Around the UFT

For collaboration

Around the UFT

Blue Ribbon Award to PS 31, Brooklyn

Alford checks out students' work as kindergarten teacher Madeline Fox looks on.

An overflow crowd of educators, students and parents gathered at PS 31 in Brooklyn on June 9 to celebrate receiving a Blue Ribbon Award for excellence from the federal Department of Education. UFT Vice President for Elementary Schools Karen Alford congratulated the staff, students and parents at the event. UFT District 14 Representative Ira Munet said the award was the result of collaboration between the staff and the administration, especially the principal, Mary Scarlato. Also attending and praising everyone in the school was Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.

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Super Saturday! Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Expo: Lizards, robotics and budding scientists

Around the UFT

nyt20100616_46d.jpgTaking science out of the classroom and into the world, research teacher Mauricio Gonzalez (center, in cap) of Frederick Douglass Academy often brings his class to the Harlem River for water testing and catching phytoplankton to study. His budding marine biologists are shown here with their research on display.

Nearly 800 Harlem students, along with their parents and teachers, turned out for the “Super Saturday! Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Expo” on May 22 at the Harlem Armory.

“This is a new event, created to put an emphasis on the rigor coming out of this district,” said Dwayne Clark, the UFT District 5 representative.

The goal, he said, is to increase the academic standards expected of District 5’s 13,000 students in 31 public schools beyond what the state requires to meet the higher national standards.

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Related topics: our schools

Fun, sun and art

Around the UFT

Family Arts Day at PS 46, Brooklyn

nyt20100617-24b-1.jpgBilingual 1st-grade teacher Micky De Pool (left) with students showing off their crocheted bracelets, to the delight of Chapter Leader Morrison (back).

The second annual Family Arts Day, held at PS 46 in Brooklyn on June 5, was a big hit, drawing 100 students, parents, staffers and community members and raising more than $800 for the school through an auction of the student artwork on display. Paula Morrison, who’s been chapter leader at the Fort Greene school for seven years, said that students had been looking forward to the art, music and dance wrapped up into the day.

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Related topics: parents and community

UFT special educators meeting: Deputy chancellor offers project progress report

Around the UFT

nyt20100616_46a.jpgUFT Vice President Carmen Alvarez (standing, front) cautions Deputy Chancellor Rodriguez that “we need a research-based study to see how to deliver best practices, so we’re not replacing one bad program or practice with another.”

Laura Rodriguez, the Department of Education’s deputy chancellor and chief achievement officer for students with disabilities and English language learners, told UFT members who work with students with special needs that, if successful, implementing a new plan for students with disabilities would add flexibility and greater attention to students’ needs when writing Individualized Education Programs.

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Related topics: special ed

Promoting growth

Around the UFT

Art Expo 2010 at PS/MS 194, the Bronx

Art enthusiasts (from left) Elmer Myers, the school’s principal, Michael Raimondi of Pencil.org, guest artist Miller, art teachers Wine, Serrano and Hostomsky, and Chapter Leader Richard Charap just before the expo opened.

More than 500 people turned out for the interactive Art Expo 2010 held at PS/MS 194 in the Bronx on May 26 and featuring art by more than 300 students hailing from 40 countries. Half of the school’s gymnasium was used for the art exhibition and the other half for live student demos of printmaking, portrait drawing, crayon-resist paintings, a PowerPoint presentation and a DVD of students talking about their artwork and what it means to them. “Students were thrilled to be in the show,” said art teacher Helen Serrano, who has taught at the school since it opened in 2003.

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Related topics: our schools

Courage rewarded

Around the UFT

Renaming of Francis Lewis HS athletic field

Friends, family and members of the school community attended a ceremony on May 18 to rename the athletic field at Francis Lewis HS in Queens after Margaret Lambert, a talented high jumper who was removed from the 1936 German Olympic team by Adolph Hitler because she was Jewish. At the time, she was known as Gretel Bergmann. UFT Director of Worker Education George Altomare spoke at the event, quoting Robert Kennedy, who said: “One person with courage is a majority.” In that spirit, Altomare said, “Margaret continued to train” despite the disappointment.

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Courage rewarded

Around the UFT

Renaming of Francis Lewis HS athletic field

nyt20100617-48b-1.jpgQueens High School District Representative James Vasquez, Carla Nasso of the UFT coaches committee, Ken Achiron, executive director of the UFT coaches committee, Lambert and Altomare.

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‘Wholly Mother Jones’

Around the UFT

UFT Players present ...

nyt20100617-48a-1.jpgSherwood, who starred as Mother Jones, is the focal point of this scene.

If you have you ever wondered what made Mother Jones “the most dangerous woman in America,” the UFT Players put on the show for you: retired teacher Peter Agnos’ “Wholly Mother Jones.” The Players held two musical staged readings of the play — both to packed audiences — at UFT headquarters on June 3 and 4. Narrated by Gail Sherwood, who starred as Mother Jones, “the play shows you in the first person Mother Jones’ journey as an organizer,” said co-producer and UFT Players’ co-chair Warren Wyss, who also sang and acted in the production.

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Teacher’s influence helps bring building to life

Around the UFT

Art alive and well at HS of Applied Communications

nyt20100617-24a.jpgEleventh- and 12th-graders (from left) Sharon Mejia, Juan Ibarguen and Yasmery Vargas with art teacher Andreya Vivaldi and some of the murals they worked on that have changed their school’s look from bare walls and institutional in feel to “a whole different vibe and students are so proud of it,” according to Chapter Leader Linda Acosta.

As soon as you step inside the HS of Applied Communications in Long Island City, Queens, you notice how different it is from many schools. Bright, colorful murals enliven the walls and there’s art wherever you look.

“These kids worked around the clock, they stayed till 8 p.m. all week, and the design was based on their ideas,” said art teacher Andreya Vivaldi, describing the amazing murals that have transformed the school.

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Former teacher remembered fondly

Around the UFT

Memorial service at PS 16, Staten Island

Dugan presents a scrapbook to Kelley’s family members.
Standing in front of a collage of Kelley in photos, teacher Besim Memidovich pays tribute.

Teachers and students of PS 16 in Staten Island held a memorial service on May 21 for former teacher Daniel Kelley, who was killed in January while jogging by a driver allegedly high on prescription drugs. Kelley, 23, was in the middle of his first year of teaching special education at the school. His death sent many of his colleagues, students, friends and family members into an emotional tailspin, which was evident at the memorial service, which included a video tribute. “This wasn’t supposed to happen,” said one student, who was not ashamed to shed tears of heartbreak.

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Related topics: member spotlight
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