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ERIC Number: EJ1021024
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0148-432X
Moving Meriden: In Connecticut, A Road Map for Union-District Relations
Dubin, Jennifer
American Educator, v37 n4 p29-35 Win 2013-2014
The author describes the early relationship between the Meriden Public schools' local teacher union and the Meriden Federation of Teachers (MFT) as "frosty with a lack of trust." However, in the last five years, she states, the union and the district have built a strong labor-management partnership whose focus on supporting teachers has resulted in a steady increase in student achievement--thanks to the collaborations between Erin Benham, the current president of the Meriden Federation of Teachers (MFT) (2007) and Meriden's education superintendents, Mary Cortright (2003-2010) and Mark Benigni (2010-current). The superintendents and the union president meet weekly, their deputies meet monthly, and members of the union's executive board and the superintendent's cabinet routinely call each other to establish better working relations in support of the teachers. This open line of communication between teachers and administrators has allowed them to devise ways to boost student achievement, especially in the district's high-poverty schools. While Meriden administrators and union officials engage in the usual personnel matters such as hiring and budgeting issues, much of their time is also spent on coming up with joint professional development programs to hone teacher talent. Together, the union and the district have created the "Peer Coaching Program," where educators partner with each other to improve instruction; the "Leadership Academy," which allows teachers to learn how to become stronger leaders in their buildings; "Professional Learning Communities," where the teachers meet to review student achievement data; and the "Meriden Teachers Sharing Success" program, where the district's most effective teachers open up their classrooms to teachers seeking to improve their craft. Because of the city's economic challenges, union and district officials have joined forces to strengthen their schools in the hopes that public education will revitalize both the community and the local economy. Dubin concludes that the overwhelming sense of teamwork has resulted in statewide recognition. Last May (2012), Benham and Benigni both received the President's Award from AFT Connecticut, the union's highest honor.
American Federation of Teachers. 555 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001. Tel: 202-879-4400; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Connecticut
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A