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Team High School Newsletter - March/April 2016

News Stories

Astronaut Scott Kelly recently returned from a year in the International Space Station and set the record for the longest an American has spent in space. We salute him for his bravery and fortitude, but we know that great undertakings, whether navigating space, protecting unions or creating positive working and learning environments, are not tackled alone. They are the result of teamwork, courage and the belief in one common goal.

Our mission is to improve our profession and create a richer educational experience for our students and it is with a collective voice that we accomplish that.

We face many obstacles created by “reformers” who claim to know what works in the classroom although they have spent little or no time in front of students. We have fought hard through the years for our protections and benefits; we have worked just as hard on behalf of our students and schools.

We are the first line of defense for the 1.1 million students who attend public schools in the city, and fiercely fight for what works in our buildings.
We bring more than soaring rhetoric to our classrooms, our offices and our union hall. We offer solutions to the challenges we face in our profession. Sometimes, the problems seem overwhelming. But we never doubt our ability to overcome difficulties and remain proud, bold and determined as we seek solutions as a union.

In solidarity,

Janella Hinds, Vice President for Academic High Schools
Sterling Roberson, Vice President for Career and Technical Education

Be Union Loud and Proud!

As you have probably heard, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld fair-share fees in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association with a 4-4 ruling.

It’s a big win for working families, but our fight is far from over. Today’s decision won’t stop our enemies. Other cases are already in the pipeline.

The appointment of the next Supreme Court justice will be key. Our message to the Republicans in the U.S. Senate is: Do your job and give Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee, a fair hearing. In the event that the Republicans continue to refuse to hold a hearing, we must do everything in our power to ensure a Democrat wins the White House in November.

We encourage you to stand with your brothers and sisters and join the Union Loud and Proud campaign. In numbers we have power. Please join in our fight and encourage your colleagues to join as well.

Please also take a moment to read your colleagues’ #UnionProud stories on the importance of union membership. You can subscribe to read new ones as they are added and share your favorite stories on social media. Have your own story to tell? Please let us know by filling out our Union Loud and Proud testimonial form.

Register now for our Academic HS Awards Recognition Ceremony

The UFT Academic High School Awards Recognition Ceremony will take place on Friday, April 15 from 6 to 8 p.m. at UFT headquarters at 52 Broadway. We will recognize outstanding educators, activists, dynamic union leaders and community champions who are going above and beyond to connect with students, communities and the union. 

We’ll also provide time for you to network with colleagues. Refreshments will be provided.

For more details and to register, see the event listing »

Register now for the UFT’s Labor Seder

Please join the UFT Jewish Heritage Committee for the 10th annual Labor Seder on Tuesday, April 12 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. to celebrate Passover through the eyes of the labor movement. A traditional kosher Passover dinner will be served. The cost is $36 for adults and $15 for children.

To register, download the flier and fill out the mail-in coupon.

The deadline to register is Friday, April 1.

Calling all programmers! Join the high school programming workshop on May 4

All high school educators know that programming is an integral part of ensuring a smooth and successful school year. Please join us for a high school programming workshop on Wednesday, May 4 at 4:15 p.m. at UFT headquarters at 52 Broadway. Participants will learn strategies, systems and creative solutions to design programs that accommodate school and student needs. To RSVP, email Team High School at

UFT advocates for CTE on Capitol Hill

UFT members, parents and a DOE staffer stand with Sterling Roberson (back row, third from left), the UFT vice president for CTE, and UFT President Michael Mulgrew (second row, teal tie) after an in-depth conversation with Rep. Hakeem Jeffries on March 1 at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C. Members discussed, among other things, funding for public education and CTE initiatives.

UFT Lobby Day

High school educators at UFT Lobby Day
Janella Hinds (far right), the UFT vice president for academic high schools, joins a group of Manhattan high school educators lobbying on March 9 in Albany.

More than 1,100 UFT members traveled to Albany on March 9 for the union’s annual Lobby Day. State legislators addressed members at the convention center just before the educators fanned out to lobby their local elected officials to call for an increase in school funding, more Teacher Centers, an end to the charter equity gap and further expansion of the Community Learning Schools Initiative.

See other photos in the gallery »

It's time to enact school-based options (SBOs)

Spring is when your school’s chapter can propose school-based options (SBOs). SBOS give schools the flexibility to collaboratively modify articles in our contract or to create new compensatory time positions not automatically allowed for in the contract.

Popular SBOs at high schools include: repurposing time within the school day (including for professional development, parent engagement and professional work); restructuring instructional time through early release of students for multi-session high schools, block scheduling and the creation of compensatory time positions; rearranging parent-teacher conferences and additional non-attendance days for PD; and adding professional activities missing from a school’s current menu of options.

Remember: Your chapter, not your school’s administration, should submit your SBO to enact modifications that will better serve your school, staff and students. You can find more information about SBOs on the UFT website here.

Two conversations on segregation, tenure at the Albert Shanker Institute

Earlier this year, the Albert Shanker Institute hosted two conversations on segregation in schools and tenure. Conversations such as these are part of the Institute’s mission: to bring together influential leaders and thinkers from business labor, government and education from across the political spectrum. These sessions also foster the development of new approaches to solving problems in the education and union worlds. We encourage you to watch the panel discussions that are featured here:

Video: “How Should We Address the Effects of Residential Segregation by Race and Class on America’s Schools”

Video: “Teacher Tenure: An Outmoded ‘Job for Life’ or Essential Right to Due Process”

Strength in numbers for Districts 75, 79

High school educators at UFT Lobby Day
Standing with the “Union Loud and Proud” sign are (from left) Victoria Rush, East River Academy; District 79 Representative Patricia Crispino; Zamyra Abdel Hady, the LYFE program; Suzanne Ribeiro, East River Academy; and Edgar Torres, Satellite Academy HS.

More than 250 UFT members from District 75 and District 79 gathered in Manhattan on March 4 to meet UFT President Michael Mulgrew and to discuss continual national assaults on public sector unions. Members also discussed the challenges confronting alternative education and brainstormed about best methods to enhance student learning in the largest school district in the country.

For students - YouthSafe student poster, PSA and social media contest

The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health has announced the YouthSafe Contest, an opportunity for students to create public service announcements (PSAs) and social media images for prize money. Please encourage your high school students to design posters and PSAs that teach others about youth workplace safety. This year’s contest features three categories: video public service announcements, posters and social media images. All entries must use the approved NYCOSH themes in the application pack and be postmarked or received via email by Friday, April 15.

For more information about the contest and to download application materials, visit the NYCOSH website.

See the flier for more details »

Team High School citywide meetings

Come to our next meeting of the academic high school and career and technical high school committees. These meetings are designed to organize members and gather information that is pertinent to our high schools. 

If you have any questions, or would like to RSVP, please email us at

Citywide Academic High School Meetings

All meetings take place on a Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.

  • Date: March 30
  • Location: UFT Bronx borough office, 2500 Halsey St. Directions »
  • Date: April 13
  • Location: UFT Queens borough office at 97-77 Queens Blvd. Directions » (This meeting has been rescheduled from a later date in April.)

  • Date: May 25
  • Location: UFT Staten Island borough office at 4456 Amboy Road. Directions »
  • Date: June 8
  • Location: UFT headquarters at 52 Broadway. Directions »

Citywide CTE High School Meetings 

All meetings take place on a Thursday at 4:15 p.m.

  • Date: April 21
  • Location: UFT headquarters at 52 Broadway. Directions »
  • Date: May 19
  • Location: UFT headquarters at 52 Broadway. Directions »

  • Date: June 23
  • Location: UFT headquarters at 52 Broadway. Directions »

Your team is on Twitter and Facebook

Follow @UFTTeamHS on Twitter.  “Like” the UFT Team High School Facebook page to read, share and comment on Team High School posts. Please be sure to follow the DOE guidelines on social media.