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for the resources public schools need and campaigning for high standards for teachers and students.
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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.
As surprising as it may sound, students biting, kicking, throwing furniture, and hurting other students and teachers has become common in schools across Connecticut, CEA Program Development Specialist Robyn Kaplan-Cho told WTIC's Ray Dunaway during an appearance on his radio show.
Although it was after ten o'clock last night by the time the legislature' Education Committee heard public testimony on a bill to help ensure classroom safety and address student assaults, CEA members and staff made sure they were present to testify so that legislators could hear their stories.
Its a busy day at the legislatures Education Committee, with senate and house members hearing from the public on bills that cover a range of topics from remedial reading instruction to virtual learning to Education Savings Accounts.
The Oklahoma Education Association announced on Tuesday night that schools would shut down across the state if the state legislature does not pass a $10,000 pay raise for teachers and increased funding for schools by April 23.
Thank you to all of you who sent messages of support to our West Virginia colleagues. They have stood in solidarity and made their voices heard to demand recognition of their professionalism and dignity.
In one of the city's largest public forums—with a crowd of over 200—more than 60
Shelton teachers shared their concerns and ideas regarding school safety with colleagues, administrators,
and community members.
Raising the state sales and gas taxes, eliminating the estate and gift taxes, selectively raising
business taxes, eliminating collective bargaining for state workers, and reforming the Teachers' Retirement
System are just a few of the recommendations released today by the Commission on Fiscal Stability and
CEA leaders were joined by labor leaders from across the state and legislators in speaking out to protect the rights and freedom of workers to negotiate together and fight for decent and equitable pay, affordable health care, quality schools, and vibrant communities.
February 26 marked the kick off of the Connecticut Education Foundation's 2018 Read Across America
Reading Bus Tour, featuring a 38-foot bus decorated with characters from popular Dr. Seuss books and
outfitted with bookshelves, benches, carpeting, and 3,000 donated books.
CEA joined with the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE) and the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS) in a press conference at East Hartford High School demanding meaningful legislative action on school safety.
The State Board of Education today listened to teachers' concerns about fairness in education funding and responded by rejecting increases in enrollment for three charter schools that would have cost the state $627,000.
Though his opening address to the 2018 General Assembly emphasized Connecticut's tradition of fairness and the state's future generations, the governor's new budget proposal delivers mixed news for Connecticut students, teachers, and schools.
While Governor Malloy's message in his address to the General Assembly emphasized Connecticut's tradition of
fairness and concern for future generations, his budget proposal is anything but fair for Connecticut's students
and public schools.
Kim Sweeney is the winner of a nine-day NEA Adventures prize package summer vacation to Costa Rica. The trip—the grand prize in CEA Member Benefits' first-ever "Explore & Score" eight-week sweepstakes—includes meals, hotel accommodations, and tours of a cloud forest, hot springs, and volcano.
A change to the retired teachers' health insurance program that was adopted by the State Teachers' Retirement Board (TRB) this month will impact retired teachers and spouses who are on—or will soon be on&mdsah;the TRB's Medicare supplement (65 and older) plan.
Public officials are elected to represent the interests of local residents, but members of the Stratford Board of Education abdicated their responsibility to town residents by shutting them out of a public meeting.
State Supreme Court ruling in the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding (CCJEF) v. Rell delivered a mixed verdict—bad for school funding, while rejecting the lower court's attempt to create burdensome schemes for testing, teacher evaluation, and education policy.