Chapter Leader Weekly Update, June 16th

This Week’s Focus

Apply for the UFT Chapter Advocate Program

Chapter leaders who would like extra support building their school chapters may apply to the UFT Chapter Advocate Program. A chapter advocate works in collaboration with your district rep to support you and your members in creating a vibrant chapter that can advance the rights and needs of your members. In the program, chapter advocates pair up with current chapter leaders to provide support to help you build strong consultation, professional development and safety committees and a strong School Leadership Team at your school. Chapter advocates can also provide guidance in running effective chapter meetings. If you are interested in applying for a chapter advocate, fill out the online application form. Applying to the program does not guarantee your school will be selected. Please note: Due to a technical glitch, some chapter leaders who responded to the email sent on Tuesday may have been unable to complete the online application. The problem has been resolved. Please try again!

Join the UFT at the Pride March on June 25

All members are invited to join the UFT as we celebrate our diversity at the annual Pride March on Sunday, June 25. The UFT contingent will assemble at East 41st Street between Madison and Park avenues starting at 2 p.m. The march will begin at 36th Street and 5th Avenue and continue down 5th Avenue to Greenwich and Christopher streets in the West Village. We recommend crossing at 42nd Street, since 41st Street will be closed. Register online.

Regents shorten time devoted to state ELA and math tests

The state Board of Regents announced on June 12 that they will shorten the annual state math and ELA tests taken in elementary and middle schools, shrinking the exams to two days per subject from three days each. The move, which will be implemented for spring 2018 testing, is one of the more significant changes that the state has taken in its efforts to ease concerns with the standardized tests. “Testing should not interfere with a student’s learning time,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew. “We applaud the Regents for recognizing that the length of testing time measured endurance rather than learning. We will continue to work with them to improve outcomes for both students and teachers.”

UFT borough office summer hours

The UFT is open for business throughout the summer on a modified schedule. On Thursday, June 29, and Friday, June 30, borough offices will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. On Monday, July 3, the hours will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Offices will be closed on Tuesday, July 4. Starting July 5, UFT borough offices will then be open Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. through Thursday, Aug. 31. All UFT borough offices will also be closed the weeks of Aug. 14 and Aug. 21. On Fridays throughout the summer, the UFT central switchboard will operate from 9 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. and a small crew will be on hand at 52 Broadway to manage union business. Offices will be closed again on Monday, Sept. 4, for Labor Day. Regular hours will resume on Tuesday, Sept. 5. Security procedures require all members to show a photo ID when they arrive at the reception desk.

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Your Chapter Leader Checklist

  • Share this new constitutional convention flier with members: Make sure your members are aware of the dangers of holding a state constitutional convention, a question that will be on the ballot in November. A constitutional convention, which is being pushed by outside corporate interests, would be a gigantic waste of money and put our pensions and other hard-earned rights and benefits in jeopardy. Here is a flier to post on your UFT bulletin board and put in your members’ mailboxes this June.
  • Proud of your chapter communications? The UFT is assembling a committee of chapter leaders and communications staff to discuss how to support chapter leaders in their digital communications with chapter members. We are recruiting chapter leaders who have figured out digital communication strategies, including regular e-newsletters, which could serve as models for other chapter leaders. If you are interested in participating, please fill out this chapter communications committee form.
  • Monitor end-of-year paperwork in your school: As we enter the final days of the school year, chapter leaders should make sure members are not asked to produce excessive end-of-year paperwork. The UFT has established an online reporting system that enables chapter leaders to report paperwork issues immediately. Chapter leaders who believe their members have been assigned unnecessary paperwork should fill out the online paperwork reduction reporting form (you must be logged in to access it) so we can track the number of complaints as they simultaneously reach out to the principal to resolve the issue. Only chapter leaders may use the reporting form. The UFT and the DOE negotiated a set of five paperwork standards in May 2015 intended to reduce unnecessary paperwork. These standards stipulate that, among other concerns, educators should not be required to perform “redundant, duplicative, unnecessary or unreasonable amounts of record-keeping.” Consult the UFT’s Resolving Paperwork and Other Professional Work Issues Guide for more detailed information.
  • Register for chapter leader training, Part 1, in the fall:  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 leader who has served for 10 years or more. We recommend that you attend all three sessions, but each session can be attended independently of the others. Please note that 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, please call 1-212-598-7747 or email cltraining@uft.org.
  • Share a short clip of your school’s graduation: As U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos pushes school vouchers as an alternative to “failing” public schools, let’s remind the public that New York City public schools have a record-high graduation rate. We are asking you to participate in our social media campaign focused on June’s graduations, commencements and “stepping-up” ceremonies. We are seeking short video clips of your students’ end-of-year ceremonies — all ages and grades — to feature in this new #PublicSchoolProud campaign. Show us your students marching in or out of commencement, performing in the ceremony, throwing their caps in the air or any other memorable moments. You should hold your camera horizontally when filming, and each video clip should be no longer than 30 seconds. Please fill out our online graduation video form to let us know we can count on you. Submit your videos using this online form.
  • 2017–18 school calendar: According to the DOE school calendar for next school year, teachers will report to work on Tuesday, Sept. 5, and students will return on Thursday, Sept. 7. If members ask why schools are not closed for Veterans Day, you can explain that the DOE’s policy is that when a holiday falls on a Saturday, schools do not close in observance of that holiday.
  • Consult with your principal on your school’s budget: The DOE has released school budgets to principals, and we need you, as a chapter leader, to seek an immediate consultation with your principal. Remember that Article 8C of the UFT-DOE contract gives the chapter leader, along with the chapter consultation committee, the right to review as well as provide input into spending decisions. The union has a Guide for School Budget Consultation to explain how the budget consultation process works and to provide you and your chapter with tools to understand the various components that make up the school budget.
  • Make sure your school’s MOSL and PD committees are in place: Our contract requires that each school set up committees for the 2017-18 school year for Measures of Student Learning selection and professional development so that MOSL selections and school-based professional development reflect the interests of the staff and address the needs of the school. You should have a MOSL committee for the 2017-18 school year organized at your school before the end of this school year.
  • Extensions of probation don’t need to be signed immediately: Probationers whose principals want to extend their probations do not have to sign the extension of probation immediately. They have a right to have one of the union’s lawyers look it over. In fact, every extension of probation should be submitted to the UFT for a NYSUT attorney to review before the member makes the decision to sign or not. You should contact your district rep each time a member receives an extension of probation. If your principal is insisting that the member sign the extension without the proper time for the extension agreement to be reviewed, advise the member not to sign and contact your district rep or borough office immediately.
  • UFT certificates for graduates: The UFT’s officers and the chairpersons of the Professional Committees have a long tradition of supporting and rewarding our schools’ graduates by awarding certificates for excellence in academic achievement. Certificates may be presented to the most deserving students in each subject area. Download the certificates of excellence in academic achievement from the chapter leader section of the UFT website (you must be logged in to gain access). For more information, read the letter from UFT President Michael Mulgrew and George Altomare, the director of the UFT Professional Committees. You can contact the Office of UFT Professional Committees at
    1-212-598-7772.

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Tell Your Members

Salary & Personnel

The Open Market Transfer Plan period runs through Aug. 7: The Open Market Transfer Plan offers all pedagogues as well as paraprofessionals access to job openings in their current license area throughout the city through an online registration process. During the transfer period, which runs from April 15 to Aug. 7, you do not need a release from your principal to change schools. You may even apply to schools without current openings, and your application will be kept in an electronic file in the event an opening occurs. We suggest following up all electronic applications with a hard copy that is mailed, emailed or dropped off at the school. Now that principals have received their budgets for next school year, more open positions will be posted. For more information, see the transfer opportunities page on the UFT website.

More information about severance package for ATR members: Tell Absent Teacher Reserve members assigned to your school, including those on provisional assignments or covering for long-term absences, about the newly negotiated ATR severance agreement. Members who have been in the ATR pool for a year or more may be eligible. There are two options for these members who resign or retire: $50,000 in a lump-sum, non-pensionable payment or $35,000 in a lump-sum, non-pensionable payment plus six months of continued health coverage through Feb. 28, 2018. Here is a DOE fact sheet with more information. ATRs have until 5 p.m. on July 14, 2017 to file their paperwork to be considered for the severance program. Interested ATRs should contact their borough office for more information or use this online form if they have questions about the settlement.

Members can earn CAR time for per session work: Tell your members who coach or do other per session activities that they can earn Cumulative Absence Reserve (CAR) time for this work. If you work in the same per session activity between September and June, you can accrue per session sick leave hours after every 20 consecutive sessions worked. For per session athletic coaches with verified schedules, the hours at the end of 20 consecutive sessions, regardless of the number of hours in each session, adds up to the total hours worked in the 20-session period. The total is then divided by 20 to arrive at the average length of a session for sick leave to be transferred. All other teachers earn one session of sick leave for each 20 sessions worked after 20 consecutive sessions. At the end of the activity, the payroll secretary fills out the Per Session Unused Sick Time Transfer Form documenting the accrued per session sick time to be transferred to the member’s regular sick bank. This form is signed by the payroll secretary, the head of the activity and the member to certify the time is accurate. The member should receive a copy. More detailed information on per session rights and CAR time is found on the UFT website.

Members should give notice before they resign: According to Chancellor’s Regulations, pedagogical employees who are resigning must give 30 calendar days’ notice. Therefore, if a teacher wants to resign (not retire) effective Sept. 5, the first day of school in the 2017-18 school year, he or she has to submit a letter of resignation by Aug. 5. According to the DOE, those employees who resign without providing 30 calendars days’ notice will receive a problem code in their personnel file that will flag them for review should they wish to return to teaching in the future. While members are not required to give notice for retirement, those who are interested in taking terminal leave prior to retirement must also give 30 days’ notice. Giving plenty of notice also helps members in the Absent Teacher Reserve find positions. Although it is not mandatory and you incur no penalties by not giving notice, the UFT encourages all staff who plan to either retire or resign before the beginning of the next school year to inform their school administration as soon as possible.

Certification

Summer DASA workshop scheduled: Alert paraprofessionals and other members, who received notification that they must complete certification requirements soon or face termination, that the UFT will offer a six-hour workshop on the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) this summer to fulfill this requirement. The workshop will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 18. The training will be held at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 2nd floor, room B. The fee is $25 for paras and $50 for pedagogues. For registration information, see the UFT Safety Workshop page or call 212-701-9413.

Evaluation

Remind members about end-of-year teacher evaluation deadlines: Make sure your members know that all classroom observations should have been completed by June 2, absent extraordinary circumstances. Teachers’ summative end-of-year conferences and final Teacher Improvement Plan (TIP) meetings must be completed by June 23. Teachers should receive Measures of Teacher Practice summary forms and TIP forms by June 28. For more in-depth information, see the Advance Guide for Educators or speak with your district representative.

Grievance

Summer grievance procedures: After the last day of the school year, the online grievance process will be suspended. All grievances must be filed at your UFT borough office during the summer break. Grievances relating to the regular school year can only be filed once school resumes. Chapter leaders may file Step 1 grievances online again starting the first day of school. If you have any questions, please contact your UFT borough office. UFT borough office summer hours are listed above.

APPR complaint procedures: During the summer, APPR complaints cannot be filed. APPR complaints can only be filed once school resumes. If you have any questions, please contact your UFT borough office. UFT borough office summer hours are listed above.

Professional conciliation to resolve professional differences: Professional conciliation provides a mechanism to resolve a professional disagreement with a principal or supervisor for teachers, guidance counselors, school social workers and school psychologists. You can find more information about professional conciliation and the new online forms to request a conciliator in the chapter leader section of the UFT website. You can also read the new professional conciliation manual for chapter leaders.

Circular 6 arbitration settlement a win for teachers: A recent arbitration settlement confirms that teachers cannot be assigned credit recovery, targeted credit recovery or iLearnNYC as a Circular 6 professional activity. The settlement creates a new position; teachers can apply to work in credit recovery programs with a maximum of eight students per school year in lieu of their professional activity period. As part of the settlement, the position must be posted and the teacher must be licensed in the subject area of the credit recovery course. Here is a posting template for credit recovery programs. Please note that there are no specific seat-time requirements for targeted credit recovery. The teacher will meet with the student(s) on an as-needed basis as determined by the teacher. For more information on the arbitration settlement, see the news story on the UFT website and the addendum to the stipulation. If you have questions, please email Teamhighschool@uft.org or call 1-212-598-9217.

Reorganization grievance? File it now!: If your members wish to grieve their programs or assignments, they must act quickly. Within two school days of knowledge of his or her new program, the member must ask you as the chapter leader to submit a Step 1 grievance using the online grievance procedure located in the chapter leader section of the UFT website. Be sure to also print out a copy of this grievance and submit it, or have your member submit it, to your principal. The principal has two days from the date of notification to meet with the member and render a decision. If the grievance is unresolved, you have two days from the date of the grievance conference to file a Step 2 grievance with the superintendent, so contact your district representative immediately. The superintendent then has three days to schedule and meet and four days to write a decision.

Political Action

Share college grad photos of students who attended NYC public schools: Our members are proud of their contribution toward making our students college and career ready, so we want to showcase how New York City public schools have graduated students who were ready to take on the challenges of college. If you or one of your members has a child or other family member who is a product of NYC public schools and this spring graduated from college or completed a graduate or professional degree, we would love to post those photos as part of our #PublicSchoolProud campaign. Use our #PublicSchoolProud college grad online form to share a photo of the new college grad wearing cap and gown.

Stay connected with the UFT on social media: In light of U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ serious attacks on public education, it’s more important than ever that UFT members stay informed and use social media to get out the word about the dangers we face and the great things happening in New York City public schools. Sign up for UFT text messages. Like the UFT on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Follow us on Instagram. And if you are on Snapchat, add UFTnyc.

Health and Safety

Information about World Trade Center Health Program: The UFT has important news for those who lived or worked below Canal Street at the time of the 9/11 terrorist attack at the World Trade Center or for students who attended school there. The U.S. Department of Justice has revised the registration rules for victims of cancer and certain pulmonary illnesses to receive money from the Zadroga Victim Compensation Fund. The revisions open up an opportunity for those precluded under the original rules. You are eligible for compensation if you worked below Canal Street between Sept. 11, 2001, and May 30, 2002, and have or in the future develop cancer or specific respiratory illnesses linked to the World Trade Center toxic dust. The UFT will help members attain proof of their work location, which is needed to file a claim. For more information, please download this flier. If you have any questions, please email the UFT at wtcclaim@uft.org.

New Teachers

Help with funding classroom projects: Encourage new teachers to explore innovative ideas for classroom projects and let them know about the many funding options available to them. The UFT has scoured the internet and other sources for grants, awards and free things available to New York City public school educators. Teachers looking for resources for classroom projects can find them in the funding classroom projects section of the UFT website.

Teaching and Learning

Summer courses for teachers of struggling readers: Everyone Reading, a leading provider of professional development for educators of students with dyslexia and related learning disabilities, is offering a rich array of courses this summer. Teachers interested in enhancing their skills in the areas of reading and writing instruction can choose from a one-day S.P.I.R.E. workshop, a six-day course on “Dyslexia:  What It Is and What to Do about It” and several one- or two-day courses on reading comprehension and writing. S.P.I.R.E. is the Orton-Gillingham-based reading intervention program that the DOE chose for IEP teachers/interventionists. Of particular appeal to teachers looking for strategies to bring English language learners up to speed on critical language skills is the July 14 four-hour workshop on Open Court Reading English Language Development Kit. All of the summer programs at Everyone Reading qualify for Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) hours. See more information about the summer course offerings, including course syllabuses. Register for courses on the Everyone Reading website.

Opportunities

Deadline extended for CELF summer institute scholarship: The deadline to apply for a Summer Institute in Education for Sustainability scholarship offered by the Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation has been extended to Friday, June 23. CELF offers a transformative professional development experience of hands-on workshops featuring presenters from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, MIT’s Climate Interactive, ProPublica and New York City Schools who participated in CELF’s Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action Project. The institute will help participants incorporate sustainability concepts into existing curriculum by modeling engaging activities and providing extensive case studies. Scholarships are available courtesy of the DOE’s Office of Sustainability.For more information and to register, see the CELF website.

Nominate a colleague for a Hometown Hero award: Each year, the New York Daily News, in collaboration with the UFT and the Department of Education, honors Hometown Heroes in Education for the uplifting work educators do that too often goes unrecognized. You may nominate public school employees who display the qualities of generosity, compassion, dedication, selflessness and ingenuity, and make an extraordinary difference in the lives of our city’s schoolchildren and their communities. To nominate a teacher, school nurse, physical therapist, guidance counselor, social worker, paraprofessional or any other member of your school staff, you’ll need to include a brief description of why he or she deserves an award. Please provide relevant names, dates, locations and contact information for those you’re nominating. Email your nomination to hometownheroeseducation@nydailynews.com. You can also send your nomination by mail to P.O. Box 5047, Bowling Green, NY 10274. Read the contest rules on the Daily News website.

Our Functional Chapters

Paras cannot be required to supervise lunchrooms: Tell paraprofessionals that lunchroom supervision is not a para’s responsibility. Other school-based personnel, such as school aides and supervising school aides, have this responsibility. Paras are entitled to a duty-free lunch. Please clarify with your paras that they may be asked to perform duties in an instructional lunch for a specific student only as set forth in the child’s IEP, but they are not required to perform general lunchroom supervision. The classroom para of a self-contained class should not be covering a class during lunch. If problems persist or your administrators have questions, please contact your district representative.

Encourage paras to join the pension system: Paraprofessionals are eligible to join the pension system; however, membership in the Teachers’ Retirement System is not mandatory for paraprofessionals. Paras must contact TRS at 1-888-869-2877 and ask for an enrollment application. Substitute paraprofessionals may join the Board of Education Retirement System (BERS) by calling 1-718-935-5400.

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This Week in Education and Labor News

Florida bill gives big boost to charter schools: Florida Gov. Rick Scott on June 15 signed a charter school-friendly, $419 million K-12 public schools bill that has incited a groundswell of criticism from traditional public school advocates, according to the Miami Herald. The bill, which was broadly supported by House Republicans, will make it easier for charter schools to further expand in Florida and to receive additional taxpayer funding to boost their operations. Some Miami-Dade charter schools offered incentives to parents and, reportedly, extra credit to students if they openly supported the bill.

Trump to reset student loan regulation: The Trump administration on June 14 said it plans to revise two Obama-era regulations aimed at helping student loan holders who say they were misled by for-profit colleges, reports USA Today. The decision would undo a pair of regulations designed to protect students who attended career-preparation programs at for-profit colleges and either failed to earn projected incomes or claimed they were misled or defrauded by the schools. The Institute for College Access and Success said the changes would make it easier for disreputable schools “to defraud students and evade accountability.”

Trump makes union organizing more difficult: The Labor Department on June 8 announced it was taking steps to reverse an Obama-era rule requiring companies to disclose contact with outside consultants on how they respond to unionizing efforts, reports the Washington Post. The March 2016 regulation, known as “the persuader rule,” has yet to take effect because of ongoing litigation, but it would require companies to report any action or communication they’ve taken that might influence an employee’s decision on forming a union or pursuing collective-bargaining rights. The move marks a setback for the labor movement.

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Events Calendar

Featured Events

Sunday, June 25: All members are invited to join the UFT at the annual Pride March. The UFT contingent will assemble on East 41st Street between Madison and Park avenues starting at 2 p.m. Register online. For more information, see the item in This Week’s Focus.

This Week

Wednesday, June 21: Teachers with one to three years of service are invited to Getting it Done: Mastering the Art of Time Management and Achieving Your Goals,” a workshop presented by the UFT Member Assistance Program in collaboration with the UFT Teacher Center. This event will take place at the Brooklyn UFT office, 335 Adams Street, from 4 to 6 p.m. CTLE hours will be given to teachers who hold professional certificates. For more information and to register, see the event listing.

Wednesday, June 21: The lab specialists chapter meeting will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 50 Broadway.

Wednesday, June 21: Staten Island-based members are invited to a maternity and child care leave workshop from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Staten Island UFT office, 4456 Amboy Road. Participants will learn their rights concerning maternity, childcare and Family and Medical Leave Act leaves. For more information and to register, see the event listing.

Wednesday, June 21: The education officers and analysts chapter meeting will take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. Refreshments will be served. RSVP by emailing Emma Mendez at emendez@uft.org or register online.

Save the date

Saturday, Sept. 9: Join the UFT contingent at the Labor Day Parade. Details will be available at a later date.

Sunday, Nov. 5: The UFT’s Teacher Union Day will be held at the New York Hilton Midtown Hotel. The event includes breakfast, the awards ceremony and a reception at a cost of $50 per person. Use this online sign-up form to begin the registration process.

For more events, go to uft.org/calendar.

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