Newark Teachers Union

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Arbitrator rules in favor of NTU in COVID quarantine grievance

The Newark Teachers Union (Local 481) scored a major victory Nov. 23 when arbitrator Robert C. Gifford ruled that Newark Public Schools must repay NTU members what the union estimates is about $1 million in salary and restore sick days with regard to COVID-related absences.

The case started on Oct. 13, 2021, when the NTU filed a grievance alleging that starting Jan.…

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Starting salary for Newark teachers raised to $62K

The Newark Board of Education and the Newark Teachers Union recently agreed to raise the district’s starting salary for new teachers to $62,000 per year.

“While teacher shortages across the nation have been exacerbated by the global pandemic, we in Newark are leveraging multiple strategies to attract and retain great teachers,” Newark superintendent Roger León said in a June 2 post on the Newark BOE website.…

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NTU’s Lagasca receives Milken Educator Award

Sarah Mae Lagasca, a Newark Teachers Union member who teaches music at the city’s Arts High School, on April 1 received a $25,000 Milken Educator Award.

On hand for the surprise ceremony were Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan, New Jersey’s acting commissioner of education, and Dr. Jane Foley, senior vice president for the Milken Educator Awards.

“Sarah Mae is not only one of our nation’s best teachers, she is also an accomplished singer in her own right,” said Dr.

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Weingarten visits Newark, awards AFT stipends to students in teacher academy

AFT President Randi Weingarten visited Newark’s East Side High School on Feb. 14 to deliver news that the union will be issuing spring and summer stipends of $1,200 and $2,500, respectively, to each student in the school district’s AFT-supported dual-enrollment teacher academy program.

“We want to make sure that you can dream your dreams and achieve them,” Weingarten said.…

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NTU’s Moore retires; AFTNJ seeks his PreK-12 VP replacement

Newark Teachers Union member Jerry Moore has retired from the Newark public school district, and he has also stepped down from his position as an AFTNJ vice president/PreK-12.

AFTNJ bylaws outline the following procedures for filling this VP vacancy:

Section 7: Vacancies in any other elected office except the presidency shall be filled by selection from the Delegate Assembly at its next regular meeting after due notice to all member affiliates.…

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Newark teacher Cepeda relies on visuals in her bilingual special education classes

Bilingual special education teacher Mily Cepeda, who was born and raised in Newark, was hired in fall 2019 by Newark Public Schools to teach at the Louise A. Spencer School.

And once the pandemic hit, Cepeda quickly made the transition to teaching from her home.

“After live classes, I would spend several hours each day recording videos in Spanish and in English of lessons and telling students how to do their homework step by step,” she says in an interview with Chalkbeat Newark’s Caroline Bauman.…

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Weingarten visits Newark’s First Avenue School

AFT President Randi Weingarten on May 24 visited the First Avenue School in Newark to thank its educators and students “for believing that we were gonna get out of COVID” and to take a tour of the building with AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera and others.

It was the 10th school visit in the past month or so for the fully vaccinated Weingarten, who mentioned early on in her outdoor speech, “I said to your superintendent [Roger León] and to [Newark Teachers Union President] John Abeigon, I am not gonna do my back-to-school-this-year tour unless I come to Newark.”…

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Abeigon to Sunlight: Newark public schools are open, unlike N.J.’s corporate charters

A recently posted billboard calling out the Newark Teachers Union has not gone unnoticed by Local 481 President John M. Abeigon.

Part of a campaign by the Sunlight Policy Center of New Jersey, the grammatically incorrect billboard resides along Route 21 between Market and Lafayette streets in Newark. It makes reference to 430,000 students in grades 3-8, claiming they will be below grade level by the end of this year, and asks, “Why is the Newark Teacher’s Union locking them out of their classrooms?”…

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NTU’s Farley is thankful for student’s kind words in Teacher Appreciation Week story

He’s been a teacher in the Newark public school system for 27 years, and for 17 of them, he’s been teaching health and physical education at Science Park High School.

Now Newark Teachers Union member Patrick Farley can add “teacher who couldn’t be stopped during the pandemic” to his resume.

That distinction was given to him May 3 by Chalkbeat in a Teacher Appreciation Week story by Susan Gonzalez in which readers from around the country “salute educators who went above and beyond,” according to its headline.…

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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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Newark teacher Floyd stays connected with her students

Like so many teachers in Newark, Joicki Floyd has faced challenges teaching remotely this school year, and one of hers was attendance for virtual classes. When it was about 50 percent, Floyd, who teaches English at Weequahic High School, had a word with those who’d gone MIA by making calls and visiting homes.

“Students need to know — more so now than ever before — that people care,” Floyd said in a story by Chalkbeat Newark’s Patrick Wall.…

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Abeigon: Testing Newark students for COVID-19 should be a ‘prerequisite’

John M. Abeigon, president of the Newark Teachers Union (Local 481), is pushing for all middle school and high school students in his district to be tested for COVID-19 when in-person learning resumes in April.

“We believe it’s a prerequisite,” Abeigon said in a story by Chalkbeat Newark’s Patrick Wall. “Our concern is asymptomatic kids giving it to each other and bringing the virus home.”…

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Newark’s high school teachers struggle to be fair with grades

High school teachers in Newark have either been directed not to issue failing grades or to do so only as “a last resort during the pandemic,” writes Chalkbeat Newark’s Patrick Wall, who spoke with a handful of educators in New Jersey’s largest school district about how they’re handling their respective situations.

“The word has been that nobody should be failing if at all possible,” said Local 481’s Christopher Canik, a math teacher and an AFTNJ preK-12 vice president.…

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Remote learning in Newark to continue into April

Newark once again has delayed the reopening of its public schools for in-person learning. Instead of Jan. 25, the district’s buildings will now reopen April 12.

“In Newark, we are at a critical stage in the fight against COVID-19, and the health and safety of students and staff remain my top priority,” Superintendent Roger León said in a letter he shared Jan.…

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