Schools that Heal Campaign
E4E-Boston conducted a series of one-on-one conversations with teachers to identify the issues at the top of educators’ minds. From these conversations, we amassed a list of 10 issues that emerged as themes and conducted a randomly sampled, representative poll of 100 Boston Public Schools teachers to narrow that list.
The top four issues were voted on by educators at a caucus-style event where teachers unanimously chose to advocate for researching recommendations for how to better support students with trauma.
E4E-Boston convened a Teacher Policy Team that wrote the policy paper Schools that Heal, which featured ten recommendations of how Boston and Massachusetts could better support students experiencing trauma. The paper’s content came from educator experiences, research, and input from other educators via focus groups and surveys.
Following the release of the paper, over 500 teachers were polled to identify which of the ten recommendations they considered to be the top two worthy of an advocacy campaign.
The results of this poll formed the basis of two important documents: an Implementation Guide for Increasing Staff Competency on Trauma-Informed Practices and a Memo on Increasing Mental Health Support Staff in Schools. A Teacher Action Team, made up of eight teachers, met in the fall of 2017 to develop the Implementation Guide and the Memo.
Teachers advocated at the city and state levels for an increase in mental health support staff in schools. Educators met with city and state legislators and testified at School Committee Meetings, City Council meetings, and State House hearings.
This advocacy led to the wins below.
Wins to Date
Mayor Marty Walsh re-allocates $2.4 million for mental health support staff in BPS
Governor Baker allots $7.5 million in a supplemental budget for mental health support staff across the state
We have seen incremental progress at the city and state level and our advocacy will allow for more support staff in the short term. However, to create lasting change, we need to pursue comprehensive legislation to ensure students get the help they deserve. We are currently working with educators to finalize our legislative strategy for 2019.
Tell us the kind of events you are interested in! Attend an upcoming event, network with fellow educators, and learn more about E4E-Boston campaigns.
Fostering Positive School Culture Campaign
Last spring, E4E-Boston surveyed over 100 teachers and identified 12 top policy topics. In May, we visited 30 schools and talked with over 800 Boston teachers and asked them to vote on which of those 12 issues they most wanted to see addressed. The three top issues identified that had overwhelming teacher support were SPED/Inclusion Support, Fostering Positive School Culture, and School Funding and Resources. On May 29th, nearly 50 teachers gathered with President Obama’s former Secretary of Education Dr. John King to vote on the top three issues. At the event, teachers participated in an issue selection caucus and chose Fostering Positive School Culture as the clear winner.
Over the summer, three Boston teachers joined the E4E-Boston team to research Fostering Positive School Culture and create a listening session tour to gather teacher input on the issue. Their research looked at what support already exists within the district, how school culture is measured, and how school culture impacts teachers of color specifically, which in turn contributes to turnover in an essential population of staff.
This fall, E4E-Boston hosted over 20 listening session events and heard from over 500 educators on how to improve school culture in Boston. The data we collected from these sessions will serve as the jumping off point for our Teacher Policy Team. This group of teachers will write a policy paper and then create an advocacy plan to make positive school culture the norm across Massachusetts.
This winter, our Teacher Policy Team will begin meeting to craft recommendations on Fostering Positive School Culture. The team has 12 members and will meet eight times over the next two months. The recommendations that they write will be built from the input collected during our Back to School initiative, research, and ongoing conversations with their colleagues.
If you are interested in speaking with a member of the team to give your thoughts on how to improve school culture you can request a meeting.
E4E-Boston is a local chapter of a larger national organization. Educators for Excellence has local chapters in New York, Connecticut, Minnesota, Chicago, and Los Angeles. For the most part, local chapters focus on locally chosen issues, like the campaigns described above, however, sometimes there are large national issues that teachers want to get involved in that are aligned to our teacher-written Declaration of Principles and Beliefs. Below are some examples of work that E4E-National has done in partnership with teachers from local chapters.
|Last fall, E4E launched In Class, Not Cuffs, a campaign driven by hundreds of teachers who wrote letters, op-eds and testimony to defend the Obama-era discipline guidance that gives teachers tools to discipline students without discrimination.|
|E4E members nationally are advocating for Secretary DeVos to fully fund Title II. Title II is the only dedicated source of federal funding for professional learning and leadership support for teachers and principals. It plays a crucial role in supporting our work and meeting the increasingly diverse needs of our students.|
|E4E teachers were called to take on this issue due to the many ways immigration impacts school climate and school safety, and following concerns and questions from their students and their students' families.
The Declaration was written in 2010 by a small group of teachers in New York, and then updated in 2016 by current, classroom teachers from across the country to reflect the ideas of E4E’s diverse and growing membership.
|In October 2015, the ESSA Teacher Action Team of working classroom teachers published "From the Classroom to Congress: ESEA Policy at Play," which shared priorities from the classroom for Congress to take into account as they prioritized funding and implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act.|