Joint HTA and HPS Statement

Joint HTA and HPS Statement

The Holyoke Public Schools and the Holyoke Teachers Association want to wish our staff and their families a happy holiday season! We appreciate that 2015 has been a year with many changes, including new district leadership and a bold turnaround plan. We applaud your continued professionalism, eagerness to share your input, and above all, your commitment to our students and their families.

It is important that you take time over the holiday break to rest, relax, and recharge. Research suggests that educators should use the holidays to disconnect from work (http://phys.org/news/2015-12-christmas-vital-teacher-psychological- wellbeing.html). As the findings point out, this will help prevent burnout and exhaustion in the long run.

We pledge to work together to ensure that you receive the support, guidance, and direction to deliver on our promises to children. We look forward to 2016 and building a bright future in the Holyoke Public Schools with you.

Holyoke Teachers Association Responds to DLC Report

For immediate release: Dec. 14, 2015
For additional information, contact HTA President Gus Morales, xxx-xxx-xxxx

Holyoke Teachers Association Responds to DLC Report

The Holyoke Teachers Association shares the concerns expressed in the community about the report issued by the Disability Law Center. Our members want to be sure that all students in Holyoke, and specifically those at the Peck School, are provided with a safe and productive learning environment.

As the professionals who directly address the learning and caretaking needs of students in a high-needs educational setting, our members at the Peck School have long raised concerns about systemic problems. Issues include the need for more resources, higher staffing levels, and appropriate student placements.

The HTA stands by the staff at Peck. A lawyer from the Massachusetts Teachers Association attended each of the interviews that the DLC conducted. Based on the attorney’s observations and report to us, the HTA believes that the advocacy group is not portraying an entirely accurate or fair picture.

We look forward to working with the district attorney and will cooperate fully with his office in the days ahead.

President’s Message / Back to School BBQ

Members of the HTA,
For our newest members, welcome to the Holyoke Public Schools and to our Holyoke Teachers Association family.
For those returning, welcome back and thank you for your continued service.
Now that you are getting ready to wrap up the first week of school with the kids it is important that we take the time to reflect. In the coming weeks I will be soliciting feedback from the membership on what goals the HTA should be focused on for the upcoming school year. It is important to promote peace and unity throughout our union and focus on creating the most positive space for all of us to thrive.
With the first week almost over, it is the perfect time for all of you to send pictures of your classrooms and reflections on what the first week was like via Facebook (www.Facebook.com/PresidentHTA) or Twitter (@PresidentHTA or link www.Twitter.com/PresidentHTA). The message should be one of positivity and continue the momentum begun at convocation.
On Saturday, September 12, 2015, the HTA will be taking part in a Back to School BBQ from 11-3 at Pulaski Park in Holyoke (link: https://www.facebook.com/events/934194853313097/#). This is an opportunity for us, as educators, to engage with the community and put a face to the teachers of Holyoke. It would be great to see as many of you there as possible and take part in a community celebration. 
I hope everyone has a good Friday with their students and please feel free to reach out anytime.
​In Solidarity,

Gus Morales

HTA President

President’s Message

What a difference a year can make.

I remember last year’s convocation leaving many teachers frustrated, anxious, and dismayed at the outlook for the year. Troubling comments were made about the Holyoke teachers not doing enough as well as an overall feeling of blame directed at them. Veteran teachers felt disenfranchised and clearly heard the whispers that the district’s predicament was mostly their fault. While it is true that we must all put the past behind us, only a fool forgets the context which makes up the present.

This year’s convocation was an absolute contrast. It is amazing what small gestures can mean to the hardworking teachers of Holyoke. A good chunk of time was allotted to celebrate our veteran teachers who’d been serving Holyoke for more than 25 years. It was nice to see all the educators who’ve given so much of themselves to Holyoke be given proper accolades and acknowledgment that they are the backbone of our Public Schools. We saw teachers get called in bands of 25+ years, 30+ years, 35+ years, 40+ years, and then finally only one was left standing to claim the very distinguished 50+ years of service to Holyoke Public Schools.

This year’s convocation set the tone for how future ones should look and feel like. Time was taken to welcome the newest members to the Holyoke Public Schools in a meaningful way that did not feel like an afterthought. Instead of the very dark auditorium, the gym was used and was very bright. There was singing and there was a great deal of laughter and applause. An atmosphere of positivity took place and we should look to capitalize on it. Let us hope that we can all work together to make this year a raging success that brings enjoyment to the students and the staff. Welcome back!

Gus Morales
HTA President

Welcome Back!

Members of the HTA,

Today was the first day back for most of you and I’m sure you’re all ready to begin the new school year. I sincerely hope everyone had a restful summer and had the chance to relax and enjoy the company of family and friends.

This year will not be like most years. There will be some new challenges that we face as teachers in Holyoke. Our job has never been easy and I ask you all to dig deep into your reservoirs and find the strength to guide you on this journey. It is important that we stand together and rely on one another with so much uncertainty and so many changes.

We lost a lot of teachers and of course that is a loss that will be felt, but we’ve also gained a lot of new colleagues. Our newest members will be the ones that need us all the most. Let us welcome them into our buildings with open arms and embrace them as the latest additions to our Holyoke Teachers Association family.

We all know we are in uncharted waters. We know it will be a difficult year. And still, I am hopeful that together we can make it a great year. I look forward to seeing you all in your buildings and working together to build union strength. Have a great school year!

 

In Solidarity,

Gus Morales

HTA President