How many Americans say they took umpteen years of Spanish or French and cannot speak a word of it?
Teachers in New York City’s International High Schools, a dozen schools serving English language learners, would tell you that’s because for most Americans, their education did not hinge on mastering that second language. But non-English speakers entering city high schools don’t have a choice. They must rapidly acquire English to keep up with their subjects.
The way to do that, the teachers say, is for students to talk.
In a class of 25 students, in a 50-minute period, each student would speak for two minutes at most if the teacher never opened his or her mouth, notes Claire Sylvan, the executive director of the Internationals Network that oversees the schools. Over seven periods, that would add up to 14 minutes of talking a day.
Four new teacher leadership positions were made possible by a federal Teacher Incentive Fund grant that supports a career-ladder initiative now operating in 77 high-needs middle schools across the city.
Charter schools educate fewer high-needs students, yet those that are housed in public school buildings get more capita government school aid. Plus, many charters benefit from hefty amounts of private money.
The power and promise of community schools were on display on Nov. 20 as invited educators, politicians and community leaders got an in-depth tour of the Community Health Academy of the Heights (CHAH), one of the UFT’s 23 Community Learning Schools.
Rejecting his predecessor’s practice of closing struggling schools and replacing them with smaller ones, Mayor Bill de Blasio on Nov. 3 unveiled a new blueprint for turning around 94 of the city's most troubled schools.
The UFT is stronger than ever. That point was repeated often during the 54th annual Teacher Union Day ceremony, a day that honors those who participated in the first UFT strike on Nov. 7, 1960, and the union stalwarts of today.
Teachers at Kingsborough Early College Secondary School in Brooklyn always prided themselves on their school’s commitment to professional development. At this grade 6–12 school with a unique model in which most students graduate with an associate’s degree, the staff had concentrated on the Common Core, the Danielson Framework for Teaching and other aspects of curriculum that would help their students become college-ready.
But professional development at Kingsborough had always been done in a traditional way — with an agenda determined by the school’s administration and conducted in a single session for the entire staff.
Four Brooklyn large high schools decided to do something different this year for Election Day professional development: they pooled their resources so that teachers and paraprofessionals got training in their specific subject areas while meeting colleagues from neighboring schools.
Emma Lazarus HS on the Lower East Side has drawn national attention for its stunning success in teaching English language learners from low-income families. Teachers give students the scaffolding they need to master English at the same time that they tackle difficult high school subjects.
Annual mammograms and early detection can lead to the best outcomes for breast cancer treatment, the deputy physician-in-chief and director of breast cancer programs at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan told the nearly 100 who attended the annual breast cancer workshop at UFT headquarters.
For the 15th straight year, members of the UFT Veterans Committee took part in the Veterans Day Parade in Manhattan on Nov. 11. “The crowds love the vets,” UFT Veterans Committee Chair John Garvey said. The only downer, he added, was “that the governor vetoed a pension legislation bill.”
Myrna Connolly’s kindergarten students at PS 25 in the South Bronx gingerly sampled the seaweed but decided they liked the carrot wrap sushi that chef Tracy Griffith had prepared for them much better during her visit on Nov. 18.
For one glorious night, Shirley Nieves pushed aside her pain and reveled in a circle of friends, family and former colleagues from PS 96 in East Harlem, who threw the beloved teacher a Halloween fundraiser for a lifesaving double lung transplant.
Our goal is to continue to work with the mayor and chancellor to show the public — in New York and beyond — what a great school system looks like and the role that empowered teachers have in building it
Nearly three out of four registered voters in New York State stayed home on Election Day. Turnout — or the lack of turnout — has consequences. We are now left with a state Senate obligated to financiers who support unfettered expansion of charter schools.
Much like our 21st-century students, teachers today need be connected. As we become less isolated within the walls of our classrooms, opportunities to tune in and take learning into our own hands present themselves regularly — if we know where to look.
The American Federation of Teachers is working “to reclaim the promise of a secure retirement and … to ensure that all Americans, after careers of hard work and service, are able to live independent, dignified lives.”