We are all connected

One of the most important concepts we help our students master is our connection to each other. In our classrooms, on our school buses, in line at the cafeteria, and in our communities, we teach our students that we are all connected and that we have a responsibility for one another.

In this issue of the Review, we will look at some of the many ways that we connect with each other. In “Meeting the Needs of a Global Classroom,” one teacher demonstrates the skills and resources he employs to ensure that he is meeting the diverse needs of his first-grade English language learner students. He helps them build connections to each other, to the material that he is teaching, and between the cultures they experience at home and in their community.

In “Northern Valley Regional Teachers Assistants join NJEA,” we hear the story of 155 teacher assistants who forged a deeper connection with their colleagues in order to establish a union to protect their rights and improve their benefits. As they work to settle their first contract, they are committed to standing together to restore the benefits that were stripped from them when they did not have the protection of a union.

Hopewell Valley art teacher Lora Durr uses The Memory Project to educate her students about their connection to children their own age who have been affected by the Syrian conflict. By building this connection, she is helping them understand the role art can play to address trauma. Learn more in “Activism in the Art Room.”

Anaphylaxis is a potentially life threatening, severe allergic reaction that requires quick treatment with epinephrine. People who are susceptible to these reactions are dependent upon those around them to provide this life-saving treatment. That’s a powerful connection. In “Life-threatening Allergies and Epinephrine,” Lenape Education Association member and certified school nurse Gina Emge explains current laws, regulations and practices to keep students and staff experiencing anaphylaxis safe.

One of the most powerful opportunities to build connections among NJEA members is at the NJEA Convention. While there are many workshops, speakers, and networking opportunities at the convention, in this issue we highlight the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation. Established by Steven Van Zandt, the songwriter, producer, actor and activist who is a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, the foundation is planning workshops for the 2019 Convention that include 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the Berlin Wall, Anita Hill and Third Wave Feminism, and LGBTQ history. Read about the programs and begin making your plan to join us in Atlantic City in November, in “Get Ready to Rock and Roll at the 2019 NJEA Convention.”

E.M. Forster famously wrote: “Only connect! … Live in fragments no longer.” The point of education is to make the connections that help all of us who share this planet live lives of dignity, excellence and respect. Thank you for all that you do to help students make those connections and to building them in your own lives.




Officers online

Marie Blistan


@Marie.Blistan: NJEA T.E.A.C.H. Conference was SUPERB! Beginning with our keynote speaker through the workshop presenters, members remained engaged and enthusiastic around the factors that help our students learn!

NJEA President Marie Blistan shared photos and videos from the NJEA T.E.A.C.H. conference, held on April 6. Dr. Pedro Noguera was the keynote speaker. The conference included 12 breakout sessions that focused on issues of equity for racial, social and educational justice.

Sean M. Spiller


@SpillerForNJEA: Always exciting and appreciated when the governor stops in to let us know how much he values education and what we do. Let’s help him pass a budget that restores fairness in NJ with a tax on millionaires and more funding for our kids’ schools!

On March 30, NJEA Vice President Sean M. Spiller posted photos from Gov. Phil Murphy’s visit to the NJEA Delegate Assembly meeting. In addition to expressing his deep appreciation for the work of New Jersey’s teachers and educational support professionals and the value of the collective bargaining, the governor discussed his budget proposal for the coming fiscal year.

Steve Beatty


@SteveBeattyNJEA: Incredible morning spent at Cinnaminson Middle School for their 34th annual Unity Day PRIDE event. Hearing from the students who participate and work to serve their community and engender character, compassion, and empathy—guided by so many great educators! Thank you, Andy Kim and Assemblywoman Carol Murphy, for your inspiring words.

On April 9, NJEA Secretary-Treasurer Steve Beatty posted photos from his visit to Cinnaminson Middle School and its Unity Day event. The Cinnaminson Education Association had a strong presence throughout the day and supported Unity Day with a grant from the NJEA PRIDE in Public Education program. The day included a program with Congressman Andy Kim and Assemblywoman Carol Murphy as speakers.

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