New York TeacherDecember 17, 2020
As 2020 draws to a close, we continue to deal with the challenges of teaching during a pandemic. This issue answers your questions about coronavirus testing in schools, explains how paraprofessionals’ duties are changing, and shares stories and tips from your fellow educators about surviving and adapting during the pandemic. And, because everyone needs something to look forward to, we outline the positive changes in education we can expect under the Biden administration.
As schools across the city reopen, here are answers to your frequently asked questions about current COVID-19 testing procedures and policies. The city has agreed to more frequent and aggressive testing, which is now mandated and administered weekly. This more intensive level of testing is the school system’s early warning system, but the most important things that will keep school communities safe are the safety and health protocols UFT members fought for in September.
How does school-based COVID-19 testing work?
The NYC Test and Trace Corps works…
With President-elect Joe Biden and the soon-to-be first lady, teacher Jill Biden, in the White House, sweeping changes in U.S. education policy may be on the horizon.
The UFT has won a city contract as a network provider to coordinate the work of home-based family child care providers. The new network expands the union’s advocacy on behalf of these workers.
It was a small but unforgettable moment in Renee Pearson’s outdoor pre-K class: a new student was about to pick a green tomato in the school garden but was dissuaded by a classmate. “It’s not red; it’s not ready yet,” the boy said.
Students teaching one another is just one of the gifts of the garden that grows behind PS 185/the Locke School of Arts and Engineering in Harlem.
Five months into the pandemic, the city encouraged schools to create outdoor classrooms. The staff at PS 185 jumped at the opportunity.
“Even before the pandemic, we had implemented outdoor learning on a smaller scale, using the garden during recess,” said Chapter Leader Kaitlyn Somerville.
Pre-K teachers have built a curriculum around the garden with the help of the school’s Green Team, parent…
UFT members’ book drive at Bronx Park MS ensures both in-school and remote students have books to read during the pandemic.
To make the school year feel successful, educators are revising lesson plans, troubleshooting technology and investigating new strategies. Day by day, they’re figuring out what works for their students — and themselves. Read their stories.
The chapter leader at Staten Island Tech spearheaded the development of a programming school-based option (SBO) for this school year that addressed the needs of the school community at his specialized high school.
A teacher talks about working in the Pathways to Graduation program, an alternative high school program that helps students ages 17 to 21 earn their High School Equivalency (HSE) Diplomas.
Five hundred public school parents across the city joined the UFT’s virtual parent conference on Nov. 7 to discuss remote learning and parenting during the pandemic.
The union has hosted parent conferences every fall in each borough for the past decade but, due to the pandemic, the UFT decided on a citywide event this year.
UFT President Michael Mulgrew summed up the coronavirus experience. “We still have a lot of challenges,” Mulgrew told the attendees. “We have frustrations with the Department of Education and frustrations with parents’ inability to get the support they’re looking for.”
The conference workshops were designed to help provide some of that support.
After hearing from Mulgrew and keynote speaker LeRoy Barr, the UFT secretary, participants were sorted into Zoom rooms for the workshops…
More than 1,000 students, parents, teachers and school counselors participate in the first virtual UFT College Fair, held via Zoom in October.
Federation of Nurses/UFT members and school nurses in November attended the UFT’s 41st annual Professional Issues Conference, held virtually for the first time.
Here's what the school day looks like for paraprofessionals and how their responsibilities have changed during blended learning. The new position of para classroom manager will also help meet the demands of teaching during COVID-19
In 2016, the New York State Board of Regents adopted standards that require certain teachers and paraprofessionals to collect and track professional learning credits called Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) hours. The following Q&A will help you learn more about how to fulfill your CTLE requirements.
In July 2021, some educators will reach the end of the first five-year cycle for collecting 100 Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) hours from state-approved providers. This Q&A tells you what you need to know about CTLE requirements.
As the pandemic brings economic devastation to our communities, UFT members are helping to bring hope. The union is working with community partners to deliver food and address the other needs of our children and their families
Betsy DeVos, who championed policies aimed at destroying public education and diverting public funds to private schools, will likely be remembered as the worst U.S. education secretary ever.
Enabling private chats with students, Zoom breakout rooms and modeling classwork for students are a few of the strategies teachers can use to improve learning during this challenging time.
The Bitmoji classroom is a virtual space to use as a landing page for remote classrooms that includes a cartoon version of the teacher, or a Bitmoji. Using this technology has become a pandemic trend.
"During our 'All About Us' unit, we discuss different feelings and how our feelings change throughout the day." — Johanna MacNeal, prekindergarten, PS 398, Jackson Heights, Queens
The transfer of presidential power is very much on our minds now. In the introduction to his classic, "The Making of the President 1960," Theodore White wrote: "The most awesome transfer of power in the world, the power to marshal and mobilize, the power to send men to kill or be killed, the power to tax and destroy, the power to guide and the responsibility to heal, all committed into the hands of one man … The noise and the blare, the bands and the screaming, the pageantry and oratory of the long fall campaign, fade on Election Day ... Now the candidates must wait."
The 1960 peaceful transfer of power from Dwight D. Eisenhower to John F. Kennedy seems from our present vantage point as if it took place on another planet. The noise and blare of today would have been unseemly back then.
But however long the wait, the election's outcome has been worth it. For me and so many, the wait lasted four years, so there is a great…
There has been a surge in registration for Si Beagle courses as classes switch from on-site to online and retirees become remote learners.
Rosemary DelValle served as an elementary school teacher in the Bronx and Manhattan for 38 years. Now retired, DelValle has transferred all the skills she honed to engage and motivate students to her new role as Merry Rose the Clown.