CEA awareness campaign champions educators’ dedication and support to ensure safe, welcoming learning environments for students
Connecticut teachers enthusiastically welcomed students back to in-person learning this fall, stronger than ever as they keep students safe and learning despite the unknowns and demands of the COVID pandemic. That’s the core message of a new statewide public awareness ad campaign featuring Connecticut educators and sponsored by the Connecticut Education Association and the National Education Association.
“Teachers showed their tenacity and perseverance last year, as they quickly adjusted, reflected, and responded to the chaos caused by the pandemic,” said CEA President Kate Dias. “This year, as witnessed in the ad, our teachers are excited to be back at school, ready to face whatever challenges come their way and to do what it takes to make this a great school year for their students.”
The ad starts with a reminder of the situation public schools faced last year with the pandemic at its peak, the challenges of virtual teaching and learning, and the toll it took on teachers and students.
The ad quickly transitions to this year, showing vibrant, effective, and safe classroom environments with dedicated professionals teaching in person, prepared, and stronger than ever to tackle new challenges, highlighting the dedication and resilience of those on the front lines of public education.
The campaign focuses on three key elements:
- Strong and Safe: Educators are working hard every day to protect children’s health with all their might.
- Strong and Dedicated: Educators are professionals, trained and prepared to meet all students’ needs.
- Strong and Supportive: Educators are working to ensure that every student succeeds.
The public awareness campaign began airing on all of the state’s major network television stations as well as on digital media on Sunday, September 19.
Connecticut teachers featured in the ad campaign include Rich Baez, Colleen Delaporta-Wells, Efrain Dominguez, May Reitz, Chris Marsala, and Cheryl Viveiros, all of New London; Tracey Lafayette, of East Hartford; and Elsa Batista, of Newington.
Viveiros, a math teacher at Bennie Dover Jackson Multi-Magnet Middle School, says she is excited about this campaign and sharing information about what teachers are doing for their students. “It’s important that students and families know we are invested in their future and that we see their potential.”
Batista, a middle school teacher at Martin Kellogg and Newington’s 2020-2021 Teacher of the Year, agrees. “I want to reassure students, parents, and our community that even though the pandemic is not over, we will do everything in our power to make sure we provide a quality education and the resources and services needed, and we are back stronger than ever.”
Delaporte-Wells, a Nathan Hale Arts Magnet School special education teacher and New London’s 2022 Teacher of the Year, says not being in the classroom was hard for everyone. “The most important work we do is building relationships and connections with students—which, while not impossible, is made more difficult remotely. I am excited to get them in front of me this year. It is a much richer experience.”
Like her colleagues, Reitz, a Jennings Elementary School dual language teacher, is excited to be back in the classroom, “We want students to know we are here to keep them safe. We are a family here at school. I’m excited to see my fourth graders face to face—and parents, when they pick up their children, are excited to see teachers.”
The teachers in the ad are joined by students from schools in New London, Newington, Norwich, Bridgeport, and Fairfield. The ad was filmed at the Science and Technology High School on Jefferson Avenue in New London, following all safety procedures and CDC guidelines, including mask-wearing, cleaning and disinfecting, and social distancing.
The commercial’s closing shot reminds everyone of the dedicated, supportive educators in Connecticut’s classrooms who are standing up for their students, ending with the final message: “Your Public School Teachers: Stronger Than Ever.”
Dias said the ad campaign provides families with a great sense of confidence and optimism about the school year and underscores that safe, in-person learning is the best way for students to learn and grow.
“It drives home the message that teachers and schools are about more than just academics,” she said, adding, “Teachers are professionals, who are trained to navigate the unexpected and are willing to make sacrifices of their own time and resources to make sure students are back to places where they feel safe, supported, and loved.”
The month-long campaign will air on Connecticut’s major television networks, radio stations, cable channels, streaming platforms, and online news sites, as well as Spanish television and radio.
Visit www.cea.org/strongerthanever to view the new advertising campaign