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New York TeacherMay 15, 2014

Volume LV, Number 11

Cover Stories

UFT, city announce landmark ‘contract for education’

The UFT and New York City leaders reached a historic proposed contract on May 1 that the union’s leaders and city officials say demonstrates the extraordinary progress possible in public schools when a city works in partnership with its educators.

At a City Hall press conference to make the announcement, UFT President Michael Mulgrew called the proposed agreement the “contract for education.”

Mulgrew said that the contract, which must be ratified by the membership, gives educators the opportunity to do their jobs the way they always wanted to.

“The solution to great education exists in each and every school right now,” he said. “We just needed to create a platform and an environment that allows them to do what they have dedicated their lives to do, which is helping children learn.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the negotiations represented “a rare opportunity to reimagine what…

Delegates approve sending contract to members for vote

The UFT’s Delegate Assembly on May 7 overwhelmingly approved sending the proposed new Department of Education contract to the union’s members for a vote.

Magic formula

Habeeb Hussaini — one of 11 guidance counselors at Hillcrest HS in Jamaica — uses magic tricks and myriad other strategies to connect with the nearly 200 at-risk students. “It’s all about building rapport and getting them to trust me,” he says.

Latest News

Hurricane Sandy

UFT scores grievance victory on Hurricane Sandy payments

UFT members who volunteered in shelters during Hurricane Sandy and were not paid for all hours worked have won their right to be paid, thanks to a union-initiated grievance.

Retiring before June 30 if contract is ratified?

The UFT’s Pension Department will hold special group meetings in each borough beginning in early June to assist members who plan to retire before June 30 if the new contract is ratified by the rank and file.

Readin’, writin’ and ‘selfies’

“Education for the 21st century!” That’s how Chapter Leader Brenda Casey of PS 371 in Sunset Park described the workshops at the UFT’s annual Spring Education Conference.

No more NCLB waiver for Washington state

Education Secretary Arne Duncan on April 24 revoked the state of Washington’s No Child Left Behind waiver after the state failed to tie teacher evaluations to student results on state exams.

Feature Stories

Erinn Smart
Noteworthy Graduates

Noteworthy graduates: Erinn Smart, Olympic fencing champion

“It’s a lot of pressure to represent your country and compete at an Olympics, but with that pressure, it’s a great honor,” said Olympic fencing champion Erinn Smart. A U.S. national champion many times over, Smart took home the silver medal with her team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. This Brooklyn-born-and-bred young woman attended PS 107, MS 51 and Brooklyn Tech HS. She credits her teachers with helping her succeed in sports and life. Prodding from a physical education teacher in elementary school led her to compete, and the high bar set by her academic teachers prepared her for the Ivy League education — Barnard College and the Wharton School of Business — that followed. Smart now combines her passion for athletics and her business acumen in her work as business development manager at the DailyBurn, an online fitness service that offers workout videos you can watch on any device.

My parents, my brother and I lived on Ocean Avenue in a predominantly West Indian neighborhood right across from…


Helping students cope with their emotions

In the third blog post by Patrick Nau, a teacher at PS 369 in the South Bronx about his experiences with the Institute for Understanding Behavior, Nau talks about applying the strategies he’s learned to help students who act out. “The goal is to help the student cope with his emotions and think about a better way to resolve the situation next time,” he writes.

Mittelman (left) reunites with Liska Ostojic, a former student who is now a filmmaker.

Reunion at Tribeca premiere

For proof that the influence of a great teacher can last a lifetime, look no further than Sandra Mittelman, who retired in 2012 after teaching English at Russell Sage JHS in Forest Hills for 21 years.

More in Feature Stories

Around the UFT

Long Island City HS culinary arts scholarship winners

Union leaders joined with educators, parents, students, community leaders and politicians on May 2 to celebrate the success of Long Island City HS students who won five scholarships to the top culinary arts programs of their choice.

‘Working together’ to take on poverty

Partnership was the overarching theme of the fourth annual UFT faith-based breakfast on April 24, when about 140 clergy came to union headquarters to learn how they could partner with the union to help improve the lives of children.

‘This Is Not a Test’ book launch

UFT President Michael Mulgrew paused after saying those words aloud while reading an excerpt from the essay “Why Teach” during the launch for math teacher Jose Vilson’s book “This is Not a Test” at UFT headquarters on May 6.

15th annual District 24 Scholarship Dinner Dance

The 15th annual District 24 Scholarship Dinner Dance on April 24 continued its tradition of honoring outstanding teachers, students, paraprofessionals, principals and elected officials. About 450 people helped to celebrate the achievements of the honorees.

Vision for learning

Thanks to a partnership between the UFT and the nonprofit OneSight, 500 elementary and middle school students from a UFT Community Learning School in Bedford-Stuyvesant had their vision screened recently and those who needed glasses received them.

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. 

Secure Your Future
Group of adults sitting in a circle talking

Beware retirement-planning hucksters

Teachers' Retirement System members should beware of vendors who come into schools or hold seminars to sell financial products for retirement security. Instead, TRS members should avail themselves of the UFT's staff of knowledgeable and impartial pension consultants.


President's Perspective
A contract for Education

A contract for education

The new agreement will restore dignity and respect to our profession, improve our working conditions and secure the retroactive pay we are now owed while at the same time ensuring that our schools and students receive the supports that they need to succeed, UFT President Michael Mulgrew said.

Chancellor's appearance was a breath of fresh air.

Fariña’s vision through the prism of special ed

In this column, Vice President for Education Carmen Alvarez share her thoughts on how the chancellor’s vision can be operationalized in the realm of special education.


Affordable housing an education issue

Many of us were haunted last fall by the story of Dasani — one of the 22,000 children living in homeless shelters in New York City, and a student at the McKinney Secondary School of the Arts in Brooklyn. The New York Times followed her and her family through bureaucratic indignities, the insecurity of shelters and temporary apartments, and other false starts. Her school was her anchor.

A matter of respect

The proposed contract reflects the importance of having a negotiating partner in City Hall who understands and respects the work that UFT members do, both in and out of the classroom. It’s a striking difference from the modus operandi of the previous administration.
Editorial Cartoons

Teaching Resources

Linking to Learning

Using journalism-style projects

Technology has made it possible for anyone to become a producer, filmmaker or journalist. The equipment at school may be more basic than what professionals use, but the skills practiced are the same.

Research shows

Supportive environments boost teaching

New research finds that teachers who work in supportive professional environments show greater gains in effectiveness than teachers in schools that are less supportive.

Teacher to Teacher

How to teach the hard-to-reach student

As teachers, we have all dealt with a child who is difficult to reach, and teaching that particular student can be a struggle. Here are some tips to assist you.

Building Your Career

Building Your Career

Kindergarten writing rubric

My kindergarteners and I discussed good writing by charting levels on this rubric.
New Teacher Articles

Be sure to complete your certification requirements

With summer just around the corner, it’s crucial to meet upcoming deadlines for certification if your current teaching certificate is near its expiration date.

Retired Teachers News

Call to action in Florida

[[nid:76090; border-top-width: 1px; border-right-width: 1px; border-bottom-width: 1px; border-left-width: 1px; border-top-style: solid; border-right-style: solid; border-bottom-style: solid; border-left-style: solid; float: right; ]]Donesa Jackson, our section coordinator in Orlando, Fla., hosted the first Orlando Labor Seminar, a call to action that rallied more than 100 union leaders, community organizations, clergy, retiree groups and educators on April 11 to strengthen and affirm their commitment to support progressive solutions to the problems that face the country.

It reminded me of the campaign visit she put together for Michael Mulgrew in 2012 that helped put Florida in the victory column for President Obama. The I-4 Corridor running diagonally across Florida is a swing district and whichever way it goes in a close election so,…