What's the Buzz?

 

 

WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

May 9, 2014

What has BFT done for YOU lately?

 

5-16-14

It’s heeeeere!  Well, almost.  Last week, the officers worked to put together the last of the plans.

 

Representation 

Jenn met with a member to review her evaluation and advocated for another on her final evaluation.  Richard is currently working with 5 members on issues at their campuses.  Dan began preparing for bargaining.  It starts on May 21st, but it really begins this Friday at our convention.

 

School Visits and Communication

Jenn took lunch provided by Kelsey’s at a huge discount to Title 1 schools Endeavour, Fairglen, Cambridge and Creel.  Richard joined her at Fairglen and Jane Kline helped out at Endeavour.  Jenn also made it done to Johnson Middle to meet with teachers. Richard held BR elections at Jefferson Middle.  He conducted the Administrator Evaluations at Croton Elementary.

 

Continuing Education

Through AFT, two summer inservice opportunities are being offered in June.  There will be a 15-hour Strategies for Student Success on June 2 & 3 (9-3:30 with lunch), and 4 (9-12).  On June 4th a Language Conventions inservice is offered from 12:30-3:30. Call Chris Higgins at the office with questions and/or RSVP.

 

Union Business

Jenn and BYRE (Brevard Young Remarkable Educators) met up at Matt’s Casbah in Melbourne.  They will meet the first Monday of the month at different places around the county.  Look for announcements on FB.

 

Wednesday all the officers held an awesomely attended BR meeting.  We shared viewpoints on the ½ penny sales tax and what we can do to continue the “post-convention” enthusiasm.

 

Richard participated in several webinars to implement a new data system on membership through AFT.  He believes this new system will allow the officers to serve the members more effectively and efficiently.

 

Check out Dan’s latest report on bftteach.org:  Dan's Page.

 

All commentary, opinions, etc. are mine and mine alone. Any questions, comments, ideas, or concerns about What’s the Buzz? Can be directed to Donna Arnister at washredskins@bellsouth.net.

Facebook users: like us at Brevard Federation of Teachers.

BFT Website: www.bftteach.org  

 

WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

May 2, 2014What has BFT done for YOU lately? Before you read another word: If you have not completed the RSVP on BFT Website click here: 5-16-14 Completed?? Ok, now read on: Representation It’s the end of the year and everything has its ups and downs. The excitement of refreshing our batteries is mixed with concern for our fellow teachers that are facing changes due to programs ending, student population shifts, involuntary transfers and non-reappointments. Rest assured that your officers are working diligently and much of their time is spent crafting resolutions through research and negotiations with principals and area superintendents. Richard was able to resolve one issue through representation for one teacher, while continuing to work for a positive outcome for three others.Dan sat in on the final evaluation conferences with several teachers. He arranged for legal representation of one. Dan, master of the grievance process, has one grievance on the cusp of resolution, solved another, promoted/negotiated two more and has another still in limbo, waiting to hear back from the principal.After getting feedback from teachers through the Empowerment groups and individual teachers at General Membership meetings, Dan is beginning to craft ideas into bargaining language preparing for the summer sessions. The power of our voice at 5-16-14 will be added to bargaining sessions this season!The officers spoke up and out for our AC teachers at the last school board meeting. For PSC teachers, as there are less and less of us and more and more AC teachers, students, education and PSC teachers all lose. It is much more difficult for an AC teacher to stand up for what is right in education and our career when their job is on the line each and every year. It has a negative impact on students and public education. Corporations and the rich will continue to attack public education and there will be fewer and fewer teachers willing to lose their income in order to do right by students. Sorry for the rant. Here is the link to the speeches: Part 4 Time: 6:35 School Visits and CommunicationThe phone lines were burning with 135 calls this week. Jenn spent time at Cambridge and Viera HS, as well as meeting with ROTC instructors. Richard visited four schools this past week. Dan made several school visits. He had a few “mailbox” conversations with teachers while out and about. Meet and GreetsJenn met with Andy Zeigler (current board member), Michelle Irwin (district communications director) and Joy Salamone. All these meetings make for better communication with BFT and BPS and in the end benefit teachers and students. The Political SceneThe November elections are coming up in 6 months, so our officers are meeting with candidates. Some will be at the convention to give teachers time to mingle and discuss issues. Jenn met with 2 District 1 candidates: Misty Belford and Paul Chinaris. Continuing EducationOne of the goals of BFT/AFT/NEA/FEA is mentoring and educating teachers to be the best for our students. To that end Jenn and Richard have been meeting with district personnel over the last several month to write a grant with NEA to mentor new and fairly new teachers in the district. The grant was completed and submitted this past week. If accepted, new teachers will gain invaluable information, while the mentor teachers (must be a BFT member) will be paid. What a novel idea: pay teachers for what many of us do everyday for free. As a side note, Richard mentioned that there was a lot of collegiality throughout the process. Maybe some of that will present itself at the bargaining table this summer. One can hope! Also, through AFT, two summer inservice opportunities are being offered in June. There will be a 15-hour Strategies for Student Success on June 2 & 3 (9-3:30 with lunch), and 4 (9-12). On June 4th a Language Conventions inservice is offered from 12:30-3:30. Call Chris Higgins at the office with questions and/or RSVP. 5-16-14The officers continue to work on the organization of our 1st Annual Convention. At this point the food, fun and putting BFT/Education’s best foot forward is complete, now teachers just need to take 4 hours out of there weekend to come together in one voice! The address is 625 E. Hibiscus Blvd. On Google Maps, Melbourne Auditorium is located cattycorner from the south side of Holmes Regional. Registration at 4, convention begins at 5 and social time at 6. Richard commented that prepping for this convention is much like prepping for class and he likes that feeling! He is videotaping some teachers for a presentation, what a great way for teachers’ voices to be heard. It’s getting exciting! Union Business Jenn and Richard attended a 2-day FEA Recruitment and Retention training. BFT is a growing group of professionals. The more teachers come together, the more influence and control we have. In the current climate, billionaires, hedgefund operators, legislators and other politician seem to think they know what’s best for education. Who better to know what’s best for education then a group of educators? Have you asked a potential member to join this week? All commentary, opinions, etc. are mine and mine alone. Any questions, comments, ideas, or concerns about What’s the Buzz? Can be directed to Donna Arnister at washredskins@bellsouth.net.Facebook users: like us at Brevard Federation of Teachers.BFT Website: www.bftteach.org

 

WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

April 11, 2014

What has BFT done for YOU lately?

BFT week in review: I’m behind by a week, hopefully I will get caught up soon!

 

Representation Dan filed 2 next grievances that unfortunately were not able to resolve at previous steps. He is investigating reports of non-certified teachers in teaching positions. He is also looking into reports of principals docking points on the evaluation for something that has nothing to do with the evaluation. BFT will challenge this. Jenn had her weekly meeting with Joy. Jenn and Richard spent several hours working on the NEA grant to benefit new and veteran teachers. Feedback from the New Teacher Empowerment group is being used to guide the process. One of the many union values that BFT has insisted on in this grant is that teachers should be paid for work done.

 

School Visits and CommunicationJen met with teachers from Lewis Carroll, Kennedy Middle and Golfview. Richard was on the road visiting Coquina, Lewis Carroll, Titusville HS, Kennedy Middle, Cocoa HS, and Apollo.

 

The Political Scene: Richard put in time working with the Central Labor Council and our very own BFT political community to elect good people onto the school board. This is slow, hard work but it is so necessary for the welfare of our members.

 

Union Business Dan attended a regional meeting for FEA chief negotiators and sent a report to the executive board. Many of the surrounding districts have to deal with and negotiate for some of the same issues we do, pay for performance and health insurance are 2 of the biggies.All the officers led regional General Membership meetings. Ideas developed by the Bargaining Empowerment group were shared. Teachers were given an opportunity to comment and make suggestions.Two summer inservice opportunities are being offered in June. There will be a 15-hour Strategies for Student Success on June 2 & 3 (9-3:30 with lunch), and 4 (9-12). On June 4th a Language Conventions inservice is offered from 12:30-3:30. Call Chris Higgins at the office with questions and/or RSVP.

 

5-16-14The officers continue to work on the organization of our 1st Annual Convention. You may RSVP on the website, click the link: 5-16-14 The officers also met and planned for “post convention” actions. The convention is just the first step; it will have minimal effect if it ends there.

 

All commentary, opinions, etc. are mine and mine alone. Any questions, comments, ideas, or concerns about What’s the Buzz? Can be directed to Donna Arnister at washredskins@bellsouth.net.Facebook users: like us at Brevard Federation of Teachers.BFT Website: www.bftteach.org

 

WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

April 4, 2014

What has BFT done for YOU lately?

 

BFT weeks in review: I went on a short sabbatical, but am back to write up what BFT has been doing for us. This issue covers the week before Spring Break and last week’s happenings.

 

Representation Dan resolved one grievance in favor of a member, represented another member in a grievance that will hopefully be solved at step 1 and accompanied a member in a disciplinary meeting. Jenn was able to represent another member with a favorable outcome. She also attended several meetings with district personnel to address teacher concerns. Officers attended an IPPAS presentation by the superintendent. He also represented three members with one successful resolution; the other two are ongoing. Richard and Jenn met with the district on an NEA grant to help both early career and veteran teachers. The focus is on retention, empowerment and leadership.

 

School Visits and Communication: Dan visited four schools. Jenn has traveled around town to Creel, Saturn, Heritage, Ocean Breeze, Viera, Quest, Sabal and Williams. She was especially excited to be at Viera when their principal announced that all the A/C’s had been reappointed. Richard got around to 12 schools over the two-week period. He also attended two faculty meetings. All the officers are hearing excitement from the teachers for our convention this May.

 

The Political Scene: Jenn was joined by fellow FYRE (Florida Young Remarkable Educators) members Vanessa Skipper (Cocoa High) and Nathan Scherer (Astronaut High) in a trip to the state capital to meet with our leaders. They met with Senator Soto who had just help pass the Tuition Equality Bill, Senator Montford, the CEO of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents, as well as our local representatives, Rep Workman, Rep Goodson, Rep Tobia and Rep Crisafulli’s legislative aide. They had candid conversations about AC hardships and teacher evaluations. Jenn reports that the tide appears to be turning, as the majority party is prepping for potentially being led by a minority party governor. There is hope, but teachers need to step up to the plate and let our voices be heard by electing pro-public education candidates.

 

Union Business

Dan and Vickie attended FEA/AFT bargaining training. Vickie reported that it was the best thing she has attended in her 33 years of bargaining for BFT.Dan also participated in a 2-day chief negotiator’s training in Orlando. He reports that we have a major strategic decision coming up about how to work pay-for performance. Direction from DOE has been wishy-washy at best. One of their examples shows PSC teachers getting equivalent raises as AC teachers, if that is the case, he does not see the need for PSC teachers to give up their PSC. More information to come. Richard and Vanessa Skipper were nominated for president and member at large with no opposition. All the officers participated in the executive meeting.

 

5-16-14

Jenn overheard a BR and member planning to get carloads of members assigned to be at the Teacher Appreciation Day Convention on May 16 at the Melbourne Auditorium. What a great idea!Dan and Chris spent time visiting 24 restaurants in preparation for this empowerment event. Many of them will join us with food and beverages. Several of the establishments had already heard about the convention, this tells us the word is getting out. It’s our time. Have you put it on your calendar?

 

Community: Jenn attended the Boy Scout Gala where nearly every person in Brevard of note was in attendance. Events such as this make a great time to build credibility and political hobnobbing.

All commentary, opinions, etc. are mine and mine alone. Any questions, comments, ideas, or concerns about What’s the Buzz? Can be directed to Donna Arnister at washredskins@bellsouth.net.Facebook users: like us at Brevard Federation of Teachers.BFT Website: www.bftteach.org

 

WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

March 14, 2014

What has BFT done for YOU lately?

 

BFT week in review:

Representation Dan and Richard spoke eloquently at the school board meeting this past Tuesday. Richard participated in several disciplinary meetings with members this week. Jenn was busy meeting with Joy Salamone and then Jane Kline on variety of issues. She also met with a group of ROTC teachers to work out a solution to a problem they are experiencing. Dan met several times with Debra Pace to advocate for teachers. School Visits and CommunicationThe phones were burning with 88 calls logged and responded. A bazillion emails read and responded also. Dan held a 5 school meeting at Pizza Hut in Indialantic, while Richard beat Jenn out by visiting 8 campuses to her 7. Chris chauffeured Flat Stanley to Suntree, Surfside, Delaura and Holland.

Union Business A Building Rep meeting was held Wednesday night. Dan attended the Regional Resource Team (RRT) in Orlando. He met with other union leaders throughout the state to discuss issues and share ideas of solutions used in other locals. At this meeting FEA gives legislative and legal updates. AC reappointments are always a hot topic.Jenn held the 2nd FYRE meeting.The office was busy on Tuesday nights these past 2 months hosting “Reading Comprehension Instruction” a 30 hour course. Both current and retired teachers attended Tuesday evenings after school to brush up on research-based information to help them improve their students’ reading skills.Attending were Anne Marie Monteparo, Melissa Shoff, Sharon Delgado, Susan Strahle, Deborah Cederburg, Freddy Moreno, Susan How, Janet Cameron, Pat Slosar, Carolyn Bruce, and Marge Misits. The instructor was Tina Newman.

All commentary, opinions, etc. are mine and mine alone. Any questions, comments, ideas, or concerns about What’s the Buzz? Can be directed to Donna Arnister at washredskins@bellsouth.net.Facebook users: like us at Brevard Federation of Teachers.BFT Website: www.bftteach.org

 

WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

March 7, 2014

What has BFT done for YOU lately?

BFT week in review: Representation Dan was mostly representing this week. He sat in with two teachers on their evaluation follow-ups. If you are uncomfortable or leery about what will have in your evaluation meeting, having a third party there might relieve some stress and tension. Two other members retained Dan’s expertise during meetings for reprimands. He also participated in a grievance meeting. Dan and Jenn sat in a district grant writing meeting, dealing with support for our beginning teachers and peer mentor program. All the officers participated in the IPPAS reduction meeting and Jenn, also, attended the subcommittee on PGP reduction. The key word here is REDUCTION. It is still tentative and acceptance by the board is the final step in this process but all three officers report that it is looking positive so far. Jenn met with an AC member to discuss contract issues relevant to AC’s.

School Visits and CommunicationApproximately 96 calls to the office were fielded and returned this past week. Flat Stanley and Chris took ice cream/donuts to Stevenson Elementary and Johnson Middle. Jenn returned to her home, Manatee Elem., along with 4 other central schools. Between representing teachers, Dan made it down to Central Middle and Richard was on the agenda at the faculty meeting of Eau Gallie HS. Even with only 2 minutes left before teachers had to get on to class, Richard was able to get our message across (see union business). Manatee, McNair, Sherwood, Satellite, Croton, Johnson and Fairglen be on the lookout for your 2nd VP (Jenn) at your school this coming week.

Challenge: Forgive me for repeating this challenge. The school board meeting is this Tuesday. Can we get 50 teachers to the meeting? Make it a dinner and school board meeting night with a couple of teacher friends. If not this meeting, can you commit to one Tuesday night meeting between now and the end of the school year? The dates are as follows: April 8th and 22nd, May 13th and 27th. Power in numbers!

Union Business Thank goodness, the young teacher group has changed its name, but they are still meeting this Monday (the 10th) at Pizza Gallery in Viera. New name: FYRE (“This teacher’s on FYYYYYYRE”): Florida Young Remarkable Educators. Dan took a personal day this week and jumped back into his “teacher” personae by chaperoning a trip to St. Augustine. Being around the students again brought home the reminder of what BFT is all about… educating students. “Imagine a future where VAM doesn’t exist, (effective/highly effective) annual contract teachers have automatic reappointment, salaries are what they should be, and the evaluation system is reduced to an acceptable amount. That future is brought nearer with each new member of BFT.“ Richard Smith

All commentary, opinions, etc. are mine and mine alone. Any questions, comments, ideas, or concerns about What’s the Buzz? Can be directed to Donna Arnister at washredskins@bellsouth.net.Facebook users: like us at Brevard Federation of Teachers.BFT Website: www.bftteach.org

 

February 28, 2014

What has BFT done for YOU lately?

BFT 2 weeks in review: Representation Dan was busy representing teachers in a variety of capacities. He sat in on 2 evaluation follow-up meetings, prepared another teacher for the defense of his/her evaluation, one investigatory meeting of a teacher, and also observed a teacher and offered feedback. Remember if you don’t feel comfortable about something with your job, call BFT for advice. That’s why you pay dues. Officers had their usual meetings with Joy to discuss/resolve teacher issues. Jenn met with school board members, Andy Ziegler and Karen Henderson.The second IPPAS revamp meeting was last week and the officers participated. Conversations and idea sharing is the focus; no decisions have been made at this time. Richard spoke with media about the release of VAM scores.

 

School Visits and Communication- Approximately 180 calls to the office were fielded and returned during the past 2 weeks. Flat Stanley and Chris visited Hoover, Fairglen. Indialantic, Sherwood, and Tropical over the past week. Check out photos on FB (Brevard Federation of Teachers). Dan penned another Advisor. You should have received one in your box, if not here is a link Feb 28 Advisor. He got out to 7 schools. Jenn was out and about visiting Suntree, Golfview, Space Coast, Satellite, Kennedy, and Sherwood. She met with “awesome” BR’s from Eau Gallie, Suntree and Longleaf, as well as a few members from Anderson. She based her valiant school board speech from a conversation with an incredible teacher she spoke with while on school visits. This is how we get our word out. Jenn visited with the ROTC instructors of BPS. Richard visited 5 schools this past week.

 

Challenge:The officers work hard to make sure we are represented at the school board meetings, however there’s nothing more powerful than having 50 teacher faces to look out on from where the school board members sit. Can you commit to one Tuesday night meeting between now and the end of the school year? The dates are as following: March 11th, April 8th and 22nd, May 13th and 27th. Make it a dinner and school board meeting night with a couple of teacher friends. Power in numbers!

 

Community: Jenn spoke at the Brevard County Commissioners meeting on behalf of BFT, FEA and AFL-CIO when endorsing the All-American Flag Act. An act that BFT member, Matt Susin, is working on with his students.

Political Action: Jenn also participated in an ESE Certification Webinar. She will be armed with knowledge to assist teachers through this certification change made by FL Legislators. Speaking of our legislators, the 60-day session opens this week through the 1st week of May. Be vigilant of actions we need to take as a unit, so that anti-public education/student/teacher issues don’t pass.

 

Union Business: The next Brevard’s Young Educators (BYE: Bad acronym!) meeting with Jenn (the only officer that rates this title!) will take place at Pizza Gallery in Viera on Monday, March 10th. All BFT members 40 years young or under are welcomed to join. Officers participated in meetings, meetings and more meetings: BR, FEA/BFT staff, BPS Budget, Melbourne Gov’t Affairs Committee, School Board meetings (I might have missed a couple, but you get the point). Richard presented Dawn Krell at Kennedy with a BFT-R grant and he participated in a webinar on the Access card (member benefits).

 

All commentary, opinions, etc. are mine and mine alone. Any questions, comments, ideas, or concerns about What the Buzz? Can be directed to Donna Arnister at washredskins@bellsouth.net.Facebook users: like us at Brevard Federation of Teachers.BFT Website: www.bftteach.org 

 

February 14, 2014

What has BFT done for YOU lately?

BFT week in review:

 

Representation Richard represented 3 members this week via emails, phone calls and campus visits. Jenn met with a member to help with a professional issue and represented another member in a discipline issue. Dan sat with 3 teachers during meetings with principals. It appears as if 2 of the cases will have to be grieved as the principals are pushing for official letters of reprimand. Filing grievances is a benefit of BFT membership, with any other representation the principal/district has final say. Dan also helped teachers retire, extend medical leave and work on a harassment case (3 different teachers).

 

In order to arm herself with information, Jenn met with a Stetson professor who specializes in educational evaluation systems.

 

School Visits and CommunicationEighty-three calls to the office were fielded and returned. Flat Stanley and Chris visited Freedom 7 Elem, Quest Elementary, Croton Elementary and Rockledge High School. Jenn checked in with Viera High, Cambridge and Surfside’s members. Richard and Dan visited 8 and 5 campuses, respectively. Dan also, drafted the new Advisor. ACsEven if there is no weekly overt “action” on AC’s behalf, please realize that you and your plight are never far from our officers’ minds. They express your thoughts and needs whenever ever possible in meetings with school board members, district personnel, as well as with business leaders in the community. Hopefully, between these conversations and our proclamations at our 5-16-14 Convention, your voice is heard and this problem is rectified. Political Action“The half penny sales tax remains in limbo as far as BFT membership is concerned. I hear your frustration and we are continuing to listen at each school visit. The officers are pledged to follow the direction of the membership. This is a democratically run union and will remain that way as long as I'm the president.” Richard SmithThis is OUR BFT; let the officers hear your voice on this issue. Richard met with several well-connected community members to discuss school board seats up for election this fall. There will be a vetting process with candidates before BFT endorses anyone. Jenn met with Andy Ziegler to discuss student/teacher topics. Union Business Brevard’s Young Educators (BYE: Bad acronym!) met with Jenn on Monday. It was a small but powerful group. The next meeting is planned for March 10th. BFT members 40 years young or under are welcomed to join.BFT officers and FEA representatives spent time in meetings continuing to plan for the convention, membership building and implementing plans to build a stronger unified group of educators.Lori Scott, Brevard County Elections Commissioner, confirmed this week that she will run the election of president and delegates for BFT at 5-16-14.All the officers led General Membership meetings throughout the county this past Wednesday night.Dan met with regional chief negotiators to compare notes for next year. Dan reports that there are many creative ways out there for addressing “Pay for Performance.” All commentary, opinions, etc. are mine and mine alone. Any questions, comments, ideas, or concerns about What the Buzz? Can be directed to Donna Arnister at washredskins@bellsouth.net.Facebook users: like us at Brevard Federation of Teachers.BFT Website: www.bftteach.org

 

 

 

 

WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

Buzz for January 17, 2015

What has BFT done for YOU lately?

I have been on a 2-month hiatus, but The Buzz is back.

 

Representation 

Dan has led our bargaining team at two meetings (Dec 1 & Jan 12). The initial report of not opening negotiations on salary is disheartening after we were promised, on a handshake no less, to return to table and open up salary talks if the ½ cent tax passed. Richard is speaking individually to board members but as of 1/16 at 2:30, no resolution has been determined. 

 

Just this past week, Dan and Richard supported seven teachers on a variety of issues.  Issues such as the district incorrectly paying teachers to poorly constructed teachers’ schedules to administrators unfairly evaluating AC teachers. Richard met with Dr. Binggeli to discuss excess workloads at schools. He reports that some progress is beginning.

 

In December, our officers worked with five teachers on individual issues, three teachers whose issues involved parents and moved to a Step 2 in the grievance process.

 

Politics

BPS school board, with Karen Henderson at the lead, has/is preparing a legislative plan to receive more funding and increase local control of testing (reducing, if not eliminating state mandated testing) from the state.  All board members hosted Legislative update meetings throughout the county this past week.  Our BFT leadership attended 4 of the 5 meetings.

 

In December, Richard, along with Anthony Colucci (BFT member and Political Coordinator) spoke at the Brevard Legislative delegation hearings asking to have SB736 amended so that the high states testing is reduced or eliminated and reduce or eliminate the use of VAM in the evaluation system.  It was reported “Anthony was quite effective and had the longest interaction with the delegation of anyone that day.”

 

This weekend Richard is attending the National Opt-Out Convention in Ft. Lauderdale.  He is trying to obtain all the best, most correct information on how Opting-Out affects teachers, students and our schools.

 

Continuing Education

Beginning Reading Instruction will be offered in the spring by Tina Newman on 9 Tuesdays began January 13 and is completed March 10 (4:30-8; BFT office).  Maria Clifford will present Thinking Math 6-8 in June.  Click on the BFT Webpage for more information.

 

Union Business

Dan and Richard have been working hard these last months preparing for the upcoming Winter Leadership Conference.  This is a regional conference that BFT is hosting in Cocoa Beach on Feb. 6 & 7.  We have 50 people from Brevard attending. If you are interested in attending, please contact Chris Higgins (636-3323).  One of the speakers, Jeff Goebelsky of Cornell U, will be talking on the American Dream and Unions.

 

Richard spoke on unionism to students in an Educational Leadership class in December at Stetson University.

 

We have a BFT member only FB page.  If you are not on yet, please send a private message to Richard Smith via Brevard Federation of Teachers page.  He will verify your membership and invite you.  On the page, we discuss issues facing teachers and help each other in a positive, friendly and private environment.

 

All commentary, opinions, etc. are mine and mine alone. Any questions, comments, ideas, or concerns about What’s the Buzz? Can be directed to Donna Arnister at washredskins@bellsouth.net.

Facebook users: like us at Brevard Federation of Teachers.

BFT Website: www.bftteach.org  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

November 14, 2014

What has BFT done for YOU lately?

 

Representation 

Dan has sat in on the interim observation conferences with several teachers. The focus of these meetings is to have concrete steps of what a teacher needs to do to demonstrate proficiency on indicators, so there are no surprises on the final evaluation. If you would like a third party advocate, contact the office.  It is your right to have representation at any meeting with your administrator. Dan, also, worked with Jim Hickey to make a video explaining the evaluation system for administrators and teachers.  Richard met separately with 2 of our board members.  He reports that they “get” our concerns.  Misty Belford outlined her plans for salary enhancement, test reduction and generally getting teachers and students back to a student-centered curriculum.

 

School Visits

Dan visited 2 school faculty groups last week.  Richard spoke with teachers at a middle school.  When our officers come to the schools it is so important for teachers’ to speak out about their concerns.  Remember this is OUR union, we have to advocate for ourselves, so that Richard, Dan and Jenn can represent our concerns.

 

Politics

Students and educators won on the local level this past November 4th.  We elected 3 pro-public education/teacher school board members and also passed the half penny tax.   Richard was out in the community thanking the people who helped. This Tuesday (11/18) is the school board meeting where our new board members will take their seats.  What a great statement it would make to have teachers in the audience welcoming them to the board. 

 

Continuing Education

The ER&D Managing Anti-social Behavior presented by John and Hope Chybion was such a hit that it will be offered again in the spring on 5 Saturdays (9-3 on 1/24, 31 and 2/7; 9-4 2/14, 21). This is a course that satisfies the 20 ESE credit necessary to renew certification.  Beginning Reading Instruction will be offered in the spring by Tina Newman on 9 Tuesdays beginning January 13 through March 10 (4:30-8; BFT office).  Maria Clifford will present Thinking Math 6-8 in June.  Click  Webpage for more information.

 

Union Business

Family Fun Day at Viera Regional Park.  We have worked hard to get positive changes for Brevard students, let’s now do a little playing with our families and friends.  Join us on next Saturday (11/22) for some food and festivities from 11-3. Our union is beginning a campaign for Student Based Instruction.  The purpose is to put instruction back on the forefront with testing in the background as opposed to the reverse, which is happening now. Richard followed up with Janet Conner of AFT, who will help us engage the community in our testing opt-out, let us teach, push. Be on the lookout for more information.  Thursday, Richard was at a regional meeting in Orlando with other local union leadership.  These meetings give us the state legal updates – including the statewide voucher lawsuit, and also bargaining updates from other locals.  On Friday and Saturday, FEA held its governance meeting where Richard represented Brevard.  We’re figuring out strategy for the next legislative session. Richard met with a member and Vickie Dyer to answer the member’s questions about auditing our tax records. Once again, and it’s worth repeating, this is our union.  It will be successful because we make it so.  If you have questions, comments and/or concerns, ask.  Let’s work together to make us stronger. 

 

 

All commentary, opinions, etc. are mine and mine alone. Any questions, comments, ideas, or concerns about What’s the Buzz? Can be directed to Donna Arnister at washredskins@bellsouth.net.

Facebook users: like us at Brevard Federation of Teachers.

BFT Website: www.bftteach.org  

 

 

 

WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

October 31, 2014

What has BFT done for YOU lately?

 

Representation 

Dan has several cases that he is working on, some individual in nature and others school-wide issues. One school is making some changes because a few teachers were willing to speak to district personnel about their issue.  This is very difficult to do in the “anti-teacher” atmosphere with little to no job protection for AC’s. We have to band together in solidarity and support each other.  Dan is working on 2 grievances: one settled and one moving to the next step.  Dan, also, has met with Jim Hickey and Debra Pace concerning contract issues. Richard had 2 successful meetings with principals concerning the steering committee. Richard is working on 3 cases at this time.  He attended the health screenings and Aflac consultations at 3 schools, then spoke of what he observed to the school board this past Tuesday night.  A portion of his speech is as follows: …First of all, I want to say that I am very – VERY – upset that even one teacher would feel disrespected or have a loss of privacy due to the wellness and consultation programs… I wish that the growing cooperation with the school board, district staff and BFT would include PROACTIVE meetings that could avoid at least some of the problems we have seen…Problems like long lines, too little time to accommodate consultations, less than 24 hours of notification, asking teachers to fill out a form intended for their eyes only- then to ask for it back (a striking violation of privacy) and, especially, asking teachers to stay after work. The entire speech can be found here: Oct 28 School board video

School Visits

Dan and Richard have made school over 20 school visits this month.  Plus they have done informal visits (more than 4 dozen schools) speaking to teachers as they pass the Just Vote flyers or Health Insurance informational sheets.  Jenn, of course, has visited many schools in the capacity of mentoring 1-3 year teachers.  If you have not seen an officer at your school this year, call the office and schedule a visit. 

 

Politics

We are at the end of the wire, as you read this you, ask yourself, did/will you support Public Education by voting for electorates that are PRO-Pub Ed?  Tuesday is your last day to have a voice for your occupation for this cycle.  Needless to say much of Richard, Dan and Jenn’s time has been devoted to this game-changing event.  They have been waving signs, making phone calls and attending planning meetings.  Richard even dressed up for Halloween to represent the ½ cent campaign at the Brevard Zoo along with entrenched member extraordinaire Vanessa Skipper. A shout out goes to our Political Coordinator Anthony Colucci.  He has been the driving force behind this year’s successful political season. He is PHENOMENAL!

Richard spoke at the BPS legislative agenda workshop.  BFT and BPS are on the same page on the legislative front.  To that end, if you have not done so already, please consider reading and signing the BPS petition to our legislators: Petition

 

Continuing Education

Dan participated in the ER&D Managing Anti-social behavior presented by John and Hope Chybion at the office.  He and all the other teachers who completed it are now set with 30 inservice hours, of which 20 satisfy the new ESE credit necessary to renew certification.  Beginning Reading Instruction will be offered in the spring by Tina Newman and Maria Clifford will present Thinking Math 6-8 in June.  See BFT Webpage for more information.

 

NEA New Teacher Grant

Richard and Jenn participate in a monthly steering committee meeting to update and improve services being offered.  Jenn is meeting with an ever-increasing number of first to third year teachers.  This level of support is what new teachers need to be successful.  Richard reports that the roll out has been surprisingly smooth for a new program of this magnitude.  He gives the credit to Debra Pace, Jane Respess and Jenn.  BFT is being seen as a driving force in teacher retention through this program.

 

Union Business

Dan, the author, spends time each week preparing the Weekend Update and the Advisor.  This month he developed the “Just Vote” flyer given to members.  He also attended the monthly legal briefing in Orlando.  At this meeting the FEA lawyers update locals on what is happening around the state.  The highlight was the developing situation in Orange County.  The Orange County union and school board have agreed to suspend state testing.  This brave decision has many legal ramifications; the most pressing at this point is whether seniors will be allowed to graduate.

Richard and Dan, along with our illustrious executive board held their monthly meeting.  All members are invited to observe this process.  The next meeting is Thursday, November 6th (full moon, should be interesting!).

 

Digital World

What, you haven’t joined BFT member private FB page?  It is a great avenue for sharing, asking questions, and supporting each other in a positive and safe place. To join the group, send a private message to Richard Smith.  He will confirm your membership status and then send you an invite.

 

All commentary, opinions, etc. are mine and mine alone. Any questions, comments, ideas, or concerns about What’s the Buzz? Can be directed to Donna Arnister at washredskins@bellsouth.net.

Facebook users: like us at Brevard Federation of Teachers.

BFT Website: www.bftteach.org  

 

 

 

WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

September 26, 2014

What has BFT done for YOU lately?

 

Representation 

Currently there are 8 teachers being defended by BFT for a variety of reasons.  Dan reviewed the new contract point by point with Jim Hickey to make sure all ratified items were properly assimilated into the new contract.  The new contract will be available online within the next week.  Richard has contacted Jim Hickey about the work schedules at schools.  It appears that some school’s alternative schedule has teachers working longer than 8 hours or with a workweek over 40 hours.  He is getting clarification and will hopefully have a resolution soon.  Dan reports that BFT was able to fix one teacher’s pay by about $3000. This serves as a good reminder that teachers should check their paystubs each pay period. Richard met with Debra Pace to go over a number of issues.  Anthony C. also met with Debra Pace to discuss the current PGPs. 

 

School Visits

Dan and Richard have visited almost 2 dozens schools since the 2nd week of September.  They are answering questions about insurance, the HIPPA law and handing out political communications to members.  I’ve seen some pictures of BFT Stanley visiting several schools this month, also. Dan is impressed with what teachers are doing with the steering committees.  He reports that teachers are discussing problems and proposing solutions.  Teacher are feeling empowered with this process.

 

Politics

This will be our hot topic until November 4th.  Richard was on a 4-person panel discussing the ½ cent sales tax at Eastern Florida State College (it will always be BCC to me!), the video can be accessed on Florida Today website. He attended a North Area Democrats meeting, a Charlie Crist Rally, and a community based rally.  Yard signs for John Craig, Andy Ziegler and the half penny are available for any interested party.  Richard drafted and edited a response to Rep Crisafulli’s editorial on standardized testing.  Look for it soon in the Florida Today.

 

Digital World

Did you know that there is a Facebook page for BFT members only?  This is another place where we can show solidarity.  Members ask questions, share information and generally support each other in a positive and private place.  To join the group, send a private message to Richard Smith.  He will confirm your membership status and then send you an invite.

 

Union Business

Richard and Dan hosted 4 regional membership meetings over the past 2 weeks.  This Thursday (Oct 2) is the Executive Board Meeting.  Anyone wanting to run for office in the spring (1st VP) has to attend 2 of these meetings. Dan and Richard attended the FEA governance committee meeting.  This committee makes decisions about spending, hiring employees and making policies for our state organization.

 

All commentary, opinions, etc. are mine and mine alone. Any questions, comments, ideas, or concerns about What’s the Buzz? Can be directed to Donna Arnister at washredskins@bellsouth.net.

Facebook users: like us at Brevard Federation of Teachers.

BFT Website: www.bftteach.org  

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

September 26, 2014

What has BFT done for YOU lately?

 

Representation 

Currently there are 8 teachers being defended by BFT for a variety of reasons.  Dan reviewed the new contract point by point with Jim Hickey to make sure all ratified items were properly assimilated into the new contract.  The new contract will be available online within the next week.  Richard has contacted Jim Hickey about the work schedules at schools.  It appears that some school’s alternative schedule has teachers working longer than 8 hours or with a workweek over 40 hours.  He is getting clarification and will hopefully have a resolution soon.  Dan reports that BFT was able to fix one teacher’s pay by about $3000. This serves as a good reminder that teachers should check their paystubs each pay period. Richard met with Debra Pace to go over a number of issues.  Anthony C. also met with Debra Pace to discuss the current PGPs. 

 

School Visits

Dan and Richard have visited almost 2 dozens schools since the 2nd week of September.  They are answering questions about insurance, the HIPPA law and handing out political communications to members.  I’ve seen some pictures of BFT Stanley visiting several schools this month, also. Dan is impressed with what teachers are doing with the steering committees.  He reports that teachers are discussing problems and proposing solutions.  Teacher are feeling empowered with this process.

 

Politics

This will be our hot topic until November 4th.  Richard was on a 4-person panel discussing the ½ cent sales tax at Eastern Florida State College (it will always be BCC to me!), the video can be accessed on Florida Today website. He attended a North Area Democrats meeting, a Charlie Crist Rally, and a community based rally.  Yard signs for John Craig, Andy Ziegler and the half penny are available for any interested party.  Richard drafted and edited a response to Rep Crisafulli’s editorial on standardized testing.  Look for it soon in the Florida Today.

 

Digital World

Did you know that there is a Facebook page for BFT members only?  This is another place where we can show solidarity.  Members ask questions, share information and generally support each other in a positive and private place.  To join the group, send a private message to Richard Smith.  He will confirm your membership status and th

WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

September 26, 2014

What has BFT done for YOU lately?

 

Representation 

Currently there are 8 teachers being defended by BFT for a variety of reasons.  Dan reviewed the new contract point by point with Jim Hickey to make sure all ratified items were properly assimilated into the new contract.  The new contract will be available online within the next week.  Richard has contacted Jim Hickey about the work schedules at schools.  It appears that some school’s alternative schedule has teachers working longer than 8 hours or with a workweek over 40 hours.  He is getting clarification and will hopefully have a resolution soon.  Dan reports that BFT was able to fix one teacher’s pay by about $3000. This serves as a good reminder that teachers should check their paystubs each pay period. Richard met with Debra Pace to go over a number of issues.  Anthony C. also met with Debra Pace to discuss the current PGPs. 

 

School Visits

Dan and Richard have visited almost 2 dozens schools since the 2nd week of September.  They are answering questions about insurance, the HIPPA law and handing out political communications to members.  I’ve seen some pictures of BFT Stanley visiting several schools this month, also. Dan is impressed with what teachers are doing with the steering committees.  He reports that teachers are discussing problems and proposing solutions.  Teacher are feeling empowered with this process.

 

Politics

This will be our hot topic until November 4th.  Richard was on a 4-person panel discussing the ½ cent sales tax at Eastern Florida State College (it will always be BCC to me!), the video can be accessed on Florida Today website. He attended a North Area Democrats meeting, a Charlie Crist Rally, and a community based rally.  Yard signs for John Craig, Andy Ziegler and the half penny are available for any interested party.  Richard drafted and edited a response to Rep Crisafulli’s editorial on standardized testing.  Look for it soon in the Florida Today.

 

Digital World

Did you know that there is a Facebook page for BFT members only?  This is another place where we can show solidarity.  Members ask questions, share information and generally support each other in a positive and private place.  To join the group, send a private message to Richard Smith.  He will confirm your membership status and then send you an invite.

 

Union Business

Richard and Dan hosted 4 regional membership meetings over the past 2 weeks.  This Thursday (Oct 2) is the Executive Board Meeting.  Anyone wanting to run for office in the spring (1st VP) has to attend 2 of these meetings. Dan and Richard attended the FEA governance committee meeting.  This committee makes decisions about spending, hiring employees and making policies for our state organization.

 

All commentary, opinions, etc. are mine and mine alone. Any questions, comments, ideas, or concerns about What’s the Buzz? Can be directed to Donna Arnister at washredskins@bellsouth.net.

Facebook users: like us at Brevard Federation of Teachers.

BFT Website: www.bftteach.org  

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

September 26, 2014 

What has BFT done for YOU lately? 

 

Representation  

Currently there are 8 teachers being defended by BFT for a variety of reasons.  Dan reviewed the new contract point by point with Jim Hickey to make sure all ratified items were properly assimilated into the new contract.  The new contract will be available online within the next week.  Richard has contacted Jim Hickey about the work schedules at schools.  It appears that some school’s alternative schedule has teachers working longer than 8 hours or with a workweek over 40 hours.  He is getting clarification and will hopefully have a resolution soon.  Dan reports that BFT was able to fix one teacher’s pay by about $3000. This serves as a good reminder that teachers should check their paystubs each pay period. Richard met with Debra Pace to go over a number of issues.  Anthony C. also met with Debra Pace to discuss the current PGPs.  

 

School Visits

Dan and Richard have visited almost 2 dozens schools since the 2nd week of September.  They are answering questions about insurance, the HIPPA law and handing out political communications to members.  I’ve seen some pictures of BFT Stanley visiting several schools this month, also. Dan is impressed with what teachers are doing with the steering committees.  He reports that teachers are discussing problems and proposing solutions.  Teacher are feeling empowered with this process.

 

Politics

This will be our hot topic until November 4th.  Richard was on a 4-person panel discussing the ½ cent sales tax at Eastern Florida State College (it will always be BCC to me!), the video can be accessed on Florida Today website. He attended a North Area Democrats meeting, a Charlie Crist Rally, and a community based rally.  Yard signs for John Craig, Andy Ziegler and the half penny are available for any interested party.  Richard drafted and edited a response to Rep Crisafulli’s editorial on standardized testing.  Look for it soon in the Florida Today.

 

Digital World

Did you know that there is a Facebook page for BFT members only?  This is another place where we can show solidarity.  Members ask questions, share information and generally support each other in a positive and private place.  To join the group, send a private message to Richard Smith.  He will confirm your membership status and then send you an invite.

 

Union Business 

Richard and Dan hosted 4 regional membership meetings over the past 2 weeks.  This Thursday (Oct 2) is the Executive Board Meeting.  Anyone wanting to run for office in the spring (1st VP) has to attend 2 of these meetings. Dan and Richard attended the FEA governance committee meeting.  This committee makes decisions about spending, hiring employees and making policies for our state organization.

 

All commentary, opinions, etc. are mine and mine alone. Any questions, comments, ideas, or concerns about What’s the Buzz? Can be directed to Donna Arnister at washredskins@bellsouth.net.

Facebook users: like us at Brevard Federation of Teachers.

BFT Website: www.bftteach.org  

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

September 26, 2014

What has BFT done for YOU lately?

 

Representation 

Currently there are 8 teachers being defended by BFT for a variety of reasons.  Dan reviewed the new contract point by point with Jim Hickey to make sure all ratified items were properly assimilated into the new contract.  The new contract will be available online within the next week.  Richard has contacted Jim Hickey about the work schedules at schools.  It appears that some school’s alternative schedule has teachers working longer than 8 hours or with a workweek over 40 hours.  He is getting clarification and will hopefully have a resolution soon.  Dan reports that BFT was able to fix one teacher’s pay by about $3000. This serves as a good reminder that teachers should check their paystubs each pay period. Richard met with Debra Pace to go over a number of issues.  Anthony C. also met with Debra Pace to discuss the current PGPs. 

 

School Visits

Dan and Richard have visited almost 2 dozens schools since the 2nd week of September.  They are answering questions about insurance, the HIPPA law and handing out political communications to members.  I’ve seen some pictures of BFT Stanley visiting several schools this month, also. Dan is impressed with what teachers are doing with the steering committees.  He reports that teachers are discussing problems and proposing solutions.  Teacher are feeling empowered with this process.

 

Politics

This will be our hot topic until November 4th.  Richard was on a 4-person panel discussing the ½ cent sales tax at Eastern Florida State College (it will always be BCC to me!), the video can be accessed on Florida Today website. He attended a North Area Democrats meeting, a Charlie Crist Rally, and a community based rally.  Yard signs for John Craig, Andy Ziegler and the half penny are available for any interested party.  Richard drafted and edited a response to Rep Crisafulli’s editorial on standardized testing.  Look for it soon in the Florida Today.

 

Digital World

Did you know that there is a Facebook page for BFT members only?  This is another place where we can show solidarity.  Members ask questions, share information and generally support each other in a positive and private place.  To join the group, send a private message to Richard Smith.  He will confirm your membership status and then send you an invite.

 

Union Business

Richard and Dan hosted 4 regional membership meetings over the past 2 weeks.  This Thursday (Oct 2) is the Executive Board Meeting.  Anyone wanting to run for office in the spring (1st VP) has to attend 2 of these meetings. Dan and Richard attended the FEA governance committee meeting.  This committee makes decisions about spending, hiring employees and making policies for our state organization.

 

All commentary, opinions, etc. are mine and mine alone. Any questions, comments, ideas, or concerns about What’s the Buzz? Can be directed to Donna Arnister at washredskins@bellsouth.net.

Facebook users: like us at Brevard Federation of Teachers.

 

WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

September 26, 2014

What has BFT done for YOU lately?

 

Representation 

Currently there are 8 teachers being defended by BFT for a variety of reasons.  Dan reviewed the new contract point by point with Jim Hickey to make sure all ratified items were properly assimilated into the new contract.  The new contract will be available online within the next week.  Richard has contacted Jim Hickey about the work schedules at schools.  It appears that some school’s alternative schedule has teachers working longer than 8 hours or with a workweek over 40 hours.  He is getting clarification and will hopefully have a resolution soon.  Dan reports that BFT was able to fix one teacher’s pay by about $3000. This serves as a good reminder that teachers should check their paystubs each pay period. Richard met with Debra Pace to go over a number of issues.  Anthony C. also met with Debra Pace to discuss the current PGPs. 

 

School Visits

Dan and Richard have visited almost 2 dozens schools since the 2nd week of September.  They are answering questions about insurance, the HIPPA law and handing out political communications to members.  I’ve seen some pictures of BFT Stanley visiting several schools this month, also. Dan is impressed with what teachers are doing with the steering committees.  He reports that teachers are discussing problems and proposing solutions.  Teacher are feeling empowered with this process.

 

Politics

This will be our hot topic until November 4th.  Richard was on a 4-person panel discussing the ½ cent sales tax at Eastern Florida State College (it will always be BCC to me!), the video can be accessed on Florida Today website. He attended a North Area Democrats meeting, a Charlie Crist Rally, and a community based rally.  Yard signs for John Craig, Andy Ziegler and the half penny are available for any interested party.  Richard drafted and edited a response to Rep Crisafulli’s editorial on standardized testing.  Look for it soon in the Florida Today.

 

Digital World

Did you know that there is a Facebook page for BFT members only?  This is another place where we can show solidarity.  Members ask questions, share information and generally support each other in a positive and private place.  To join the group, send a private message to Richard Smith.  He will confirm your membership status and then send you an invite.

 

Union Business

Richard and Dan hosted 4 regional membership meetings over the past 2 weeks.  This Thursday (Oct 2) is the Executive Board Meeting.  Anyone wanting to run for office in the spring (1st VP) has to attend 2 of these meetings. Dan and Richard attended the FEA governance committee meeting.  This committee makes decisions about spending, hiring employees and making policies for our state organization.

 

All commentary, opinions, etc. are mine and mine alone. Any questions, comments, ideas, or concerns about What’s the Buzz? Can be directed to Donna Arnister at washredskins@bellsouth.net.

Facebook users: like us at Brevard Federation of Teachers.

BFT Website: www.bftteach.org  

 

 

 

WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

September 5, 2014

What has BFT done for YOU lately?

 

Representation 

Richard is still advocating for several AC teachers who have not been hired. It will be wonderful next year when ACs will have some job protection.  He is also working with several teachers that have pay issues.  We must be vigilant of our pay now that we all have differentiated pay.  Check your paystubs at least monthly, especially when the raise is factored in in November or December.  Dan helped two teachers get their master’s degree supplement. He also worked with two different teachers who thought they might lose their jobs.  Fortunately, they are members, so Dan took the lead on the employment issues, and legal services were called in for both cases. Both jobs have been saved for now. The officers are responding to many, many emails and phone calls daily. Some of the questions concerned the new wellness checks promoted for cheaper health insurance deductibles.  Look for these clarifications to be published in the next Advisor.  The Advisor is published around each pay period.  Other calls deal with members checking out rumors and misinformation.  The officers really want you to call anytime you question what you are hearing.  This gives them the opportunity to keep in touch and keep members informed with corrected information. Remember there is no such thing as a stupid question.

 

School Visits

Richard had the pleasure of meeting with teachers at Space Coast, Port Malabar, ESF, Delaura and Jackson.  Jenn reports to visiting Hoover, Longleaf, Tropical and Satelite.  She has been training with Jeannette Soucy and Bridget Reed, other BPS peer mentor teachers.

 

NEA New Teacher Grant

Jenn’s new position is paid through this grant (not from BFT dues), but she continues to represent and work for BFT as the 2nd VP. Through this position, Jenn introduced and explained the grant at the New Mentor Council with Peggy Yelverton.  She also attended the BPS Team Leadership meeting (principal’s meeting) where Dr. Respess informed the principals of the new teacher mentoring opportunities through this grant.  Jenn spent some of her time scheduling teacher observations and budgeting for subs, so that school level mentor teachers can be released to work with new teachers.  The beauty of working for the county again, gives Jenn the insight of writing a PGP firsthand which she has begun to write with her CMA team.  Jenn participated in Google Docs training.  BFT began using a Google Docs document last summer to improve communication by making sure phone calls to the office received a response.  Maybe with this new training, Jenn will be able to suggest other ways GoogleDocs can be used in the BFT office to improve services.

 

Politics

Dan and Richard happily attended Misty Belford’s election party for the announcement of her win.  She will be a great asset on the board for students and teachers. Misty will continue the change of how the school board relates to parents, teachers and the community.

 

Union Business

The officers spent time preparing for the New Teacher “Free” Market held Saturday, September 6th.  Jenn even secured new supplies for teachers to go along with the retiring/moving teachers’ treasures.

 

Professional Development

The three-hour Unpacking Language Arts Florida Standards was presented on 8/27 and received rave reviews.  So much so, that a 2nd running of the training is being considered.  Two other inservice opportunities began this past week at the BFT office.  In the Spring, Beginning Reading Instruction will be offered.  Tina Newman will be the presenter. Check out the In-service button on BFT Home Page for more information.

 

All commentary, opinions, etc. are mine and mine alone. Any questions, comments, ideas, or concerns about What’s the Buzz? Can be directed to Donna Arnister at washredskins@bellsouth.net.

Facebook users: like us at Brevard Federation of Teachers.

BFT Website: www.bftteach.org  

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

Aug 22, 2014

What has BFT done for YOU lately?

 

Obviously I haven’t been doing much for you!  This edition has the accumulation of 3 weeks of happenings.  I will try to do better now that the start of school is over.

 

Representation 

Richard worked to resolve an issue of a teacher being moved to another school against the teacher’s will.  He also moved to step three in a grievance for a middle school where teachers were moved out of specialty programs against their wishes.   Dan continued work on 2 grievances pushed from last year and arranged legal services for another.  Richard began a grievance and worked with a BF to avoid another one. Richard assisted several AC’s in gaining teaching positions.

Dan and Richard have been getting around the county for the past 2 weeks informing teachers and answering their questions about the contract and vote.  Eight regional meetings were held throughout the county, as well as school visits.

 

Politics

Anthony Colucci and Matt Susan have been member leaders on the political front.  They have coordinated volunteers for our endorsed candidates.  The culminating event will be on Tuesday at the polls.  Richard and Anthony attended the North Area NAACP where Misty Belford spoke at that forum.

 

Union Business

There is a rumor out there that Jenn Stokes, BFT 2nd VP quit.  A rumor is just what it is.  She works out of ESF as a Supervising Peer Mentor with teachers in 1st-3rd years of teaching.  Her salary (same as if she was in the classroom) is paid from an NEA grant.  Dan and Richard have been involved in collaborative training with the district.  I believe, this training is part of the NEA New Teacher Grant.  There were several face-to-face and phone conferences over the contract and New Teacher Grant.

 

Dan and Richard were out at schools conducting the vote on Friday and will continue on Monday.  We have 8 schools with no BR.  If your school does not have one, please consider taking on this role.   There is some time commitment, but the more active our members are, the more power we weld.

 

Our 1st General Membership meeting is Thursday, Aug 28 at Kennedy Middle at 5:00 PM.  Come join us!

 

Professional Development

The first BFT professional development opportunity for 2014-15 is Wednesday, 8/27.  It is a three-hour workshop on Unpacking Language Arts Florida Standards.  Mealtime will be first at 4:30, so if middle school/junior high teachers attend, they won't miss any class. 

 

There are two PD opportunities this fall at the BFT office.   Strategies for Student Success (SSS) is a 15-hour class beginning September 3rd at 4:30. Managing Antisocial Behaviors (MAB) is a 30 inservice points training beginning September 2nd running for 9 weeks.  Start time is 5:00 PM. MAB will satisfy the 20-hour ESE requirement for recertification (K-12).  All classes are free to BFT members.  There is a fee for non-members.  For more information, check out the In-service button on BFT Home Page.

 

All commentary, opinions, etc. are mine and mine alone. Any questions, comments, ideas, or concerns about What’s the Buzz? Can be directed to Donna Arnister at washredskins@bellsouth.net.

Facebook users: like us at Brevard Federation of Teachers.

BFT Website: www.bftteach.org  

 

 

 

 

WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

Aug 1, 2014

What has BFT done for YOU lately?

 

Representation 

Richard worked on 3 grievances, one a violation of the contract language that says specialty program teachers have to agree to moved from program, an unfair payment of summer program and a computer problem of self evaluation scores. Dan and the bargaining team continued with another day of negotiations.  Some security for AC’s most likely will be finalized during this week’s bargaining session.  See Dan’s Bargaining update on BFT website. The next, and possibly last opportunity, if the district comes with more money, to observe them at work is Wednesday, August 6 at 4 PM at Viera HS. 

 

New Teachers

Officers continued working with the district on implementing the NEA Mentor Teacher Grant.  Jenn Stokes was chosen for the Peer Mentor position working out of ESF.  She still continues as our 2nd VP, but is not “on-release,” which means she will be working for and paid by BPS instead BFT.

The office has been used for the New Teacher Academy this past week.  Peggy Yelverton, Linda Vinson and Jenn have worked together to give our new teachers support and valuable professional development.  It is also an opportunity to increase our voice and message of a robust public school system. There is strength in numbers.

 

Politics

As a group, we make a formidable, political force.  The officers along with many members are calling voters, walking neighborhoods and waving signs in the streets for the endorsed candidates:  Misty Belford, district 1, John Craig, district 2 and Andy Zeigler, district 5. If you can help, call the office or contact Anthony Colucci, our Political Coordinator.

 

Community

Jenn met with a potential business partner who works with people in career and college preparation.  Do not confuse with readiness, this business has nothing to do with common core.  Actually I spoke with this gentleman at the BR training.  He works with people identifying their aspirations and helping to create a plan to meet their goals without going into thousands of dollar college debt for a degree that is of little value, or takes you into a career that is not personally satisfying.

 

Union Business

Our new members only Facebook is up and running.  All members using FB can send a private message from the Brevard Federation of Teachers page.  Once Richard verifies that you are a member, he will invite you to the page. There is a lot of great conversation in a safe environment.  The executive board met to plan for the coming year, address budget issues, as well as   discuss opportunities to restructure BFT into a more effective organization.

The officers put on an informative, yet fun Building Rep day long training. Seventy+ Building Reps and activists attended.  If you do not have a building rep at your school, please consider taking on this position.  It has little pay, but is a vital piece of our union/solidarity. 

 

Professional Development

There are two PD opportunities this fall at the BFT office.   Strategies for Student Success (SSS) is a 15-hour class beginning September 3rd at 4:30. Managing Antisocial Behaviors (MAB) is a 30 inservice points training beginning September 2nd running for 9 weeks.  Start time is 5:00 PM. MAB will satisfy the 20-hour ESE requirement for recertification (K-12).  All classes are free to BFT members.  There is a fee for non-members.  For more information, check out the In-service button on BFT Home Page.

 

All commentary, opinions, etc. are mine and mine alone. Any questions, comments, ideas, or concerns about What’s the Buzz? Can be directed to Donna Arnister at washredskins@bellsouth.net.

Facebook users: like us at Brevard Federation of Teachers.

BFT Website: www.bftteach.org  

 

 

WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

July 18, 2014

What has BFT done for YOU lately?

 

Representation 

Dan and Jenn represented us well at another full day of bargaining last Wednesday. They both spent time preparing for bargaining, debriefing after and planning for bargaining on July 23rd.  Negotiations begin at 8 until 4 at Viera HS cafeteria.  The public is welcomed and teachers are encouraged to attend.  Topics to be discussed:  more planning time for all teachers, salary, and AC reappointments. 

 

Dan assisted a teacher in reviewing his/her PDAP (Professional Development Assistance Plan) and planning for the implementation this coming year. Dan attended the insurance committee meeting.  He also worked with a teacher on career planning.  Jenn met with Andy Ziegler.  Their talk focused on school safety policies with the goal to make sure all employees and students are safe and there is appropriate communication between administration and teachers during an emergency/crisis situation.  Richard worked with a BR to change the school culture towards fairness in scheduling.  Unfortunately many times there is a fight to get contract language implemented.  Negotiation of language is seldom the last step. 

 

New Teachers

Dan spent time working with the NEA grant review committee.  They narrowed the Peer Mentor candidates to 11 for interviews.  Jenn continued with work on her presentation for the New Teacher Academy.  Sessions will be held at the BFT office.  There are 3 opportunities to take advantage of this 2-day seminar.  You may attend July 28 & 29 (Course# 10490, Section # 788) or July 30 & 31 (Course #10490, Section # 790) or Aug 4 & 5 (Course # 10490, Section #791).  The sessions are limited to 25 teachers per 2-day seminar.  Register on ProGoe2, the county’s new inservice website.

 

Politics

Are you interested in telling your story to a legislator?  Jenn is making a list of BFT activists that would like to do some lobbying right here at home.  Don’t worry, the officers will help prepare and support you.

Richard met and planned political strategies with Anthony Colucci and Matt Susin.

 

Community

Richard met with Titusville Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs committee.

 

Union Business

Richard began a members only Facebook page called BFT members.  You have to request to be added.  Search BFT members.  If you can’t find it (for some it does not come up in a search), then email Richard at richard.smith@floridaea.org or call the office.  He will verify your membership and add you.  Richard attended last day of the AFT Convention was Monday and returned to Florida on Tuesday.  Randi Weingarten was voted in as AFT President for another term.

The officers continue to work on the day long Building Rep training that will take place Friday, Aug 1.  Call the office 636-3323 to RSVP for your school. Dan consulted with FEA staff on various professional issues, as well as worked to rebuild the email database. 

 

Professional Development

Four opportunities are available during the 2014-15 school year.  Strategies for Student Success and Managing Antisocial Behaviors are offered during the fall semester.  Beginning Reading Instruction will be held during the 2nd semester and Thinking Math 6-8 will take place in June 2015.  All classes are free to BFT members.  There is a fee for non-members.  For more information, check out the new In-service button on BFT Home Page.

 

All commentary, opinions, etc. are mine and mine alone. Any questions, comments, ideas, or concerns about What’s the Buzz? Can be directed to Donna Arnister at washredskins@bellsouth.net.

Facebook users: like us at Brevard Federation of Teachers.

BFT Website: www.bftteach.org  

 

 

 

WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

July 11, 2014 (Short Holiday week)

What has BFT done for YOU lately?

 

Representation 

Let us represent ourselves this week.  Anyone that can come out to bargaining on Tuesday, July 15th is needed and welcomed.  It is from 8-4 PM in Viera High’s cafeteria.  Let the board’s negotiating team look us in the eye and say that a $500 raise/supplement minus $300 increase in health insurance is an acceptable salary offer! The officers represent us, but the board needs to know we stand behind them.

 

Jenn and Dan were at the bargaining table this week, as well as spending time preparing and organizing for the next round.  Jenn continues to work daily on AC placements.  According to her, many have been/are being placed, but still some unplaced AC teachers have not “registered” with BFT.  They will help if you let them know.  Call the office 636-3323.  Dan and Jenn met with Jim Hickey outside of bargaining to address AC placements and other HR issues. Richard spent time speaking with administrators in regards to issues some members have with their scheduling.

 

New Teachers

Jenn created postcards to send out to new/beginning teachers for the New Teacher Academy that will be presented by the district and BFT.  Sessions will be held at the BFT office.  There are 3 opportunities to take advantage of this 2-day seminar.  You may attend July 28 & 29 (Course# 10490, Section # 788) or July 30 & 31 (Course #10490, Section # 790) or Aug 4 & 5 (Course # 10490, Section #791).  The sessions are limited to 25 teachers per 2-day seminar.  Register on ProGoe, the county’s new inservice website.

 

Politics

Richard worked with America Votes on the political computer program, VAN.  All the officers and Matt Susin met and spoke with M. Paccione of Palm Bay City Council about political strategies and voter registration drives for the upcoming elections.  Dan spoke with a small group about the ½ penny sales tax.

 

Community

Richard attended the Brevard Save Our Schools budget oversight meeting.

 

Union Business

Richard attended the AFT convention in Los Angeles.  He posted pictures and commentary of the trip on Facebook. All the officers worked on the Building Rep training being offered on Aug. 1.  Chris is calling the BR’s.  If you have not been contacted, or your school does not have a rep and you would like to attend, please call Chris at 636-3323.

 

Professional Development

Four opportunities are available during the 2014-15 school year.  Strategies for Student Success and Managing Antisocial Behaviors are offered during the fall semester.  Beginning Reading Instruction will be held during the 2nd semester and Thinking Math 6-8 will take place in June 2015.  All classes are free to BFT members.  There is a fee for non-members.  For more information, check out the new In-service button on BFT Home Page.

 

All commentary, opinions, etc. are mine and mine alone. Any questions, comments, ideas, or concerns about What’s the Buzz? Can be directed to Donna Arnister at washredskins@bellsouth.net.

Facebook users: like us at Brevard Federation of Teachers.

BFT Website: www.bftteach.org  

 

 

 

 

WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

July 3, 2014 (Short Holiday week)

What has BFT done for YOU lately?

 

Representation 

Jenn continues to work with AC teachers to get them placed. Richard resolved improper placement of a teacher.  Richard was in touch with approximately 8 members to discuss contract questions and problems.

 

New Teachers

Jenn spent time planning for the New Teacher Academy being held with the district at the beginning of the school year.  Richard, Dan, and Jenn also worked with Debra Pace on the details on implementing the new teacher/mentor program (NEA grant).

 

Politics

Richard met and spoke with Misty Belford (district #1) and John Craig (#2), two of the school board candidates that were endorsed by BFT.  He presented them with $1000 contribution checks from the TIGER fund.  No union dues can be used for political contributions.

 

Community

Jenn attended the Melbourne Chamber’s 20/40  (young professionals) event.

 

Union Business

The officers met with the BFT Executive Board to organize and grow our professional organization.  They also planned for the Executive board and Building Rep retreat on July 31 and Aug 1, respectively.  Richard worked with FEA on recruiting plans for this year.

 

Professional Development

Four opportunities are available during the 2014-15 school year.  Strategies for Student Success and Managing Antisocial Behaviors are offered during the fall semester.  Beginning Reading Instruction will be held during the 2nd semester and Thinking Math 6-8 will take place in June 2015.  All classes are free to BFT members.  There is a fee for non-members.  For more information, check out the new In-service button on BFT Home Page.

 

All commentary, opinions, etc. are mine and mine alone. Any questions, comments, ideas, or concerns about What’s the Buzz? Can be directed to Donna Arnister at washredskins@bellsouth.net.

Facebook users: like us at Brevard Federation of Teachers.

BFT Website: www.bftteach.org  

 

 

 

WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

June 27, 2014

What has BFT done for YOU lately?

 

Wow!  Happy Birthday! What’s the Buzz is officially 1 year old.  The first publication was last year June 24th!  My hope is that The Buzz has been informative and maybe even a little thought provoking.  My ultimate dream would be that someone spoke up or got involved as a result of reading something in The Buzz.  It will take us all working in solidarity to shift the focus of public education to valuing teachers.

 

Representation 

A day and a half this week was spent at the bargaining table.  Dan’s report was sent out to his listserv.  If you are a member and did not receive it call the office to get your email address on the listserv.  An official report will be on the website this week.

Dan coached 2 teachers through their PDAP (Professional Development Assistance Plan).  He also represented a teacher in an evaluation grievance, arranged legal representation for another and assisted a teacher returning from leave with financial and payroll issues. Dan and Jenn attended the District Strategic Planning Workshop.  Chairwoman Karen Henderson invited Dan to literally sit at the table during the presentation.  If I’m not mistaken, BFT has never been asked to the table during one of these workshops.  This invitation is a demonstration of the tides turning towards a true collaborative approach in educating our students. Jenn is working furiously to help AC teachers get placements.  If you are a member and have not called the office to get on the “list.”  Please stop reading this right now and call 636-3323.  The only way she knows you are AC and not placed is if you are on the list. Jenn and Dan met with Andy Ziegler to discuss teacher and educational issues. As always our officers attended the Tuesday School Board meeting.

 

New Teachers

Jenn and Richard participated in a conference call with NEA about the grant.  They are working out all the details in order to implement the mentoring program when school resumes.

Jenn collected and sorted materials coming in for the annual Fall Free Flea Market for new/beginning BFT members (1st 3 years). The event will be in August or early September.  More information will be forthcoming as details are determined.

 

Politics

The political scene is in full swing with the primaries coming up in August.  The Political Action Empowerment group worked diligently to vet candidates and put out endorsements. The endorsements were posted on FB and sent out to the listserve.  Hopefully, they will be put up on the website soon.  Jenn attended John Craig’s (District 2) fundraiser.

 

Union Business

Dan had a phone conference with FEA leadership about BFT’s organizing plan for the fall; a continuation of 5-16-14, now what?  He also worked on developing and refining BR materials for our upcoming day conference.

 

All commentary, opinions, etc. are mine and mine alone. Any questions, comments, ideas, or concerns about What’s the Buzz? Can be directed to Donna Arnister at washredskins@bellsouth.net.

Facebook users: like us at Brevard Federation of Teachers.

BFT Website: www.bftteach.org  

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT’S THE BUZZ?

June 20, 2014

What has BFT done for YOU lately?

 

Representation 

Dan spoke to some of the school board members with input to BPS strategic plan.  He also met with a group of teachers about concerns at their school.  Dan met with insurance committee with an update on the trust fund, ideas from communication of benefits and began planning for dental plan contract.  Officers continue to meet with AC teachers for placements.  The officers met with Dr. Binggeli and Dr. Carr over VAM calculations.  They also met with district personnel about the changes in IPPAS.

Click here for the first bargaining update.  All bargaining sessions are open to the public.  Mark your calendars with these dates:  Tues. June 24: 2-6 PM, Then 8-4 PM on the following dates:  Wed June 25, Wed July 9, Tues. July 15 and Wed. July 23.

 

School Visits and Communication

No school visits since school is out, but 157 phone calls have been addressed so far in June. The officers are continually answering emails and phone calls daily.

 

New Teacher Mentoring

BFT/BPS were awarded the NEA grant for mentoring new teachers.  Richard had meetings with FEA staff on implementation of the grant.  This grant will allow the mentor teachers to be paid, as well as meet with mentees during school hours.  Jenn met with Peggy Yelverton about the New Teacher Academy being brought back to Brevard at the beginning of the 2014-15 school year. It will be hosted at the BFT office!

 

Politics

Richard was involved in training on political strategy and the Voter Activation Network (computer program for contacting voters). Richard participated in a phone conference dealing with AFL-CIO political strategy. Dan met with 2 school board candidates. Jenn met with congressional candidate, Gabriel Rothblatt, to obtain information on his educational views.

 

Union Business

Richard spent a couple of days this past week in Management training in order to lead BFT more effectively.  Topics included contract understanding and enhancement, recruiting, community organizing, BR development, management of staff and budget.  Richard and Dan worked along with the budget subcommittee on our next year’s budget.

Jenn attended the Florida Young Remarkable Educator’s conference (training and attendance paid by NEA grant).  Topics addressed:  leadership development, recruitment and political issues.

 

All commentary, opinions, etc. are mine and mine alone. Any questions, comments, ideas, or concerns about What’s the Buzz? Can be directed to Donna Arnister at washredskins@bellsouth.net.

Facebook users: like us at Brevard Federation of Teachers.

BFT Website: www.bftteach.org  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit

1007 S. Florida Ave

Rockledge, FL 32955
 

Call

T: 321.636.3323
F: 321.636.4366

 

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