Brooklyn Parent Newsletter - Feb. 15, 2017

Dear parents, grandparents and education activists,

The U.S. Senate confirmed Betsy DeVos as education secretary, approving her only with the help of a historic tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence. No other Cabinet nominee has generated such an outcry from the public. In her Senate confirmation hearing, DeVos demonstrated her lack of knowledge and utter disdain for public schools. To stay informed and engaged in the fight ahead to protect our public schools, join our #PublicSchoolProud campaign »

Join the UFT, parents and community activists at the New York State Black and Puerto Rican Caucus in Albany this Saturday, Feb. 18. Buses will depart from New York City at 6 a.m. and return at 6 p.m. There will be workshops about immigration, funding, civil rights, transparency and more. Let’s remind our state legislators that public schools matter! Download the flier » and reserve your seat on the bus »

Check out more upcoming events and news you can use below.


Betty Zohar
UFT Parent-Community Liaison

Upcoming events

  • Monday, Feb. 27: The Brooklyn Public Library invites parents and caregivers to a free healthy homes workshop from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Coney Island branch at 1901 Mermaid Ave. These healthy home workshops cover lead poisoning, how to prevent and get rid of bedbugs, and how to safely control pests. There will be 13 workshops offered in five Brooklyn locations between now and June. Workshops will be presented in English, Russian and Spanish. See a full schedule in English » or in Spanish »
  • Saturday, March 11: Come to the American Diabetes Association's free annual expo from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan. There will be free health screenings, healthy cooking demonstrations and activities for kids. Learn more and register »
  • Friday, March 31: There will be a parent-teacher organization expo for parent organizers and parent-teacher association members at the New Jersey Convention and Expo Center in Edison, New Jersey. A bus will leave from 1 Remsen Ave. in Brooklyn at 8:30 a.m. and return at 5 p.m. For a $50 fee, the expo includes workshops and presentations, transportation, breakfast and a T-shirt. Register online now »
  • Sunday, April 29: Save the date for the Cops for Autism Related Educational Services 5K Walk, Run or Wheel to raise money for New York Police Department families of children with disabilities and to raise awareness for all special-needs families. Learn how to get involved »


  • Enter the Speak Truth to Power video contest: The American Federation of Teachers and other sponsors invite middle and high school student filmmakers to enter the Speak Truth to Power video contest. Submissions should be three to five minutes long and talk about a human rights activist. The deadline to enter is March 20. Visit the website »
  • High school students are invited to apply for the Youth Justice League: Community Food Advocates invites high school students to apply for its Youth Justice League program before the deadline of Feb. 23. Youth Justice League participants will assist in Community Food Advocates' campaign for universal free lunch and also learn about social justice, leadership, advocacy, policy-making and more. The program consists of weekly evening meetings for which MetroCards and dinner will be provided. It runs for at least a year and a half. Find out more »
  • Students are invited to enter the Water Resources Art and Poetry Contest: Second- through 12th-grade students are welcome to enter the New York City Department of Environmental Protection's Water Resources Art and Poetry Contest. Entries can be drawings, paintings, songs, poems or any number of creative projects as long as they relate to New York's water resources. The deadline to enter the contest is March 8. Learn more and enter »
  • National Puerto Rican Day Parade scholarships: Every year, the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, Inc. awards $2,000 scholarships to 100 Puerto Rican high school seniors who are getting ready to attend college. Applications must be submitted by Feb. 20. Download the application »

News you can use

  • Free homework help line from the UFT: The UFT Dial-a-Teacher program offers free homework help to elementary and middle school students Monday through Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m. Classroom teachers are available through Dial-A-Teacher to assist students in Bengali, Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese and Fukanese), English, French, Haitian-Creole, Russian, Slovak and Spanish. You can reach Dial-a-Teacher at 212-777-3380. Find out more »
  • Charter school accountability protects students: In light of Donald Trump's new secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, it is more important than ever to enforce transparency and accountability for charter schools in New York. Read the op-ed from UFT President Michael Mulgrew »
  • Have you done an apprenticeship? Young Invincibles wants to hear from you: In an effort to expand access and opportunities for apprenticeships to underserved communities, Young Invincibles is seeking someone who was an apprentice to write an op-ed about his or her experience. If you're interested, contact Kevin Stump at
  • Volunteer with the International Rescue Committee: Are you outraged by Donald Trump's immigrant and refugee ban? You can help refugees by volunteering with the International Rescue Committee. Find out how »
  • Don't miss Ready, Set, Kindergarten at Brooklyn libraries this spring: Starting in March, Brooklyn Public Libraries will host weekly learning sessions for children between the ages of three and five and their caregivers. The workshops explore literacy, science and math through music, stories, art and play. They are a great opportunity to get ready for kindergarten and receive free materials to continue the fun and learning at home. See the schedule »
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