Around the UFT

Members across city show their true colors

Around the UFT

Think Pink

Miller Photography

Manning the raffle table at the Delegate Assembly to raise money for breast cancer research are (from left) paraprofessional Jay Futterman of PS 396 in Brooklyn, Tamika Talliver of PS 78 in the Bronx, District 4 Representative Servia Silva, UFT chair of the Strides walk, retiree Myra Ettenberg and Brooklyn Special Representative Theresa Samuels, the Strides captain for that borough.

Project creates sense of community

Members across city show their true colorsYuderca Castillo (right), guidance counselor at the School for International Studies in Brooklyn, with students.

The School for International Studies in Brooklyn organized a Pink Glove Dance in October to raise awareness for breast cancer.

Using a Flip camera, an iPod and a portable speaker system borrowed from the principal, the school’s guidance counselor and parent coordinator went from class to class, office to office, filming members of their school community wearing pink latex gloves and jamming to the Jay Sean song “Down.”

“Our intention was to raise awareness about breast cancer,” said Yuderca Castillo, the guidance counselor. “What we did not expect was the wonderful sense of community, the laughter, and the openness that doing this schoolwide project has created.”

The school was inspired by a New York Teacher story [“Hot ‘Pink’ dance,” Sept. 9] about a teacher at PS 60 on Staten Island who organized a pink dance at her school.

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Schools across the city took time to bang the drum for breast cancer research during the month of October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Besides participating by the thousands in the Making Strides for Breast Cancer walk on Oct. 17, UFTers have been staging Pink Days at their schools to raise awareness and money for the cause.

PS 75 in the Bronx is one such school. On Oct. 20, staff at the school were decked out in pink buttons, bows and blouses, eating pink cupcakes and pink candy, as well as raising $2,000, according to Chapter Leader Phyllis Murray.

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Related topics: breast cancer awareness

Taking political action

Around the UFT

100 percent ‘COPE’ at PS 214, Brooklyn

In baseball, a .370 batting average is great. In school, 65 is passing and 92 is a sweet A. So how good is 100 percent for a political action fund drive? It’s excellent! And too rare! Yet, that’s what the staff at PS 214 in Brooklyn scored in this year’s Committee on Political Education drive, as every union member at the school signed on to contribute to COPE, the UFT’s voluntary political-action arm. above: The PS 214 staff with banner reading “Everyone at PS 214 ‘Copes.’” They do, indeed.

District 19 Representative Allan Weinstein and Chapter Leader Vicki Buccellato join delegate Virginia Blair to proudly display the full roster of school COPE members. Interested in contributing to COPE? The simplest way to contribute is by signing a payroll deduction form, which pledges you to pay a specified amount of your choice each month to the COPE fund. To sign up, see your chapter leader or contact COPE at 1-212-598-7747.
Read more: Around the UFT
Related topics: COPE, political action

Nice crowd, for openers

Around the UFT
UFT RTC Leader Tom Murphy addresses members in Shanker Hall. Miller Photography

Retired Teachers Chapter members packed the house for the school year’s first general membership meeting on Oct. 12 in Shanker Hall. Members heard RTC Leader Tom Murphy (above) discuss the upcoming elections as well as other issues of interest to members.

UFT RTCer Ben Friedman.Miller PhotographyRTCer Ben Friedman asks a question from the floor. UFT RTCer Beverly Twitty.Miller PhotographyRTCer Beverly Twitty.

UFT RTCer Abe Levine.Miller PhotographyRTCer Abe Levine.

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Important preparation

Around the UFT

Training for chemical emergency response

Trainer Keith Mundy of the International Chemical Workers Union leads a hands-on demonstration of how to properly put on a mask and respirator.
Debbie Ardinez holds the 35-pound weight of the respirator while Luincys Fernandez adjusts her straps. Together, they demonstrate the “buddy system” as they help each other don respirators and masks.

Twenty-four science teachers, lab specialists and an environmental safety worker gathered from Aug. 23 to 27 at UFT headquarters for a thorough training on chemical emergency response. They learned about emergency action and fire prevention plans, obtaining access to Occupational Safety and Health Administration hazard standards, the danger of exposure to hazardous chemicals in their workplace laboratories and how to properly wear protective equipment and respirators. Participants learned through discussion, group exercises and hands-on practice.

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Meeting the needs of children

Around the UFT

John F. Kennedy Jr. School renaming ceremony

Weissman with Caroline Kennedy.

The ceremony is highlighted by UFT member Norman Fischelman’s reading of a poem.

The former Queens Occupational Training Center was renamed the John F. Kennedy Jr. School, after the late president’s son, on Sept. 15 in a ceremony attended by staff, parents and notables including Caroline Kennedy, John Jr.’s sister, and Diane Sawyer, anchor of “ABC World News.” Beth Rudolph, the school’s principal, said it was the students’ “courage and desire” that led to the renaming. “They wanted their voices heard and their vision to be recognized. They wanted to name their school after someone they could relate to, be proud of, and who would serve as an inspiration,” she said.

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A community effort

Around the UFT

New playground at PS 82-28, Queens

The new playground at Queens’ PS 82-28 is open for business. Joining parents are (from left) Parent Coordinator Alexis Quintero, City Councilman James Gennaro, Assistant Principal Chris Marino, Principal Angela Boykin, Chapter Leader Heather Goldberg and UFT Queens District 28 Representative Angela Artis.
"Triple-hoop kiddie basketball” is one of the games on tap.
Play areas abound in what was once a barren schoolyard.

A shoddy schoolyard transformed into a playground paradise has kids at Queens’ PS 82-28 jumping for joy — or running, playing hopscotch, shooting baskets, tossing beanbags or pounding on built-in drums.

Kids whose idea of sports is a mental workout are making big moves with little hands at the chessboard tables or are curled up with a good book on the reading benches.

Others can stomp like giants over all five boroughs on the colorful city map painted on the playground’s surface.

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Public schools do their part

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Firefighter Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Run/Walk

IS 72 cheerleaders with teacher/coach Lori Veit. IS 72 cheerleaders with teacher/coach Lori Veit.
IS 75 teacher and band leader Richard Peters with the school band. IS 75 teacher and band leader Richard Peters with the school band.

Towers Run/Walk, held on Sept. 26, featured not only race participants but choirs, bands and cheerleaders from a number of city schools, including Brooklyn’s Edward R. Murrow HS and Staten Island’s IS 72 and IS 75. The annual five-kilometer run honors the memory of Siller, a Staten Island firefighter who rushed to the Twin Towers on his day off on Sept. 11, 2001, after hearing of the World Trade Center attack. Finding the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel closed to traffic, he ran the remaining distance in hopes of aiding survivors.

Read more: Around the UFT
Related topics: our schools

Volunteers walk the walk

Around the UFT

Learning Leaders opening-of-school ceremony

Violinists from PS 200 in Brooklyn entertain guests at the event.

Violinists from PS 200 in Brooklyn entertain guests at the event.

 Mulgrew and City Council Education Committee Chair Robert Jackson add to the ap Mulgrew and City Council Education Committee Chair Robert Jackson add to the applause at the well-attended ceremony.

Commending the work of Learning Leaders — the organization of more than 12,000 volunteers who work in city schools — at their opening-of-school ceremony at Columbia University on Sept. 22, UFT President Michael Mulgrew said, “Many people talk the talk about service and education reform, but at Learning Leaders you are walking the walk.” Noting the union’s strong commitment to home-school-community partnership, he thanked the volunteers on behalf of teachers for their work with students and parents in advancing instruction and learning.

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Backpacks for homeless kids

Around the UFT

Project Back to School

Channel 11 weatherman “Mr. G.” and UFT President Michael Mulgrew Miller Photography With Channel 11 weatherman Irv Gikofsky (left), UFT President Michael Mulgrew speaks with kids at the Project Back to School event at the Coalition for the Homeless.
UFT Vice President for Elementary Schools Karen Alford Miller Photography UFT Vice President for Elementary Schools Karen Alford helps a youngster put on her new backpack.

“I’m gonna do a lot of school things with this stuff!” said little Victor at the Coalition for the Homeless, practically diving into his big new Spiderman backpack filled with supplies.

The 1st-grader at Manhattan’s PS 18 was one of a group of kids largely from Life Shelter on the Lower East Side who received needed materials and a lot of encouragement at a Sept. 23 “Project Back to School” special event.

All are in the coalition’s after-school program and are among 3,000 children living in family shelters who are benefiting from the backpack drive.

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Solidarity in the struggle

Around the UFT

German trade unionists visit UFT

Bruce Cotler

In a Russian language class at Staten Island Technical HS, teacher Elena Sokolovski speaks with Stephanie Fochs, Kesting, GEW coordinator for international relations Manfred Brinkmann and Isensee.

Bruce Cotler

The German delegation, along with Staten Island UFTers visiting the Richard H. Hungerford School — a District 75 school that serves students with special needs, including those who are medically fragile, autistic and with a range of physical, emotional and learning disabilities.

Bruce Cotler

Aboard the Staten Island Ferry, after a day viewing schools on the island with UFT leaders, are (from left) teacher trainer Annette Lenz, Thone, kindergarten teacher Christiane Weishoff and Brinkmann.

A nine-person delegation of teacher unionists from the German Teachers’ Union (GEW) visited the UFT from Oct. 4 to 8 to learn more about the similarities and differences in what the two unions face and work toward common goals. They visited a wide variety of public schools throughout the five boroughs and met with educators and union leaders at each location. It was a reciprocal visit — UFT leaders traveled to Berlin last November and toured their public schools at that time.

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