Know your benefits

Discounts for educators

Website builders, software, books and more

Adobe Photoshop CS 5 — regularly $999; extended student and teacher edition, for educators, only $199! Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2010 — regularly $539.95; for educators, only $89.95!

Discounts for educators - 1 Hardcover books at 40 percent off the cover price!

These are some of the bargains that teachers are entitled to. Even building a teacher website to help reach parents and students can be free or very low-cost.

Most vendors require that you provide proof of employment in a school in the form of a letter from your principal on school stationery or an employee ID card.

Some discounts are very steep, and it is well worth it for anyone working in city public schools to take advantage of the bargains. Most of the vendors listed here are online, but that doesn’t mean that brick-and-mortar stores won’t offer you the same kinds of discounts. Always ask the salesperson whether the store offers price breaks for educators.

As a UFT member, you are automatically a member of the union’s state affiliate, New York State United Teachers, and its national organization, the American Federation of Teachers. Visit NYSUT’s benefits online. Go to www.nysut.org and click on member benefits. You will see a variety of discounts including car rental agencies, theme parks, hotels and more. As long as your UFT/NYSUT membership is current, you’re eligible for these discounts.

To find out what AFT discounts you are entitled to, go to www.aft.org and click on AFT+ Member Benefits. Among the array of discounts listed, you will see a link for book discounts from Powells Online, the largest unionized bookstore in the country.

Other AFT discounts include flowers, magazine subscriptions, Dell computers, moving van discounts. As always, there are some restrictions so read the membership requirements carefully.

Computer discounts

The Academic Superstore at www.academicsuperstore.com offers some serious discounts for educators on software and hardware. You need a validated faculty ID card or a letter of employment on school letterhead. In some cases, certain manufacturers require a copy of a pay stub (delete private information like your Social Security number and pay amount, but leave your name and the employer’s name).

Discounts for educators Software Express at www.swexpress.com offers discounts of up to 75 percent from a variety of software publishers. Its online catalog lists products by category and publisher. A staff ID card, letter of employment on school letterhead or a copy of a pay stub (pay amount inked out) is required to take advantage of these discounts.

JourneyEd at www.journeyed.com offers excellent discounts to educators on software as well. The site is easy to navigate. Once at the website, just click on Educator/Staff Shop on the top navigation bar.

Website-building discounts

Interested in building a website to reach out to parents, students and colleagues? Most teachers don’t have the time or the inclination to master the steep learning curve that some Internet technology demands. That is no longer such an obstacle. There are now websites that help teachers create their own websites.

A simple and free website builder is SchoolRack at www.schoolrack.com. You can build your website using page templates that were developed with educators in mind. You can view sample sites to get ideas of how other educators have used the service.

For instance, you can create a syllabus section and a homework/assignment section, and you can publish your grading policy. In addition, you can let parents know how to reach you via email or school telephone number. It’s advisable to use your Department of Education email address and not your personal one. Make sure you read the terms of use.

Remember that you are responsible for all content that you upload, post or otherwise transmit via the SchoolRack service.

For $39 per year, eBoard at www.eboard.com will help you build a website that can contain calendars, tabs, blogs, announcements and much more. Teachers can try eBoard free for 30 days.

This is a small sample of the bargains available to educators. You can find many more at the Department of Education’s Employee Incentives and Discounts website.

Read more: Know your benefits
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