News


2019 GEA Annual Election Results

posted Apr 30, 2019, 8:49 AM by GMHSLibrary   [ updated Jun 14, 2019, 6:01 AM ]

President 
Joe Pittella 29
Marianne McGee 1
Paul Swaim 1
Mike Murphy 1
Monica Mcginnis 1

Vice President 
Mike Murphy 51
Pat Corr 1
Meg Johnson 1

Secretary
Paul Swaim 34
Kristen Power 23

Treasurer 
Corey Chenette 55

High School Building Rep
Ryan Corbett 25

Middle School Building Rep
Chris DiFranco 16
Pat Corr 1
Deb DiFruscio 1
Mariel Gearty 1
Linda Husak 1

Elementary PreK-Grade 2 Building Rep
Julie Homans 27

Elementary Grade 3-6 Building Rep
Monica Mcginnis 20

Ballot Question - Renaming the Middle School Building Rep and the High School Building Rep positions to 2 GMHS Rep positions.
Yes, I am in favor of renaming of the positions 19
No, I am not in favor of renaming the positions. 9

GEA Update, March 2019

posted Mar 24, 2019, 1:54 PM by GMHSLibrary

Dear Colleagues:

I wanted to take a moment and update membership on a few items.

First and foremost, The GEA is very proud to have two members honored by the GEF and be the recipients of the 2018-2019 GEF's Teachers of the year award.  Both Terri Brooks and Liz Marchetti are shining examples of our membership.  I hope that you can attend the GEF annual Gala event on April 5th to share this tremendous accomplishment with both members.

Recently, membership requested some answers to questions pertaining to Atlas.  Listed below are the emailed responses provided by Superintendent Jacobs.  If you have any further questions about Atlas, please bring them forward through your building representatives to discuss at our next E-Board Meeting. 

The GEA is also working on a few issues at the middle/high school pertaining to Special Education and Administration over reach.  As always, if you have any concerns about management, please bring them forward to your building representatives.  

Also, if you are interested in having any by-law change proposals added to our annual meeting (date to be determined) or thinking about running for a GEA office, please let me know.  Around mid May, we will be looking for all by-law change proposals and look to finalize the GEA ballot for the upcoming year.  

Atlas question and answers.

1st-How much is the district paying to use Atlas?  

A. The district pays $5000 a year for the district license  paid for from the technology software line

2nd-  How long is the contract to use Atlas in our district?  Two members mentioned that they have siblings/friends teaching in other districts that did the same thing we are currently doing and those districts gave up on using Atlas after a couple of years.

A. The contract is a year to year contract and we have been contracting with them for at least the last five years

3rd-  If somehow a spreadsheet of standards and or frameworks could be implemented into Google Drive, which a majority members currently use, which is free, could we use Google Drive instead of Atlas to put together a curriculum map for each grade/subject? 

A. Many staff members are using google docs to manage their documents and they do it in the way that works for them. There could be a way to do what you are suggesting but it would be a lot of work to get it done in a way that is consistent and easily accessible to everyone using the documents. While not entirely impossible, the reason we use Atlas is that it is a structured template and process focused specifically on backwards design for learning which we adopted as a district. When we purchased it, we tailored it to our needs in Georgetown and  the goal was to have this readily available as a living breathing tool to coordinate and house the district's curriculum in an easily accessible format. It is supposed to be used by teachers to house their curriculum and things can be adjusted and added as need be. Ideally, teams of teachers would use Atlas to reflect on their units and modify and adjust as they see fit. Simply put, it provides the structure we are looking for and we have been invested in it for a while. We have done a lot of leg work up front over the years and now it is making changes and additions as needed. It is particularly helpful when new teachers arrive or change grades because they are not starting from scratch and we do not see the value in abandoning a system that is in place to create a new one that will be more challenging to manage consistently. Collin is very open to listening to ways that we can utilize Atlas better but we have made the investment K-12.  The recent accreditation at the MHS went very smoothly and the school received a commndation for having Atlas in place to house and manage the taught curriculum.

4th- As you know, time is always an issue and members are wondering where time can be utilized in order to input all material necessary for Atlas.  If this is going to be a living, breathing program that members are going to need to be updating yearly, could a PD Day be set aside to do this work every year?

A. The process of curriculum design and management is an ongoing process and the teachers are responsible for using the curriculum standards and structure to teacher their curriculum. When it makes sense to provide time for teachers to work together on a task like we did last Friday ( the feedback was extremely positive) it will be in the calendar but we can not guarantee that there will a designated day for Atlas every year because we see it as an on-going process that teachers will engage in as the reflect on and prepare to teach new units. This vaires based on the grade level and what they need based on what is in Atlas.  In the case of one grade level, they decided to change a unit. When this happened , they had to plan and load their new unit into Atlas because that is part of their designated curriculum.  In other cases, there are changes they make to the unit and those are loaded in by the teachers. It is part of standard one effective lesson and unit design and planning. Those are part of the decision making process that teachers engage in as they prepare to teach the lesson using the frameworks of the lesson for the grade level. 

5th-  Members also want to know why they were paid to do some of this work over the summer a few years back, but now the expectation is that this same work is being done for no compensation.  They are very concerned about job creep and that since the elimination of a Grade Level Meeting every month that their team meeting times are now being "Monopolized" with material that may be important but taking time of other things that grade levels would rather spend their time on, such as discussing students and looking at student work.
 
A. I am a little confused about the grade level meetings. As I understand it from negotiations, the Principal now schedules on meeting a month with the grade level teams. This leaves ( in a four week month) three other sessions one each week for the time to get together to discuss whatever they need to discuss which might be this and /or student issues etc. Depending on what a grade level needs to accomplish, they can plan accordingly. I am sure it is also they case that there will never be enough time to do everything that members will schedule other times that work for them. When I go back to my classroom teaching days, my colleagues and i met whenever we needed to to plan the best for our students and I am sure that our teachers do that as well. That is a part of a teacher's professional job as best they can. I am not sure about job creep because there are some things that take more time to do but fall within the responsibilities of a teacher.  In terms of the pay, when we ask or require teachers to do district work in the summer which is beyond the teacher's work year, we do our best to use grant funds and/or district professional development funds to provide some compensation. Some years that is easier than others. One summer we paid the 5th grade team to develop units because they were overhauling their units and they needed to have the first few ready to go in the fall. We also have paid teachers to align writing to their units and clearly we would love to have more money to pay more people to do this work. Having said that, because we have the frameworks for the units in Atlas for the most part, teachers need to be working with the program throughout the year as they are getting ready to teach a unit. Having the essential questions and enduring understanding, core activities and assessments planned out in advance has to be a huge help for teachers and Margaret should be using them when she is visiting classrooms. As I mentioned earlier this is an on-going process and not just a project that can be done exclusively in the summer. 

I want the teachers to see that the intention here is to do a helpful thing not to make more work for them. Collin can work with them to discuss ways to make Atlas work better for them so they don't feel like they have to do duplication in Atlas and google. I can see how that would be frustrating although I see them as being used for slightly different purposes.  I hope this helps and if you have further questions and want to invite us to a meeting, I would be happy to do that. 

As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

Joe

Please review the 2018-19 Seniority List

posted Jan 9, 2019, 8:27 AM by GMHSLibrary

Dear Members,
Please check the attached Seniority Lists (it is actually two separate list; one for GMHS, one of Elementary) to see if your information and standing is correct.  You have two weeks to make any adjustments, if necessary.  If your positioning on the list is correct, you don't need to do anything.

Please send any question or concerns to Corey Chenette at Chenettec@gmail.com 

U.S. Supreme Court issues decision in the Janus v. AFSCME case.

posted Jun 28, 2018, 4:01 PM by GMHSLibrary

Dear Colleagues, 

Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in the Janus v. AFSCME case. As anticipated, the decision came down 5-4 against the interests of working men and women and for the Koch brothers and other corporate interests that bankrolled the case. Many of the same forces behind the Janus case were also behind the pro-charter Yes on Question 2 campaign in 2016.

What does this mean for us? 

First, by staying together, we will be stronger than ever. Tell your co-workers and friends that you are “sticking with the union” by posting a message on social media. Go here for social media materials, or take a photo of yourself and co-workers holding up a sign with the word UNION. Post photos on social media. If you have an All In button, please wear it.

Second, talk about the importance of our union. Remind people that our union supports: 

●        Our voice. Educators need a voice and real power to improve teaching and learning conditions at the local, state and national levels. Whether the issue is testing, funding, adjunct faculty pay, educator evaluation, a bullying administrator or a living wage for the parents of our students, our voices — on behalf of ourselves, our students and our communities — are louder when we speak through our union.

●        Our profession. The union supports the schools, colleges and universities our students and communities deserve. Together, we are stronger as we demand the professional autonomy and respect that educators and all workers deserve. We advocate for pro-student education policies at the local, state and national levels and provide professional learning opportunities to our members.

●        Our interests. The union gives employees the power to bargain collectively for fair pay, benefits, working conditions and due process rights. This is fundamental to attracting and retaining qualified educators at all levels. If members drop out of the union to save a few dollars, it will cost them much more down the road in lost wages, fewer benefits and deteriorating working conditions.

●        Our rights. Members defend their rights through organizing and with the support of the MTA’s field, legal, policy and communications services, as well as with access to a $1 million liability insurance policy.

For more details on the benefits of membership, go here. To register for MTA’s Summer Conference, where building union power and education funding will be key topics, go here. 

The Janus decision is an outrage that underscores just how polarized our country has become. The case was backed by special interests that have long sought to “defund and defang” public employee unions. But there are more of us than there are of them. When we stick together, we can beat back the corporate privatizers and become stronger than ever.

Also, the MTA has been notified that some members are getting emails at their school email addresses encouraging people to withdraw from the union.   We all know that the strength of our union is in the collective power of our members sticking together!  As always, please feel free to contact me with concerns.  


# I’m sticking with the Union!


Sincerely,


Joe

2018 Election results

posted Jun 25, 2018, 5:11 AM by GMHSLibrary





President

  • Joe Pittella - 60

  • Sandra Schwarzkopf - 1

Vice-President

  • Mike Murphy - 45

  • Tim Larsen - 18

Secretary

  • Paul Swaim - 62

Treasurer

  • Corey Chenette - 61

  • Lisa Ryer - 1

High School Building Rep

  • Ryan Corbett - 33

  • Shaye Mathews - 1

  • Lindsey Little - 1

Middle School Building Rep

  • Chris DiFranco - 27

  • Cassie Murray - 1

  • Tim Larsen - 1

Penn Brook Building Rep PreK-Grade 2

  • Kristen Powers - 17

  • Allison Ruggiero - 1

Penn Brook Building Rep Grades 3-6

  • Mike Walsh - 19

  • Monica McGinnis - 1


GMHS results


Elementary results









Contract ratified, elections next.

posted Jun 6, 2018, 7:54 AM by GMHSLibrary   [ updated Jun 12, 2018, 4:19 AM ]

Dear Colleagues:

The contract was overwhelmingly accepted at our yearly meeting, 80 votes in favor and 1 against.  Those members that are looking to take advantage of the new language that allows your children to come to the Georgetown Schools must email Superintendent Jacobs by June 22nd informing her of your decision to enroll your child(ten).  Over this summer, Mike and I will sit down with MTA to input the new language into the contract.  We will print out approximately 25 copies to be housed in each building and provide administrators with a copy, as well.  All updated language will be available to see through our online version of the contract on our union website this September, as well.

Finally on June 14th, we will be conducting our GEA elections.  The morning of June 14th, a link to the GEA ballot will be sent to your private email accounts for you to cast your vote for members that are running for GEA Offices. The voting will remain open until around 6 pm that night.  If you are interested in running for any of the following positions (Building Representative, Secretary, Treasurer, Vice President or President) please forward your name to me ASAP.

Thanks

Joe

GEA Update, April 7, 2018

posted Apr 8, 2018, 4:16 AM by GMHSLibrary

Dear Colleagues:

I wanted to take a moment and update you on a few important items as well as update you on our current contract negotiations.

1.  IPDIP- By now, an IPDIP folder should have found its way into your school mailbox.  This folder was provided to you by MTA.  It is an organizational folder to store all your PDP information.  Many members have found it useful for recertification, which most of us will have to do in 2019.  If you did not receive one, please let your building representative know and we will get one to you.

2.  GEA Annual Meeting- The E-Board met last Thursday and we are looking to have our annual GEA Meeting on Thursday, May 31st.  The meeting will be held at Penn Brook and begin promptly at 3:15 PM.  At this meeting, by-law changes will be voted upon, GEA election information will be discussed as well as all other important information pertaining to our union will be discussed.  Pleas make every effort to make this important meeting.  

3.  Contract Update-  The Negotiation Team has met with the Superintendent and the School Committee three times over the past month and a half discussing proposals.  The meetings thus far have not been very productive.  As usual, teacher raises have been the biggest obstacle.  The team has fought hard at the table for our proposals and will continue to do so.  I am not certain that we will have a tentative contract for ratification by membership by the end of this school year.  As we continue to meet, we will update membership regularly on where we are in the process. 

A few members have inquired about a few of the proposals, one being, preschool discount for members.  Currently, full time preschool costs $8,200 a year.  We have many young members that have indicated that they would send their child to preschool in Georgetown, if economically feasible.  Currently, the school committee is looking favorable at providing some financial relief to children of members, ranging anywhere from 10-25 % discount.  This proposal has no financial burden to the district and would be a great perk for members.  Also, the team is fighting hard to get contractual language that would allow the children of members to attend Georgetown Schools.  That language too is being looked at favorably by the school committee.  However, these two proposals are part of a bigger proposal package.  We are still far apart on many other proposals.  I am urging members to enroll their children in their own school district as a safe guard.  If we have a breakthrough and the contract does come up for ratification by the end of this school year then you can register your child into Georgetown.

Finally, I am urging members to stay away from and off all parent social media pages pertaining to the Georgetown Schools.  As we know, these pages are filled with emotionally charged comments that are not based on facts, merely opinions.  I know many members are on these pages.  They read the comments, which gets them upset and then discuss what was written with other members getting them upset.  You do not need the drama or the stress of reading comments that only hurt and incite.  

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

Thanks

Joe      

How Janus v American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees affect our Union.

posted Feb 25, 2018, 10:52 AM by GMHSLibrary

I wanted to share an article with you from The Economist concerning a case that will be coming before the Supreme Court in the upcoming months.  Paul



Thoughts on the shootings in Florida.

posted Feb 25, 2018, 10:45 AM by GMHSLibrary

Dear Colleagues:

I remember thinking after the Sandy Hook tragedy that dramatic changes would occur nationwide regarding gun control laws and it did not.  Yet, here we are again, this time, seventeen high schoolers were murdered.  After every one of these events, I email my representatives in Congress and sign petitions requesting tighter gun laws but more voices are needed.  I have emailed both Senator Markey and Senator Warren and Congressman Seth Moulton to continue this fight to strengthen our gun laws, even though Massachusetts has some of the strictest laws in the nation. Also, I have emailed Superintendent Jacobs and Chief of Police Cudmore to look at installing active shooter technology in our schools, similar to that currently used in Methuen.  See the link below for more information.  Furthermore, there is a nationwide "March for our Lives" on March 24th where students will be marching in support of tougher gun laws.  I have already discussed this with Superintendent Jacobs and she is in full support of any of our students and colleagues actively participating in this march.  

The bottom line is that something needs to be done.  Email our Senators and representatives in Congress demanding action. Email our Superintendent and Chief of Police and demand that this active shooter technology be placed in our schools.  Do not believe that someone else will take care of this or that your voice will not be heard or that you are too busy.  The time is now.

Joe


Technology, designed to help police catch a school gunman, billed as first of its kind operating in public school

Changing school start times on hold for now.

posted Jun 20, 2017, 5:39 AM by GMHSLibrary

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