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New York TeacherMay 2, 2019

Volume LX, Number 9

Cover Stories

Hands and feet and a bear walk, oh my!

Learning in leaps and bounds

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Head down and eyes on the floor, the 3rd-grader wouldn’t say why he likes the Sensory Path at PS 9 on Staten Island. Even gentle prompting by a classmate didn’t draw a response.

But as he planted his feet firmly at the start of the pathway and was about to begin hopping and skipping and leapfrogging, his eyes gleamed with confidence. “I got this!” he said.

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“We’ve definitely seen an increase in attending and focusing because of the Sensory Path,” said speech therapist Gina-Marie Principe.

The transformation of a section of the first-floor hallway at the Concord school took place in December: Think giant, colorful stickers and prompts placed on…

Jeanine Cammarata

Murdered teacher known for patience and dedication to students

Staten Island pre-K teacher Jeanine Cammarata, who was found murdered in April, was patient and sensitive, and she always put her students first, said colleagues.

Members raising hand while holding ballots

Unity urged as anti-union forces contact members

UFT President Michael Mulgrew warned the Delegate Assembly on April 17 that anti-union forces looking to take advantage of the 2018 Supreme Court decision in the Janus case have begun their efforts to weaken New York City public school teachers’ collective power.

Latest News

Legislation - generic

Tennessee looks to override local charter caps

Tennessee is on track to create a new state commission that could override local governments’ attempts to limit charter school expansion. Legislation to establish the commission passed both houses of the state Legislature, and Tennessee’s Republican governor, Bill Lee, is expected to sign it.

Person filling out a bubble test

Test scores out in eval

The UFT achieved its long-sought goal of eliminating the requirement that student test scores be a factor in the Annual Professional Performance Review process in the state budget approved by the state Legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo on March 31.

Staff at Jeanine Cammarata’s first school — PS 251 in Flatlands, Brooklyn — atte

A show of purple to spotlight domestic violence

The former colleagues of murdered teacher Jeanine Cammarata want #JusticeforJeanine, as the trending hashtag spells out. But the UFT members at the schools where Cammarata worked also expressed hope her death would shed light on the evil of domestic violence.

Feature Stories

Aviation HS teacher Antonio Pepenella (second from left) feels “it’s important t

Labor takes flight

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[[nid:111815; float: right; styleName:article_x_medium_auto]]The union spirit reigns in the shop classes at Aviation HS in Long Island City, which are run as simulated unionized workplaces. Teachers José Vaz and Antonio Pepenella instituted the practice five years ago to give the students in their eight aircraft cleaning and maintenance classes a taste of the kinds of unionized jobs they’re likely to find in the aviation industry.

“A good portion of our students go from high school directly to the workplace and they’ve never had a job in their lives before,” said Vaz, the school’s chapter leader.

Vaz said it’s important for students entering the workforce to understand that “the rules apply to your boss as much as they apply to you.”

Pepenella said his own experience as a union member inspired him to share that with his students.

“I like to…

Paraprofessional Roslyn William (background) helps students prepare for their pe

Teacher center opens at P396K @ PS 532

The UFT Teacher Center at P396K @ PS 532 in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, which will serve four District 75 locations, officially opened on April 9.

Aviation HS teacher Antonio Pepenella (second from left) feels “it’s important t

Labor takes flight

The union spirit reigns in the shop classes at Aviation HS in Long Island City, where the class is run as a simulated unionized workplace. Teachers José Vaz and Antonio Pepenella instituted the practice five years ago to give the students a taste of the kinds of unionized jobs they’re likely to find in the aviation industry.

Member Spotlight

Chapter Leader Shoutout
Melissa Alvarez

Kudos to Melissa Alvarez, John Bowne HS in Flushing, Queens

Melissa Alvarez, the chapter leader at John Bowne HS in Flushing, Queens, used the new dispute resolution process in the DOE-UFT contract to get a speedy response to a safety violation: no teacher assigned to the high school’s SAVE room.

Around the UFT

Ashika Hassan, an ESL teacher at MS 210 in Queens, takes the Lesson Planning Wit

Shakespeare makes an appearance

Some 250 educators turned out for the UFT’s sixth annual Middle School Conference at union headquarters on March 30. The theme was William Shakespeare.

Parent Hashim Muhamad Graham (standing) of Medgar Evers College Prep in Brooklyn

School Leadership Team meeting at UFT Brooklyn borough office

The School Leadership Team at PS 1 in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, held its April 8 meeting at the UFT’s Brooklyn borough office and turned it into a learning experience for parents and educators.

Displaying winning smiles are (from left): Excellence in Education Award winner

Highlighting the power of teamwork

The power of team work was on display at the annual Academic High Schools Awards Celebration on April 12 at UFT headquarters in Manhattan, where outstanding city educators, public high schools and union activists were honored.

Chamaine Smith (second from left), a paraprofessional at PS 70 in the Bronx, and

Tech4All information session and job fair

Tech4All, an all-day information session and technology job fair, drew 500 participants and 25 employers to the UFT's Bronx borough office on April 3.

Shauna Innis (fourth from right) of PS 66, the district’s Outstanding Paraprofes

District 12 Scholarship Committee breakfast

The turnout “exploded” — reaching 330 — at District 12’s April 13 Scholarship Committee breakfast at which 24 students were awarded new laptops.

You Should Know

Grants, Awards & Freebies
A teacher with young students

Grants, Awards & Freebies

See our list of current opportunities for educators to receive funds and recognition for their hard work and dedication. 

You Should Know
Sneakers with arrows

NYSUT Member Benefits-endorsed programs

Are you planning to retire soon from active employment? If so, you’ll need to maintain your UFT membership as a retiree to continue participating in NYSUT Member Benefits-endorsed programs and services.

Secure Your Future
TRS resources and information

TRS goes paperless

In the fall of 2018, the Teachers’ Retirement System announced an operational change that will save money and be good for the environment: TRS stopped mailing paper Quarterly Account Statements to retirement system members it can reach via email.


President's Perspective
Michael Mulgrew listing image Headshot

The charter school fight

At long last, the New York State Legislature that is more inclined to support pro-teacher, pro-public school policies. There was no lifting of the charter cap included in this year’s budget. But the charter school industry has regrouped. This fight is not over.

Union Proud logo

Anti-unionists threaten all of us

Today, like never before, our collective bargaining rights, benefits and protections are under fire. Our enemies will spread rumors and misinformation designed to undermine working people. They will pretend to be our friends when their goal is to hurt us. If we fall prey to their lies, we risk losing everything. 

Patient in hospital

Protection for patients

It’s easily among most people’s greatest fears: Having a medical emergency when you’re far from home, whether it’s an accident or a serious illness.

Fed-up teachers formed Arizona Educators United and began protesting under the #

Appreciating teachers

Teacher Appreciation Week is May 6–10, as good a time as any to take stock of how teachers are viewed by the public at large.

Teaching Resources

Linking to Learning
Duolingo courses use a gaming structure with the threat of losing “lives” with m

Online sites for language learning

As technology has developed, so have methods for using technology to learn a language. These programs aren’t meant as a replacement for in-class language instruction, but they can be effective supports to extend and continue learning both in and out of the classroom.

Teacher to Teacher
The eight types of thinking maps are (clockwise from top left): circle maps, bub

The power of thinking maps

In my 3rd-grade classroom, my students use thinking maps — which are not graphic organizers! — to represent their ideas. Each type of thinking map connects a basic cognitive skill with a visual representation.

Building Your Career

Building Your Career

Amazon Alexa plays an important role in my class routine

Each student in my 3rd-grade class takes a turn as ‘Alexa’s friend of the day.’

New Teacher Articles

Is your teaching certificate about to expire?

With summer just around the corner, it’s crucial to meet upcoming deadlines for certification if your current teaching certificate is near its expiration date. 

Retired Teachers News

Tom Murphy
RTC Chapter Leader Column

Understanding senior voter tendencies

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) recently asked me to fill its held position on the Senior Council of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Since the Council’s purpose is to offer advice on strategic issues and policies important to retirees’ economic security and general livelihood, I gladly agreed.

Medicare Part B / IRMAA

Most of our retired members on Medicare should have received their 2018 Medicare Reimbursement by May 1, 2019. The 2018 Medicare Part B Reimbursement will be electronically deposited into the same account as the pension payment.