1. Our Legislative and Political Action Team is meeting with Senator Hedlund on Tuesday February 11th at 4pm at Chapman. This is an opportunity for educators from Weymouth and the other towns in Senator Hedlund's district to advocate for budget items that will help us educate our students. One of the most controversial issues that Senator Hedlund is likely to support---which would be a disaster for Weymouth----is allowing districts to add costs for retired teachers' health insurance to the Net School Spending figures. This would make it look like Weymouth is complying with the state guidelines, but the "extra" would have no impact on our current students or teaching conditions. Other aspects of the budget proposed by Governor Patrick that we would like Senator Hedlund to support is the freeze on special education inflation rates for all the outside placements, increases to full day kindergarten grants, funding for expanded middle school learning time, and a proposed Foundation Budget Review Commission. The underlying purpose of this meeting is to show that teachers want and need their legislators' support--and to help explain the realities of our jobs, and why we need priority when budget decisions are made.
2. To ensure a favorable turnout, the Executive Board and I have decided to shorten and move the Rep Council meeting to Chapman on February 11 from 4:30-5:00 in room 211. This will be a very brief meeting to give the Reps an update on our most pressing issues (para instruction, middle school report cards, and primary report cards) and to give them an opportunity to share concerns they are hearing in their buildings. As always, all are welcome! The LPAT team is looking for new members and has more events scheduled in the next few weeks with other state legislators---check the website for more information.
3. Yes, you read correctly, we have a website. Mike Miller has been working for a several months on this, and while it is not yet synced to our "under construction" MTA page, word is it will be soon. In the meantime, check outhttp://weymoutheducators.weebly.com for all sorts of helpful information. There is a member only section. The password (for now) is Buell.
4. The TELL Mass surveys should have been given out by now. Your principal was instructed by DESE to hold a faculty meeting in order to hand deliver. It seems many of the principals took this literally and did not want to put them in mailboxes like they did in 2012. Unfortunately some of the faculty meetings including at WHS were lost to the snow day. We have been assured that you all will receive your codes. When you do please complete the survey!!! So far none of our schools have reached the 50% threshold to have the results reported. Talbot is in the lead with 29% -- some schools are still at 0. Please encourage each other!
5. Primary report cards---members have been expressing for over a year that our current reporting system for grades PK-4 is inadequate. As primary teachers know, principals requested volunteers to pilot a new system this spring. Reporting would be done on Aspen and would be standards based aligned to the common core. These are mandatory subjects of bargaining, and the WEA has requested to bargain new report cards in every JLM since September. It is likely that the result of such bargaining will be a pilot with volunteers, but the terms of implementation as well as training on the Aspen system need to be worked out. If the district does not bargain then it can't be implemented, and any pilot work will be fruitless. We will continue to push administration for a formal agreement that is in the best interest of all the primary stakeholders.
I think Five topics for a Friday night is enough...for now. Remember, complete the survey, check the website, and see youTuesday 4pm at Chapman.
President - WEA