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New York TeacherJanuary 5, 2017

Volume LVIII, Number 5

Cover Stories

The holiday spirit was in full swing at UFT headquarters at the annual holiday p

Making spirits bright

The holidays came early for the 150 children who gathered at UFT headquarters on Dec. 10 for the annual holiday party organized by the UFT in concert with the Coalition for the Homeless.

Buses delivered children from shelters across the city to the party site, and as they lined up in the foyer outside Shanker Hall, they peered inside to get a glimpse of the gaily decorated room awaiting them. The first thing the children saw was a beautiful balloon archway at the room’s entrance. With eyes widened, many started to hop around gleefully. Each child received a bag of goodies, including small stuffed animals and snacks, on entering the room; Santa Claus and a wrapped gift awaited each child when the party was over. Schools and UFT members donated about 1,000 toys for the occasion.

“It’s something we do for our kids that goes to the heart of what our union is about,” said UFT V…

Tianni and Analia love their Nigerian outfits.

World travelers

For two days in November, students at PS 151 in Bushwick, Brooklyn traveled the world without leaving their building.

Former chapter leaders are honored at a morning reception.

‘Post-election tough days ahead’

Tom Murphy, the leader of the UFT Retired Teachers Chapter, called on the union’s most recent retirees assembled for its annual New Retiree Luncheon on Nov. 22 to stay active and united in the face of “the post-election tough days ahead.”

Latest News

Together we can do it. Unionism - generic

Columbia graduate students vote to unionize

Exercising a new federal right to organize, graduate students at Columbia University have voted to form a union.
World Journalism Preparatory School

Students with disabilities to receive testing support

Students with disabilities will have an easier time requesting accommodations during tests, starting on Jan. 1.
U.S. Department of Education

Civil rights complaints to federal DOE doubled since ’08

The number of annual complaints reported to the U.S. Department of Education’s civil rights office has more than doubled in the past eight years, rising from 6,364 in the 2009 fiscal year to 16,720 in 2016.
Vicent Dellatocoma

U.S. teens falling behind in math

The math achievement of U.S. 15-year-olds fell on a major international benchmark. Among 35 industrialized nations, the United States now ranks 31st in math on the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA).
John Green, a legislative representative from NYSUT, speaks with Charlesetta O’N

‘Advocacy for each patient’ is what counts

The importance of nurses as advocates for their patients and their profession was a prominent theme of the 37nd annual Professional Issues Conference of the Federation of Nurses/UFT held on Nov. 18 and 19.

Feature Stories

Noteworthy graduates: J. Machelle Sweeting
Noteworthy Graduates

Noteworthy graduates: J. Machelle Sweeting, Civil Court judge

There is an old-world courtliness to J. Machelle Sweeting. She speaks of being “reared in the village of Harlem.” She pays formal visits to former elementary school teachers, now old and frail, and mentors teenagers she decides will benefit from her tutelage. Beneath her perfect manners — and confident manner — lie lessons imparted and learned decades ago in elementary school. She credits her parents, of course, but the teachers of Harlem’s PS 46 took it from there. They melded sky-high expectations with tough love. The combination transformed a shy, smart child from the Polo Grounds, the public housing project where she lived, into the Hon. J. Machelle Sweeting, a Civil Court judge assigned to Family Court. And Sweeting won’t allow anyone to forget it: “I called the new principal recently to let her know the legacy of PS 46 and the success stories that came out of that awesome school,” the Harlem resident says, laughing cheekily. “I also said I was here if she needed anything.”

My mother is a third-generation Harlemite and my father, who died two years ago, was a former policeman in the Bahamas who worked as an accountant here. There were always books in the house. In those days, you could order the Enc…

Paraprofessional Judy Cruz works with students in the robotics club.

Full STEAM ahead

Two paraprofessionals have developed a variety of clubs focused on math, engineering and technology to help English language learners and students with disabilities at PS 314 in the Bronx. 

It’s time to enjoy a tasty taco.

Cooking by the numbers

The culmination of a recent lesson at PS 294 in the Bronx was making and eating healthy, vegetarian tacos. Hugo ate his taco in one big bite.

Around the UFT

Family child care providers’ field trip to the Brooklyn Historical Society

More than 50 UFT family child care providers took a step back in time when they visited the Brooklyn Historical Society on Dec. 3.

A tribute by Dr. Smith takes Zeller by surprise.

Passion and Promise celebration for paraprofessionals in District 75 in the Bronx

Hanging on a wall in Eloise Zeller’s home is a plaque that reads “To the mother I never had,” a tribute to a woman who has spent 45 years working with children as a paraprofessional. 

PS 82 educators, along with UFT District 28 Representative Angela Artis (sixth f

Memorial mural unveiled for student at PS 82, Queens

Demetrius Palmer Jr. had an “infectious joy and love for life,” said Grisel Rodriguez, the principal of PS 82 in Jamaica, Queens. Demetrius, a 4th-grader at the school, accidentally drowned on Aug. 16. Teachers, students and family members gathered in the school’s yard on Nov. 30 to remember Demetrius and unveil a mural in his memory.
Dr. Comen makes her presentation.

UFT Welfare Fund Medical Learning Series

Many breast cancer survivors and their loved ones were among a capacity crowd on Dec. 15 for a presentation on breast cancer research and treatment, part of the UFT Welfare Fund’s Medical Learning Series.

You Should Know

You Should Know

Teacher’s Choice spending deadline is fast approaching

Jan. 15 is the deadline for spending your Teacher’s Choice funds.

Q&A on the Issues

Why voters should reject a constitutional convention

On Nov. 7, 2017, New York voters will be asked to weigh in on a question of vital importance: “Shall there be a convention to revise the constitution and amend the same?” The answer is NO!

Secure Your Future
The UFT has been holding meetings for years to help members understand all they

Marking the birth of a pension system

The Teachers’ Retirement System is approaching a historic milestone: It will celebrate its 100th anniversary this year.


President's Perspective

A grave risk to our rights and benefits

New York voters will be asked in November 2017 if they want to hold a constitutional convention to revise our state constitution. What’s at stake? Everything. The rights now enshrined in the constitution will all be fair game.

Joanne Bullaro (left), the chapter leader at PS 100 in Brooklyn, and Karen Alfor

Educating our homeless students

With homelessness at records high in NYC, public school educators are finding creative ways to help students in need without making them feel marginalized.

Editorial Cartoons

Teaching Resources

Linking to Learning

Make students aware of fake news

How can we help students learn the differences between reliable sources of information and those with ulterior motives?

Research shows

Spending more improves education

New research from the National Bureau of Economics confirms what teachers have always known: Money does make a difference for schools, and districts with large proportions of high-need students need comparatively more money than districts with fewer high-need students.
Teacher to Teacher

Show that it’s OK to take risks, make mistakes

Positioning myself as both a teacher and a learner creates a climate of respect and risk-taking, where my students and I can all feel free to take that extra leap and not be afraid to fall.

Building Your Career

Building Your Career

A place to feel settled and comfortable

We use the library, as my students call it, for our independent work time in both reading and writing workshop.
New Teacher Profiles
PS 133 dance teacher Elizabeth Supan said her Harlem students have taught her "t

Dancing with the stars— her students

About the time her body began whispering its complaints against her, ballet dancer Elizabeth Supan was ready to step off the stage and onto solid ground. That’s how she found herself at PS 133 in Harlem after earning her master’s degree in dance education with the help of the Lincoln Center Scholars Program.

Retired Teachers News

Recalculations for those retirees who retired after June 30, 2014

As the UFT informed you, you will not have to wait until 2020 to get your full pension.
RTC Chapter Leader Column

‘Convention’ a danger to pensions

Of the many dark clouds we will face this coming year, one that affects you and me directly is the prospect of a New York State Constitutional Convention.