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New York TeacherJune 13, 2024

Volume LXV, Number 6

The play-based learning in a 3-K class builds a solid foundation of social and emotional skills. Yet 2,400 3-year-olds did not get placements for the 2024-25 school year. Mayor Eric Adams halted the program’s expansion and is cutting funding. UFT members, together with parents, are fighting back.

Cover Story

Waitlisted and worried

Waitlisted and worried

“If this doesn’t somehow magically resolve itself, Disney-movie style, it will be really hard for us,” said Ben Lowe, the Brooklyn father of a 3-year-old and a member of New Yorkers United for Child Care. Lowe’s family is one of 2,400 families whose children did not get placed in a public 3-K program for the 2024–25 school year.

Mayor Eric Adams had promised that every family who wanted a spot for their child would receive one. City Hall said there were 9,000 slots available citywide, but it did not reveal the location of those placements.

“Families are now scrambling for child care solutions, and these children will be at an academic disadvantage without the vital foundation that universal pre-K and 3-K provide,” said UFT Vice President for Elementary Schools Karen…

Latest News

UFT solidifies class size
News Stories

UFT solidifies class size funding

The push to ensure New York City implements the state class size law gained new momentum this spring after state lawmakers included a provision in the state budget requiring the city Department of Education to fund class size reduction in individual schools so every school can meet the law’s requirements by 2028, the law’s deadline.
Fix Tier 6
News Stories

Getting a ‘fix’ on fairness

Thanks to vigorous lobbying by members from the UFT, its state affiliate NYSUT and other public employee unions in New York state, state lawmakers approved a change in the final average salary calculation for members of Tier 6 of the pension system that will result in a higher pension benefit upon retirement.

Feature Stories

The art of expression

The art of expression

Brianna Caputo, an 8th-grader at IS 34 on Staten Island, gushes with enthusiasm about her art classes. “When we finish one type of medium, I always wonder what’s next — and I can’t wait,” she said while she and her family admired the student artwork displayed at the Tottenville school’s sixth annual art show.

That level of excitement makes it all worthwhile for art teachers RoseAnn Victoria and LeeAnne Thristino, who first teamed up at the start of the 2018–19 school year and decided to culminate their lessons with a show each June.

“We were looking for a way to showcase the program,” said Victoria.

The show includes works from about 300 6th-, 7th- and 8th-graders who selected art as their minor.

“This program is amazing,” said Brianna’s mom, Piera Caputo. “I’ve seen Brianna’s confidence and abilities grow each year.”

Every grade does different lessons, building on the techniques and skills they previously…

Co-creating learning

‘Co-creating learning’

Teacher Kristen Rush of the HS for Public Service in Brooklyn was awarded for Excellence in Education at this year's Academic High School Awards for her ability to better engage students in her English curriculum by incorporating their insights into her lesson plans.
Agents of change
Awards & Honors

Agents of ‘change’

In March, educators at Maxine Green HS for Imaginative Inquiry in Manhattan received word that their school would close in June. Winning the Academic High School Division's Team High School Award, said the chapter leader, was "a fitting end to the journey."
More in Feature Stories

Member Spotlight

Anna Willis
Chapter Leader Shoutout

Kudos to Anna Willis, PS 896, Brooklyn

PS 896 in Sunset Park had no chapter leader, delegate or paraprofessional representative, and an administration that placed excessive demands on the staff. The turnaround was stark after Anna Willis, a second-year, untenured teacher, took on the chapter leader role last fall.

Lorraine Dolengo Santiago
What I Do

Lorraine Dolengo-Santiago, diabetes nurse educator

In her role as a diabetes nurse educator, school nurse Lorraine Dolengo-Santiago teaches fellow school nurses, students, parents and educators in the Bronx how to manage diabetes in school.

Around the UFT

Spring Education Conference 2024

Spring Education Conference

UFT President Michael Mulgrew celebrated educators' resolve and hard work in the face of challenges as more than 1,000 UFT members turned out for the union's Spring Education Conference, which featured a town hall on literacy and a keynote speech by First Lady Jill Biden.

Shanker Awards 2024

Albert Shanker College Scholarship Awards

The UFT awarded scholarships to 189 public high school and graduate students as part of the annual Albert Shanker College Scholarship Awards Celebration and Reception. The students, many of whom began their high school careers online during the pandemic, were praised for their commitment to education despite the tumult of the last four years.
Early Childhood Conference

Early Childhood Conference

"Pete the Cat" author Eric Litwin led early childhood educators in a merry dance as they practiced how to engage the city's youngest learners in a love for reading during the 16th annual Early Childhood Conference held at the UFT headquarters.
Prom with a purpose
Awards & Honors

Academic High Schools Awards

Over 300 UFT members from academic high schools donned formal attire to celebrate themselves and their colleagues at a prom-themed Academic High School Awards celebration on May 31.

Provider Appreciation Awards
Awards & Honors

Provider Appreciation Awards Ceremony

More than 500 providers and guests gathered on May 10 to celebrate the role that family child care providers play in not only caring for and preparing children for school but also in stabilizing families and, by extension, the city’s economy.

Your Rights and Benefits

Know Your Benefits
Hearing aids and exams

Hearing aids and exams

The UFT Welfare Fund provides a hearing aid benefit that reimburses UFT-represented employees and their dependents up to a maximum of $1,500 once every three years
Know Your Rights
Excused absences

Excused absences

You are entitled to be absent from work but still get paid without using your sick bank for bereavement, jury duty, graduations, screenings and blood donations, and some health-related absences.
Your Well-being
Man running

Physical well-being

When it comes to being your best self, taking care of your physical health is one of the best ways to ensure your mental well-being.

You Should Know

Grants, Awards & Freebies
A teacher with young students

Grants, Awards & Freebies

See our list of current opportunities for educators to receive funds and recognition for their hard work and dedication. 

For Your Information
Generic image - Calendar for Home page carousel

UFT offices are open this summer

The UFT will be open to serve members on a modified schedule throughout the summer.

Q&A on the Issues
Obtaining CTLE Credits

Obtaining required CTLE credits

The New York State Board of Regents requires certain teachers and paraprofessionals to collect and track professional learning credits called CTLE hours to maintain their state certifications. The following Q&A will help you learn more about these CTLE requirements.
Secure Your Future
In sickness and in death

In sickness and in death

It’s always a good idea to speak with your family about what to do in the event of a debilitating illness or death. Here is a list of topics to discuss with your family and the legal documents you should have. Let trusted family members know where you keep these documents.


Opinions

President's Perspective
Our power is in our members

Our power is in our members

A chapter leader on their own can only do so much. The power of our union is in all of its members. That has been provided by the work of our Chapter Action Teams.
VPerspective
2024 Career and Technical Education Awards

Funding the future of technical education

Fostering industry partnerships, like this year's $6.1 billion in funding to tech giant Micron as part of a collaborative effort by the UFT and parent union AFT, is crucial to providing a robust framework for funding and innovating CTE programs in our city's schools and expert training for educators.
Editorials
Doctor and patient

Don’t ‘short’ patients

In 2021, nurses and patients secured a hard-won victory with the passage of the state Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act. The law, among other provisions, set up safe and reasonable staffing ratios. But New York City hospitals routinely flout the law, and the state Department of Health has failed to enforce it.
Editorials
TRS Logo

Pension choice

The roughly 5,500 UFT members who belong to the smaller New York City Board of Education Retirement System want the opportunity to switch to the TRS — and there is a bill in Albany that would give them that choice.

Editorial Cartoons
An editorial cartoon of students rushing out of the school building on their last day of school.

School's out!

We made it through another year.

Teaching Resources

Learning Curve
A student looks through a book in class.

Meeting the needs of diverse learners

Given the city’s diverse student population, a pressing issue for educators has been how to differentiate instruction to reach all students using one of the new reading curriculum programs. 

Linking to Learning
Linking To Learning

Boosting productivity with AI

Instead of spending hours searching for teaching resources, writing parent communications or creating presentations from scratch, AI can help teachers perform these tasks in a few clicks. 

Teacher to Teacher
Teacher To Teacher

Student-created reviews boost math skills

As a middle school math teacher, I’ve learned that providing students with spiral reviews — having students revisit concepts throughout the year — created by their peers instills a sense of ownership of the work. It typically makes the problems more relatable to their lives.

Building Your Career

Inside My Classroom
Inside my Classroom June-2024

Sending 'happy mail'

A 4th-grader teacher in the Bronx sends "happy mail" to let her students know that their hard work and effort is noticed and appreciated.
New Teacher Articles
Prep now for an easier September

Prep now for an easier September

As much as you might want to toss all your materials in a box and sprint out the door on the last day of school, consider doing your future self a favor by strategically preparing for September in June, thoughtfully packing up your classroom and finding ways to continue to build your skills over the summer. 

New Teacher Profiles
Speaking her students language

Speaking her students’ language

Candy Jorge, a Spanish teacher at Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School in Manhattan, came to the United States from her native Dominican Republic at the age of 17 with nothing. Now the 9th-grade team leader develops and implements curriculum infused with texts rooted in Latino culture to model success for her primarily Dominican students.

Retired Teachers News

Tom Murphy
RTC Chapter Leader Column

The summer of our discontent

Now is the summer of our discontent, with apologies to Shakespeare. The weeks from now to Election Day will be fraught with grave worries and troublesome news. The political roller coaster this year is sure to have more dramatic ups and downs than a typical election year. Every presidential election seems like the most important in history, and I guess at that moment each one was. But the results of this year’s election will have greater consequences, and the Republican campaign is already defying norms of truth and integrity in the public forum.

But while others may wallow in a “woe is me” attitude, we as union members can refresh our optimism and bring others along with us by staying engaged in the political arena. We learned back in the days of the first community school board elections that we have a choice: We can remain on the sidelines and let the bad guys make the decisions, or we can enter the political fray, enlist our friends and allies in the…

Marjorie Wilson LYFE

Making it her mission in LYFE

Marjorie Wilson, the first chapter leader of the UFT's LYFE chapter and the teen parenting program's first social worker at LYFE's start 42 years ago, has been honored by the Retired Teachers Chapter for her decades of service.
Generic man working on a laptop
RTC Service

Rules governing work after retirement

Here's what you need to know about making extra income after retirement from the New York City DOE.