CSA and the Retiree Chapter once again invite all members to attend our Eighth Annual CSA Night at Yankee Stadium. The game will be played Friday evening June 21 against the Houston Astros. Houston won the American League West with 103 wins. The
Astros then lost to the Boston Red Sox for the American League Championship. The game starts at 7:05 pm.
We have two Tiers of tickets. The first Tier is the All You Care to Eat package featuring an all-inclusive food and nonalcoholic package with a main level ticket in section 234. Food is served when the gates open through the fifth inning. The menu includes: hot dogs, pretzels, sausages and Pepsi products. The price of this ticket is $101.
The other Tier is the Audi Yankees Club. These seats are located in left field on the suite level. The Audi Club features a dining lounge and offers sweeping views of Yankee Stadium. This package offers all-inclusive gourmet food during the game, a dessert station and nonalcoholic beverages. The price of the Audi Yankee Club is $182 per ticket.
All profits go to the CSA Scholarship Fund. The Scholarship Fund is now a recognized 501 C-3 charity. Bring the kids, nieces, nephews, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends.
To order, call the Retiree Chapter at (212) 823-2020.
Note: Monument Park is open until 45 minutes before game time and the Yankees’ Museum
Veteran’s Unit: Collaboration And Leadership
By Noah Angeles
It was slightly past noon on July 6, 2004. I was standing guard with another soldier at an entry control point at the port of Shuaiba, Kuwait, 90 miles from the Iraqi border. The temperature was 120 degrees and I was on my eighth hour of a 12-hour shift, sweaty and weighed down with heavy gear. I was alert, but at the same time escaping into thoughts of home: My mother was celebrating her fiftieth birthday and the party for her was just another occasion I would miss during my year-long deployment. With four more hours to go, I was tired and hungry, but most importantly I was hoping to get back to the base in time to call my mother.
In the tenth hour of my watch, a car approached. It was Staff Sergeant Darlin Glover. He told me he had learned that we were on duty for over eight hours and figured we were hungry. He then proceeded to open the back of his jeep revealing trays of hot food for us. After we finished eating, he walked over to me and said, “Sergeant Angeles, I heard it’s your mother’s birthday. I want you to report back to base camp immediately and give her a call. You have 30 minutes — I’ll guard your post until you come back.”
While driving back to base I could not help but wonder what would impel a higher-ranking non-commission officer to risk his life patrolling a checkpoint so that an enlisted man could call his mother. My conclusion: leadership.
Staff Sergeant Glover led with empathy, demonstrated the importance of teamwork, and put the needs of his soldiers before his own. His actions that day have had a lasting impact on me and have ultimately shaped my approach to leadership.
As a current principal, I strive each day to lead by example, just as he did. The impact of my military experience on my role as a school leader is not unique. There are many CSA members who have served in the armed forces and have relied on their
military training to lead their schools successfully.
It is in these shared experiences and deep commitment to service that unite the members of the CSA Military Veterans Council. Made up of active and retired CSA members, the council was officially formed last year. During our first year we worked collaboratively with the UFT Veterans Committee to participate in the opening ceremony of the New York
City’s Veterans Day Parade. Together, we presented a wreath on behalf of the CSA and UFT.
On a more substantive level, our collaboration with the UFT committee has extended to lobbying the New York
City Council and the Department of Education to provide training for school counselors on veteran’s benefits. We recognize that as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, many students in our public schools are children of veterans
and along with their family members are entitled to certain benefits about which they may be unaware. For example, families of veterans can receive free mental health support and job placement services.
Additionally, children of veterans can be entitled to certain scholarships to assist with the costs of college. By ensuring that each school has at least one person trained in veteran’s benefits, our schools can better serve as a bridge for their communities.
We are working to host a leadership conference for CSA members, and we also are exploring ways to help schools honor veterans. We would like to encourage any CSA member that is also a military veteran to attend our meetings and get involved.
For more information, please contact Mark Brodsky at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On May 23, CSA member and CPSE Administrator Jodi Wanchel-Leonard had the unique opportunity to attend a City Council proclamation declaring May as “Childhood Apraxia Awareness Month.”
Councilman Mark Gjonaj issued the proclamation at the NYC Council Stated Meeting in order to raise awareness about this speech disorder, and Ms. Wanchel-Leornard was invited by a parent who wanted to acknowledge her and her colleagues for their continued support and dedication to children and families affected by childhood apraxia of speech.
“It was a tremendous honor to stand with the family,” said Mrs. Wanchel-Leonard. “Apraxia can be difficult to diagnose because it is a neurological disorder, and these children often need to receive a higher frequency of services. Bringing more awareness in this way is a big step to get them the services they need.”
Link to Video of NYC Stated Council Meeting: https://vimeo.com/271692586
By Ernest Logan
One thing no one’s ever said about me is I didn’t love a party. In my 10 years as CSA’s president, I loved every minute of the picnics, golf outings, ball games and parades. To me, all those gatherings were emblems of the shared values and solidarity that define unionism. I was buoyed by knowing that we march to the same drummer for the sake of the children we educate and the wellbeing of our own families. We not only feel one with school leaders but with teachers and librarians, police officers and firefighters, electricians and plumbers, longshoremen, nurses, writers and actors. Their struggle is our struggle. Feeling that has helped make me a happier man.
I also believe unionism will endure as it did through the violent attacks of the 1930s and the renewed backlash that began in the 1980s. Even if the Supreme Court decides against unions in the Janus case. The fear is that the deep-pocketed forces behind Janus will succeed in bankrupting us. But what I know is that there’s an American spirit that won’t allow working people to stand alone and be trampled on. That drama is being played out right now across mostly red states as teachers strike for better conditions for the children in their classrooms and better wages for themselves.
Maybe these (mostly Republican) teachers have been reacting partly against what happened in Wisconsin in 2011. After Wisconsin gutted its unions, teachers’ healthcare and pension benefits dropped 21% and salaries fell by 2.6%. A lot of experienced teachers moved out of state or left the profession entirely. We can be pretty sure that fewer smart young people have been motivated to enter the field. And Wisconsin teachers must be exhilarated by what they’re seeing around the country and will rise again.
When the first teachers walked out in West Virginia a couple of months ago, I was dazzled by the determination in their mostly female faces. Then strikes began spreading like wildfire across Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, and Oklahoma. Some groups were unionized. Others were unionizing themselves, whether they thought of it that way or not. They were, and are, fighting to bring their salaries up to the national average, to save their pensions and to increase per-student spending, some of the lowest in the country.
I’m sure you felt solidarity with them. Even though we take it for granted in the day to day, we know we’ve fought hard through our union to win salaries and benefits that have given us good lives. Most other Americans also identified with the teachers. A late April NPR/Ipsos poll showed that “nearly two-thirds [of Americans] approve of national teachers’ unions, and three-quarters agree teachers have the right to strike.” Only one in four Americans believes teachers are paid fairly.
Over my many years as a unionist, I’ve experienced a few defining moments. One came with the negotiation of our very strong contract in 2015. When the city took the position that teachers who had recently been promoted into CSA represented jobs should lose all the retroactive pay they’d earned in the classroom, our entire membership stood up as one for the teachers. Many on the outside didn’t see this as CSA’s fight, but you did. Because you stood united, our newest members were made whole. I never felt more proud to belong to a union.
Unions aren’t perfect. We have to constantly reexamine and redefine ourselves. We have to reach out to marginalized people and engage more members. But unions are the only viable bulwark against the concentration of wealth in even fewer hands. Let’s not take unions for granted, ours or anybody else’s. Take nothing for granted unless you want to be taken for granted. Let’s face it: caring about each other makes us happier people. For union members caring about other people is a way of life.
Ernest Logan served as president of CSA from 2007 until 2017
By Jill Levy
Until recently, I never looked back. When I retired a decade ago, life meant sleeping late in the mornings, stress-free breakfast java, sun-filled days on the water and all those travel plans my husband and I hoped to share. Suddenly, after my husband’s death, fulfilling those dreams was no longer an option.
Alone for the first time in my life and having to plan a much different future, I lived in terror of dwindling savings, extraordinary medical bills and the costs incurred by downsizing and relocating.
For six months, I lived in fear of the mail and impending bills. I hated the sound of the outside door as
the mailman dropped the mail into the slot.
Epiphany! After 6 months of opening mail and paying bills, I say thanks every time I hear that sound of mail being dropped into the slot. Thanks to my union negotiating a flexible Tax Deferred Annuity and being part of Teachers’ Retirement Service. Thanks to my union for negotiating my safety net with medical, dental and drug coverage. Thanks to our CSA Welfare Fund and the assistance they provide with billing and personal support. Also a big thanks to
my mailman, a union member, for bringing me the checks that support my lifestyle and give me the peace of mind that many non-union workers lack.
I know that one day each of our members and their families will be able to appreciate all the benefits
of belonging to a union. I believe that all my work and that of my predecessors and successors was worth the fight and the stress. Now I can look back with relief and pride.
THANK YOU, CSA!
Jill Levy served as president of CSA from 2000 until 2007
By Donald Singer
As the threat of an adverse decision in Janus v. AFSCME hangs over us, we need to reinvigorate our loyalty and support for CSA, AFSA, AFL-CIO and ARA and to support elected officials who share our values and beliefs about public education and unionism. I urge all our active and retiree membership to get involved now.
We should join the groups in our country who are fighting for public education funding and school security – from the student advocates from Parkland High School in Florida to the educators in the states of Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, West Virginia and Oklahoma.
Unionism and public education are strongly connected. The more that educators in the respective states succeed, the greater the strength of unionism becomes.
Let’s start with the state of Florida. After the horrific nightmare in Parkland, the governor and the state legislature passed legislation which made modest improvements in school safety, school districts will have less money for education and are ruling out raises for school employees. Isn’t that a union rallying cry?
According to Washington Post Education Reporter Moriah Balingit, “The walkouts in Arizona and Colorado mirror earlier activism as educators, parents and the business community campaign to reverse years of cuts that have left teachers without raises, schools in disrepair and classrooms bereft of up-to-date textbooks and modern technology. The school funding reductions in the GOP states are a byproduct of generous tax cuts.” Isn’t this the kind of issue what we stand up to?
The public education demonstrations in the states of Kentucky, West Virginia and Oklahoma are similar.
Isn’t this an opportunity, as we face the fallout from Janus, to reinvigorate our support for colleagues in these “right-to-work” states? Isn’t this an opportunity for unions to reestablish our organizing efforts there? We can write letters, speak at organization and community meetings, attend rallies and lobby our elected officials (from school board and community planning meetings, to state and national elections). And, most importantly, we can work to increase the number of voters.
I join former AFSA president Diann Woodard when she says, “I don’t fear Janus. I embrace it as a way for all of us to join hands and find new ways to operate moving forward. It is time for every member to ask the question, ‘What can I do to make our union more powerful?’”
Support your union and support public education. Take nothing for granted. Advocacy never ends.
Donald Singer was President of CSA from 1989 to 2000.
By Chuck Wilbanks
This year’s annual Shubert Foundation High School Theatre Festival, providing a Broadway venue to some of the city’s top budding performers, featured student performers from schools few would find surprising: The Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Queens, Manhattan’s Talent Unlimited High School, Professional Performing Arts High School and LaGuardia High School for Music, Art, and Performing Arts. All are well-known for their arts offerings.
The outlier in the bunch was the only non-performing arts school: William Cullen Bryant High School in Queens. Out of a group of 25 high schools originally judged, a troupe of Bryant students made the cut and appeared in March at the prestigious Shubert venue, treating the crowd to a performance of Henry’s Law, a tragicomedy about a smart but socially awkward student who falls victim to cyberbullying.
The fact that students from Bryant performed at the Schubert was remarkable not only because the school isn’t one of the city’s famous specialty schools. During the Bloomberg administration, Bryant, a school of about 2400 students where several dozen languages are spoken, was slated to be shuttered. In the last several years, it has clawed its way from the brink of closure to become a vibrant hub in the community.
The school now offers a wealth of advanced placement courses. A robotics program allows students to learn how to design and build their own drone. There is an emphasis on STEAM classes and students can even begin studying law. But one of the most notable achievements the school has posted over the last several years has been its ever-expanding arts offerings, particularly the performing arts. Namita Dwarka, Bryant’s principal for the past eight years, said that new emphasis pays a huge dividend.
“Arts have a way of pulling kids in and you can help them reach their other academic potential, too,” she said.
“We’ve taken kids who weren’t interested in the arts, from rough situations at home, and taken them to museums, the Met Opera, Broadway. Young men in gangs ask when we’re going to another Broadway show. We’re making an impact with the arts.”
Ms. Dwarka, who like other members of her family graduated from Bryant, credits the help of DOE’s Director of the Arts Paul King and Peter Avery, DOE’s Director of Theater for the turnaround. But she offers special praise for her staff. Six years ago, she hired Allissa Crea, who had been working in the Metropolitan Opera Guild’s education department, to help engineer the creation of a robust performing arts program.
“Her vision from day one was to make everything student-centered,” Ms. Crea said. “We shifted the focus from general programing to specific arts programming. We now have a core sequence in each arts subject, so students can take classes from first year on in each arts subject. We have a jazz program, music, choral and band. There is a lot of planning and a shared vision to get that to happen. It would not work without the collaboration between teachers, the principal, the assistant principals and programming. There is a lot of tracking that needs to happen.
“This would not have happened without Principal Dwarka’s push for the arts.”
By Henry Zymeck
Back in April, I was invited by our Community Education Council to participate in a parent meeting at PS 199 regarding Community School District 3’s proposed plan to decrease academic and socioeconomic segregation in its middle schools. I agreed to do so because I wanted to help reassure skeptical parents that this plan to promote diversity and inclusion would offer substantial benefits to students across the academic and socioeconomic spectrum, and to the D3 community at large, where the issue of academic, economic and racial segregation is particularly thorny. Under the leadership of Superintendent Ilene Altschul, CSD3’s middle school principals had met several
times to grapple with this imbalance in our schools, with the goal of building consensus around a plan that we could collectively support when it was rolled out. We knew that it would be challenging to adapt curriculum, pedagogy and structures to the changing demographic makeup of our schools. We knew that successful implementation would require patience, resources and administrative support. We certainly knew that some families would vocally express concerns that the impact of the proposed changes would fall most heavily on their kids.
So, when I arrived at the April 24 meeting, I fully expected that some parents at this town hall would express strong opposition to the plan. But while I had attended many contentious meetings in our district, most recently around rezoning, I was not prepared for some of the more extreme characterizations of groups of children in our district, and how some of these comments were greeted with applause. For more than an hour, I listened patiently to one objectionable statement after another. When it came time for me to share my views, I felt compelled not only to defend the plan, but to make a strong rebuttal to some of the commentary.
Although I know that there is always media at these meetings, I certainly did not anticipate that in the ensuing days, a NY1 video clip from the meeting would go viral, nor that it would be retweeted by our new chancellor. The sudden notoriety has been a bit unsettling, but I couldn’t be more excited and gratified to have this conversation take center stage in our discourse about social justice in the realm of education. I find it shameful that segregation — whether along racial, ethnic, academic or economic lines — is so rampant in our city’s school system, including in the Upper West Side district I have served in for the past 26 years. Despite some modest recent improvement efforts and lots of lip service, our city’s schools remain among the most segregated in the country. The NY1 video clip has done much to shed light on the formidable challenges that stand in the way of promoting more equity of access for all students, especially for our most disadvantaged families.
As such, this would be a most opportune time for our city’s school leaders to unite as role models for our communities and fiercely advocate for equity and access for all students. We need to think deeply about the structures that support the entrenched, systemic segregation in NYC’s public school system, and the way it indelibly stains our city’s cultural fabric. We need to accept our share of responsibility for the way things are, and for changing the minds of those who are fearful of sending their kids to inclusive schools. The outpouring of support I have received from across the country and beyond, starting with that courageous retweet by Chancellor Carranza, has been incredibly gratifying and uplifting, and has inspired me to reach out to all of you in solidarity. If one principal taking a stand can resonate with so many, imagine what we can accomplish together if we unite our voices behind this cause.
Henry Zymeck is the principal of MS 245 The Computer School in Manhattan.
On Tues, May 22, Eyewitness News Anchor Bill Ritter visited MS 181 in CO-OP City, Bronx, and spent hours touring the building, talking with students and answering their questions. Topics included freedom of speech, journalism, gun violence, and the essential importance of truth-telling within the media. He shared an uplifting message about the potential and power of the younger generations to enact positive change.
Seen in the picture, from left to right: AP Constantine Kouvatsos, AP Nelson Medina, Anchor Bill Ritter, D11 PLF Jeremy Kabinoff, Frank Patterson – Bronx CSA Director, AP Rachael Philbert, Principal Christopher Warnock and former Bronx CSA Director – Steve Bennett.