Sign up for the Women’s March in New York City or Washington, D.C. on Jan. 21
On Saturday, Jan. 21, the day after the inauguration, tens of thousands of people will gather in Washington, D.C., New York and other major cities to send a message to our new president that we stand together in defense of human rights and in support of the principle that everyone — regardless of ethnic background, gender identify, faith or immigration status — is deserving of dignity and respect. The UFT will participate in both the Women’s March on Washington, D.C. and the Women’s March on New York City. Both women and men are welcome. UFT members are urged to attend one of these two important marches. While we do not yet know the exact time of departure for the Washington, D.C. Women’s March, we anticipate that UFT buses will leave union headquarters at 52 Broadway at 5 a.m. or earlier that Saturday in order to drop off passengers in D.C. at approximately 8:30 a.m. The Women’s March on New York City will start in front of the United Nations headquarters in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza at 11 a.m. with a tentative route west on 47th Street and up Fifth Avenue to Trump Tower. Our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country. It is crucial that the new administration hear our message loud and clear.
Attend an information session next week on evaluation-system changes
We depend on you, as chapter leaders, to help us ensure that the new evaluation system negotiated by the UFT and the Department of Education in December is implemented properly in every school. We have set up informational meetings for chapter leaders in every borough to brief you on the new evaluation system and answer your questions. Please sign up now to let us know if you’ll be attending one of the four remaining chapter leader information sessions: in the Bronx on Tuesday, Jan. 10; in Queens on Wednesday, Jan. 11; in Brooklyn on Thursday, Jan. 12; and in Staten Island on Thursday, Jan. 12. We remind you to consult the eight-page Guide to the Teacher Evaluation System that we developed to help you answer member questions on the new teacher evaluation system. Every chapter leader and delegate attending the Jan. 18 Delegate Assembly will receive a hard copy of the guide.
A new labor-management committee can help resolve class-size violations
Through a recent arbitration ruling, the UFT gained a new process to help schools with chronically oversized classes find solutions. Last spring, the union filed and won a precedential grievance regarding the extensive and egregious history of class-size violations at IS 72 on Staten Island. Through a stipulation related to the IS 72 arbitration case, the union was able to gain a joint labor-management committee consisting of three UFT representatives and three DOE representatives to discuss solutions for schools with an extensive history of oversize classes. For the first time, the UFT and the DOE are required to meet to discuss issues at schools with a long history of oversize classes before going to arbitration. Schools give up no rights when the committee reviews their cases. If no resolution is reached for a particular school, the UFT can proceed to arbitration. At the first meeting of the new committee on Dec. 21, the union presented a list of 19 schools that have had class-size violations for four or more consecutive years or terms. That first meeting focused on six schools with persistent violations. A variety of possible solutions, both long-term and short-term, were discussed. The union and the DOE also discussed ways to provide relief to the affected teachers in those schools. The committee will meet again next week.
Talk about the dangers of a constitutional convention at your next chapter meeting
At the December Delegate Assembly, UFT President Michael Mulgrew presented a series of slides to inform delegates about the question on the November 2017 ballot asking voters if New York State should hold a constitutional convention and the importance of voting “no.” Please make this same presentation to your members at your January chapter meeting. To prepare for your presentation, you can review our Q&A on the constitutional convention and read the president’s column from the current issue of the New York Teacher. By starting now the process of educating our members about the perils of a constitutional convention, we can protect our rights.
Register soon for our Early Childhood Education Conference
Make sure to register early for the UFT’s 10th annual Early Childhood Education Conference, which will be held at UFT headquarters on Saturday, March 11 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. This year’s theme is “Full S.T.E.A.M Ahead.” The conference will feature a plenary greeting from UFT President Michael Mulgrew and a choice of exciting workshops. Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) hours will be provided. Breakfast and a box lunch will be served. There is a fee of $30. The registration and payment deadline is Friday, Feb. 24. For details, including online and mail-in registration information, see the event listing on the UFT website.
Salary & Personnel
Teacher’s Choice spending deadline is Jan. 15: 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 is obligated to return 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.
Per diem employees can receive direct deposit: Be sure per diem employees know they may 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.
Join our social media action: This coming Wednesday, Jan. 11, the Senate is scheduled to hold its confirmation hearing for education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos. We want to send a clear message that morning that DeVos, a billionaire fundraiser with no educational experience, is unfit and unqualified to lead our nation’s schools. That’s why we are asking UFT members to participate in our social media thunderclap on Wednesday morning. The way it works is you sign up to have a tweet sent or Facebook post made on your behalf at the exact same time as scores of other UFT members. Just as the public is focused on DeVos and her confirmation hearing, these social media posts will declare that public school educators believe Betsy DeVos is the wrong choice.
Use your personal email for all union business: Be careful: DO NOT use your DOE email address to conduct union business. To do so is a violation of the DOE’s Internet policy. All email correspondence about grievances and other union activities should be conducted using a non-DOE personal email address.
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 web address: www.uft.org/safety-complaint and follow the instructions. Remember: 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.
FAQ spells out special education and ICT requirements: Special education teachers and related-service providers see firsthand that many students with disabilities are not receiving 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, 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 form to 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 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 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.
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.
Financial wellness workshops for new members: Members in their first three years on the job are encouraged to attend one of the remaining financial wellness workshops in January at the UFT borough offices in the Bronx and Staten Island. Participants will learn about budgeting, staying out of debt, saving for the future and more. Each workshop will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. For locations, see the online registration form for the Bronx session on Wednesday, Jan. 25 or the Staten Island session on Thursday, Jan.19.
Professional Learning Opportunities
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.
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 to 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 St., 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.
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 could win a classroom set of New York City geography books. The contest deadline is March 31. 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.
Team High School Award 2017 nominations due by Jan. 13: The UFT Academic High School Awards honor the unsung heroes who deserve recognition 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. 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. If you have questions, contact the Vice President for Academic High Schools Janella Hinds at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Functional Chapters
H-Bank members must use SOLAS: Effective Jan. 1, all H-Bank members must use the Self-Service Online Leave Application System (SOLAS) to apply for medical and non-medical leaves. Paper applications will no longer be accepted. Affected UFT titles are staff nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, supervising therapists, supervisors of nurses, senior physical therapists, mental health workers, education analysts, ed officers and sign language interpreters. A number of H-Bank members have already used SOLAS to apply for leaves with great success. The process is straightforward and intuitive. Chapter leaders, please remind secretaries/timekeepers that they must verify timekeeping in SOLAS for H-Bank members.
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.
State ordered to fund turnaround schools: A state Supreme Court justice on Dec. 28 ordered the New York State Division of the Budget to release up to $69 million in funding previously withheld from three schools that had been taken off the state receivership list after showing improvement, according to Politico. The schools were awarded the grant for improvements made over a two-year period but did not receive it once they were taken off the state’s receivership list by the state Education Department. Acting Albany Justice Kimberly O’Connor said that officials had “exceeded their authority” in freezing the funds.
Cuomo announces tuition-free college plan: Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Jan. 3 announced a plan to offer tuition-free college to any New Yorker from a family earning $125,000 or less accepted to a public college in the state, reports MarketWatch. The proposal, which requires legislative approval, would be phased in over three years and would cover the remaining costs of college not already paid for by state and federal grants. The governor’s office estimates the plan would cost $163 million a year once fully phased in.
For-profit university forced to pay back for outsize promises: DeVry University has agreed to pay $100 million to settle a Federal Trade Commission lawsuit alleging that the for-profit college misled students with ads about its post-graduation success rates, according to the L.A. Times. The university claimed 90 percent of its graduates found jobs in their fields within six months of graduation and had, on average, 15 percent higher incomes one year after graduation compared to graduates from “all other colleges and universities.” The FTC said DeVry relied on a report from a third-party company that did not “provide a reasonable basis” for the higher-income claim, and DeVry’s own staff had questioned whether the data were sufficient.
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, 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 Professional Learning Opportunities for registration details.
Saturday, March 11: The 10th annual Early Childhood Education Conference will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. See the item in This Week’s Focus for details and the event listing on the UFT calendar for a list of workshops and registration information.
Monday, Jan. 9: Queens educators are invited to “Teaming Up For Student Success: A Work Session for High School ICT Teams” from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Queens UFT office, 97-77 Queens Blvd., Rego Park, 8th floor. Participants will learn the importance of strengthening the co-teaching partnership through instructional practices and classroom and behavioral management. For more information and to register, see the event listing.
Tuesday, Jan. 10: The school social workers and psychologists chapter executive board meets from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 50 Broadway, 2nd floor, room B.
Tuesday, Jan. 10: Manhattan-based educators are invited to attend the workshop “Using Student Questioning to Support Learning and Discussion” from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Manhattan UFT office, 52 Broadway, 10th floor. This interactive professional learning session will focus on strategies to promote student-to-student discussions. Light refreshments will be served. RSVP to RPena@uft.org with your name, telephone number, school and district from your non-DOE email address. For more information, contact Dolores Lozupone at 212-598-6800 or see the event listing.
Wednesday, Jan. 11: The school nurses chapter executive board meeting meets from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 16th floor, conference room B.
Thursday, Jan. 12: Manhattan-based teachers and paraprofessionals are invited to a maternity leave workshop from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Manhattan UFT office, 52 Broadway, 10th floor, conference rooms A and B. Light refreshments will be served. Participants should RSVP to email@example.com with their name, non-DOE email, telephone number, school and district. Therapists who would like information on maternity should contact Myra Entenberg at 212-598-6800 for an appointment or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, contact Yasmin Mc Dowell at 212-598-6800.
Thursday, Jan. 12: Queens parents are invited to “The Confidence Value,” a workshop about building your child’s confidence. This event will take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Queens UFT office, 97-77 Queens Blvd., Rego Park. Child care will be provided, and refreshments will be served. Participants should RSVP by emailing email@example.com with their name, address, phone number and how many children will be attending. For more information, see the event listing.
Save the Date
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, 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.
Association of Teachers of Social Studies/UFT
English Language Arts
Hellenic American Educators Association/UFT
Irish American Committee
NYC Music Teachers Association/UFT
NYC Art Teachers Association