On a frigid Friday morning, a massive snowball fight is taking place at PS 212 in Gravesend, Brooklyn. Theater teacher Beatriz Cordoba, her eyes sparkling with mischief, crouches down and then, with a yell, springs forward toward a trio of girls who are shrieking with delight.
The combatants are safely inside the auditorium, and the snowballs are pantomimed. But you’d never know it from the way the room full of kindergartners responds to Cordoba, who commands attention despite her petite frame. She quickly settles the giggling students by calmly encouraging them to “smell a rose” (breathe in) and “blow a candle” (breathe out).
New York State should put a moratorium on its use of Common Core test results until the state and city have made high-quality curricula available and teachers have been trained in how to use it, UFT President Michael Mulgrew testified to state lawmakers on Jan. 28.
Richard Berman, a public relations executive with a history of helping corporations bash the labor movement, has unleashed a campaign to smear the American Federation of Teachers and its president, Randi Weingarten.
In the wake of a recent lab accident at a Manhattan high school, UFT delegates overwhelmingly approved a resolution to call on the Department of Education to put a lab specialist in every secondary school and to ensure that every science teacher has safety training.
Members of the Federation of Nurses/UFT on Jan. 30 overwhelmingly ratified a two-year contract with the Visiting Nurse Service of New York. The home health care agency agreed to a contract that preserves the nurses’ existing health care and pension benefits.
After a 15-month lockout, the musicians and management of the Minnesota Orchestra announced on Jan. 14 that they have reached a new three-year contract agreement, bringing to a close the longest labor dispute in the history of American classical music.
For the customers browsing the bookstore shelves in Bay Terrace on Jan. 16, it had all the hallmarks of a literary event: a store sign welcoming the writers, a podium with a microphone and attentive audience members clutching their newly purchased books. But the bookstore patrons weren’t there to meet just any authors: They were recognizing the work of 3rd-graders from PS 117 in Briarwood, Queens.
Like many classes that hold a writer’s workshop as part of their curriculum, Sue Kissin and Shari Kotler’s students conclude each writing unit with a celebration of their “published” work — pieces that students have moved diligently through each stage of the writing process. Usually, this celebration takes place inside the classroom. But once a year — thanks to the inspiration of PS 117’s retired literacy coach Judi Kugel — the festivities move to Barnes & Noble, where students first get a chance to shop for books and then read their work aloud for their families and peers.
“We do anything we can to motivate reading and writing,” said Kugel, who continues to coordinate the annual event. “People are amazed that the kids are so excited to be getting books.”
From an early age, Liza Miller Davis, now an archeologist for New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection, loved and excelled in math and science in an era when that was unusual for girls. Her public school teachers not only supported her academic interests, but helped her take the next step in her education.
Kindergartners from PS/MS 207 in Howard Beach took a class trip to the 300-year-old Queens County Farm on Jan. 23. The students were in the midst of a literacy unit comparing present and past, and the children had come to the farm to witness some of those changes firsthand.
More than 100 staff members of PS 45 in Staten Island attended a meeting on Jan. 27 with the staff of the Institute for Understanding Behavior, a consortium of the New York City Department of Education and the UFT.
Non-supervisory educators (teachers, guidance counselors, school secretaries, social workers and psychologists) are now required to use the Self-Service Online Leave Application System (SOLAS) to apply for maternity leaves, restoration of health leaves and health sabbatical leaves, in addition to the non-medical leave types that were previously available in SOLAS.
The Robert G. Porter Scholars Program offers four four-year, $8,000 post-secondary scholarships to high school seniors who are dependents of AFT members, as well as 10 one-time $1,000 grants to AFT members.
Tips for financial security inlcude using your TRS annual benefits statement for retirement planning, making sure you have enough insurance and taking advantage of free credit reports to check for errors or identity theft.
You know how college costs today seem nearly out of reach for all but the most affluent families? How so many families now are under financial stress and struggling to pay their bills, despite holding down jobs and working hard? How housing prices in New York City keep climbing faster than wages, forcing more families to move farther out or to the suburbs? That is income inequality at work.
More than 1,800 UFT members were poised to strike recently. But the nurses with the Visiting Nurse Service of New York averted a strike and won an agreement that preserves their pensions and healthcare and gives them a raise. They won by standing in solidarity as a union.
Tired of the expense and ever-present logos of commercial software? “Open source” software is a good option to consider, whether you’re looking for an alternative to Microsoft Office or a cheap photo-editing tool.
New York City compares the performance of schools with similar levels of student poverty. But new research says this is a flawed method for comparing schools. A school’s performance is affected less by how many students are poor than by how many face certain risk factors associated with poverty, the study finds.
With the school year at its halfway point, now can be a good time to take stock of your classroom and do a little pre-spring cleaning. Here are some of the best tips from seasoned teachers about keeping your classroom organized.
If you received one or more of the distributions listed below during 2013, you are required to report the total gross amount of the distribution on line 16a and the taxable amount of the distribution on line 16b on your 2013 federal income tax form 1040.
Considering our collective world view as teacher unionists from a progressive viewpoint, it is timely early in the year to try to make sense of the forces arrayed against us and the baffling logic that motivates them.