We Are Stronger Than Ever! Leading: Our Perspective

The start of the school year, with all its familiar routines, is also a time of adjustment and change. Teachers love the energy of getting back to school, seeing

Your mental health is a priority, and we want to help. CEA will be continuing this important work all year long and keeping you apprised of opportunities. (See story on page 15.) As if COVID-related stress and new school-based initiatives weren’t enough, we are facing strong attacks on

Kate Dias, CEA President

friends, catching up, and meeting new students. But there are also the long days of planning, professional development, and figuring out what the new initiatives look like. So, September brings with it both great energy and sheer exhaustion. This has been a time of great energy for us at CEA. We have been out visiting schools, welcoming new staff, and meeting with local union representative councils and leadership. Those conversations and opportunities to get to know members are like getting to see old friends and meet new students. The work is invigorating and reminds us of why it’s so exciting to lead the state’s largest teachers’ union. Our members are awesome. We loved getting to watch teachers deliver convocation speeches and welcome new educators into the profession. We

us personally and professionally by those who wish to paint our curriculum and our intent as manipulative or lacking integrity. Quite frankly, we have had enough of these abuses. We are well- educated professionals who have committed our lives to encouraging and uplifting children. To have our motives questioned by people who have no idea what we do is insulting and degrading. Enough is enough. To those who wish to denigrate teachers and public education, our message is simple: No. No, you cannot twist our intent into something repulsive. No, you cannot change public education to bend to your narrative. No, you cannot silence truth because it makes you

Joslyn DeLancey, CEA Vice President

mini-golfed in Darien, broke bread in Granby and Windsor, and bowled in Manchester and Bridgeport. (See stories on pages 6-7.) Stamford alone signed 160 new members in a single day—that is some serious stamina! Our people are impressive. We were also privileged to join the talented teachers who brought you the Stronger Than Ever awareness campaign,

uncomfortable. No, you cannot be racist and call it righteous. Just NO. We will not let these attacks go unanswered, and we will be raising calls to action. We are also urging all of our members—a powerful electorate—to get out and vote on November 2. Dozens of educators are running for their local boards of education and town councils, looking to ensure


Donald E. Williams Jr. CEA Executive Director

CEA ADVISOR STAFF Nancy Andrews • Communications Director Lesia Day • Managing Editor Sandra Cassineri • Graphic Designer Laurel Killough • New Media Coordinator Eric Ahrens • Web Designer and Developer CEA GOVERNANCE Kate Dias • President Joslyn DeLancey • Vice President Stephanie Wanzer • Secretary David Jedidian • Treasurer Tara Flaherty • NEA Director Katy Gale • NEA Director October-November 2021 Volume 64, Number 2 Published by Connecticut Education Association 1-800-842-4316 • 860-525-5641 cea.org CEA Advisor The CEA Advisor is mailed to all CEA members. Annual subscription price is $5.72 (included in membership dues and available only as part of membership). Institutional subscription price: $25.00. Advertising in the CEA Advisor is screened, but the publishing of any advertisement does not imply CEA endorsement of the product, service, or views expressed. CEA Advisor USPS 0129-220 (ISSN 0007-8050) is published in August, October/November, December/ January, February/March, April, May/June, and summer by the Connecticut Education Association, Capitol Place, Suite 500, 21 Oak Street, Hartford, CT 06106-8001, 860-525-5641. Periodicals postage paid at Hartford, Connecticut. Postmaster: Send address changes to CEA Advisor , Connecticut Education Association, Capitol Place, Suite 500, 21 Oak Street, Hartford, CT 06106-8001.

honesty in education. In this issue of the CEA Advisor , we have highlighted a few of them. (See page 13.) Actions are important. Action shows itself in those who are willing to step up and run for local office. These agents of change are willing to continue to work for us all to improve our communities. Action also managed to get $904 million added to our teachers’ pension fund. CEA leadership worked with State Treasurer Shawn Wooden to ensure portions of last year’s budget surplus were added to this fund. (See page 5.) Actions matter. Our combined actions continue to highlight the need for improved indoor air quality in our schools. Almost every teacher we speak with shares stories about poor ventilation, mold, excessive heat, or cold classroom temperatures. Together we are bringing the message to legislators that it’s time to invest in our schools and overhaul or upgrade ventilation systems. Teachers’ working conditions are students’ learning conditions, and they matter. (See story on page 9.) As we move forward in this school year, we want you to know that we appreciate your efforts and energy, and we look forward to using our collective voice for our students and our profession. We hope to see you at upcoming events so that we can keep connecting and collaborating. Know that CEA is fighting for you every day. You matter. And we are stronger than ever. October 7, 2021

highlighting how we ensure safe, supportive, in- person learning environments for our students. New London Education Association President Rich Baez did a great job bringing educators together and helping us secure the location. Special shoutout to New London teacher Cheryl Viveiros for bringing a cadre of talented students from her district to participate in the campaign—and to all the educators who helped spread this important message. It was wonderful to take time to sit with these amazing professionals and talk for a few moments about life in their schools and why they are so committed to education. (Read the story on page 4.) This time of year, of course, is not without stress and worry—especially now. As you returned to your classrooms, you did so knowing that the pandemic brings added layers of responsibility to everything you do. We are working hard to keep you informed and protected in today’s COVID environment, where the only constant is change. (See story on page 10.) Early on, it was clear that anxiety about returning to school was going to take a toll on members, and we wanted to provide an initial outreach of care. Our work on Mindful Mondays with Dr. Marc Brackett, founder of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, serves as a reminder to “put the oxygen mask” on yourself first. To that end, take some time for peaceful reflection, camaraderie, and fun. Attend a county forum. Join your colleagues at a UConn hockey game with discounted tickets from CEA Member Benefits. Use those same CEA Member Benefits to save on a virtual or in-person yoga class. ON THE COVER CEA President Kate Dias (foreground) stands strong with teachers featured in CEA’s Stronger Than Ever ad campaign, filmed at New London’s Science and Technology High School. Left to right are Tracey Lafayette, May Reitz, Christopher Marsala, Rich Baez, Colleen Delaporta-Wells, Cheryl Viveiros, and Elsa Batista. Not pictured, EfraÍn DomÍnguez.

Production date: 10-13-2021

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