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Standing together, fighting and winning

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Although delayed because of Hurricane Sandy, UFT event to honor today’s leaders is a hit

Teacher Union Day may have been postponed, but a record crowd of more than 1,200 Miller Photography

Teacher Union Day may have been postponed, but a record crowd of more than 1,200 attended.
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Honoree Michael Mendel (right) with UFT President Michael Mulgrew. Miller Photography

Charles Cogen Award: Honoree Michael Mendel (right) with UFT President Michael Mulgrew.

Honoree Anthony Harmon with a scrapbook of his union activity put together by on Miller Photography

Jules Kolodny Award: Honoree Anthony Harmon with a scrapbook of his union activity put together by one of his middle school teachers.

Two teachers made difference for honoree

two-teachers-made-difference-for-honoree-1Miller PhotographyAnthony Harmon, flanked by his middle school teachers Arnetta Fischer (left) and Diane Browser.

Little did Jules Kolodny Award winner Anthony Harmon know that one of two middle school teachers he credited with setting him on the right path has been keeping a scrapbook of his accomplishments all these years.

Harmon described being “a new transplant from West Virginia” at IS 210 in Brooklyn, where the kids all knew each other, had friendships and teased him about his southern accent, when “two women who cared” came to his rescue.

He had not been in touch with his English teacher, Diane Browser, or his math teacher, Arnetta Fischer, for more than 30 years until a serendipitous moment recently brought him face to face with Fischer.

“Out of the blue,” he said. He knew then that he wanted both to share in his Teacher Union Day honor.

Harmon was seated with his family at the event when Browser pulled out the scrapbook. Amazed, he leafed through the pages filled with New York Teacher newspaper clippings chronicling his journey from teacher up through the ranks of the UFT.

And there it was — the button he had made for his teacher so long ago in shop class. It read: “The best part of being a student is having a teacher like you.”

“They’re back in my life and probably the reason I became a teacher,” Harmon said. He cited the middle school years as “a critical time in every young person’s life. Their words of encouragement, the fact that they cared, proved a deciding factor for me.”

The “two women who cared” are still active UFT members. Browser is now a school psychologist at PS 183 in Manhattan, and Fischer is a math teacher at Ben Banneker Academy in Brooklyn.

With the Jan. 17 deadline to have a teacher evaluation agreement in place missed after Mayor Bloomberg blew up the one that had been reached on the deadline date, a steadfast UFT President Michael Mulgrew assured the largest Teacher Union Day gathering ever, “We will stand together, fight together and we will win.”

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Participate in this year's Better Speech and Hearing Month contests

Chapter news

The UFT Speech Improvement Chapter will be celebrating its Seventh Annual Better Speech and Hearing Month Celebration on Monday, May 13.

As you know, we've had great success in prior years and look forward to this year's celebration. It is also a wonderful way to showcase the work you do and can be used for portfolios/tenure and those transferring to new schools.

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UFT, Coalition for Homeless Holiday Party

Around the UFT

Gifts and grins galore!

Coalition for the Homeless holiday party - News - 2 Miller Photography Santa finds out what Kalis wants for Christmas.
Coalition for the Homeless holiday party - News - 3 Miller Photography Tyreek steals the show with his robo dancing.
Coalition for the Homeless holiday party - News - 1 Miller Photography Weatherman Mr. G (behind table, center) and UFT President Michael Mulgrew (right) are among those handing out presents.

The glow sticks were bright, the fruit punch was redder than Rudolph’s nose, and Santa Claus was coming to town.

That brought joy to 150 children on Dec. 15, when the UFT, in conjunction with the Coalition for the Homeless, threw open its doors at Manhattan headquarters for a big holiday bash.

“I’ve been playing and dancing, and it’s more fun when you’re interacting with other kids,” said 12-year-old Queenasia from Brooklyn.

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School secretaries train for every task

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Miller Photography

School secretary Connie Donahue (standing) makes a point during a workshop on payroll operations. More photos >>

Miller Photography

School Secretaries Chapter Leader Mona Gonzalez (standing) chats with (seated, from left) Gail Maryles of PS 209 in Queens, Laura Genovese of PS 226 in Manhattan and Mary Iemma of PS 20 at PS 107 in Queens.


Miller Photography

Tamar Lemoine of PS 156 in Queens comments during a workshop.


When it comes to the bulk of formal and informal tasks at a school — such as ably and calmly handling a distraught parent, preparing that key document or ensuring that everyone gets paid — it’s the school secretary who’s the gatekeeper, crisis manager and responsible grown-up who sees that the work gets done.

“Too often that skill is unrecognized or uncultivated,” said Mona Gonzalez, the UFT school secretaries chapter leader. “Our expertise doesn’t just come from brains and personality, but from skills training, too.”

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Members praised for efforts during and after hurricane

News stories

Federation of Nurses/UFT Professional Issues Conference

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Federation of Nurses/UFT Special Representative Anne Goldman addresses the group while (seated, from left) UFT Director of Legislation and Political Action Paul Egan, NYSUT Executive Vice President Andy Pallotta and AFT Healthcare Director Mary MacDonald look on.

Miller Photography

Monica Dean (left), a school nurse at Louis Armstrong MS in Queens, and Mauva Campbell of Lutheran Medical Center stop to check out a health wellness chart.

Miller Photography Members get the most out of a workshop on nurse law.


No group was more prepared to handle the emergency situations caused by Hurricane Sandy than members of the Federation of Nurses/UFT — a fact that echoed loud and clear during their 33rd annual Professional Issues Conference at the Westin New York Grand Central on Nov. 16 and 17.

“It’s in a time of crisis that you have to use triage; that you have to use that knowledge you’ve gained,” said Anne Goldman, the Federation’s special representative. “And you came through.”

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UFT welcomes new teachers

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Newer teachers pay close attention at the Queens reception. More photos >>

Dave Sanders

Michelle Russon of PS 1 in the Bronx takes note of relevant information. More photos >>

Remaining new teacher receptions

STATEN ISLAND: Nov. 27, 4–6 p.m., at the Staten Island Borough Office, 4456 Amboy Road.
MANHATTAN: Dec. 4, 4:15–6:15 p.m., at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway.
BROOKLYN: District 15 on Dec. 11, 4–6 p.m., at the Brooklyn Borough Office, 335 Adams St., 25th Floor. District 17, District 23 and High School new teacher meetings have been postponed.
Contact EPerez@uft.org for new dates.

New teachers from across the city have been getting an assist from the UFT, with receptions in each borough to welcome them and provide resources in a wide range of areas all under one roof.

The introductory meetings have been and will be hosted by each borough except in Brooklyn, where each district is holding its own gathering.

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Easy Striders

News stories

Thousands of UFT members join annual walk to support breast cancer research

UFT members in Central Park are on their marks as President Michael Mulgrew and

UFT members in Central Park are on their marks as President Michael Mulgrew and union Strides Coordinator Servia Silva prepare to cut the ribbon to start the walk.

Brooklyn high school teachers and UFT Brooklyn High Schools Representative Charl Miller Photography

Brooklyn high school teachers and UFT Brooklyn High Schools Representative Charles Turner (blue cap) take part in the walk at Jones Beach.

PS 55 from Staten Island was represented at Clove Lakes Park.

PS 55 from Staten Island was represented at Clove Lakes Park.

Once again UFT members showed their true colors.

And they were all in the pink as they stepped out by the thousands to join thousands more New Yorkers in the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk on Oct. 21 in parks in every borough and on Long Island.

UFT President Michael Mulgrew cut the ribbon in Central Park, freeing a wave of walkers — many with heavy hearts — lined up behind the UFT banner ready to make their way north beneath a canopy of autumnal yellows and oranges,many with heavy hearts.

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Related topics: community service, UFT events
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