Bridges meets with AFTNJ’s higher education leaders

Calling it “the first of many meetings,” New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education Dr. Brian Bridges on April 16 hosted a virtual session with AFTNJ’s higher education leaders.

“Our organization has been looking forward to the opportunity to meet with you and share our concerns regarding higher education,” said Dr. Susanna Tardi, AFTNJ’s executive vice president/higher education, in her opening comments.…

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Murphy’s new gun reforms include regulating school shooting drills

As part of new gun reforms unveiled April 15, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has proposed a measure authorizing the Department of Education to establish trauma-informed and age-appropriate standards for lockdown drills.

“I think of the tens of thousands of Newark schoolchildren who returned to their classrooms this week for the first time in a year … and as I do, I know that we must do everything in our power to ensure that they are safe not just in those classrooms but as they make their way to and from home every single day,” Murphy said at an appearance in Newark.…

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These instructional strategies actively engage students

Cognitive routines, visual routines and discussion protocols are instructional strategies “that can have a big impact on student learning,” writes educational consultant Angela Di Michele Lalor in an April 14 post for Edutopia.

“When teachers select instructional strategies that actively engage students and develop those methods as routines for student learning, they’re equipping students with strategies for approaching the new and unknown,” she writes.…

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Report explores pandemic’s effect on upcoming kindergartners

School districts can expect greater age differences in kindergarten classrooms this fall and should prepare for wider skill disparities among those children, according to a report by the nonprofit organization NWEA.

“Among the many ways in which schools are being transformed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the change in public school kindergarten enrollment is one likely to have important consequences in classrooms across the nation,” write Beth Tarasawa, Angela Johnson and Christine Yankel.…

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Weingarten now OK with CDC’s revised distancing guidance for K-12 schools

AFT President Randi Weingarten recently received a letter signed by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky and Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel A. Cardona that Weingarten says “has eased my concerns” regarding the CDC’s revised guidance reducing physical distancing in K-12 schools from six feet to three feet.

“They responded forthrightly to every question we posed, making clear that reduced distancing in classrooms for kids must be accompanied by the layered mitigation strategies,” Weingarten wrote in a letter to AFT colleagues that was obtained by U.S.…

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NTU members, Newark students begin part-time in-person learning

After more than a year of remote learning, roughly 40 percent of Newark’s PreK-12 students were expected to start part-time in-person instruction on April 12.

For Newark Teachers Union (Local 481) member Catia Nascimento, classroom mitigation strategies go hand in hand with behavior conducted outside of school buildings.

“We’re trying to provide a very safe environment to learn,” said Nascimento, who teaches at East Side High School, in a recent NJ Advance Media story by Rebecca Panico.…

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Survey: AFT members getting vaccinated at high rate

According to a survey conducted by Hart Research Associates, 81 percent of AFT members have either received a COVID-19 vaccine or are scheduled to get one.

“Educators are rolling up their sleeves, not only to get vaccinated but to return to in-person schooling with the CDC’s safety guardrails in place,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten in a statement.…

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CDC’s Walensky: In-person learning for all students in September

The plan for the start of the 2021-22 school year is to have in-person learning for all students, no matter if they have received COVID-19 vaccines, according to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s director.

“We should anticipate, come September 2021, that schools should be full-fledged in person and all of our children back in the classroom,” Dr.…

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Agreement provides job security for Rutgers unions

Five Coalition of Rutgers Unions locals, among them Rutgers AAUP-AFT (Local 6323) and URA-AFT (Local 1766), recently ratified an agreement with Rutgers University that provides job security, a timetable for raises and other gains for the CRU.

“We finally got the administration to change direction and adopt our people-centered approach,” said Todd Wolfson, president of Rutgers AAUP-AFT.…

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PERS to present webinars for AFTNJ adjuncts

The Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) will present two workshops in May for AFTNJ adjunct professors who would like more information about pension benefits or are planning to retire.

“Understanding Your Pension Benefits,” scheduled for May 12 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. ET, will cover enrollment criteria, membership tiers, the Member Benefits Online System (MBOS), beneficiary designation, group life insurance coverage, pension loans and more.…

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Rutgers personnel among the speakers at education reform conference

Registration is now open for this year’s Education Reform, Communities and Social Justice Research Conference, taking place via Zoom on June 2, 16 and 30.

Elisabeth H. Kim from Rutgers University in Newark has one of the talks set for June 2 under the collective heading Community Schools, School Safety & Restorative Justice.

As part of the Social Justice & Youth Voices programming on June 16, Marina Feldman, a full-time teaching assistant at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education, will discuss the struggle to save the Lincoln Annex School in New Brunswick.…

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