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    • First Book fosters a summer reading celebration

      Students are busting out of school this week, and many of them are clutching new books: for summer reading or forever reading. For some, due to family finances that are too tight to purchase books or unsafe neighborhoods that prevent them from going to the library, these books are even more beloved.

      Some of the donated, hardcover First Books are being handed out in school; others are being distributed in backpacks assembled by United Way this week; and others will be given out at early-summer events being coordinated by local teachers unions. In New York's North Country alone, 1,700 books — $15,000 worth of resources — will be given out at local events by teachers within the NYSUT Plattsburgh Regional Office area volunteering their time, according to Paul Webster, NYSUT community outreach coordinator.

      Learn more about NYSUT's First Book initiative at www.nysut.org/firstbook.

      In Syracuse, an outdoor Field Day and Summer Reading Celebration was changed suddenly when a shooting and unruly crowd in a nearby neighborhood park the day before prompted school officials to change plans and keep students indoors.

      "It was a timely reminder of how our school serves as a safe spot in this neighborhood and how great it will be for the kids to have books of their own this summer, as many families are protective and won't let them go on their own to the public library, which is not close by," said Jen Groff, interim librarian at Westside Academy.

      "For some students, it is both difficult and dangerous to access books and libraries," said Webster. "It makes First Book even more important."

      "Some classes visited the school library and, to others, I brought books on a cart for them to choose. I've also added copies to the library collection and teachers have picked books for their classrooms as well," said Groff, grateful for the First Book donation.

      First Book is a nonprofit that provides disadvantaged children with new books. American Federation of Teachers has partnered with First Book at https://www.firstbook.org/AFT. First Books include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, graphic novels, picture books and board books.

      This week, eighth-graders at the Mohonasen school district in Schenectady County selected a free book for their summer reading ELA project. "Students were all smiles and the books flew out of the boxes into students' hands," said Maria Pacheco, Spanish teacher and president of the Mohonasen Teachers Association.

      Mindy Holland, Mohonasen middle school librarian, helped students check out books from the library for their summer reading; then students were allowed to choose a First Book "they can keep forever."

      The book giveaway was open to all students, so everyone "could take a book without any stigma," said Holland, who has been a school librarian for 14 years.

      "Divergent was the most popular,'" she said.

      Throughout the year, a group of teachers led by Deb Brown from Bradt Elementary School visited NYSUT headquarters to sort thousands of First Books to be distributed to other school districts like Monroe 1 BOCES SRP and Wayne Finger Lakes BOCES SRP as well as to bring books back to their Mohonasen students.

      "The Mohonasen TA has joined forces with NYSUT and First Book to bring more than 1,000 free books to students this academic year," said Pacheco.

      A First Book giveaway last December provided students with a book for themselves and another they could give as a gift, perhaps to a younger sibling.

      This week at NYSUT headquarters in Latham, volunteers from the United Way of the Greater Capital Region, Target retail store and members of the local labor community have been stuffing 1,000 backpacks — donated through a grant from Depend — with pencils, school supplies, coloring books, stickers and 1,000 books donated by First Book.

      The backpacks will be given out to children at summer food programs headed by United Way agencies.

      The North Country First Book outreach is happening in part to benefit the community outreach of North Country Thrive, a nonprofit agency that operates out of SUNY Plattsburgh and which oversees numerous agencies that help children and families in need in seven northern counties.


      Teamwork gets the job done. Stuffing 1k backpacks for kids @nysut headquarters w/ @UnitedWay_GCR. #alwaysreading pic.twitter.com/HKEsKpxSHB

      — Dan McCoy-CountyExec (@MCCoyCountyExec) June 21, 2016

      .@TWCNewsAlbany crew @nysut today for @UnitedWayGCR summer reading backpack stuffing w/@FirstBook pic.twitter.com/tegU7MrM0D

      — Paul Webster (@paulwebster06) June 21, 2016
    • ‘Can’t afford not to get it right’: NYSUT president talks tests, assessments and what’s next

    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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