October 2019 BFT Member Connection

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From the President


Welcome to the 2019-2020 school year!!

As the year progresses, we will have several exciting volunteer opportunities available to you, we are confident there will be something that meets your interests and serves your personal growth needs.

Be sure and visit http://al.aft.org/bft to take advantage of all your member benefits including discounted movie tickets, hotel reservations, car rentals, and more!

I look forward to seeing you at the next membership meeting, Oct. 24, 2019.

Remember: Our union cannot continue to grow and thrive without YOU.

Thank you for allowing me to serve you as your Union President.

Richard Franklin



Birmingham AFT Teacher Leader Program

We are proud to announce that Birmingham American Federation of Teachers Local # 2115 has been selected as an participate in the National AFT Teacher Leader Program. To Apply click on the link at the bottom of the page.

What is the AFT Teacher Leaders Program?

The AFT noticed the lack of teacher voice in education policy discussions in our country and decided to do something about it. Why weren’t experts in the classroom being asked for their input on how to ensure that our children have the best opportunities to learn? To help address this question, the AFT designed the Teacher Leaders Program in 2011, based on Ellen Meyers’ Teachers Network, to help prepare educators to facilitate discussion of the issues that affect our profession—both locally and nationally. Seventeen locals have participated in the program since its inception.
The Teacher Leaders Program identifies and brings together a select group of teachers and empowers them to assume active leadership roles in their schools, unions and communities. These teachers then serve as catalysts to build the profession and strengthen the union and its connection to the community in order to generate support and understanding of public schools. Teacher leaders will continue to use the skills they develop in the yearlong program throughout their careers.

What Do Teacher Leaders Do?

At 9 a.m. one Saturday each month during the school year, teachers across the country meet with their union colleagues to discuss current federal, state and local policy issues; talk about their personal action research projects; develop plans to build community support for their schools; network with local leaders; and share in camaraderie with like-minded teachers.
“Truly a great experience networking with other teachers and developing strategies to discuss topics that are relevant in education today.” —AFT Teacher Leader from Pittsburgh

Examples of AFT Teacher Leaders Projects Include:


Community Actions

  • Working with students, school officials and the community to persuade a local school board to reconsider new building design plans;
  • Uniting students, teachers and parents to fight the testing mania;
  • Collaborating with a community agency to draw attention to the undertaxed properties on the city’s tax rolls; and
  • Serving as chapter leaders, delegates and building stewards; joining committees; and becoming more involved in the legislative work of teaching.

Connecting Research, Policy and Practice

  • Putting into practice the Socratic seminar and creating a professional development module;
  • Piloting a model classroom focused on inclusion for students with disabilities and English language learners; and
  • Providing citywide professional development on working with ELLs.

Conducting Action Research

  • Impact of physical activity on students’ academic performance;
  • Effect of summer break on at-risk preschoolers;
  • Importance of professional development for teaching assistants; and
  • Relationship between school culture and student behavior in an inclusive setting.
Mona Al-Hayani, vice-president of the Toledo Federation of Teachers, used the action research skills she developed through her year in the program to address the problem of human trafficking. She recognized a need and developed and delivered a districtwide practitioner training focused on awareness and mitigation of human trafficking.

Why Should Local Affiliates Participate?

Through the AFT Teacher Leaders Program, local affiliates have:
  • Established relationships among teachers and policymakers, community organizations and community leaders;
  • Developed an informed teacher voice to participate in both the local and national dialogue on education;
  • Established a vehicle for positive messaging about public schools and their unions; and
  • Created a pipeline for future school and union leaders.
“One of the most rewarding professional development experiences I’ve had as a teacher.” —AFT Teacher Leader from Washington (D.C.) Teachers’ Union

Participating teachers develop expertise in:

  • Building a collaborative culture;
  • Accessing, using and presenting relevant research that connects policy with practice;
  • Becoming advocates for teachers, students and their families, and for public education; and
  • Understanding policy issues and making recommendations to and through their unions.
The AFT Teacher Leaders Program is supported by the national union in a variety of ways: Participating locals receive orientation for the local’s president and facilitator; technical assistance and materials; stipends for participating teachers and facilitators; ongoing support; and access to a nationwide online community of teacher leaders from all locals engaged in this work.


School Calendars




Upcoming Membership Meetings:

October 24

December 13 (holiday party)

February 21***tentative***

May 21 (end of the year event)

Member Benefits Highlights


Student Debt Clinics

As a union, we are fighting to make college affordable and student debt manageable. However, 44 million people in the United States are saddled with student loan debt.

  • Do you or a family member have student loan debt?
  • Are you struggling to make monthly payments or worrying about student loans following you throughout your life?
  • Are you tired of getting phone calls from loan servicers, or concerned about how to tell scams from genuine help when it comes to debt forgiveness?

Click on the link below to find out more about what AFT can do to help




AFT Members will never ask "What’s For Dinner?" again!

Welcome to DinnerTime, where happiness is now being served.

The American Federation of Teachers and DinnerTime have partnered to make it more fun and less stressful for you to get a delicious, healthy dinner on the table—and save on groceries, too!

Click on the link below to find out more


Motor Club

Stay Protected With Coverage You Can Count on (And Save on Gas, too)

Your Union Plus Motor Club membership will be there for you when you need it with great benefits such as:

  • Family coverage for only $69/year, with low monthly payment options available.
  • 24-hour Emergency Roadside Assistance and Locksmith Services — Up to $125 per service call, three times a year.
  • Emergency Towing — To your home, a dealership, or your mechanic.
  • Battery Boost — Jump-start your battery
  • Flat Tire Change — Remove your flat and install your inflated spare.
  • Lockout Service — Get you back inside your vehicle.
  • Fuel Delivery — Up to two gallons if you run out of gas.

Need More Reasons to Enroll in the Union Plus Motor Club Membership? Click on the link below to find out more


National News

AFT Lawsuit against Betsy DeVos-

Kelly Finlaw, who teaches in New York, couldn't wait to apply for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, which cancels remaining debt for public sector workers after they make 10 years of payments.

But when her 10 years was up in 2017, Finlaw's application was denied because one of her loans was ineligible.

Read more here: Teacher denied loan forgiveness tells Congress why she's suing Betsy DeVos


Birmingham AFT Contact Information:

1900 20th Ave. S, 35209