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New York TeacherNovember 1, 2018

Volume LX, Number 3

Cover Stories

Two men shaking hands at table

Empowering educators

The overriding theme of the proposed DOE-UFT contract agreement is empowering educators to fight for the working conditions they need to do their jobs.

“This agreement recognizes your hard work and dedication and empowers us to improve the teaching and learning conditions in our schools so we can provide the best possible education to our students,” UFT President Michael Mulgrew said in an email to members.

The 43-month contract provides a 2 percent salary increase on Feb. 14, 2019, followed by an increase of 2.5 percent on May 14, 2020, and 3 percent on May 14, 2021. After the May 2021 increase, the maximum teacher salary will jump to $128,657 from today’s high of $119,472. Starting teacher salaries will go from the current $56,711 to $61,070. UFT-represented employees will still receive the lump-sum payments scheduled for October 2019 and October …

class size, overcrowded, overcrowding

Class-size relief to come faster

In the proposed contract announced on Oct. 11, the UFT has negotiated an expedited process to bring relief to teachers facing oversize classes sooner and to address unresolved violations that must go to arbitration faster.

Bronx school

'Bronx plan' has bottom-up approach to helping schools

The Bronx plan in the proposed DOE-UFT contract to help schools that face the most challenges will be open to up to 120 schools, not just in the Bronx. These schools will receive additional funds and strategic support to better address the needs of their students.

Latest News

Staff members at PS 274 in Brooklyn have raised money for Bushwick Cares thanks

Pink attitudes to beat breast cancer

On Wednesday, Oct. 17, UFT members across the city wore pink to their schools to pay tribute to lost loved ones, honor survivors and celebrate their commitment to fighting for a cure.

Two people speaking

Paras get due process, extra $$ compensation

The tentative DOE-UFT contract announced on Oct. 11 features important improvements for paraprofessionals, including job protections like due process rights similar to those of teachers.

Paperwork process expanded to resolve other issues

It worked well to reduce paperwork. So the UFT and the Department of Education agreed in the proposed contract to expand the process to resolve other school-based disputes.

Man and woman standing at table

Ousting Sen. Golden a priority

The UFT has thrown its full support behind Andrew Gounardes, who's running on the Democratic line to unseat State Senator Marty Golden, who represents the 22nd New York Senate District in southern Brooklyn.

Student Debt Loans

Judge restores student debt relief after DeVos delays

An Obama-era rule designed to help students cheated by for-profit colleges get relief on their education debt finally took effect on Oct. 16 after efforts by the Trump administration to block it.

Feature Stories

Eighth-graders at MS 447 study Native artifacts at the Museum of the American Indian.

Bringing Native American culture to life

At the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Lower Manhattan, history lives behind glass. More than 700 artifacts tell the story of Native peoples, from a beaded Inuit parka to a Mapuche hand drum.

But on the museum’s lower level, in a space that opened in May 2018, Native American culture comes to life. The imagiNATIONS Activity Center gives adults and children alike the opportunity to explore inventions and innovations that have been the cornerstone of Native peoples for thousands of years.

“It’s a totally different perspective on what you see upstairs in the gallery,” said Gaetana DeGennaro, who helped to spearhead the center’s creation. “It’s a chance to see that Native people have always thought scientifically.”

For the 8th-graders in Jonathan George’s interdisciplinary “Explorations” class at MS 447 in Brooklyn, the activity center was an ideal place to learn about how Native peoples investigated the world around th…

The students seem happy to be back in the groove.

Just rewards

Everyone loves a good party. What makes the monthly parties at PS 151 in Brooklyn really special is that students earn them with their hard work and good behavior. 

James Gaffigan
Noteworthy Graduates

Noteworthy graduates: James Gaffigan, orchestra conductor

James Gaffigan, the music director and chief conductor of Switzerland’s Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, attended public schooling on Staten Island. “If I didn’t go to public schools, I never would be where I am today,” says Gaffigan. “It’s an extraordinary gift to have a great teacher because that’s what gets kids excited about something. I remember so many of them and their passion.”

More in Feature Stories

Member Spotlight

Third graders move to Mozart.

Classical appreciation

The 4th-graders karate-chop and chicken-walk their way like flashing swords through the exuberant parts of Aram Khachaturian’s “Sabre Dance.” Then they slow down and tiptoe silently through the quieter sections of the music. The students love every minute of it, with everyone totally engaged and immersed in a 19th-century classic they will later discuss.

In Evan Alboum’s music class at PS 305 in Ridgewood, Queens, students at every grade level learn to know and appreciate classical music through all their senses. Alboum wants his students to know music on a deep level, “kinesthetically,” so he begins the study of each piece of classical music with movement he choreographs. He fully participates with each class.

“Music is moving and I use it to teach rhythmic motives,” he sa…

UFT Paraprofessionals Chapter Leader Shelvy Young-Abrams joins the discussion at

‘Proud to be a paraprofessional’

Shelvy Young-Abrams, who leads the 29,000-member UFT Paraprofessional Chapter that celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, has come a long way from the young single mom who became involved in education through volunteer work at her daughters' Manhattan elementary school.

James Klein
Chapter Leader Shoutout

Kudos to Jason Klein, Medgar Evers Preparatory Academy, Brooklyn

Jason Klein, the chapter leader at Medgar Evers Preparatory Academy, is now the seventh round of his annual fight to bring class size under control in his high-achieving, overcrowded Bronx school.

Around the UFT

Kim Verboys (left), a school counselor at the Lehman HS campus in the Bronx, exp

Bronx college fair

The UFT co-sponsored a college fair in the Bronx that helped English langugage learners and recent immigrants navigate the college admissions and financial aid process.

Delfina Sotelo (left), an ENL teacher at PS 92 in Queens, and Sabrin Abedin, an

Celebrating diversity, supporting educators

More than 500 educators attended "cELLebration," the third annual UFT Conference on Effective Instruction for English Language Learners.

Your Rights and Benefits

Your Well-being
Male and female silhouettes arguing

Resolving conflicts

Disagreements can give birth to good ideas. Here are some ways to resolve conflicts in the school community.

Know Your Rights

Special education

Here are some important things to know about IEPs, IEP team decisions, teacher assignments, ICT classes and self-contained classes if you work with students with disabilities.

You Should Know

Secure Your Future
Signed a document

Death benefits

Here is some important information about death benefits offered by the Teachers’ Retirement System and the Board of Education Retirement System for in-service members in Tiers 3, 4 and 6.


Para or teacher and child

Better learning standards

Standards are important measures we use to compare and evaluate. Because there were myriad issues with the Common Core Learning Standards, the New York State Education Department scrapped them and, with the help of more than 130 educators and parents, developed the Next Generation Standards.

President's Perspective
UFT delegates vote with cards in the air.

A member-made contract

At the heart of this contract is the belief that if you want to achieve something significant, you have to empower the people who do the work.

Nurse Marisol Leon listens to a student’s heart at the new clinic.

To your health

In case anyone wondered what it’s like to rely on the promises of a corporation instead of the power of a union, consider the case of the Xerox Corporation.


Paraprofessional Lead Teacher Assistant

Recognizing paras

Paraprofessionals have been called the backbone of every classroom. Our proposed contract agreement with the city recognizes their contribution to our schools.

Teaching Resources

Linking to Learning

Building a classroom website

There are many benefits to having a classroom website that your students and parents can view. With today’s tools, there’s no coding involved, and you can build a site that’s both functional and elegant quickly and easily.

Teacher to Teacher
Special education teacher Nina Krisel Berke says it’s helpful for all students w

Structured teaching can benefit all students

Structured teaching, an intervention for students with special needs, includes the physical organization of the classroom, individualized schedules, work/activity systems and visual organization of materials. There are elements of structured teaching from which all students — not just those with special needs — can benefit.

Building Your Career

Building Your Career

Zen Zone

I created my “Zen Zone” for my students to be able to come to when they are frustrated, anxious, angry or sad for whatever reason.

New Teacher Articles
Cynthia McDaniel, the Federation of Nurses/UFT chapter chair at Jewish Home Life

Mentors motivate, advise and support

As a new teacher, your colleagues are valuable sources of support as you navigate lesson planning, classroom management and other responsibilities.

Retired Teachers News

Quilt with words post 9/11 Labor of Love Quilts

Sew much time

Members of the Retired Teachers Chapter quilting class were at it again, visiting police headquarters in Manhattan on Oct. 22 to present handmade quilts to families of members of the NYPD who lost their llives due to 9/11-related illnesses.

One woman, two men standing together

Midterms 2018: Regaining our footing

Midterm elections used to be mostly unremarkable events that revolved around local issues for the most part. Rarely did these contests rise to a national level. A truism has been that the political party of the incumbent president tended to lose congressional seats due to public weariness of that party’s missteps.

Senior working at home

What you need to know about working after retirement

Any retired UFT member who plans to remain in the workforce or re-enter the workforce on a full- or part-time basis must adhere to some important rules to avoid jeopardizing their retirement allowance.