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New York TeacherJune 17, 2021

Volume LXII, Number 6

As we prepare to return to in-person learning, the UFT is working to ensure a smooth transition for students. The union’s #OurKidsNeed campaign is keeping their needs front and center as it pushes for city funding for smaller class size and intervention teams in every building to provide extra social-emotional support and academic intervention.

Cover Stories

Teacher Victoriane Liz leads a discussion about budgeting with students during the advisory period.

Advisory powers

When middle school buildings reopened in March, the staff at IS 238/the Susan B. Anthony Academy in Hollis, Queens, wanted to make sure students were OK — not just academically, but emotionally, too.

“We’ve had more kids in crisis,” said IS 238 Chapter Leader Elizabeth Leder. “There were more suicide attempts, and some kids had been hospitalized.”

The personal losses of the pandemic, compounded by isolation, had clearly taken a toll on students at IS 238, a Department of Education community school that has a partnership with the nonprofit Counseling in Schools.

But how to reach the students and give them a forum to discuss their concerns? How to identify students at risk? A team of faculty members came up with the idea of creating a weekly half-hour advisory period within the school day.

“The main goal is engagement and creating a safe space for students to discuss what happened to them and their families over the last year,” said Michael DeWolf, who teaches a 6…

Students celebrating graduation pose for a picture wearing robes, caps and showing off their diplomas
News Stories

Planning life after high school

New UFT-Department of Education program offers one hour of free college and career counseling to high school juniors and seniors after school and on weekends.

A woman wearing a mask sitting at an information desk smiles under the mask for a photo

Immediate support

Since Franklin D. Roosevelt HS in Brooklyn reopened in March for in-person learning, school counselors have been stationed in the lobby so they are more visible to students.

Latest News

Join the fight
News Stories

UFT pushes for money for smaller class sizes and intervention teams

The UFT championed its five-point plan for New York City public schools during negotiations over the city budget due on June 30, advocating for federal COVID-19 relief funds to be used to help public school students recover from the pandemic.

Schools solar
News Stories

UFT joins unions in campaign to take schools solar

Imagine a New York City public school system that no longer relies on carbon-based fuel to generate power. The UFT has seized the chance to make that vision a reality, given the promise of billions of dollars of new federal funding to combat climate change.

Feature Stories

Getting joy from helping others

Getting joy from helping others

"We know the pandemic did not affect all of us equally," said teacher Jamel Holmes, and he does what he can to ameliorate that at the East Bronx Academy for the Future. An Excellence in Education Award winner, Holmes delivers care packages to the families of former and current students, everything from food to hygiene products to laundry detergent to books. 

"It’s really dependent on the need," he said.

Holmes graduated from East Bronx Academy in 2008. Ten years later, after serving as a paraprofessional in District 7, he returned there to teach.

“You need to have certain things: food, shelter, water, clothing, warmth,” said Holmes. “If you have to worry about where you are going to get food, how can you concentrate or be expected to go into a school building or be onlin…

Bringing home art 2

Bringing home art

Art teacher Yolanda Lyn considers art a means to emotional well-being. Teaching remotely has challenged her to create lessons that will help all her students at PS 194 in Harlem continue to feel connected to their classmates and to the world.

Retirees step up for the hungry 2

Retirees step up for the hungry

More than 10,500 meals have been delivered from school cafeterias to neighborhood food pantries through a new UFT member-initiated School Meals 2 Pantries program on the Upper West Side.

Member Spotlight

Gloria Castillo
Chapter Leader Shoutout

Kudos to Gloria Castillo, PS 11, Manhattan

When PS 11 Chapter Leader Gloria Castillo began to think about retirement, she also began to plan for a seamless transition in union leadership at her Chelsea school.

Maryse Crevecoeur-Charles
What I Do

Maryse Crevecoeur-Charles, IEP teacher

IEP teacher Maryse Crevecoeur-Charles provides intensive reading intervention to struggling readers at PS 6 in Flatbush, Brooklyn.

Around the UFT

Putting on the Spring Education Conference both live and virtually required a lot of behind-the-scenes work.

‘Battle-tested’ members hailed for courage, strength

UFT President Michael Mulgrew praised members for their courage and strength throughout the pandemic and spoke about the challenges ahead at the union's annual Spring Education Conference on May 15.

Smiling through the challenges 2
Awards & Honors

Academic High School Awards

Eight schools and 28 individuals were honored on April 29 at the UFT's annual Academic HS Awards ceremony, held virtually, while all educators were praised for their hard work and commitment this school year.

UFT Director of Community and Parent Outreach Nick Cruz makes a point during the Brooklyn conference.

Helping students return to the world

This spring, hundreds of parents across the city gathered for the 12th annual UFT parent conferences, with each borough hosting its own virtual event on Zoom.

Albert Shanker College Scholarships
Awards & Honors

Heading out to change the world

The UFT presented $5,000 Albert Shanker College Scholarships to 134 public high school students and eight graduate students on June 2 at the 52nd annual Albert Shanker Scholarship celebration, held virtually on Zoom.

A screenshot of a nurse accepting an award, her son is also in the shot on the left side
Awards & Honors

Nurses Recognition Day

Members of the Federation of Nurses/UFT were honored during the union's seventh annual Nurse Recognition Day, Held virtually on May 6, for meeting the "unimaginable" challenge of COVID-19.

Your Rights and Benefits

Know Your Benefits
Baby feeding on bottle

Paid parental leave

Thanks to the hard work of thousands of UFT members during a lengthy public campaign, the UFT was the first public-sector union in New York City to secure paid parental leave for the workers it represents.

Know Your Rights
Green and blue arrows and circles showing a circular process

Transferring schools

All UFT pedagogues and paraprofessionals, not just teachers, have the opportunity to transfer to a different school under the Open Market Transfer Plan each year from April 15 to Aug. 7.

Your Well-being
Let's Talk About It Logo

Let’s Talk About It

The union's Member Assistance Program has created a wellness workshop series, Let's Talk About It, led by a licensed clinician, for members to share their experiences and learn new coping and healing skills.

You Should Know

Secure Your Future
Tax deductions for educators

Your TDA choices

The UFT's Tax-Deferred Annuity (TDA) Program is one of the most popular benefits the union has won for its members, with more than 120,000 in-service members and retirees participating.


President's Perspective
Image focuses on three students with backpacks on and their backs facing the camera

What our kids need

Rebuilding and strengthening the bonds of our school community, classroom by classroom, will be one of the most important tasks we take on in September.

Bringing home art 1

Social-emotional wellness for all

As we look ahead to September, when students and educators will be back together in school buildings, we must focus as strongly on social-emotional wellness as on academics.

Rainbow streamers across painted building

Transgender rights

Pride Month has become an American tradition, when people in cities and towns large and small celebrate the LGBTQ community with friends, family and allies. But the fight to be treated equally in the eyes of the law isn’t over by any means.

Male and female nurse wearing PPE

Essential school nurses

One of the most important lessons learned from the pandemic is that having a nurse in every school is vital to the well-being of our students.

Editorial Cartoons
Editorial Cartoon - Jun 17, 2021

Gone Fission

Have a great summer!

Teaching Resources

Learning Curve
A logo for the company Kahoot

What’s the point of a test?

When an assessment is well-designed and aligns with standards, the idea of “teaching to the test” sheds its negative connotation.

Linking to Learning
Statue of Liberty Crown Virtual

Virtual field trips offer unique experiences

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the end of the school year was a popular time for class trips. This year, you don’t have to completely forgo those experiences; you and your students can embark on virtual field trips instead.

Teacher to Teacher
A woman poses standing next to a desk with her laptop

Lessons learned from remote era

Insights about how our students learn best that were gained while working remotely will be helpful when we all return to the classroom.

Building Your Career

Building Your Career
Summer beach

Your to do list for Summer

Here are some things to take care of right away and others that will help you prioritize and stay on track.

Inside My Classroom
 Junelle Demarest class

Inside my classroom

I created a Bitmoji classroom for my 7th- and 8th-grade ELA students where they can access all that they need to be successful for the learning day in one place.

New Teacher Articles
Cartoon graphic of a man reaching for a book on a bookshelf

Planning ahead after a challenging year

As this challenging year comes to an end, here are some steps you can take now to get ready for a smoother return to your classroom in the fall.

New Teacher Profiles
Abby Normandin

How one teacher created special moments for remote learners

Teaching remotely has forced second-year special education teacher Abby Normandin "to be more creative; to see learning in a new way." For her 6th-graders at Mott Hall III in the Bronx that meant getting everything they needed for a tasty science lesson in the mail.

Retired Teachers News

Tom Murphy
RTC Chapter Leader Column

Surviving change

In the last iconic scene of the movie “The Darkest Hour,” Winston Churchill decided to oppose the old guard members of his own political party who were pushing for surrender-like negotiations with the Nazis during World War II. He knew he was risking his position as prime minister, but he decided to stop catering to them and take the risk.

As Churchill finished giving one of his most inspiring speeches in Parliament, British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden said: “Changed your mind?” Churchill responded, “Those who never change their minds never change anything…

Healthcare -stethoscope
RTC Information

Special Retiree Health Care Committee established

A 50-member volunteer Retiree Health Care Committee has been created by the Retired Teachers Chapter to serve as middlemen between the chapter and union leadership on health care topics.

C. Richardsoon, Eurika Oliver
RTC Section Spotlight

Brooklyn retirees staying busy

Retirees in the RTC's Brooklyn section have made the best of the pandemic situation, with a record turnout of 1,030 retirees attending virtual Si Beagle classes.