With a historic boost in state aid for New York City schools and tens of thousands of UFT members vaccinated against COVID-19, there is finally hope that we can leave behind these challenging times. Our near-term future includes a 3% pay raise for DOE-employed members and a new schools chancellor who rose through the ranks.
As of April 7, about 35,000 UFT members employed by the city Department of Education had been matched with vaccine providers in the UFT vaccine program, which supplements city and state vaccination programs.
Calling for more than $1 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funds to be dedicated to the needs of students recovering emotionally and academically from the ravages of the pandemic, the UFT laid out a five-point recovery proposal.
“I love the chair, but it’s a hazard,” teacher Emama Akhter observed as she eyed a desk chair that a student had hoisted atop a classroom table.
“It’s supposed to be a hazard!” the student protested.
Akhter, the winner of two 2021 UFT career and technical education awards, had tasked her students — seniors at the Brooklyn STEAM Center, a career and technical education training hub for 11th- and 12th-grade students from across Brooklyn — with constructing an obstacle course for drones. On one side of the glass-walled classroom inside the Brooklyn Navy Yard, students were taping directional arrows on the floor to chart the drone’s path; on the other side, a loud buzzing noise filled the air as students piloted their drones using an iPad app.
“Hey, I did it. Sweet,” one student said with satisfaction as he gently landed his drone atop a stool.
It was just the sort of engaging, immersive lesson on which Akhter, a lead instructor in the computer science and information …
More than 30,000 lights, spelling out the word “HOPE,” shined a spotlight on the number of New York City lives lost to COVID-19 in an initiative of the Urban Assembly School of Emergency Management in Manhattan from March 12 to March 14.
Ruth Caballero is a Registered Nurse who works for the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, a certified home health agency whose employees are represented by the UFT. She provides home health care services in its adult care program.
Sandra Leiser, the chapter leader at PS 44 in the Bronx, won compensation for her staff after an operational issues dispute with the principal, who arbitrarily shortened the staff lunch period at the start of the school year.
The coronavirus pandemic couldn’t stop 430 UFT members from virtually joining the union’s annual Lobby Day to advocate for funding for public schools and the union’s own education initiatives in the state budget.
Early childhood educators have always strived to find the joy in learning. So it’s no surprise that even in this difficult school year, the more than 300 educators who attended the UFT’s annual Early Childhood Conference remotely on March 13 treasured the time they spent improving their practice and connecting with colleagues.
More than a year ago, the School Counselors Conference was the last UFT conference held before COVID-19 shut down school buildings. This year’s event, held on March 20 on Zoom, found school counselors grappling with a new set of challenges as the end of the pandemic slowly comes into view.
In a four-hour We Feed NYC telethon on Feb. 13, the UFT raised more than $310,000 from its members and corporate donors to feed New York families struggling with food insecurity as a result of the pandemic.
All eligible in-service UFT members and their dependents have prescription drug coverage through the UFT Welfare Fund. There are no waiting periods for this coverage, and members have options to pick up or get delivery of most medications.
The stringent safety policies in areas such as testing, ventilation and social distancing that the union ensured were in place in September have kept the percentage of staff and students who test positive for COVID-19 within New York City public schools low all year.
Social media can be a positive or a negative force in your life, depending on how you use it. Scheduling social media time, sticking to your purpose and thinking twice before posting are some of the ways to help avoid the harmful consequences.
From April 15 through Aug. 9, UFT members do not need a release from a principal to change schools, and the Open Market Transfer Plan offers all pedagogues and paraprofessionals access to citywide job openings.
This spring, UFT members will elect union representatives at the school level and for functional chapters. We answer many common questions about how school chapter elections are run and how to cast your vote.
Experiencing a pandemic can be life-changing, especially for essential workers like UFT members who face its challenges every day. Sometimes that kind of experience makes people reevaluate their lives and their goals. They move, they reconnect with family and friends, they change jobs and sometimes they retire sooner than planned.
There is a new level of investment in public schools and it didn't happen by accident. It's a reminder that at every level, elections matter. Your voice matters. When we pull together, we can shift public policy in meaningful ways. That's our power as a union.
High school members from across the city joined forces with the union’s academic high school team in five safe spaces to talk about what works and what obstructs, to uncover better practices, and to find solutions to our challenges.
Culturally relevant pedagogy can give students the skills, knowledge and dispositions to change systemic inequities. So teachers should examine and encourage ways to imbue their students with a sense of their own identities.
With its education users having increased by four times during the pandemic, Google has announced upcoming changes to its education apps that will debut over the course of 2021 to better meet the needs of both students and educators.
We can help students develop a better understanding of both the world and their place in it by using the world around us to teach in a way that invites critical thinking, draws on multiple perspectives and reflects who we are in the 21st century.
I joined a Facebook group called Teaching with Neons, where teachers come together and share virtual Bitmoji classrooms or various themes for us to edit and use. Our schoolwide Brain Power program inspired me to bring this brain break room to my virtual classroom.
For newer teachers, the advice and support of more experienced colleagues can be life-changing. One U.S. Department of Education study found that teachers who were assigned a mentor in their first year were more likely to remain in the profession long term than those who were not.
With the RTC leadership election coming up, I have asked Election Committee Co-chairs John Soldini and Nina Tribble to write this month’s column.
— Tom Murphy
RTC elections usually follow a predictable pattern. First, a bipartisan election committee is created to develop and publicize the rules of the election. That committee was created with the publication of the election notice in the New York Teacher in February.
The process is usually simple, straightforward and transparent and has never been challenged.
But we are conducting this election while the pandemic traumatizes a nation that is deeply divided and where democratic institutions and validated election results are challenged. That context prompted the RTC election committee — the two of us, plus Robert Greenberg and Vince Gaglione — to not only establish a process to overcome the technical problems created by the pande…
“Kayaking is my happy place,” says retired school secretary Linda Horton. That includes kayaking under sunny skies on quiet Lake Mahopac in Putnam County, New York, where Horton lives, but also much more.