In this issue:
Negotiations Update It's beginning! Your NTA Negotiations Team met last Thursday November 17 to review the first proposal we will present to the School Committee Negotiations Team tomorrow, November 21. Our proposal includes:
Realistic cost of living adjustments that address the current levels of inflation
Improved and more equitable longevity payments
Step increases in September
Improved unit C starting salaries (in addition to COLAs)
Improved substitute coverage
Improved parental leave and family sick leave policies
Improved technology infrastructure--readier access to Technical Support Staff and Instructional Technology Specialists
Increased tuition reimbursement budget Including:
Increased reimbursement maximums
Distinct reimbursements for BIPOC Unit C and D members pursuing teaching degrees
Additional elementary preparation time
More equitable middle school meeting times
Shift of meeting times in high school to mornings
Improved Evaluation protocols to support the growth of members on Directed Growth Plans and Improvement Plans
There are other elements of the proposal, but these are the broad areas we address.
Mass Child Grants The Newton Teachers Association has worked for many years with Massachusetts Child, a charitable corporation founded by MTA members in 1996 to help students struggling with financial need. Mass Child provides grants to the NTA so that members can support students and their families. You make qualifying purchases, the NTA reimburses you, and Mass Child reimburses the NTA. Please note that Mass Child does not reimburse individual members; all grant applications must go through the local association. Therefore, please do not fill out the online application on the Mass Child website. This is our local process for use of Mass Child Grant funds:
Contact Cindy Colantonio at NTA office (email@example.com) before purchasing items to be certain that the items you plan to purchase will qualify for reimbursement and that NTA still has Mass Grant Funds available.
Once you have approval, purchase the items and submit your receipts. (You can do this electronically via email or by sending them through the Pony.)
NTA will reimburse you directly right away. We will handle the submission to Mass Child for local reimbursement.
There are two types of grants available through Mass Child at this time of year, which can be used to address distinct student needs:
Standard grants can be used to reimburse purchases of clothing, shoes, hygiene products and eyeglasses, as well as school supplies that are not usually provided by the district such as backpacks, notebooks and pens. For example, you can use these grants to make sure that your students have appropriate winter clothing. Or you can use them to assist vocational school students with license fees, work clothing and/or other supplies that are not provided by the school.
Items must be purchased for particular students. Mass Child will not reimburse “bulk” purchases of items to be distributed to students throughout the year.
Mass Child standard grants cannot reimburse purchases of food or gift cards.
Mass Child grants cannot be used to purchase devices that would fall under a student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or that are the responsibility of the district.
Blue Cross Blue Shield Student Wellness Grants:
You can also use the “Blue Cross Blue Shield Student Wellness Grant” to reimburse purchases of items that assist the physical, mental and emotional health of students experiencing financial need. This grant can be used to address food insecurities with grocery gift cards (sorry, we cannot reimburse restaurant gift cards). It can also be used for items that facilitate physical activity, such as athletic equipment, a bike helmet, or access to a program or activity that boosts self-esteem or physical well-being.
Again, before making any purchases, please contact Cindy Colantonio at the NTA office (firstname.lastname@example.org) to be certain that the items you will be purchasing will qualify for reimbursement and that NTA still has Mass Grant Funds available.
NTA Dues Deductions Payroll deductions for NTA/MTA/NEA membership dues will began with the November 15th salary check and will continue through May 31. Please examine your check stub to determine whether the amount deducted is correct. If you have paid your dues in cash, no deduction should appear. If you are paying your dues through payroll deductions, your stub should have a deduction item "NTA." You can find the amount of your bimonthly deductions depending on your membership classification here. Please call the NTA office (617-244-9562) between 8:30 and 4:00 p.m. on school days or email Cindy Colantonio (email@example.com) if you have any questions.
MTA’s Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee Conference The MTA’s Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee Conference will be held in person on December 2nd and 3rd. This year’s conference program focuses on the theme, “From the roots up, shifting our culture with your union power, it starts with you." You can find registration information here. NTA will reimburse members for the cost of attending.
MTA Trainings for New Members CREDIT COUNSELING AND LOAN FORGIVENESS: New members often have student debt. This up to 75-minute training provides guidance on how to handle debt while qualifying for loan forgiveness. Ongoing webinar link from MTA Benefits: PROFESSIONAL TEACHER STATUS (PTS): 45-minute training on how teachers acquire PTS, and what their rights are before they get PTS. Monday, December 12, 4:00 PM via Zoom, register here: https://bit.ly/3emfGOp ESPs: RIGHTS ON THE JOB: This is a 30-45 minute training on the rights of ESPs both before and after they may pass a probationary period. It covers anti-discrimination laws, union rights, contractual rights, the evaluation process, and whistle-blower protections. Tuesday, December 13, 6:00 PM via Zoom, register here: https://bit.ly/3TgCBtl HIGHER ED RIGHTS TRAINING: In development CERTIFICATION/LICENSURE: 90-minute training explaining the sometimes labyrinthian process of getting a teaching license in Massachusetts. Provisional and Initial License Training - Thursday, January 12 - Zoom registration link to follow Acquiring and Renewing Your Professional License - Thursday, January 26 - Zoom registration link to follow PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: The MTA sponsors a few all-day sessions of Professional Development such as the Summer Conference in August and the Early Career Educator Conference on March 4th. Other PD may be available in your local by request. To schedule any of these trainings please contact Josh Levit: firstname.lastname@example.org