We, the collective professionals employed by the Hartford Public School system, acknowledge the current challenges we face in our city’s school communities. We strive to ensure the policies, procedures, and protocols developed and implemented by our district leadership create the necessary safeguards such that all employees feel valued, respected, and safe, thereby able to provide the optimum learning environment for our students. Towards that aim, we submit the following demand.
As professionals of Hartford Public Schools, we work to create the safest and most secure environments for staff and students. We seek to protect ALL stakeholders against the spread of this Covid-19 virus pandemic. We must have the proper and correct type of PPE’s, ample supply of PPE and cleaning supplies, status updates on maintenance and ventilation, support for enforcing health and safety precautions such as mask-wearing and physical distancing, and information on where to obtain/replenish supplies, information, and/or support whenever needed.
We require a true partnership between the Board, Administration, and ALL employees. This partnership should respect each employee while honoring their unique expertise in a collaborative way to address the looming challenges facing education. This includes honoring employee job descriptions and spreading workloads out as equitably as possible. To this end, we demand the superintendent meet with the president of each HPS union at the same time.
We demand clearer protocols, and procedures to alleviate fears and ease anxieties. Therefore we need to know exactly “Who, When, Where and What” to expect from deep cleaning, contact tracing, quarantining, etc. to effectively protect our students, our staff, and every stakeholder.
We require clear communication and responsiveness. During a pandemic, when information changes rapidly, and anxiety and stress is high, good communication can help inform staff and ease anxiety. Therefore, we need to be informed regularly, and receive responses to our communications with the district (whether by phone, email, text, etc.) within 24-48 hours.
We resoundingly support engagements that foster a mutually respectful climate and culture. Democratizing the decision-making processes in the district will allow a greater number of voices to be heard. This demand stems from the practice of the district soliciting input from our respective unions, then making decisions and claiming the union was involved. We want a vote so it is clear where our agreement and disagreements lie.
We greatly appreciate the opportunity to work collaboratively with ALL stakeholders; we respect, honor, and promote the community of city schools in Hartford. This is why it is important to maintain the highest level of professionalism in addressing the crisis of these most uncertain times. The impact on our students, parents, teachers, administrators, paraeducators, substitutes, CDA’s, behavioral technicians, counselors, psychologists, security officers, family and community support providers, secretaries, food service, health professionals, and custodians can only be minimized through thoughtful, purposeful work where all parties are accountable to each other in crafting the safest possible school environments for our children to learn, grow, and prosper in.
Endorsements of HPS Union Presidents:
- President, HFT Local 1018 (Teachers)
Name: Carol Gale
- President, HPSA, AFSA Local 22 (Administrators)
Name: Victor Cristofaro
- President, Hartford Federation of Paraeducators 2221
Name: Shellye Davis
- 4. President, HFST, Local 1018 (Substitutes)
Name: Dr. W. Michael Downes
- President, HESP, Local 82 (Non-certified professionals)
Name: Rita Kitchens
- President, HFSSPO, Local 1018D (School Safety Officers)
Name: David Dufault
- President, HFSP Local 1H018A/B (Health Professionals)
Name: Verna B Jones
- President, Custodial & Food Service Local 566
Name: Sebastian LaRosa
- President, HFCDA Local 1018F (Child Development Associates)
Name: Jane Johnson
- President, Hartford Federation Of School Secretaries, Local 1100
Name: Tracey Gunn