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New York TeacherDecember 1, 2016

Volume LVIII, Number 4

Cover Stories

Kristin Lawlor of ELLIS Prep Academy in the Bronx: “We have this incredible expo

Delegates show resolve as they share election-loss fears

The Nov. 9 Delegate Assembly, coming on the day after Election Day, was suffering from a collective election-results hangover of, well, Trumpian proportions.

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“I don’t think we have enough guidance counselors to deal with this,” UFT President Michael Mulgrew said of the disappointment following Hillary Clinton’s defeat to Donald Trump in the presidential election.

But, as one retired guidance counselor, Iris Nelson-Schwartz, said, “I feel like we are having a giant shiva. But after a shiva, we have to move on with life.”

That’s what Mulgrew was hoping to accomplish when he suggested the meeting be dedicated to allowing members of the body to reflect on the election, discuss their experiences at school that day and begin to plot the steps they and the union could take in response to the result.

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Chart comparing Michigan and Wisconsin Labor Statistics

Results show vulnerability of today’s working class

Hillary Clinton was endorsed by most major unions, and organized labor’s campaign spending — much of it for Clinton and other Democrats — hit unprecedented levels. But more working-class men and women, including many in union households, voted for her opponent. What gives?

Hildy Krull shows a picture of her former student, Tracy.

Reconnecting through Facebook

Hildy Krull signed onto Facebook in 2009, telling herself it was a convenient way to keep up with family, friends and former students.

Latest News

Richard Mantell joins the call for free lunch for all students at a Nov. 16

UFT part of coalition seeking free lunch for all students

For most public school students in New York City, the old adage holds true: There’s no such thing as a free lunch. But a coalition of labor unions including the UFT, food advocates, elected officials and educators is calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to change that.


Mixed results for right-to-work measures

In Alabama and Virginia, voters considered measures on Election Day to amend their state constitutions to bar unions from collecting fair-share fees from workers who opt not to join the union even though federal law requires unions to represent all workers in the bargaining unit.

Voters nix measures to raise ed funds in two states

Oregon and Oklahoma voters rejected ballot measures that would have provided extra funding for public schools and teachers.

Charter-backed effort to oust Wash. state judges fails

Three incumbent Supreme Court justices in Washington state won re-election on Nov. 8, surviving a $1.4 million onslaught by charter-school advocates and other conservative groups intent on unseating them

School safety generic

School-takeover amendment defeated in Georgia

Georgia voters rejected a proposal, known as Amendment 1, which would have allowed the state to temporarily take over the lowest-performing schools.

Feature Stories

Christopher Verdone and Joe Usatch (dressed as a turkey) serve some dinners.

Showing children ‘we care for them’

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There were turkeys galore at the UFT’s third annual Thanksgiving luncheon for 150 homeless students on Saturday, Nov. 19, at union headquarters in Manhattan. Besides the plates piled high with turkey, there were large turkey balloons attached to every table, turkey crafts to be colored and even a human-sized turkey in the form of UFT chapter advocate Joseph Usatch, who gamely donned a turkey costume for the second year.

The turkey decorations set the mood, but it was the volunteers who brought the spirit of Thanksgiving as they shepherded students from face painting to necklace making, from manicures to Pilgrim masks.

“It’s all part of our love for children — not just to educate them, but to show them we care for them,” said Brenda Hutto, a teacher and UFT delegate at ACORN Community HS in Crown…

Emil Pietromonaco

Caring was Cogen winner’s strong suit

Jim Tabert knew Emil Pietromonaco was headed for bigger and better things at the UFT long before he recommended him to become his replacement as the union’s Staten Island borough representative in 2006.

UFT members and the principal from PS 65 in Queens, a UFT community learning sch

Remembering where we came from

Charles Cogen Award recipient Emil Pietromonaco was discussing his career path at Teacher Union Day on Nov. 6 — about how he went from being a math teacher to becoming his school’s chapter leader, to UFT district and borough representative and finally to secretary of the UFT.

Member Spotlight

What I Do
 Janet Carter

What I do: Janet Carter, school nurse

Janet Carter works at PS 107 in Flushing, Queens, where she provides vital support for students, including those with special medical needs.

Around the UFT

Yoobi donates to schools in Brooklyn's District 14

“Nothing is as exciting to kids as a new pencil,” says Karen Rost, the chapter leader at PS 59, a UFT Community Learning School in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
Collaborating on a mural are (from left) Cooper, Teresa Bologna from Bronx HS fo

New York City Art Teachers Association 2016 conference

The theme of this year's New York City Art Teachers Association's conference was collaboration. “It’s professional development for teachers to get new skills but they also have a chance to make new friends and work with colleagues,” said Joan Davidson, the conference coordinator.

Veterans Day assembly at IS 259, Brooklyn

Jessica Amato teaches English language arts to 7th-graders at IS 259 in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. When a student asked her, “What is a veteran?” Amato said she “knew we had to do something on Veterans Day."

Author-illustrator Brendan Wenzel gives autographed copies of his book — “They A

Inspiration sensation

Brooklyn author-illustrator Brendan Wenzel visited students at PS 189 in Crown Heights and inspired them to do their own writing and drawing.

Ayala, as Betty Boop, sings “I Wanna Be Loved By You,” at the event.

UFT Players’ annual Halloween Happening

Members and guests gathered at union headquarters in Manhattan on Oct. 28 for the group’s 13th annual Halloween Happening, two hours of improvisation, poetry and camaraderie.

You Should Know

You Should Know

DOE aligns city teaching licenses with state certification

The Department of Education has expanded the grade-level boundaries for a number of teaching licenses in order to ensure that city licenses align with state certificates.
You Should Know

Student debt scams on the rise

Beware of the commercials, Facebook ads or letters promising to eliminate your student debt or cut your payments to nearly nothing.
Secure Your Future
retirement finance

Financial security still a labor priority

Nearly half of all families in this nation have not saved for retirement.


President's Perspective
We will get through this together

Our strength in challenging times

We have to hold fast to our core beliefs: that public education is critical to the future of this country; that all communities within our school communities deserve respect and dignity; and that workers have a right to unionize and be treated fairly. Our union’s 56-year history is built on fighting for those core beliefs. And nothing that happened on Nov. 8 has changed that.

Three women hold a colorful tote bag that says "ELL" on it and smile.

Speaking everyone’s language

The UFT held its first-ever conference focused on teaching English language learners on Oct. 29, but judging from the enthusiasm of the overflow crowd of nearly 800 educators, I am certain it will not be the last.

Participants of the first UFT English Language Learners Conference get in a stre

Bilingual education and California

On a bleak night for progressive politics, there were glimmers of hope at the state level. On Nov. 8, California voters, by an overwhelming 73 percent, lifted a 20-year-old ban on bilingual education.
Classroom circle

A safe place to learn

The results of the November election have left many New York City public school students feeling vulnerable.

Teaching Resources

Learning Curve
Teacher Danaika De Los Rios works on word formation with her 1st-graders at PS 1

Aiming for ‘Universal’ success in reading

“The goal is to help children improve by helping teachers improve,” says Tagrid Sihly, a reading coach in the DOE's University Literacy initiative.

Teacher to Teacher
Kids in the neighborhood

Your community as a classroom

Taking young children outdoors every day is an important and sometimes overlooked part of the early childhood curriculum.

Building Your Career

Building Your Career

A classroom tree

I love to read the book "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" to my prekindergarten students, and I always refer to the tree on the wall when reading the book.
New Teacher Articles

Tips for navigating teaching partnerships

Whether you work side by side with a co-teacher, cooperate with push-in support staff or join forces with colleagues on inquiry or grade teams, here are some tips for navigating your teaching partnerships.

Retired Teachers News

Upcoming changes to HIP VIP

The Supplemental Health Insurance Program’s 2017 premium notices will be sent in early January to retirees who have not elected to pay premiums via automatic pension deduction.
Together we can do it. Unionism - generic

Time to prepare for coming battles

We lost big and must face the consequences of the loss.