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Thousands of PFT The PFT and the school district resolved the


  • pg 1
July 2009                                              Official Publication Philadelphia Federation of Teachers

Thousands of members turn out for June membership meeting
President Jordan urges strength, solidarity to win a fair contract

      housands of PFT                                                  collective bargaining
      members turned out                                               agreement to replace the
      at a membership                                                  current agreement, which
meeting at Liacouras                                                   expires at midnight, Aug. 31.
Center, where PFT presi-                                                     The PFT-district con-
dent Jerry T. Jordan urged                                             tract covers 16,000 mem-
members to remain strong                                               bers, including teachers,
and unified in the face of                                             librarians, counselors,
repeated administration                                                psychologists, early child-
attacks.                                                               hood educators and staff,
     “The only way we will                                             secretaries, paraprofession-       low-performing schools. The federal stimulus
be successful is through                                               als, non-teaching assistants,      package, containing $100 billion for educa-
union solidarity and by                                                food service managers and          tion, includes a program requiring stimulus
speaking with one voice,”                                              professional-technical             money to be used to raise standards and
he told the packed arena at                                            employees.                         create assessments, create data systems to
Temple University. Decked                                                    “The climate has             track and link student achievement to teacher
out in the PFT’s well-recognized, red T-shirts,      changed drastically in the past year,” Jordan.       effectiveness, improve teacher effectiveness
members cheered, “We’re behind you, Jerry.”          “The superintendent, four of five members of         and fix low-performing schools.
                                                     the School Reform Commission and all but                  In addition, the Obama administration
                                                     one member of the district’s negotiating team        has set aside $5 billion to close 5,000 failing
                                                     have changed.”                                       schools over five years.
                                                          Since the PFT and district agreed to a               “All of this has an enormous impact at the
                                                     one-year contract extension,                                       bargaining table, and our job is to
                                                     which protected all of the rights                                  ensure that the kinds of reforms
                                                     and benefits enjoyed by PFT                                        undertaken are research based
                                                     members and provided them                                          and good for schools and for
                                                     with an across-the-board 4                                         students,” Jordan said.
                                                     percent raise on March 15, we                                           In addition, the superinten-
                                                     also elected Barack Obama                                          dent has been in “attack mode”
                                                     president, he said.                                                this year, blaming teachers for
    The PFT and the district have been                    The Obama administration                                      low-performing schools.
negotiating for many months to reach a new           has a new approach to improving                                                   Continued on page 2

Professional employee contracts — PFT-District reach agreement

      he PFT and the school district resolved the professional employee        to the teachers both as a professional and a temporary employee,”
      contracts issue in early July.                                           Jordan told Zahorchak. “The contracts were simply not in conformity
            At the PFT membership meeting in June, PFT president Jerry         with Section 1121 of the Public School Code.” The letter was copied to
Jordan had advised most PFT members not to sign individual employ-             superintendent Arlene Ackerman.
ment contracts with the district until the district provided the union              Jordan reiterated that teachers who were not asked to sign tenure
with documentation that the contracts “are in complete conformity              letters are still considered professional employees under the School
with all requirements of the Public School Code.”                              Code.
     In a letter to Pennsylvania education secretary Gerald Zahorchak,              “Our attorneys referred us to a 1978 decision of the Pennsylvania
Jordan detailed the district’s threats against PFT members, who were           Supreme Court, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of
ordered to sign blank contracts containing no salary information and           Education, et al. v. Jersey Shore Area School District. . . . This case held
conflicting information about employees’ status.                               that the failure of a district to timely provide Teacher Tenure Contracts
      The district stopped requiring teachers to sign “teacher tenure          to teachers who otherwise satisfied the requirements did not result in
agreements” at least 20 years ago. Without notifying the PFT, the district     those teachers losing the protections of the Teacher Tenure Act. Nor did
sent professional services contracts to 11,000 PFT members this spring.        it mean that those teachers were not professional employees as defined
     “When this action was brought to the attention of the union, we           under the Public School Code. Indeed, our attorneys advised us that
properly advised members not to sign a blank contract which referred                                                                  Continued on page 6
Jordan rallies troops at membership meeting
Continued from page 1
     Jordan cited bogus teacher “attendance” letters sent in the fall;
demands that more teachers be rated unsatisfactory, pressure to pass
students when they haven’t made the grade and individual professional
contracts as signs that the district is playing hardball to get what it wants at
the table.
     “Negotiations are always difficult,” Jordan said, “and these negotia-
tions are no different.”
     Jordan said the PFT remains steadfast in its commitment to use
research-based strategies to improve the learning climate in our schools,
improve teacher retention and raise student achievement, by:
     • Reducing class size
     • Improving safety and discipline, particularly by staffing buildings
       with sufficient NTAs
     • Hiring enough librarians for every school
     • Having adequate numbers of counselors,
       nurses, psychologists and social workers
     • Providing better support for new and
                                                          Philadelphia Federation of Teachers
       struggling teachers                                     Health and Welfare Fund
     • Offering students a well-rounded                                                             Jack Steinberg, Chief Trustee
                                                             2009 Summer Institute
       education, including electives, EC
       and advanced courses
     • Maintaining health care benefits
     • Offering salaries and benefits compa-
       rable to neighboring districts to attract
                                                            Earn 45 Act 48 Hours or 3 Graduate Credits
                                                          August 17-21, 24-25, 2009
       and keep qualified teachers.

    Letter to the
                                                           Class - 9: 0 0 am-3: 0 0 pm
    Philadelphia Inquirer                                  Location: To be announced
    Kids deserve a free lunch                                            LOCA L 3   AFL-C I O

    USDA plans to scrap Philadelphia’s free
    breakfast and lunch program is not                                                                       •	 Building Academic Success                  (Pre-requisite
    penny-wise and is pound foolish.
                                                                                                                  Foundations of Effective Teaching)
         Teachers know which students skip
                                                           Please mail enrollment information and            •	   Foundations Of Effective Teaching
    breakfast. Their heads are on their desks              non-refundable $10.00 Fee to:
    by mid-morning — when learning should
                                                                                                             •	   Managing Antisocial Behavior
                                                                      Rosalind Jones-Johnson
    be at its peak. They are lethargic, inatten-                      ER&D Site Coordinator                  •	   Reading Comprehension Instruction
    tive and grumpy. Studies show that kids                           1816 Chestnut Street                   •	   School, Family & Community: Supporting
                                                                      Philadelphia, Pa 19103
    who eat breakfast at school retain more                                                                       Student Learning
                                                                      Phone: (215) 561-2722
    of what they learn, are absent less and eat                       Fax: (215) 561-8345                    New Course Offering Dates: 8/24, 8/25,
    more nutritiously.                                                                                       8/26, 8/27, 8/28
                                                                Make check/money order payable to
         The Universal Feeding program                            PFT Health and Welfare Fund                •	 Thinking Math I
    increased participation significantly by              Questions: or (215) 561-2722                         Cost
    ending unnecessary paperwork and                                                                                     Enrollment Fee - $10.00
                                                                                                                  *Optional 3 Graduate Credits - $1295.50
    stigma. As a teacher, I had students who
    would rather skip meals than be seen by                                  Mail your application today!
    their peers with a free-meal ticket.                   Space is limited and will be given on a first-come, first serve basis
         It’s challenging enough to teach
    30 kids with a myriad of learning styles,           Print Your Name:____________________________________                              Enrolling for:
    interests and economic, social and                  Home Address:______________________________________                               q Act 48 Hours q Graduate Credits
    behavioral issues. Why add hunger to                Home Phone # ______________________________________
    the mix?                                            School Name:_______________________________________                               *Optional graduate credit registration
                                                        Email: _____________________________________________                                      and payment due on
    Jerry T. Jordan, president
                                                        1st Course Choice__________________________________
    Philadelphia Federation of Teachers
                                                        2nd Course Choice _________________________________                                         August 18, 2009

2                                                                                                                                                                   PFT Reporter
PResident’s message

Better pay, not performance pay, will improve schools
         nce again, the drums have begun beating for                                                  Another drawback is recruitment and retention of
         performance pay for teachers. It’s understandable                                      qualified teachers in hard-to-staff schools. Take, for exam-
         that taxpayers in Philadelphia and other major                                         ple, the teacher who volunteers to work at one of the city’s
cities — frustrated by high drop-out rates and too many                                         high-needs schools. This teacher chooses to go there for
under-achieving students — want to try something differ-                                        one reason — to make a positive impact in the lives of his
ent. And the concept seems logical. Why can’t we reward                                         or her students. Under the commonly held standards of
teachers who raise test scores, they ask?                                                       performance pay, this teacher would have much less of a
     There are a number of answers to that question, chief                                      chance to earn extra money than his or her peers who teach
among them the fact student outcomes are not solely based                                       in high performing magnet schools.
on the effort teachers put in. They are the result of a myriad                                        Instead of creating greater teacher equity at low-
of factors — familial, social, economic and behavioral —                                        performing schools, performance pay would scare qualified
which are the product of parents, peers, communities and                                        candidates away from high-poverty schools — exacerbating
other influences.                                                                               existing inequalities.
     Teachers are charged with the task of educating our                                              The reality is, to truly raise the educational bar the
children, children with different needs and from different       Jerry T. Jordan                School District must do its part to create conditions that
socio-economic backgrounds. Every day, teachers enter                                           will allow teachers to bring about the desired results.
overcrowded classrooms filled with a mixture of children who want to                    Class size must be reduced, and schools must be made safer.
learn and children who are marking time until the dismissal bell rings.            Parents need to be engaged to supplement teachers’ efforts. The district
Public school teachers cannot chose to teach the best and the brightest            must develop a strategic process that supports teachers. Those supports
— they take what they are given and dedicate themselves to educating               must be in place before launching a performance pay system.
every child.                                                                            Any system would have to be objective, simple, easily understood,
     The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers does not oppose perfor-               and available to all PFT members. Currently, standardized testing under
mance incentives. But we believe that for a merit system to be truly               No Child Left Behind is only administered in certain subjects and
effective it has to be above and beyond negotiated salary and include              grades. How do we measure kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade teachers,
two basic goals: improving student achievement and promoting coop-                 or counselors and physical education teachers?
eration, not competition, among teachers. In other words, merit pay                     Simply stated — the school district must determine what goals it
should reward entire schools for increases in a school’s overall                   wants to accomplish and how employees contribute to those goals.
performance.                                                                       From teachers’ perspective, the most effective way to achieve those
     Merit pay for individual teachers carries inherent drawbacks. The             goals is through teamwork and team rewards. This would produce a
most obvious issue is gaming the system, teaching to the test to produce           more effective reward system for teachers and a better educational
better scores or out-right cheating.                                               environment for our children.

                                               Letter to the Philadelphia Daily News
 Jerry Jordan’s Op-Ed was published June 10                                        a national challenge that can’t be fixed by rewriting union contracts or
                                                                                   revamping hiring and placement systems.
 How to keep teachers                                                                   To do that, we must identify schools with high turnover and ask
 Great teachers aren’t born. They are nurtured and developed. So I                 teachers what would induce them to stay.
 am disheartened by recent articles and editorials that distort the                     From the feedback the PFT gets, lack of instructional leadership,
 “teacher equity” issue and imply that Philadelphia lacks qualified,               mentoring and resources; large, unmanageable classes; and safety
 talented teachers to provide the city’s children the best education               and disciplinary concerns are largely to blame.
 possible.                                                                              To improve retention, we need:
       Philadelphia has some of the best, most creative and dedicated                   • Better pre-service education and apprenticeship programs;
 teachers in the country. Our teachers have degrees (most earn mas-                     • Effective principals who provide instructional guidance and
 ter’s degrees) in the subjects they teach. They pass rigorous national            encouragement;
 exams to earn a teaching certificate and local tests given by the school               • A rigorous curriculum with meaningful professional
 district. They must earn 24 graduate-level credits and an average of 36           development;
 hours of continuing education annually to maintain certification. They                 • Effective mentoring and induction programs;
 pursue doctorates, certification in multiple subjects and National                     • Smaller classes;
 Board Certification, the highest credential available.                                 • Better working conditions, including safe schools and adequate
       They don’t expect medals, but they’d be more likely to remain in            books, technology and supplies;
 the district if they weren’t hammered with headlines and comments                      • Incentives for teachers who mentor other teachers, work in
 by their employer about how the worst teachers are assigned to teach              challenging schools, accept additional responsibilities or complete
 the poorest children.                                                             high-level training.
       The reality is that the pool of experienced teachers in Philadel-                The key to getting a mix of new and veteran educators in middle
 phia is shrinking because city teachers earn less money, work in more             schools where turnover is highest is to give teachers the resources,
 challenging environments, have fewer resources and get less respect               respect and support they need to help children succeed.
 and support than suburban teachers.                                                    Great teachers come in many forms — new teachers bring fresh
       Middle schools have the hardest time recruiting and keeping                 ideas and enthusiasm, and veterans offer experience, advanced
 qualified teachers, resulting in a disproportionate number of inexperi-           education and training.
 enced teachers there. Staffing middle schools with certified teachers is               The district must do more to retain both.                                                                                                                                                   

64 high school teachers receive Lindback teaching awards
       ecognizing the “profound, important, significant influence” teachers have on children’s lives, the
       Lindback Foundation awarded 64 PFT members the Distinguished Teaching Award in May.
            The awards, which include a $3,500 cash prize, were presented at the Prince Music Theater on
May 10.
     David Loder, a Lindback trustee, said it’s crucial to recognize excellence in the teaching force. “In the
Philadelphia high schools, you have so many people have such a profound, important, significant influence
on kids’ lives,” Loder said. “They’re not doing it to be recognized, but it’s important to recognize them.”
     The late Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback, who made their fortune running Abbotts Dairies Inc., created
the Lindback Foundation to give teaching awards to professors at more than 50 colleges and universities. Last
year, Lindback trustees expanded the program to recognize Philadelphia high school teachers who motivate
and inspire students.
     “There is nothing so wonderful for children as a dedicated, engaged teacher who inspires students to
reach for the stars,” Jerry Jordan, PFT president, said. “We have seen test scores improve every year since
2000 because of the consistent hard work of our thoughtful teachers and staff. The Lindback nominees and
winners represent the passion, commitment and talent that our members bring into classrooms and schools
every day.”
     Mayor Michael Nutter and Gov. Ed. Rendell both attended the awards ceremony, hailing teachers as the
unsung heroes of education today and pledging to support them.
     The 2009 Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Distinguished Teachers are:
Christopher aichele                   ivan dizengoff                         John Kalicki
Academy at Palumbo                    Stephen A. Douglas High School         Carver HS of Engineering and
Benjamin aiken                        Jeffrey evans                          Science
Kensington Culinary Arts HS           Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush HS       Lynn Keiner                             Jerry Jordan congratulates Barbara
muriel alston-moseley                 Christine garvey                       Northeast High School                   Mosley
Samuel S. Fels High School            Charles Carroll High School            earl Koger
avi Barr                              marian geiger                          Furness High School
George Washington High School         Central High School                    Robin Lane                              elaine Roseman
Brandy Barrett                                                               William Penn High School                W.B. Saul High School
Communications Technology HS                                                 Hyeseon (Judy) Lee                      Barbara Roth
Lorraine Battle                                                              Parkway Center City High School         Widener Memorial School
Overbrook High School                                                        shavonne mcmillan                                  anthony Rowe
nancy Bellew                                                                 Simon Gratz High                                   Thomas Alva Edison High
Lankenau High School                                                         School                                             School
marc Brasof                                                                  Robert miller                                      Renae Rutherford Lowe
Constitution High School                                                     Audenried High School                              Pennypack House School
Zachary Chase                                                                melisa mills                                       denise sargent
Science Leadership Academy                                                   Olney West High School                             Abraham Lincoln High
William Clouthier                                                            edwin miranda                                      School
Frankford High School                                                        Kensington International                           naomi schoolfield
amy Cohen                                                                    Business, Finance &                                Philadelphia Military
Julia R. Masterman High School                                               Entrepreneurship HS                                Academy at Elverson
William Cohen                                                                dorina morrow                                      High School
Parkway West High School                                                     Philadelphia High                                  erin smith
Kelly Cooper                                                                 School for Creative and                            Kensington Creative and
High School of the Future                                                    Performing Arts                                    Performing Arts High
Frances daly                          neil geyette                           Barbara mosley                                     School
Martin Luther King High School        West Philadelphia High School          Philadelphia High                                  Jennifer speirs
diane dannenfelser                    maritza gonzalez                       School for Girls           Mayor Michael Nutter    Young Women’s Leader-
Girard Academic Music Program         Benjamin Franklin High School          James murphy                                       ship at Rhodes High
Latifa david                          michael Halko                          Mastbaum Technical                                 School
Dobbins High School                   Edward Bok High School                 High School
Rachel davis-King                     edward Hampton                         audrey nock
                                                                                                                     Joanna stone
Parkway Northwest High School         Military Academy at Leeds              South Philadelphia High School          Fitzsimons Men’s Leadership High
                                      donna Bassler-Hart                                   Johannes Ogajo            School
                                      Strawberry Mansion                                   Germantown High           molly Thacker
                                      High School                                          School                    Olney High School
                                      Robert Herbstritt                                    Brett Oslon               Jennilyn Thiboult
                                      Bodine HS for Interna-                               Motivation High           Vaux High School
                                      tional Affairs                                       School                    Patricia Walder
                                      Laura Jacklin                                        Kathleen Petrelli         Roxborough High School
                                      Phillip Randolph Career                              Swenson Arts and          sydney Warren
                                      Academy                                              Technology HS             Youth Study Center School
                                      Karen James                                          deborah Reese
                                                                                                                     eric Weingarten
                                      Robert E. Lamberton                                  Franklin Learning
                                      High School                                          Center                    Philadelphia High School for
                                      Karl Janowitz                                        Jason Richardson          Business and Technology
                                      University City High                                 Paul Robeson High         Kristin Williams-smiley
                                      School                                               School                    Sayre High School
                                                                                                                     Beverly Yancey-Thomas
Jerry Jordan with Brett Oslon                                   Gov. Ed Rendell                                      John Bartram High School

                                                                                                                                         PFT Reporter

       APA High School, under the direction of teacher scott e.             award is given to one Philadelphia phys ed/health teacher each year.
       Kaufman, won the Red Cross Blood Drive recruitment video             Kristiniak received the award at a dinner.
       contest. 9th, 10th grade CTE Cinematography students and the

CAPA National Honors Society collaborated with Kaufman to create this                 ary O’neill and suzanne Kozial, both of whom teach at Hill
video, which will be used as the official Penn-Jersey promotional piece               Freedman Middle School, are certified as Exceptional Needs
during the 2009-10 school year and will be seen by thousands of high                  Specialists by the National Board of Professional Teaching
school students in Philadelphia and New Jersey in assemblies promot-        Standards. Both earned NBPTS certification in 2007. Their names were
ing blood donation. ABC channel 6 visited Kaufman’s classroom to            inadvertently omitted from a list of NBCT’s working in Philadelphia
profile his students on the IM Philly Youth program. Students and their     public schools.
video also will be featured on the website.

                                                                                    irls High School teacher Brendon-Jeremi Jobs

      aldi Middle School held its second annual Stop the Violence                   received the James Madison Fellowship, a
      March, raising $2,000 for the families of slain Philadelphia police           $24,000 grant for part-time graduate study
      officers Nazario and Pawlowski and Sgts. McDonald and Simp-           towards a master’s degree in history and was admitted
son. The fundraiser was put together by Baldi’s student council, lead by    to Columbia University’s Gilder Lehrman Summer
teachers donna matthews and Jennifer Ryan.                                  Seminar Slavery in the Age of Revolutions; the Na-
                                                                            tional History Day Institute in Philadelphia; and a

   t was a star studded event at Bridesburg School with all of the staff    National Constitution Center Institute Changing the
   participating in Dancing with the Staff. Teachers and support staff      Constitution. Jobs joined the district as a Philadelphia Teaching Fellow
   spent tireless hours on their time to work with students on dances,      and teaches world and African-American history. He serves as GHS
costumes and sets. The result was a great event that the children will      tennis coach, SummerSearch recruitment partner, Columbia University
always remember. This event personified the dedication that PFT             alumni interviewer and class sponsor for the GHS class of 2011.
teachers have for their students. PFT members included: Barbara

Lanigan, Linda morris, elyse Unrath, debbie Howell, Wendy                         odger Heckman, a teacher at the Olney Bright Futures program,
schreibstein, Linda Carpenter, Kathy O’Hanlon, Kelly Ward, marge                  worked with his pre-schoolers to write an original play, create
Fox, Colette stelmach, shannon mcLinden, Claire Colflesh, Karen                   costumes and “film” a movie, which parents were thrilled to
Fiorentino, marci Falkow, Carol Pelowitz, gail devlin, Cara savage,         watch with their children before the end of the school year. “The story
Linda dixon, Cathy taggert and sharon shea.                                 idea was all theirs!” Rodger said.

     aurie Kristiniak, physical and health education teacher at Spring      Don’t let the cacophony of negative news drown out all the good things
     Garden School, received the William Stecher Award for outstand-        happening in your school or work location. Let PFT People know about
     ing contributions to physical and health education. Kristiniak in      the prizes, honors, awards and innovations by PFT members. Email
her 33rd year in the district and is a PFT building representative. The     items for PFT People to

Brian Malloy named Philly Teacher of the Year

       rian Malloy of Bodine High School was named 2009 Dr. Ruth                 • Beverly A. Ahrensdorf — Pepper MS — Southwest
       Wright Hayre Teacher of the Year in June.                                 • Catherine Gaughan Pickering — Overbrook Education Center —
            The PFT, School District of Philadel-                                  West Region
phia and Comcast honored students, princi-                                       “The Celebration of Excellence is an opportunity to honor a few
pals, administrators and teachers at the 25th                               of the remarkable educators who give of their time, creativity and talent
annual Celebration of Excellence in Education                               to provide educational opportunities to the children of Philadelphia,”
June 16 at the Franklin Institute.                                          PFT president Jerry Jordan said. “The teachers honored are representa-
     Malloy, whose wife Janet is the school                                 tive of thousands of dedicated teachers throughout the district.”
librarian at Swenson Arts & Technology High
School, told the press he had always wanted to                              2009 Rose Lindenbaum Awards
be a teacher. He earned a business degree from                              The Rose Lindenbaum Improvement of Education Awards was
the University of Pennsylvania, and then he                                 the largest award presentation of the night, with 16 award recipients,
returned to school for a master’s degree in                                 including teachers, principals and custodians. Rose Lindenbaum was
education.                                                                  an outstanding Philadelphia educator and supervisor who focused on
     “I never looked back,” he said. “That was                              special education and delinquent children during her career.
                                                  Brian & Janet Malloy
the best decision I’ve ever made . . . I really                                  “We are proud of the educators who devote careers to working with
                                                  with Jerry Jordan
found my passion once I got in the classroom.”                              special needs children,” Jordan said. “It takes patience, compassion and
Malloy teaches 11th and 12th grade mathematics.                             dedication to reach out on a daily basis to children in great need.”
     Eleven Ruth Wright Hayre finalists were also honored with $250              Lindenbaum recipients are:
stipends and round-trip airline tickets.                                         • Stamatoula Bastas of Frederick Douglass Elementary
     The 2009 Dr. Ruth Wright Hayre Teacher of the Year finalists are:           • Debra Cooperstein of Central HS
     • Joyce Randell — Youth Study Center — Alternative Region                   • Brett Oslon of Motivation HS
     • Amanda Dorman — Wright ES — Central Region                                • Tracy Petner of Penrose Elementary
     • Robin Lane — Wm. Penn HS — Comprehensive High School Region               • Joyce Sloan of Richmond Elementary
     • Michele D. Hutz — Mayfair ES — East Region                                • Eazle Stephens of Simon Gratz HS
     • Nolita Pettus — Carnell ES — North Region                                 • Pampalena Watson of Andrew Hamilton Elementary
     • Tracey A. Best — Spruance ES — Northeast Region                           • Hope Deeden of Stephen Decatur Elementary
     • Lorraine Stewart — Houston ES — Northwest Region                          • Sherri Kosterlitz of George Sharswood Elementary
     • Latoyia K. Bailey — Academy at Palumbo — South Region                     • Antoine Terrell of Youth Study Center                                                                                                                                           
PFT president calls for an expansion of ‘community schools’ at UPenn conference

     erry Jordan urged leaders gathered at the          “School is a lifeline and a haven for so        unions and government must work together
     University of Pennsylvania this spring to     many children,” he said. “When so much else          to coordinate the delivery of services so that
     push for an “unprecedented expansion of       in their lives is rocky, we need our schools to      children can reach their potential.
community schools,” which serve communi-           be rock-solid, and to offer services that some             He suggested that colleges, universities
ties by addressing social, health and eco-         might view outside of the school’s purview.”         and arts organizations can provide enrich-
nomic needs of families and children through            Jordan was the lead speaker during one          ment programs that — either through budget
partnerships based in schools.                     of the panels at the National Conference on          cuts or emphasis on testing — have been cut
      Speaking on behalf of AFT president          University-Assisted Community Schools as an          from the curriculum.
Randi Weingarten, who was unable to attend         Effective Strategy for Education Reform, K-16+             Schools of medicine can ameliorate
the one-day conference on June 3, Jordan           on June 3.                                           health issues, including nutrition education
applauded the work at Penn’s Netter Center              Jordan said that community schools can          and treatment of asthma and diabetes that
for the expansion of community schools             be as different as the communities in which          can become barriers to learning. Athletic
across the nation and in Philadelphia.             they are found, but the common denominator           organizations can help reduce the epidemic
      “At the Philadelphia Federation of Teach-    is that they meet the community’s needs by           of obesity by promoting sports and recre-
ers, we have been working with Ira Harkavy         providing a variety of services designed to          ational activities, he suggested.
(director of the Netter Center) and the univer-    meet student and family needs. Services can                Another benefit of university-union-
sity for over two decades to bring needed          range from before and after school programs          school district partnerships like the ones
services to our students and their families,”      to providing health services, to tutoring,           involving Penn and Temple University is that
Jordan said.                                       athletics, classes for English language learners     students who might not otherwise consider
      “In nine Philadelphia schools, university    and workforce development agencies.                  college a realistic option after high school are
students and staff and a variety of commu-              “Especially in these difficult times,           exposed to campuses and role models who
nity-based organizations provide services to       schools must be places where children are            can help students understand college educa-
students and families. These partnerships          nurtured and educated — and perhaps also             tion is within their grasp.
help lift the burden of non-academic barriers      fed, have their health needs attended to, and              “Our schools are also where children
to learning, allowing schools to focus on          are kept safe for hours outside the traditional      develop the skills not just for the next grade,
teaching and learning,” Jordan added.              school day,” he said.                                or for college,” Jordan added. “Our schools
      Jordan said these efforts are essential in        Jordan said that creating community             must be places where young people get a
cities like Philadelphia, where 4,900 school       schools is not a job for school districts. Uni-      well-rounded, world-class education that
children live in homeless shelters, 5,800          versities, school districts, businesses, social      will enable them — and our country — to
students in foster care and 78 percent of          service providers, health care organizations,        compete in the new economy.”
the children live below the poverty line.

                                                                             Professional employee contracts
                                                                             Continued from page 1
                                                                             under applicable appellate law, teachers become tenured under the
                                                                             Public School Code by operation of the law when they meet the require-
                                                                             ments of time and satisfactory performance provided for in the statute.”
                                                                                  Secretary Zahorchak, in a response letter to Jordan and Ackerman,
                                                                             stated “. . . a professional employee must sign an employment contract
                                                                             and must provide written notice to a school district at least 60 days prior
                                                                             to resigning his or her position.” It was clear from his letter that the
                                                                             secretary understood the concerns surrounding this contentious issue,
                                                                             but urged the parties “to work together . . . to ensure that the require-
                                                                             ments of the law are met.”
                                                                                  As a result of further discussions with the superintendent and other
                                                                             members of the administration, the issue has been resolved as follows:
                                                                                  • Professional employees hired after the 1982-83 school year who
                                                                             are still active in the district and have achieved tenure status will receive
                                                                             Professional Employment Contracts. PFT recommends these employ-
                                                                             ees sign the contracts to comply with the school code and return them
                                                                             to the district.
                                                                                  • Teachers who have completed their third year of satisfactory
                                                                             teaching in Pennsylvania will receive a Professional Employment
                                                                             Contract. They should sign it and return it to the district to comply with
                                                                             the school code.
                                                                                  • Teachers hired before the school year of 1982-83 will not receive
                                                                             a Professional Employment Contract unless a review of their files
                                                                             indicates that such a contract is not contained therein.
                                                                                  • Temporary Professional Employees — those with less than three
                                                                             years teaching experience — may receive an “Employment Contract”
                                                                             indicating the legal requirement of 60 days notice prior to retiring or
                                                                             resigning his/her position.

                                                                                                                                           PFT Reporter
Strong Beginnings: PFT delivers effective professional development

      imited classroom space, minimal supplies and thin support —                   These educators had to learn, digest and retain all the information
      walking through the doors of a Philadelphia public school class-         in a 3-inch-thick Strong Beginnings binder to pass their knowledge on
      room can be quite a challenge, but it’s perhaps most difficult for       to new teachers. Seven days of intense training included: 1) Beginning
new teachers. Often they’re overwhelmed with classroom management              of the Year Classroom Management, 2) Effective Group Management,
and disciplinary issues before they even get to a lesson plan. And             3) Planning and Conducting Instruction, 4) Effective Instructional
national statistics show new teachers are choosing to bow out —                Delivery, and 5) Working with Students and Parents.
15 percent leave within the first year, 30 percent within three years               “This induction program focuses on those critical beginning-of-
and nearly half after five years.                                              the-year issues that often make or break a teacher,” says Jack Steinberg,
     But Philadelphia is not accepting this dismal forecast for its new        Chief Trustee of the PFT Health and Welfare Fund.
teachers. A new collaboration between the Philadelphia Federation of                The trainees worked tirelessly . . . reading every word of the re-
Teachers Health and Welfare Fund and the School District of Philadel-          search, watching informational DVD, and completing activities and
phia is attacking the problem head on, using a new and creative pro-           assessments. Twenty-eight were certified as professional development
gram to change the face of teacher induction.                                  leaders for the Strong Beginnings New Teacher Induction Initiative.
     It’s called the New Teacher Induction Initiative: Strong Beginnings.           “The goal is to retain committed, effective new teachers. It’s no
Unlike others, this professional development program was designed              small feat, but I know you can do it. New teachers and students in
specifically for newly hired teachers in the school district.                  Philadelphia deserve that,” PFT president Jerry Jordan told the new
     Rosalind Jones-Johnson, director of educational issues for the PFT        trainers.
Health and Welfare Fund, researched and developed the program, and                  All new teachers are required to attend one of three six-day Strong
after several months, Strong Beginnings looked picture perfect . . . on        Beginnings sessions this summer. Location and dates are July 7 at the
paper. Only one question remained. Who could she and the school                Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush; July 21 at Audenried High School; and
district entrust to teach these new professionals?                             August 4 at Thomas Edison High School.
     On June 9, the answer walked through the doors of the Philadel-                For more information about Strong Beginnings or other profes-
phia Federation of Teachers’ headquarters. Nearly 50 educators —               sional development program run by the PFT Health and Welfare Fund,
school district new teacher coaches and empowerment team leaders,              contact Rosalind Jones-Johnson in the Educational Issues Department
as well as PFT Health and Welfare professional development leaders —           at 215-561-2722 or visit the website at
stepped up to the plate, ready for a challenge.

Professional employees must give 0 days’                                      Get on board
notice before resigning from SDP
The Pennsylvania School Code and the PFT-district contract both                      Stuff the Bus 2009
specify that teachers must give the School District of Philadelphia “at
                                                                               Thousands of children in the Delaware Valley live in homeless shelters.
least 60 days’ notice of intention to retire or resign” (Collective Bargain-
                                                                               This summer, United Way of SE PA and the PFT will collect school
ing Agreement, Article XVIII, C2a.)
                                                                               supplies and deliver them to homeless kids so that every child has a great
Freebies for teachers                                                          first day of school. United Way’s annual Stuff the Bus project provides
                                                                               children and youth living in homeless shelters with a new bookbag filled

       eachers like “stuff” — sometimes more stuff than the school             with school supplies for the first day of school. With your help, United
       budget (or their own budgets) permit them to purchase. Below are        Way will provide thousands of kids with everything they need to go back
       some Websites where teachers and other school employees can             to school with a smile.
find materials they can use in the classroom. Here are a few Websites
you might like to try:                                                         Here’s how PFT members can help:
     Register your email address at to receive
access to materials for K-12 teachers. Samples of what you’ll find: a          • Buy a book bag filled with school
bonus CD on accelerated math or a fund-raising kit to raise money for            supplies for a kid in need for with a
school projects. Visit          $25 donation
     Education World,,                 • Donate up to 2,500 of any items* listed
offers materials ranging from diet and nutrition, pet care, money,               below to the United Way
recycling, gardening and software.
     Check out for links to free              • Tell your friends about the project on
                                                                        and facebook.
items and scholarships.
     The History Channel’s “History Classroom” offers free teacher               Pennsylvania/15200338113
guides, books and other resources at
     Looking for free clip art to make your classroom handouts, certifi-       • Volunteer to stuff book bags at the
cates and presentations more lively? Try Discovery Channel’s Education           United Way offices, 7 Ben Franklin Pkwy.,
Website at You’ll also find on           Philadelphia, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tues. &
the Discovery Channel’s education pages a puzzle maker, lesson plans,            Wed., Aug. 11-12
contests and grants, homework help and tutorials in math, kindergarten
                                                                                *Book bags, notebooks, pens, pencils, rulers, erasers, three-ring binders, loose
through trig and calculus.                                                     leaf paper, composition books, folders, glue sticks, crayons, calculators and
     Almost everything free under the sun is available at Teachers Free        flash drives.
Stuff, including Gift cards, Feed the
Pig for Tweens financial literacy program, NASA science materials,             need info? Contact Janet Ryder 215-665-2641 or
esteem-building programs from the Tiger Woods Foundation.                                                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                        Annual Labor Day Parade & Festival
                                                                                                          Join your PFT colleagues • Show your solidarity
                                                                                                                  Monday, Sept. 7 • 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
                                                                                                                     March from
                                                                                                           Sheet Metal Workers’ Union Hall
                                                                                                            1301 S. Columbus Boulevard
                                                                                                                      Party at
                                                                                                                   Penn’s Landing
                                                                                                      Free Festival — Food, Games, Entertainment

                                                  Show your union colors
                                               Support the PFT Negotiating Team!

   PFT launches improved Website, president’s blog in late July

         he PFT has been working this spring to                                                                                       The name,,
         improve its presence on the Web, and                                                                                   will remain the same, but pages
         plans to launch a new Web page with                                                                                    will have a fresh look and
   more features to serve members, PFT presi-                                                                                   include a Members’ Only page
   dent Jerry Jordan said.                                                                                                      and Jerry Jordan’s “blog.” A
                                                                                                                                password-protected page for
                                                                                                                                PFT Building Representatives
         NON-PROFIT ORG.

                                                                                                                                will be added later.
         PeRmIT NO. 1897
           U.S. POSTaGe

             PhIla., Pa

                                                                                                                                      “We hope the new page

                                                                                                                                will serve members better and
                                                                                                                                allow the union to communi-
                                                                                                                                cate more effectively,” Jordan
                                                                                                                                      PFT members will have
                                                                                                                                to sign up anew for the PFT’s
                                                                                                                                listserv to receive email
                                                                                                                                messages and electronic
                                                                                                                                newsletters about union issues.
                                                                                                                                Members will have to log on
                                                                                                                                and provide specific informa-
                                                                                                                                tion to access the Members’ Only pages and
                                                                                                                                                                                              The PFT Reporter is the official
                                                                                                                                to receive email bulletins from the union.                    publication of the Philadelphia
                                                                                                                                      “We are starting from scratch on our                    Federation of Teachers,
1816 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

                                                                                                                                email listserv to create an email database that               AFT Local 3, AFL-CIO.
                                                                                                                                goes exclusively to PFT members,” Jordan
Philadelphia Federation of Teachers

                                                                                                                                                                                  main Office                      215/587-6738
                                                                                                                                said. “Particularly during negotiations, we
                                                                                                                                                                                  Fax                                  665-1903
                                                                                                                                need to reach PFT members with information        Communications                       587-6750
                                                                                                                                and ‘take action’ requests.”                      educational issues                   561-2722
                                                                                                                                      “I urge PFT members to sign up to receive   Health & Welfare                     561-2722
                                                                                                                                e-newsletters,” he said, adding, “we will only      Health & Welfare Fax               561-8345
                                                                                                                                send emails to personal email addresses —         information Officers                 587-6738
                                                                                                                                                                                  Legal services Fund                  972-0942
                                                                                                                                never to school district addresses.”
                                                                                                                                                                                  Legislative affairs                  587-6784
                                                                                                                                      Members who do not have a personal          Peer intervention Program            587-6724
                                                                                                                                email address can sign up for free email at       PFt Personnel Office                 561-2113
                                                                                                                                Yahoo, Google or Hotmail.                         staff Representatives                587-6738
                                                                                                                                      Jordan will write a blog (Web log) with     aFt Pennsylvania                     587-6784
                                                                                                                                the union’s message on various topics and         Web address             
                                                             525-M      LABEL

                                                                                    RNATIONAL UNION


                                                                                                                                negotiations updates.
                                                  PHIC CO



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