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New York TeacherSeptember 9, 2021

Volume LXIII, Number 1

As schools reopen with in-person learning, the UFT Teacher Center and the Positive Learning Collaborative are part of the plan to help students rebound. Techniques such as immersive lessons and sensory tools will keep students engaged as we navigate the hard days ahead.

Cover Story

UFT President talking while moving his hands. Woman in the background observes. Both are wearing masks,

Rolling up our sleeves once again

We are heading into another really tough school year. We thought in June that we would be in a better place by fall but now we are dealing with the surge of the delta variant. And once again, the mayor waited until the last minute to make major policy decisions on the vaccine mandate, remote instruction and safety protocols.

But we will surmount these challenges — and emerge stronger than ever — because as educators, we are there for our students and for each other. When we stand together and take care of each other, we can rise above and surmount even the biggest obstacles.

Our COVID-19 building response teams in every school were the key to keeping our school buildings safe last school year. They made sure building safety protocols were followed and they quickly alerted the union if there were any issues. In the first week of September, the UFT has trained the Building Response Team leader in 1,100 school buildings, which puts us ahead…

Latest News

Blue hexagon with symbol of a book reading UFT Teacher Center
News Stories

Bridging the post-pandemic learning gap

Helping students rebound from the pandemic, both academically and emotionally, is a union priority as all students return in September for in-person learning.

Highlighters, notebooks, pencils
News Stories

Teacher’s Choice is back

UFT-represented educators once again are eligible for reimbursement for some of their out-of-pocket classroom expenses through Teacher’s Choice.

Feature Stories

UFT delegate Teresa Fabbella (left) and Chapter Leader Annemarie Summa Barbarino sit in the school’s garden, where raspberries (inset) are among the edible plants that grow.

Net-zero energy

The future is as bright as the sun at Staten Island’s PS 62, the Kathleen Grimm School for Leadership and Sustainability, which uses solar energy and a host of other eco-friendly initiatives to create as much electricity as it uses.

With nearly 2,000 solar panels covering the school’s roof, south wall and parking building, as well as plain old power conservation, this net-zero energy school is showing its students how to prevent climate change every day.

This school with 450 students in pre-K through 5th grade has become a model for the Carbon Free and Healthy Schools Initiative, a coalition of New York City unions, including the UFT, that is working to make sure some of the federal funds in the Biden administration’s infrastructure package are used to make New York City schools clean and green.

“We’re instilling in students how to become good stewards of the environment,”…

Students wearing using paintbrush pens
News Stories

The magic of art

School social worker Maureen Eigenfeld has made art the cornerstone of her therapeutic work with students at the Bronx Writing Academy, a United Community School in Concourse Village.

Jon Carrai, a history teacher at IS 187 in Brooklyn, examines the symbols on ancient Roman coins with two of his 6th-graders.

Holding history in their hands

This Brooklyn teacher uses immersive, engaging lessons and storytelling techniques to bring the past to life for his middle school students.

More in Feature Stories

Member Spotlight

Theresa Aponte
What I Do

Theresa Aponte, family child care provider

Theresa Aponte is a family child care provider in East NewYork, Brooklyn, and a “second mother” to children who attend her in-home day care center while their parents work.

Portrait of a bearded brunette man smiling
Chapter Leader Shoutout

Kudos to Thomas Rosa, PS 751, Manhattan

It’s essential for parents of children with disabilities to understand the process of obtaining an Individualized Education Program that meets their child’s needs. That’s why Thomas Rosa, the chapter leader at PS 751, the Manhattan School for Career Development, a District 75 school in the East Village, came up with the idea of a virtual resource fair.

Around the UFT

Supplies party

Supplies party on Staten Island

About 300 local families braved 90-degree weather to attend a back-to-school supplies giveaway organized by the UFT and community partners on Aug. 12 at PS 19 on Staten Island. 

Bronx book

Bronx book event a hit

The UFT Bronx borough office organized a back-to-school celebration on Aug. 26, partnering with the New York Pubic Library and several other community organizations to bring supplies and activities to more than 150 local parents and children. 

Your Rights and Benefits

Know Your Benefits
Flexible Spending Account - Generic

Program to help defray your medical, drug and child care costs

As medical, drug and child care costs continue to spiral upward, please note that the City’s Health Care Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA) Program and the Dependent Care Assistance Program (DeCAP) can help defray some of those increased costs.

Know Your Rights
Two stick figures sitting at a table with puzzle thought bubble

ICT classes

The theory behind integrated co-teaching classrooms, in which one special education teacher and one general education teacher work as partners, is simple: Children with disabilities are supported with specially designed instruction and services that meet their needs in a classroom alongside their typically developing peers. 

Your Well-being
Blue hexagon showing three figures

Handling your return

The best way to manage stress is to identify the causes of your stress and determine what is within your control and what is not.

You Should Know

Grants, Awards & Freebies
A teacher with young students

Grants, Awards & Freebies

See our list of current opportunities for educators to receive funds and recognition for their hard work and dedication. 

For Your Information
Teacher looking at phone

Parent-teacher conferences will be remote

Although public schools have resumed full in-person learning, parent-teacher conferences will be remote during the 2021–22 school year.

Secure Your Future
Young lady using phone

Good time to review your retiree benefits

The start of the school year is an excellent time to think about yourself and the best way to secure your future.

Today's history lesson

Never forget

The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center 20 years ago left an indelible mark on the educators and students who were in New York City on Sept. 11 — especially those in lower Manhattan.


Federation of Nurses

Nurse staffing shortages remain a concern

UFT Vice President Anne Goldman, the head of the Federation of Nurses/UFT, writes that as hospitalizations rise, we again find ourselves in a battle for adequate staffing. Staffing ratios are the foundation for safe patient care.

Student wearing a mask

Mask up

Universal mask wearing is an essential part of keeping our school communities safe. New York City, thankfully, is doing its part.

World Trade Center

Remembrance and resilience

It’s encouraging to remember how UFT members met the challenge of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks 20 years ago, as we continue to navigate the twists and turns of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Editorial Cartoons
A cartoon of a teacher wearing a mask pointing to a chalkboard explaining the importance of masks. The student also is wearing a mask.

The new COVID math

The victims of these mask wars will be the students who may be especially vulnerable to the highly transmissible Delta variant if not vaccinated. 


Teaching Resources

Learning Curve
What makes successful  co-teaching

What makes successful co-teaching?

Thousands of New York City public school teachers work together in Integrated Co-Teaching classrooms, in which one special education teacher and one general education teacher work alongside each other. But what are the ingredients of a successful classroom partnership?

Building Your Career

Inside My Classroom
5th-grade literacy teacher,  PS 179, Bronx

Masks and emotions

Bronx teacher Jamala Roper asked her 5th-graders to reveal their emotions “to” their masks. "Every emotion you can think of was shared behind their masks," she says.

New Teacher Articles
Image of students and teacher in a classroom. The teacher is wearing a mask

Moving forward after a difficult year

The worst thing we can do as teachers is to ignore what has happened the past year. How can you start the school year in a way that acknowledges the trauma of the pandemic and sets students up for success as we move forward?

New Teacher Profiles
Sherwin Persaud

‘Bring it on!’

Former paraprofessional Sherwin Persaud made the transition to teacher last school year, finding his niche working with autistic children and those with behavioral issues in the early grades at P233 in Forest Hills, Queens.

Retired Teachers News

Tom Murphy
RTC Chapter Leader Column

The path ahead

“What’s past is prologue” is a timeworn quote from Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest.” That phrase also appropriately is engraved on the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C. The Bard, as usual, touches on something universal. We act in the context of our own stored experiences. For those of us who have spent our professional lives under the academic calendar, even in retirement we look at school openings as a pivot point. Where have we been and, after our summer respite, where are we headed?

From September 2020 through September 2021, the RTC faced pandemic lockdowns, a presidential campaign, an internal RTC election, a major claims backlog in our Supplementary Health Insurance Plan (SHIP), New York City primary elections and a new health coverage plan adopted by the Municipal Labor Committee (MLC).

This past year, we learned how to gather together despite the restrictions of the pandemic and, in fact, transformed our in-person meetings into extremely well…

Doctor with senior- generic
RTC Information

NYC Medicare Advantage Plus Plan

The Municipal Labor Committee on July 14 voted to approve the NYC Medicare Advantage Plus Plan for Medicare-eligible New York City retirees. The following Q&A answers some of the most common questions that retired UFT members have.

The Many Benefits of RTC Membership
RTC Service

The many benefits of RTC membership

You may not be an in-service employee anymore, but you haven’t left the UFT. Now it’s time to become a member of the union’s Retired Teachers Chapter (RTC) and participate in what’s considered the nation’s best retiree program for public school teachers and health care providers.