In this final issue of the Chapter Leader Update for the school year, I want to offer a heartfelt thank-you for your steadfast efforts on behalf of the union this school year. You are the heart of the UFT. Your energy and leadership keep us driving forward, and I am so proud to be the president of a union with such dedicated leaders in the field. You have stood strong and union proud in the face of significant challenges this year. You and your chapters embody the passion and promise of public schools. I know you will be there next year as we continue the good fight for our members and for the children of this city. In the meantime, enjoy a well-earned summer break.— Michael Mulgrew
Social media campaign pays off with funding boost for Teacher's ChoiceA 27.5 percent increase in funding for Teacher's Choice, the UFT's top budget priority, was secured for the 2016–17 fiscal year after an intense lobbying campaign by members on social media and by union leaders at Council meetings and hearings. The budget allotment of $12.3 million is up from $9.65 million last year, thanks to the more than 1,000 members who tweeted at Council members or told their stories of out-of-pocket spending on school supplies to their Council members in an email campaign. The exact amount that each educator will receive in Teacher's Choice funds for the coming school year will be determined by the Department of Education during the summer, once it has a clearer sense of the total number of eligible educators. UFT President Michael Mulgrew thanked the Council for its support. "The Council's tireless advocacy and support strengthen our ability to serve the children of this city," he said. "These programs actually make a difference in the classroom and they are important to our members, who can do great things when they have the right tools." Read the news story on the UFT website.
Anti-union proposals beaten back as legislative session in Albany endsThe legislative session that just ended in Albany is a lesson in why we, at the UFT, remain vigilant when it comes to members' pensions. In the closing days of session, a number of ethics reforms were up for consideration, including several proposed state constitutional amendments that would strip convicted lawmakers of their public pensions. In several versions, public employees — including UFT members employed by the Department of Education, police officers, firefighters and sanitation workers — were included in the resolutions, as were other dangerous provisions that would have further eroded pension protections. Thanks to our lobbying and member phone calls, our elected officials made the right — and fair — call: the final legislation included only elected officials and high-ranking administrative appointees who commit a felony related to his or her public service. If the state Legislature passes the same amendment in the next two years, the proposal will go on the ballot to voters. Your calls and faxes last week also helped beat back the state Senate's last-minute effort to revive the Education Tax Credit, a gift to the wealthy, and to silence the voices of unionized workers in elections.
Free online summer PD from Share My LessonDid you know that 80 percent of educators surveyed said that summer months are the preferred time for professional learning? Encourage your members to take advantage of free summer professional learning, courtesy of the AFT's Share My Lesson website. Explore Share My Lesson's new Summer of Learning collection for curated activities, materials and free webinars for teachers to use throughout the summer. The first webinar features Michele Borba on June 30 at 2 p.m. discussing her new book, UnSelfie, about the empathy and good habits that kids need to succeed.
Join the UFT at this Sunday's Pride MarchYou are invited to march with the UFT contingent in this year's Pride March on Sunday, June 26. The UFT contingent will be gathering at East 38th Street between Madison and Park Avenues starting at 1 p.m. We recommend entering from the Park Avenue end of the street. The march will begin at 36th Street and 5th Avenue and continue down 5th Avenue to Greenwich and Christopher Streets in the West Village. Use our online form to sign up for the march. This year, the parade's Grand Marshals will be Jazz Jennings, the 15-year-old honorary co-founder of the Transkids Purple Rainbow Foundation and one of the nation's best-known voices on the experiences of trans young people; Subhi Nahas, a Syrian refugee who co-founded the first LGBT magazine in Syria; and Cecilia Chung, an internationally recognized advocate for HIV/AIDS awareness and care, LGBT equality and social justice. See our kick-off Pride celebration photo gallery on the UFT website.
File reorganization grievances by next TuesdayIf your members wish to grieve their programs or assignments, they must act quickly. Within two school days of knowledge of his or her new program, a member must ask you as the chapter leader to submit a Step 1 grievance using the online grievance procedure by Tuesday, June 28 at the latest. Be sure to also print out a copy of this grievance and submit it, or have your member submit it, to your principal. The principal has two school days from the date that he or she was notified to meet with the member and render a decision. If the grievance is unresolved, an appeal to the superintendent must be filed within two school days of the grievance conference, so contact your district representative immediately. The superintendent then has three school days to schedule and meet and four school days to write a decision. Please note during the summer, the online grievance process is suspended as are the contractual timelines for filing, scheduling and hearing grievances. After June 28, reorganization grievances can be filed only when school resumes.
- Correction on UFT borough office summer hours: The UFT is open for business throughout the summer on a modified schedule. On Wednesday, June 29 and Thursday, June 30, borough offices will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. On Friday, July 1, the hours will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. UFT borough offices will then be open Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. through Thursday, Sept. 1, except for closing on Monday, July 4 for Independence Day. All UFT borough offices will also be closed the weeks of Aug. 15 and Aug. 22. (Last week's Chapter Leader Update did not indicate that.) On Fridays throughout the summer, the UFT central switchboard will operate from 9 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. and a small crew will be on hand at 52 Broadway to manage union business. Offices will be closed again on Monday, Sept. 5 for Labor Day. Regular hours will resume on Tuesday, Sept. 6. Security procedures require all members to check in at the reception desk at each office and to show a photo ID.
- Complete the teacher turnover survey ASAP: We know that a lot of teacher turnover has a devastating impact on students, schools and the teachers who remain behind. Teachers flee poorly-managed schools that create unnecessary teaching challenges and offer little support. The UFT would like to identify schools where teacher turnover is high. We sent chapter leaders a reminder on June 23 to fill out the survey about teacher turnover to help us pinpoint schools that need our support. If you have not already done so, please fill the survey out by next Tuesday and share your firsthand knowledge about the impact of teacher turnover to help us in our advocacy plans for next year.
- Monitor end-of-year paperwork in your school: Our contract contains a set of enforceable paperwork standards as a result of the union's ongoing effort to eliminate excessive paper and electronic demands, which only serve to reduce the time educators have with students. Please familiarize yourself with the expanded paperwork standards. For more information, read the news story on the UFT website.
- Consult with your principal on your school's budget: School budgets have been released to principals by the DOE, and we need you as chapter leaders to seek an immediate consultation with your principals. Remember that Article 8C of our union contract gives the chapter leader, along with the chapter consultation committee, a right to review as well as provide input into spending decisions. The union has a Guide for School Budget Consultation to explain how the budget consultation process works and to provide you and your chapter with tools to understand the various components that make up the school budget.
- Register for chapter leader training, part 1: Chapter Leader Training, Part 1 will be held on Saturday, Sept. 24 and Sunday, Sept. 25 at the Hilton Westchester in Rye Brook, New York. This training is open to new chapter leaders as well as any chapter leaders who have served for 10 years or more. We recommend that you attend all three sessions, but each session can be attended independently of the others. Please note that the registration deadline is Friday, Sept. 9. Rooms are limited and will be given on a first-come, first-served basis. Please register online. For more information, please call 212-598-7747 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Form your New Teacher Induction Committee: It's important that each school have a plan to welcome and support new teachers. Before the end of the school year, you as the chapter leader along with your principal should form a New Teacher Induction Committee for your school. This committee, which can be a subcommittee of your new professional development committee, will discuss "mentor-new teacher" pairings and possible teacher vacancies, ensure postings of mentor positions so that mentors can receive per session or release time for mentoring, establish time for mentors and new teachers to meet, and welcome new teachers into your school community in September.
- The Update is online: This Chapter Leader Update is posted on the UFT website every week in the Chapter Leader section and will remain online for your reference. You'll need to sign in and click on "Chapter Leaders" on the home page to view the Update.
- Keep EFT accounts open in the summer: Advise members who participate in the EFT direct deposit program not to close their accounts that are scheduled to receive June, July or August checks. If a check is returned because an account has been closed, a supplemental paper check will be issued only after the paycheck is returned to the DOE from the bank. If a check is lost, stolen or mutilated, a stop payment must be placed on the check. The DOE will then mail an affidavit that must be returned before a replacement check is issued. This can take up to six weeks. To request an affidavit, pedagogues can call 718-935-2217 and paraprofessionals can call HR Connect at 718-935-4000 or their DOE borough field office. Please be advised that in both scenarios, no emergency checks can be issued by the DOE.
- Make sure MOSL and PD committees are in place: Our contract requires that each school set up committees for the 2016–17 school year for local Measures of Student Learning selection and professional development so that MOSL selections and school-based PD reflect the interests of the staff and address the needs of the school. Even with the uncertainty about the precise nature of the teacher evaluation system that will be in place in September, you should have a MOSL committee organized at your school.
- Ask your principal for a seniority list: Chapter leaders should request an updated seniority list from their principals. Make that list available to members in your chapter. If someone believes the list is incorrect, you as chapter leader should contact your district representative. Also contact your district representative if your principal refuses to give you a copy of the seniority list.
- Air-conditioner guidelines and complaints: During the 2016 official air-conditioning season, which runs from May 27 to Sept. 25, school room temperatures are supposed to be maintained no lower than 78 degrees. There is no regulation mandating an upper temperature limit, only comfort guidelines. The UFT will address temperature complaints on a case-by-case basis with the DOE Division of School Facilities. If a member wishes to pursue a complaint, he or she should keep a log of the room temperature and also provide specific information including: Are the rooms in question interior rooms whose only source of air is provided by a mechanical ventilation system? If so, is the mechanical ventilation system working? Are the rooms overcrowded? Are the rooms occupied by special needs students? What are the room temperatures? For more information, contact the health and safety representative in your UFT borough office.
Salary & PersonnelOnline guides now available to help with new certification requirements: The State Education Department has published two online step-by-step guides to help members navigate the changes on how it is managing certification and the tracking of professional development hours. Members can now consult the TEACH account guide for help creating their accounts and then use the registration requirements guide to complete registration. Remember these changes go into effect on July 1, but since members register during the month of their birth, the process will take a year. For information about the new registration process, including who must register and when they should register, and how members will track professional development hours, also known as Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) hours, you can read the information on the UFT website and review the chart designed by the UFT certification staff for specific details on how these changes affect your members. The UFT website also has the registration link to the login page for TEACH. 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. Beginning July 1, members must register during the month of their birth. For example, if you were born in August, you register in August. Members without a TEACH account must create one before logging on to TEACH. Members with a professional or Level III teaching certificate issued after July 1 will be registered automatically.Albany passes pension bill benefiting public sector employees who are veterans: A new law enables public school teachers and other public employees who are honorably discharged veterans and have five years in their civilian jobs to purchase up to three years of service credit toward their pensions. For the first time, female public employees who are veterans can purchase service credit. Previously, the pension credit was only available to veterans who served in certain conflicts, including World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Persian Gulf War, and who had been actively engaged in combat. Many women who served in noncombat roles were, therefore, not eligible. Read the full story on the UFT website.The Open Market Transfer Plan period is open till Aug. 7: The Open Market Transfer Plan offers all pedagogues as well as paraprofessionals access to job openings in their current license area throughout the city through an online registration process. During the transfer period, which runs from April 15 to Aug. 7, you do not need a release from your principal to change schools. You may even apply to schools without current openings, and your application will be kept in an electronic file in the event an opening occurs. We suggest following up all electronic applications with a hard copy that is mailed, emailed or dropped off at the school. The Open Market Q&A on the UFT website offers more information about the process.
GrievanceSummer grievance procedures: During the summer, the online grievance process is suspended; all grievances must be filed at your UFT borough office. Grievances relating to the regular school year can be filed only when school resumes. Chapter leaders may file Step 1 grievances online again starting the first day of school. If you have any questions, please contact your borough office. For UFT borough office contact information, see the UFT Borough Offices webpage. See UFT borough office summer hours in Your Chapter Leader Checklist.APPR complaint procedures: During the summer, APPR complaints cannot be filed. APPR complaints can be filed only when school resumes. If you have any questions, please contact your UFT borough office. For UFT borough office contact information, see the UFT Borough Offices webpage. See UFT borough office summer hours in Your Chapter Leader Checklist.
EvaluationHow 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 the grades 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 grades 3–8 math or ELA assessments as part of their Measures of Student Learning will receive a Transition Rating that excludes grades 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. Grades 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, see the teacher evaluation page of the UFT website.
Health and SafetySpring safety checklist: Review the Chapter Leader Safety Checklist for this time in the school year. The checklist includes items that provide security for those working in the building and protect the personal property of your members. Some items on the checklist can be addressed in consultation with your principal or during school safety committee meetings.
CertificationSummer DASA workshops scheduled: Paraprofessionals and other members who were notified must complete their certification requirements soon or face termination. The UFT will offer two six-hour workshops on the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) this summer to fulfill this requirement. The workshops are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 12, and again on Tuesday, Aug. 2. The training will be held at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 2nd floor, room B. The fee is $25 for paras and $50 for pedagogues. For registration information, see the UFT Safety Workshop page or call 212-420-1830.
Teaching and LearningTeacher Center Summer Institute offers PD to strengthen instruction: The UFT Teacher Center Summer Institute is offering four three-day intensive professional learning sessions between Tuesday, July 5 and Thursday, Aug. 4, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the union's headquarters at 52 Broadway in Manhattan. Members can register for courses on the Summer Institute web page. The four course offerings focus on literacy, technology, math and special education. Members can only sign up for one of these summer sessions. For detailed descriptions of the course offerings, see the UFT Teacher Center Summer Institute website.Lesson plans about the tragic events in Orlando: The American Federation of Teachers and Share My Lesson have created a collection of classroom resources related to the tragedy in Orlando. Materials include lessons on how to help children deal with traumatic events, bullying, stereotyping and scapegoating, as well as tools to teach children how to be an ally and advocate for their friends and classmates. Teachers can view these lessons on the Share My Lesson website.Teaching economics to elementary students: K–5 teachers are invited to "Teaching Economics Using Play Dough and the Classroom Mini-Economy," a full-day workshop presented by the Council for Economic Education that will teach participants how to make economics fun for students of all ages. This workshop will take place on Tuesday, July 19 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Science, Industry and Business Library, 35th Street and Madison Avenue. For more information and to register online, see the council's website.Literature and personal finance for elementary students: K–5 educators are invited to "Using Children's Literature to Teach Economics and Personal Finance: Classics, New Titles and Movie Connections." This full-day workshop, presented by the Council for Economic Education, will add a new dimension to ELA lessons by using literature to teach personal finance. Participants will use classic children's stories as well as award-winning new titles in children's literature to teach personal finance concepts and valuable life lessons concerning earning, saving, spending and decision making. This workshop will be held at UFT headquarters, 50 Broadway, room 2C on Thursday, Aug. 4 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information and to register online, see the council's website.
OpportunitiesPeer Intervention Program vacancies: The Peer Intervention Program (PIP) provides voluntary, confidential assistance for teachers who believe their teaching would benefit from such assistance. PIP is accepting applications for full-time positions as Peer Intervention Program Intervenor. Applicants for the position must have a minimum of eight years of full-time teaching experience and demonstrated outstanding classroom teaching ability. All documents should be submitted by Thursday, July 21. Priority will be given to teachers licensed in High School Math and High School Science. For full selection criteria and responsibilities, see the posting or email PIP@uft.org. Please post this position on your UFT bulletin board.Last chance to apply to rent an affordable apartment in Brooklyn: The application deadline for the housing lottery for Brooklyn's newest residential apartment building at 461 Dean St. is Monday, June 27. Applicants will have to opportunity to rent below-market-rate studios and 1- and 2-bedroom apartments interspersed throughout the luxury rental building, which is scheduled to open this fall on the corner of Dean Street and Flatbush Avenue, to the east of Barclays Center. The housing lottery for 461 Dean's below-market units is open to households with incomes between $20,675 and $144,960. Members who are interested in this rental opportunity can learn more about the building, qualifications and application process by visiting the 461 Dean website or calling 718-246-8080, ext. 224. You can also gather your required documents and submit your application to NYC House Connect. Selected applicants will be contacted in the summer of 2016. You will be contacted only if your application is selected in the random lottery process and if your application meets the requirements. See more information on the UFT website.
Political ActionVote in June 28 congressional primary: Remember this coming Tuesday, June 28 is congressional primary day in New York. Voting in primaries is just as important as voting in the general election. In the 13th congressional district, the UFT has endorsed Assemblyman Keith Wright for the open seat in Harlem and parts of the Bronx, vacated by long-term Rep. Charles Rangel. In all our political action work, our fundamental commitment is to quality public education for all of New York City's children, workplace rights for public school educators, and social and economic justice for the communities in which our students live and our members serve.
Our Functional ChaptersNew Lead Teacher Assistant position for paras has been posted: The Department of Education has posted the Lead Teacher Assistant, the new career ladder position for paraprofessionals negotiated by the DOE and the UFT. The deadline to apply is July 15. Only paraprofessionals with a bachelor's degree qualify to apply for this position. The DOE has gathered together important information about the Lead Teacher Assistant position including the posting, a tentative list of schools that have expressed interest in having this new role as well as a link to the online application, which includes essay questions. It is up to your principal to budget money for this position in your school. The principal will select from a pool of eligible candidates, who will be selected by a joint UFT-DOE committee. Read the UFT chapter news story for further information. Read the Lead Teacher Assistant Q&A to help you and your paras learn more about this new career ladder position.
Christie calls for new school funding formula: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on June 21 proposed sweeping changes in how New Jersey funds schools, calling for nearly all students to receive the same per-pupil funding in every district across the state, reports Politico. Christie's proposal, which faces strong opposite from Democrats in the statehouse, would apportion a uniform $6,599 per student, providing additional aid for special education students but leaving out English language learners and low-income students who currently receive extra funding. Many suburban districts would see huge increases in funding while a large number of urban districts would see deep cuts.Florida teachers union loses appeal on performance pay: A South Florida appeals court on June 22 sided with the Broward County School Board in a dispute with unions about a 2011 law that calls for performance-based pay for teachers, according to the Sun Sentinel. The ruling requires teachers hired before July 1, 2011 to be placed on annual contracts with a performance-based salary schedule. Teachers hired before the law's effective date will continue with an earlier salary structure.Controversial bailout for Detroit's public schools signed into law: On June 21, Republican governor Rick Snyder signed a $617 million bailout and restructuring plan for Detroit's public schools, according to U.S. News & World Report. Managed by the state for seven years, the Detroit Public Schools faced insurmountable deficits, lost school days on the heels of teacher sickouts and steep declines in enrollment. Democrats, the teachers union and others panned the bailout, which barely passed the Republican-controlled legislature, claiming it won't do enough for the nearly 46,000 students and nearly 100 schools in the district.
This WeekSunday, June 26: All members are invited to join the UFT as we showcase our float and celebrate our diversity at the annual Pride March. For more information, see the item in This Week's Focus.For more events, go to uft.org/calendar.
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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.
Editor: Peter O'DonnellExecutive Editor: Bernadette WeeksContributors include: Karen Alford, George Altomare, Amy Arundell, Carmen Alvarez, LeRoy Barr, Joseph Colletti, Rita Danis, Koraldys Duverge, Paul Egan, Ellie Engler, Lila Ezra, Brian Gibbons, Anthony Harmon, David Hicks, Janella Hinds, Lynne Kilroy, Lisa Lau-Kim, Junior Linton, Charles Lobello, Richard Mantell, Samantha Mark, Ebony Martin, Deidre McFadyen, Cara Metz, Gary Mehra, Emma Camacho Mendez, Cara Metz, Rachel Nobel, Jeffrey Povalitis, Ellen Procida, Tina Puccio, Sterling Roberson, Hector Ruiz, Nanette Sanchez-Rosario, Michael Sill, Liz Truly, Jose Vargas, Miriam Vega, Kerry Yefet and Shelvy Young-Abrams.
United Federation of Teachers • A Union of Professionals
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Saturday, June 25, 2016
Posted by UFT / AFT News at 8:08 AM