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Evelyn DeJesus
Nov 14

NYC Schools Chancellor and AFT leaders visit school in Puerto Rico

San Juan, PR - NYC Schools Chancellor and AFT leaders visited a school in Puerto Rico to explore partnership opportunities to benefit teachers and students as part of the recovery process of the Island. The visit, on Friday, Nov. 9 was the Escuela Central de Artes Visuales in San Juan.

Participants: Chancellor Richard Carranza (NYC Schools Chancellor), Evelyn DeJesus (pictured above, Vice President of the American Federation of Teachers and United Federation of Teachers) and Aida Díaz (President of the Puerto Rican Teachers Association, AMPR).

srp recognition day
Nov 14

SRP Recognition Day: Are you up for a little friendly competition?



SRP Recognition Day is a great way to acknowledge the contributions School-Related Professionals make in helping to educate the whole student.

So: is your local union up for a little friendly competition?

Did your local union, school or parent organization plan a spectacular event?

Did you display posters and fliers to announce this special celebration?

Then tell us about it!

Send your SRP Recognition Day event photos, quotes, activities - and more - to Leslie Fottrell at lfottrel@nysutmail.org by Dec. 11 to be eligible!

The prize

Two 1st place winners will receive a two-for-one for the 2019 SRP Conference at the Desmond Hotel in Albany (an approximate $250 value) and have their event featured in a NYSUT publication.

So get ready for SRP Recognition Day!

And be creative!

We can't wait to hear about your event!

LEARN MORE

For additional SRP Recognition Day resources, including posters and planning resources for local leaders, visit www.nysut.org/srprecognitionday

srp recognition day

Scholarship Recipients
Nov 14

Teachers join the Puerto Rican Day Parade to award student scholarships

November 8, 2018 (San Juan, PR) - The Puerto Rico Teachers Association (AMPR), the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) and the NYC Department of Education joined the National Puerto Rican Day Parade (NPRDP) Organization to recognize and award scholarships to a group of 32 Puerto Rican students on the Island. The scholarship program benefits both Puerto Rican students on the island and on the mainland to help them afford college and continue their undergraduate education.

“We are grateful to the NPRDP for making possible this opportunity for our students.  In a moment when many Puerto Rican families are facing many challenges and difficulties caused by the economic situation, these scholarships provide a tool for students to continue their education and thrive”, said Aida Díaz, President of the AMPR.

The $200,000 scholarship fund of the NPRDP awards 100 scholarships of $2,000 each to Puerto Rican high school students going into college. The initiative is possible thanks to the support of companies, organizations and unions like the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the United Federation of Teachers (UFT). “Kids are our future and higher education helps them succeed. With rising tuition at the University of Puerto Rico and other higher education institutions, this aid provides vital support and encourages its recipients to stay in school and pursue a professional career. As a union, we care not only for the well-being of our members, but also for the education and formation of our students”, affirmed Evelyn DeJesus, UFT Vice President for Education, and AFT Vice President.

“We are grateful to the UFT and AFT for their financial and professional support, and who review and help select the scholars,” said Nilda L. Oyola the chairperson of the Parade Scholarship Committee.

The announcement took place during an award ceremony hosted by the AMPR at their headquarters in San Juan.

Veterans Day
Nov 08

From Navy petty officer to "Huffalump" driver, SRP Darci Ordway lives to serve.

Navy veteran and School-Related Professional Darci Ordway will never forget her first school bus run.

As she nervously pulled up the hulking 40-foot shiny yellow bus to her first stop, a young girl, barely big enough to lift her legs upon the high steps, got onto the bus and said, “Thank god you’re here. If my mom fluffed my hair one more time I was going to lose it.”

That’s all it took for Ordway — who calls her young riders “Huffalumps” — to get hooked.

 

Ordway started out as a driver so she could be with her four boys after school and during the summer, and to provide them with good health insurance through her union job. But — thanks in large part to her “Huffalumps” — she realized she loved what she was doing and stayed on after her own kids finished school.

She even served as a two-term past president of the Chatham Central Bus Drivers Association, as well as on the board of Our Community Cares, which helps local veterans with transportation, resources and support.

Service: to her union, her community, her country — that’s how this bus driver rolls.

“I loved it all,” she said.

Ordway also knows up close and personal the high price of service.

Her grandfather Charles Hover was a New York state trooper from what is now Troop G. He was drafted into World War II and served as a lieutenant. Then, while aboard an airplane heading back to the United States at the end of his service, he was killed when his aircraft was shot down over Mirandola, Italy.

Waiting at home was his three-month old son, who would become Ordway’s father.

The preciousness of life is part of Ordway’s DNA. In the morning, her bus full, Ordway pulls up to the school and has all the kids get quiet. Then she has them shout, “I am beautiful! I am smart! I am the best kid I know!”

Ordway considers herself and her fellow school bus drivers to be ambassadors. She’s the first face that students see when they step onto her bus, which takes them to class and then back home at the end of the day. She’s the one who makes sure they all know each other — this floppy mix of kids from kindergarteners through seniors — so they feel comfortable tapping one another for support while in school.

Ordway joined the Navy one day before her high school graduation, serving from 1987-1993 in California.

Her first assignment was as a chef for crews of up to 2,200 soldiers training to be Navy Seals. Three times a day, they were very hungry – and sometimes after special drills they might need a midnight meal. 

The second half of her military career was spent at a Naval air station as a petty officer coordinating room assignments and maintenance at military housing occupied by enlisted soldiers who ultimately were deployed to the first Gulf War, and other places.

“You were never sure who was going to return,” she said. “There were people who didn’t show up at the door to take their key.”

In her spare time, Ordway — whose voicemail greeting says she may “be out having some kind of adventure” — is anything but idle.

Every year she rides her bike 310 miles from the World Trade Center in New York to Washington, D.C. in memory of her grandfather as part of a group that pedals to honor fallen troopers.

The group is called New York State Police Chapter 37 in honor of the 37 Port Authority officers killed in the 9-11 terrorist attacks. The riders raise money and awareness.

The ride is all part of Ordway’s belief in service, and steadfast remembrance of the sacrifice her grandfather, and so many others, have made.

“I loved serving my country…volunteering to stand under that flag,” she said. “Other countries have no vote, no freedom, no choice. These are people who fought for us, so we could have civil rights, so we could progress with freedom of speech and freedom of a political party. We vote, and we use our voices that were protected by veterans.”

We Remembered
Nov 07

We told you we would remember

 

Don’t mess with NYSUT.

If you run for office and call dedicated, hard-working educators and health-care workers “forces of evil” — as Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan did a month before Election Day — our members will remember.

If you refuse to address the state’s broken and unfair teacher-evaluation and standardized testing system, our members will remember.

And if you insist on catering to the billionaire-backed charter industry at the expense of New York’s students, our members will remember.

“If there is one takeaway from this election, it’s that NYSUT members pay attention – and they vote,” NYSUT President Andy Pallotta said.

In the same way NYSUT members remembered who didn’t stand by students and teachers, they also remembered those who did — staffing phone banks and working tirelessly on behalf of those candidates. In the end, the union’s motivated membership was instrumental in flipping control of the state Senate, and electing a majority of pro-public education candidates. Consider:

  • 95 percent of the union’s endorsed candidates for Assembly won (137 endorsements, 130 wins — including NYSUT’s own Monica Wallace and Patrick Burke)
  • 88 percent of NYSUT’s endorsed candidates for state Senate won (40 endorsements, 35 wins)
  • 81 percent of NYSUT’s endorsed candidates for Congress won (26 endorsements, 21 wins)

The show of force by NYSUT members — proving they are a “force of good” — continues the trend of teacher activism nationwide. This past spring, fed-up educators in West Virginia, Arizona and Oklahoma walked off the job, leading successful strikes to force lawmakers in their respective states to raise their pay and invest more in their public schools.

You’d think Sen. Flanagan would have remembered what happened to his fellow Long Islander, U.S. Sen. Alfonse D’Amato, who 21 years earlier attacked teacher tenure and was bounced from office by educators who had enough.

Flanagan didn’t remember.

NYSUT members never forget. 

Nov 06

Pallotta: "Forces of good" big winners in tonight’s elections

ALBANY, N.Y. November 6, 2018 – New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta released the following reaction to tonight’s elections results:

“If there is one takeaway from this election, it’s that NYSUT members pay attention – and they vote. NYSUT members took notes on who considers them ‘a force of evil’ and they remembered who betrayed them in choosing the charter industry over reforming the broken teacher evaluation system. Our incredibly energized ‘forces of good’ – joining a national wave of teacher and union activism – burned up the phone lines; rang thousands of doorbells, engaged their colleagues in conversations, and handed out more campaign literature than anyone can count. In addition to our financial contributions, we worked hard for those champions who understand it’s time to end the state’s obsession with testing; fix the broken evaluation system and invest more in our public schools, colleges and hospitals. Educators and the state's working people are 'forces of good' and they are the big winners in this election."

New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care.  NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.       
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