Union Power

MTA members show union power; DESE rescinds proposals linking licensure to educator evaluation MTA President Barbara Madeloni and Vice President Janet Anderson sent the following message to MTA members on Friday, November 14:

We did it! In recent days, thousands of you have contacted state education officials to express your opposition to linking your license to your evaluation. MTA members sent e-mails, spoke out at DESE’s “town halls,” organized building meetings and made plans to attend upcoming DESE meetings in Malden and Bridgewater. Today, the commissioner of education released a letter that says: “… we are rescinding the draft options that link licensure to educator evaluation.” Our message — Union Strong — is making a difference. While the immediate threat is lifted, there is much more to be done to make sure state officials hear what educators think we and our students need. Here’s the background on the licensure story. Twenty-five days ago, MTA received notice of licensure changes proposed by DESE that would connect performance evaluation to license renewal and advancement. These proposals and the façade of voice given within the DESE “town halls” exposed the deep disconnect between educators and the department. Union members spoke out resoundingly. Several members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education joined us in telling the commissioner they opposed this licensure plan. The decision announced today is a good start, but other aspects of proposed licensure changes are still unsettled, and the disconnect between educators and DESE remains. The commissioner has invited us to “continue the conversation.” Let’s do just that by showing up in Malden on Nov. 19 and Bridgewater on Nov. 20 to tell our stories, speak our truth, and reclaim public education. Here are the details of the meetings next week: DESE-sponsored Town Halls on Licensure Wednesday, November 19 4:30-7 p.m. (arrive at 4:15 p.m.) Malden High School 77 Salem Street Malden

AND

Thursday, November 20 4:30-7 p.m. (arrive at 4:15 p.m.) Bridgewater State University Crimson Hall – Dunn Conference Room 200 East Campus Drive Bridgewater

Even as we move forward with our plans to make our voices heard, this is a moment to celebrate our strength and acknowledge the hard work of our members on this crucial issue. So thank you, and let’s keep up the fight!

In solidarity,

Barbara and Janet

 

President’s Update 9-22-14

I hope you’re all well as you receive this message. It has been a crazy week and there continue to be issues all over the district. Please know that I am doing everything I can to help as many as possible. My mission is to fight for every single one of you and make sure that all of your rights are being respected.

I ask that when you send me your issues/complaints/concerns, that you please give me as detailed an account as possible. Sometimes the context is everything. If you forward an email that you think is important and that I should be looking at, please provide some background information to the situation.
Due to some pressing concerns, I’ve added another school this week. I will be meeting withKelly School teachers on Tuesday, Sep. 23, and with Lawrence School teachers on Thursday, Sep. 25. Next week, I will be meeting with McMahon School teachers. If you feel your school needs to meet with me sooner rather than later, contact me and I will do my best to accommodate.
Depending on whether most schools have a staff meeting on Monday, Sep. 29, we will be having an information session on the evaluation system and the changes that may take effect, depending on how the ratification vote turns out. In the event that Monday does not work for most teachers, we will hold the information session on Tuesday, Sep. 30. This is a most serious matter and requires everyone’s attention. This will affect every single educator in our district. Please attend the informational session and spread the word to other teachers who may not be receiving this email. Shortly after the information session (more information coming soon on dates) we will hold a ratification vote for the changes in the evaluation system.
On a lighter note, I’ve attached a flier(Pasi_Sahlberg flier) for the Oct. 2 forum at Westfield State University and I hope to see many of you there. It would be great for Holyoke teachers to lead the way in advocating for students and their learning conditions.
Remember that we are all in this together.
In Solidarity,
Gus Morales

HTA President
Attention: Building Reps
Please distribute the contact information sheets to the teachers in your building. Any issues, please contact me.

Presidents Message 9-18-14

Members of the HTA,

 

We have a lot going on in our district. Recently, many of you have taken me up on my offer to email me with concerns/issues. I am pleased with the response so far. I, along with the Executive Board, have been looking to resolve any issues we come across.

 

Recently, I began implementation of a new initiative that I hope will help to put us all on the same page. The goal is to meet with one school per week. This is meant to be an informal discussion about any pressing matters that YOU, the members, wish to discuss.

 

I met with Morgan teachers last week and I met with Dean teachers this week. Between the emails and the issues raised at these meetings, it is clear that much work is needed. Feel free to continue emailing and reaching out.

 

We are in the early stages of planning a New Members’ social and it’d be great to have some of our veteran teachers assist in putting this together. Also, if you have ideas you’d like to share about things you’d like to see, do not hesitate. This is OUR union. None of us stand alone.

 

Some important upcoming dates:

 

  • Tuesday, Sep. 23 – Meeting with Kelly teachers @ 3:15 (please pass this along)

  • Thursday, Oct. 2 – Forum at Westfield State University featuring Pasi Sahlberg @ 6:30

  • Tuesday, Oct. 7 – Board Meeting @ 3:30

In Solidarity,

Gus Morales

HTA President

As always, feel free to contact me with any union-related concerns. Also, for the most recent updates see:

www.Twitter.com/PresidentHTA

www.YouTube.com/PresidentHTA

www.FaceBook.com/PresidentHTA

President’s Message 9-4-14

Members of the HTA,

As stated in previous messages, my aim is to send out the President’s Message once a week and my preference would be Thursday of every week. Please email if you have thoughts or suggestions on the matter.

I want to take a moment to welcome the new teachers to our city and for those of you who’ve been around, thank you for your continued service. Sometimes, we feel beaten down and unappreciated, yet we endure.

How do I know that you’re all amazing teachers? You wake up every single day, come to work and bring every ounce of energy you can muster to teach our children. That is amazing! Please remember that we are all one team and we need to not only be able to talk to one another, but we need to stand together.

Now, on to more pressing matters specific to the HTA.

1. Part of the plan for this Executive Board is to start visiting schools every week. The first will be Morgan School on Wednesday, September 10 at 3:45 p.m.. I will post the schedule for the coming months in next week’s President’s Message.

2. Several bylaw change proposals:

·       Retirees can retain membership, while limited, if they pay a nominal fee/dues.

·       Members who resign retain no membership rights effective on their resignation date.

·       Teachers/members involved in fighting dismissal/unjust termination will retain membership in good standing.

3. Some dates to keep in mind:

·       Board Meeting, September 9th      

·       MTA Forum: September 15th @ HCC Kittredge Center (more details to follow)

4. We are in the middle of contract negotiations. We will be updating you very soon on everything that has transpired thus far. The “Bottom Line”, a message from the negotiations team will be published very soon. There is lots to discuss, so please be on the lookout for this message, as well as your monthly “Common Purpose” newsletter.

I’d like to conclude with what would have been the closing to my convocation address:

No matter what anyone says, OUR students are awesome. No matter what anyone says, OUR city is awesome. No matter what anyone says, OUR teachers are awesome. Hold your heads up high. Walk with confidence. You’re a Holyoke Teacher. Be proud.

In Solidarity,

Gus Morales

HTA President

As always, feel free to contact me with any union-related concerns. Also, for the most recent updates see:

www.Twitter.com/PresidentHTA

www.YouTube.com/PresidentHTA

www.FaceBook.com/PresidentHTA

President’s Message 8-21-14

Members of the HTA,

As your new President, I wish my first message to address some issues that have been at the forefront of everyone’s minds lately. First and foremost, let me say that it is my distinct pleasure to serve as your president. Each and every one of the Executive Board members and myself made a promise to you that we would do our best to serve you and to make OUR union strong again.

We have many issues to tackle and it is a long road ahead of us, but I promise to tackle these issues to the best of my ability with your best interests at heart. I know there are a lot of members with issues surrounding their union in the last few years. I know there are a lot of you who remain disheartened about being a teacher in Holyoke. I know there are a lot of you who face friends and family that have sympathetic looks on their face when you say that you’re a teacher. I promise to work toward better days and to make all efforts that we might bring reverence to our profession. We all want the same thing. We want to do what’s best for the students of Holyoke. We want to do what’s best for the teachers of Holyoke. We want to work together with administration to make Holyoke schools the pride of Holyoke as they once were.

I endeavor to do everything in my power so that TOGETHER WE CAN make being a teacher a great source of pride in our great city. I promise that I, along with Executive Board members, will work tirelessly to make sure that teachers’ assignments are all equitable and that the word equity is a forethought in the decision-making process. I will WORK WITH YOU so that TOGETHER we can create better working conditions and see that our lives are not consumed by grievances and legal battles. TOGETHER WE WILL seek a new direction where administration and teachers work hard together for our students in an open and public discourse where everyone can weigh in on what matters most. It is my strong belief that we, the teachers that spend day in and day out with the students of Holyoke, be directly involved in shaping any policy that affects ALL of us.

 

I desire a future for Holyoke in which students receive a well-rounded education rivaling any other and for teachers to be able to walk in the community with their heads held high. I am confident that YOU want the same. I am YOUR President. YOUR votes put me here. This is YOUR Presidency. I thank all of you for YOUR support and ask that WE STAND TOGETHER as we travel this road.

 

In Solidarity,

 

Gus Morales

HTA President