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New York TeacherJanuary 3, 2019

Volume LX , Issue 5
NYT Cover - Jan 3, 2010 - NYC Teachers of Instagram

Cover Stories

Timisha Harvell was working in a law firm when she decided to become a para.

Climbing the career ladder


For many low-income workers, the most formidable barrier to higher-paying, more stable jobs is the cost of a college education.

That barrier is scaled by the UFT Paraprofessional Chapter’s career ladder, officially called the Career Training Program, a benefit fought for and won by the UFT in the first DOE-UFT paraprofessional contract in 1969. Through it, the city’s Department of Education funds up to 12 college credits a year and provides release time for paras to attend school.

Miss Falco

One big, happy Insta-fam!

Travelers use Instagram to post pictures of scenery. Foodies use Instagram to post pictures of meals. And increasingly, teachers are using Instagram to post pictures of the work that goes on inside their classrooms.

Two women sitting at table writing
Q&A on the Issues

Fulfilling your CTLE requirements

In 2016, the New York State Board of Regents adopted standards that require certain teachers and paraprofessionals to collect and track professional learning credits called Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) hours. The following Q&A will help you learn more about how to fulfill your CTLE requirements.

Latest News

Teachers stung by grant program get reprieve

The U.S. Department of Education is forgiving college loans for teachers with federal grants that were mistakenly converted into loans through a troubled assistance program.

Chicago teachers hold first U.S. charter school strike

More than 500 charter school teachers in Chicago carried out the nation’s first charter school strike in December.
Assemblywoman Rodneyese Bichote speaking in front of people

State lawmakers attend UFT forum

The UFT welcomed newly elected and veteran state lawmakers to a breakfast forum on Dec. 18 to educate them about three union-backed education initiatives that need funding in the upcoming state budget: the UFT Teacher Center, UFT Community Learning Schools and the Positive Learning Collaborative.

Mavis Yon, the chapter leader at PS 156 in Brooklyn, asks how schools should use

Mulgrew urges reps to use power in new contract

Although the new UFT contract doesn’t officially take effect until Feb. 14, UFT President Michael Mulgrew urged those attending the Delegate Assembly on Dec. 12 to start the utilizing the part of the agreement that gives new authority to chapter leaders to prod principals to address operational issues at their schools.

Trump administration lowers school nutrition standards

The Trump administration announced on Dec. 6 that it will lower health protections for school lunches.

Feature Stories

Man and woman smiling at camera

Making space for differences

What started two years ago as a club for LGBTQ students at IS 187 in Borough Park, Brooklyn, has quickly evolved into a group devoted to self-awareness and social advocacy that promotes tolerance and makes space for differences.

The student-run club, called SPECTRUM, has 65 members from the 6th, 7th and 8th grades. It includes students of various genders and sexualities, and many of the club’s members fall outside the LGBTQ community but consider themselves allies.

The students originally organized a Genders & Sexualities Alliance. “It was almost like a support group kind of thing when it first started,” said John Savarese, who teaches math at IS 187 and supervises SPECTRUM. He said the students at the time felt, “We’re gay, we’re 13, we want to talk about it.”

The club, which meets weekly on Thursday afternoons, still retains a core focus on LGBTQ issues, but now also addresses the overlap between these identities and other aspects of the children’s lives such as race, ethnicity and immigration status.

In the big performance debut for the East Village Community School drum line, th

They’ve got the beat

A new drum line at the East Village Community School in Manhattan allows students to grow and explore through music.

Lourdes Ventura
Noteworthy Graduates

Noteworthy graduates: Lourdes Ventura, Civil Court judge

Lourdes Ventura was sworn in as a judge of the Civil Court of the City of New York on Dec. 18 at Queens Borough Hall, the same venue where, as a child, she accompanied her mother to translate at a housing court proceeding. The eldest of three children, Ventura was born in Queens to immigrants from the Dominican Republic. She was educated in public schools in Corona and Elmhurst.

Member Spotlight

Chapter Leader Shoutout

Rose Marie Hannon PS/MS 47, Queens

Chapter Leader Rose-Marie Hannon is working hard to get a new roof over the heads of staff and students at PS/MS 47 to end the chronic leaks, mold and odors that plague the school in Broad Channel, Queens, and create a safe and healthy work environment.

Around the UFT

A youngster and Santa Claus share a private conversation.

UFT holiday party for homeless students

It was a day of wonder and thrills, a chance to fist-bump with the mighty Bumble Bee Transformer and dance with the Black Panther. But it was Santa Claus who won the hearts of the 120 children from homeless shelters across the city who lined up to whisper in his ear at the UFT’s annual holiday party, organized with the help of the Coalition for the Homeless, on Dec. 15.

Speech teacher Khrystyna Vrublevska (center) takes yoga with fellow members from

New member Super Saturday

Teaching can be super stressful, especially for those just starting out. What better way to relieve some of that anxiety than a day devoted to health, wellness and creativity?

Paraprofessionals Suely Souto Maior (left) and Qi Dan Lei, from PS 503 in Brookl

UFT Teacher Center arts conference

The UFT Teacher Center’s Dec. 1 citywide arts conference, entitled “The Artistic Processes: Creating, Presenting, Responding and Connecting,” gave participants an opportunity to flex their own creative muscles.

“Chemotherapy is the most effective and fastest way to shrink cancer cells,” Dr.

Welfare Fund Medical Series seminar

A Memorial Sloan Kettering physician gave more than 70 UFT members and retirees tips on reducing their chance to get breast cancer and what to do if diagnosed with the disease.

The Manhattan town hall drew a standing-room-only crowd.

UFT public advocate town halls

UFT members packed public advocate town halls at the union’s Queens borough office on Dec. 13 and at union headquarters on Dec. 18 to meet and ask questions of the candidates vying to succeed Leticia James as the New York City public advocate.

More in Around the UFT

Your Rights and Benefits

Know Your Benefits

Victim Support Program

Did you know there’s a place to turn for support — both at and away from your work site — when tragedy strikes? It’s the Victim Support Program, co-sponsored by the UFT’s Safety and Health Department and the New York City Department of Education.

You Should Know

You Should Know

Jan. 18 deadline to submit Teacher’s Choice form

The deadline for spending your Teacher’s Choice funds is Jan. 13.

You Should Know

Paras and lunchroom duties

Paraprofessionals, including one-on-one paras, are entitled to a duty-free lunch period. Lunchroom supervision may not be assigned to paras.

Secure Your Future

Retiring in June? Take these steps first

If you are planning to retire at the end of June, this is the time to start thinking about what you need to do. Members of TRS and BERS often retire immediately after the school year ends. If you are considering this major step, you should attend to the following items now.

Your Well-being

360-degree wellness

School professionals have challenging jobs. Our work includes taking care of the needs of students, colleagues and community members, as well as taking care of ourselves and our families. A 360-degree approach to wellness can help.


President's Perspective

Power tools to get the job done

As a chapter leader I always wanted better tools to resolve those kinds of issues without escalating them to a grievance, if possible. Now we have them.


The struggle for adequate hospital staffing

Our goal is to provide excellent care and help patients achieve their optimum level of functioning. To reach that goal, we are committed to achieving staffing levels in hospitals that provide for safe patient care.


What will the governor do?

In the Dec. 6 issue, the New York Teacher rightfully celebrated the results of the 2018 election.

Gun laws and teachers’ political influence

There are certain guns that people should not have access to, and there are certain people who should not have access to any guns.


Deserving endorsements

As a member of the UFT Delegate Assembly since 1988, I read fellow retiree Martin Boxer’s critique of the UFT endorsement policy [Comments, Dec. 6] with utter disbelief.


Enhancing access

The largest school district in the nation has an unacceptably low number of buildings that are accessible for students with disabilities.

Teaching Resources

Linking to Learning

Helping students boost typing skills

Explicitly teaching typing skills has gone out of fashion along with the typewriter, but the need to type fluently is still very much in demand. There are some excellent typing programs online that you can access with your class.

Teacher to Teacher

Launching a service learning project

Students do better in school when learning engages both their minds and their hearts. This dual approach is known as service learning — a teaching method that develops students’ skills and knowledge as they apply classroom lessons to meet real community needs.

Building Your Career

New Teachers

My classroom microphone

I use my class microphone to engage my students.

Retired Teachers News

Man stands in front of slide show

A Rose for retirees

The Retired Teachers Chapter’s general membership meeting on Dec. 4 in Shanker Hall, Manhattan, included some interesting speakers:

A great time to get political

This year is an off, off year for elections and that means we have a political breather. But it is not a time to be idle.