Remember on Election Day that there are races other than the race for president. It is important that you work your way down the ballot. The UFT has endorsed Charles Schumer for the U.S. Senate. New York State Senate and Assembly seats are all up for election this year. Of particular interest to the UFT and NYSUT are four competitive State Senate races outside New York City. We have endorsed the following candidates in those races: Adam Haber in Senate District 7 in Nassau County; Todd Kaminsky in Senate District 9 in Nassau County; Christopher Eachus, a longtime teacher in Newburgh, in Senate District 39 in Rockland and Orange counties; and Terry Gipson in Senate District 41 in Putnam and Dutchess counties. See the list of all endorsed candidates in the 2016 election. To find out the name of the endorsed candidate for your home district, enter your home address on the NYSUT website.
DOE aligns city teaching licenses with state certification
Chapter leaders should be aware that the Department of Education has expanded the grade-level boundaries for a number of teaching licenses in order to ensure that city licenses align with state certificates. It’s important that our members understand that these changes will have no impact on seniority or completion of probation status for teachers serving in the affected licenses nor will there be any effect on excessing or other personnel decisions made prior to the date of the change. Effective Nov. 1, separate junior and senior high school licenses will be replaced by a single secondary license, similar to the grades 7-12 state certificates. This means that mathematics, English, and social studies teachers will have a single secondary license. ESL and physical education teachers will now each have a single license for all grades K-12. (Elementary school teachers who do not have a physical education license or certificate but who are currently teaching physical education, such as teachers with common-branch certification, may continue to teach physical education in accordance with state regulations.) This change will make transferring to a new school easier in a number of circumstances. For example, a high school ELA teacher will now be able to teach ELA in a middle school without having to serve a new probationary period. The DOE is sending emails directly to all active teachers in these license areas notifying them of the changes. If you have any questions, please contact Amy Arundell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Use our event hashtag when posting on social media during Teacher Union Day
At Teacher Union Day this Sunday, we look forward to celebrating the members and chapters that make the UFT a powerful voice for public education and working people. Please use the hashtag #TeacherUnionDay when posting on Twitter and Instagram during the event. One of the highlights of this year’s celebration will be the presentation of special Innovation in Education awards to a PROSE school, a Positive Learning Collaborative School, a Community Learning School and a school with a dedicated team of teacher leaders. See the names of this year’s award-recipients in the New York Teacher.
Remember to bring new winter gear for homeless students to the Delegate Assembly
On Wednesday, Nov. 9 at our Delegate Assembly, we will be collecting your chapter’s donations of new winter coats and accessories for homeless students in our city’s schools. For chapter leaders still collecting items, please remember to emphasize that we can only accept new articles of clothing. The garments may range in size from toddler to adult. The new winter clothing drive is organized by the UFT’s Middle School Division, but all union chapters are invited to participate. If you cannot bring your school’s donations to the Delegate Assembly, you can drop them off at your UFT borough office or at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 14th floor. In the case of large donations, please email Adriana O’Hagan at AOhagan@uft.org to arrange for a pickup. All donations must be received by Nov. 15. For more information, contact Adelina Santiago at Asantiago@uft.org. Post this flier about the winter coat drive on your UFT bulletin board.
Salary & Personnel
Informational meetings for ATRs: Chapter leaders should reach out to ATRs in their buildings and let them know that the UFT is holding informational meetings at the UFT borough offices for members in the Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR) pool. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and get answers. Members can attend the meetings in any borough office that is convenient for them. Registration is not required. The final three meetings will be on Monday, Nov. 14 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at 52 Broadway; on Tuesday, Nov. 15 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Queens UFT office; and on Thursday, Nov. 17 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Staten Island UFT office. The Brooklyn and Bronx meetings took place this week.
Schools to receive funding to hire teachers in ATR pool: The DOE has released a plan to give school leaders an incentive to hire teachers in the ATR pool. Effective immediately, schools that hire centrally funded excessed teachers on a regular, permanent (not provisional) basis during the 2016–17 school year will be eligible for a three-year allocation to subsidize the cost of the teacher to the school. The subsidy will cover the teacher’s entire salary for the first year, 50 percent the following year and 25 percent the third year. Beginning in the fourth year, the school will be responsible for the teacher’s full salary.
Reminder about secondary school programming: Middle school and high school teachers should be aware that they should not be scheduled for more than three consecutive teaching periods. Based on precedent, block periods (double periods) of ELA and math scheduled back to back are considered four consecutive teaching periods in a row and therefore are improper.
Understanding the new state certification requirements: During the five-year period starting on July 1, 2016, professionally certified teachers and Level III certified paraprofessionals are required to collect a total of 100 professional development hours, now called Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) hours, by a state-approved provider such as the UFT Teacher Center. Members now have to keep their own records. Members should put documentation of workshops they have attended in a CTLE folder. Permanently certified teachers, professionally certified teachers and Level III certified paraprofessionals are also required to register with the State Education Department in the month of their birth. The State Education Department has published this step-by-step guide on the registration process. For more information about the new certification requirements, you can read the information on the UFT website and review the chart designed by the UFT certification staff for specific details on how the certification changes affect your members. Please note: Teachers who hold Initial, Transitional A, Transitional B, Internship or Conditional Initial certificates and paraprofessionals who hold Level I or Level II Teaching Assistant certificates DO NOT need to register. Members with a professional or Level III teaching certificate issued after July 1, 2016 were registered automatically.
Thank the NAACP for its stance on charter schools: Under heavy pressure from corporate education reformers to shift its position, the NAACP national board stood firm on Oct. 15 in calling for a moratorium on charter school expansion until charter schools are subject to the same standards and educate the same range of students as public schools. Please sign the petition expressing your appreciation to the NAACP. The UFT Delegate Assembly has approved a resolution in support of the NAACP’s principled stance for equity and opportunity for all children. The union resolution points to DOE data showing that charter schools in New York City do not accept or keep the same number of students with disabilities, homeless children or English language learners as public schools. Moreover, charters account for 42 percent of the city’s suspensions, even though they educate a mere 7 percent of the students. Read the UFT resolution on the UFT website. You can also read the NAACP statement that details the problems that it sees in the charter sector.
Health and Safety
Privacy breach at EmblemHealth: EmblemHealth has experienced a privacy breach of some members’ accounts. The company is still investigating the details of the privacy breach and official notification will take place once the investigation has been completed. EmblemHealth will be notifying approximately 81,000 members of the privacy breach and, as a precaution, will be providing the affected members with a credit-monitoring service and a dedicated helpline for the next two years as well as $1 million of identity-theft insurance. Once the investigation has been completed, EmblemHealth will provide an official response with more details.
Sepsis is a hidden killer: Sepsis is an often fatal, toxic response to infection by the body’s own normal immune system. It kills 4,400 American children every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Early treatment saves lives. UFT Vice President Anne Goldman, the head of the Federation of Nurses/UFT and herself a nurse, is leading the union’s effort to alert UFT members and parents about the dangers of sepsis. Sepsis is triggered by an infection from a simple cut, scrape, burn or bug bite that can quickly spiral out of control. Sepsis develops when the body mounts an overwhelming attack against this infection that can cause inflammation in the entire body and eventually leads to plummeting blood pressure and organ failure. It is called a “hidden killer” because people are not aware of the symptoms and it is often misdiagnosed even in hospitals. Time matters in treating it. When recognized in its early stages, sepsis is easily treated with an inexpensive antibiotic. For more information, see the article on the UFT website.
Discounted rates for Weight Watchers: UFT members covered by GHI-CBP or HIP HMO and their dependents, as well as their spouses or domestic partners, can now participate in the Weight Watchers program for 50 percent off. For just $7 a month, members can enroll in Weight Watchers OnlinePlus, which entitles them to 24/7 expert chat support, digital tools and mobile apps, the Weight Watchers Connect social platform and activity device syncing. With the Meetings option for only $15 a month, members also can take advantage of confidential weigh-ins, at-work meetings where available, unlimited community meetings and guidance from a Weight Watchers leader. For more information, see the article on the UFT website.
Health care is just a phone call away: UFT members who are GHI subscribers can now take advantage of telemedicine, a new benefit which provides online consultations with doctors, dieticians, nutritionists and other providers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Telemedicine uses two-way video, email, smartphones, wireless tools and other forms of technology, eliminating unnecessary visits to the emergency room, urgent care or retail clinics. The copay for GHI subscribers is $15, which is the same as the copay for visiting a GHI primary-care physician. For more information and to sign up, see the article on the UFT website.
FAQ spells out special ed and ICT requirements: Special education teachers and related-service providers see firsthand that many students with disabilities are not getting the services they need. This special education FAQ, created jointly by the DOE and the UFT, spells out the requirements of IEPs, integrated co-teaching and Chapter 408. Please make sure these programs are being implemented properly to support students with disabilities in your school. If the procedures outlined in this FAQ are not being followed in your school, please make it part of the agenda for the next consultation committee meeting with your principal. If you are unable to resolve the issue through consultation, use this online form to ask your UFT district representative for assistance or file a special education complaint. The Know Your Rights column in the current New York Teacher also focuses on special education issues.
Professional Learning Opportunities
2016 DOE P-credit courses: The DOE After School Professional Development Program (ASPDP) offers teachers the opportunity to take high-quality, low-cost P-credit courses that can be applied to their salary differential as well as the New York State requirement of 100 hours of Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE). All courses are aligned with the Common Core standards and the Danielson Framework for Teaching. The courses are offered online and in-person. Choose from over 130 courses covering a variety of content and pedagogy. These courses are taught by DOE instructors as well as nonprofit organizations and cultural institutions including the Brooklyn Museum, Berklee College of Music and the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. Check out the DOE’s course catalogue and then register for a course today. For more information, email the DOE’s After School Professional Development Program at ASPDP@schools.nyc.gov . To receive regular updates, join the ASPDP email list.
Fall UFT elementary workshops: Elementary school teachers who wish to upgrade their teaching skills are invited to attend workshops in 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 coupon or review the online UFT course catalog.
Fall UFT middle school workshops: Middle school educators are invited to attend workshops throughout the fall. Download the mail-in coupon for workshop dates and locations.
Fall UFT high school workshops: High school educators are invited to attend workshops throughout the fall to expand their knowledge of instruction, assessment and technology. The $10 registration fee for each workshop is refundable only if a workshop is canceled. See the Events Calendar below for workshops that will be held this week. Participants can register online on the UFT website. For full course descriptions and to print out the mail-in registration coupon, see the high school workshops fall 2016 brochure.
Nominate a teacher for a Big Apple Award: Do you know a teacher whom you admire, who goes above and beyond contributing to your school community, or who inspires students in the classroom? The Big Apple Awards are New York City’s opportunity to recognize and celebrate some of the city’s finest teachers. This year 200-plus teachers will be named district finalists, have the opportunity to interview and/or open their classrooms to their superintendent teams, and be invited to join the citywide Teacher Excellence Network. Big Apple recipients are celebrated as examples of teaching excellence and will spend the 2017–18 school year representing teachers citywide as members of the Chancellor’s Teacher Advisory Group. Use this form to nominate a teacher. The nomination deadline is Dec. 9.
Garfield “Sail Away Challenge” for students: All K-12 educators are encouraged to engage their students in the 7th annual Professor Garfield’s “Sail Away Challenge,” presented by the UFT Teacher Center. This contest calls on students to compete to be Nautical Engineer of the Year and design a 3D boat for comic character Garfield to navigate in his search for the sweetest tomatoes for his lasagna sauce. The winning design will be featured on the Professor Garfield and Makers Empire websites. The submission deadline is Friday, Nov. 18. For complete contest requirements, as well as free teacher resources, see the flier.
Scholarships for labor studies: Members who are interested in pursuing labor studies at the Murphy Institute at the City University of New York are invited to apply for a Diversity Scholarship to promote diversity and excellence in union leadership and in labor studies. Recipients of this scholarship will receive up to $30,000. See the CUNY website for details about the Murphy Institute. Applicants must attend an open house and scholarship-review session. For information about the scholarship, including the application deadline, and to RSVP for an open house and scholarship-review session, contact Laurie Kellogg at 212-642-2055 or at Laurie.Kellogg@cuny.edu.
Students can learn geography while taking a virtual class trip: The UFT and EmblemHealth have teamed up to bring members Emblem’s Big Apple Adventure, an interactive online game for 3rd to 5th graders to test their knowledge of New York City geography. The game features Emblem, the Wellness Dog, who guides students through local parks, landmarks, monuments and more. Audio narration is available for English language learners. Teachers participating in Emblem’s Big Apple Adventure will have the chance to win a classroom set of New York City geography books. The deadline date for entering the contest is March 31, 2017. The game does not require registration or log-in. More information is available on the UFT website. Post this flier on your UFT bulletin board if you work in an elementary school.
Contribute to the UFT toy drive for homeless children: Help bring the joy of the holiday season to children who currently do not have a permanent home. The UFT Elementary School Division is asking UFT members to donate an unwrapped, brand-new children’s toy (newborn to 16 years of age). Donations can be dropped off at all UFT borough offices until Monday, Dec. 5. For details, including borough office contact information, see the flier.
Teaching and Learning
Thanksgiving-themed lessons: AFT’s Share My Lesson website offers new ways to teach students about the meaning of Thanksgiving. The collection of Thanksgiving lessons includes K–12 resources that explore this traditional event from multiple perspectives, including a focus on indigenous peoples and studying endangered cultures. Among the choices for teachers of students in upper elementary grades, there is a lesson on the First Americans and the First Thanksgiving that engages students in a thought-provoking and humorous read-aloud that challenges them to identify dominant and resistant readings of this national holiday. High school students can participate in StoryCorps’ Great Thanksgiving Listen in which the student interviews an elder about his or her life and records the conversation using the free StoryCorps app. You can find many more lessons and webinars on the Share My Lesson website.
Free conference for early childhood educators: Early childhood teachers are invited to attend a free all-day conference presented by the UFT Teacher Center. “I Think I Can! Creating a Classroom of Independent Learners” will take place on Saturday, Nov. 19 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. During this conference, participants will learn about authentic and developmentally appropriate early childhood practices that are also academically rigorous; examine the impact of speaking and listening strategies that help develop language and early literacy; and design learning tasks that foster independence for a variety of young learners. Online registration is required. Participants are encouraged to register ASAP.
Deadline to submit your comments on new state standards for math and English language arts:The New York State Education Department has released a draft of new learning standards for math and English language arts. Members are invited to review the standards and submit comments. Public comments will be accepted until Monday, Nov. 14. For more information and to post comments, see the New York State Education Department website.
Our Functional Chapters
New secretaries’ meet-and-greet: New school secretaries are invited to a meet-and-greet on Monday, Nov. 7 from 4 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 19th floor. Participants will have the opportunity to network as well as learn more about member resources and benefits. Light refreshments will be served, and there will be some door prizes. Space is limited. Online registrationis required.
2016 outstanding paraprofessional awards: Members are encouraged to honor a paraprofessional who has made outstanding contributions to his or her school, community and union. These activities can include community involvement in church, youth groups, volunteer work or any union-related activities such as phone banks, rallies or political action. Any member can submit a nomination; however, paraprofessionals cannot nominate themselves. The nomination deadline is Tuesday, Nov. 22. For more information and to submit a nomination, download the mail-in form.
Encourage paras to join the pension system: Paraprofessionals are eligible to join the pension system; however, membership in TRS for paraprofessionals is not mandatory. Paras must contact TRS at 888-869-2877 and ask for an enrollment application. Substitute paraprofessionals may join the Board of Education Retirement System (BERS) by calling 718-935-5400.
Philadelphia transit workers’ strike: Philadelphia’s 5,000 public transit system workers walked off the job on Nov. 1 after an agreement between the transit authority and the transit union couldn’t be reached, reports Phillymag.com. Transit Workers Union Local 234 argues that management wants to increase member contributions to their health care from $552 a year to as much as $6,000 a year. Workers are also demonstrating against pension caps of $50,000 and inadequate downtime between shifts.
Workers call for boycott of Trump D.C. hotel: About 200 Washington, D.C. workers on Nov. 3 picketed in front of presidential candidate Donald Trump’s new hotel entrance, reports the Huffington Post. The boycott stems from a labor dispute at Trump’s luxury hotel in Las Vegas, where he’s refused to bargain with Unite Here, a union elected to represent workers there last year. The union is demanding that the Trump Organization recognize the Las Vegas workers’ union and start contract negotiations.
New Jersey public pensions are the nation’s most underfunded: A report by Bloomberg has found New Jersey’s government worker pension system is now the worst funded in the United States, according to N.J.com. As of last year, New Jersey state and local pension funds have just 37.5 percent of the funding needed to pay for future benefits. A state law designed to force the state to gradually ramp up payment was invalidated by the state Supreme Court. The pension fund for public employees returned negative .87 percent in the last fiscal year.
Sunday, Nov. 6: The UFT is holding its Teacher Union Day celebration at the New York Hilton. Registration is closed. For those of you on Twitter and Instagram, we will be using the hashtag #TeacherUnionDay on the day of the event. Find out this year’s award-winners. See the item in This Week’s Focus.
Monday, Nov. 7: New school secretaries are invited to meet their functional chapter leader, Mona Gonzalez, at a new secretaries’ meet-and-greet at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, from 4 to 6 p.m. For more information and to register, see the item in Our Functional Chapters.
Tuesday, Nov. 8: It’s Election Day! Remember to vote.
Tuesday, Nov. 8: Paraprofessionals will attend an Election Day free professional developmentfocusing on safety and health topics important to their functional chapter. This training will take place from 8 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. at UFT headquarters. Registration has closed.
Tuesday, Nov. 8: Brooklyn District 23 probationary teachers are invited to a workshop to help prepare for the tenure process. This event will be held from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at PS 165 Ida Posner, 76 Lott Avenue. District 23 Superintendent Miatheresa Pate will join UFT officials to discuss the best evidence of teacher practice and student learning and to answer questions. Registration is closed.
Wednesday, Nov. 9: The UFT Member Assistance Program and the UFT Teacher Center invite new teachers to “Classroom Management, ” part of a series of workshops and informational groups. This event will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 19th floor, room G. Refreshments will be served. Registration is closed.
Wednesday, Nov. 9: The Delegate Assembly will take place from 4:15 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 2nd floor.
Wednesday, Nov. 9: 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.
Thursday, Nov. 10: Brooklyn District 22 probationary teachers are invited to a workshop to help prepare for the tenure process. This event will take place from 3:15 to 5:15 p.m. at IS 278 Marine Park, 1925 Stuart St. Superintendent Julianna Bove will join union officials to discuss the best evidence of teacher practice and student learning and to answer questions. Light refreshments will be served. See the event listing for details and to register.
Thursday, Nov. 10: All members are invited to attend campaign training, presented by the the UFT, the NYC Central Labor Council and Eleanor’s Legacy. This workshop will take place from 4 to 6 pm. at the Manhattan UFT office, 52 Broadway, 10th floor, conference rooms A and B. Participants will learn about effective member-to-member outreach. Dinner will be served. For more information, call Briget Rein at 212-598-6800.
Thursday, Nov. 10: Queens members are invited to a maternity workshop from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Queens UFT office, 97-77 Queens Blvd., Rego Park. Walk-ins are not allowed. See the event listingfor more information and to register.
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)
NYC Music Teachers Association/UFT
Editor: Peter O’Donnell
Executive Editor: Bernadette Weeks
Contributors include: Karen Alford, George Altomare, Amy Arundell, LeRoy Barr, Tom Brown, Joseph Colletti, Rita Danis, Crystal Deoraj, Paul Egan, Anthony Harmon, Sarah Herman, Janella Hinds, Charles Lobello, Richard Mantell, Samantha Mark, Ebony Martin, Deidre McFadyen, Arthur Pepper, Debra Poulos, Jeffrey Povalitis, Ellen Procida, Tina Puccio, Nadine Reis, Adam Ross, Christine Rowland, Nanette Sanchez-Rosario, Howard Schoor, Michael Sill and Shelvy Young-Abrams.
United Federation of Teachers