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Welcome back to the 2013-2014 academic year. I hope you found the time over summer to enjoy friends and family and an opportunity to relax.
For many of us the summer is a time to reflect and complete those all important "to do" lists. The MFT is no different; our summer was filled starting with the TEACH Conference in Washington DC and working on many initiatives collaboratively with our Central Office Team and yes some relaxation.
The MFT is very proud of our Expanded Learning Time schools, Barry and Pulaski. We are literally "writing the book" with this initiative. Both school openings were successful and we will continue to tweak schedules. Sherman and Putnam have started their planning with the National Center for Time and Learning for a potential launch next year. Both high schools are experiencing exciting times as we watch the construction of our soon to be "new" high schools. Also, Franklin, Sherman, Hooker and Putnam have embarked on the new evaluation plan.
The Leadership Academy, Peer Coaching, and Nellie Mae all continue with many of you participating. A new team has been formed this year; Meriden Teachers Sharing Successes Team. Their dedication and commitment to our district will make them a valuable resource for all teachers. You will be hearing about Sharing My Lesson and Colorin' Colorado, both new web resources from the AFT. Finally, we will expand on our First Book initiative that many utilized last year.
The MFT has many things to be proud of and our hard work is being recognized across the country. I was contacted by The American Educator for a feature story about our Meriden schools. I was never so proud of all of us!! What a great honor!! They will be here the week of September 30 visiting many schools and programs. We will be the featured story of the December issue.
I urge all of you to get involved in some capacity, Project Excel, First Book, Colorin' Colorado, PD offerings from AFT, MFT representative or the many different initiatives each of our schools engages in. All of you have talents to share and our students can benefit from your diverse experience.
I wish you a great school year, may your successes be plentiful.
In the new issue of American Educator, Martin J. Blank and Lisa Villarreal explain how more than 150 communities across the country have established community schools to reduce chronic absences due to poor health, decrease disciplinary issues and truancy rates, increase family engagement, expand educational opportunity, and ultimately improve teaching and learning.
Our union is our members, and on this Labor Day weekend, I couldn't be prouder of the 1.6 million hardworking nurses, teachers, paraprofessionals, higher education faculty and public employees who work day in and day out to teach our kids, keep our families healthy and improve our communities, AFT President Randi Weingarten says.
The Albert Shanker Institute has released a major report on the state of teacher diversity which shows that, nationally, progress toward greater diversity is being made, but it is quite modest compared with the need for more minority teachers.