Tuesday, May 3, 2016

FW: Inside AFT--April 29





April 29, 2016

Kids at rally for Detroit
Detroit unions rally for city's children

Hundreds turned out on April 26 when AFT affiliates from Detroit held a rally on the Michigan Capitol steps and urged lawmakers to support the types of schools that Detroit students deserve. The crowd included school staff, parents, students and other community members who called on the state to stand behind every child's right to attend safe, healthy and welcoming neighborhood public schools where educators and students are well-supported and respected. The rally also called out harmful school budgets, lack of classroom voice and other problems tied to the expansion of emergency manager laws in in the school system. "A great public education must be a right for all children, not a luxury or a privilege," says AFT President Randi Weingarten. "And that means safe, healthy schools where children have access to a well-rounded education, and where we tend to and nurture children's well-being."

Weingarten outside Pearson meeting
AFT, allies press for change at Pearson meeting

The AFT, along with other teachers unions and nongovernmental organizations, spoke out during Pearson's annual general meeting today in London, calling for a review of the company's business model that pushes high-stakes testing in the United States and privatized schools in the developing world. AFT President AFT President Randi Weingarten presented a shareholder resolution signed by more than 100 pension funds, labor unions and individuals. The resolution highlighted the damaging effects on public education of the high-stakes standardized tests that Pearson sells to school districts and its promotion of private and costly schools, rather than public schooling, for families in the developing world. While the resolution ultimately was voted down, Weingarten noted that "people are starting to listen. Today, we lose the motion but not the movement. Will Pearson continue to lose market value, or work with educationalists to do the business of high-quality education?" A global petition reminding Pearson that every child has a right to a free, high-quality education—signed by more than15,000 people—was delivered at the meeting, as well.

Student debt photo by Friedel Fisher
Relieving student debt, one loan at a time

The fight against the overwhelming student debt burden in this country just got more personal. A new government campaign not only improves the loan servicing system, it reaches out to individual debtors to be sure anyone who has taken out a student loan knows there are good options for reducing or even forgiving that debt. The initiatives were announced at an event on April 27 immediately following a presentation by AFT President Randi Weingarten and Roberto Rodríguez, President Obama's deputy assistant for education, urging nonprofit and government agency employers to take the Student Debt Challenge issued by the White House and educate their employees about student debt relief options available to them. "We can't be a country that tells students that higher education is essential, then saddle them with crippling debt and a compromised financial future," says Weingarten.

Striking at City College of San Francisco
Faculty strike for 'the college San Francisco deserves'

At City College of San Francisco campuses across the city on April 27, 500 faculty walked picket lines in a one-day strike to protest the district administration's unfair labor practices in contract negotiations. They were joined by their students and community supporters on behalf of a broad, accessible college—a vision that contrasts with the administration's plan to "realign" the San Francisco Community College District by reducing course offerings over the next few years by 26 percent. A spirited rally attracted nearly 600 demonstrators, who called for the administration to come to the table and negotiate in good faith with the people who teach at the college. "Our students cannot thrive with plans to cut our college by 26 percent. These cuts stand in the way of students trying to enroll in classes and pursue their education and career goals," says Tim Killikelly, president of AFT Local 2121, which led the job action. "We offer high-quality, affordable education for all, and we have worked to rebuild the college after the accreditation crisis."

Green River faculty, students demand to be heard

A week earlier in Washington state, faculty, staff and students walked out of class for a day to call for the resignation of a college president who has closed essential programs, diverted funds and literally taken the "community" out of Green River Community College, renaming it Green River College. Never mind saving their jobs, and bargaining for decent pay and benefits. "We're trying to save the college here," says Steve Kinholt, a member of the Green River Community College United Faculty Coalition. Students, outraged that basic programs such as counseling services and the history department are threatened with elimination, were already planning a walkout when they learned about the union's actions and joined in. For five years, Green River President Eileen Ely has been operating without regard to faculty voice. She initiated a "program prioritization" plan, which targets less-profitable programs for elimination, without consulting faculty—despite a union agreement that requires shared governance. The board of trustees has discouraged and ignored faculty and student testimony on this and other matters.

Rep. Elijah Cummings at AFT conference. Michael Campbell photo
Where the frontline meets the bottom line

Hundreds of the AFT's nurses and health professionals came to Washington, D.C., April 20-22 to raise their voices on the issues affecting frontline workers and their patients. The theme of this year's Professional Issues Conference and Labor Academy, "Where the Front Line Meets the Bottom Line," describes the challenges we are seeing today, said Candice Owley, chair of the AFT Nurses and Health Professionals program and policy council and an AFT vice president. "The theme reflects what health professionals see firsthand, the relentless pursuit of profit and the results of this focus on profit," she said. "We've been talking about the crisis in healthcare for years, and the conversation hasn't changed. We are fighting for transparency and accountability in our healthcare system." With a growing number of hospitals consolidating and focused solely on profit, it's up to the labor community to figure out how we can reclaim the promise of high-quality healthcare. "People are getting squeezed, so we have to take on bigger issues," AFT President Randi Weingarten said during the opening session.

Linda Bridges memorial First Book event
Book drive honors AFT leader Linda Bridges

Children, parents and teachers in Waco, Texas, turned out in huge numbers this month for the Greater Waco AFT and First Book Linda Bridges Memorial Book Drive, a 40,000-book distribution in the community named in honor of the late Texas AFT president. First Book donated the books in honor of Bridges and her early support of the AFT-First Book partnership. She helped organize one of the first large-scale book truck distributions, in partnership with the Children's Museum of Houston and other community groups. Since then, multiple AFT affiliates in Texas have embraced the partnership, and more than 500,000 free books have been distributed across the state. "I can't think of a better way to honor Linda's legacy," said current Texas AFT President and AFT Vice President Louis Malfaro. "She saw the power of combining AFT members' ability to reach students in need and First Book's access to books and supplies, so together we can help all children succeed in school and life."

AFTPlus mortgage benefit ad

Also worth reading

Where and when

  • AFT President Randi Weingarten will attend the White House Correspondents' Dinner in Washington, D.C., on April 30. On May 2, she will participate on a panel at the Education Writers Association's National Seminar in Boston. On May 3, Weingarten will serve on panel at the National Academy of Engineering Public Symposium in Columbus, Ohio. On May 4, she will participate in the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools national walk-ins by joining the walk-in at Technology High School in Newark, N.J. On May 5, as part of a tour hosted by Snap-On, Weingarten will visit the iMet Center at Gateway Technical College in Sturtevant, Wis., and tour a Snap-On factory in Milwaukee. On May 6, she will deliver remarks at the U.S. Department of Education's National Summit on Teacher Diversity in Washington, D.C.
  • AFT Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson will be the keynote speaker at the Education Minnesota Representative Convention in Minneapolis on April 30. On May 5 and 6, she will attend the Institute for Women's Policy Research board retreat in Washington, D.C.
  • AFT Executive Vice President Mary Cathryn Ricker will attend the celebration recognizing and thanking the National Teacher of the Year, State Teachers of the Year and great educators from across the country, including seven AFT members, at the White House on May 3.

Inside AFT, an electronic newsletter for leaders and activists, is prepared by the AFT communications department. Contributors and sources for this week's edition include Mike Rose, AFT media affairs, Andrew Crook, California Federation of Teachers, Virginia Myers, Adrienne Coles, Leslie Getzinger, Tear Jones Murphy, Catherine Mason and Mary Kaniewski. Dan Gursky, editor; Jane Nusbaum, copy editor.






Randi Weingarten, President
Lorretta Johnson, Secretary-Treasurer | Mary Cathryn Ricker, Executive Vice President

© American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO. All rights reserved.
Photographs and illustrations, as well as text, cannot be used without permission from the AFT.

Contact Us | 555 New Jersey Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20001


Sunday, April 24, 2016

FW: UFT Weekly Update April 22









In this issue

The next Delegate Assembly is back on May 18.

Photo of the Week

Photo of the Week - April 22, 2016

SHOW OF SPIRIT: Members from Susan Wagner HS on Staten Island cheer Dr. Helen Decker, who received an Excellence in Education award at the Academic High School Awards Recognition Ceremony.

This Week's Focus

Salaries will increase 3.5 percent on May 1

The salaries of UFT members employed by the Department of Education will increase 3.5 percent on May 1 as part of the 2014 contract. All teachers and other pedagogues including paraprofessionals on the Q Bank payroll will receive the 3.5 percent increase in their May 16 paycheck.  Members will receive a regular wage increase of 1.5 percent coupled with a 2 percent wage increase that is the second step of the phase-in of the 8 percent retroactive rate increase arising from the 2009–11 period. Substitute paraprofessionals will see the 3.5 percent increase in their May 31 paycheck. All teachers and other pedagogues who work per diem or per session will first see the new pay rate in the June 1 paycheck for any days worked from May 1 to May 15. Paras' per session rate will be calculated based on the new salary rate in their regular, semi-monthly check dated May 16. If you have any questions, please contact a salary rep in your UFT borough office.

Share photos from your school's May 4 celebration

We want to spread the word about the great teaching and learning taking place in public schools across the city. That's why we've asked you to plan a celebration at your school on Wednesday, May 4 — the week after spring break — and why we are asking you to post your photos from your celebration using the hashtag #CelebrateSchools on Instagram and Twitter that day. Use the hashtag for your Facebook posts, too! And we invite you to send us your two best photos, with caption information (your school, borough, who's in the photo, how your school is celebrating) to UFTphotos@gmail.com. You can reach out for assistance to Vice President Richard Mantell at rmantell@uft.org or Francine Streich at fstreich@uft.org, and copy your district rep. Please use our online form to let us know that you will be participating on May 4 and how your school will be celebrating.

Thanks for getting out the vote for Hillary Clinton

With the help of hundreds of UFT volunteers, Hillary Clinton emerged as the winner of the hotly contested New York primary this Tuesday. Your participation in our borough office phone banks and the virtual phone banks from home as well as door-to-door canvassing on the weekends made a difference on Primary Day. UFT members also came out in large numbers to a number of New York City events organized by her campaign. "New Yorkers have a long history with Hillary," said UFT President Michael Mulgrew. "We know that she can get things done. We know she cares about students and teachers and our public schools. We know she wants to make sure the middle class and working people have a voice in how this country works. That message came through here in New York." See our news story with full Primary Day coverage on the UFT website.

How teacher ratings will be calculated this school year

Acting on the recommendation of the governor's Common Core Task Force, the Board of Regents earlier this year adopted a regulation that guarantees that the grade 3–8 English language arts and math state assessments will not be used as part of teachers' evaluations this year and the next three school years. There is no change for high school teachers. Teachers who have grade 3–8 math or ELA assessments as part of their Measures of Student Learning will receive a Transition Rating that excludes grade 3–8 ELA and math state assessments for the 2015–16 school year. Where this rule results in a teacher having no remaining assessments to use in his or her Measures of Student Learning portion of the rating, the teacher's Transition Rating will be based entirely on his or her observation scores. State-provided growth scores will continue to be computed for advisory purposes only, and an Overall Rating will continue to be provided to teachers based on such growth scores. Through 2019, however, only the Transition Rating will be used for purposes of employment decisions. Grade 3–8 test scores will still be used for schoolwide accountability measures, such as measuring progress in schools designated by the state as priority or focus schools. For more information on evaluation, see the teacher evaluation page of the UFT website.

Come to the annual School Secretaries of the Year Awards Luncheon

Please encourage your school secretaries to attend the 30th annual School Secretaries of the Year Awards Luncheon, which will be held on Saturday, May 14 from 12 to 3 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 2nd floor. This event will feature cocktails, a luncheon and an awards ceremony. The cost is $30. The payment deadline is Friday, May 6.  For more information and to register, see the mail-in coupon.

Your Chapter Leader Checklist

  • Hashtags for social media posts at Spring Education Conference: Please remind your colleagues who are planning to attend the UFT Spring Education Conference on Saturday, May 7 that we will using the hashtags #UFTspring and #UnionProud for event posts on social media. Encourage them to post their photos on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook using those hashtags during the conference.
  • Delegate Assembly back to May 18: The next Delegate Assembly will be on Wednesday, May 18, from 4:15 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 2nd floor. This is a change from the prior date, May 11.
  • Peer Intervention Program helps your tenured colleagues: If you are concerned about a teacher in your school who seems overwhelmed about 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 such assistance. PIP has successfully helped thousands of teachers and is a proactive step toward professional growth for teachers struggling with their craft. Teachers can find more information about PIP, including an online request for assistance, on the UFT website. 
  • Additional grief and loss counseling groups in May: Has a member of your chapter experienced a difficult loss in the last year? The UFT Member Assistance Program (MAP) runs counseling groups to assist members in managing their grief and adjusting to the loss of a family member, significant other, friend or colleague. MAP has added four dates this May to the spring 2016 series of counseling sessions, which will all be held on Tuesdays from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. The dates are May 10, 17 and 24 and 31. For details and registration information, email MAPinfo@uft.org or call 212-701-9620. Registration is limited.
  • Weigh in on our FAQs: Please help us rate the Frequently Asked Questions on the UFT website for usefulness. Next to each question is a row of five stars. If you found a particular question extremely helpful, click on the fifth star. Less impressed? Click lower. Your ratings will help the site sort the answers and present the most highly rated ones first when a member consults the FAQs. To get to the FAQs quickly, scroll down to the "Member Quick Links" at the bottom of our home page and click on "Frequently Asked Questions." You must be logged in in order to rate the FAQs.
  • Learn more about innovative PROSE strategies: The UFT and the DOE have created PROSE Pathways to enable schools to work with PROSE to learn more about particular innovative strategies before making the commitment to apply to become a PROSE school. By participating in this program, schools will learn more about one of these five innovations: 1)  models for inter-visitation; 2)  supporting increased diversity in student enrollment; 3) distributed leadership structures; 4) expanded learning time through four-day work weeks, creative use of community-based organizations or other schedule innovations; and 5) programming innovations to allow for flexible student grouping throughout the week. Please read the descriptions of these innovative approaches and talk to your principal about the possibilities for your school. You and your principal should consider PROSE Pathways a joint venture on behalf of your students and your school. Use this online form to express your interest in participating in PROSE Pathways in the 2016–17 school year.
  • Direct Deposit for per diems and per session work: Be sure per diem employees know they are eligible to enroll in direct deposit. In addition, all Q-bank employees who participate in direct deposit must enroll separately for their per session payroll. All DOE payroll memoranda can be found on the DOE's Payroll Portal.
  • Check out the new member obituary section on the UFT website: Please let your members know about our new obituary page on the UFT website. This feature honors the memory and service of colleagues who have passed away. The name, age and date of passing of in-service and retired UFT members is listed. Clicking the link to the name will direct you to a brief bio of the individual and a photo, when available. For information about how to submit an obituary, see the UFT website. To read obituaries of recently deceased members, see the obituary page of the UFT website.
  • Be mindful of social media postings: Remind your members that social networking sites often seduce us into saying or revealing things online that we used to share only in personal conversations or letters. Urge members to always think twice before posting messages, photos or videos on such sites. School staff is held to a higher moral code and, like it or not, we need to be aware of how such postings may be interpreted by the public. How to judge? Ask yourself: Would I be okay if my mother, clergy member or kid sister saw the posting? Some activities do not need to be memorialized online!
  • 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.
  • Consider attending parent association meetings: Our close work with parent groups has forged strong bonds and support that benefit both our students and our members. Consider attending your school's PA meetings to strengthen these bonds.
  • The SBO process should begin now: You should begin preparing for any school-based options (SBOs) you are considering for your school. To get the planning cycle underway, consult with your principal about any possible SBOs. Then hold a union meeting to present all SBOs for consideration. Conduct a survey to gauge whether there is a will on the part of the chapter to ratify any proposed SBOs. As chapter leader, you have the right not to put to a vote any SBO that your chapter does not like. Please consult the SBO Manual and your district representative for detailed guidance. In order for the district rep and union leadership to properly review each SBO, all SBOs should be submitted by early June. Please make sure your district representative is kept informed at every stage of the process, from preparing for consultation with your principal through filling out the online SBO form.
  • Members on leave must contact the DOE: Reach out to your members who are currently on leave and let them know that they must now use the Self-Service Online Leave Application System (SOLAS) for the annual intention notification process (INS) to inform the DOE of their intention to return to work, retire, resign, extend current leave or apply for a new leave for the 2016–17 school year. Members who are currently on leave will be notified of this process, which was instituted last year, by mail and through their DOE email. They should receive an additional email in April instructing them to log into SOLAS and notify the DOE of their annual leave intention for the 2016–17 school year. The deadline to use SOLAS to complete the annual intention notification process is May 15. Members who fail to notify the DOE by May 15 will be deemed to have voluntarily resigned.
  • Have a COPE drive in your school: Our annual COPE enrollment and education drive has begun. Every UFT borough office has received COPE materials, so speak with your district representative about how to obtain and distribute these materials to the members in your chapter. Let's get the message out about the importance of using our collective voice to strengthen our schools and communities and to improve our working lives. Thanks to UFT COPE, we get results. UFT COPE is one of the most effective ways to help elect candidates who support our schools and professions. When the stakes are high, UFT COPE is there to fight back against programs and policies that would hurt educators and their families. By contributing to COPE each month, we ensure that our voices are heard by lawmakers and decision-makers on the issues and policies that matter to us. Be sure to explain to members that COPE is funded entirely by voluntary contributions; we do not use any union dues for political action. Remember, COPE is not possible without you!

Tell Your Members

Salary & Personnel

May 6 deadline to suspend transit benefit deductions for the summer: The city has set processing dates for the Direct Deposit (EFT) and Wage Works/Transit Benefit as well as 529 College Savings Programs. Paper-based changes made after Monday, May 2 will be processed in September. The DOE's online deadline for changes, enrollments and/or cancellations is close of business on Friday, May 6. Anyone wishing to suspend his or her transit participation deductions for the summer must also enter these online by Friday, May 6. You will not have to sign up again in September if the resume dates are properly indicated. Since funds are not refundable or accessible after an employee leaves the DOE, anyone who is terminated, resigning or retiring and is enrolled in the Park-n-Ride Program must complete and fax the Park-n-Ride form to 718-935-3702 in order to cancel his or her enrollment. For more information and to download forms, see the DOE Payroll Administration Memo #11.

May 15 deadline to apply for teacher leadership positions: The deadline for applying for a teacher leadership position is Monday, May 15. The application for teacher leadership positions is available online. Tenured, full-time teachers are eligible to apply if they were rated Effective or Highly Effective last year. The available positions are Model Teacher, Peer Collaborative Teacher and Master Teacher. These are great opportunities, even if your school does not currently have teacher leadership roles. Successful applicants can be screened and placed in an eligible pool, which allows them to possibly transfer into a teacher leadership position in another school, either this summer or in the future. The UFT believes in teacher leadership. We believe that teachers have the knowledge and expertise to positively shape our profession. Please encourage your members to apply for these positions.

The Open Market Transfer Plan period is underway: The Open Market Transfer Plan offers all pedagogues as well as paraprofessionals access to job openings throughout the city through an online registration process. During the transfer period, which runs from April 15 to August 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. The Open Market Q&A on the UFT website offers more information about the process.

Part-time Educator/Professional Development Facilitator position open: The Children's Environmental Literacy Foundation (CELF) is a New York-based not-for-profit organization that works with K-12 teachers and administrators to integrate Education for Sustainability into core content areas. CELF has an opening for a Part-time Educator/Development Facilitator. This position will work collaboratively with the Director of Education and other staff to design, implement and support the delivery of professional development programs for the organization. For more information, contact CELF Executive Director Katie Ginsberg at katie@celfeducation.org.


Last opportunity to verify the accuracy of your roster data: The Roster Maintenance and Verification (RMV) process is intended to provide all teachers with the opportunity to review and correct class-roster information for the 2015–16 school year. From March 14 to May 3, all teachers are asked to review and verify the accuracy of their roster information in STARS Classroom. Class-roster information is being used for many purposes within a school, including generating accurate report cards, linking teachers to students in the Advance Web Application and calculating teachers' state and local Measures of Student Learning (MOSL) ratings for Advance. Therefore, it is critical that your teachers have accurate roster data to ensure that they are associated with the correct courses and students for the correct amount of time. We recommend that teachers complete the following steps in STARS Classroom: 1) review your roster information for the 2015–16 school year; 2) request updates and corrections to class-roster data; and 3) verify that your roster data is accurate. Remember, you must sign in using your DOE credentials (DOE User Name before the @ symbol) before you can access the STARS Classroom portal. Teachers who experience technical difficulties using STARS Classroom should contact their STARS administrator for support. Questions about how information from RMV is being used as well as questions about Advance should be directed to your principal or the principal's designee; teachers may also contact the DOE's Advance Help Desk at advancesupport@schools.nyc.gov.  See the RMV Guide for Teachers for detailed information about the verification process, including a checklist of all the steps required to complete RMV, as well as answers to questions such as what the policy is for teachers who were on leave or absent for an extended part of the year, and much more.

Political Action

Sign the petition to hold Pearson accountable: Pearson is the largest testing, publishing and education corporation in the world, and its business model supports high-stakes decisions based on test scores. A group of 100 major international pension funds, labor unions and concerned shareholders — the "Pearson 100" — have joined together to tell Pearson to end its high-stakes testing fixation and its support for the privatization and segregation of schools in the developing world. We are asking you to send a letter to Pearson and demand a free, high-quality public education for every child. We need your voice to speak up alongside us and tell Pearson that it's time to change course.

New Teachers

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

Special Education

New FAQ clears up confusion on special ed issues: Special education teachers and related-service providers see firsthand that many students with disabilities are not getting the services they need. After we shared our chapter leader survey documenting the problems with integrated co-teaching classes, the DOE agreed that it needed to set out the rules and protocols that schools should be following with regard to services for students with disabilities. Now that we've spelled out the requirements of IEPs, integrated co-teaching and Chapter 408, it's time to make sure these programs are being implemented properly to support our students. Please print out and distribute in mailboxes or email this special education FAQ to members of your chapter who work with students with disabilities. 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.

English Language Learners

NYSABE 2016 conference: The New York State Association for Bilingual Education will hold its annual conference on Saturday, May 21. The theme of the conference is "Changing Policies, New Directions: Bilingual Education Paving the Way to Every Student's Success." For more information and to register, see the NYSABE website.

Submit proposals for LOTE conference by April 27: Educators who are interested in sharing best practices in curriculum, instruction and assessment at the June 9 World Languages conference are invited to submit proposals for workshops. The submission deadline is Wednesday, April 27.


PD hours for certification to take effect in 2016-17 school year: New regulations for PD hours will go into effect next school year. They will require holders of permanent teaching certificates (those certified before 2004) to register with the State Education Department. Professional and Level III teaching certificate holders will be required to complete and show proof of 100 hours of professional development every five years. More information about the new requirements will be forthcoming. For the 2015–16 school year, state regulations requiring professional certificate holders and Level III teaching assistants to submit proof of completion of professional development hours (175 hours and 75 hours, respectively) remain in place. Anyone who is completing a fifth year of the professional development cycle in June 2016 should submit a completed and signed tracking form to the DOE. You can find the tracking form for teachers and the tracking form for paraprofessionals on the UFT website.

Professional Learning

Citywide formative assessment conference: Educators from all grades are invited to a citywide conference entitled "Unlocking the Power of Formative Assessment," presented by the UFT Teacher Center. This event will be held at UFT headquarters at 52 Broadway on Saturday, May 14 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Participants will strengthen their understanding of how students learn and will practice applying a formative assessment system to promote instructional decision-making. Plus, teachers will have the opportunity to explore attributes of classroom learning environments that encourage student to take ownership of their learning. There is no cost for the conference, but online registration is required.

Citywide social studies conference: All kindergarten to grade 12 educators are invited to the citywide conference "Experiencing Social Studies: Active Strategies to Develop Historical Thinking," presented by the UFT Teacher Center. This event will be held at UFT headquarters at 52 Broadway on Sunday, May 15 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Participants will deepen their awareness of the social studies practices embedded in the new curriculum guidance from New York City and New York State; engage in interactive learning experiences that develop historical, chronological and geographic thinking; and explore strategies for using online resources, including the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources, to create activities that apply the practices. Online registration by grade level is required.


Contest for integrating economics into high school classrooms: All high school teachers are invited to apply for the Council for Economic Education's Sloan Award, which promotes economic education at the high school level by honoring teachers who effectively deliver this important content in and out of their classrooms and achieve results. Applicants can teach any content area but must demonstrate how they integrate economics into their teaching. Awardees will receive a $5,000 cash prize as well as other awards. For more information, including full eligibility requirements and to submit an online application, see the organization's website. The submission deadline is June 15.

Encourage your students to enter the Build a Better School video contest: New York City public school students from elementary through high school are invited to submit a three-minute video telling why their school is in need and what project they would undertake to make it better. The winning school will receive a monetary prize of $10,000. As in prior years, UFT members can help supervise student production teams. Selection will be based on the school's need, its spirit of collaboration, the creativity of the project and how the project will help strengthen the school community. The contest has begun accepting entries. The submission deadline is Wednesday, June 15. For details, see the contest flier.

This Week in Education and Labor News

English language learners underserved in gifted programs: Of the three million students identified as gifted in the United States, English language learners are by far the most underrepresented, reports NPR. Nationally, 32 states mandate gifted education but only four fully fund gifted programs, according to the National Association for Gifted Children. Few, if any, require that English language learners be tested and most teachers aren't trained to identify those students.

Fight for $15 rally against Trump and Christie: New Jersey workers in the Fight for $15 movement are stepping up their protest of Gov. Chris Christie's refusal to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, reports Politicker.com. The group, which marched on the State House to lobby legislators to shore up support, has been demonstrating for over two weeks to voice frustration with the state's current $8.38 minimum wage. "If you raise the floor, you raise everybody," said Kevin Brown from SEIU 32BJ.

A new direction for standardized testing: The Obama administration has announced new priorities surrounding the Enhancement Assessment Grant program, an initiative aimed at helping states and districts get smarter about standardized testing, according to Education Dive. Building upon last fall's Testing Action Plan, which called for a reexamination of the way tests are used in schools, the president said students "should only take tests that are worth taking — tests that are high quality, aimed at good instruction and make sure everyone is on track." The Obama administration also recently proposed a teacher-led effort "to ensure fewer, better and fairer tests" for students. 

Events Calendar

Featured Events

Friday, May 6: Encourage your members to come to the Be BRAVE Against Bullying conference to engage in a dialogue about anti-bullying strategies. You can register online on the UFT website or complete the mail-in coupon. The registration deadline is today, Friday, April 22.

Saturday, May 7: The UFT's annual Spring Education Conference will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the New York Hilton. There will be a morning panel, exciting workshops, innovative exhibits and a gala luncheon. See the event listing to register.

This Week

Saturday, April 23: Members who would like information about the process for obtaining American citizenship are invited to a free citizenship workshop from 12 to 3 p.m. at the Bronx UFT office, 2500 Halsey Street. Participants will receive a U.S. citizen application, an application fee waiver and legal consultation. You will need to bring your Social Security card and other information and documents. For more details and to register online, see the event listing.

Monday, May 2: All occupational therapists and physical therapists are welcome to attend a general membership meeting from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the Staten Island UFT office, 4456 Amboy Road, Room J. Refreshments will be served. Please register online.

Wednesday, May 4: Staten Island paraprofessionals are invited to a certification seminar to learn about salary and certification concerns from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at the Staten Island UFT office, 4456 Amboy Road. Refreshments will be served. For more information and to register online, see the event listing.

Wednesday, May 4: Staten Island members are invited to a maternity and childcare leave workshop from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Staten Island UFT office, 4456 Amboy Road. This workshop will help participants understand their rights concerning maternity, childcare and FMLA leaves. See the event listing for more information and to register online.  

Wednesday, May 4: Social studies teachers are invited to a social studies professional learning session to learn how to use the Social Studies scope and sequence and the Social Studies curriculum to discuss how the arts can be embedded in instruction using various art strands. This event will take place from 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. at the Brooklyn UFT office, 335 Adams Street. Participants will walk away with strategies on how to use paintings, trade books and the Library of Congress to anchor the arts in Social Studies. The registration fee is $10. For more information and to register online, see the event listing.

Wednesday, May 4: The speech chapter executive board and general membership meeting will take place from 4:14 to 6:16 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. Refreshments will be served. RSVP to confirm attendance. 

Wednesday, May 4: Educators and paraprofessionals who work with students with disabilities are invited to a workshop on testing accommodations that will educate you about the legal responsibilities of proctors when assisting a student with disabilities on state and local assessments. This workshop will be held from 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. Please register online. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Angel Valentin at 212-598-9217.

Thursday, May 5:  New teachers in District 2 are invited to "Questioning and Discussion Techniques, Reflection and Celebration," the fifth workshop in a free series of learning opportunities. This event will be held at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 10th floor from 4 to 6 p.m. Online registration is required.  

Thursday, May 5: Full-time paraprofessionals are invited to the workshop "Understanding Our Own Personal Identities and Biases" from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Brooklyn UFT office, 335 Adams Street. This event is limited to the first 120 registrants, so register early. Walk-ins will not be permitted. The cost is $10 per person. RSVP no later than Tuesday, April 26. For more information, contact Alfreda Brownlee at the DOE at 718-935-2449 or see the flier.

Thursday, May 5:  New Brooklyn teachers are invited to a certification and licensing workshop from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the Brooklyn UFT office, 335 Adams Street, 25th floor, room D. Preregistration is required. This workshop has been rescheduled from an earlier date.

Thursday, May 5: The 11th annual Friends of District 75 awards dinner and scholarship gala will be held at El Caribe Caterers, 5945 Strickland Ave. in Brooklyn from 6 to 11 p.m. The event will honor Wendy Fox and commemorate the life of the late District 75 district representative Walter O'Leary.

Save the Date

Saturday, May 14: School secretaries are invited to attend the 30th annual School Secretaries of the Year Awards Luncheon. For more information, see the item in the This Week's Focus section.

Monday, June 13: The Albert Shanker Scholarship Fund awards ceremony will take place at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 2nd floor from 5 to 9 p.m. Refreshments will be served at 5 p.m. and the ceremony will begin at 6 p.m.

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

New on UFT.org

Professional Committees

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.

Capably Disabled

  • Thursday, May 26, 4:15 to 6 p.m., General Membership Meeting, "ADA Accessibility with New York City Transit." For more information, see the flier.

ELAC/UFT (English Language Arts Council)

  • Thursday, May 19, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., "Looking Back & Looking Forward: Planning for 2016–17."

Irish American

  • Thursday, June 2, 5 p.m., "Annual Frank McCourt Memorial Lecture."

Math Teachers

  • Thursday, May 19, 4:15 p.m., "Exploring ArtMath/MathArt Connections: Encountering Dali in the FOURTH Dimension."

Editor: Peter O'Donnell

Executive Editor: Bernadette Weeks

Contributors include: Karen Alford, Amy Arundell, Carmen Alvarez, Hannah Brown, Joseph Colletti, Rita Danis, Koraldys Duverge, Paul Egan, Ellie Engler, Lila Ezra, Brian Gibbons, Anne Goldman, Jeff Goldstein,  Mona Gonzalez, Anthony Harmon,  Lynne Kilroy, Lisa Lau-Kim, Junior Linton, Charles Lobello, Farheen Malik, Richard Mantell, Ebony Martin, Deidre McFadyen, Gary Mehra, Emma Camacho Mendez, Cara Metz, Rachel Nobel, Emil Pietromonaco, Jeffrey Povalitis, Ellen Procida, Tina Puccio, Christine Rowland, Nanette Sanchez-Rosario, Michael Sill, Liz Truly, Miriam Vega, Kerry Yefet and Shelvy Young-Abrams.













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United Federation of TeachersA Union of Professionals
52 Broadway, New York, NY 10004 • 212.777.7500 • www.uft.org