Killingly School Paras Benefit From Council 4 Commitment To Training

Paraprofessionals are the quiet heroes of the school system. They significantly shape students’ lives and futures; on some occasions, they literally save lives.

That's the case in Killingly, where 125 paraprofessionals are represented by Local 3689 of Council 4.

Two years ago, a paraprofessional acted quickly and decisively to save a student from choking to death.  According to Local 3689 President Courtney Poirier, that incident was a catalyst to ramping up AFSCME’s commitment to offer on-the-job CPR training.

“Paras are with students all day, all the time,” Poirier explained. “It makes sense for us to get the training we need to protect our students.”

The Local turned to Council 4 and AFSCME International for help. In November, AFSCME Health & Safety Specialist Eunice Salcedo facilitated a full-day CPR training for Local 3689 members. Another group of paras participated in a second training in December.

Click here for a photo gallery featuring the Killingly Paraprofessionals CPR Training.

“This is an exciting development for our members,” Poirier said. “It shows the resources that AFSCME brings to the table.”

The training opportunities for Local 3896 members were made possible through an agreement with the Board of Education, undertaken by Council 4 Staff Representative Tricia Santos. Future modules will include opioid prevention and strategies for helping children with autism  (a class that will feature Dr. Barry M. Prizant Ph.D, a renowned expert on Autism Spectrum Disorders).

“Good unions do more than bargain contracts and defend members' rights,” said Santos, who represents Council 4 on a statewide paraprofessional advisory council. “We empower our members with the education, training and resources to help them be effective advocates for public services.”

Council 4 Executive Director Jody Barr said Council 4 is committed to providing high quality training to local  union members and leaders.

In 2020, Council 4 will offer a wide array of learning opportunities through our “Saturday Study Halls” in New Britain. Classes will focus on traditional union advocacy – such as new officer and stewards training, running an effective union meeting, and grievance handling – to broader subject matter that includes CPR/opioid training, retirement planning, and using social media.

The Council 4 trainings, which have been designed by Kelly Martinez, Director of Organizing and Field Services, are free of charge and reflect our union's commitment to providing members with the tools they need on and off the job.

Click here for the Council 4 2020 education and training schedule.