March 06, 2008

Around the State

Source: New York Teacher
Caption: Union leaders celebrate the new Jamestown regional office at a recent open house.

NYSUT opens new office in Jamestown

NYSUT union leaders in Jamestown are celebrating a new state-of-the-art workplace.

With the completion of the NYSUT Southwestern Regional Office, staffers no longer work in two separate offices and members have access to more modern facilities.

The new office became necessary after the unification of NYSUT and NEA/NY in 2006, when neither existing office was large enough to accommodate the combined work force.

The new offices, located on West Oak Hill Road in Jamestown, serve members in Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties.

The 11,500-square-foot building features several high-tech conference rooms, with the largest able to accommodate 40 people comfortably.

Special ed group honors three on Long Island

Three members of the Oceanside Federation of Teachers received lifetime membership awards from the Special Education PTA organization.

Speaking about Julia Nappi, director of student projects at Oceanside High, OFT President Riche Roschelle said, "Julia is extraordinary. She touches lives on a daily basis and her door is always open to all of our students. I'm delighted my good friends Rachael DiPasquale and Chuck Phelan were also honored. I have seen firsthand what giving teachers they are."

DiPasquale is a special ed teacher. Phelan teaches sixth grade and coaches soccer and basketball.

- OFTimes

UFT sows 'seeds of knowledge'

The union representing NYSUT members in New York City has launched an ad campaign that illustrates what it takes to fully educate a child.

The United Federation of Teachers ad features member-teacher Liane Mieles of PS 325 guiding small groups of children in various projects. In one, a little girl focuses intently on planting a seedling in a jar of soil as Mieles watches and encourages her.

"Standardized school tests can measure her progress in certain subjects," an announcer says in the background, "but New York City teachers believe it takes a well-rounded curriculum - including science, civics, language, arts and sports - to help young imaginations thrive."

The ad will run for four weeks on major network and cable channels. It's part of the union's response to the city's $160 million investment in a test prep program and computer system to decipher the test data.

- New York Teacher/city edition

Teacher centers launch national board council

Educators have a new resource at their fingertips on the National Board Certification process. In affiliation with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, teacher centers have teamed up to create the National Board Council of New York.

Launched in February, the council will bring together teacher centers and National Board Certified teachers from across the state, along with NYSUT, the State Education Department and the higher education and business communities.

The council aims "to support continuous learning and collaboration through teacher leadership and the National Board process to improve student learning."

For details, visit www.teachercenter.org/nbcnys/index.htm.

Batavia educators embark on healthy challenge

What started out as Batavia's Biggest Loser, similar to the popular television competition, has evolved into a much healthier focus on wellness.

School nurse Nancy Haitz, a member of the Batavia Teachers Association, coordinated the effort to make educators more aware of their health and things they could do to be healthier.

At the beginning of the challenge, participants were weighed in and had their Body Mass Index - their percentage of body fat - recorded. More than 50 educators from the middle and high schools are participating. The challenge includes regular weigh-ins and discussions on nutrition and exercise.

"In the first two weeks, our group at the middle school lost a combined 48 pounds," Haitz said.

The local, led by President Elaine Gurrant, is also focusing on fitness.

To give members tips on ways to get moving, the local solicited and released lists of indoor and outdoor winter activity ideas.

- BTA online

Central Islip retirees weigh in on school violence

Last fall, the Central Islip Retired Teachers' Association polled its members on the school shootings that seem to be an increasingly all-too familiar occurrence around the country.

More than 100 retirees responded to the survey, answering questions on the possible causes and offering suggestions for ways to help deal with problems before they turn tragic.

The results:

  • 36 percent of retirees feel schools should do more while 30 percent agree parents must be held responsible.
  • 24 percent believe the country needs stronger gun control laws while 8 percent feel television and the media are a large factor in the problem of school violence.
  • Several retirees said smaller class sizes would allow teachers to give more attention to possible problem children. Increased guidance and psychological services were also suggested.

Other ideas included more surveillance and training for staff members as well as paying more attention to and interfering in bullying.

- The CIRTAtion

Westchester faculty joins teach-in on global warming

In January, members of the Westchester Community College Federation of Teachers joined with 1,000 colleges across the country to host a teach-in on global warming.

The federation, led by Anne D'Orazio, participated in Focus the Nation, a nationwide teaching event. With the support of the school administration, students and other groups, the event was expanded to involve the community as well.

Members of the local led discussions on the science behind global warming and resulting ecological impacts, the psychology of denial, the economics of global warming, national and international law, impacts upon developing nations and what individuals can do.

- WCCFT Union News