Open Enrollment Notice changes effective 7/1/2021

OPEN ENROLLMENT NOTICE

Changes & New Enrollments may be made April 20-May 14

Insurance changes are effective July 1, 2021

Payroll deductions will begin on your first June paycheck

What’s New this Year?

The new Stimulus package allows some significant changes to the Medical and Daycare Flex Spending options—see below for more on this.

The BCBS Fitness Reimbursement will include virtual fitness subscriptions and classes effective 7/1/21.

How much are the premiums changing?

Health Insurance rates are going up 6% due to an increase in claims over the last year.  Delta Dental and Blue 20/20 vision rates are not changing again this year. See the attached rate sheet for more.

Who would benefit by moving to the Network Blue New England (aka Benchmark) HMO plan with a deductible?

Chances are YOU would. Attached is a Plan Comparison worksheet to compare the cost of the 3 health plans to see which might be the better deal for your specific situation. Ultimately, it will vary person to person, so we encourage you to use the worksheet to see what makes the most sense for your individual situation. The results may surprise you! Remember, paying less in premiums means you keep more of your paycheck. Part of the premium savings can be used to cover your deductible—often with money left over as savings to you! If you don’t meet your deductible that year, you just keep the money. Plus, the FSA can help you save even more money by making the amounts you pay out-of-pocket tax free (see below). Disclaimer: The town does save a little when employees move to the Benchmark plan, but the employee saves 5x more since the town pays roughly the same for both HMO plans. Bottom line, this will help employees more than it helps the town, by a lot. For many, the deductible is not met every year, but even when it is, the premium savings are typically higher than the out-of-pocket costs.

Join us here on 4/28 @ 11am (access code 885-078-853) to see the attached worksheet in action.

Where do I find information on the plans?

Health & Blue 20/20 Vision: Visit the link below for the summary of benefits for each plan.  Remember a small dental rider, outlined on the webpage, is automatically included in the Network Blue HMO plan.

https://planinfo.bluecrossma.com/customblue/2021/townofabington   (click on VIEW EKIT)

Dental: Attached is a document outlining the benefits of the two additional Delta Dental plans we offer.

Life & Disability: To schedule a virtual appointment with David Flaherty at Aflac, please click here. For information about Boston Mutual, contact Doug Tracy at 800-445-4493 ext. 142. For information about UNUM, school employees can contact Lynette MacNeil at 781-982-2150.

Flex Spending: See below and attached for information and a new enrollment form.

What about the Flexible Spending Accounts?

Open Enrollment for the flexible spending accounts (FSAs) for medical and dependent daycare costs is normally in November but is re-opened till May 14th for this year only. The medical FSA allows you to use pre-tax dollars to pay for costs like deductibles, copays, prescriptions, vision care, and dental care. The medical FSA is a great companion to the benchmark deductible health plans to save you even more money, and up to $550 (for 2021) can be rolled over to the next year if you don’t use it all.

IMPORTANT: The Dependent Daycare limits were increased to $10,500 for 2021, up from the normal $5,000. It will go back to $5,000 in 2022, so be sure to take advantage of the tax savings this year if it applies to you.

Additionally, the medical carryover from 2020 to 2021 was changed to unlimited for this year only (as opposed to the original 2020 carryover of $500), so if you had more than $500 left over at the end of 2020 you got to keep it all.

What Do I Need to Do?

If you need to make any changes to your health, dental, vision, life, or disability plans, contact Debra Libby and submit your requests by May 14th. The extra Open Enrollment for the FSA will also end on May 14th and forms must be returned to Lindsay Grasso or Sonia Hodge. You can reach us all at 781-982-2131.

If you’re not making any changes, you don’t need to do anything.

Other employee benefits:

-Benefits-eligible Town employees may take advantage of the 457b retirement investment accounts offered by Empower Smart Plan and Voya. Contact Lindsay Grasso for more information on these providers.

– Benefits-eligible School employees may take advantage of the 457b retirement investment accounts or 403b retirement investment accounts. Contact Lynette MacNeil at 781-982-2150 for eligible companies.

-ALL EMPLOYEES and their families (which includes anyone non-related that you consider family) can take advantage of the free and confidential Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at www.perspectivesltd.com (username: MEGA and password: Perspectives).

Sonia Hodge, CMMT

Treasurer-Collector

Health and Safety Reporting

If you are seeing or have any concerns about the safety and health in your building, please fill out the form in the link and contact your Health and Safety Committee Members.

Health and Safety Commission
AEEP
Nancy Clancy- Unit A
Sabrina Kane-Unit B
Beaver Brook
Gail Bergin-Unit B
Renee Brown-Unit A
Woodsdale
Janet Campbell-Unit B
Middle School
Jenn Caseley-Unit A
Leigh Ann Biggins-Unit A
High School
Sarah LaPointe-Unit A
Natalie Delmar-Unit B

Health and Safety Reporting Form

Welcome New 2020-2021 Members!

Every year we welcome new teachers, paras, tutors, and/or secretaries. We are happy you are here! The first few days are filled with new faces, new classrooms and so much information. We are here to help with any questions you may have-district related as well as union related.

MTA provides useful brochures that outline why you should join your local union, benefits from the MTA, Weingarten Rights, and other helpful resources.

Here are links to the 2020-2021 brochures.

Back to School Updates

Copied from the email sent on 7/14/20 by Union President Steve Shannon

Hello,

I hope this email finds you well and enjoying some well earned time off. I know the conversations around school reopening have started to escalate in the news, social media and other circles. I wanted to provide you with an update as to where we are in our own plans. APS is required to submit 3 plans to DESE, but is not mandated to go with the in-person model. Local School Committees continue to have the authority to implement a plan they feel is the best fit for their community. In addition, MTA is in discussions with DESE in order to ensure additional and more stringent guidelines on reopening. (Please review the linked document at the bottom of this post). I will be asking the Executive Board to endorse this plan at a virtual meeting this Thursday with the hopes of presenting it to Mr. Schafer and the School Committee as a starting point for negotiations. With MTA’s support, we are hoping to navigate a safer, common sense re-entry plan for our students and staff. Below is a list of meetings and calls that have taken place or are scheduled to date. We will keep you informed as more specific details become available. As you can see, there is much activity and momentum around these issues.
  • All Presidents calls with MTA Leadership to lay out a unified plan in response to DESE’s guidance ( 6/30, 7/8)
  • APS Admin Team meetings (7/1, 7/8, 7/13, 7/15, 7/17) – Discussions around the three plans
  • MTA Caucuses – follow-ups to MTA meetings with DESE (7/10, 7/15, 7/17, 7/22, 7/24, 7/29, 7/31)
  • AEA Executive Board Meeting (7/16)
SURVEY: Although APS just sent out a staff survey, we did not feel it was specific enough and that people don’t always feel comfortable around the anonymity of a district-generated survey. Please take a few moments to respond to this AEA survey so that we have more concrete data around your feelings and concerns over the direction of our reopening. You can access the survey by clicking the blue link below. It will be open until Monday, July 20th at 3 pmIt is vital that all members take the survey.
Members-please check your personal email for the AEA Survey (which is different from the District Survey). If you did not receive an email with a link, please contact Megan Kenealy at Abingtonedsecretary@gmail.com to be added to our mailing list.

MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT RE: SCHOOL CLOSURE DUE TO COVID-19

MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT
RE: SCHOOL CLOSURE DUE TO COVID-19
ABINGTON SCHOOL COMMITTEE
and
ABINGTON EDUCATION ASSOCIATION
Pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 150E of the General Laws of Massachusetts, this Memorandum of Agreement is made and entered into by the Abington School Committee (hereinafter, “Committee” or “District”) and the Abington Education Association (hereinafter, “Association”).
WHEREAS, in connection with the public health emergency associated with the COVID-19 outbreak, the Governor or Massachusetts has announced the temporary closure of all schools in the District through at least May 4th, 2020 and
WHEREAS, representatives of the Committee and the Association have bargained over the impacts of the school closure on the wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment of Association members;
Therefore, the Abington Public Schools and the Abington Education Association hereby agree to the following:
Section A: Employee Safety, Illness, & Absentee Procedures
The Committee and Association agree that it is for the mutual benefits of the community and the members of the Association to take preventative measures to combat infection and mitigate personal risk.
1. The Committee and the Association mutually agree to encourage members who are showing symptoms of COVID-19, exposed to COVID-19, identify themselves as high-risk as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or are so advised by their medical providers, to remain home and seek medical treatment as necessary. Such encouragement will be sent via email, if not done so already.
2. For the duration of this agreement, staff will not be required to produce documentation of
illness from a medical provider.
3. In the event an employee becomes ill and is not able to fulfil the duties during the closure, the
employee shall be entitled to use accrued sick, personal and family illness leave provisions.
Employees who utilize sick leave during this period will not be required to provide plans, initiate
or respond to communication, or otherwise participate in the academic engagement described
herein on the day(s) they utilize sick leave. If the employee’s illness or that of a family impacts
the employee’s ability to fulfill their responsibilities under this agreement, they shall notify their
building principal. If an employee does not have and/or exhausts accrued sick time, they shall be
held harmless and continue to receive their full pay and benefits due to personal and/or family
illness.
4. As related to any employees on maternity leave or other extended leaves of absence, the
temporary school closure shall not change the original terms of their leave entitlement. If the
employee returns to work during the period of school closure, those days worked shall count
toward the accrual of 91 days pursuant to Article XXIV, section 7(c) of the Unit A contract and
Article VI, section 7(c) of the Unit B contract.
5. Subject to state and federal law, the Committee will share non-confidential information in its
possession relating to confirmed cases of COVID-19 which occur in an Abington Public Schools
employee or student of employees.
Section B: Compensation & Work
1. During the period of temporary school closure, all employees represented by the Association
shall continue to be paid their full regular annual salary and wages according to the regular
payment schedule, and there shall be no deduction of pay for any of the days of the temporary
school closure.
2. Employees who receive pay in addition to their regular base salary for work performed in a
year-long stipendiary position will continue to receive any such additional pay for the period of
district closure. Spring extracurricular activities and sports stipends will be prorated for the
length of the activity/season and the length/proration will be determined once school returns to
session. If the spring athletics are cancelled for the entirety of the season, and in recognition that
not all of the duties and responsibilities of athletic coaches are performed solely during the
season in which their sports are played, the Committee agrees to pay head coaches $800 and asst
coaches $500 of the spring athletic stipends.
3. The PARTIES agree to the attached understandings and protocols regarding remote learning
due to school closure provided that the member is well and/or not caring for family members
who are sick. (see Appendices A & B)
4. The PARTIES agree that, should further guidance be issued by the MA DESE concerning the
scheduled April vacation, they shall reconvene if necessary over the impact of such guidance.
Section C: Evaluation, PTS, & Technological Support
1. As related to employee evaluations, the Committee shall hold harmless any employee for,
performance or productivity for any time lost due to personal and family illness and/or school,
building, office, or district closure.
2. Evaluation deadlines are hereby waived until further notice.
3. Teachers without Professional Teacher Status will continue to accrue time towards their three
(3) year requirement pursuant to M.G.L. Ch.71, s. 41.
4. The PARTIES agree to the modifications proscribed in Appendix C as regards the evaluation
of teachers on Developing Educator Plans, i.e. Teachers without Professional Teacher Status.
5. The Committee shall provide a laptop and/or other electronic resources to any employee who
requires such to complete their work remotely as described above.
Section D: No Precedent
The Parties agree that this Agreement sets no precedent or past practice and shall not be used in
any proceeding except one to enforce its terms.
Section E: School Closure Beyond May 4th, 2020
If the temporary school closure is extended beyond May 4th, 2020, the terms of this agreement
shall extend until district schools reopen or the 185th day of the student school year, whichever
comes first.
In Witness Whereof, the parties have set their hand and seal by their duly authorized
representative, (INSERT DATE).
FOR THE COMMITTEE: FOR THE ASSOCIATION:
________________________________ __________________________________
APPENDIX A
Whereas the PARTIES recognize and support the importance of continuity of learning for
all students during the Covid-19 pandemic, we also recognize that:
1. Remote learning is not a substitute for what takes place in the physical classroom;
2. Most educators have no training in effective online instruction or methodologies;
3. Despite the Districts’ best efforts, not all students have equal access to materials;
4. Prepping to deliver instruction online takes longer than prepping for classroom instruction,
especially in the early stages and for those who have never done it before;
5. A “less is more” approach is prudent to reduce stress for students, families and educators
alike. Quality is better than quantity;
6. Despite the best efforts of the District, certain materials cannot not be produced or reproduced
for remote learning;
7. Teachers are not expected to work beyond their established contractual work day;
8. Teachers are afforded flexibility in timelines related to working from home due to personal
circumstances, including, but not limited to childcare and family needs;
9. Teachers are not evaluated based on the content or delivery of their online practices and will
be given leeway while navigating these uncharted circumstances;
10. Any teleconferencing between administration and staff shall be scheduled with as much
advanced notice as possible and at mutually convenient times within the contractual work day;
11. We support asynchronous learning as we feel it better protects the privacy of both staff and
students. However, “live” instruction, when done with appropriate safeguards for privacy, may
be an effective option of providing instruction.
12. Not all remote learning is done through video content.
APPENDIX B
WORK EXPECTATIONS
All staff will check school email twice per day. All staff shall respond to all student, parent and
school emails within a 24 hour period within the contractual work week/day.
All staff continue to be mandated reporters under General Laws Chapter 119, Section 51A.
All staff shall participate in virtual IEP/504 meetings as required.
Administrators shall provide 48-hour notice for all virtual staff meetings and or CPT. Staff shall
be held harmless for non-participation due to illness or care for a family member who is ill.
K-Grade 4 Classroom Teachers (Unit A) shall provide, by grade level, “Week-At-a-Glance”
schedule of learning opportunities equivalent to fifteen (15) hours per week, three (3) hours per
day. Deadlines for submitting these plans are determined by the building principal but must fall
within the contractual workday (Friday afternoon or Monday morning). In addition, they shall
make available 2 synchronous or live “check-in” opportunities per week for the purpose of
maintaining personal contact with students through district approved platforms (Microsoft
Teams). Lessons shall provide deeper coverage of existing content, review materials and be
standards based. Teachers shall hold online “office hours” of one hour per day, the schedule of
which shall be posted at the beginning of each week. Feedback on assignments shall be provided
in a timely fashion.
Grades 5-6 Classroom Teachers (Unit A) shall provide, by grade level, “Week-At-a-Glance”
schedule of learning opportunities on Canvas equivalent to fifteen (15) hours per week, three (3)
hours per day. Deadlines for submitting these plans are determined by the building principal but
must fall within the contractual workday (Friday afternoon or Monday morning). In addition,
they shall make available 2 synchronous or live “check-in” opportunities per week for the
purpose of maintaining personal contact with students through district approved platforms
(Microsoft Teams). Lessons shall provide deeper coverage of existing content, review materials
and be standards based. Teachers shall hold online “office hours” of one hour per day, the
schedule of which shall be posted at the beginning of each week. Feedback on assignments shall
be provided in a timely fashion.
K- Grade 6 Specialists (Unit A) shall post one assignment per week per class or grade
level. Feedback on assignments shall be provided in a timely fashion. Deadlines for submitting
these plans are determined by the building principal but must fall within the contractual workday
(Friday afternoon or Monday morning).
Grade 7-12 Teachers (Unit A) shall provide, for each class taught, “Week-At-a-Glance”
schedule of learning opportunities on Canvas equivalent to three (3) hours per week, or thirty-six
(36) minutes per day. Deadlines for submitting these plans are determined by the building
principal but must fall within the contractual workday (Friday afternoon or Monday morning).
Lessons shall provide deeper coverage of existing content, review materials and be standards
based. New curricular content may be presented to students as mutually determined by teachers
and their respective administrator(s). Teachers shall hold online “office hours” of one hour per
day, the schedule of which shall be posted at the beginning of each week. Feedback on
assignments shall be provided in a timely fashion.
Guidance/Adjustment Counselors/School Psychologist at High School shall post and hold
office hours fifteen (15) hours per week, three (3) hours per day. They shall also communicate
via email with their respective caseloads at least once a week, but as necessary to offer support,
strategies and information regarding terms, AP & MCAS testing, college application process,
master schedule process, scholarships, etc. Guidance/Adjustment Counselors/School
Psychologists shall check and respond to individual student/parent email daily and notify
administration with any concerns regarding student safety and well-being.
School Psychologists will follow the Special Education remote learning process for the students
who receive special education services on her caseload
Department Heads & Directors shall hold weekly department meetings pursuant to the
continuation of curriculum work and planning for upcoming PD (May and CPT). They shall
support ongoing NEASC work for VOG and Action Plans as needed.
Curriculum Coordinators – Maintain weekly contact with Director of Curriculum, Instruction,
and Assessment and Principals. Be available to assist teachers with questions, online resources,
and support during remote curriculum and lesson planning.
Paraprofessionals and Tutors
Pre-K through Grade 4
Paraprofessionals and tutors will be assigned to special education and/or general education
teachers. The paraprofessionals and tutors will check-in with the teachers throughout the week
to determine how they can support teachers with the preparation of assignments/packets,
resources for the family, or direct service to the students. Paraprofessionals may be asked to
research or compile materials, pre-record lessons that have been designed by the licensed
educator, or offer review directly to students through Microsoft Teams.
Grade 5 through Grade 12
Paraprofessionals and tutors will hold 15 office hours per week when they are available to
provide academic support to students. The paraprofessionals and tutors’ office hours will be
shared with teaching staff and posted publicly so that students will be aware of staff members’
availability.
Administrative Assistants/Secretaries shall check voice/electronic mail daily and
report each day to Principal/Assistant Principal any general issues or immediately in case of
emergency. They shall assist with school management as needed.
Nurses/Librarians shall provide resources to teachers, families and students weekly. They shall
post office hours up to fifteen (15) hours per week, three (3) hours per day.
Special Education Teachers (PK-12) and Related-Service Providers (Speech-Language,
Occupational Therapy, School Psychology, Physical Therapy, Behavior Therapists, OG
Tutors) shall establish and document a weekly plan for each student on their caseload that
pertains to their goal area(s). The weekly plan should focus on maintenance of skill unless,
according to the educator’s clinical judgment, the student is prepared to work on new skills and
benchmarks.
Each student’s weekly plan should consist of a combination of the following:
a. Assignments/packets, resources for the family, active outreach to the
family, and direct service. Assignments/packets may include
accommodated/modified-versions of the grade-level work provided by general
education teachers (this will be common for Special Educators in co-teaching roles).
b. Resources for families may include a proposed home routine, prescribed websites to
explore over the week with their child, prescribed websites to better understand their
child’s disability, pre-recorded tutorials and explanations for parents, or a
recommended schedule to practice skills.
c. Active outreach to families refers to direct conversation with families or emails that
should occur at least once per week, and more often when appropriate. The
conversations will likely involve prioritizing the student’s needs, problem solving
with the parent, addressing behavioral issues, and customizing the student’s daily
schedule.
d. Direct service refers to virtual instruction and therapy provided to students. Direct
service includes pre-recorded lessons and activities, or virtual interactive instruction
using Microsoft Teams. Interactive instruction may occur individually or in small
groups. If educator offers instruction in small groups, the administration shall prepare
a privacy statement to parents that educators shall post during small group
instruction. Direct instruction and therapies are the heart of Special Education and
administration asks that educators offer these lessons at a frequency that is
appropriate based on the student’s need and given the current circumstances. It is the
goal of all parties is to continue to offer more direct, virtual services as the weeks
progress.
Special Education Teachers and Related-Service Providers are asked to provide advanced
notice to parents each week for arranged phone calls and direct service to their children.
As documentation is critical in Special Education, administration asks that the educator maintain
documentation of each student’s weekly plan, communication logs, and/or email/social media
records.
Special Education Teachers and Related-Service Providers are asked to maintain office hours
for at least 1 hour per week when a parent may proactively reach out through email to arrange a
phone conversation in order to discuss any issues or concerns.
Special Education Teachers may be assigned a paraprofessional to support their efforts to
provide assignments/packets, resources for families, and direct service to students.
The PARTIES recognize that administration awaits guidance from DESE related to IEP Team
Meetings. If virtual IEP Meetings are held, special educator participation will be required. The
participation of special educators shall also be required in building-based caseload meetings.
Such meeting shall be held through an electronic medium and the special educator shall not be
required to attend in-person meetings.
APPENDIX C
Educators without Professional Teacher Status (Non-PTS)
1. Should school resume on May 4, 2020, the cycle set forth in the Handbook for Evaluation,
incorporated into the Collective Bargaining, shall be modified as follows:
a. The evaluation process for Teachers on Developing Educator Plans will continue and
result in a Summative Evaluation. If necessary, the district shall allow teachers access to school
facilities and/or network drives to access evidence pursuant to the evaluation.
b. The evaluator need only to conduct a 3rd unannounced observation (the 4th
unannounced observation is waived) and the deadline to do so is extended to Fourth Friday in
May.
c. A formal conference and presentation of the Summative Evaluation will occur by the
First Friday in June.
d. The deadline for submission of the Evaluation Reports to Human Resources is
extended to the last day of school.
e. The June 15th deadline to provide notification of non-renewal is statutory and therefore
remains in effect.
2. Should school remain closed through the end of the 2019-2020 School Year, and subject to
approval or waiver by DESE:
a. Teachers on Developing Educator Plans will be evaluated based upon their
performance through March 12, 2020. Teachers shall be provided the opportunity to submit
evidence pursuant to the evaluation by May 1st. If necessary, the district shall allow teachers
access to school facilities and/or network drives to access evidence pursuant to the evaluation.
b. The requirement to conduct a 3rd and/or 4th unannounced observation is waived.
c. A formal conference and presentation of the Summative Evaluation will occur by
the first Friday in June.
d. The deadline for submission of the Evaluation Reports to Human Resources is
extended to the last day of school.
e. The June 15th deadline to provide notification of non-renewal is statutory and therefore
remains in effect.

Meeting Dates 2019-20

All AEA members are invited and welcome to join any meeting on the following dates to discuss union issues.

Meetings are on Monday afternoons at 3:30 at the Beaver Brook Elementary School.

September 16, 2019

November 18, 2019

January 13, 2020

March 16, 2020

May 18, 2020

April Updates: License Renewal and Evaluation Deadlines

1. Evidence/Evals –  Deadlines for evidence submission are fast approaching – April 20th for those on 1-year plans, May 1st for year 2 of a 2-year plan, and May 15th for year 1 of a 2-year plan.
2. License Renewal – Please see the linked memo from DESE regarding re-certification for those who are up in June. Recertification Correspondence from DESE
3. Retirement Party – Information will be forthcoming regarding the AEA Retirement Party to be held on May 9th from 4 – 7 pm at the Rockland Golf Course. (The Monponsett Inn was booked)
4. Elections – We will be posting candidates and bylaw change proposals by next Friday. Elections will take place the week of April 29th. I will send all documents electronically once ready.
5. Contracts – We finally have a complete and accurate Unit A contract! We will update the website soon and provide hard copies as soon as we can go to print. Unit B will follow shortly.
6. Fund Our Future – MTA’s campaign is in full swing. Our field rep, Carl Stamm, has stated that this is the biggest initiative around the funding of public education since Ed Reform in the early ’90s. He believes there is a lot of momentum in affecting some significant change around how schools are funded moving forward. He seems to thinks it’s not a matter of if we will see an increase, but how much. Abington could potentially gain close to $500K in additional revenue. Imagine what could be done with that money to relieve class sizes, increase counseling services and offer additional programs to our students. Fund Our Future
Your Building reps will be posting some literature in common areas in the coming days. Please take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the initiative.

MTA is holding a rally at the State House on May 16th in the late afternoon. MTA will provide free buses for locals who wish to attend. I would love to see at least 5 or more members from each building attend and represent the AEA in Boston.  Please consider joining us!