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  • little libraries

    In Copenhagen, 'Little Libraries' bring big opportunities

    Posted August 28, 2020 by Liza Frenette

    It’s a different way to walk the beat. These days, Copenhagen retired teacher Deb Barnard Strianese makes the rounds once a week to check on and restock three new Little Libraries she helped bring into being in her own very little town. Her story began, as most do, with an idea. She thought about how her town did not have a library. As an elementary teacher, she knows first-hand how students can lose a lot of reading skills in summer, a situation heightened by not having a public library...

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  • kingston reads

    Kingston educators begin community-wide book group on race

    Posted July 15, 2020 by Liza Frenette

    Sometimes a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single book. In Kingston, that book is “So You Want To Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo. City residents are reading it as a group called Kingston Reads.

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  • culinary

    Culinary arts professor cooks with kindness for his community

    Posted May 18, 2020 by Liza Frenette

    “I called it Depression Soup Kitchen when I first started,” said culinary arts professor Joe Forget, a member of the EOC Alliance local union. “But anti-depression is what I’m really doing.”

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  • Sing for Hope

    Peace, Love and Hope: Message of piano continues to be important

    Posted April 15, 2020 by Liza Frenette

    In springtime in New York City, palettes of color emerge in rampant beds of tulips in Central Park, fields of bluebells in Brooklyn’s Botanical Garden, and daffodils in backyards in Queens. And then there are the pianos. Yes, since 2006, springtime in New York has meant the appearance of 50 pianos painted by talented artists and available for the public to play. Although this year’s pandemic prompted suspension of the program, more than 500 pianos have been set out since this publi...

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  • bethlehem garden

    Bethlehem garden guru volunteers with students

    Posted September 27, 2019 by Liza Frenette

    For more than a decade, teacher Lisa Wood has volunteered to work with students at Bethlehem Middle School twice a week after school in a garden club.

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  • demarco rail trail

    Pearl River art teacher transforms rail trail with paint and imagination

    Posted June 7, 2019 by Liza Frenette

    In a crush of color, art teacher John DeMarco spent part of summer 2018 on a bicycle and walking path in Albany County transforming a quiet underpass with paint and imagination. He was chosen in a competitive quest for artists to brighten up a section of the nine-mile Helderberg-Hudson public rail trail.

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  • chris pendergast

    For his 70th birthday, Chris Pendergast got his voice back

    Posted April 17, 2019 by Liza Frenette

    Most of the time, Chris Pendergast — the retired Northport teacher and longtime ALS patient — speaks through the computer attached to the front of his wheelchair, using his bright blue eyes to stare at a letter and blink.

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  • it's what we do

    With Collegiate Scholars of Tomorrow program, UUP member Christopher Ellis puts young students on the path to college

    Posted February 14, 2019 by Liza Frenette

    By night, by weekend, and by evasive minutes and hours here and there, he directs a new program — Collegiate Scholars of Tomorrow — that puts hope and college money into NY 529 College Savings Program bank accounts for third graders across the city.

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  • schenectady culinary

    Schenectady culinary instructor gets a sweet surprise

    Posted January 16, 2019 by Liza Frenette

    Laura Macey of the Schenectady Federation of Teachers (left) with her student chefs. Photo by Liza Frenette. Laura Macey is very busy these winter weeks. Her high school culinary students are providing food for a 14-school wrestling invitational, and then finger foods and desserts for 200 people at the Schenectady Education Foundation dinner gala. Trays and trays of chocolate chip cookie dough have been scooped out and laid out for baking by student chefs in professional white coats. Crusts fo...

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  • mittens

    A mitten tree grows in Guilderland

    Posted December 12, 2018 by Liza Frenette

    Students in the town of Guilderland in the Capital Region are making mitten history today as they bring in warm, colorful hand coverings to share with others in need. Two educators set up a fake green fir as a Mitten Tree, and students soon began loading the branches with gloves, hats … and mittens.

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  • morrisville

    With a closet full of clothes and boundless compassion, Morrisville teachers work to meet the needs of a community

    Posted November 28, 2018 by Liza Frenette

    Not every student has sufficient clothing to keep out the cold, or nice enough to keep away the sneers. Some families know the knot of not having enough food. And in Morrisville, there is no longer a grocery store. But clothes and food for the taking can be found inside the local high school, thanks to the efforts of concerned teacher Meaghan Palmer. Here in the Morrisville Clothes Closet, students can find donated shirts, pants, coats, new socks and underwear for themselves and their families.

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  • dickens

    A Dickens Tale: Volunteering on the roofs of Puerto Rico

    Posted October 18, 2018 by Liza Frenette

    As a CUNY Brooklyn College student majoring in kinesiology, Jamir Dickens is becoming familiar with studying the mechanics of body movements — but his knowledge was tested in a new way this past summer when he spent two weeks walking on the roofs of hurricane-damaged homes in Puerto Rico. It’s a whole new way of moving when you’re up on the roof pouring concrete in the hot summer Caribbean sun, noted Dickens, who volunteered with a group of CUNY student volunteers. “We w...

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  • agnello

    Union activism lays foundation for retiree’s work with Peace Corps

    Posted August 6, 2018 by Liza Frenette

    During his 40 years of teaching biology, anatomy and life science in Orchard Park, Tony Agnello was also busy experimenting with how he could improve the lives of others. Now in retirement, he is strengthening and mobilizing community outreach through his work with the Peace Corps Alliance for Intercultural Understanding — doing so at a time in which democracy is under attack, and while fear and disillusionment reign. “My personal intention is to spark the interest of teachers and ...

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  • Anthony D'Alessandro

    Retired educator embarks on writing career, fondly recalls teacher who saved him from ‘oblivion’

    Posted June 21, 2018 by Liza Frenette

    After retiring from 34 years as a reading specialist, elementary and secondary school teacher in New York’s public schools, Anthony D’Alessandro took to the pen. He’s written books, poetry, and newspaper columns. He has also trained future teachers in New York and Florida, where he retired. And through it all, he has remembered the teacher who helped him switch tracks when he was careening toward a crash. D’Alessandro recalls that in his senior year of high school he was ...

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  • bald for bucks

    In Western New York, one teacher's 'revolution of razors' raises $5 million for cancer research

    Posted April 4, 2018 by Liza Frenette

    Here’s what a shiny dome or two can do: By shaving his head and getting scores of others to shave theirs, Lake Shore teacher Tony George started a revolution of razors that has raised $5 million for Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. George — a social studies teacher, and president of the Lake Shore Teachers Association — is founder of Bald for Bucks, an organization powered primarily by teachers and students to raise money for cancer research.

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