It’s completely still until dance teacher Michael Kerr strikes the drum and suddenly everyone is in motion. The 6th-grade girls twirl and bend while the boys tentatively reach and arch.
It’s only days into the new school year and already these beginning dancers at MS 443 in South Park Slope are comfortable with the feel of their bare feet on the wood floor and the challenge of moving their bodies with deliberation and aligning their movements with those of a partner.
The drumming stops, but a few dancers miss the cue. “It’s all right to make mistakes, but in dance the end must be the end,” Kerr explains. “Dance is not like a run-on sentence.”
In the advanced 8th-grade class a period later, the focus and concentration are palpable. “You’re not thinking about after school or your last class,” he instructs them. “Knees over toes, heads over shoulders, find your center.” The music begins and the mirrored wall of the basement studio reflects the elegant precision and grace of the 32 young dancers. Chins up, shoulders back, toes pointed, eyes straight ahead. It looks so easy, but they are working very hard.
In accordance with the 2014 contract, UFT members who worked for the Department of Education between 2009 and 2015 (plus those who retired after June 30, 2014) will receive a lump-sum payment of 12. 5 percent, representing one-eighth of the amount they have accrued between 2009 and 2015.
Ready for anything. There are a lot of different feelings you feel the first day. You think only the children are anxious, but so are the adults! You don’t know what to expect or how the day is going to go, but you know you’ll always have one or two children who feel scared.
Following intense lobbying by the UFT, NYSUT and parents, a divided state Board of Regents on Sept. 16 delayed giving its final approval to the new teacher evaluation system. Instead, the board proposed three significant changes aimed at making the process fairer.
Chancellor Carmen Fariña, elected officials, and students on Sept. 24 celebrated the New York City public school system’s first observance of the Muslim holiday of Eid-al-Adha at an event at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan.
Citing a disconnect between education research and policy, renowned Stanford education professor Linda Darling-Hammond has launched a new education think tank, the Learning Policy Institute, with offices in Palo Alto and Washington.
Open School Night on Sept. 17 took place both inside and outside PS 19 in Corona, Queens. Inside, parents met with teachers; outdoors in the yard, there were raffles, dance exhibitions and information booths — the school’s first-ever Community Learning School fair.
The event was the brainchild of UFT resource coordinator Savanity Davis. “I was trying to figure out how I could make a footprint at the beginning of the year and prove to the staff that it’s worth being a community learning school,” she said.
PS 19, one of the largest elementary schools in the city, is one of 25 schools in the UFT New York City Community Learning Schools Initiative, which provides academic supports and social services to students and their families.
Using a white bullhorn, Davis presented student dancers and musicians from a stage in one corner of the yard. Along the fences were booths where the Food Bank for New York City, Queens Legal Services, the city Fire Department, school safety officers, eyeglass and health providers and others answered parents’ questions.
The annual West Indian Day Parade — traditionally held on Labor Day — brings about two million people to Crown Heights. More than 100 UFT members joined the festivities — riding on the UFT float or marching alongside it.
The toe-tapping musical “Teach It Right, or, Right to Teach” toured the parks and playgrounds of the city this summer, presenting its story of the challenges and struggles facing public education through the ordeals of a teacher and a middle school student.
Is this your first year in a new assignment? Are you a veteran teacher who has transferred to a new school? Has your administration changed? Have you switched from pupil accounting to payroll secretary?
A little-noticed clause that state legislators tucked into the omnibus bill that ended the legislative session in June could make the already glaring inequities between charter and traditional public schools even worse.
Cultivating and celebrating trust and respect among adolescents in New York City is what student-written YCTeen magazine is all about. Teachers in New York City public high schools can get the print magazine for free.
At the beginning of the summer, I was in high spirits. I had just finished my first year of teaching and was told that I would be teaching all 7th-grade science classes for the upcoming year. Aside from the fact that I adore 7th-graders (awkwardness and all), I was also looking forward to having just one curriculum to prepare and teach.
[[nid:91992; line-height: 20.8px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; styleName:large]]A White House Conference on Aging has been held every decade since 1960 to identify and advance actions to improve the quality of life of older Americans. RTC Vice President John Soldini attended a regional conference held on July 13 in preparation for this year’s conference. I have asked him to write about that meeting in this month’s column.
— Tom Murphy, chapter leader
Last spring, I represented our Retired Teachers Chapter and the American Federation of Teachers in Boston at the White House’s Northeastern Regional Conference Meeting on Aging.
The panels’ initial discussions presented what has been accomplished and what still needs to be accomplished in order to properly meet and provide support for the nutritional, emotional and physical needs of the elderly.