Use our English Language Learner complaint form to advocate for your ELL students
The union’s English language learners complaint form is an important tool for UFT members to advocate for their English language learner students to ensure they receive the services and supports they need to succeed. You can use this form to tell us why you feel parents’ rights are not being respected or students are not receiving required educational services, especially those services required under Commissioner’s Regulations Part 154. We also want to know if educators are receiving appropriate and sufficient professional development to help serve English language learners. We ask for identifying information on this form so that a UFT liaison can follow up to verify the information directly with you, but this is a confidential complaint process. We will not share your name or any information with administrative, supervisory or managerial staff in the Department of Education without your consent. The English language learners complaint form is posted in the English Language Learners section of the UFT website.
Teacher’s Choice spending deadline is approaching
Alert your members that Jan. 15 is the deadline for spending Teacher’s Choice funds. Eligible UFT members should have received their Teacher’s Choice allotments ($148 for teachers and other amounts for other eligible titles) in their Nov. 30 paychecks. Members should submit their receipts, along with the Teacher’s Choice Accountability Form detailing their purchases, by Jan. 20 to their principal or payroll secretary. If a member received Teacher’s Choice funds in their paycheck and does not file an accountability form with the required receipts by the Jan. 20 deadline, that member will be obligated to pay back the money to the DOE. Educators in the ATR pool should submit their receipts to the administration of the school to which they are assigned on Jan. 20, 2017. For more detailed information about the Teacher’s Choice program, go to the Teacher’s Choice section of the UFT website.
Register now for our Middle School Conference
Middle school members are invited to attend the UFT’s fourth annual Middle School Conference on Saturday, Feb. 4 at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Last year, some 450 educators deepened their skills and knowledge while networking with colleagues at the conference. This year’s event promises to be just as memorable. Participants can attend two workshops of their choice on topics including targeting the roles of the teacher and paraprofessional in the IEP process; engaging the disengaged middle school male; coding in math; and using Google’s “G Suite” for educators. You must pre-register. The registration fee of $30 includes breakfast, lunch and workshops. You can read descriptions of all the workshops. You may print out and mail in the registration coupon with your check. Online registration will be available at a later date. The deadline to register is Wednesday, Jan. 25.
Salary & Personnel
Per diem employees can receive direct deposit: Be sure per diem employees know they are eligible to enroll in direct deposit. In addition, all Q-bank employees who participate in direct deposit must enroll separately for their per-session payroll. All DOE payroll memoranda can be found on the DOE’s Payroll Portal.
Further guidance on new state certification requirements: Many members have inquired about whether the 80 minutes allocated for professional development on Mondays qualifies as Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) hours in the new state certification requirements. For the time being, this PD will only qualify as CTLE hours if it is facilitated by the UFT Teacher Center or the UFT because they are state-approved providers and will supply members with a certificate for the approved hours. See the state Education Department’s list of approved CTLE providers. During the five-year period starting on July 1, 2016, professionally certified teachers and Level III certified paraprofessionals are required to collect a total of 100 CTLE hours by a state-approved provider. Members now have to keep their own records. Encourage members to put documentation of workshops they have attended in a CTLE folder.
Schools have received funding to hire teachers in ATR pool: The DOE is giving school leaders an incentive to hire teachers in the ATR pool. Schools that hire centrally funded excessed teachers on a regular, permanent (not provisional) basis during the 2016–17 school year are eligible for a three-year allocation to subsidize the cost of the teacher to the school. The subsidy will cover the teacher’s entire salary for the first year, 50 percent the following year and 25 percent the third year. Beginning in the fourth year, the school will be responsible for the teacher’s full salary.
Send a message to Betsy DeVos about what an education secretary should stand for: We who work inside New York City public schools know firsthand the power and promise of public education. We have devoted our lives to a vision of schooling that uplifts all children, regardless of the color of their skin, their family’s income, their ability to speak English, or other barriers to learning they must surmount. In the face of the deep inequities that have fractured our nation, education is one of the few equalizers. This vision is under grave attack. Republican fundraiser and conservative activist Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s nominee for U.S. education secretary, believes that education should be a private marketplace. And she has used her family’s vast fortune to advance her radical privatization agenda. The AFT and the National Education Association are gathering signatures on an open letter to Betsy DeVos calling on her to stand up for all children. Sign the open letter now and ask your members to sign it.
Health and Safety
Need to make a safety complaint? We’ve made it easier to let us know of a safety problem in your school. Just go to this easy-to-remember web address: www.uft.org/safety-complaint and follow the instructions. Remember that if you believe the situation you are reporting constitutes an emergency, please call the union’s safety hotline at 212-701-9407 for immediate assistance.
Privacy breach at EmblemHealth: EmblemHealth has experienced a privacy breach that has affected the accounts of only Medicare Part D subscribers. The company is still investigating the details of the privacy breach and official notification will take place once the investigation has been completed. EmblemHealth will be notifying approximately 81,000 members of the privacy breach and, as a precaution, will be providing the affected members with a credit-monitoring service and a dedicated helpline for the next two years as well as $1 million of identity-theft insurance. Once the investigation has been completed, EmblemHealth will provide an official response with more details.
FAQ spells out special ed and ICT requirements: Special education teachers and related-service providers see firsthand that many students with disabilities are not getting the services they need. This special education FAQ, created jointly by the DOE and the UFT, spells out the requirements of IEPs, integrated co-teaching and Chapter 408. Please make sure these programs are being implemented properly to support students with disabilities in your school. If the procedures outlined in this FAQ are not being followed in your school, please make it part of the agenda for the next consultation committee meeting with your principal. If you are unable to resolve the issue through consultation, use this online formto ask your UFT district representative for assistance or file a special education complaint. The Know Your Rights column in the current New York Teacher also focuses on special education issues.
English Language Learners
Free early childhood bilingual education workshop for teachers of ELLs: Grades 1-3 educators of English language learners are invited to the NYS/NYC Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network’s all-day workshop “Unleashing the Potential of Young Bilingual Learners: Using New Science to Promote Both Languages and Academic Achievement.” The keynote speaker will be Dr. Linda M. Espinoza. This workshop will take place on Monday, Dec. 19 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center campus. This event is free, but online registration is required. For more information and to register, see the event listing.
Free workshop on collaboration and co-teaching: English as a New Language teachers working with content-area teachers on the co-teaching model are invited to the NYS Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages teacher institute on collaboration and co-teaching. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Andrea Honigsfeld. The institute will take place on Monday, Jan. 30, 2017 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center campus. Participants will have the opportunity to work alongside their co-teachers to learn how to plan and deliver content instruction as a team. The institute is free, but ENL teachers for this institute must attend with one or more content-area co-teachers. For more information and to register, see the event listing.
Financial wellness workshops for new members: Members in years 1-3 are encouraged to attend one of the remaining financial wellness workshops in January at the UFT borough offices in the Bronx and Staten Island and at UFT headquarters for Manhattan members. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about budgeting, keeping out of debt, saving for the future and more. Each workshop will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. For workshop dates and locations, see the online registration form for your borough: Bronx; Staten Island or Manhattan. Please note that the date for the Staten Island workshop is now Thursday, January19.
Encourage newly appointed pedagogues to appoint a pension beneficiary: Newly appointed pedagogues should have received a “Welcome to TRS” kit from the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) by the middle of October. Although membership in the retirement system is mandatory and automatic for pedagogues, several forms in the kit must be filled out. These forms include the TRS enrollment application and the Qualified Pension Plan (QPP) designation of beneficiary. These members may also want to consider joining TRS’ voluntary savings program called the Tax-Deferred Annuity (TDA). Applicants must send TRS a copy of their proof of birth. A list of accepted forms of proof of birth is provided in the kit.
Professional Learning Opportunities
Free workshops for interactive storytelling: Early childhood educators are encouraged to speak with their principals about attending a full-day professional development workshop presented by the CUNY Creative Arts Team. During this workshop, facilitators will guide participants through a step-by-step process that will help them build an experiential and intellectual understanding of the power of oral storytelling in developing children’s listening, speaking and language skills. Participants can choose to attend a Thursday, Jan. 26 session at the Brooklyn UFT office, 335 Adams Street, 25th floor, or a Thursday, March 16 session at the Queens UFT office, 97-77 Queens Blvd., Rego Park. Both sessions will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Participants can register online for either the Brooklyn or Queens session. For more information, see the flier.
UFT Teacher Center workshop for math teachers this Saturday: All pre-K to grade 12 math educators are invited to the citywide conference “Algebraic Thinking + Conjecturing = Math Power” organized by the UFT Teacher Center. This conference will be held at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, on Saturday, Dec. 17, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Participants will learn the importance of making conjectures as a way to deepen understanding; practice strategies to help students articulate, refine and edit conjectures; and identify important mathematical ideas so students can make conjectures. The conference is free, but online registration by grade level is required.
Students can learn geography while taking a virtual class trip: The UFT and EmblemHealth have teamed up to bring members Emblem’s Big Apple Adventure, an interactive online game for 3rd to 5th graders to test their knowledge of New York City geography. The game features Emblem, the Wellness Dog, who guides students through local parks, landmarks, monuments and more. Audio narration is available for English language learners. Teachers participating in Emblem’s Big Apple Adventure will have the chance to win a classroom set of New York City geography books. The deadline date for entering the contest is March 31, 2017. The game does not require registration or log-in. More information is available on the UFT website. Post this flier on your UFT bulletin board if you work in an elementary school.
Take advantage of educator discounts: Many stores and companies offer special discounts to educators. These discount opportunities, while available year-round, are especially helpful during the holiday season. The UFT has compiled the discounts offered by stores, companies, NYSUT and the AFT in the discounts and promotions section of its website. Members should check with the individual companies if they have questions about the identity verification requirements to receive the discount. Some of these discounts require you to verify your DOE email address; others require a valid school or teacher ID. Some of these discounts are available in stores only, not online. If you are aware of other discounts for UFT members that we should add to our list, please let Rachel Nobel know at email@example.com.
Team High School Award nominations 2017: The UFT Academic High School Awards honor the unsung heroes who deserve to be recognized for going above and beyond to connect with students, communities and the union. Please nominate a colleague, community member or school whose work you appreciate and whose contributions to our union and commitment to our school communities may be hidden from your colleagues. The deadline for nominations is Friday, Jan. 13, 2017. Read the award descriptions and use the online form to submit a nomination. The 2017 Academic High Schools Celebration will take place on Friday, April 28, 2017. If you have questions, contact the Vice President for Academic High Schools at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scholarships for labor studies: Members who are interested in pursuing labor studies at the Murphy Institute of the City University of New York are invited to apply for a Diversity Scholarship to promote diversity and excellence in union leadership and in labor studies. Recipients of this scholarship will receive up to $30,000. See the CUNY website for details about the Murphy Institute. Applicants must attend an open house and scholarship-review session. For information about the scholarship, including the application deadline, and to RSVP for an open house and scholarship-review session, contact Laurie Kellogg at 212-642-2055 or at Laurie.Kellogg@cuny.edu.
Teaching and Learning
Lessons about promoting tolerance and respect for difference: The AFT Share My Lesson website has many lessons, webinars and other resources to help teachers advocate for tolerance and social justice while teaching history and civics. The Lemon Exercise in Stereotyping can be used to teach middle and high school students about the civil rights movement in the United States, apartheid in South Africa, and the Holocaust in Europe. Educate and Empower: Build an Inclusive Community is a one-week community outreach project to educate middle school students about the experiences of the immigrant population, welcome immigrant students and empower all students to implement social justice. You can find many more lessons and webinars, including many about this month’s winter holidays, on the AFT’s Share My Lesson website.
Our Functional Chapters
School secretaries’ annual seminar: School secretaries are encouraged to attend the school secretaries’ annual seminar on Saturday, Jan. 21 from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 2nd floor. Participants at this event will have the opportunity to network with colleagues as well as enjoy an informative presentation by a DOE representative and a workshop by a UFT representative. Continental breakfast and lunch will be served. Space is limited, so registration is required.
Encourage paras to join the pension system: Paraprofessionals are eligible to join the pension system; however, membership in TRS for paraprofessionals is not mandatory. Paras must contact TRS at 888-869-2877 and ask for an enrollment application. Substitute paraprofessionals may join the Board of Education Retirement System (BERS) by calling 718-935-5400.
Baltimore schools in the red as enrollment declines: The Baltimore school system is facing a $129 million deficit in the next fiscal year’s budget, reports the Baltimore Sun. The deficit represents more than 10 percent of the school system’s $1.2 billion budget and is more than double the $60 million gap the school system closed last year. School officials have been grappling with declining enrollment and increasing operating costs. The Baltimore schools CEO Sonja Santelises said she was not prepared to announce any staff cuts or budget cuts yet.
Boeing cuts contract with company after union drive: Boeing is terminating its contract with Commercial Aircraft Painting Services (CAPS), an Oregon-based company that paints its aircraft, according to nwLaborPress. CAPS had just voted on July 8 to unionize with Machinists District Lodge W24 and was in the process of negotiating a first union contract when Boeing accepted a bid from French firm STTS, terminating all 147 union-represented employees.
TWU threatens strike over safety issues: Transit Workers Union Local 100, the union representing New York’s MTA bus and subway workers, is framing its contract issues around its dangerous working conditions, according to AM New York. At the MTA board meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 14, attended by 3,000 Local 100 members, workers threatened to strike if terms aren’t met. Many attendees carried signs depicting instances where union members were injured on the job or when bus operators and train conductors were assaulted.
Wednesday, Dec. 21: District 18 probationary teachers are invited to attend a workshop to help prepare for the tenure process. UFT district representative Joseph Surpris and Superintendent Beverly Wilkins will discuss the best evidence of teacher practice and student learning and answer questions. This workshop will be held at the District 18 office at 1106 East 95th Street, Brooklyn, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served. Please register online.
Wednesday, Dec. 21: The lab specialists chapter meeting will be held at UFT headquarters, 50 Broadway from 4 to 6 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 22: The monthly meeting of the paraprofessionals chapter will be held at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway from 4:15 to 6 p.m.
Save the Date
Wednesday, Jan. 18: The January Delegate Assembly will be held from 4:15 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 2nd floor. This is a change from the previously scheduled date of Jan. 11.
Saturday, Jan. 21: School secretaries are encouraged to attend the school secretaries’ annual seminar from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 2nd floor. For more information and to register, see the item in Our Functional Chapters.
Saturday, Feb. 4: The 4th annual Middle School Conference will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 pm. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. See the item in This Week’s Focus.
Saturday, March 11: The 10th annual Early Childhood Conference will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. See the event listing on the UFT calendar for details and registration deadlines.
Saturday, March 18: The 36th annual Paraprofessional Festival and Luncheon will take place from 7:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the New York Hilton. See the event listing on the UFT calendar.
Friday, April 28: The 2017 Academic High Schools Celebration will take place at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. More details to come.
For more events, go to uft.org/calendar.
UFT Professional Committees offer a wide range of workshops, presentations and exchanges, enabling all members to take an active part in their professional growth. Unless indicated, meetings are at UFT headquarters at 52 Broadway. Check the lobby for exact locations. For further information contact us at 1-212-598-7772 or visit us online.
ATSS/UFT (Assn. of Teachers of Social Studies)
NYC Music Teachers Association/UFT
NYC Art Teachers Association