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What I learned on my Back to School Tour

Photos from President Brown’s Back to School Tour

By President Diamonté Brown

In August, I set a goal to visit every school in Baltimore City to meet you, to get a feel for what your day-to-day life is like in the classroom and in your schools and to hear directly from you what your concerns are about the job you have assumed as educators. I launched my Back to School Tour on the first day of the 2019-2020 school year and in the five months since that launch, I have visited our members in 157 schools!

I have seen your quiet spaces where children can go to regain their composure in a safe space, and book nooks where students earn time to sit and read. I have witnessed our secretaries and office support staff engaging with youth and their parents in the main office and running the buildings with expertise. I have seen you teaching engaging lessons that have the entire class glued to what you are doing. I have seen you in the gym preparing for big athletic events, in art classrooms helping to develop the next Picasso, in science and medical classes preparing our youth for a career in medicine, and in CTE classes teaching much-needed trade skills.

My Back to School Tour also allowed me to speak with many of you one-on-one about your frustrations concerning unfair practices with formal evaluations, SLOs, standardized testing, and curriculum like Wit & Wisdom. I have had the opportunity to speak with Guidance Counselors, Speech Pathologists, School Psychologists and IEP Chairs about what you need to be more effective. I have spoken with front office staff about the heavy load you are lifting by carrying your schools on your shoulders. I have heard your concerns and am doing everything in my power to bring you to the table to help address and find solutions to these issues.

The time I am spending on my Back to School Tour is invaluable. I have an opportunity to get back into schools, engage with you and your students, talk to parents and, most importantly, to let you know that I am here for each of you.

Please continue to be engaged with the BTU. This is YOUR union, and the more you are aware and engaged, the more we can do together to provide our students with what they need to be successful leaders!  If I have not been to your school yet, I will be there soon!