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Team High School Newsletter - November/December 2014

As we prepare to give thanks for all we have, let us remember to also be thankful for all the intangible things we possess as educators.

Let us be thankful for the patience, willingness and dedication in each of us that allows us to commit our lives to working with the young people in our public schools. Let us be thankful for understanding that it is our collective responsibility to ensure every child has equal access to a quality education so that our nation is truly by and for the people. And let us remember to extend ourselves to friends and colleagues, including any who may have nowhere to celebrate this holiday.  

We know what it will take to meet the needs and interests of all of our students and guarantee the continual improvement of our schools: hard work, commitment, trust, collaboration, increased resources and programs, and compassion.

We’re thankful to call you colleagues!

In solidarity,

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


New York State Education Department launches plan to support 34 high schools in New York City

The New York State Education Department announced that 34 high schools will receive special funding and assistance from the Department of Education. Under Mayor de Blasio's plan, each school will follow the community school model of providing professional supports to staff and bringing in outside services for students. The UFT will hold chapter meetings in each of the schools to discuss the integral role we have as the UFT in helping to chart a path of improvement for each school.


CTE on the move with multiple pathways toward graduation

The New York State Board of Regents approved new pathways to graduation for students in the arts, humanities, STEM and Career and Technical Education. The change paves the way for students to be able to substitute a passing score on an approved CTE exam for one of the five Regents exams currently required for graduation.  


Important dates for your chapter

We’ve created this list of events for keeping track of important dates at our schools. You can customize this to help you or your chapter keep track of dates. Feel free to also use this in your chapter newsletters and on your school’s UFT bulletin board.


Bring your students to the UFT for the Big Apple Classic CTE High School Student Leadership Summit

Join business leaders from across the country as they share the expertise and skills required to excel in today’s global industries. The Big Apple Classic Leadership Summit on Saturday, Dec. 6 will feature dynamic presentations, skill-building workshops and networking opportunities to inform, empower, and motivate our high school students. There needs to be a chaperone for every 15 students. Workshops will include: your money matters; new media in the 21st century; technology and innovation; the world of engineering; be your own boss; putting America back to work with STEM; and career and  technical education (CTE) at a glance. Contact Elizabeth Cardona-Diaz at 1-212-598-9290 or ecardona-diaz@uft.org for more information and to RSVP.


Let’s get to real teaching and learning...not paperwork!

Please see the new systemwide paperwork standards negotiated by the UFT and the DOE. One important point to know is that educators can no longer be asked to create documents specifically for the purposes of the quality review. Please let your chapter leader know if you have any concerns about burdensome, unnecessary paperwork.


Experiencing grief or loss? Your union is here to help

Have you experienced a difficult loss in the last year? The UFT Member Assistance Program (MAP) offers counseling groups to assist you in managing your grief and adjusting to the loss of a family member, significant other, friend or colleague. Please email MAPinfo@uft.org or call 1-212-701-9620 for registration information. Other counseling and support services are also available to all UFT members. The UFT Victim Support Program can do on-site counseling for your school in the event of a tragedy or traumatic event that affects your school. Read more about Victim Support Program services or to schedule a time for counselors to visit your school.


Share professional development ideas!

The UFT wants to help you share your ideas for useful and relevant professional development with your colleagues at other schools. We are building a repository of professional development ideas in a new special section of the UFT website. (Because of copyright restrictions on some of the content, only UFT members may enter this section. You must be logged in to the uft.org to access it.)

The UFT Teacher Center created the initial materials, but we want to supplement that with member-created materials. If you have PD ideas that you would like to contribute, we invite you to use this online form to submit PD materials for review. Let us know if you would like to have someone from the UFT visit your school to help facilitate the planning of professional development.


Interested in PROSE?

Is your chapter interested in learning more about PROSE, the Progressive Redesign Opportunity Schools program or in applying to become a PROSE school next year? Planning sessions will be held on two Thursdays, Dec. 18 and Jan. 22, from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 3rd floor. These sessions will offer interested school teams expert information and support as they develop their PROSE applications. Members, principals and administrators are invited to attend. To register for a session, use this online form. For more information about the PROSE program and to view a recorded version of the PROSE information sessions, visit the PROSE website.


Have a loved one who needs health care?

If you have any family or friends who need health coverage, contact WorkingAmericaHealthCare.org (1-888-276-2580). This organization is committed to ensuring all working families have great health care coverage.


Two ways to support the greater union movement this holiday season!

  1. Make sure we entrust our season’s greeting cards and packages to our brothers and sisters in the U.S. Post Office who are fighting many assaults on their integral institution and the services they provide. (This could also be a way to resurrect the fine art of letter writing!) 
  1. Join Walmart-Free NYC to demand that the largest retailer on the planet treats its workers fairly: Meet at 8 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 28  at 310 W. 43rd Street. Go to blackfridayprotest.org for more details.

Using the events in Ferguson, Missouri as a teaching opportunity

Since August, the events in Ferguson, Mo., have captivated our nation’s attention. If you are seeking ways to discuss the Nov. 24 grand jury decision and the response both in Ferguson and around the country, check out the Zinn Education Project. This site provides a series of suggestions on how we might address current events in Ferguson with our students.