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New York TeacherFebruary 6, 2020

Volume LXI, Number 4

Latest News

AFT holds forum
News Stories

AFT holds presidential forum

Seven leading Democratic candidates for president vied to show their support for public education and public school educators in a forum on Dec. 14 in Pittsburgh.

School Secretaries waiting for their meeting to start
News Stories

UFT working to get curriculum for all

UFT President Michael Mulgrew announced at the Delegate Assembly on Jan. 15 that the union is working to ensure that all New York City schools have curriculum aligned to the state’s Next Generation Learning Standards for math and English language arts.

Mulgrew stands among a crowd of women wearing red shirts
National News

Florida teachers march for better pay and support

Thousands of Florida teachers did not report to work on Jan. 13 in order to march in Tallahassee to protest decades of systematic attacks on public education, despite threats by the state education department against them and their union.

Kids in classroom, some wearing uniform
National News

SCOTUS considers public aid to religious schools

The U.S. Supreme Court will be ruling on a high-profile case that could narrow the separation between church and state and open the door to more public aid for religious schools. 

Women trying to block another women taking a basketball shot
National News

Women’s basketball players win new contract

The Women’s National Basketball Association and its players’ union on Jan. 14 announced a collective bargaining agreement that will boost players’ salaries and improve their benefits, including providing a full salary for players on parental leave and an annual child care stipend of $5,000.

Feature Stories

Aamir Griffin

Remembering Aamir

Teachers described Aamir Griffin as a “nice, quiet kid” who worked hard, loved playing basketball and dreamed of making it his career. “Making my team was a big deal for him,” said Kyrk Peponakis, the junior varsity basketball coach at Benjamin N. Cardozo HS in Bayside, Queens.

Aamir, a 14-year-old freshman, was doing what he loved most — practicing on a court near his home in Jamaica — when he was killed by a stray bullet in October.

To celebrate Aamir’s life and to support his family, Peponakis organized the Aamir Griffin Memorial and Basketball Extravaganza, inviting 10 schools to join Cardozo on Dec. 7 for an all-day tournament. Every coach he called told Peponakis “We’re in,” and the Public Schools Athletic League provided referees at no cost.

The event, said Peponakis, honored the young …

A teacher demonstrates how to cook

The joy of cooking and learning at the Edison Café

The aroma of breakfast permeates the Edison Café on a recent morning as special needs students learn how to make omelets, scrambled eggs and pancakes at Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical Education HS in Jamaica, Queens.

Not business as usual 108 O9A9002

Not business as usual

It may be a virtual enterprise, but the students behind Bake-ology at Susan Wagner HS on Staten Island definitely mean business.

Member Spotlight

Chapter Leader Shoutout
Emily Blatt

Kudos to Emily Blatt, University Neighborhood HS, Manhattan

Emily Blatt made increasing contributions to the Committee on Political Education (COPE), the UFT’s political action arm, her first priority when she became chapter leader at University Neighborhood HS in Manhattan in September 2018.

Around the UFT

City Council Member Donovan Richards
News Stories

Richards endorsed for Queens borough president

The delegates voted on Jan. 15 to endorse City Council Member Donovan Richards for Queens borough president in the special election on March 24.

Stand Up to Hate march 130 7699

Stand Up to Hate march

In a show of solidarity with New York’s Jewish community, a strong contingent of UFT members joined tens of thousands of other Stand Up to Hate marchers who gathered in Foley Square in lower Manhattan on Jan. 5 for the march across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Clinicians Appreciation Day 124 03A0335

Clinicians Appreciation Day

Ketisha Peters, a social worker at Thomas Jefferson HS in East New York, Brooklyn, plans to start an LGBTQ alliance in her school.

A student addresses his peers

'Tolerance is not enough'

Speak Truth to Power, a collaboration between Discovery Education and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights supported by the union, illuminates students’ and teachers’ roles in fighting human rights abuses and offers educational experiences and online tools to help them. 

UFT President Michael Mulgrew standing at podium with screen behind him
News Stories

Online community to assist chapter leaders

Chapter leaders across the city now have access to a new online community that gives them a place to share ideas with other chapter leaders in their district, find answers to their questions and collect data the union can use to improve education and working conditions.

Your Rights and Benefits

Know Your Benefits
Asian women looking through prescriptions at a pharmacy

Your prescription drug plan

All eligible in-service UFT members and their dependents have prescription drug coverage through the UFT Welfare Fund. There are no waiting periods for this coverage. Learn more about this valuable benefit.

Know Your Rights
Two teachers looking at chart paper together

Lesson plans

Since 1990, Article 8 of the DOE-UFT teachers’ contract has affirmed that the organization, format, notation and other physical aspects of lesson plans are all up to the teacher.

Your Well-being
Generic grief sadness

Weathering the storm

Supporting someone with mental health challenges is complex. Adding a layer of drug and alcohol addiction makes it all the more complicated.

You Should Know

Q&A on the Issues
Teacher tutoring child

Testing and promotion

With testing season fast approaching, it’s a good time to review the Department of Education’s current policies regarding testing accommodations, alternate assessments and modified promotion criteria for students with disabilities. 

Secure Your Future
Accessing your Annual Benefits Generic

Prior service worth money in your future

Were you employed by New York City or New York State before joining the Teachers' Retirement System or the Board of Education Retirement System?


President's Perspective
Census form Generic

Why the U.S. Census matters

We have a major challenge ahead of us this spring: Making sure every New Yorker is counted in this year’s U.S. Census.


Keys to successful collective bargaining

When the UFT negotiated its 2018 contract with the city Department of Education, it followed the strategy used by the Federation of Nurses/UFT, which I lead, because of our past success at the bargaining table.The workforce can have a voice, not only in hospitals or schools, but in contract negotiations as well.

Man walks in front of bus that reads Fund Our Public Schools

Fund our Future

New York State continues to shortchange its students in high-needs schools. There’s no other way to read Gov. Cuomo’s Jan. 21 preliminary budget, which proposes an increase in Foundation Aid that falls far short of the $2.1 billion that the UFT, New York State United Teachers and other education advocates are calling for.

Teaching Resources

Research shows
UFT President Michael Mulgrew

UFT analysis finds exclusion is key to results of the most successful charter schools

Charter schools as a group enroll a significantly smaller percentage than the public schools of English language learners, special education students or those from the poorest families.  A new UFT analysis of individual charter schools clearly shows that the schools most successful at excluding these kinds of students are the charters with the highest test scores.

Learning Curve
A student drawing of a body under stress

How mindfulness ‘rewires the brain’

If you've ever been in a visible state of distress, chances are good someone has told you to take a deep breath. Why? Because breathing deeply activates a set of neurons in the brain that relaxes your body.

Linking to Learning
Student holding paper with math on it, looking at laptop

Using screencasts in the classroom

You may be familiar with screencasts as video tutorials on YouTube that describe how to use a piece of technology, but they’ve also caught on in the classroom.

Teacher to Teacher
Teacher and student

Building discussion in your math classroom

When I became a middle school math teacher 12 years ago, one of the first things I noticed was how chatty students can be. So I was surprised when, after I asked my students to discuss a math problem, strategy or solution with their group members, the room would suddenly get quieter.

Building Your Career

Inside My Classroom
The inside of a classroom

A flexible seating environment for high school students

"Last year, I decided I wanted to create a classroom space that was as unique as my students, a place where they would feel comfortable and want to come to class (that’s half the battle in high school, after all!). With my students’ wants and needs in mind, I created a flexible seating environment..."

New Teacher Articles
Two teachers sitting in auditorium

Preparing for your tenure decision

Gaining tenure is an important milestone for new teachers. Having tenure means you can’t be terminated without due process and you’re entitled to a hearing if the Department of Education takes disciplinary action that could lead to termination.

New Teacher Profiles
Teacher Victoria Love ices butter cookies with her students

Catering to her students

Victoria Love was the executive pastry chef at The Water Club, a world-renowned Manhattan restaurant. Now, she bakes delicacies like maple apple pandowdy and tropical coconut cheesecake with her special needs students at Manhattan School for Career Development.

Retired Teachers News

Tom Murphy

Keeping up to date

Here's a new word as defined by Merriam Webster:

Listicle — noun: an article consisting of a series of items presented as a list.

Etymology: LIST + (ART)ICLE

We are aging but still learning. Here's my usage of it.

2019 was chock full of activities that kept many retirees busy.

Jan. 14–26: UFT annual meetings took place in Florida, Nassau, the Bronx and Manhattan, discussing benefits, in-service matters and political developments. At each, I gave an overview of news that can affect our lives as retirees.

Feb. 14: AFT President Randi Weingarten asked me to be the AFT's representative to the Democratic National Committee's Senior Council to press teacher union input on party policy.

Feb. 26: UFT President Michael Mulgrew was the keynote speaker at the 40th annual Florida UFT Luncheon. Florida Education Association's statewide president, Fed Ingram, discussed strategies to enhance the careers of local…

Retired couple with grandkids

Post-retirement earnings limit increases

If you work for a public employer after retirement, there is a limit to how much you can earn during the calendar year. That amount increased to $35,000 for 2020, up from $30,000 last year, due to legislation signed in December.

Retired Teachers Chapter logo (RTC)

Si Beagle corrections

BRONX: XS 807 Polymer Clay Jewelry. Mold and form polymer clay into an endless variety of jewelry components that can be assembled into one-of-a-kind creations. Learn the basics of using this technique, tools, textures and more. Two Friday sessions: March 27; April 3. 10 a.m.–1 p.m. $12 includes registration and materials. R. Demers.