Schools

Andy Pallotta was re-elected as president of the New York State United Teachers Union. Photo Credit: Courtesy of NYSUT union
Bronxville High School freshman Jack Evans will compete in the Individual Exhibit category with his project, “Martin Luther: The Original Whistleblower.” Photo Credit: Courtesy of Bronxville Union Free School District

Around Westchester Schools: Best HS In History, Andy Pallotta Again President Of Teachers Union

Andy Pallotta, a former Valhalla resident who taught in New York City elementary schools, was elected to a second three-year term as president of the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) union.

His re-election was part of the Representative Assembly meeting — the first-ever virtual meeting in the union's history. Executive Vice President Jolene DiBrango, a former Pittsford middle school teacher and New York State Teachers’ Retirement System Board member, was also re-elected.

The election came as educators continue to be challenged since schools closed mid-March due to the novel cornavirus (COVID-19) health crisis, and future plans remain uncertain.

Pallotta said the union has strengthened its bonds amid (the pandemics) as members support one another during a difficult time for themselves, their students and their families. 

“Never before have we faced challenges like we are facing right now, but I know that as a union representing teachers, school-related professionals, higher education professionals, health care workers and many others, we can be an integral part of charting a better path forward for New York,” he said. 

The NYST is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education

A former United Federation of Teachers representative in the Bronx — a district of 38,000 students and 57 union chapters — and a graduate of the NYSUT Leadership Institute, Pallotta has served as a delegate to NYSUT and the American Federation of Teachers conventions. He is a vice president of the New York State AFL-CIO and the AFT and a member of their executive committees and executive councils. He has earned degrees from Kingsborough Community College (Associate in Business), St. Francis College (Bachelor in Business) and Brooklyn College (Master in Education).

Bronxville Students Advance To National Level Of Research Competition

A group of Bronxville High School students – freshman Jack Evans and sophomores Rowan Baror, Mia Berkolayko, Olivia Cevasco, Zana Gjoni, Olesya Gorbunova, Avery Jones and Julia Narkaj – have advanced to compete at the national level of the 2020 National History Day competition.

“Our students competed against the best 9th-through-12th-grade history students, from the best schools across New York State, and were awarded the top honor of competing nationally,” said teacher Christina Reidel, who co-facilitates the program along with fellow teacher Dana Landesman. “This is an extraordinary achievement. We are extremely proud of the way they represented themselves, the Bronxville School and the historical past.”

Bronxville High School sophomores Mia Berkolayko, Zana Gjoni, Olesya Gorbunova, Avery Jones and Julia Narkaj will compete in the Group Exhibit category with their project, “Let My People Go: The Refuseniks and Fighting for Their Freedom.”

Courtesy of Bronxville Union Free School District

Over the last several months, the students have been conducting extensive historical research on a topic of their choice for this year’s National History Day theme of “Breaking Barriers in History.” Students’ work is displayed in one of five ways – paper, website, documentary, performance or exhibit.

Evans will compete in the Individual exhibit category with his project, “Martin Luther: The Original Whistleblower.” Cevasco and Baror will compete in the Group Documentary category with their project, “Mercury 13: Breaking Barriers for Female Astronauts at NASA.” Berkolayko, Gjoni, Gorbunova, Jones and Narkaj will compete in the Group Exhibit category with their project, “Let My People Go: The Refuseniks and Fighting for Their Freedom.”

Bronxville High School sophomores Rowan Baror and Olivia Cevasco meet virtually with their teachers Christina Reidel and Dana Landesman to prepare for the national level of the competition.

Courtesy of Bronxville Union Free School District

“This is the largest cohort of students from the district to be selected for the national competition, and the first time we have had a ninth-grade student move on to the national competition,” Reidel said.

To prepare for the nationals, the students met virtually with their history teachers and revising their research projects based on the judges’ feedback from the state competition. Similar to the regional and state competitions, the national competition will be held virtually. The students were required to submit their work by May 22 to be judged by professors and scholars.