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  • Writer's pictureMike Zilles

NTA EBulletin: June 9, 2024

Dear Colleagues,


There are a couple conventions we often use to refer to the year end:

  • The year is "winding down." 

  • We're "wrapping up" the year." 

This year, however, the year is dragging on, and dragging on, and dragging on. Outside, the days are long and the nights short, the weather is feeling more and more summer-like, yet we still have nearly three more weeks of school. Too much!


Three more weeks; three more EBulletins. Then we're done.


Hang in there. We'll get through. 



In solidarity,


Mike Zilles, President

Newton Teachers Association



Joint Labor Management Committees:

Elementary Day Working Group

(New)

Elizabeth Ross DelPorto and Ayesha Farag


One outcome of our recent contract negotiations was agreement to establish a number of working groups charged with exploring options and making recommendations to address identified challenges in several areas. Each of these Joint Labor Management Committees (JLMCs) will consist of equal numbers of members appointed by the NTA and management. As we begin these processes, you can expect that we will collaborate to regularly share updates on our work through both the NTA Bulletin and the Inside Voice district newsletter.


One of those JLMCs, the Elementary Day Working Group, held our first big group meeting this week (there had been several smaller meetings prior). Our agreement was to appoint representatives to the working group within 60 days of ratification (we were close!) and to make recommendations to the School Committee by June 2025.


The charge of the Elementary School Day Working Group is to conduct a comprehensive examination of the elementary school day and gather information to recommend changes that:

  • Improve the learning experience and outcomes for students

  • Offer clear and pragmatic scheduling guidance for the elementary day

  • Establish 220 minutes of prep time per week for all elementary teachers 


The members of the Elementary School Day Working Group appear below:


Current Members for the NTA: Chris Walsh, NTA Treasurer; Elizabeth Ross Del Porto, Angier; Lynn Penczar, Lincoln Eliot; Brenna Green, Cabot; Lindsey Mueller, Franklin; Jayme Ellis, Burr; Lisa Lacava, Mason Rice; Jackie Gilligan, Ward; Amanda Napolione, Countryside, 1 TBD


Current Members for NPS: Ayesha Farag, Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education; Lauren Harrison, ELL; Maura Tynes, Student Services; Jen Ortega, Teaching and Learning; Shannon Komow, Teaching and Learning; MTSS Director, Teaching and Learning; Diana Guzzi, Principal; Diana Beck, Principal; Jesse Krotick, Student Services; 1 TBD [Note-Unit B Members can serve as members for either the NTA or NPS Administration.]


We began our meeting with introductions, an overview of the context for our work and the charge of the working group. Additionally,  we completed two useful and instructive exercises.


We first worked with small groups to reflect upon and share in response to the following prompts:

  • What is working well about the elementary day? 

  • What are the challenges? 

  • What would you change?


The second was a thought exercise asking us to imagine a year has passed and we collectively agree that our work has been positive and productive. Using a modified “futuring” protocol,  we asked ourselves a number of questions to inform the development of our group working agreements and processes for the work ahead: 

  • What observations did you make that contributed to our successful teamwork? 

  • What did we learn from our successes and challenges?

  • How did the team manage challenges and obstacles?

  • What actions did the team make that supported a positive and productive team dynamic?

  • What practices or processes helped to inform our decision making?

  • How do team members describe our team's culture and approach?


The group will resume work in September. There is much work to be done, and our group is excited to begin!



Morning Faculty Meetings in High Schools

(Revised)

 

A reminder that next year in the high schools--North, South, Springboard, and Central--staff meetings will be held on Tuesday mornings, NOT on Tuesday afternoons. They will begin at 7:45 a.m. and end at 8:45.



Take Action!

(Unrevised)


Support Legislation to Make Retirement Plus Available to All.


Click here and take one minute to send an email supporting legislation to open up enrollment to members who did not enroll in 2001.


From the MTA:


In 2001, when RetirementPlus was first introduced, many teachers encountered a confusing enrollment process. Some never received an enrollment form while others were led to believe they were automatically enrolled in Retirement Plus, only later learning that they were not. The MTA has worked to rectify these issues administratively, however, an August 2023 ruling by the Division of Administrative Law Appeals has made it clear that legislation is needed to fix this problem.


Click here and to learn more about and support this legislation!



Save the Dates! MTA Events This Year

(New)


Summer Conference 2024 from July 28-31 in Amherst: Save the date now for 'summer camp for adults'- a wide array of professional workshops that earn you PDPs. Stay in on-campus apartments and eat in the award winning dining hall, with evening social events.  Sign-Ups are now open!  


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