Goal of Hawkins program is to diversify teacher workforce

The U.S. Department of Education on Aug. 19 revealed an $8 million grant competition meant to increase the diversity of the teacher workforce.

The Augustus F. Hawkins Centers of Excellence program will support comprehensive, high-quality teacher preparation programs at historically black colleges and universities, minority-serving institutions, and tribal colleges and universities, per a U.S. DOE press release.…

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N.J.’s tax-free period for back-to-school supplies begins Aug. 27

As per Gov. Phil Murphy’s announcement in late June, New Jersey’s tax-free period for back-to-school supplies starts Aug. 27.

Pens, notebooks, computers, sports equipment and bicycle helmets are among the items that can be purchased in person or online starting that day and through Sept. 5 sans the state’s sales tax.

On a related note, teachers and other educators will be able to deduct up to $300 of their out-of-pocket classroom expenses for 2022 when they file their federal income tax returns next year.…

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AFTNJ 2022 Leadership Conference recap

Under the theme Stronger Unions, Stronger Voices, AFTNJ local presidents and members of their leadership teams gathered Aug. 17 in East Brunswick for this year’s leadership conference to expand their knowledge of union-related procedures and actions.

Following introductory remarks by AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera, attendees were presented with a series of workshops led by AFT national personnel.…

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Report: Educators dealt with job stress, harassment over politicized issues

About 40 percent of K-12 public teachers “reported that the intrusion of political issues and opinions into their professions was a job-related stressor,” according to the recent Rand Corp. report “Walking a Fine Line — Educators’ Views on Politicized Topics in Schooling.”

Among the report’s other key findings:

• 54 percent of K-12 educators surveyed “believed that there should not be legal limits on classroom conversations about racism and other contentious topics.”…

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Murphy signs EO to end routine COVID-19 testing for school districts, state workers

Effective Aug. 15, New Jersey school districts and child care settings no longer need to maintain a policy that requires their unvaccinated workers undergo routine COVID-19 testing, per an executive order from Gov. Phil Murphy.

“Today’s executive order follows guidance from public health officials at the CDC regarding responsible steps states can take as we continue to adjust to the endemic reality of COVID-19,” Gov.…

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GFT’s Garcia, Garfield High students complete art project for hospital

The end of a school year is a busy time for Garfield High School’s art teachers, says Garfield Federation of Teachers member Michael Garcia, one of the fine arts department’s three educators.

With that in mind, Garcia initially didn’t think he could take on a project that was proposed in the spring by fellow Garfield High teacher Victoria Derevyanik: decorating ceiling tiles for Hackensack University Medical Center’s pediatric wing.…

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Teachers can reward students with CritterCoin NFTs

By using CritterCoin, schools can create their own systems that allow teachers to reward students with digital coins and non-fungible tokens for exhibiting desired behaviors.

CritterCoin “is free for schools and teachers forever,” according to its website, with premium features available for a monthly fee. For more information and to register a school, click here.…

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Apply by Aug. 15 for chance at NSHSS diversity grants

The National Society of High School Scholars is accepting applications for its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Teaching Grant program through Aug. 15.

Any high school teacher currently employed at a U.S. public high school is eligible. Recipients of the five $1,500 awards may use the funds for supplies, field trips and other resources.

For a list of requirements and to apply, click here. …

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Mastery learning can accelerate learning recovery, teacher survey says

Nearly 85 percent of teachers “believe mastery learning can help address learning loss from the pandemic,” according to a new nationally representative survey from Khan Academy, a nonprofit providing free education resources.

“Mastery can play a critical role in recovery,” says Sal Khan, founder of Khan Academy. “It allows teachers to personalize learning so that each student can progress through their grade level while also addressing the areas where they may need extra help.”…

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