BURLINGTON – The city’s educators are recommending the election of Max Tracy for mayor, saying the Progressive will usher in a new era of city support for students, educators, and our schools.
“When it comes to steadfast support of our schools, students, and educators, no other candidate came close,” said Andrew Styles, a fifth-grade teacher at Edmonds Elementary School who serves as the president of the Burlington Education Association. “He is also the only candidate who fully supports labor unions and their members.”
Tracy, as a long-time union organizer, understands the issues facing working Burlingtonians. His time on City Council is testament to the priorities we need right now, Styles said. He noted that Tracy’s focus on creating more opportunity for all Burlingtonians is a welcome change, and that includes strong support of the educators who strive to ensure that all city children receive the education they deserve. “He is making education a top priority, especially in ensuring that all students — especially BIPOC and those in poverty — get the education they deserve,” Styles said. “We unequivocally share this goal.”
In addition to Tracy, the city’s educators have recommended the election of Kienan Christianson for the North District City Council seat. Christianson, a community advocate and lawyer, is endorsed by both the Democratic and Progressive parties.
“This was an easy decision,” Styles said. “As teachers and paraeducators, we recognize hard work, empathy, and pragmatism when we see it. Kienan will be a powerful voice on the Council for labor and for the families we serve.”
Christianson is well versed in educational issues in Burlington. At the law office of Lynn, Lynn, Manitsky and Blackmun, Kienan has worked cooperatively with the Burlington School District to craft strategies to promote student welfare, in particular to protect students from bullying and harassment.
“He has committed to work with us — the city’s front-line educators — to ensure that all students have the resources they need to weather the pandemic and to thrive when it is over,” Styles said.
Read about all of the wonderful educators retiring in 2020. Click on the link below to get to a page full of incredible educators.
Let me take this opportunity to tell you a little about the “Sick Bank”. Think of it as an insurance policy, something to protect you in case of an unforeseen personal illness or accident. All you have to do is donate one full personal day, once. Yes! Just donate once and you are part of the program. Once you are in, you are in although, if you have additional personal days, please feel free to donate another this year. We are hoping to get the Para sick bank numbers up in case someone has to use them.
If you are not yet part of this amazing program, there is still time. Be sure you have one full personal day to donate, Log in to Talent Ed https://bsdvt.tedk12.com/records and request to be added to the Sick Bank!
It will notify myself and Central Office and we will verify that you have a day available and you will be added to the list. I will inform you if there are any conflicts with me adding your name.
BEA Office Administrator
Great job to all the folks who showed up and pulled a firetruck for Outright Vermont! In an eleventh hour save our members came out to pull for Burlington’s LGBTQ+ youth and families!
A special thank you to Jana Sbardellati from Hunt Middle School for rallying a pull team and Mary Northrup from BHS for captaining.
Way to Go!
The Burlington Education Association (BEA) needs you to help pull a fire truck. Last year we had a great turnout, raised a few bucks shy of $3,000, rocked some quirky costumes and pulled that fire truck in 12.60 seconds!
So let’s do it again!
11:30 am to 1:00ish
Check out the Team Fundraising Page and sign up to pull or donate!
If you are pulling you need to contact Betsy Nolan at firstname.lastname@example.org for a release form.
People across the globe are planning to strike on September 20. Many students are planning to walk out of school on that day. Many Burlington teachers and students are using the day to have teach-in sessions. They will use the day to teach about the climate crisis.
Want to learn more about the September 20 event? Want to teach students about climate change? Here are some links that have information about the event and resources for planning lessons.
Burlington Education Association President Andrew Styles addressed the entire community of Burlington educators at an inservice held at Burlington High School, August 22, 2019.
Below is the transcript of Andrew’s speech:
My name is Andrew Styles, I am a fifth grade teacher at Edmunds Elementary and president of the Burlington Education Association, the union of Burlington’s teachers and paraeducators
Today is the start of a new year for all of us. Standing here today, I see so many educators in this room ready to get this year started. Every one of you has already been working to impact students and we’ve only just begun.
I see educators from our food services program who have been providing meals to students all summer.
I see educators from the paraeducators who have worked this summer supporting students in SOAR.
I see educators from IT who have been setting up computers and making sure everything is ready for the kids on Wednesday.
There are teachers who took professional courses over the summer to improve their practice and teachers who have been working in their rooms for the last couple of weeks to make sure everything’s just right Wednesday morning.
Educators from property services who have been working hard all summer to make sure that our facilities and equipment are safe for our students.
Educators from central office who have been working to make sure new teachers are ready to start the year and implementing new systems for handling the business of our district.
Educators who are administrative assistants that have been busy getting orders done, coming in on their own time to make sure everything’s ready for the start of our school year.
I know that this list could go on and on because each and every one of us in this room in an educator. It requires all of us to educate every single student in this district. We have all been actively working to get ready for this year. We have all come together from across all the different specialties that are represented here today with one goal—the education of our students.
I’d like to introduce the leaders who represent you as professionals in our district.
As I mentioned before, I’m Andrew Styles a 5th Grade teacher from Edmunds Elementary. I’d also like to introduce Ann McKay, a paraeducator at C.P. Smith who is our Vice-President.
From AFSCME local 1343, I’d like to recognize our Chapter Chair and Executive Council Member, Dwight Brown, a Senior Technology Specialist. He works with five other stewards to represent Property Services, Bus Drivers, Food Services, and Technology Specialists.
From the Burlington Administrators Association, President, Lashawn Whitmore-Sells, the principal at JJ Flynn.
Our officers from the BEA are:
Our paraeducator negotiations team members are: Ann McKay from CP Smith, Kele Bordeau from IAA and Janet Smith from Champlain and IAA.
Our teacher negotiations team members are: Laura Botte, from Edmunds Middle and Aranka Gyuk from IAA.
I am so proud to have such a great team as we go about this important work.
It amazes me when I look out and see all of our educators. It is a privilege to represent our teachers and paraeducators. As we move into yet another year of negotiations, we are excited to be collaborating with a supportive school board to build the schools our students deserve. Our negotiating team will continue bargaining for the greater good. Connecting each of our contract proposals back to meeting the needs of our students. We need a couple of elementary school teachers to step forward to represent the largest part of our union and participate in this exciting work. Please see Dan Hagan today to get involved.
As you may have heard, Vermont is moving to statewide bargaining for healthcare. AFSCME and Vermont NEA have very thoughtfully prepared a proposal that would meet the needs of teachers, paraeducators, and school staff across the state. This proposal was created based on extensive research and input from members throughout Vermont. The School Boards Association has brought the negotiations to impasse with a proposal that would devastate the paraprofessionals and staff in our district and shift responsibility for rising healthcare costs onto our entire membership. The threat is real! Please stay informed as the negotiations move to fact-finding in September and possibly binding arbitration in December. This contract will affect every person in this room. It is imperative that we stay informed and ready to support our statewide negotiators if necessary.
The paraeducator and teachers contracts are available at BEAworks.com. Please take the time to familiarize yourself with the contract. It was created to allow us to meet the needs of our students. If you find that there are violations in your class, duty, or meeting schedule please reach out to your building rep to help address the issue with your building administration. We are here to help, so reach out to your building rep if you have concerns.
In addition to the state and local level work done by BEA and VT NEA at the national level our representatives and national staff are constantly working to increase teacher voice in public education policy. We are the experts in educating students, we need to have a seat at the table. The “Every Student Succeeds Act.” moves policy away from penalizing schools with low test scores to providing support to their schools with the most challenging populations. ESSA requires teacher input at every level. This is our opportunity to get the resources we need to better meet the needs of our students living in poverty, our students who are learning English and our students suffering from developmental trauma as well as bolstering our work to educate, inspire, and mentor the children of Burlington. Ask your school leadership team about getting involved in this essential work.
For our new teachers, the district and BEA have worked collaboratively to create a mentoring program for our new elementary classroom teachers. It is our hope that this program will be expanded to include all elementary, middle and high school teachers in the future. Colleen Cowell will be facilitating the role out of this new program which will provide ongoing support to help new teachers reflect on and refine their practice.
The BEA will continue to work with community partners such as Outright Vermont, the Council on Temporary Shelter, and other local unions who provide support to our students and families.
Before I close today, I want to welcome our new paraeducators, teachers, administrators and staff please stand to feel the support your colleagues have to offer. Welcome!
I am so excited to see what we can create, working together, hand in hand, to build and run the schools that our students deserve. It is an honor to share this journey with all of the educators in this room.
Restorative Practices are being used in Burlington’s Schools. Teachers are using Restorative Circles to build community. Restorative conversations can help students to restore harm that has been done
Over the next few months, this page will be adding posts on understanding and using restorative practices in our classrooms.
For now, please check out some of the links to articles on restorative practices in schools that appear in the sidebar to the right.
Want to be better informed about the ongoing health care negotiation process which will determine the future of teacher and paraeducator health care? Interested in helping to organize and educate around this issue? Then register for this information packed summit. Here’s what VT-NEA has to say about it:
The Vermont-NEA Healthcare Organizing Summit, presented by the Vermont-NEA Health Care Council, will be held on Saturday August 17th from 10am-5pm at the Old Barre Labor Hall at 46 Granite Street. The Summit is for any Vermont-NEA member who is interested in organizing around healthcare issues among fellow union members and in the community. The specific focus will be on learning information and skills bring back to your local association to support your Statewide Health Care Bargaining Team as they continue negotiate for health insurance for all educators in Vermont as well as organizing beyond negotiations to help fix our broken healthcare system for all Vermonters. The members that make up the Vermont-NEA Health Care Council will lead the Organizing Summit with support from Vermont-NEA staff.
Trauma is ever present and a significant influence in today’s classrooms. BEA teachers and paraeducators are working to inform themselves about the best methods for teaching that are trauma informed.
Over the next few months, this page will be adding posts on understanding trauma in our classrooms and how to best use trauma-informed practices.
For now, please check out some of the links to articles on trauma in the classroom that appear in the sidebar to the right.