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This Week’s Focus
Thanks for participating in Go Pink day and send us your photos from Making Strides this Sunday
Thanks for the show of pink on Wednesday. You can see hundreds of photos in our Facebook gallery, on Instagram and on our UFT website photo galleries. It’s not too late to join a UFT team and help raise funds for the American Cancer Society on Sunday, Oct. 18 in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island and on Sunday, Nov. 8 in Queens. UFT members can sign up online to walk under the UFT banner. We’ll be using #MakingStrides and#Strides as our Twitter and Instagram hashtags on the day of the walk. Please send your best one or two photos (large size, with captions) firstname.lastname@example.org for Facebook.
Pre-K educators invited to sign up for Election Day PD
For the first time ever, the UFT is bringing together paraprofessionals and cluster teachers from our union and parent coordinators and family workers represented by AFSCME District Council 37 for Election Day professional development. Tuesday, Oct. 26 is the deadline for these members to register online for “Partnering to Support all Pre-K Learners,” a full day of workshops to show how to collaborate and leverage expertise to meet the needs of pre-K learners and their families. This is also the first time that participants will have a choice of attending over 10 different workshops. This event will be held on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. For more information, see the flier.
UFT at state hearing: Struggling schools need resources and time, not harsh receivership
UFT Vice President for Academic High Schools Janella Hinds on Oct. 14 made a strong case before the New York State Assembly Committee on Education in Albany that a state takeover of struggling public schools is unnecessary and not in the best interest of the students. Making no excuses, Hinds emphasized the union’s belief that all students deserve great schools. But underscoring the challenges facing the students in these struggling schools, she said these schools need additional resources, support and time. “When schools are under-resourced and over-punished, teachers also know that they will bear the brunt of political, rather than educational, decisions,” she said. One of the great ironies of the state receivership law, she said, is that it seeks to take schools out of the hands of New York City’s district management but then apply the same solutions — the community school model and extended learning time — that the city is already implementing as part of its School Renewal Program. State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia, Chancellor Carmen Farina, NYSUT leaders and a host of education advocates also stressed the importance of proper funding and common-sense timetables to deliver results. Read the full testimony on the UFT website.
Last chance to register for Teacher Union Day
This past spring, when Gov. Cuomo attacked the very heart of public education, UFT members in schools across the city fought back in a grassroots campaign that united parents and educators in protecting public schools and the teaching profession from serious harm. Teacher Union Day is a day to recognize and honor those whose efforts have truly made a difference in people’s lives. The union’s annual Teacher Union Day awards ceremony and reception will take place on Sunday, Nov. 1 at the New York Hilton where we will honor seven UFT chapters that stood out for their solidarity, creativity and engagement in the #AllKidsNeed campaign. Read the New York Teacher storyabout the UFT members and chapters being honored. Download the coupon to register. We’ll be using the hashtag #TeacherUnionDay and posting on Twitter during the event.
Salary & Personnel
Oct. 23 deadline to apply for study sabbaticals: Eligible teachers who want to study to enhance their teaching skills may request a study sabbatical leave for the spring 2016 semester. For study sabbaticals, coursework must be rigorous and related to your teaching assignment. Please alert members in your chapter that the DOE has released its application for the coming school year. See the DOE Personnel Memorandum for sabbatical deadlines and guidelines. All applications must be submitted on the DOE’s Self-Service Online Leave Application Service (SOLAS). The application deadline is Oct. 23. See the UFT website’s sabbaticals section for more information about sabbatical leaves.
Lump-sum payment calculations now on DOE payroll portal: In-service members can see a statement of their lump-sum calculation on theDOE’s payroll portal and retired members can see the same breakdown on theDOE’s retiree portal. The portal will break down the money that members received in their regular paychecks dating back as far as Nov. 1, 2009, the amount they should have received if those two 4 percent raises from 2009 and 2010 were reflected in their paychecks at the time, and the difference for each check. This is the first round of lump-sum payments, representing 12.5 percent of the money accrued to date. In-service members on payroll should have received their lump sum in their Oct. 15 paycheck. In-service H-Bank employees will receive it on Oct. 23. If your members have questions about their lump-sum payment, they should speak to a UFT salary rep at their UFT borough office. For issues that cannot be resolved in this way, they can file aLump Sum Inquiry Form. For more general information about lump-sum payments, please check out the special Contract 2014 section of the UFT website.
Make sure ATRs know about interviews: ATR members in your school should have received this letter about mandatory interviews, which began on Thursday, Sept. 17. Many ATRs — and the principals at the schools to which they are assigned — should have received an email containing the schedule of interviews for the upcoming week. ATRs must be released to attend these interviews. ATRs should know that if they miss two mandatory interviews they can be deemed “voluntarily resigned.” Please print and distribute the letter to ATRs to reinforce the importance of these interviews.
City boosts incentive for waiving health benefits: Make sure your members know that the city has just tripled the cash incentive payments it will offer members for waiving their New York City health benefits plan coverage if they are also covered by a non-city health insurance plan of a parent, spouse or domestic partner, or through other employment. The annual incentive payment has increased from $500 to $1,500 for individual coverage, and from $1,000 to $3,000 for family coverage as of Jan. 1, 2016. Members may enroll in the New York City Health Benefits Buyout Waiver Program for city employees during the annual open enrollment transfer period, which this year is from Sept. 21 to Oct. 30. For more information and to enroll in the program, visit the Health Benefits Buyout Waiver Program website and scroll down for the MSC (Medical Spending Conversion). You can also contact the UFT Welfare Fund member services with any questions about the waiver program at 1-212-539-0500. Members who waive their New York City health plan benefits are still entitled to their UFT Welfare Fund supplemental health benefits.
Tackle paperwork issues at school level using new contractual rights:Paperwork remains a big concern among UFT members, and we are counting on chapter leaders to use the hard-won rights in our 2014 contract to tackle the issue. Chapter leaders should be familiar with the new standards to reduce redundant and unnecessary paperwork and work collaboratively with school leadership to try to resolve any school-level issues related to paperwork, whether electronic or paper, at the school level and to ensure the implementation of the systemwide standards at the school. If your paperwork-related concerns and/or matters related to implementation of the systemwide standards cannot be resolved at the school level, you should contact your UFT district representative. Your district representative, in turn, may bring these unresolved issues to the district paperwork reduction committee. If the district committee cannot resolve the dispute, the union may bring it to the central paperwork committee. If the matter is still not resolved, or the central paperwork committee’s decision is rejected by the chancellor, the UFT has the right to file a grievance.
Clarification on eligibility for the special state appeal for state growth scores: You may have heard about a new state appeal process for State Education Department growth scores that are part of some teachers’ evaluations. This special appeal applies to fewer than 100 teachers of grades 4 to 8 ELA and math who met three criteria. These teachers were rated: Ineffective on individual state-provided growth scores in 2014–2015; AND Highly Effective on Other Measures of Teacher Practice (MOTP) in 2014–2015; AND Effective or better on individual, state-provided growth scores in 2013–2014. It does not apply to group or linked measures. The UFT is working with the city DOE to make sure each affected member is contacted about the process. Please do not distribute any forms to your members. If any teacher believes he or she is eligible for this special appeal, contact your district representative. The union is lobbying the state to broaden the criteria that teachers need to meet to use this special appeals process in the future, and, in the interim, our contract does have other appeals in place for teachers with group and linked measures.
No teacher observations before Initial Planning Conference: Make sure your members know that no teacher should be observed prior to having an initial planning conference with their supervisor.
New quick-start guide for teachers with a Teacher Improvement Plan:Ask your members who are receiving a Teacher Improvement Plan (TIP) this year to check out a new one-page, quick-start guide that the UFT created to help them advocate for themselves through the TIP process. Each teacher who is receiving a TIP should have had an initial planning conference by Monday, Sept. 28 to discuss their TIP. The TIP itself should have been in place by Sept. 28. If any of your members want an additional meeting with their supervisor to discuss the TIP, they must request that meeting in writing. The TIP can be revised at the additional meeting.
New two-page guide on initial planning conferences: Advise your teachers that the UFT has created a new two-page guide on the initial planning conference which they can view online or print. This guide gives teachers important tips on how to prepare for the conference. It also lists the observation options they may select from and highlights that this year’s deadline for holding the meeting is Friday, Oct. 30. Remember that this should be a one-on-one meeting between the teacher and his or her evaluator and should be held at a mutually agreed-upon time.
Appeals for Ineffective ratings: All teachers covered by the new evaluation system should have received their year-end rating for the 2014–15 school year upon their return to school. Tell teachers who received a rating of Ineffective to call their UFT borough office immediately to request an appointment with an intake advisor in order to file their appeal. Appeals must be complete and ready to file by Monday, Oct. 26, so encourage teachers to call right away.
#IAmPublicEd meme campaign: The Alliance for Quality Education is showcasing the importance of public education by asking people to use its new tool to create an #IAmPublicEd meme (graphic to share on social media). You upload a picture of yourself and write one or two short lines about why you have dedicated your life to serving New York City public school students, and a meme will be created for you. Go to the group’s website to create an #IAmPublicEd meme now.
Take the Nae Nae challenge for public education: The New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) and the Alliance for Quality Education challenge you to Nae Nae for public education! The Nae Nae is the latest dance craze, and now it’s also a simple and fun way to support public schools. Celebrate public education by doing the Nae Nae, posting a 15-to-30 second video on social media with the hashtag #IAmPublicEd and challenging your friends to join you. Tag NYSUT at @nysut and the Alliance for Quality Education at @AQE_NY so they can share your video more widely. For more information, see the NYSUT website.
Spread the word about the great things happening in our schools: Tell your members about our new campaign, Passion and Promise in Our Public Schools, and let New Yorkers know about all the incredible things that public school educators are doing to improve children’s lives. Encourage members toshare a story about your school or colleagues or share the featured stories on social media. We will use your ideas to update our campaign page and for New York Teacher feature stories, short videos and social media. By sharing your stories far and wide, we can show New Yorkers how public schools, when given the proper support, have the power to transform children, families and neighborhoods.
VOTE/COPE: Explain VOTE/COPE to your members and collect VOTE/COPE checkoff cards at your next chapter meeting.
Health and Safety
BRAVE video contest: The UFT’s BRAVE program — Build Respect, Acceptance and Voice through Education — is holding a video contest to highlight the efforts made by schools to create a welcoming and inclusive school environment. Tell teachers to encourage their students to film and submit a three-to-five minute video that promotes acceptance, tolerance and respect in the school community. The winning video will be shown on the UFT BRAVE Facebook page and at UFT events. The submission deadline is April 1, 2016. For contest details, including information about requirements and submitting videos, see the BRAVE Video Contest 2016 flier.
Free flu shots for members: Let your members know that if they or their dependents are covered by New York City health benefits, they can receive a free flu vaccine each year. View the list of chain pharmacies that offer vaccines.
Assistance for new members: The UFT’s Member Assistance Programinvites new teachers to participate in a weekly peer support and informational group. New teachers will be able to gain knowledge about their union, meet their peers and relieve stress. The group will meet on Wednesday afternoons at UFT headquarters, 50 Broadway, from 4 to 5:45 p.m. Registration is required. New teachers should email email@example.com or call 1-212-701-9620 for registration information.
New member meet-and-greets: Encourage new members in your school with one to three years on the job to attend a new member meet-and-greet with UFT President Michael Mulgrew and Chancellor Carmen Fariña. These meetings will take place in every borough this fall. Members can register online, and you can download a flier for your UFT bulletin board for your borough: Manhattan; Brooklyn and Bronx. The dates for the meet-and-greets are on each flier.
Review your records with care: Be sure to carefully review and save the email you received from the DOE’s Department of Human Resources, which records all your current information concerning your New York City license/appointment and New York State certification. Most importantly, check that it is accurate. If not, be sure to follow the DOE’s instructions right away to correct any errors in the record.
UFT website section for new teachers: Did you know there is an entire section of the UFT website dedicated to the needs of new teachers? Direct new teachers in your school to the new teacher section and help them get their questions answered.
Special Education Committee meeting: UFT members who work with students with disabilities are invited to the first Special Education Committee meeting of the school year. Deputy Chancellor Corinne Rello-Anselmi and Christina Foti, the chief executive director of the Department of Education’s Office of Special Education, will be here providing updates on the new Borough Field Support Centers. They will also be on hand to answer any questions you may have regarding special education services for students, support for families and school staff. This meeting will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 28 from 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 19th Floor, Room F. Please register online quickly as seating is limited to 100 participants. For more information, see the flier.
Free workshops for integrated co-teaching teams: The UFT Teacher Center is inviting all integrated co-teaching teams to attend a free workshop to expand their knowledge of ICT instruction and to learn how special education reform affects the ICT classroom. The workshops are free, but participants may choose only one of the three sessions. For more information and to register, see the event listing.
Use the special ed complaint form to notify the union: The union’s special education complaint form is our members’ tool to advocate for their students with special needs. If there are students in their classes who are not being served in accordance with their IEPs, if class size limits for self-contained classes are being violated, or if ratios in ICT classes are not being equalized, please notify the union via the complaint form.
Check out the students with disabilities section of the UFT website: Do your members know that there is an entire section of the UFT website dedicated to the rights and responsibilities of members serving children with disabilities? Direct your teachers, paras and school related professionals who are providing services to students with IEPs to the UFT website section dedicated to teaching students with disabilities. The section contains a wealth of information and resources to help them best serve their students.
Know your IEP implementation responsibilities: It is very important that all teachers and school related professionals servicing students with disabilities understand their rights and responsibilities as outlined in the New York State Education Department regulations governed under Chapter 408. Prior to implementing services to these students, your members must make sure that they receive the IEP either electronically through SESIS or via hard copy. The school administration is responsible for identifying a designee to meet with each teacher and service provider prior to the initiation of services to discuss their specific role servicing the student. Additionally if they haven’t already, the administration will be asking your members to sign Chapter 408 documents confirming their receipt of the IEP and other related documents. While signing the documents is not optional, your members must carefully read the IEP and make sure that they fully understand the mandated services before they sign. If your members are still awaiting their meeting or if they haven’t received access to the IEPs, please step in and try to resolve the matter with your principal at your next consultation meeting. If the issue cannot be resolved at the school level or with the assistance of your district representative, then notify the union by filing the special education/ELL complaint form.
Special ed educators’ initial planning conference checklist: The union has prepared an initial planning conference checklist specifically for special ed teachers to help these teachers prepare for their initial planning conferences. The checklist highlights the important topics to review. For instance, prior to the meeting, the teacher should review the IEPs of students in their class, class size for self-contained classes, staffing ratios and services for English language learners, among other things. The conference is an opportunity to identify issues that may be impeding their students’ success and to bring up any requests for professional development, materials or other assistance.
Special ed teachers must prepare lesson plans: Please remind all teachers, including SETSS, that lesson plans are required of all teachers who are providing special education services to students with disabilities.
English Language Learners
Translation services for ELLs: Please review the DOE’s language access policy on the DOE website with your principal to ensure that translation and interpretation supports are available to parents with limited English proficiency. Services include translations of all DOE documents and over-the-phone and on-site interpreters.
Transitional and maintenance bilingual education planning grant:Schools launching or expanding a Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE) program can apply for a grant to receive up to $10,000 for the 2016–17 school year. The application deadline has been extended until Saturday, Dec. 19. For more information including an online application, emailBilingualGrants@schools.nyc.gov.
Professional Learning Opportunities
Learn math problem-solving strategies: Pre-K to Grade 12 math teachers are invited to the UFT Teacher Center’s fall citywide conference on math, “Got Problems? We Can Solve Them!” The conference will be held at the UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, on Sunday, Oct. 25, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Participants will examine a four-step problem-solving process to reach multiple-solution paths; discuss and analyze underlying concepts to make sense of problems; and share multiple problem-solving strategies using Padlet. This conference is open to educators at all grade levels. There is no cost to attend, but pre-registration is required. Please register online by grade level.
Fall UFT elementary workshop series: Elementary school teachers who wish to upgrade their teaching skills are invited to attend the UFT’s fall elementary workshop series. Each two-hour workshop is limited to 35 participants. These workshops are not for college credit. The $10 registration fee for each workshop is refundable only if a workshop is canceled. For payment information, download the mail-in registration coupon or review theonline UFT course catalog.
Winter coat drive for homeless students: The UFT’s 2nd annual Thanksgiving Luncheon for homeless children will take place on Saturday, Nov. 21. We will be giving new winter clothing to every child. The union is asking each school to organize a clothing drive to collect new winter coats and accessories such as sweaters, scarves, mittens, gloves and hats, which will be given out to students in need at the luncheon, which is organized by the UFT Middle School Division and the Coalition for the Homeless. We can only accept new articles of clothing. The garments may range in size from toddler to adult. You can bring donations to your UFT borough office or to UFT headquarters (52 Broadway, 14th Floor), or email Adriana O’Hagan at AOhagan@uft.org to arrange for a pickup. All donations must be received by Nov. 17. If you have questions, contact Adelina Santiago at Asantiago@uft.org. Here is a flier to post on your UFT bulletin board to encourage your members to participate in the new clothing drive.
Our Functional Chapters
New positions for school social workers and psychologists: The DOE has issued new job postings for additional positions for school social workers and psychologists for school-based Committee on Special Education (CSE) SBST teams for the current school year. It’s the first time since 1988 that the DOE has added new positions, thanks to a special allocation of funding from the City Council. For more information and links to the postings, see the chapter news story.
Tenure and ratings for speech improvement chapter members:Principals may not use the teacher tenure framework as a rubric to assess speech teachers’ performance or to make tenure decisions. The tenure framework only applies to tenure decisions for classroom teachers. For more information, see the chapter news story.
California to grant diplomas retroactively: California Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to sign a bill that would retroactively grant diplomas to between 40,000 and 150,000 students denied a high school diploma because they failed the state’s high school exit exam, according to EdSource. While intended to raise academic standards, the exit exam has for years been subject to a range of legal and legislative challenges.
Low-interest loans for charter schools: The Indiana State Board of Education has endorsed a plan to divvy up as much as $40 million in loans to fund charter schools, according to the IndyStar. At least 12 charter schools have requested $25 million in one-percent interest loans. John O’Neal of the Indiana State Teachers Association questioned whether it’s the best use of tax dollars: “Should we be giving that much money to schools that have D and F grades? Or brand-new charters that don’t have grades at all?”
Teamster retirees face huge pension cuts: More than 400,000 Teamster workers and retirees nationwide face cuts in the pension benefits after the pension fund filed for reorganization under a new law allowing benefits going to current retirees to be decreased, reports The Toledo Blade. The fund has been paying out $3.46 in pension benefits to retirees for every dollar it receives in employer contributions.
Sunday, Nov. 1: Join your UFT colleagues at the New York Hilton for Teacher Union Day, when we will be honoring seven UFT school chapters who stood out in the fight to protect public education this spring. See item in This Week’s Focus.
Sunday, Oct. 18: Join the UFT for the annual Making Strides against Breast Cancer walk to raise funds for research to combat breast cancer. For more information, see the item in This Week’s Focus.
Tuesday, Oct. 20: High school teachers are invited to attend a UFT high school division workshop “Engaging Students in Learning” (Domain 3 C), from 4 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. This workshop will address ways in which teachers can promote critical thinking and analysis in a manner that is both engaging and rigorous for students. Particular attention will be paid to the strategies teachers can use that incorporate the Common Core standards in a seamless and practical manner across all disciplines. A $10 fee is required to participate.
Tuesday, Oct. 20: Members are invited to the UFT Welfare Fund’s workshop“Keeping Your Heart Healthy” to learn ways to reduce the risk of heart disease and live a more heart-healthy life. Geoffrey V. Webber, MD, an attending cardiologist at New York Presbyterian Hospital, will share his medical expertise on maintaining a healthy heart. To register, contact Kisha Johnson at 212-539-0667. This workshop will take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 19th floor, Rooms D and E.
Wednesday, Oct. 21: Guidance counselors are invited to attend “Guidance Expo 2015,” a day of professional seminars and networking. This all-day event will take place at the Westchester County Center in White Plains. For more information and to register, visit the expo site.
Wednesday, Oct. 21: The monthly meeting of the Education Officers/Education Analysts Chapter will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 19th floor, Room G. For any agenda suggestions, participants are asked to contact Emma Mendez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, Oct. 21: Queens high school guidance counselors should tell their students about the college fair at Martin Van Buren High School, which will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at Martin Van Buren HS, 230-17 Hillside Ave., Queens Village, Queens.
Thursday, Oct. 22: High school teachers are invited to attend a UFT high school division workshop “Using Assessment in Instruction” (Domain 3 D) from 4 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. This workshop will explore methods of checking for understanding designed to both challenge students as well as meet their learning targets. Additional topics to be discussed include: student-friendly rubrics, providing quality feedback, and developing methods of student self-assessment. A $10 fee is required to participate.
Thursday, Oct. 22: Bronx chapter leaders are invited to Chapter Leader Series Two to learn about organizing and running successful committees such as School Leadership Team, consultation, PD, new teacher, safety and more. This training will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Bronx UFT office, 2500 Halsey Street. See the flier for more information.
Thursday, Oct. 22: Teachers are invited to attend the English Language Arts Council/UFT’s “Common Core Learning Standards Workshop I: Close Reading and Scaffolding of Questions” workshop from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. Professional development credit is available. Refreshments and handouts will be provided. Registration is not required. See the event listing for more details.
Thursday, Oct. 22: The monthly Paraprofessional Chapter Meeting will be held from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway.
Save the Date
Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 14 and 14: Chapter Leader Training Part 2will take place at the Westchester Hilton in Rye, NY. See the item above in Your Chapter Leader Checklist.
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)
ELAC/UFT (English Language Arts Council)
NYCAFLT/UFT (NYC Assn. of Foreign Language Teachers)
NYCATA/UFT (NYC Art Teachers Assn.)
Chapter Leader Update – October 16th
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