Wednesday, April 1, 2015

FW: Inside AFT--March 27

Subject: Inside AFT--March 27

 

AFT: A Union of Professionals: AFT Teachers

 

Teachers union presidents discuss ESEA priorities

Ideas & Innovation graphicThe presidents of the nation's two largest teachers unions offered a solid shared vision for reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act on March 24 at a Washington, D.C., meeting with state policy chiefs and, a day later, in a joint keynote address to a nationwide audience of classroom educators participating in Share My Lesson's third annual virtual conference. At both meetings, AFT President Randi Weingarten and National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen García emphasized that their unions are on the same page when it comes to convincing Congress to move ESEA (known in its current version as the No Child Left Behind Act) away from its current mania for punitive sanctions and high-stakes tests by returning to the law's original purpose: giving children, particularly those living in low-income communities, the same resources and the same shot at success that wealthier students enjoy.

Connecticut early literacy program wins acclaim

Norwalk father and sonThis month, a program to help parents foster literacy and numeracy skills in preK-2 students debuted a new module in the auditorium of a Norwalk, Conn., elementary school—an event that left no doubt that this teacher-designed training has won solid support throughout the community, and has done it in less than a year. Scattered among the parents who packed Brookside Elementary to learn more was a full complement of Norwalk's public school and community leaders: the superintendent, the union president, the school board chairman and the state Senate majority leader, to name a few. They turned out on a snowy evening to join dozens of adults, most with young children in tow, for a few hours of games, activities, pizza and details about the latest installment of "Literacy 4 Parents 4 Their Children," a series of Common Core-based modules designed to offer parents tools and resources that can help lay a solid early foundation for success in school and in life.

Healthy eating videos turn kids into celebrities

Girls with healthy eating materialsHere's what can happen at a K-3 school when teachers and support professionals come together and use a little inspiration, perspiration and willingness to let everybody promote healthy snacks. Specifically, what can happen is "Snack Scene at 3:15," a weekly series on Bee TV at Bower Hill Elementary School near Pittsburgh, where students watch videos on how to make "no cook, no knives" snacks. They learn how good food can be fun to play with, taste good and lead to a healthy future. Beyond kids' enthusiasm, "Snack Scene" has caught on with parents and the community. The show relies on a big team: paraprofessionals and teachers, as well as a school psychologist, a librarian and physical education teachers. Principals and the superintendent round out the group. "Snack Scene" also draws in community partners, including grocery stores and dieticians.

Teacher shares compelling story on 'Ellen' show

Ellen and Sonya RomeroSonya Romero, a kindergarten teacher at Lew Wallace Elementary in Albuquerque, N.M., appeared on a recent episode of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and showed how the courage and generosity that early childhood educators bring to class every day leads to a lasting legacy of love and learning. Romero, who is also an executive vice president for the Albuquerque Teachers Federation, minced no words when she told host Ellen DeGeneres about the needs that show up every morning at the door of Lew Wallace, where 75 percent of students live below the poverty line, and how she and the staff are determined to meet those challenges. "I ask my kids if they've eaten that morning, if they need anything to wear." Her story, which has generated more than 2 million YouTube views and numerous other media stories, puts a compelling and human face on the profession.

Weingarten reflects on the future of Israel

AFT President Randi Weingarten reflected on her deep personal connection to Israel and the recent election results there, during remarks at the 2015 J Street Gala Dinner in Washington, D.C., on March 23. She also shared several experiences from a recent trip to Israel and the West Bank, including a visit to a Jerusalem school where Jewish and Arab children learn and grow up together, which was recently torched. "We can't pull up the ladder of opportunity after we've climbed it," Weingarten said. "Instead, we have to continue the struggle for educational opportunity—both here and in Israel."

Note: Inside AFT will take next week off because of the holidays. We will return with the April 10 edition.

Where & When

 

AFT President Randi Weingarten will address a parent-organized "Protect Our Schools" rally in New York City on March 28. On March 29 and 30, she will attend the 2015 International Summit on the Teaching Profession in Alberta, Canada. On March 31, Weingarten will host a telephone town hall meeting for members of AFT locals in Orange County, Fla. On April 1, she will be in Chicago to address the City Club of Chicago and participate in get-out-the-vote activities for mayoral candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia. On April 9, Weingarten will meet with local union leaders and members and address students enrolled in Miami Dade College's School of Education in Miami. On April 10, she will participate in two panels at the National Action Network's Annual National Convention in New York City.

AFT Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson will attend the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate's opening gala celebration and dedication ceremony in Boston on March 29 and 30.

AFT Executive Vice President Mary Cathryn Ricker will address AFT members on March 30 who are attending the AFL-CIO's National Immigration Implementation Training in Washington, D.C., from March 31 to April 2. On April 9, she will participate in the AFL-CIO Department for Professional Employees spring executive committee meeting in Washington, D.C. On April 10 and 11, Ricker will attend the board meeting of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards in Arlington, Va.

 

March 27, 2015

AFT Plus travel discounts ad

 


 

Spotlight On...

Nursing pay gaps
Even in a female-dominated profession like nursing, men still earn more than women, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. After controlling for age, race, marital status and children in the home, males in nursing out-earned females by nearly $7,700 per year in outpatient settings and nearly $3,900 in hospitals.

 


 

Tip of the Week

LeaderNet's external news clips section, which is updated daily, is a good source for a variety of media reports of interest to the AFT and our affiliates.

 


 

Porter Scholars ad

 

 

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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, Chelsea Prax, Anita Rijal, Annette Licitra, National Public Radio, Tear Jones Murphy, Catherine Mason and Mary Kaniewski. Dan Gursky, editor; Jane Feller, copy editor.

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

© American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO. © 2015

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FW: UFT Weekly Update March 27

Subject: UFT Weekly Update March 27

 

UFT Weekly Update – March 27, 2015  

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The next Chapter Leader Update will be April 17

Photo of the Week

Photo of the Week - March 27, 2015

LIVING HISTORY: Caroline Roswell, from PS 229 in Woodside, attends the annual Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire ceremony in Manhattan this Wednesday with her 5th-graders, who wrote essays about the tragedy and donned period clothing to evoke the workers who perished in the 1911 fire.

News of the Week

We need you at tomorrow's rally to #ProtectOurSchools

With budget negotiations in Albany going down to the wire, Saturday's rally has become more important than ever. We're looking forward to seeing you, your family and your colleagues for the rally outside Gov. Cuomo's Midtown office to demand that the governor fully fund our schools, limit high-stakes testing, support our struggling schools and fairly evaluate teachers. The governor's office is at 633 3rd Avenue at 41st Street. Please enter 3rd Avenue on 36th Street and avoid walking down 3rd Avenue from 42nd Street. If you are arriving at Grand Central Terminal, UFT volunteers will be on hand to direct you down Lexington Avenue to 36th Street. If you'll be tweeting or posting to Instagram or Facebook from the rally, be sure to use the hashtag #ProtectOurSchools so that your posts get noticed. And feel free to tweet at the governor at @NYGovCuomo so his social media team hears us. Send your best rally photos at high resolution to uftphotos@gmail.com.

Chapter leader election kits coming to your schools the week of April 13

The 2015 election season for chapter leaders has arrived. Every three years, the UFT members in your school (or functional chapter) conduct chapter elections. Please look out for the chapter leader election kits that should arrive in your school sometime during the week of April 13. Any full-time member may nominate, run for a position and vote in a school's election if he or she is on the school's permanent table of organization or assigned to the school on the first Monday in May of an election year. Of particular note for members who are in excess, members who were not on the school's table of organization but were assigned to the school on the first Monday in May must be added to the roster. Chapter elections may be held in either May or June, but we encourage you to hold them in May. Please contact your district representative if you have any questions.

Participate in the UFT's 2nd annual 5K family run on May 9

Take out your running shoes and run for a cause. The UFT will host its second annual 5K family run on Saturday, May 9 in Coney Island. Please encourage your members to bring their colleagues, family and friends and join us for this untimed walk/race, sponsored by the UFT middle school division. Runs and walkathons are fun, healthy and great for building friendships among your school community. The proceeds will go to the UFT Disaster Relief Fund, which has helped UFT members following natural disasters. Beginning at MCU Park in Coney Island, the family run will take place from 8:30 a.m. to noon. Complimentary water, snacks, giveaways and the chance to win raffle prizes will be provided for each race participant. The fee to participate in this event is $25 for adults and $15 for children age 12 or younger. You can run or walk as an individual or as part of a team. You can also raise additional funds for this cause by asking sponsors to pledge a dollar amount for your participation effort or make a donation directly to the UFT Disaster Relief Fund. Please download the registration and sponsor forms from the UFT website. The deadline to register is Tuesday, April 28.

Appoint student survey coordinators before spring break

As we advised you last week, your school should designate survey coordinators by March 31 to be trained in April in the administration of the Tripod Student Survey. Chapter leaders need to make sure that these appointments have been made before they leave for spring break. Under the terms of the contract we ratified last June, all schools will pilot the Tripod Student Survey this year in May and June (except those that participated in a smaller survey pilot earlier in the year). Students in grades 3-12 will be surveyed (different versions for Grades 3-5 and Grades 6-12). Materials about the surveys will be posted on the DOE Advance intranet page in April. If you have questions about student surveys, contact Michael Sill at msill@uft.org.


And on uft.org don't miss


To Do

  • Spread the word to all your members that serve English language learners of an upcoming proctoring training on the Spring 2015 New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT). The training will be held Monday, March 30 and repeated on Tuesday, March 31 at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 2nd floor, Shanker Hall. Each session will take place from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Participants have the option to attend the session on either day. The presentation by Elieser De Jesus from the DOE's Department of English Language Learners and Student Support will discuss changes in the administration and format of the Spring 2015 NYSESLAT and give educators suggestions on how to use the test results to improve instruction. Chapter leaders should make sure that principals know that the DOE has authorized a 2:20 p.m. release time for members attending this training. Please tell members to register online and to bring this flier and identification to enter the building. For more information, call UFT Vice President Evelyn DeJesus at 212-598-9253.
  • Please make your members who are pedagogues (not paraprofessionals) aware that a newly revised instruction manual and checklist are available to guide them should they suffer a work-related injury. The most important procedural change concerns leaves for Injury in the Line of Duty (LODI), which must now be submitted on the Self-Service Online Leave Application System (SOLAS). Please work with your school secretary to make sure that pedagogues know that forms OP198 and OP407 are obsolete for LODI and are no longer used to establish leave dates and medical documentation requirements. All information and documentation requirements are now handled by SOLAS. You can share the new LODI procedures with your members. If you have questions, contact Thomas Bennett at the UFT at 212-598-7711 or by email at TBennett@uft.org
  • Please reach out to your members who are currently on a leave and let them know that they must now use the Self-Service Online Leave Application System (SOLAS) for the annual intention notification process to inform the DOE of their intention to return to work, retire, resign, extend current leave or apply for a new leave for the 2015–16 school year. Members who are currently on leave should have been notified of this new process by mail and through their DOE email this past week. They should receive an additional email on Wednesday, April 1 instructing them to log into SOLAS and notify the DOE of their annual leave intention for the 2015–16 school year. The timeline to use SOLAS to complete the annual intention notification process is from April 1 through Friday, May 15. Members who fail to notify the DOE by May 15 will be deemed to have voluntarily resigned.
  • We want to thank chapter leaders who asked members in their schools to sign nominating petitions to elect David Kazansky to a three-year term as a trustee on the Teachers' Retirement System board. Kazansky's candidacy, recommended by the UFT Delegate Assembly on Feb. 11, follows UFT Treasurer Mel Aaronson's decision to retire from the board after 35 years of service. Nominating petitions for Kazansky must be postmarked no later than Tuesday, March 31 to the 17th floor of UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, Attn: Committee to Elect David Kazansky. The petition may be signed by regularly appointed school staff members and paraprofessionals who have joined the Teachers' Retirement System, including supervisors.
  • Chapter leaders should be aware that the DOE has posted on its website that parents and legal guardians may request the ratings of principals and the Advance ratings of teachers who currently serve their children. Please work with your principal to make sure your school has a process for handling requests for teachers' Advance ratings and that teachers are aware of how the process works. Also, reassure teachers that if their rating is under appeal, it may not be released. You should tell your members that the parent's right to this information falls under State Education Law section 3012-c-10. For detailed information about disclosure of teachers' rating to parents, including translated forms, see the DOE website. If you have questions about requests for teacher ratings, email Advancesupport@schools.nyc.gov at the DOE or contact your district representative.
  • The DOE has released its latest version of Advance at a Glance, a newsletter for teachers that highlights key dates and deadlines in this year's teacher evaluation system. Please encourage your teachers to use Advance at a Glance to guide them through the rights and responsibilities of the evaluation process. Some important benchmarks coming up in March and April include class roster verification, access to Measures of Teacher Practice (MOTP) Evaluator forms and reflection on student growth over the course of the year. Later in the school year, teachers will have completed their observations and feedback cycles, attended an end-of-year conference and received their Measures of Teacher Practice HEDI rating. You can access Advance at a Glance on the UFT website.
  • All schools should have developed a policy for the use of electronic devices by Monday, March 2. The policy must allow students to bring cell phones and other electronic devices to school and must also designate where and when devices may be used in school. This policy must be consistent with Chancellor's Regulation A-413. Schools are responsible for communicating their policy to students, staff and parents in writing and must also post the policy on their school websites. Make sure your principal conducts a training session on your school's electronic-devices policy and Chancellor's Regulation A-413 for both staff and students by Wednesday, April 15. In addition, if a student is in violation of your school's policy, ask him or her to put the device away. If the student refuses to comply, you should follow the established school protocol for requesting assistance. This may include calling an administrator, a dean or a principal designee. Do not engage in any physical confrontation or attempt to take away the device from a student who is difficult or defiant. Also please do not forget to report the incident in a UFT Safety/Incident Report
  • Please continue to mobilize your chapter as well as enlist parents in our fight against Cuomo's harmful education agenda. Continue to fax, send postcards to and call the governor and state lawmakers. Here is a flier for parents in both English and Spanish that you can hand out during informational leafleting before and after school. Urge your members to sign and share the online petition to the governor. Thanks to you, we have had great success getting the Community Education Councils to pass resolutions opposing the governor's proposals. There is still time for parents to encourage CECs that have not yet come on board to pass a resolution opposing the governor's proposals. These materials and more can be found on our Fight Cuomo! campaign page. For guidance and support, contact your district representative.
  • Encourage your members to continue to use Twitter to campaign against Gov. Cuomo's education policies. Almost 114,000 tweets have gone out using the #AllKidsNeed hashtag and nearly 31,000 people have used #InviteCuomo in a tweet. Two other hashtags that have gained traction are #CallOutCuomo and #ProtectOurSchools. We want to keep the pressure on so please make sure your members are in the conversation! Your members should know that their tweets do have an impact because elected officials and journalists are all on Twitter and they take public temperature readings based on what they read. Post this flier on your UFT bulletin board. Snap a photo of some part of your classroom (no kids please) and share it on Twitter with the hashtag #InviteCuomo asking the governor to come see you work with your students. Retweet your colleagues' #InviteCuomo tweets. Use the hashtag #AllKidsNeed to inform the governor and the public about the realities of unfair funding and excessive high-stakes testing. End your tweets with @NYGovCuomo so the governor hears us loud and clear. Read what your colleagues are saying using this hashtag and retweet their #AllKidsNeed tweets. Remember, you must use the hashtags if you want to be seen and heard. Not on Twitter yet? Sign up now. Need some guidance about who to follow on Twitter? Here's a list to consider.
  • The Member Action Center of NYSUT, the UFT's state affiliate, has begun Take Action Tuesdays to encourage members to get involved in the fight for public education. On Take Action Tuesday, participants will receive a text with a simple idea or action to take. Please sign up for the new NYSUT MAC Text Alert and urge your members to do so as well. Signing up for text alerts is easy: Just text NYSUT to 38470. Print the flier and post it on your UFT bulletin board to help spread the word.
  • Consider conducting a mini-SBO on Parent Engagement time. The DOE has been looking for feedback from school staffs, administrators and parents about this new 40-minute block of time, an important provision in our 2014 contract. As a result of that outreach and in collaboration with the UFT, schools are being given the chance to use a mini-SBO process to reconfigure their Parent Engagement time for the spring 2015 semester — between March and June. The Principals' Weekly includes a list of five pre-approved options for reconfiguring the time for this semester as well as an option for your own proposal, which must be reviewed by the DOE. Chapter leaders should discuss with their principals the new options for Parent Engagement and conduct a mini-SBO if it is determined that a new structure will benefit the school community. No school, however, is obligated to participate in this mini-SBO process, and no principal can mandate any of the options. Please be aware that the mini-SBO process is for this school year only. If schools want to reconfigure Parent Engagement time for the 2015–16 school year, they must follow the regular SBO process later this spring. Read the Parent Engagement options on the UFT website and get more information on the DOE's FAQ. If you, as chapter leader, decide to conduct a mini-SBO, use the SBO form for your borough: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island.
  • Alert members that a six-hour training in the prevention and intervention of bullying, discrimination and harassment is now required for certification by the New York State Dignity for All Students Act. This course is mandated for all teachers and school-related professionals who apply for their state certificate on or after Jan. 1, 2014. The UFT is an approved provider of this course and offers it at 52 Broadway and in the union's borough offices at a cost of $25 for paras, $50 for all other members and $100 for nonmembers. Check the UFT Safety Workshop page for dates, times and registration information or call 212-598-9287.
  • Teachers holding a Professional Certificate who were certified on Sept. 1, 2009 or Feb. 1, 2010 should have received a letter and a tracking form from the DOE in February alerting them that they have to submit proof of completing 175 hours of professional development during the past five-year cycle. Make sure your members understand that 175 hours of professional development every five years is a requirement only for those who hold a Professional Certificate. Currently there are 2,500 members who are in jeopardy of losing their certification if the documentation is not submitted on time. Documentation must be submitted no later than June 13. It is very important for chapter leaders to alert their members that any professional development taken outside the school should be approved in writing by their principal prior to taking the PD. At the end of each year, the tracking sheet should be approved and signed by the principal. At the end of the five years, all signed tracking sheets must be submitted to the DOE, which will report your completed professional development hours to the State Education Department. Direct your members to the NYS Education Department website to review the range of available PD. And read the Q&A in the current New York Teacher called Maintaining your professional certificate. If you have any questions, please contact the educational liaison in your UFT borough office.

For your information

District 24 scholarship dinner dance: UFT members are invited to attend the 16th annual District 24 awards ceremony and scholarship dinner dance on Tuesday, April 21 from 6 to 11 p.m.at Russo's on the Bay, 165-45 Cross Bay Boulevard, Queens. There is a donation fee of $75, which includes cocktail hour, dinner, dancing and an open bar. The registration deadline is Tuesday, March 31. Space is limited. For more information and to register, see the event listing.

BRAVE video contest: Do you know a school that is doing something awesome to promote acceptance, tolerance and respect for all students? Tell them to enter the BRAVE video contest! As part of its campaign to Build Respect Acceptance and Voice through Education, the BRAVE program is holding a video contest to highlight the efforts made by schools to create environments free of discrimination and harassment. The contest is open to all students, who are invited to submit a 3–5 minute video that conveys the contest theme. For contest requirements and submission information, see the BRAVE brochure. All video submissions must be received by Tuesday, March 31.

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 competitive scholarship of up to $30,000. See the CUNY website for details about the scholarship or download an online application. The application deadline is Tuesday, March 31.

Apply for an Excellence in School Wellness Award: Our schools work hard to promote healthy eating and physical activity among our students. All elementary schools are encouraged to apply for a NYC Excellence in School Wellness Award, which recognizes this effort. The application for the 2014–15 school year will be sent to principals, so please share this information with your principal and encourage him or her to apply. The completed application must be received by Tuesday, March 31. Award recipients will be publicly recognized at a ceremony in late May. All winners will receive an award (gold, silver or bronze) and public recognition from city officials and the media, including our own New York Teacher. To participate in the contest, download the application and submission instructions.

Grants, awards and freebies: Do you and your students have untapped talents or creative ideas that you would like to bring to life in your classroom? If so, check out the UFT website for information on grants, awards and giveaways to help your students reach their potential. New opportunities are posted monthly.

Friends of District 75 awards ceremony: UFT President Michael Mulgrew and Chancellor Carmen Fariña will receive the 2015 leadership award from the Friends of District 75 at its 10th annual Awards Ceremony and Black Tie Formal Dinner Dance Gala, to be held on Thursday, May 14 at Astoria Manor, 2522 Astoria Boulevard, Astoria from 6 to 11 p.m. The theme of this year's event is "Honoring the Children." Tickets cost $85 and include cocktail hour, dinner, dancing and open bar. To RSVP for this event, download the mail-in flier. The payment deadline is Friday, May 1.

Paid sustainability coach positions for K-8 teachers: New York City Eco-Schools is looking to hire four full-time, paid Sustainability Coordinators or "coaches" for the Greenpoint Eco-Schools program. This is a pilot program with great potential to demonstrate the value of paid Sustainability Coordinator positions. This grant-funded position begins on June 1, 2015 and ends in January 2018. Any K-8 teacher with a commitment to sustainability is invited to apply. For more information, including a detailed job description and requirements, see the National Wildlife Foundation website. The application deadline is Wednesday, April 15.

Retirees' lump-sum payments for per session and per diem work: Pedagogue retirees who are owed per session or per diem payments should have received their lump-sum arrears by direct deposit or paper check. As a reminder, you can inform any of your pedagogue retirees who ask, these payments are for work performed from Nov. 1, 2009 up until the date of their retirement. It is important for you and your retired members to understand that retirees who have been continuously employed in a per session activity where they have retention rights will receive lump-sum payments for their post-retirement work in accordance with the schedule from October 2015 through October 2020. Also note that any retiree who continues to be employed and meets the criteria as a per diem worker will also receive the lump-sum monies on the same 2015–20 schedule of payments. The DOE is hoping to have its payroll portal up and running by early next week enabling retired members to access the payroll stubs and statements related to this lump-sum payment.

District 21 scholarship fund dinner dance: UFT members are invited to celebrate with District 21 on Thursday, April 16 at 6 p.m. at El Caribe Country Club in Brooklyn. Among this year's honorees are Richard Mantell, the UFT vice president for middle schools, who will receive the District 21 Leadership Award; Councilman Mark Treyger, who will receive the Community Involvement Award; and the PS 329 faculty that will receive the COPE award. Ticket prices for this event are $95 for individuals or $90 per person for a table of 12. For detailed information, including the full list of honorees, and to purchase tickets, see the flier

Conference on labor issues: The Worker Institute of Cornell University invites UFT members to "Advancing Worker Rights," a conference marking the 80th anniversary of the National Labor Relations Act. This two-day event will take place on Friday, April 17 and Saturday, April 18 at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. This event will feature leading labor activists, policy makers, labor lawyers and academics who will address pressing contemporary issues, including prospects for reform, especially to enhance collective and individual rights of workers covered by or excluded from this important piece of federal legislation. Register online or see the Cornell website for more information, including a conference agenda.

2015–16 school calendar has been released: The DOE has released the school calendar for next school year. Teachers will report on Tuesday, Sept. 8 and students will return the next day, Wednesday, Sept. 9. For the first time, schools will be closed for a Muslim holiday, Eid al-Adha, which will be observed on Thursday, Sept. 24.

Rapid response crisis care: New rapid response assistance is available to schools and families in the Bronx and certain parts of Brooklyn and Queens when a child is behaving in a threatening manner, is in crisis or displaying active symptoms of depression. The Visiting Nurse Service of New York's Children's Mobile Crisis Team offers crisis care and counseling to children ages 18 or younger who are in need of additional support. Services include crisis assessment, crisis stabilization, prevention planning and caregiver support. For details and a list of school districts in the geographic coverage area, see the Children's Mobile Crisis Team page on the UFT website. If these new services are available to your school, please spread the word to staff and families.

Tax deductions for teachers: The IRS says: "If you are an eligible educator, you can deduct up to $250 ($500 if married filing joint and both spouses are educators, but not more than $250 each) of any unreimbursed expenses you paid or incurred for books, supplies, computer equipment (including related software and services), other equipment, and supplementary materials that you use in the classroom. For courses in health and physical education, expenses for supplies are qualified expenses only if they are related to athletics. This deduction is for expenses paid or incurred during the tax year." The Educator Expense is an "Adjustment to Gross Income" so you can use it if you use the standard deduction or itemize. For more information, see the IRS website.

Fourth-graders visit parks for free: Federal agencies are joining forces to encourage all children to visit the nation's parks and inspire a love of the outdoors in a new generation of young people. Starting in September, every 4th-grader in the nation will receive an "Every Kid in a Park" pass that's good for free admission to all of the country's public lands and waters. The pass will provide free entry for the children and their families for a full year. Learn more about this program on the White House website.

Grief and loss counseling groups: 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. Spring 2015 counseling sessions are held on Tuesdays from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. on March 31, April 21 and 28, and May 5, 12 and 19. For details and registration information, email MAPinfo@uft.org or call 212-701-9620. Registration is limited.

Functional chapters on uft.org: Did you know that you and your functional chapter members can find targeted information in the UFT's functional chapter web pages? Most functional chapters have their own web pages which offer important resources, chapter news, contact information for chapter representatives, contract details and more. The nearly 20 chapters with dedicated sections include paraprofessionals, guidance counselors, social workers and psychologists, speech teachers, occupational and physical therapists, school nurses, school secretaries, hearing education services and more. To view the full lineup of our functional chapter pages, hover your mouse over Our Chapters in the top navigation of the UFT website's homepage or go to Our Chapters.

Middle school spring workshops: The middle school spring 2015 workshops are open to teachers who wish to upgrade their teaching skills or participate in a professional dialogue about their teaching career. Participants will receive two hours of professional development credit for each workshop attended. See page 35 of the UFT course catalog to download a mail-in registration form or register online with a credit card. Please choose your workshops and register at least 10 days before the workshop date. All workshops are held at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, from 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. Please be sure to bring photo I.D. for entry.


In the News

Steel workers reach national agreement with oil-refining industry: United Steelworkers and Shell, the lead bargainer for oil-refining businesses, has reached agreement on a new national contract and is moving towards ending a six-week strike, reports In These Times. A total of more than 6,550 workers have been striking against unfair labor practices, primarily regarding health and safety issues, since Feb. 1. Each local union now needs to negotiate a contract that incorporates the national agreement before the dispute is ended.

Oklahoma lawmakers target teachers union: A bill prohibiting school districts from automatically deducting union dues from teachers' paychecks passed the Oklahoma Senate on March 26, setting the stage for a legal showdown between the state and at least one teachers union, reports Oklahoma Watch. The bill, which now goes to the governor for final approval, created a division within the Republican ranks after several conservative lawmakers said it focused too narrowly on teachers unions.

Duncan wants bipartisan support for changes to education law: U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has stated that the Obama administration thinks Republican efforts to revise No Child Left Behind fall way short, reports the Telegraph. But he's optimistic there could still be a bipartisan compromise reached for such innovations as federal spending on early education, more resources for poor schools through Title I, more money for new approaches in education and a cap on statewide testing.


Events Calendar

Saturday, March 28: Join your colleagues outside Gov. Cuomo's New York City Office at 633 3rd Avenue (at E. 41st Street) from 12 to 3 p.m. for a rally to #ProtectOurSchools. Enter 3rd Avenue on 36th Street and avoid walking down 3rd Avenue from 42nd Street. For more information, see the item in News of the Week.

Monday, March 30 and Tuesday, March 31: NYSESLAT Proctoring Training will be held at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway from 3:30 to 6 p.m. For more information, see the item in To Do.

Monday, March 30: Members will celebrate Passover through the eyes of the labor movement at the ninth annual labor Seder organized by the Jewish Labor Committee Educators' Chapter and the UFT Jewish Heritage Committee. The Seder will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. The Seder, which includes a kosher dinner, costs $36. The registration deadline has passed. For more information, see the mail-in coupon.

Tuesday, March 31: The high school workshop "Smartboards for Everyone: Going Technical in the Classroom" will cover the fundamentals of utilizing Smart Boards in your classroom. Teachers will learn how to create multimedia presentations to teach any topic. Facilitating student use of smartboards will also be addressed. This workshop will take place at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway from 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. A $10 fee is required to participate.

Wednesday, April 1: The District 75 Chapter Leaders Meeting will be held from 3:30 to 6 p.m. at the Manhattan UFT office, 52 Broadway, 10th Floor to address the ongoing issues and concerns we face daily. Your participation is encouraged and is essential to communicate and coordinate information to your school organization.

Wednesday, April 1: Paraprofessionals are invited to a special paraprofessional workshop on conflict cycle at the Brooklyn UFT office, 335 Adams Street from 4 to 6 p.m. For additional information contact Lizette Hernandez at the DOE at 718-935-2449. Space is limited. Download the form to register.

Wednesday, April 1: Brooklyn members are invited to the Maternity and Childcare Leave Workshop from 4:15 to 5:45 p.m. at the Brooklyn UFT office, 335 Adams Street, 25th Floor, Rooms E and F. Get the facts you need to plan your maternity- and childcare-related leave. Preregistration is required. See the event listing for more details and to register.

Thursday, April 2: Queens members are invited to a Maternity Workshop from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Queens UFT office, 97-77 Queens Blvd., 5th Floor, Rego Park. Reservations are required. Seating is limited. RSVP to Karla Jordan at kjordan@uft.org with your due date, file number, non-DOE email address, school, district and cell phone number. See the flier for more details.

Tuesday, April 14: Manhattan members are invited to attend a Maternity Workshop at the Manhattan UFT Office, 52 Broadway, 10th Floor, Conference Rooms A and B from 4 to 6 p.m. RSVP to Monique Ross-McCoy by completing the flier and fax it to 212-510-6424 or email mmccoy@uft.org with your name, telephone number, school and district. For more information, call Monique at 212-598-6800. Light refreshments will be served.

Tuesday, April 14: Staten Island members are invited to attend the Maternity & Child Care Leave Workshop from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Staten Island UFT office, 4456 Amboy Road. Know your rights concerning maternity, childcare and FMLA leaves. See the event listing for more details and to register.

Wednesday, April 15: The Delegate Assembly will be held at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway from 4:15 to 6 p.m.

Thursday, April 16: Paraprofessionals who were you hired after 2004 and are you wondering if they should apply for state certification or are interested in learning how to apply for a teaching assistant certificate are invited to attend the Certification Workshop for Paraprofessionals. This workshop will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Brooklyn UFT office, 335 Adams Street. Space is limited. See the event listing for more information and to resister.

Saturday, May 9: Take out your running shoes and participate in the UFT's second annual 5K Family Run/Walk in MCU Park to benefit the UFT Disaster Relief Fund. For more information, see the item in News of the Week.

Saturday, May 30: The registration coupon for the UFT Spring Education Conference is now available on the UFT website.

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


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 212-598-7772 or visit us online.

ESL/Bilingual Committee

  • Thursday, April 16, 4:30 p.m., Multiple Entry Points (Part II) Using Multisensory Resources and Making Multidisciplinary Connections.

Humane Education

  • Saturday, April 18, 9:45 a.m., Empowering Youth to Create a More Humane World.

NYC Music Teachers Association/UFT

  • Saturday, April 18, 9 a.m., Discovering Connections: Culture, Creativity, Literacy and the Common Core in the Music Classroom.

Science

  • Friday, April 17, 7:15 p.m., Demo Derby.

Editor: Peter O'Donnell

Contributors include: Amy Arundell, LeRoy Barr, Jackie Bennett, Thomas Bennett, Hannah Brown, Carl Cambria, Joseph Colleti, Maia Davis, Evelyn DeJesus, Adhim DeVeaux, Ellie Engler, Lila Ezra, Judy Gerowitz, Janella Hinds, David Kazansky, Lisa Lau-Kim, Junior Linton, Richard Mantell, Ebony Martin, Deidre McFadyen, Gary Mehra, Rachel Nobel, Jeffrey Povalitis, Emil Pietromonaco, Nadine Reis, Anthony Rivera, Adam Ross, Michael Sill, Laura Tamburo, Liz Truly, Miriam Vega and Bernadette Weeks.

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

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Version: 2015.0.5863 / Virus Database: 4321/9433 - Release Date: 04/01/15