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New York TeacherJuly 6, 2017

Volume LVIII, Number 11

Cover Stories

Bill de Blasio and Melissa Mark-Viverito reach handshake deal on budget

Teacher’s Choice gets big boost in city budget

Teacher’s Choice received a 63.5 percent increase in the final city budget, passed on June 6, bringing funding for the City Council’s popular program that reimburses educators for out-of-pocket spending on classroom supplies back up to its pre-recession high of more than $20 million. The exact dollar amount for each eligible educator will be determined later by the Department of Education.

The boost for Teacher’s Choice was part of a wider investment in public education in the $85.2 billion budget.

“With this budget, the City Council protected all sectors of New York City and invested in our children, our communities and our families,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew. “In these trying political times, it is important for people to know that New York City’s elected officials are standing up for all of us.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced the handshake deal on June 2, nearly a month ahead of the deadline. It was…

Senior David Rodriguez checks in on Bowne’s 225 chickens.

Counting their chickens

They say a farmer’s work is never done, and no one knows this better than the students in the agriculture program at John Bowne HS in Flushing, Queens.

Math teacher Ilana Alexander at Fundamentals Academy, a short-term suspension si

‘The best-kept secret’

High school students are sent to Brooklyn East Alternate Learning Center for instruction after they have committed an infraction that results in an out-of-school suspension. The school is serious about meeting their academic and social-emotional needs.

Latest News

181 reasons to be #PublicSchoolProud

There is reason for optimism about the future knowing it will be in the hands of the students who won Albert Shanker college scholarships presented at the awards ceremony on May 23.

Piles of paperwork stacked

Paperwork process gets job done

The data proves it: The UFT’s new paperwork reduction reporting form gets results.


Line art image of clock

UFT summer borough office hours

UFT borough offices are open for business this summer!

Delegates vote to approve one of the resolutions.

Holding superintendents accountable gets results

A superintendent is working attentively with the UFT after the Department of Education took to heart the management issues that the union raised, UFT President Michael Mulgrew reported to the Delegate Assembly on June 14.

Obama-era protection for union organizing revoked

The Labor Department will reverse an Obama-era rule requiring companies to disclose their initial contacts with outside consultants advising them about how to combat union-organizing efforts.

Feature Stories

Using tweezers, one of the students shows of a maggot plucked from the rotting b

Lord of the flies

When the students studying forensics at the Academy for Health Careers in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, gather in the school’s courtyard on a cool morning in May, they steel themselves before approaching the five small plastic food containers teacher Candice Flemming has placed outside.

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Inside those containers they won’t find anything remotely appetizing: They hold a swarm of maggots and flies feasting on a chunk of rotting beef kidney. The smell will send most of the students reeling back — before curiosity and the demands of classwork reel them back in. Shouts of disgust and “I’m not holding it” die down. That’s when the students don goggles or pick up noteb…

The chassis of the robot begins to take shape under the watchful eye of teacher

Revved up for robotics

The recently resurrected robotics team at John Adams HS in Ozone Park, Queens, goes to the 2017 FIRST Robotics Competition, learning how to work and play together and gaining valuable STEM skills along the way.

Jimmy Van Bramer
Noteworthy Graduates

Noteworthy graduates: Jimmy Van Bramer, City Council member

Jimmy Van Bramer says his 10th-grade Global Studies teacher saved his life. She took a shy and withdrawn boy struggling with his sexuality and said: “You are smart, Jimmy. You have a voice. A voice is power. Use your voice."

Around the UFT

Wearing T-shirts color-coded by borough, students kick the fun into high gear.

Pathways to Graduation outing

More than 1,000 students from around the city took part in a variety of outdoor events from rock climbing to Zumba at Pathways to Graduation’s third annual Field Day at Riverbank State Park in Manhattan on May 31.

UFT Family Child Care Providers Appreciation Educational Conference

Themed “Constructing Knowledge through Purposeful Play,” the Providers Appreciation Educational Conference featured workshops led by UFT Teacher Center instructors and free takeaway resources, including books, puppets, puzzles and science kits.

Hillcrest HS Spring Festival

The annual Hillcrest HS Spring Festival featured art, music, dance and a parade of elephants — all of them papier-mâché, created by teams of students, for a display called “The Elephant Walk.”

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FirstBook giveaways at PS 105 in Brooklyn and PS 15 in Manhattan

Nicole Barone will be a first-year teacher at PS 748 this fall, but she got a jump on building her classroom library by going to the FirstBook event co-sponsored by the UFT at PS 105 in Borough Park, Brooklyn on June 10.

UFT Queens Parent Book Clubs’ year-end event

Parents from across Queens came together to celebrate the culmination of another successful year of school-based parent book clubs faciliated by the union.

You Should Know

You Should Know

More coverage for opioid treatment drugs

Following a new state mandate, EmblemHealth and the other New York City employee health plans will now cover members for medicines used to treat substance-use disorders, including medicines usually prescribed for opioid addiction and dependence.

Secure Your Future
A century of financial security

A century of financial security

This is a special year for the Teachers’ Retirement System. On Aug. 1, TRS marks its 100th anniversary.

Opinions

President's Perspective
Unionists rally as Supreme Court hears arguments in Friedrichs case

We held fast, but more battles loom

Who would have thought in November that we would be where we are now? We celebrate the conclusion of a successful school year for public school educators, but it didn’t look so great just seven months ago.

VPerspective
UFT Vice President for Special Education Carmen Alvarez (third from left) joined

Changing school climate

I was proud to speak at a recent budget testimony about a vital education program that the UFT supports: the Positive Learning Collaborative.

Opinion

Testing in perspective

State education officials have decided to shorten the state ELA and math tests that students in grades 3–8 once slogged through over six days.
Opinion
Classroom circle

Steps toward diversity

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan for increasing school diversity, released on June 6, is a much-needed response to segregation in New York City public schools.
Editorial Cartoons

Teaching Resources

Linking to Learning
Minecraft can teach skills like problem-solving and spatial understanding.

Gaming in education

There’s no doubt gaming plays a huge role in the lives of children today. Many teachers have been wondering if gaming can be used for educational purposes. Is there a way to harness the popularity of online and video games to teach students real-world skills?

Research shows

Skipping classes adds up

Absences due to skipping class add up. Most attendance statistics released to the public do not include time lost due to cutting classes, yet missing individual classes accounted for as many total missed days as full-day absences, according to new research in the journal AERA Open.
Teacher to Teacher

Use the summer to reflect

Regardless of what your summer plans are, please consider adding the 3Rs: rest, rejuvenation and reflection.

Building Your Career

Building Your Career

Putting tired words to rest

Our most over-used words are in these pockets, and writers can select a strip of synonyms to bring back to their seats.
New Teacher Diaries
Classroom circle

Helping an ELL student at square one

Antonio was a genuine, square-one beginner when I met him in my English as a New Language class in September. He was on time, seated up straight in the front row, smiling. He had been in this country for just weeks and he was clearly ready to learn. But was I ready to teach him?


Retired Teachers News

Vote 'no' on constitutional convention

UFT members planning to retire this summer can rely on the three pillars of retirement security: Social Security, a pension and free employer-sponsored health insurance. Many UFT members also have a fourth pillar to bolster their retirement security: a Tax-Deferred Annuity.

However, UFT members’ pensions are among the many bene ts at risk if New Yorkers vote this fall to hold a constitutional convention. Vote “no” on Nov. 7. New York should not hold a state constitutional convention.

Termination pay for 2015, 2016

The New York City Department of Education will issue the last installment of termination pay for 2015 retirees and the second installment of termination pay for 2016 retirees.

Write a letter - generic

Write letters against constitutional convention

With the constitutional convention looming, now is the time for us to practice what we taught. It is vital that we get the message out about how important a NO vote is for retirees.