Teacher’s Choice, since it was initiated more than 25 years ago by the UFT, has been funded as a special allocation of the City Council. In a major milestone for the program that reimburses educators for some of their out-of-pocket spending on classroom supplies, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Council agreed on June 14 to allocate funds for Teacher’s Choice as part of the annual city budget.
The decision to baseline Teacher’s Choice in the city budget for at least the next three years came after years of UFT members sharing how they used their Teacher’s Choice funds to enhance learning for their students. Those stories — of funds spent on classroom libraries, telescopes, school supplies for homeless children and other items — helped convince the mayor and City Council members of the program’s direct benefit to classrooms.
The Council and the mayor agreed to set the program’s base funding…
In a big victory for the UFT, union-supported legislation curbing hospitals from charging exorbitant fees to out-of-network patients for emergency care passed both houses of the state legislature in June and now needs Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s signature to become law.
Educators in California’s Bay Area ended their three-week strike on June 9, enabling them to be back in their classrooms for the final week of school. The strike, the New Haven Unified School District’s first, saw nearly 600 teachers, school counselors, psychologists, speech therapists and nurses join picket lines outside their schools in a fight over pay.
[[nid:112553; float: right; styleName:article_x_medium_auto]]For Jo Ann Westhall, an elementary school education includes reading, writing, arithmetic — and computer science.
Westhall, a computer science teacher and the chapter leader at PS 31 in Bayside, Queens, brought a subject reserved for middle and high school students to children as young as 4 years old.
“By increasing exposure to computer science and STEM-related careers at an early age, I feel you empower students to consider opportunities they may not have otherwise,” said Westhall, who received a city Department of Education Big Apple Award for teaching this year. “Early exposure might close the gap for underrepresented communities in these fields.”
At first, providing that exposure would prove easier said than done.
“In the very beginning, I didn’t know where to turn,” said Westhall. “There wasn’t a lot ou…
Students at PS 811, a District 75 high school for special needs students in Bellerose, Queens, wowed classmates, teachers and families on June 12 at their Fashion Avengers Fashion Show, where many of the outfits they created were made from recyclable materials.
When Aaron Eng-Achson, an English as a New Language teacher at PS 84 in Astoria, Queens, decided to launch an intensive study of bridges with his 3rd- and 5th-grade students, he knew exactly who to turn to in his school for expertise: custodial engineer Rogelio Dakanay.
Even before he was elected chapter leader at PS 116 in Bushwick in September 2018, Adam Shapiro led a “brigade” of 25 UFT members to a meeting at the UFT’s Brooklyn borough office to discuss their principal’s intimidation of staff and extensive breaches of the DOE-UFT contract.
UFT members Connor Valvo, a teacher at Kingsborough Early College Secondary School, and Janu Williams, a school counselor at the HS for Sports Management, both in Brooklyn, were honored by the city DOE in June for providing lifesaving assistance to colleague Elizabeth Kullman last November.
The 33rd annual UFT and DOE School Counselor Recognition Day Awards Ceremony on May 31 at the UFT’s Brooklyn borough office recognized the contributions of 26 school counselors from all around the city.
More than 800 middle and high school students heard what it’s like to struggle with addiction from young people not much older than themselves at a conference on substance abuse co-sponsored by the UFT and held at union headquarters in Manhattan on May 29.
Thirty-two student projects were honored May 30 at the 13th annual Better Speech and Hearing Month Celebration at UFT headquarters in Manhattan, where about 200 students, parents and speech and hearing providers gathered in Shanker Hall for a ceremony and dinner.
The second annual Daniel Dromm Scholarship Brunch at UFT headquarters in Manhattan on June 1 kicked off Pride Month, honored members of the LGBTQ community past and present and honored five high school seniors with $1,000 scholarships for being exemplary students and LGBTQ student activists.
As another school year ends, students and educators face transitions. And while summer may be eagerly anticipated, transitions are not easy for everyone. But there are ways to help ensure a healthy transition to summer.
A California task force on charter schools delivered a report to Gov. Gavin Newsom on June 7 that recommends local school districts have more leeway in deciding whether to approve new charter schools by including criteria like saturation and need for new schools as factors to consider. The task force consisted of charter school representatives, labor unions and local school administrations.
The Walton Family Foundation, created by the founder of Walmart, failed to reveal that its $20 million grant to Teach For America in 2013 to recruit and train nearly 4,000 teachers for low-income schools had unusual terms intended to boost charter schools.
The calamity that was Sept. 11 has receded in memory for many people who were not directly affected by the terrorist attacks. But for the first responders and the people who lived, worked and attended school near Ground Zero — some 425,000 New Yorkers — the tragedy continues to unfold.
When the UFT and the Department of Education launched Teacher Career Pathways seven years ago, it was an effort to give teachers a career path that allowed them to remain teachers and share their hard-earned knowledge for the benefit of their colleagues — with a stipend for the extra responsibilities they take on.
"You are the best," schools Chancellor Richard Carranza told 17 Big Apple Award winners at the seventh annual awards ceremony at the city Department of Education headquarters in Manhattan on June 11. In addition to their Big Apple honors, the 17 educators will form the Chancellor’s Teacher Advisory Group.
When I became a New York City public school teacher three years ago, I was shocked to discover our high school didn’t have a newspaper. So this past January, I turned my 11th-grade ELA class into the school’s newsroom.
If you are a new retiree, you will notice that full in-service dues were deducted from your summer pay checks. There is no need to request a refund. Upon receipt of all the dues records for UFT members from various city agencies, the accounting department will automatically calculate a refund for all eligible members and send them a check. Checks are expected to be sent out in December.
If you’re planning to choose a new bank to electronically receive your monthly retirement payments from the Teachers’ Retirement System, keep in mind the following so that you can avoid suspension of your Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT).