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Feature Stories

Stepping up to support families

The UFT doubled down this year on its customary end-of-summer initiatives to support students and teachers with school supply giveaways, information, resources and plain old fun.

Signs of the times

Three streets on Staten Island have been renamed to remember educators who died during the Covid pandemic. Two of those streets are near IS 24 in Great Kills and honor Sharon Nearby and Melissa Kruppa, early victims of the virus. The third street, in Princes Bay, was named in honor of IS 34 teacher Anton Updale.

Flower power

The new retreat room at PS 146 in Howard Beach, Queens, has brightly painted walls, fluffy rugs and soft pillows and is a comfortable safe space, alternative learning environment, relaxation and de-escalation area, and club room for students in the pre-K—grade 8 school.

The cat’s out of the bag

Pets in the Classroom, a program that gives financial support to pre-K through 9th-grade teachers for small animals to keep in their classrooms, provides teachers with one initial voucher or rebate to purchase a pet and necessary supplies and then a yearly $50 “sustaining” grant for upkeep.

A mosaic memorial

Colleagues and students create a mosaic mural to remember Rulx Dagus, a paraprofessional at P 369K in Park Slope, Brooklyn, who died of COVID-19. 

Schoolhouse heroes

Three New York City public school educators jumped into action when they saw their students in distress, and their help made the difference in each life-threatening situation.