfield Superintendent Kenneth DiPietro, the mobile library that doubled as CEF's Reading
Bus is the realization of a multi-year effort, including generous donations from local businesses.
"Knowing CEF's support for literacy, using the bus to bring reading to Connecticut's northeastern towns was a
perfect match," DiPietro said. "The bright blue bus, the loudspeaker song â€˜Gotta Keep Reading,' and hours of
storytelling on board generate the same kind of excitement you see when the ice cream trucks rolls through the
neighborhood. In every community we heard the same comments: that students would love to ride that bus to school
Substitute teacher Lisa Carrott joins CEF President and CEA Vice President Jeff Leake and reading specialist
Jackie Ibbitson aboard the Reading Bus on its final stop this week.
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.