News

Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association

posted Apr 4, 2016, 5:23 AM by Brendan Breen

Fight to Beat Pancreatic Cancer!

posted Mar 28, 2016, 5:11 AM by Brendan Breen

Pancreatic Cancer is expected to surpass Breast Cancer and become the THIRD leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States, and is predicted to become the SECOND leading cause of cancer death by 2020. This is NOT OK.

As many of you may know my dad passed away this past November. They say Pancreatic Cancer is a silent killer and it really is. If anyone could beat it, it would have been my dad, but he didn't even get the chance to fight.

Now I am doing the fighting! A friend and college teammate of mine also lost her dad to Pancreatic Cancer in 2015. So we decided to run the Philadelphia Love Half-Marathon to raise money for Project Purple.
Project Purple is a non-profit that not only supports pancreatic cancer research, but also helps families who cannot afford treatment.
If you knew my dad personally or even if you did not, you might know that he was a salesman by trade. However, his true passion was fundraising. So now, I am going to channel my inner Bruce Edleson and ask for your support.

Please follow this link to our fundraising page:  https://www.crowdrise.com/doingit4dad1/fundraiser/jvalenziano

When you get to our page, you can scroll down and select my name, 'Kristi Edleson' to donate to our team.
My Mom & I cannot thank all of you enough for your support through these tough times.

2016-2017 Budget Instruction, General Support and Employee Benefit

posted Mar 16, 2016, 6:46 AM by Brewster TA   [ updated Mar 16, 2016, 6:46 AM ]

2016-2017 Budget


Teach and Inspire

posted Feb 17, 2016, 5:39 PM by Brewster TA

Teach and Inspire


‘You have made us the enemy. This is personal.’ — 7 N.Y. Teachers of the Year blast Cuomo

posted Feb 9, 2015, 3:10 PM by Brendan Breen   [ updated Feb 9, 2015, 3:16 PM ]

Full Article
Dear Governor Cuomo:
We are teachers. We have given our hearts and souls to this noble profession. We have pursued intellectual rigor. We have fed students who were hungry. We have celebrated at student weddings and wept at student funerals. Education is our life. For this, you have made us the enemy. This is personal.

Under your leadership, schools have endured the Gap Elimination Adjustment and the tax cap, which have caused layoffs and draconian budget cuts across the state. Classes are larger and support services are fewer, particularly for our neediest students.

We have also endured a difficult rollout of the Common Core Standards. A reasonable implementation would have started the new standards in kindergarten and advanced those standards one grade at a time. Instead, the new standards were rushed into all grades at once, without any time to see if they were developmentally appropriate or useful.

Then our students were given new tests—of questionable validity—before they had a chance to develop the skills necessary to be successful. These flawed tests reinforced the false narrative that all public schools—and therefore all teachers—are in drastic need of reform. In our many years of teaching, we’ve never found that denigrating others is a useful strategy for improvement.

Now you are doubling down on test scores as a proxy for teacher effectiveness. The state has focused on test scores for years and this approach has proven to be fraught with peril. Testing scandals erupted. Teachers who questioned the validity of tests were given gag orders. Parents in wealthier districts hired test-prep tutors, which exacerbated the achievement gap between rich and poor.

Beyond those concerns, if the state places this much emphasis on test scores who will want to teach our neediest students? Will you assume that the teachers in wealthier districts are highly effective and the teachers in poorer districts are ineffective, simply based on test scores?

Most of us have failed an exam or two along life’s path. From those results, can we conclude that our teachers were ineffective? We understand the value of collecting data, but it must be interpreted wisely. Using test scores as 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation does not meet this criterion.

Your other proposals are also unlikely to succeed. Merit pay, charter schools and increased scrutiny of teachers won’t work because they fundamentally misdiagnose the problem. It’s not that teachers or schools are horrible. Rather, the problem is that students with an achievement gap also have an income gap, a health-care gap, a housing gap, a family gap and a safety gap, just to name a few. If we truly want to improve educational outcomes, these are the real issues that must be addressed.

Much is right in public education today. We invite you to visit our classrooms and see for yourself. Most teachers, administrators and school board members are doing quality work. Our students and alumni have accomplished great things. Let’s stop the narrative of systemic failure.

Instead, let’s talk about ways to help the kids who are struggling. Let’s talk about addressing the concentration of poverty in our cities. Let’s talk about creating a culture of family so that our weakest students feel emotionally connected to their schools. Let’s talk about fostering collaboration between teachers, administrators and elected officials; it is by working together, not competing for test scores, that we will advance our cause.

None of these suggestions are easily measured with a No. 2 pencil, but they would work. On behalf of teachers across the state we say, these are our kids, we love them, and this is personal.

Ashli Dreher 2014 New York State Teacher of the Year
Katie Ferguson 2012 New York State Teacher of the Year
Jeff Peneston 2011 New York State Teacher of the Year
Rich Ognibene 2008 New York State Teacher of the Year
Marguerite Izzo 2007 New York State Teacher of the Year
Steve Bongiovi 2006 New York State Teacher of the Year
Liz Day 2005 New York State Teacher of the Year

The Brewster Schools Building Project

posted Nov 13, 2014, 6:06 AM by Brendan Breen

http://www.brewsterschools.org/district_office/buildings_2014/index.html

WHAT IS PROPOSED TO BE DONE:
  • Completely modernize JFK to suit its full population including a new centrally located Library/Media Center, larger multipurpose assembly room, dedicated art room, enlarged nurse's office, as well as adequate classroom space for regular and special education students.

  • Remove all asbestos from J.F.K. Elementary.

  • Install new modern safety and security enhancements in all buildings.

  • New concession stand/bathrooms near our existing athletic fields.

  • New windows, exterior doors, floors, ceilings, student bathrooms at J.F.K.

  • Modernize the high school library for a 21st century student learning experience.

  • Install an improved ventilation system at C.V. Starr.

  • Expanded J.F.K. cafeteria, 4 additional C.V. Starr classrooms, 6 additional JFK classrooms.

  • New roofs installed at C.V. Starr and the high school...and much, much, more.
HOW MUCH WOULD IT COST ME?
  • The state already has sent Brewster Schools $100,000 to help offset the cost of the proposed new concession stand/bathrooms to be located near our existing synthetic turf field.
  • The state also will pay Brewster to support the cost of these improvements. Brewster has a 42% building aid ratio.
  • Thanks to state aid for this project and to historically low interest rates, homeowners with an average assessment would see their school tax bills increase by $7 to $9 per month for this $38.9 million project.

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