This Week’s Focus
Share a short clip of your school’s graduation
As Education Secretary Betsy DeVos pushes school vouchers as an alternative to “failing” public schools, it’s time to remind the public that New York City public schools have a record-high graduation rate. That’s why we are asking you to participate in our new 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 more than 30 seconds long. Please fill out our online form to let us know we can count on you. After you sign up, we’ll be in touch with instructions on how you can submit your videos. Thank you for helping us to showcase the success of New York City public schools.
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 they do that too often goes unrecognized. Nominations for this award are now being accepted for public school employees who display the qualities of generosity, compassion, dedication, selflessness and ingenuity that 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 be asked to include a brief description of why he or she deserves an award. Please provide relevant names, dates, locations and contact information for the person making the nomination. Email your nomination to email@example.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.
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 will be posted soon.
Salary & Personnel
Keep EFT accounts open in the summer: Advise members who participate in the EFT direct deposit program not to close their accounts scheduled to receive June, July or August checks. If a check is returned because an account has been closed, a supplemental paper check will be issued only after the paycheck is returned to the Department of Education from the bank. If a check is lost, stolen or mutilated, a stop payment must be placed on the check. The DOE will then mail an affidavit that must be returned before a replacement check is issued. This can take up to six weeks. To request an affidavit, pedagogues should call 718-935-2217 and paraprofessionals should call their DOE Field Support Center. Please be advised that in both scenarios, no emergency checks can be issued by the DOE.
Update on new school-employee parking permits: Every school employee who has a car and whose school has DOE-designated parking should have received a Department of Education-issued parking permit by now. Delivery of the permits to schools began on May 18 and the permits took effect immediately. Each permit indicates the school and the specific on-street parking locations the school employee may use. The permit is not valid outside any other school. If you have any questions or concerns, contact your district rep. Chapter leaders can also direct questions and requests for additional DOE permits to DOEParkingPermits@schools.nyc.gov. Please copy UFT Director of Personnel Amy Arundell at Aarundell@uft.org on these emails. Do not share the DOE email address with your members. The number of on-street parking slots available at school sites has not increased and the times they are reserved for school employees has not changed. Parking spots are available on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no special on-street parking permit for the principal, the custodian or any other employee. (Off-street parking is not affected.) If you have members who already have a current Department of Transportation-issued permit, let them know that this permit is valid until November 2017. For more information, read the article on the UFT website.
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 verifying 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 be given a problem code in their personnel file that will flag them for review should they wish to return to teaching in the future. While there is no requirement to give notice for retirement, members 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 there will be no penalties if you do not do so, 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.
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, August 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.
Remind your members about key deadlines for teacher evaluations: Make sure your members are aware that teachers’ summative end-of-year conferences must take place between April 28 and June 23. The end-of-year Measures of Student Learning (MOSL) assessment window is April 24 through June 9, and all classroom observations should have been completed by June 2, absent extraordinary circumstances. For more in-depth information, see the Advance Guide for Educatorsor speak with your district representative.
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 will be posted soon.
Professional conciliation to resolve professional differences: What teacher, guidance counselor, social worker or school psychologist hasn’t had to confront a professional disagreement with a supervisor? Professional conciliation provides a mechanism — a professional space — for attaining a win-win solution that might otherwise remain out of reach. Professional conciliation allows the voice of educators to be heard. The DOE-UFT contracts outline the process available to teachers, guidance counselors, social workers and psychologists when a professional disagreement arises. For teachers, professional conciliation can occur when there is a difference in professional judgment concerning curriculum mandates, program offerings and scheduling. For guidance counselors, professional conciliation can be sought when there is a difference in professional judgment concerning the procedures for evaluating individual students. For school social workers and psychologists, professional conciliation can be sought when there is a professional difference concerning a policy or procedure related to locally devised student testing procedures and the appraisal methodology of a Committee on Special Education, a Clinical Service Unit or a superintendent. 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 no teacher can 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 that he/she was notified 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.
Send a letter to DeVos protesting her cruel education budget: The Trump-DeVos budget unveiled on May 23 is cruel to children and catastrophic to public schools. The Trump-DeVos budget slashes federal spending for teacher development, after-school enrichment, class-size reduction and career and technical education, while ramping up investments in school choice. In her testimony to a House subcommittee, DeVos refused to rule out giving federal funds for vouchers to private schools that discriminate. New York State alone stands to lose $433 million in education funding. The budget cuts one-quarter of the Medicaid funding that now pays for essential school-based services for students with disabilities. And it guts programs that alleviate student debt or make college affordable. Please send a letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos telling her that our children deserve better.
Comment on state’s revised state ELA and math standards: State officials have unveiled a revised set of ELA and math learning standards that will be voted on in June. These revisions build on a draft set of standards released in September. Educators have an opportunity to comment on the revised standards. You can find links to the standards and the online forms to submit comments on the New York State Education Department’s AimHighNY website.
Comment on state’s draft school-accountability plan: The state Board of Regents has released its draft plan for implementing in New York State the Every Student Succeeds Act, the federal school accountability law that has replaced No Child Left Behind. New York officials say the draft plan puts a spotlight on equity by asking schools to report on access to resources, qualified teachers and advanced coursework — rather than just student outcomes. Public hearings will take place in Brooklyn on Tuesday, June 6 and in Queens on Saturday, June 10. You can also submit written comments to ESSAcomments@nysed.gov. See the news story in Chalkbeat for more details.
Make your voice heard on the school-planning process: Each year with the help of chapter leaders, our grievance department proactively works to reduce oversize classes to contractual limits and pressures the Department of Education to address overcrowded schools. Our union has long advocated for a capital planning process for school construction based on the needs of neighborhoods. The City Council has announced the formation of a working group to address school planning, siting and overcrowding. This group, consisting of Council staff from the Land Use, Legislative, and Finance divisions, will document school planning and siting processes, identify challenges and develop a set of recommendations to address new school capacity. Most importantly, there’s an opportunity for chapter leaders and members to give input. The working group is soliciting feedback from educators on the school planning and siting process. This can include problems you see in the current projection of seat need, challenges in the siting process or recommendations for improving the planning and siting process in general. The working group is also interested in hearing about your experience with school planning, siting and/or overcrowding in your neighborhood. You can use this online comment form to offer feedback and recommendations to the Council working group.
Stay connected with the UFT on social media: In the face of 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
Health and safety training for science teachers on June 8: This year, the UFT and the DOE are jointly hosting a full day of health and safety training especially for science teachers on Chancellor’s Day, Thursday, June 8. Please encourage science teachers in your school to attend what promises to be a day of useful professional development. This event will be held at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway from 8 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Topics include hazardous waste management and emergency response; laboratory chemical disposal procedures; and other issues concerning the handling of chemicals. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. Register online. For more information, see the flier.
Use of personal equipment in classrooms: Chapter leaders should be aware of Chancellor’s Regulation A-850 regarding sustainability initiatives. Part of this regulation requires that schools remove nonessential personal equipment such as refrigerators, microwaves and personal fans from the classrooms. Custodians have been told to provide at least one location in the school where this equipment is available for use by the staff, with the leeway to decide what works best for their school building. Fans may be used to keep staff and students cool in classrooms where there is no air-conditioning. However, small desk fans for individual, personal use may face removal under the regulation.
Open enrollment for Catastrophe Major Medical Plan ends June 15: The Catastrophe Major Medical Plan, which is sponsored by our state affiliate, NYSUT, is coverage that supplements a basic health plan and prevents members from having to shoulder extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses during an emergency. While the plan has been closed to new participants since July 2011, NYSUT has announced a limited-time open-enrollment period from May 1 to June 15, with the coverage taking effect on Jan. 1, 2018. Coverage includes supplemental medical insurance coverage designed to help with the expenses not fully covered by your basic major medical, prescription drug or hospitalization insurance, including Medicare; limited nursing/convalescent home benefits; home health care benefits up to 25 hours per week; and other benefits. For more information and to enroll online, see the NYSUT Member Benefits website.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
New members should maintain careful records: Encourage new members in your school to carefully review and save the emails they receive from the DOE’s Department of Human Resources, which record all current information concerning an employee’s New York City license/appointment and New York State certification. Most important, members should check that the information is accurate. If not, they should follow the DOE’s instructions right away to correct any errors in the record.
March in the Queens Pride Parade this Sunday: All members, as well as their friends and family, are invited to join the UFT Pride Committee at the 25th annual Queens Pride Parade and Festival this Sunday, June 4, from noon to 6 p.m. UFT members will assemble on 37th Avenue between 89th and 90th Street in Queens at 12 p.m. and march down to 75th Street for the festival, which will start at 1:30 p.m. The festival will feature vendors, food and live music. This year’s grand marshals will be New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli (whom the UFT contingent will be marching with); Bianey Garcia-D la O, a trans-Latina LGBT organizer for Make the Road NY; and Sheltering Arms NY, a nonprofit organization that helps low-income children and families succeed. Lisa Lisa will be the musical headliner. For directions on the day of the event, contact Dori Capace at email@example.com. Visit the Queens Pride website for more information. Register online.
AFT National Latino Caucus scholarships for high school seniors: The AFT National Latino Caucus, a strong advocate for our schools and students, is the sponsor of the annual Maria Portalatin National Freedom Scholarship, which awards three Hispanic high school seniors a $1,000 book stipend and a laptop to use in college. High school chapter leaders, please tell your members to encourage your school’s eligible seniors to apply for the scholarship. Applications must be postmarked by Saturday, June 17. All UFT members are invited to join the AFT National Latino Caucus to learn about Latin culture and history.
Teaching and Learning
Lessons on internet safety: The AFT’s Share My Lesson website has lessons to teach students about staying safe online. Elementary teachers can view a PowerPoint put together to help students cope with and tackle cyberbullying. Middle and high school educators can get important information about social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter as well as tips and guides on how to prepare and protect students to use them. Parents can play personalized learning gamesto learn the importance of monitoring their children’s online activity and get some practical strategies for helping children avoid and deal with cyberbullying. You can find many lessons and webinars on the Share My Lesson website.
Our Functional Chapters
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.
Unions sue over right-to-work law: The AFL-CIO and the Teamsters Union on May 25 filed a lawsuit in a Kentucky circuit court challenging the constitutionality of the state’s new right-to-work law, reports the Herald Leader. The lawsuit argues the law is discriminatory and unconstitutional because it treats unions differently than other organizations that collect fees or dues to cover the costs of the benefits they provide. Opponents of the legislation say that it produces “free riders” in union shops — people who benefit from the presence of a union but don’t contribute — limiting the bargaining power of the union. Lawsuits challenging similar right-to-work laws in other states have had mixed success in the courts.
Warren promises to keep a close eye on DeVos: Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren on May 31 announced the launch of DeVos Watch, a coordinated effort to scrutinize Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s actions, according to The Hill. Warren has emerged as a vocal critic of DeVos, questioning her oversight of the $1 trillion federal student loan program and student loan servicers, as well as her decision to hire executives from for-profit colleges that have been under state and federal investigation. Warren has cited DeVos for “glaring conflicts of interests.”
New York City bills provide protection for fast food workers: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on May 30 signed five bills to increase labor protections for fast food and retail workers, reports Politico. The bills, which were approved by the City Council the prior week, will require that fast food employers provide workers with their schedules two weeks in advance and pay additional compensation for last-minute changes. Companies will be prohibited from requiring the same employee from being scheduled consecutive closing and opening shifts. Current employees will be offered new work shifts before new employees are hired and on-call scheduling will be banned at retailers with 20 or more employees.
Wednesday, June 14: The Delegate Assembly will be held from 4:15 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 2nd floor.
Saturday, June 3: The 2nd annual Teacher Leadership Conference will be held at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participants will explore strategies that enhance passionate, purposeful leadership when interacting with colleagues; examine tools to magnify what’s best and focus on what’s next to support our learning communities; and engage in collaborative conversations to highlight accomplishments and pragmatic solutions. For more information and to register, see the event listing.
Sunday, June 4: UFT members, as well as their friends and family, are invited to join the UFT Pride Committee at the 25th annual Queens Pride Parade and Festival. This event will take place from noon to 6 p.m. The UFT members will assemble on 37th Avenue between 89th and 90th Street in Queens at 12 p.m. and march down to 75th Street for the festival, which will start at 1:30 p.m. For more information, see the item above in Opportunities.
Tuesday, June 6: The social workers and psychologists chapter executive board meeting will take place from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 2nd floor, room B. Light refreshments will be served.
Wednesday, June 7: Teachers with 1-3 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 and the UFT Teacher Center to help participants get oriented, find their way and accumulate teaching and learning credits. This event will be held from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Queens UFT office, 97-77 Queens Blvd., Rego Park. CTLE hours will be given to teachers who hold professional certificates. Register online.
Wednesday, June 7: Teachers with 1-3 years of service are invited to “ Student Engagement: Tools to Create Positive Change,” a workshop presented by the UFT Member Assistance Program and the UFT Teacher Center to help participants get oriented, find their way and accumulate teaching and learning credits. This event will be held from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Bronx UFT office, 2500 Halsey Street. CTLE hours will be given to teachers who hold professional certificates. Register online.
Wednesday, June 7: 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 FMLA leaves. For more information and to register, see the event listing.
Wednesday, June 7: The speech chapter executive board and general membership meetingwill take place from 4 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, room 19G. We will discuss important updates and other information concerning our chapter. Register online.
Wednesday, June 7: Brooklyn-based members are invited to a maternity and child care leave workshop from 4:15 to 6:45 p.m. at the Brooklyn UFT office, 335 Adams Street, 25th floor. Participants will learn their rights concerning maternity, childcare and FMLA leaves. For more information and to register, see the event listing.
Wednesday, June 7: The school nurses chapter executive board meeting will take place from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 16th floor, conference room B. Light refreshment will be served.
Friday, June 9: The social workers and psychologists chapter meeting will be held from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 19th floor, room G. Refreshments will be served. Preregistration is required.
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 Hotel.
For more events, go to uft.org/calendar.
The 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 upon arrival in the lobby for exact floor location. For further information, contact us at 1-212-598-7772 or visit us online.
Association of Teachers of Social Studies
Italian Heritage Committee