Thursday, February 15, 2018

MTA Summer Conference Request for Proposals

The Massachusetts Teachers Association, a union of professional educators, is seeking proposals for the 2018 MTA Summer Conference. The conference is scheduled from Sunday, August 5, to Thursday, Aug. 9, on the campus of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The MTA is seeking proposals for Professional Development workshops in instructional practice and other areas of professional interest. Our conference attracts approximately 600 MTA members, including Massachusetts public school educators, public higher education faculty, professional staff, education support professionals and retirees. Our members work in all subject areas in schools and higher education institutions across the state. We are seeking a wide variety of content and skill-based professional development opportunities for teachers, education support professionals and administrators in all content areas.



The deadline for Request for Proposals is Sunday, March 4, 2017 at 11:59PM. Conference offerings will be promoted in the spring issue of MTA Today and will be posted on the MTA’s website at www.massteacher.org/summer.

For more information and to propose a workshop, http://proposalspace.com/calls/d/860.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Durkin presents $147M 'enhanced' New Bedford school budget request

Durkin presents $147M 'enhanced' New Bedford school budget request

It's time assess the strength of our schools and to build on our successes.


The New Bedford Educators Association welcomes the opportunity to be part of the discussion leading to the selection of the next superintendent of New Bedford Public Schools. Our next superintendent will shape New Bedford Public Schools for years to come as well as be responsible for the opportunities available to our students right now.

The successful candidate for superintendent will support educators in meeting our students’ immediate needs and develop strategies alongside educators, parents and other community leaders to continually strengthen New Bedford Public Schools’ ability to address the academic, social and emotional needs of every student.

For our schools to be successful, it is essential that educators, parents and administrators have shared goals and principles that are in service to our students. While each stakeholder group has its own perspective deserving of respectful consideration, decisions about the New Bedford Public Schools must be made with one question foremost in mind: Is this good for students?  

From an educator’s perspective, a successful superintendent search will yield a candidate capable of articulating clear, concise decisions. We expect to have input, and that parents and other community leaders will have input, but in the end, the superintendent must decisively implement policies that are in the best interests of our schools and students.

Indecision can be as damaging as a bad decision. It is essential that the next superintendent has the ability to draw consensus around well-formulated plans.

The next superintendent must keep an eye on the big picture while trusting educators and building administrators to do their jobs. Establishing clear lines of communication throughout the district will make it easier for all stakeholders to carry out their roles while creating an environment that lets all of our students thrive.

The ideal superintendent candidate will not be a traditional top-down manager but rather be more like an orchestra conductor. We envision a superintendent who bring together the educators, students, administrators, parents and elected leaders in such a manner that these stakeholders are familiar with each other’s perspectives, and that the various points of view can be harmoniously arranged to bring out the best in our public schools.

The successful superintendent will also be a stabilizing force. The NBEA is alarmed by the number of resignations and departures from our district. Excessive turnover is disruptive to our students.

While we must naturally account for wisdom and expertise lost to retirements and welcome the energy and insights of new educators, we must also create an environment that makes seasoned educators want to stay in New Bedford. The next superintendent will make it a priority to ensure New Bedford Public Schools are not only hiring the best people — but also keeping the best people on the job.

The upcoming change in leadership for New Bedford Public Schools is the perfect time for all of us to assess the strength of our schools and to build on our successes.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Retirement Planning Seminar



Treat City Employees With Respect

After reading a letter dated Jan. 21 on the City Council and property taxes, I felt I needed to comment.
The City Council should represent all citizens of New Bedford. Many city workers of New Bedford, both working and retired, own property in the city. We also pay property taxes. We have also seen our real estate taxes rise each year.
City workers pay a part of our own health insurance. This payment increases yearly. My deductible has increased 500 percent since the city changed insurance companies. The cost of medications has also increased.
Contrary to (Chief Financial Officer) Ari Sky’s comments in an earlier article, my co-pays are only $15 when I visit my primary care physician. I pay higher co-pays for specialists. If I have not met my yearly deductible, I do pay a hospital co-pay.
I am a retired city worker who worked for almost 40 years and has been a homeowner for 37 years. I was willing to take lower wages and less benefits for job security, but I deserve decent, affordable healthcare during my retirement.
Should I and all city workers be penalized for the increased taxes? Should we have to pay both increased house taxes and increased healthcare costs? I am not eligible for Medicare as are many city employees. If the city downgrades our healthcare, our quality of life will suffer and many of us will not be able to go to the doctor or afford our medications.
This is not the way to treat loyal city workers and taxpayers.
Mary Lou Tavares
New Bedford
Retired city worker and taxpayer

Friday, February 2, 2018

Share your thoughts on New Bedford's next superintendent

COMMUNITY MEETINGS:

6 p.m. Monday, Normandin Middle School (Cafeteria), 81 Felton St.

6 p.m. Tuesday, Keith Middle School (Community Room), 225 Hathaway Blvd.

5 p.m. Wednesday, Roosevelt Middle School (Community Room), 119 Frederick St.

To take the survey through February 12 click here

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Samaritans looking for help from retired teachers

Samaritans of FR/NB, Inc. serving all of south eastern Mass as a suicide prevention crisis line are recruiting new volunteers for our next training session starting on February 24, 2018. If you are a good listener, empathic and have 5 hrs. per week or 2 2.5hrs. per week to offer please contact us. Volunteers are needed to cover our lines. Our service is offered seven days a week from 8 AM to 11 PM including holidays.Help us to be  available to all those who are lonely, depressed and or suicidal.  Please join our wonderful caring group of volunteers for a very rewarding experience. 

Email us @ samsfrnb@aol.com
Please visit our web site: www.samaritans-newbedford .org
Crisis Line: 1-866-508-4357

Friday, January 26, 2018

O, What A Tangled Web We Weave When First We Practice To Deceive

From: Ron R. Cabral
To: RRCRT <RRCRT@aol.com>
Sent: Thu, Jan 25, 2018 9:33 pm


Subject: Richard Nelson




This E-mail is for our City Councilors, regarding an editorial, "Your View"  by Nelson Strebor on Sunday, January 21, 2018, in the Standard-Times "City Council needs to represent property taxpayers" I felt that Nelson Strebor was a fictitious name, incidentally, the so-called Nelson Strebor has posted many editorials in the Standard-Times. 

As such, I did contact the Standard-Times informed them that I felt that Nelson Strebor was a fictitious name, I was asked why I felt that it was a fictitious name my answer was being a Police Officer for 38 years it was my gut feeling. In my little investigation, there was no Nelson Strebor owning property in New Bedford, or any Nelson Strebor living in New Bedford as he claimed or in the state of MA that I could find.

Today I was contacted by the Standard-Times informing me that they investigated a little further and found that my tip was correct, they thanked me. The individual, Nelson Strebor admitted to them to using a pen name there will be something in Saturday's paper (unless the day changes), plus no more posting's by Nelson Strebor.

I did not appreciate the fictitious Nelson Strebor's remarks that the councilors responsibility is to the taxpayers, well I am a Retired Police Officer and also a taxpayer in our City, I also did not appreciate his remarks of Councilor Hugh Dunn's theatrical performance and Councilor Dunn being more concerned with the city employees, which represents votes.

The fictitious Nelson Strebor may not have the respect for Councilors Ian Abreu, Naomi Carney, Hugh Dunn, Brian Gomes, Dana Rebeiro, Joseph Lopes and Maria Giesta and that they should get on board with Councilors Debora Coelho, Scott Lima, Brad Markey, and Linda Morad, well I and many other New Bedford retirees do have the respect for them.

I do have the respect for Councilors Debora Gomes, Scott Lima, Brad Markey, and Linda Morad as well they feel that they have the responsibility to the taxpayers of our fine City, I am sure all Councilors feel they have the same responsibility, but lets not forget that so many New Bedford Retirees and active City Workers are also taxpayers in our city as well as their families and friends.

Let us not forget our little friend the fictitious Nelson Strebor, Carol Strupczewski and I were talking this afternoon, and Carol said spell Strebor backwoods, I said I knew what she meant, she was correct and I agreed with her who Nelson Strebor could be.

In Nelson Strebor's editorial, he mentioned there's an old saying "liars can figure and figures can lie" there is another old saying O, What A Tangled Web We Weave When First We Practice To Deceive.

Ron R. Cabral

CC:   Mayor Jon F. Mitchell
         City Council Members
         Retired NBPD Officers
         Carol Strupcewski
         Jeff Camara, Retired NBFD
         Hank Turgeon, NBPD
         Vic Mendes, NBPD

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Earn PDPs with MTA

MTA Training and Professional Learning has scheduled the following programs during February vacation and the month of March, all of which offer 15 PDPs in Special Education or English Language Learners. If these don't work for your schedule, we will be releasing more opportunities for later in the year. 
Programs will take place in Quincy, Waltham, and Westfield:
Weaving Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) into Your Classroom to Make a Big Difference for Special Needs Students (15 PDPs)
Thursday, February 22, and Friday, February 23
Westfield State University
Supporting ELLs in Your Classroom (15 PDPs)
Thursday, February 22, and Friday, February 23
MTA Quincy Headquarters
Supporting ELLs in Your Classroom (15 PDPs)
Saturday, March 3, and Saturday, March 17
Waltham High School

Monday, January 22, 2018

NEW BEDFORD EDUCATORS ASSOCIATION TO DONATE IN COATS, WINTER CLOTHES AND SUPPLIES TO NEW BEDFORD STUDENTS

“With over 30,000 south coast children living in poverty and with so many New Bedford children being part of that number, the New Bedford Educators Association wants to raise awareness and provide tangible support to hundreds of students that do not have warm clothing and the basic essentials that all children need. 

We believe that the solution to poverty is public education and healthy families so anything we can do as a family of teachers to help our children and our community is a worthwhile endeavor." - Lou St John












Friday, January 19, 2018

Let the GIC Know You Are Outraged

The Group Insurance Commission - in what the MTA considers a travesty of government by the administration of Governor Charlie Baker - voted on Thursday to drastically reduce the number of carriers offering health insurance to active and retired state and municipal employees throughout Massachusetts.
 
The impact of the vote - taken with no public notice on its crucial specifics - is wide-ranging and will have an impact on hundreds of thousands of employees, including many educators, as well as on their families.
 
The hypocrisy of the action, taken just before the GIC will conduct a series of hearings around the state and after "listening tour" sessions at which the plan was not discussed, is stunning.
 
And the time is now for MTA members to make their voices heard.
 
Members are urged to go here for a list of GIC hearing dates - and they are strongly urged to sign up to attend a meeting and tell the commissioners what they think of this outrageous decision.
 
The secrecy surrounding the vote was astonishing. It was taken with only a few hours' notice even to members of the GIC. The result was eight to five, with two abstentions. MTA member Timothy Sullivan and the four other labor representatives voted against the motion.
 
For active employees, the number of carriers is being cut from six to three: UniCare, Neighborhood Health Plan and Health New England. Participants will no longer be able to sign up for Fallon Health, Tufts Health Plan or Harvard Pilgrim Health Care after July 1.
 
Medicare carriers were cut from five to two: UniCare and Tufts Health Plan. And for the estimated 10,000 retired municipal teachers in what is known as "Pool 2," UniCare will be the only carrier. 
 
In a further outrage, as noted by the State House News Service: "The GIC anticipates that nearly half of its members will be able to retain their current health plans, while the remaining 200,000-plus members will automatically migrate to new plans and have an opportunity to select a new plan during annual enrollment if they wish."
 
So many employees will be subject to "automatic" shifts to different carriers, even as the choice of carriers is sharply reduced.
 
The GIC administers health insurance coverage for about 400,000 state workers and retirees. Changes to GIC plan designs also affect many other public workers and retirees because their cities and towns - while not included in the GIC - benchmark their coverage to the GIC.
 
The MTA condemns the commission's vote and the new provisions in the strongest possible terms. It must be recognized for what it was: a middle-of-the-night anti-worker action taken by the Baker administration.
 
The vote also serves as yet another example of why the Legislature needs to pass a bill reconstituting the GIC so that it represents those who are affected by the commission's decisions.
 
In addition to the impact on subscribers, many Massachusetts-based jobs could be lost as a result of the vote. Tufts, Fallon and Harvard Pilgrim employees will lose out while Indianapolis-based UniCare will gain. The GIC claims the move will save more than $20 million next year in administrative costs.
 
At its next meeting on Feb. 1, the GIC is scheduled to review and approve benefit designs for the plans the new carriers will offer.
 
It is critical that MTA members be heard at the GIC's upcoming public hearings. Tell the GIC that the new carriers must offer the same benefits to members so that switching carriers does not mean different doctors, different hospitals or reduced benefits.
 
The MTA is looking into additional actions to address the changes made at Thursday's meeting and the changes that the GIC will take up next month regarding plan design.
 
In the meantime, please be sure to to go here for a list of GIC hearing dates around the state this month. Sign up to attend a meeting and make your voice heard.
                 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Healthcare proposal will not reduce taxes, but will reduce quality of life for city employees

Boom, boom, boom, boom....20 assault rifle rounds hit a cruiser
with two New Bedford police officers in it as they respond to shots fired at the Foxy Lady. Both men were shot by the gunman. The year was 2006. The two men will wear these bullet wounds for the rest of their lives.

In 2009, New Bedford firemen evacuated over 50 people, 10 of whom were already unconscious, during a chemical leak at ABC disposal – exposing themselves to countless toxins. They risked their lives, to save the lives of others.

In 2014, while executing a search warrant on an apartment of two suspected drug dealers, a New Bedford detective was shot by one of the suspects.

Halloween Night, 2016, while placing a gang of ATV operators under arrest, one of the riders, in an attempt to escape, ran over a New Bedford Police Sergeant.

Five days after last Thanksgiving, a 59-year-old New Bedford firefighter succumbed to cancer. The form of cancer he developed was a direct result of the environments he was exposed to as a 30 year veteran of the New Bedford Fire Department.

Current and former New Bedford policemen are committing suicide.

There are three things that these individuals, and countless others who are not mentioned here, have in common: 1) they are heroes; 2) they sacrificed their health for our safety and; 3) we have an obligation to them.

With the sacrifices of the men and women who have served and do serve our city in mind, I stand unequivocally in opposition to the Mayor’s proposal to adopt Chapter 32, Sections 21 & 23 of the Massachusetts General Laws.

Enacting these sections will enable the Mayor to aggressively, and essentially unilaterally, reduce the health insurance benefits that these first responders, as well as the many other municipal employees who enable our city to function on a daily basis, have been promised, and rely on.

There is undoubtedly a need to control costs but our retirees, surviving spouses, and current public employees need to have a say on deciding what their insurance plans are, and not simply be told what they are after the fact. They’ve earned this right to negotiate.

Health insurance is a partnership between the city and its
employees — partnerships only work, when we work together.

Chp. 32, Sec. 21-23 should be reserved as a tool to incentivize negotiation when talks have stalemated, as statutorily intended. The city has a Public Employee Committee that has scheduled a meeting on February 2nd to discuss healthcare cost saving measures. Only in absence of the committee participating in negotiation, is invoking these sections of Chapter 32 necessary.

I urge this committee and the Mayor to work in good faith to identify concessions. If concessions are not identified, the Mayor can once again file this proposal. However, we owe it to these men and women to give them a chance to negotiate first.

While we are having this conversation, let’s look at alternative measures to increase city revenue while ensuring the health and wellness of our city employees.

One potential remedy to the growing healthcare costs is finding a new healthcare plan. New Bedford is the largest city in the Southeastern Massachusetts region, and we have the option of terminating our current contract with Blue Cross Blue Shield for any reason with 60 days notice. Let’s explore the option of putting our health insurance plan out to market to see if we can find alternative plans that curb expenses that aren’t a detriment to the healthcare of our City employees.

Looking forward, New Bedford should be focused on growing the budget, by advancing transformative infrastructure projects like SouthCoast Rail. To the Mayor’s credit, he has proposed redeveloping the golf course and parts of the waterfront (both within my Ward), and I support these initiatives as ways to increase and diversify our tax base.

We should not balance the budget on the backs of our employees. We as a city are better than that. There is no proof that this proposal will reduce the burden on the tax payer. In fact, the commercial and residential tax rates in other Gateway cities with similar challenges to New Bedford (Fall River, Lawrence, Lowell, Pittsfield, and Springfield) all consistently increased in the years following the adoption of these sections.

It is far more likely that any “savings” will enter the general fund and be spent on other municipal services. I cannot in good conscience vote to rob Peter to pay Paul, especially when it is the very people who keep our community functioning and safe whose health and wellbeing will be put at risk.

Sincerely,

Hugh C. Dunn, Esq.

City Councillor, Ward 3

Monday, December 11, 2017

Academic Conversations in Classrooms with ELs

We are very excited to bring to our NBPS Educators the Academic Conversations in Classrooms with English Learners. This PD training will be offered on Friday 2/16, Friday 4/13, and Friday 5/3 from 8:30-3:30 PM @ Keith Middle School. (Three Full-day sessions plus 9 hours of online work).

Every educator is welcomed (TLS, ESL teachers, Content area teachers, Paraprofessionals, School Administrators, etc.). This training will provide you with 25 PDPs from MATSOL or 2 graduate credits. Registration is opened now! If you have any problem opened this link or registering for the course, please reach Betty @ ext. 3333. For more information visit our Smart PD System Website or click on the linkhttp://www.newbedfordschools.org/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=2977516

Thank you!

Sonia
Sonia Walmsley
Executive Director of Educational Access & Pathways
New Bedford Public Schools
455 County Street. New Bedford, MA 02740
508-997-4511 Ext. 3333 or 3315

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Holiday Greetings From New Bedford Educators Association

At this time of year it is ours to reflect on the days passed.
It has been a challenging year with more challenges to come.
As a collective family, we at New Bedford Educators wish to express our heartfelt gratitude for all that you do as educators.
Without you, the children of New Bedford Public Schools would be missing the most important of life’s lessons- that of community.
It is at this time of year that we are reminded of how much we pull together as a community to ensure the best for all.
We give of ourselves, our time, our monies and our hearts to those who are less fortunate and ask for nothing in return- if only for the betterment of the community.
It is with that charity, that we build a stronger community- we are all in this together.
Our final wish for this Holiday Season:
Faith makes all things possible,
Hope makes all things work,
Love makes all things beautiful.
May you have all three this Christmas.