Students are enjoying their last few lazy summer days but it’s already back-to-school time for some teachers in Connecticut. At Barnum School more than 100 teachers new to Bridgeport gathered today for an orientation program welcoming them to the district.
Bridgeport Education Association President Gary Peluchette was one of the first faces they saw as he explained the many benefits of union membership—from legal assistance to savings and discount programs to professional development offerings.
Peluchette told the new CEA members, “Our teaching contract allows us to focus on the children and work hard on their behalf.”
Mikeya Stovall, one of the newcomers listening to Peluchette, will soon be teaching third grade at Read School. Stovall is new to teaching, but not to the city of Bridgeport or CEA.
A graduate of the Bridgeport Public Schools, Stovall was a member of the CEA Student Program while at the University of Bridgeport.
Saying that her own teachers and experiences attending school in Bridgeport inspired her to go into teaching and give back to her community, Stovall explained, “This city made me what I am.”
She is particularly looking forward to working with students and parents to strengthen the home-school connection.
Art teacher Melanie George is another new Bridgeport teacher with prior experience in the district. George worked last year in North Haven as a long-term substitute, but is thrilled to have her own official first classroom in Bridgeport, the city where she did her student teaching.
George enjoyed her time teaching in North Haven, but said urban districts are where she really feels her calling as a teacher.
During her time student teaching George saw the number of things children in Bridgeport go without. “Giving these kids an outlet to express themselves artistically is really why I decided to go into teaching,” she said.
This school year George is looking forward to collaborating with her fellow art teachers at Blackham School. She went to college at Southern Connecticut State University with the other two art teachers who work at Blackham and already has a strong working relationship with them.
“As a new teacher, knowing I have that support base there makes it exciting,” George said.
The three art teachers are already planning to collaborate on a large mural project that they hope to use to involve every single one of the nearly 1,200 students at the K-8 school.