Bronx charter school ratifies contract

By Rob Callaghan

Members from University Prep Charter HS in the South Bronx look over the terms of their contract after their ratification vote.

Members from University Prep Charter HS in the South Bronx look over the terms of their contract after their ratification vote.

Teachers and professional staff at University Prep Charter HS in the South Bronx on Nov. 20 approved, by unanimous vote, a new two-year contract.

The contract, which runs from Sept. 1, 2015, to Aug. 31, 2017, provides members with 1 percent increases in both years and gives educators a greater say in how they are evaluated.

The contract covers 45 teachers, teacher assistants, guidance counselors, office managers, operations assistants and school assistants. As part of the agreement, the UFT will also now represent office leads, operations leads and operations associates at the school.

“I’m glad we were able to get raises across the board, while still being fiscally responsible,” said Hunter Schoenfeld, the chapter leader and a special education teacher at the school. “At the same time, we were able to grow the UFT at our school by having our operations staff included.”

University Prep Charter HS — formerly Green Dot New York — has been a unionized school since it opened in September 2009.

Originally published in the January 7, 2016 New York Teacher issue

Members at Amber, 2 other charters ratify new contracts

by Cara Metz

Educators at the Amber Charter School in East Harlem ratified a new contract by unanimous vote on June 15.

Members and administrators from the Amber Charter School in East Harlem are all smiles after reaching agreement on their new contract.

Members and administrators from the Amber Charter School in East Harlem are all smiles after reaching agreement on their new contract.

The four-year contract delivers an increase of 1.5 percent to educators’ salaries for each year, retroactive to Sept. 1, 2014, and an increase in the employer’s contribution to the teachers’ retirement plan beginning Sept. 1, 2016.

Amber, a charter school for 15 years, was the first to join the UFT. The contract, the seventh with the UFT, covers 39 members who work as teachers, guidance counselors, teacher assistants, school aides and librarians.

School staff characterize their relationship with the administration as a partnership focused on supporting educators to meet the needs of Amber’s students.

The contract adds steps to the school’s salary schedule, which is based on years of experience and education. Currently, there are 11 steps. By the final year of the contract, 2018, there will be 14 steps, with salary topping out at $100,290.

“Teachers at Amber are very happy with our new contract,” said Chapter Leader Jennifer Antolino, who teaches 3rd grade. In addition to the economic improvements, she said, “we’ve also been able to include committees that further ensure teacher voice.”

Elizabeth Pitula, a 4th-grade teacher, added that “leadership at Amber recognizes that strong unions make for strong schools and seeks to partner with teachers in order to best serve our students.” Continue reading&#0133

We are all educators

shankerby Miles Trager

In the fifty plus years of the UFT’s proud history, educators have consistently taken up the fight for a wide range of issues affecting our city’s classrooms. Whether that has meant rallying in the streets of Manhattan, lobbying elected officials in Albany and Washington, or organizing our chapters in schools in all five boroughs.

From our struggle to form the UFT in 1960 to the strike in 1975 over swelling class sizes to protesting apartheid in South Africa in 1984 and standing up for public schools when former Mayor Giuliani championed parochial schools in the 1990s, our goal has always been to demand the public education system that our students and our communities deserve.

As part of that tradition, former UFT President Albert Shanker, as AFT President, was one of the first education leaders to champion the idea of charter schools. In a 1988 speech, he envisioned teacher-led schools that would experiment with innovative education methods which, after being subjected to rigorous evaluation, could be adopted by other public schools. Continue reading&#0133

Academy of the City Charter ratifies new contract

Barrie Miskin, a 1st-grade lead teacher, casts her ballot.

By Rob Callaghan

Teachers and other staff at Academy of the City Charter School in Woodside, Queens, approved a new collective-bargaining agreement, which introduced class-size limits, improved the committee structure at the school, and provided educators with a 11 percent pay increase over three years. As part of the agreement, the UFT now represents school aides at the school.

“The negotiations process really brought everyone here together because we are all working toward the same goal — a great school,” said Alicia Latman, a kindergarten lead teacher and the school’s chapter leader. “The improvements in the contract will help build our school community.” Continue reading&#0133

Collaboration and Engagement in the Common Core Classroom: English Language Learners

gl15037-flyer-ACTS-ELL FINALJoin us on Wednesday, April 22 for a FREE professional development workshop, designed and delivered by the UFT Teacher Center.

Register here.

Participants will:

  • Deepen knowledge of Common Core Learning Standards Instructional Shifts
  • Explore the use of primary sources to develop academic language and content knowledge
  • Engage in collaborative, evidence-based conversations around multiple media
  • Acquire tools and strategies to scaffold the development of academic language

The course is free and open to all charter school educators. Continue reading&#0133