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    • Potsdam set to 'Take a Look at Teaching' March 26

      Potsdam "Take a Look at Teaching" Summit

      Tuesday, March 26, 2019, 4:30-6:30 PM
      SUNY Potsdam: Knowles Conference Center
      23 Barrington Dr., Potsdam, NY 13676

      This summit is hosted by United University Professions (Potsdam Chapter) and NYSUT.

      Join the Conversation

      NYSUT is hosting a series of Take a Look at Teaching Summits in communities across the state aimed at cultivating relationships and exploring solutions to the teacher shortage and teacher diversity challenges facing our schools. Please consider joining and supporting our initiative in your community.

      For more information, or to RSVP for the March 26th summit in Potsdam, please contact Greg McCrea at: gmccrea@nysutmail.org, 518-213-6000, X6557.

      New York’s Teacher Shortage and Workforce Diversity

      New York is facing a looming teacher shortage that has already emerged in difficult to staff subject areas and high needs districts, both urban and rural.

      • Enrollment in New York State’s teacher education programs has declined by 47% since 2009.
      • NYS Teacher Retirement System projects that 1/3 of New York’s teachers could retire in the next five years. New York State will need 180,000 teachers in the next decade.
      • The US Department of Education has identified 16 teacher shortage areas throughout New York, up from only two recognized shortage areas a decade ago. The education workforce in New York State does not reflect the diversity of our student population.
      • Nationally, 38% of the student population is Hispanic/Latino or African American. That number is expected to increase to 52% by 2020. Only 8% of teachers are Hispanic/Latino and 7% are African American.
      • In New York State, 43% of the students are Hispanic/Latino or African American, compared to 16% of the teacher population.

      take a look at teaching

    • Brentwood teacher doggedly pursues answers to problems faced by teachers in the workplace

      Her nickname is “Donna McGrievance.”

      It’s an apt moniker for Brentwood’s Donna McStay, whose many actions to protect the health and safety of her peers have earned her NYSUT’s “Unsung Hero” award.

      McStay, a sixth-grade English and science teacher at South Middle School, is executive vice president of the Brentwood Teachers Association, where she chairs the Grievance Committee. Earlier this month, she was honored at NYSUT’s biennial Health and Safety Conference, at which she told her colleagues from throughout the state: “We are a team!”

      In Brentwood, union building delegates follow channels to get problems resolved, and if they are not, then “McGrievance” steps in with the paperwork.

      “It is a means to protect our members’ rights and ensure that our buildings are safe and healthful places to teach and learn. This proactive approach has served us all very well,” she said.

      McStay is the “Columbo” of her district, doggedly pursuing answers to problems faced by teachers in the workplace, ranging from poor indoor air quality to mold to overheated classrooms. She also headed the effort to ensure the district had building swipe readers and identification cards, and that security cameras were repaired or replaced. She even spent six years working to resolve a mold and mildew problem in a high school media room.

      “It took a while to diagnose the issues,” McStay said. “The district agreed to some major cleaning efforts and addressed the mold/air quality issues by renovating the air intake and blower system.” Then, they removed foam padding and painting.

      In a district with 19,000 students and 18 buildings, problems can arise around any corner.

      “Our buildings are very old, so excessive heat in classrooms has been an ongoing issue for years,” she said. “We joined in NYSUT’s efforts… and asked teachers to record excessive temperatures in classrooms over a two-week period.” Data was then sent to NYSUT and to the district, and now there has been a “much quicker response” to both heating issues and the installation of medically necessary air conditioners, McStay said.

      “Establishing an upper-temperature limit in classrooms needs to become law/regulation,” she said.

      “Many rooms have gotten new heating units and blowers that circulate/replace air in rooms throughout the day. We are now also able to ensure our members that air conditioners and heating units have the filters cleaned, or replaced, on a regular basis.”

      McStay credits the BTA’s chain-of-command with helping to stay on top of health and safety issues. Educators in the 1,400-member local union report issues to delegates in each building in the district.

      “Many of our chief delegates and delegates have received union training, so it is not uncommon for them to be able to address various concerns in their own buildings with their administrators,” she said. Being able to attend the professional development conference offered by NYSUT “makes us stronger, more informed, and a little more powerful,” she said.

      When an issue cannot be resolved, she said the delegate contacts a vice president, who then tries to take care of the grievance informally. They have regularly scheduled meetings with administration. If there is no progress, then a grievance is filed.

      One of her best tools in her work as grievance chair is documentation.

      “When there is an unresolved issue, members are often asked to document,” she said. “This may include room repair request forms, photos, logs, etcetera.”

      McStay also reported that health and safety measures included removing rugs in numerous rooms and installing tiles. Asbestos abatement was completed on various classrooms and offices in the district and floors replaced. Many windows that were malfunctioning throughout the district have been fixed or replaced. The union was also able to get part-time custodial “floaters” hired to help with the overall daily maintenance of buildings when custodians are absent.

      “I have always felt that if you help one member, you are helping all members,” McStay said.

      At the new member orientation for the BTA led by Kevin Coyne, new members are provided a lot of choices for getting involved. That way, said McStay, when there is a problem or an idea, “they feel we are very approachable.”

      The BTA also works with the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, which McStay considers a “valuable resource.” And, she said, more attention is now being paid to the mental and emotional health of not just students, but members and their families.

      At its next union meeting, the BTA will host a counseling center director to come in and talk to its 140 delegates about this important benefit provided in their contract.

      “I’d like to see more training and education on this issue,” McStay said.

      A good amount of her own emotional health comes from her work in the classroom.

      “I love all aspects of teaching, but the best part by far is connecting with students,” McStay said, calling the Brentwood students “eager, compassionate and full of life.”

      As she heads toward the wind-down of her teaching career, she said the relationships she has built with students and their families are “what I treasure most.”

    LTA Blog

    Stand Up For What All Kids Need







    Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed budget for 2015-2016 lays out a punishing anti-public education agenda that attacks teachers and hurts students.

    Rather than provide what all kids need, the governor is pushing a Billionaires' Agenda that would decimate the state's public schools. His "my-way-or-the-highway" budget would:

    • hold school aid increases hostage;
    • woefully underfund the state's K-12 and higher education systems;
    • more than double the weight of standardized tests;
    • make permanent an undemocratic tax cap that has wreaked financial havoc on school communities;
    • eliminate funding for teacher training;
    • launch a back-door voucher plan that would siphon funding away from schools most in need;
    • underfund public higher education by tying funding to campus "performance" rather than enrollment;
    • smooth the way for the privatization of SUNY's five hospitals;
    • destroy prep programs for future teachers;
    • and fail to fully address the student debt crisis.

    Simply put, Gov. Cuomo's proposed budget - which serves the interests of his billionaire backers - is an attack on public education that fails to address what all students need.

    Things you can do right now to fight back.

    Every NYSUT member is needed to defend public education and the teaching profession from Gov. Cuomo's Billionaires' Agenda.

    Tell the governor to stop scapegoating... stop teacher bashing and focus on what #AllKidsNeed.

    Here's your to-do list.

    Take action on this week's campaigns.

    The latest actions will always be right here in the No. 1 spot.

    Call your state senator. Now.

    • Stop what you're doing and call your state senator with this message: stand up to the Governor's "Bigfoot" tactics and defend our outstanding New York public schools!
    • You can look up the number at the NYSUT Member Action Center.

    Sign up for MAC text alerts!

    Take 10 seconds and sign up for MAC text alerts on your phone!

    Here's how: Text the word "NYSUT" to the contact number 38470.

    Sign the petitions.

    Call out the governor.

    • Invite the governor to visit your class to learn what #AllKidsNeed. Tweet out an invite directly at him and be sure to include his Twitter handle @NYGovCuomo and the hashtag #InviteCuomo if you want your tweet to be seen and heard.
    • Not on Twitter? See step 8.

    Get connected to the MAC.

    • BY TEXT. Get real-time text messages about urgent news and actions by texting the word NYSUT to the number 38470.
    • BY EMAIL. Subscribe to the NYSUT Member Action Center email alerts for updates on this campaign. If you're registered via email as a NYSUT MAC e-activist you'll also be the first to know about upcoming rallies, protests and more.
    • BY APP. Download the NYSUT MAC App for your iPhone or for your Android phone. Be sure notifications are enabled to receive alerts on new action items.

    Get connected on Facebook.

    Get connected on Twitter.

    • Join Twitter and follow @NYSUT to be part of the social media army.
    • Once a day (or as often as possible) tweet your thoughts on what #AllKidsNeed - more science labs, music and art classes, school libraries, smaller class sizes and more. We're reminding the governor to focus on what matters! Follow the conversation in real-time for some great examples from parents and educators.

    Share the poster.

    Wear the button.

    Take part in community forums.

    • Keep an eye on nysut.org/allkidsneed for information on upcoming NYSUT-sponsored Community Forums to Save Public Education in every region of the state.

    Talk it up.

    • Get the conversation going - online and offline. Read "Where We Stand" and use it to craft social media messages, send letters to the editor, and brief friends and colleagues.
    • Circulate and share print materials and videos.

    Support "Take Action Tuesday."

    • Mark your calendar to support NYSUT's "Take Action Tuesday" every week. Be on the lookout for updates.

    Learn more at www.nysut.org/allkidsneed.


    Last Updated (Tuesday, 03 March 2015 16:10)


    Member Alert Program




    There are so many member benefits, that it can be hard to keep track of them all.
    The NYSUT Member Benefits MAP (Member Alert Program) email blast service keeps you informed through a brief email message every three weeks.
    You can join MAP on the NYSUT website, at http://www.nysut.org/49.htm

    Last Updated (Friday, 15 November 2013 16:58)


    Nysut Action Center Mobile App




    NYSUT action center now has an app for smartphones that makes it very easy to take action. It is available in the app store for free.

    Last Updated (Friday, 15 November 2013 16:38)

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