News from AFT Massachusetts and President Beth Kontos - May 2021

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A Message from President Kontos

Summer break is right around the corner. Hang in there, it’s coming!  
 
Spring and summer are the perfect times to teach about nature, weather, and climate.  Have you seen the resources available from the AFT?  Check out AFT Climate's PreK-12 Climate Curriculum. The AFT’s Share My Lesson, in partnership with the National Science Foundation, PBS NewsHour Extra and other climate-conscious organizations, has compiled an amazing collection of lesson plans and resources for educators addressing various aspects of environmental science.
 
And as you make your plans to recharge your batteries you may also want to plan some time to participate in AFT’s TEACH virtual conference July 6-10. This year TEACH 2021 will feature:
 
  • Inspiring speakers on key issues like rebuilding academically from the pandemic and creating anti-racist communities
  • Engaging cross-curricular sessions with meaningful tools and resources to use in your school
  • Solutions to ensure students’ social emotional learning and the freedom to thrive
  • Opportunities to collaborate with colleagues
Register for TEACH here:  AFT TEACH 2021.
 
Celebrating our members!
 
Check out our YouTube Channel to view and share our videos celebrating our members!  The grit and determination of teachers, librarians and school staff has never been made more apparent. Through tears, struggles, celebrations and laughter, AFT members have shown that they are the backbone of our communities.
 
Today and everyday we celebrate YOU!
 

AFT Massachusetts Holds Virtual 2021 Convention

On Saturday, May 1 AFT Massachusetts delegates from across the state met for the 2021 Annual Convention, with the theme of ‘Safety, Equity, and Transparency.’

Held virtually, the convention featured reflections on the past year of teaching, working, and advocating during the pandemic, as well as a focus on the work ahead for the education justice and labor movements. AFT Massachusetts President Beth Kontos, chairing her third convention, spoke about the resiliency of educators, librarians, and faculty during a year unlike any other.
 
“It’s not an overstatement to say that we could not have made it through the past year on our own,” she said. “But by working together through our union, we’ve been able to achieve significant victories and the light at the end of the tunnel is now in sight. We’ve fought for – and won – a voice in the school reopening process and greater protections for educators and our students. More and more educators and students are receiving their COVID-19 vaccines every day. With a new pro-public education, pro-union administration in Washington, our school districts are finally receiving the resources they need to start recovering from the pandemic.” READ MORE and check out our convention report!

AFT Massachusetts Calls for Full School Reopening This Fall

The last year has been incredibly difficult for students, for educators, and for parents, but the light at the end of the tunnel is now in sight. With the state’s vaccination campaign continuing to progress and the approval this week of a vaccine for children ages 12 and over, there is a clear pathway to full school reopening this fall. With a new administration in Washington, our school districts are finally receiving the resources they need to recover from the pandemic. However, we have major work to do to overcome a lingering lack of trust within communities hit hardest by COVID-19, and to ensure that full school reopening this fall is done safely and equitably.
 
This summer, we need an all-hands-on-deck approach, supported by federal funding, to prepare our school buildings and systems for a safe reopening in the fall. In September, we need major investments to provide students with additional academic support through tutoring and smaller class sizes, as well as social-emotional support through counselors and other mental health professionals. We especially need additional support for students with special needs, English language learners, and other students who have struggled the most during the pandemic.   READ MORE.
 

Share My Lesson Resources

 
Share My Lesson is a destination for educators who dedicate their time and professional expertise to provide the best education for students everywhere. Share My Lesson members contribute content, share ideas and get educated on the topics that matter, online, 24/7 – and all for FREE. If you’re a teacher, classroom professional, school administrator, early childhood educator or parent, we have resources for you! Explore and discover what draws thousands of educators and parents to Share My Lesson and find unique, time-saving solutions for the school year.
 
AFT Massachusetts Share My Lesson Webpage!  This page has been customized to provide materials that support the work of AFT educators in Massachusetts. The learning courses showcased are offered by the American Federation of Teachers as resources that help further develop the professional lives of our members.  Culturally responsive teaching, social and emotional learning and behavior management are some of the areas highlighted on this platform; however, there are a plethora of additional resources available by visiting sharemylesson.com. AFT Massachusetts page: www.sharemylesson.com/AFTMA.