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New York TeacherSeptember 8, 2022

Volume LXIV, Number 1
As the school year begins, the UFT is working to set up its members and their students for success — from fighting to reverse school budget cuts and lower class sizes to providing free books to new teachers and backpacks and schools supplies to students. Read all about it in the latest New York Teacher.

Cover Story

Three children wearing backpacks and fire helmets

Stepping up to support families

The UFT doubled down this year on its customary end-of-summer initiatives to support students and their families with school supply giveaways, information, resources and plain old fun. As the school year begins, many families are struggling financially because of inflation and pandemic-related obstacles.

“Many communities don’t have opportunities to get supplies as we get back into school-year mode,” said Vivian Romani, a 4th-grade math teacher and the chapter leader at PS 55 on Staten Island.

The union shared school supplies, books, treats, information and resources at three recent events: the Harlem Week Children’s Festival on Aug. 20, a backpack giveaway and barbecue on Staten Island on Aug. 24, and a book giveawa…

Latest News

A large group gathered in a room
News Stories

Mulgrew: We won’t swap time for money

UFT President Michael Mulgrew told members at a virtual union town hall on Aug. 22 that one item that would not be on the bargaining table in contract talks expected to begin sometime this fall would be longer workdays in return for larger pay raises.

Healthcare -stethoscope

Rising health care costs

Long before inflation made a comeback as a national political issue, the cost of health care was marching steadily upward, leaving unions that long ago recognized the value of good coverage battling to protect members from employer demands that they pay part of the premiums.

Feature Stories

Scott Brower

‘A shining light’

Scott Brower was known as both “a teachers’ teacher” and someone who could connect with troubled students at PS 20 in Queens because, Chapter Leader Jennifer Berner said, “He was a giant kid with smarts.”

“He spoke to children like equals,” fellow physical education teacher John Paul Gonzalez explained. “Some teachers remind them of boundaries; he spoke to them like they were friends. So he was more approachable, and children would open up more.”

Brower, a 15-year veteran who spent most of his career at the 1,000-student school in Flushing, died on March 20 after being struck by a speeding motorcyclist while crossing Merrick Road near his home in Rockville Centre on Long Island. The 42-year-ol…

A blind man sits and types on a keyboard

Site for sore eyes

The UFT chapter leader of Vision Education Services revamped the program's website for the Department of Education.

Two 6th-graders from MS 821 in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn plant coreopsis at the Green-Wood Cemetery on June 21

Leaving no stone unturned at Green-Wood

A tour about pollinators and another that focuses on architecture are just two of the many educational tours that can serve as class trips at The Green-Wood Cemetery, a 478-acre National Historic Landmark chartered in 1838 in western Brooklyn.

Member Spotlight

Elizabeth Rivera
What I Do

Elizabeth Rivera, Teacher, Lorge School

Elizabeth Rivera has been teaching for 17 years at the Lorge School, a UFT-represented nonpublic, year-round school where teachers are represented by the UFT. The school serves students ages 5-21 who are diagnosed with learning disabilities, emotional disturbances or other health impairments.

Smoke Learner
Chapter Leader Shoutout

Kudos to David Smoke, PS 315, and Cindy Lerner, PS 19, in Manhattan

When PS 315, the East Village Community School, moves on Sept. 8 into the First Avenue building that houses PS 19, the chapter leaders for the two Manhattan schools can take a bow for their work in ensuring a smooth merger that meets the needs of both chapters.


Around the UFT

A crowd of members in a theatre

UFT welcomes new teachers

Brooklyn became the Borough of Teachers on Aug. 29 when newly hired educators went to the Kings Theatre for the opening day of the city Department of Education’s New Teacher Week. Schools Chancellor David C. Banks and UFT President Michael Mulgrew both welcomed them.

Teacher fills up her suitcase with free books

A real page-turner

Heaping pallets of high-interest books greeted new teachers on Aug. 13 at the United Federation of Teachers’ Bronx borough office, where they were able to choose 50 volumes each from among the thousands offered to build their classroom libraries as they start the school year. 

Your Rights and Benefits

Know Your Benefits
MAP Logo

Member Assistance Program

The UFT’s Member Assistance Program (MAP) offers in-service UFT members free, confidential and voluntary individual consultations, as well as group counseling, workshops, professional development and resources provided by licensed mental health professionals.

Know Your Rights
Mature women talks to student

Your responsibilities as a paraprofessional

Paraprofessionals play an instrumental role in schools as part of a team providing educational and support services to children. Here are some of the rights and responsibilities that paraprofessionals should know about.

Your Well-being
Image of brain with common mental health issues in words

Getting it all done

Anyone who works in a demanding setting knows that effective time management is a key to success. Here are some ways to set yourself up for a more productive and better year ahead.

You Should Know

For Your Information
Purple hexagon with a piggy bank and dollar symbol representing Teacher's Choice

Teacher’s Choice for 2022-23 school year

Thanks to the union’s advocacy, UFT-represented educators will be reimbursed for some out-of-pocket expenses through Teacher’s Choice at the same levels as the previous school year. Teachers will once again receive about $250.

Q&A on the Issues
Teacher teaching students

COVID-related protocols

The following Q&A answers some of UFT members’ most frequently-asked questions about the city DOE's COVID-related policies covering health, safety, remote learning and absences for the 2022-23 school year.

Secure Your Future
Welcome to pension

Welcome to the pension system

As members of the UFT, you are entitled to a benefit that is becoming as rare as it is important — a traditional defined-benefit pension plan, the gold standard of retirement plans, which guarantees a lifetime annuity of regular payments based on your years of service, your salary and your age.

Opinions

President's Perspective
Empty classroom full of desks

The challenges ahead

The most pressing issues facing us this school year are the mayor’s needless budget cuts that we fought against throughout the summer, a class size bill that requires the governor’s signature to become law, and contract negotiations that we are eager to begin. 

VPerspective
A bag that reads "Proud union member"

Your union is here for you

After recharging over the summer, we are excited to return to our classrooms to do what we do best. And we won’t let budget cuts or layoffs stop us from providing our public school students with a robust academic experience that includes the arts and social-emotional learning.


Editorials
Foster care forms

Fostering success

New York City has taken the first steps to support students in the foster care system by beginning to establish a government team dedicated to that purpose. It must go the rest of the way and help these kids get everything they need to thrive.

Editorials
Dollar sign

Unfair funding

It's time for the Department of Education’s Fair Student Funding formula to live up to its name and provide New York City public schools with the resources to help all our children succeed. The per-pupil funding formula that has determined the majority of school funding for the past 15 years has ample room for improvement.

Editorial Cartoons
A cartoon of a father asking his son what he learned on his first day of school

A question after the first day of school

"So what did you learn on the first day of school?"

Teaching Resources

Learning Curve
Learning curve art illustration

Gateway to the world

Arts programs may be on the chopping block this fall as school principals look for ways to cut costs in the face of Mayor Adams’ school budget cuts. But for many educators, the pandemic has proven that arts instruction is more important than ever.

Linking to Learning
hand pointing to hardware and technical symbols

Tech tools for parent outreach

Parent outreach doesn’t have to mean making individual phone calls one by one the old school way. By using tech tools, you can streamline your process for contacting families and make those connections more successful.

Teacher to Teacher
Students participating in learning activity

Inspiring students to write their stories

My students can express their voices through journal writing, poetry and narrative story writing. I want my students to know their stories don’t have to be confined to their hearts.

Building Your Career

Inside My Classroom
Inside my classroom

Inside my classroom

Second-grade teachers Linda Querni and Patricia Greco used Play-Doh as a "get to know you" activity at the start of school. Students used the Play-Doh to answer the prompts and then discussed with their classmates to learn about each other.

New Teacher Articles
Cartoon drawing of a classroom door

Tips for preparing your classroom

Your classroom is more than a physical space. Here are some ideas to consider as you begin a new school year, whether you’re setting up a classroom for the first time or looking at one with fresh eyes after the summer.

New Teacher Profiles
Blooming with pride

Blooming with pride

Fourth-year teacher and sustainability coordinator Amanda Cleary launched a garden club at P 37, a District 75 school on Staten Island, and along with vegetables and flowers, pride and a sense of responsibility are nurtured there.

Retired Teachers News

Tom Murphy
RTC Chapter Leader Column

In unity, transformed

A murmuration of starlings described in a recent newspaper article caught my attention. The writer was transfixed by its beauty. To me, an individual starling appears rather ungainly; a goofy-looking pest. But seeing a thousand of these birds in sweeping flight, twisting and turning with graceful movement, gives meaning to the murmuring sounds they make while soaring, diving and changing direction. It shows that unremarkable individuals can be transformed when they operate in tandem.

Applied to us mere mortals, we as individuals have our own innate value but we can find transformative meaning when we embrace a common purpose. …

UFT member discounts
RTC Service

UFT member discounts

Discounts available from the UFT, NYSUT and the AFT are a big deal for members and apply to a wide variety of goods and services.

Jo-Ann Marks
RTC Second Act

It’s never too late to soar

After 28 years in the New York City public school system, retired teacher Jo-Ann Marks' childhood dream takes flight when she begins a second career with Frontier Airlines.