The PJSTA in Action

On the morning of July 9th, the Bay Shore community requested the assistance of locals and union members to support their students. The call to action was answered by three awesome PJSTA members. Given 2 hour’s notice, a pandemic, and beautiful hot summer’s day, I sincerely thank Nicollette Debenedetto, Maggie Kinane, and Maurizio Milana for joining me to support the teachers and community of Bay Shore.  It was clear by the looks of gratitude on the faces in the cars that we made a difference simply by showing up and having a presence for a local union in need. 

In Solidarity, Katie Kleinpeter

Videos From The Vault

As we settle into summer, The PJSTA would like to share a few videos from the past with our members. We hope that enjoy these video memories and we wish everyone a happy summer.

NYSUT – Staying Healthy While Teaching Virtually

A special shoutout and thank you to all our Teachers and TAs this week for the incredible job you are doing to teach our students during distance learning. The Rep Council applauds your efforts. During this time, don’t forget to take care of yourself! Here are a few great ideas from Rep Council Member Gina Scaglione from a recent NYSUT workshop. Thanks Gina!

Posture: Having an incorrect posture can lead to back, neck and shoulder strain as well as headaches.

  • Butt @ back of chair
  • Put a rolled up towel or pillow in the small of your back for support
  • Shoulders straight
  • Head over butt (no turtle posture – neck sticking out from shoulders)


  • If you’re using a laptop think about purchasing a keyboard for it.
  • Try to make your monitor at eye level, but your keyboard at elbow height.
  • If you can’t then take turns – 20 mins @ eye level, 20 mins @ elbow level.

Phones & Tablets:

  • If you’re working on your phone, use two hands to type to avoid hand strain.
  • Dictate into your phone – then just check/fix what was written.
  • If you’re working on a tablet do NOT hold the tablet.  It can give you elbow strain.  Prop the tablet up on something (a desk with something sturdy behind it, or consider buying a case that allows it to be propped up).

General Health:

  • Take a walk-around break – 20 mins of work, 3 mins walk around.
  • Blink your eyes on purpose to avoid dry eyes &/or a headache.
  • Avoid using arm rests as they place your elbows are weird angles.

Mental Health:

  • Make & stick to a work schedule (doesn’t have to be your usual work hrs, whatever works for you & your family)
  • Eat – healthy & @ normal hrs
  • Get outside as much as possible (to work or for exercise)
  • If it’s not nice out – sit by open windows to get natural light
  • Get moving – @ least a ½ hr of walking or more 
  • Every 2-3 hrs do some body weight workouts (push ups, crunches, etc)
  • Shower everyday & try to dress nice once in a while if it makes you feel better (more “you”)
  • Most important – LOG OFF @ whatever time you deem appropriate (@ the end of your workday – as you define it – log off the computer – you are done for the day!!).  Remember – you wouldn’t answer every email or question a child had 24/7 if we were in school, so no one should expect you to do that now.
  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule 

***The most important rule the presenter had was – FORGIVE YOURSELF!!!  You’re going to screw up (@ home/@work) or be sad some days.  It’s ok.  Forgive yourself & move on.  

Ergonomics Anywhere Anytime Tips

Computer Workstation Injury Prevention

Ergonomics – Smartphones

A simple app called Tomato-Timer is available on the web at or in the Google Play Store. There are others listed under break reminders and productivity apps.


At the Board of Education meeting on Thursday, April 30, 2020, the following teachers received their tenure appointments, effective 9/1/2020. Congratulations on a job well done and deserved! Years of hard work and dedication have paid off. We can’t wait to celebrate with you in person!  
Michelle Bosch 
Caroline Dowling 
Pamela Gmelin 
Allison Kostyrka 
Meghan McAuley 
Mary-Alice Pastor-Calandrino 
Daniela Reduto 

Once A Warrior, Always A Warrior

Dr. Joseph Rella, former PJSTA music teacher, principal and Superintendent passed away on Friday, February 21, 2020. All of the teachers and staff are mourning the loss of the man that gave his own heart to the students and community everyday over the past 25 years. Our hearts go out to the Rella family. 

In Solidarity, 
Katie Kleinpeter

NYSUT 2020: Our Count Matters!

The PJSTA wants to make sure we do our part in being counted in the 2020 Census! Being counted can determines how many congressional seats New York Stat has and school funding from the federal government. Please make sure to fill out your census form.

Here are some links explaining the benefits of your participation in the 2020 Census and how to fill out a census form online.

Why In 5 Census 2020

Census 2020 Fact Sheet

NYSUT Counts 2020 Census PPT

ASSET Bright Light Award

Our own Mrs. Reduto of Terryville Elementary School was honored with the ASSET Bright Light Award at the BOE meeting Monday night for incorporating technology to strengthen the language skills of her ELL learners. This past year Mrs. Reduto utilized Spheros robots for block based programming and STEAM skills, Kahoot to provide quick and fun formative assessments and Epic e-books that are leveled for each students reading skills into her lessons that help create a meaningful connection for her students and the content they are learning in class. By incorporating these diverse technologies into her lesson Mrs. Reduto has created a dynamic and versatile learning experience for the students and continues to innovate her approach to learning with technology. Congratulations Mrs. Reduto!

Audrey Amrein Beardsley: How Much Do Teachers Affect the Increase in Their Students’ Height?

Diane Ravitch's blog

Audrey Amrein Beardsley is one of the leading experts in the nation in the field of value-added assessment and also one of the nation’s leading skeptics of the claim that teacher “effectiveness” can be measured by the test scores of their students.

Recently, a study was published by economists that purported to measure the effect of teachers’ on their students’ height. The study was a blatant lampoon of VAM (value-added modeling or measurement).

It turns out that I was one of about 25 people who promptly forwarded it to Amrein-Beardsley.

She reviewed the study here. 

Beardsley reminds us of a paper written by economist Jesse Rothstein nearly a decade ago in which he lacerated VAM by showing that it could be twisted to show the effect of teachers on students’ past achievement, a feat that is clearly absurd.

When a policy idea like VAM becomes the target of satire, you…

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A message from The American Federation of Teachers

Saturday we co-hosted the Public Education Forum 2020, and I want to know what you thought.
We had an incredible day, with seven of the major presidential candidates discussing public education and taking questions in front of an audience of nearly 1,500 people, including American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association members, parents, students and community allies. The candidates addressed how the narrative has changed regarding the promise and purpose of public education and what we need to ensure all children have opportunity regardless of their demography or geography.
I talked to many participants who felt that, while it was a marathon, the forum was riveting and historic. They felt heard.  
If you had a chance to watch the forum, let me know what you thought.
One of the things that struck me during the forum is how far we’ve come. A decade ago, the popular trend was privatization, austerity and deprofessionalization. Even some Democrats loved the idea of competition and high-stakes tests and used them to measure everything for a variety of purposes, including to close struggling schools, leave kids back and fire teachers.
But Saturday, when the major Democratic candidates came to a forum dedicated to public education, they rejected that DeVos and Trump agenda. Even candidates we disagree with on some policies showed a true commitment to public education.
We got to hear about plans to substantially increase funding for Title I, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and community schools. The candidates talked about equity and justice. They talked about regulating for-profit charter schools and stopping voucher schemes that would drain money from public schools. They talked about fixing public service loan forgiveness and the need for affordable and debt-free college. They talked about the right to organize—for school staff, teachers, higher education professionals and even graduate workers. And they talked about school lunch and meal debt, helping students with self-confidence, and the need for wraparound services.  
Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer and Elizabeth Warren took time from the campaign trail to specifically answer questions on topics we haven’t heard enough about during this campaign. In fact, the first question of the day came from a student, which reminded us that teachers really do want what students need.
All of our collective work lifting up public education and putting it at the center of our communities has gotten us this far. And I’m proud of what we’ve all accomplished together.
There’s still a lot to do, but Saturday’s forum showed that these Democrats are ready to work with us to fund our future.
I’m so proud of our partnership with the NEA, the NAACP, the Schott Foundation’s Opportunity to Learn Action Fund, Journey for Justice, the Service Employees International Union, the Center for Popular Democracy, and the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools, which made this forum happen.
I want to hear from you about what you learned from the forum. While this is the end of the first phase of our AFT Votes presidential endorsement process, member input is key to our endorsement. So tell us what you think.
In unity,
Randi Weingarten
AFT President
P.S.: If you missed the forum, you can watch it here.

Public Education Forum 2020 Challenges Democratic Presidential Candidates and All of Us to Invest in Equitable Public Schools


Before I drove to Pittsburgh on Saturday for the Public Education Forum 2020—where all of the leading Democrats running for President would explain live on MSNBC their plans for supporting public education—I considered what I hoped would happen at this day-long event. After all, not once in any of the televised Democratic candidate debates so far has even one question been asked about public education.

I went to Pittsburgh as an invited member of the audience, but before I left home, I wrote down the question that I would have posed to each candidate if I could have asked a question: “Please explain how, as President, you will change the narrative about closing or taking over or privatizing so-called ‘failing’ public schools and how you will build the public will for adequate investment to overcome the challenges for public schools in America’s poorest communities.”

What encouraged me all day…

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