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Benefits to Tackle the High Cost of Higher Ed

Elizabeth Porter (above, left), a 7th grade science teacher at Chippens Hill Middle School in Bristol, applied the scholarship toward completing her sixth-year certificate in Educational Leadership at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU). The funds paid for her final course and to attend a week-long environmental science workshop in Vermont — an experience that she’s now adapting to her classroom work.
“I’m developing a unit with some of the material I learned,” said Porter, a member of our AFT Connecticut-affiliated Bristol Federation of Teachers. The course and workshop both complemented her school district’s partnership with CCSU to roll-out the next generation science standards (NGSS). “We’ve been learning different content and teaching strategies as part of this ongoing effort, so the timing was perfect,” Porter added.
Porter, now in her ninth year of teaching, had already taken on numerous district and school-level leadership roles before being selected for the prestigious scholarship award. A National Science Teachers Association member, Porter has coordinated her school’s Science Club for students. She also helped facilitate collaboration among her department’s staff, administrators and district leadership to plan NGSS-aligned professional development as part of implementing the new standards.
“The science department team works together well, and I work closely with our inter-disciplinary team in the middle school,” said Porter. “Our math, science, social studies and special education teachers meet almost every day to discuss how we can support our kids’ learning,” she added.
Porter has also served on Bristol’s Teacher Education and Mentoring Program (TEAM), working one-on-one with new educators as an advisor, mentor and guide. She has conducted academic research and written recommendations for practice on school climate, English Language Learner (ELL) program development, new teacher recruitment, social justice and school improvement.
Porter’s local union president is naturally proud of her national recognition. He also believes the award will help spotlight additional ways the labor movement helps working people beyond winning contracts and protecting job security.
“It’s a real thrill for Liz to win this scholarship,” said David Hayes (above, right), a 5th grade teacher at Edgewood School. “This benefit is a reminder of the tremendous resources available to all of us,” added Hayes, who is in his seventh year of service as president of our Bristol Federation of Teachers.
His message to members of both his local and all affiliated unions across Connecticut interested in scholarship funds is simple; “be aware of opportunities to get involved and be proactive.”
Click here to watch Porter and Hayes share why all members should take advantage of this exclusive benefit.
In addition to the ten $1,000.00 grants awarded each year to active members, our national union’s Porter Scholars program offers scholarships to four current students who are dependents of members. The one-time $8,000.00 grants are based on:
  • academic achievement
  • commitment to community services and school-related activities;
  • demonstration of leadership;
  • work experience;
  • recommendations; 
  • special talents and skills; 
  • an essay; and 
  • a commitment to advancing the interests of working people and building unions.
Click here to learn more about the Porter Scholars program and apply for both 2017 benefits.
Members of local unions affiliated with our state federation are also eligible to take advantage each year of two AFT Connecticut-sponsored scholarships to help cover higher education costs. Both are $2,500.00 grants, with one awarded to active members and the second to spouses or domestic partners or children of members. 
Click here to learn more about both AFT Connecticut scholarships and apply by the April 1 deadline.

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