Chapter Leader Update, September 29th, 2017

This Week’s Focus

Lump-sum payment coming in October paycheck

Because you have a union that fights for you, all UFT members now on payroll who worked for the Department of Education between 2009 and 2017 are being compensated for the two 4 percent raises that former Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave to members of some municipal unions in 2009 and 2010 but refused to give to public school educators and other city employees at the time. These members will receive a lump-sum payment of 12.5 percent of the money they are owed in their October paychecks. This payment comes on the heels of a 4.5 percent rate increase that all DOE-employed UFT members received this past May and in advance of a 5 percent rate increase coming in the spring of 2018. The 2017 lump-sum payment, which will be added to a regularly scheduled paycheck, is the second of five lump-sum payments between 2015 and 2020. For in-service teachers, other pedagogues and paraprofessionals, the money will be part of the Oct. 16 check. For nurses, therapists and other members who are paid on the H-Bank payroll, the money will be in the Oct. 20 check. Per-diem and per-session payments will be issued on Nov. 2. If a member is on leave this October, the member will receive the payment on the date of the next scheduled payment when the member is back on payroll. Even newer members will be receiving a lump-sum payment since the 8 percent rate increase all members should have received then is being phased in. TDAs will be updated, along with all other payroll contributions and deductions. See this handy pay chartto learn more about the salary increases and lump-sum payments you will receive as a result of the 2014 UFT-DOE contract. Read the New York Teacher article.

UFT’s first Chancellor’s Consultation meeting focuses on consultation process

The UFT leadership held its first Chancellor’s Consultation meeting of the year with Chancellor Carmen Fariña earlier in September. Most issues on the agenda each month come directly from members, who are reporting issues to their chapter leaders and district reps. At this initial meeting, the union’s primary focus was on the consultation process in schools and at the district level to ensure that the consultation process detailed in the DOE-UFT contract is not only in place, but used effectively. Let’s make sure that our rights are upheld and resolve issues as they come up. Putting things on the record is key to holding people accountable at every level. The only way we can solve workplace problems is if we know about them. Chapter leaders can now go online and enter notes about their consultations — not the minutes, but the topics that were discussed as well as what was resolved and what wasn’t.  What’s more, district reps can now track those conversations and bring up unresolved school-level issues with superintendents.

Join us for the UFT Conference on Effective Instruction for English Language Learners

Registration is now open for ELLevating: The Second Annual UFT Conference on Effective Instruction for English Language Learners. The UFT hosts this conference so all educators can learn strategies to help English language learners reach their full potential. Participants can receive 4.5 Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) hours. This year, participants will attend three workshops in the areas of academic support and achievement, advocacy and technical assistance. See the workshop descriptions. The conference will take place on Saturday, Oct. 14, from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 2nd floor. Conference speakers include UFT President Michael Mulgrew and Schools Chancellor Carmen FariñaThe conference registration fee is $75 for teachers (CTLE certificate provided), $50 for paraprofessionals (CTLE certificate provided) and $40 for all non-CTLE registrants. The fee includes breakfast and lunch. Register online now to have the maximum chance of attending your top workshop selections. We anticipate seats will quickly fill up.

Register now for Teacher Union Day

On Teacher Union Day, we honor past leaders who inspired us and celebrate present leaders and activists who continue in their footsteps. We hope you and your colleagues will join us this year as we celebrate the incredible work of UFT members at the union’s annual Teacher Union Day awards ceremony and reception on Sunday, Nov. 5, at the New York Hilton. Arthur Pepper, the UFT Welfare Fund director, will receive the Charles Cogen Award, the highest honor the union gives to a member. Pepper has worked tirelessly to improve members’ health care benefits, including setting up the new MSK Direct program that gives UFT members and their families special access to specialists at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The event includes breakfast, the awards ceremony and a reception at a cost of $50 per person. To register, fill out the online registration formand mail in a copy with your payment. Learn more about the Teacher Union Day awards on the UFT website. Let’s celebrate and publicize the hard work we do to keep the union strong.

Wear pink on Oct. 18 and join us in the Making Strides against Breast Cancer walk

Encourage your members to wear pink to school on Wednesday, Oct. 18, to build chapter unity and demonstrate their commitment to fighting breast cancer. Take photos of your members wearing pink and post them on Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #UFTgopink. Please send your best one or two photos (large size, with captions) to uftphotos@gmail.com for our Facebook and website photo albums. Also, we want chapter leaders and delegates to wear pink at the Delegate Assembly that day. The New York Teacher will send its photographer to a few schools organizing a Go Pink Day. If a UFT photographer has not come to one of your schools before to take Go Pink photos, please send an email request to editor Joe LoVerde at jloverde@uft.org. This year, once again, chapter leaders are encouraged to organize a team to participate in one of the walks on Sunday, Oct. 15. If you need help completing the online signup process, contact Rachel Nobel on the UFT digital communications team at 212-598-7791 during office hours. We’ll be using #StridesUFT as our Twitter and Instagram hashtag on the day of the walk. Send your best photos from the walk that same day to uftphotos@gmail.com for UFT social media, the website and the New York Teacher.

Thank you for your donations to help hurricane victims

Thank you for your generous donations at the citywide chapter leader meeting on Wednesday to help hurricane victims. Chapter leaders donated more than $5,500 that day. With the situation in Puerto Rico still dire, we continue to collect donations by credit card or check to the UFT Disaster Relief Fund. Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio have established locations to drop off emergency supplies to help Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. These are the critically need items that are being collected: batteries, flashlights, first aid supplies, diapers, baby wipes, baby food and feminine hygiene products. All items must be unopened and packaged. New Yorkers are encouraged to drop off goods for donation at selected locations between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. See the list of drop-off locations.

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Your Chapter Leader Checklist

  • NewFree flu shots at the October DA: Delegates can receive a free flu shot at the  Delegate Assembly on Wednesday, Oct. 18. The vaccinations, which will be administered by WorkWell NYC, will be available to all delegates who are in-service employees or pre-Medicare retirees who have a New York City health plan.
  • NewGuidance on school handbooks: As a result of a Public Employment Relations Board case brought by the UFT, the Department of Education issued instructions in January to principals about the use of school handbooks. While school handbooks may be used to remind members about certain provisions of the contract or chancellor’s regulations, handbooks cannot change or contradict these provisions and handbooks cannot create new terms and conditions of employment. For example, handbooks may not establish a staff dress code or require that staff submit medical documentation when taking a self-treated day. In addition, members can be asked to sign and acknowledge only receipt of a copy of the school handbook — not that they agree with or have familiarized themselves with its contents. For more information, read the DOE’s school handbook notice that appeared in the Jan. 18, 2017 Principal’s Weekly. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your district rep.
  • NewDeadline for school safety plan: By now, your school should have had its first safety committee meeting where the safety plan is reviewed and revised with your input. Your principal should have faxed the safety plan endorsement page with your signature to the DOE Office of Safety and Youth Development (OSYD) by Friday, Sept. 29. Read more about school-safety planning in the chapter leader section of the UFT website.
  • Use our school consultation committee summary tool to stay on track: Principals are required to meet with their school’s UFT consultation committee once a month, according to Article 19, Section H3 of the UFT-DOE contract. As you prepare to hold your first meeting with your principal, we wanted to let you know about a new resource we’ve created to help you stay on track and to ensure that your district representative can support you as effectively as possible. You can fill out the UFT’s new online Consultation Summary Form  (you must be logged in to the UFT website) to report resolved and unresolved issues at your school to your UFT district rep. When you fill out the form, you will be emailed a summary of your school consultation committee meeting that you can share with members of your chapter. The form also lists possible topics for discussion, which may be useful to you when creating your meeting agenda. Your district rep will receive a copy of each summary form you submit. Your district rep, after checking with you, may add your school’s unresolved issues to the agenda for his or her consultation meeting with your school district’s superintendent. Reach out to your district representative if you need help forming a UFT consultation committee at your school or if you are encountering any issues with consultation, including a prinicipal’s refusal to meet with your committee.
  • Members rated Developing or Ineffective must receive a TIP: Talk with your principal to make sure that teachers in your school who received a rating of Developing or Ineffective are supported with a Teacher Improvement Plan (TIP). The principal should have met with the member by Friday, Sept. 29, to discuss the TIP, and the TIP must be prepared and delivered to the member by Monday, Oct. 2. Members should have received information about the TIP process in their DOE email earlier this month. See page 7 of the UFT’s Your Guide to the Teacher Development and Evaluation System for more helpful information for teachers rated Developing or Ineffective.
  • Request a visit to your school from a UFT representative: Various UFT officers and representatives from UFT departments are available to visit your school and speak with members of your chapter. You may request a visit from the following UFT offices and officers: the Grievance Department, to discuss contract empowerment, APPR complaints, grievances and more; the Safety and Health Department, to discuss environmental issues, school safety, incident reporting and more; the Welfare Fund, to discuss supplemental health benefits and more; the Pension Department to discuss pensions and tax-deferred annuities; a UFT certification specialist, to answer teachers’ certification questions; Vice President for Education Evelyn De Jesus, to discuss support for English language learners, professional development, mentoring and more; the Vice President for Academic High Schools Janella Hinds, to discuss issues involving high schools; Vice President for Middle Schools Richard Mantell, to discuss issues involving middle schools; Vice President for Elementary Schools Karen Alford, to discuss issues involving elementary schools; and Vice President for Career and Technical Education High Schools Sterling Roberson, to discuss issues involving CTE schools.
  • Report paperwork and Other Professional Work issues to the union: Remember to use the UFT’s online reporting system for paperwork reduction and Other Professional Work issues. In the 2016–17 school year, many paperwork and OPW issues were resolved by using the union’s new process. In addition, as a result of an arbitration the union brought using the new online process, a stipulation was issued that clarifies how schools can use the 35 minutes set aside in the 2014 contract for Other Professional Work. The stipulation language was resent to principals in the Sept. 6, 2017, and Sept. 12, 2017, issues of the Principals’ Weekly, which states: “Please be aware that Other Professional Work that is done during time designated in the Teachers’ and Paraprofessionals’ Collective Bargaining Agreements for Other Professional Work should be self-directed by the teacher or paraprofessional from the menu of activities set forth in Article 6 and Article 4B, respectively. On an as-needed basis, principals can direct teachers or paraprofessionals to activities on the contractual list; but as per the contract, this direction cannot be done on a regular basis and must be the exception rather than the rule.” According to the paperwork standards agreed to in 2015, OPW time “shall not generate excessive or redundant paperwork or electronic work.” If you have a paperwork or OPW issue in your school, report the issue to the UFT. The union eliminated the online OPW reporting form and is now using the paperwork reduction reporting form for all issues.
  • Start the year off on the right foot: It’s important to start the school year off with the basic elements in place to ensure that your members have a voice in your school community and that you have a system in place for keeping members informed and engaged. We want our members to know that the union is there to support them. Please make sure that your school has a functioning consultation committee, MOSL committee, school safety committee, PD committee and school leadership team. The Chapter Leader Checklist below has details about these committees and the chapter leader’s role on each as well as other important items to take care of in the first weeks back. Please reach out to your district rep if you need support in getting one of these committees off the ground. The chapter leader section of the UFT website also has lots of resources and information for chapter leaders.
  • Customize this Chapter Leader Update for your members: You can convert this weekly update into a substantial, personalized newsletter for your members by selecting relevant items and adding your own school-based ones. By using the online version of the Chapter Leader Update, which is posted on the UFT website on Monday mornings, you’ll avoid the formatting issues you’ll encounter if you copy and paste from the email version. When you’re emailing your members, set up a UFT list in your Gmail account or whatever email client you use to make it easier to reach them all at once. To protect your members’ privacy, make sure you put their email addresses in the BCC: field of your email.
  • Hold your first chapter meeting: In the first few weeks of the school year, you should hold a meeting for your chapter. Use this meeting to welcome new members and introduce yourself. Ask them to sign union membership cards if they have not yet done so. Collect non-DOE email addresses and/or phone numbers for all members of your chapter for future communications.
  • UFT consultation committee: Make sure that you have a UFT consultation committee that meets monthly with the principal. This committee has a critical purpose: to discuss and attempt to resolve issues at the school level before they escalate. When an issue cannot be resolved by the consultation committee, you should bring that issue to the attention of your district representative. Find out more about the role and responsibilities of the UFT consultation committee.
  • MOSL committee: Chapter leaders and their principals should have already formed their eight-member MOSL committee for the 2017–18 school year. Committees must finalize selections for each grade and subject by Friday, Oct. 6. The DOE guide for MOSL selection is now available and the guidance found there will be critical to your school’s work. After these selections are finalized in the system, the committee must reconvene to assign measures to individual teachers by Friday, Oct. 27. As was the case last year, committees will have the opportunity to provide more than one measure to teachers who teach multiple grades and/or subjects.
  • Be aware of Welfare Fund benefits information and health-plan transfer deadlines: Be on the lookout for the annual UFT Welfare Fund chapter leader mailing. The package will be mailed directly to you at your school. Each package contains enrollment applications, update-your-information (change of status) forms, our comparison chart of city health plans and several other useful forms and booklets. Also, the UFT Welfare Fund Health Benefits Checkup special pullout section will be in the Oct. 5 issue of the New York Teacher. This publication has tips on how to access and maximize UFT member health benefits. In addition, please be aware of these upcoming dates: The DOE open enrollment for city health plans for in-service members takes place throughout October. If a change is requested, the new health plan takes effect on Jan. 1, 2018. The UFT Welfare Fund dental transfer period is open now through Oct. 15. If a change is requested, the new dental plan takes effect on Nov. 1.
  • Tips for communication with your members: You can create a stronger chapter with relevant and actionable communication. This summer, we met with chapter leaders to talk about best practices in chapter communication. Here are three great tips to get started this school year: Reach out to functional chapter members and new members regularly. Send group text messages for urgent news and messages of appreciation. Consider using MailChimp, a free online tool for creating professional-looking, easily formatted emails and newsletters. See more communication tips in the chapter leader section of the UFT website (you must be logged in to access it).
  • The Peer Intervention Program (PIP) helps struggling tenured teachers: If you are concerned about a teacher in your school who seems overwhelmed by classroom issues, make sure to share information about the Peer Intervention Program (PIP), a voluntary, confidential program that provides assistance for teachers who believe their teaching would benefit from it. PIP has successfully helped thousands of teachers and is a proactive step toward professional growth for teachers struggling with their craft. Read more information about PIP, including an online request for assistance, on the UFT website.
  • Professional development committee: Each school should have a professional development committee to plan and review the PD offered during the time set aside in the contract for professional learning to ensure that it meets the needs of teachers, paraprofessionals and the school as a whole. Be sure your principal meets with this committee to begin to create the plan for the new school year. Members of the PD committee can choose to meet during the time set aside for Other Professional Work.
  • Register for Chapter Leader Training, Part 1: Chapter Leader Training, Part 1, will be held on Saturday, Oct. 28, and Sunday, Oct. 29, at the Hilton Westchester in Rye Brook, New York. This training is open to new chapter leaders as well as any chapter leaders who have served for 10 years or more. We recommend that you attend all three sessions, but each session can be attended independently. The registration deadline is Friday, Oct. 13. Rooms are limited and will be given on a first-come, first-served basis. Please register online. For more information, call 212-598-7747 or email cltraining@uft.org.
  • Mentoring for new teachers: Every new teacher in your school without prior teaching experience is entitled to mentoring. The mentor should be an experienced classroom teacher, coach or lead teacher, ideally in the new teacher’s subject area. The mentor will provide a minimum of two periods a week of confidential, non-evaluative and nonjudgmental support. Consult with your principal for a list of new teachers and their mentors. As a chapter leader, you are a required member of your school’s New Teacher Induction Committee, which ensures new teachers receive mentoring. If new teachers in your school have not been assigned a mentor or if you have questions about the mentor program, contact your district representative.
  • Text messages from the UFT: Text messages are a powerful way for the union to communicate with members about weather emergencies/school cancellations, political campaigns and other important news and events. If you aren’t already receiving text messages from the UFT, please text “UFT” to 30644 or use our online signup form. At your next chapter meeting, ask for a show of hands of who is receiving text messages from the UFT. Then, directing your attention to those who are not, please pull out your own cell phone and ask those members to opt in right now by texting “UFT” to 30644.
  • Participate on your school leadership team: The school leadership team develops the school’s Comprehensive Educational Plan and makes sure it is aligned with the school-based budget. As chapter leader, you designee should be a member of your school leadership team and attend its monthly meetings.
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