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MUSIC TO THEIR EARS: IS 288 Jazz Band Director James Chiarello leads students in a performance during a Sept. 27 event to celebrate a $26.4 million grant from Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams to support STEAM and technology programs in 200 Brooklyn schools.
Mobilize your school community for Day of Action on Thursday, Oct. 6
We are reminding chapter leaders to sign up for a Day of Action on Oct. 6 to demand adequate funding for public schools. Many states are defunding public education; in New York State, Albany continues to owe schools billions of dollars of school aid as a result of the settlement of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit. Since New York City is the largest school district in the country, it's particularly important that our members, hand-in-hand with parents, help raise awareness of the need for adequate funding of our public schools. Some of the ways you might participate include circling the block around your school or simply gathering at the school's entrance for a photo of your school community. Please organize your members and reach out to your school's PA or PTA association to invite parents to join in. Send your best photos (large size) with caption information to email@example.com so we can share them on social media.
Wear pink on Oct. 19 and join the Making Strides against Breast Cancer walk on Oct. 16
Encourage your members to wear pink to school on Wednesday, Oct. 19 to build chapter unity and demonstrate their commitment to fighting breast cancer. Take photos of your members wearing pink and post them on Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #UFTgopink. Please send your best one or two photos (large size, with captions) to firstname.lastname@example.org for our Facebook and website photo albums. Also, we want chapter leaders and delegates to wear pink at the Delegate Assembly that day. The New York Teacher will be sending its photographer to a few schools organizing a Go Pink Day. If a UFT photographer has not come to one of your schools before to take Go Pink photos, please send an email request to Joe LoVerde at email@example.com. This year, once again, we encourage chapter leaders to sign up and create a "team" for your school or chapter. UFT members in your chapter can then sign up online to walk with your team or use the mail-in coupon to walk under the UFT banner. If you need help completing the online signup process, contact Rachel Nobel on the UFT digital communications team at 212-598-7791 during office hours. We'll be using #StridesUFT as our Twitter and Instagram hashtag on the day of the walk. Again, send your best photos from the walk to firstname.lastname@example.org for UFT social media and the New York Teacher.
Request a visit to your school from a UFT pension representative
Many of your members may be unaware of the full range of opportunities afforded them through their pension program. UFT pension department officers and representatives are available to visit your school and speak with members of your chapter. Members can use this opportunity to learn the basics of their pension plan and the tax-deferred annuity. You may request a visit from the pension department via our new online form.
Salary & Personnel
Encourage newly appointed pedagogues to appoint a pension beneficiary: Chapter leaders should be aware that newly appointed pedagogues will receive a "Welcome to TRS" kit from the Teachers' Retirement System (TRS) by the middle of October. Although membership in the retirement system is mandatory and automatic for pedagogues, several forms in the kit must be filled out. These forms include the TRS enrollment application and the Qualified Pension Plan (QPP) designation of beneficiary. These members may also want to consider joining TRS' voluntary savings program called the Tax-Deferred Annuity (TDA). Applicants must send TRS a copy of their proof of birth. A list of accepted forms of proof of birth is provided in the kit.
F-status and health and Welfare Fund benefits: A per diem employee engaged for a full term but for less than five full days per week (e.g., two days every week) is deemed F-status. The full-term, part-time employee receives a salary pro-rated for the time worked at 1/200th of the salary step (up to step 4A including differentials) that he or she would be entitled to on a full-time basis. After serving 60 full days, the F-status teacher earns three vacation days and for each 20 days thereafter one additional day is earned up to a maximum of nine vacation days. Make sure that members understand that their health and Welfare Fund benefits are granted if working at least half of the regularly scheduled time for their title, which is equal to 20 hours. Absences, however, break the service requirement for health and Welfare Fund benefits and will cause the pro-rated loss of these benefits back to the beginning of the term. Full summer health and Welfare Fund benefits will be granted to those who meet service requirements and begin work prior to Jan. 15 through the end of the school year. Health and Welfare Fund benefits for July only are granted if service requirements are met and F-status service begins after Jan. 15.
New members on payroll: Check with your school's payroll secretary to make sure new members of your chapter are on payroll. Newly appointed pedagogues and paraprofessionals who were placed on payroll by Sept. 1 should have received their first paycheck in the Sept. 15 payroll. If payroll processing is completed between Sept. 1 and Sept. 15, they should receive their first paycheck in the Sept. 30 payroll. New H Bank members, including therapists, nurses and supervisors of nurses and therapists, who were placed on payroll by Sept. 9 should have received their first paycheck in the Sept. 23 payroll. If payroll processing was completed between Sept. 10 and Sept. 26, they should receive their first paycheck in the Oct. 7 payroll. New members can ask the payroll secretary for an emergency check if they need it to tide them over until they get paid; however, the members should call their UFT borough office before making this request.
File appeals for Ineffective ratings ASAP: All returning teachers covered by the Advance teacher evaluation system should have received their year-end rating for the 2015–16 school year via Department of Education email on Sept. 1. For those who received a rating of Ineffective, there is a process to appeal the rating. Regardless of the reason members believe their rating is unfair, the first steps they should take are the same: Call the UFT borough office to make an appointment to file the appeal. At that time, a UFT representative will guide them through the steps to take prior to the appointment. To prepare for the appointment and appeal, members should be proactive and organized. They must submit the specific, detailed reasons for the appeal as well as all of the documents they plan to use to support their arguments. The UFT has posted online a checklist of materials to gather in preparation for the appeal. These include Overall Rating Report, Observation Reports, Learning Measure results, documents related to the Teacher Improvement Plan (TIP), if applicable, and any other documents that they believe are pertinent. Members are encouraged to start this process as soon as possible as we cannot guarantee that members who wait to contact their borough office until mid- or late October will have their cases appealed.
Reminder about secondary school programming: Middle school and high school teachers should be aware that they should not be scheduled for more than three consecutive teaching periods. Based on precedent, block periods (double periods) of ELA and math scheduled back to back are considered four consecutive teaching periods in a row and therefore are improper.
Remind members about new certification requirements: New certification requirements are now in effect. 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 consult the TEACH account guide for help creating their accounts and then use the registration requirements guide to complete registration. Although these changes went into effect on July 1, members register during the month of their birth; therefore, 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. Members must register during the month of their birth. For example, if you were born in September, you register in September. 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, 2016 were registered automatically.
Phone banking for Hillary: Starting on Wednesday, Oct. 5, UFT borough offices will be holding phone banks to call AFT members in battleground states. The phone banks will run from 4 to 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday, when school is in session, through Election Day. In Manhattan, phone banks will be held on Friday, Oct. 7 instead of Thursday, Oct. 6. Please fill out this online form to volunteer.
Tell your members about #EdWalk: Education advocates and parent leaders from across the state are setting out on Sunday, Oct. 2 for a 150-mile walk from New York City to Albany to call attention to a glaring injustice: the state's failure to provide public schools with the funding they are owed. The nine-day walk will mark the 10th anniversary of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity case in which the state's highest court ruled that Albany was underfunding its public schools. For more information, visit the EdWalk website. You can also show support for the walk by using the hashtag #EdWalk on social media during the nine-day walk.
Register to vote by Oct. 14: Friday, Oct. 14 is the last day to register to vote in the Nov. 8 general election. To find out whether you're registered, where your polling place is and who's on the ballot in New York, see the Voting NYC website.
Health and Safety
ZocDoc lets members manage medical appointments online: Tell your members that they can now use the online service ZocDoc to find doctors and make appointments. The service allows users to quickly find nearby doctors in their network by name, city, specialty, insurance, practice, procedure, hospital or language. It also lets users browse patient reviews for each doctor. Members can sign up on the ZocDoc website or use the Zocdoc app for iPhone and Android devices. For more information, see the article on the UFT website.
New teachers can share their stories with the New York Teacher: We are looking for new teachers to share their experiences in the "New Teacher Diaries" feature of the New York Teacher. Diary entries are always published anonymously to protect the author and encourage candor. We'll pay $150 for each piece selected for publication. Topics include a particular challenge a new teacher faced and how the teacher tackled it, and what the teacher has learned about teaching, engaging parents or being part of a school community. Entries should be about 600 words and submitted by Tuesday, Oct. 11. For more information, email Rachel Nobel at email@example.com or read our diaries on the UFT website.
Workshops for new teachers: The UFT Member Assistance Program in collaboration with the UFT Teacher Center invites all teachers with 1-3 years of experience to attend professional learning workshops on topics such as pension, workplace safety and pedagogy. Participants will gain knowledge about our union, our benefits and our profession, as well as meet their peers in a supportive environment. Two PD hours are available for attending some of these workshops. All workshops are held from 4 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 19th floor. Refreshments will be served. For a full list of workshops, see the flier. To register, use this online form.
New members can use an online form to join the UFT: Make sure new members in your school know that they can enroll in the union on the UFT website. These members include any newly appointed or in-service agency fee payer or a New York City Department of Education pedagogue, paraprofessional, hourly group employee or retiree. Encourage these members to join the UFT. As a union member, they will have access to valuable benefits and have a voice in their professional life that non-members don't have.
New teacher support and information groups: The UFT Member Assistance Program and the UFT Teacher Center invite your new teachers to attend a series of professional learning opportunities. Members will gain knowledge about our union, our benefits and our profession. They will meet their peers through a supportive network. These groups are intended for members with one to three years of service. All meetings will be held on Wednesdays from 4 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway on the 19th floor. Refreshments will be served. Members can view the session topics and register online on the UFT website. Two professional development hours will be available for a select number of the professional information groups. Space is limited, with each session capped at 50 members, so new teachers should register as soon as possible to secure a spot.
English Language Learners
Free workshop for school-based bilingual programs: ELL educators are invited to the workshop "Establishing a NYS Seal of Biliteracy Program: Steps for school or district implementation" on Thursday, Oct. 13. This event will be held at Fordham University, Rose Hill Campus, Bronx, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and again at the Fordham Lincoln Center Campus from 12 to 3 p.m. The keynote speaker will be Ricardo Constantino, Associate in Instructional Services of the Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages. There is no charge to attend this event. For more information and to register, visit Fordham University's website.
Register early for workshops at UFT "ELL Raising" conference: The UFT's inaugural English language learners' conference, "ELL Raising," will take place on Saturday, Oct. 29 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 2nd floor. Guest speakers at this event include state Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa, Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña and UFT President Michael Mulgrew. Participants are encouraged to register early to ensure their choice of workshops. Five hours of professional development (CTLE) credits are available for all professionally certified teachers who attend. This conference is free and includes breakfast and lunch. Read the full descriptions of the 17 workshops at the conference. Participants can register online.
Professional Learning Opportunities
Fall UFT high school workshops: High school educators are invited to attend workshops throughout the fall to expand their knowledge of instruction, assessment and technology. The $10 registration fee for each workshop is refundable only if a workshop is canceled. See the Events Calendar below for workshops that will be held this week. Participants can register online on the UFT website. For full course descriptions and to print out the mail-in registration coupon, see the high school workshops fall 2016 brochure.
Fall UFT elementary workshops: Elementary school teachers who wish to upgrade their teaching skills are invited to attend workshops in the UFT's fall elementary workshop series. Each two-hour workshop is limited to 35 participants. These workshops are not for college credit. The $10 registration fee for each workshop is refundable only if a workshop is canceled. For payment information, download the mail-in coupon or review the online UFT course catalog.
Fall UFT middle school workshops: Middle school educators are invited to attend workshops throughout the fall. Download the mail-in coupon for workshop dates and locations.
Albert Shanker grant for National Board certification: Tenured teachers who are seeking National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification are invited to apply for the Albert Shanker grant. This grant, which was established to defray the costs of the certification process for eligible New York State public school teachers, funds the first of the four components of National Board certification. For more information on eligibility requirements and for the online application, see the Albert Shanker Grant page on the state Education Department's website and the Guide to National Board Certification.
Give back to kids in need with Yoobi: You now have an opportunity to stretch your Teacher's Choice funds and give back to classrooms in need by shopping online on the Yoobi website. Yoobi offers hundreds of colorful, vibrant supplies for schools for under $5. Educators can use the code UFT-25, exclusive to UFT members, for a 25 percent discount on everything. And for every Yoobi item you buy, another Yoobi item will be donated to a classroom in need, including classrooms right here in New York City. For more information, please see the Teacher's Choice section of the UFT website and the Teacher's Choice page on the DOE website.
Mayor's graduate scholarship program: Department of Education-employed UFT members and other city workers with undergraduate degrees have an opportunity to study at accredited colleges/universities in the metropolitan area. Schools fund full or partial graduate scholarships through the mayor's graduate scholarship program. The scholarships are for city government employees to study, on their own, in areas such as business and public administration, policy analysis, law, education, engineering, nursing, public health, computer science and social work. For more information, including how to apply, visit the NYC Citywide Administrative Services website.
Donate new coats or winter clothing: Help take the chill out of winter for homeless students in our city's schools by donating new winter gear in the third annual clothing drive organized by the UFT Middle School Division and the Coalition for the Homeless. Tell your members that the union is asking each school to organize a clothing drive in order to collect new winter coats and accessories, such as sweaters, scarves, mittens, gloves and hats. Emphasize that we can only accept new articles of clothing. The garments may range in size from toddler to adult. Please bring your school's donations to the Oct. 19 or Nov. 9 Delegate Assembly. You can also drop off donations at your UFT borough office or at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 14th floor. In the case of large donations, please email Adriana O'Hagan at AOhagan@uft.org to arrange for a pickup. All donations must be received by Nov. 15. For questions or for more information, contact Adelina Santiago at Asantiago@uft.org. Post this flier on your UFT bulletin board.
Teaching and Learning
Submit your comments on new state standards for math and English language arts: The New York State Education Department has released a draft of new learning standards for math and English language arts. Members are invited to review the standards and submit comments. Public comments will be accepted until Friday, Nov. 4. For more information and to post comments, see the New York State Education Department website.
Our Functional Chapters
2016 outstanding paraprofessional awards: Members are encouraged to honor a paraprofessional who has made outstanding contributions to their school, community and union. These activities can include community involvement in church, youth groups, volunteer work or any union-related activities such as phone banks, rallies or political action. Any member can submit a nomination; however, paraprofessionals cannot nominate themselves. The nomination deadline is Tuesday, Nov. 22. For more information and to submit a nomination, download the mail-in form.
Encourage paras to join the pension system: Paraprofessionals are eligible to join the pension system; however, membership in TRS for paraprofessionals is not mandatory. Paras must contact TRS at
Functional chapters on uft.org: Let your functional chapter members know that they can find information tailored to their needs on the UFT website. Nearly 20 functional chapters have their own sections, which offer important resources, chapter news, contact information for chapter representatives, contract details and more. To view the full lineup of our functional chapter sections, hover your mouse over Our Chapters in the top navigation of the UFT website's homepage or go to Our Chapters.
New science and tech high schools serve all students: While white and Asian students have traditionally dominated advanced high school courses in science and math, new research shows minority students excel in these courses when schools reach out to them, according to U.S. News and World Report. New inclusive science and technology high schools, which rely on open admissions instead of competitive criteria like tests and grades, have multiplied to meet the exploding demand for workers with math, science and technology skills.
Jeb Bush headed to Harvard: Harvard announced on Tuesday that former Florida governor and Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush will teach in the Program on Education Policy and Governance this fall, reports the Washington Post. Bush has long championed corporate school reform through a test-based accountability system and school choice, famously comparing the process of choosing schools to shopping for milk.
California schools report lower test scores for foster youth: California education officials report that the standardized test scores of the state's foster youth are far lower than their peers, according to the L.A. Times. The data show 18.8 percent of students in the foster care system met or exceeded standards in English language arts, compared with 44.2 percent of their non-foster peers. In math, 11.8 percent of these students reached or exceeded the benchmarks, compared with 33.8 percent of non-foster students. Experts point to academic disruption from frequent moves and the stigma of being in the foster program as primary causes of the low scores.
Sunday, Oct. 16: The Making Strides against Breast Cancer walk will take place in all five boroughs and Long Island. See the item in This Week's Focus for more information.
Wednesday, Oct. 5: Staten Island members are invited to a maternity and child care leave workshop at the Staten Island UFT office, 4456 Amboy Road from 4 to 6 p.m. Participants will learn their rights concerning maternity, childcare and FMLA leaves. See the event listing for more information and to register.
Wednesday, Oct. 5: High school teachers are invited to the workshop "Growing and Developing Professionally (Component 4E) from 4 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. For more information and to register online, see the item in Professional Learning Opportunities.
Thursday, Oct. 6: Chapter leaders are invited to campaign training, presented by the UFT, the NYC Central Labor Council and Eleanor's Legacy. Participants will learn about effective member-to-member outreach. This event will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Manhattan UFT office, 52 Broadway, 10th floor. Dinner will be served. For more information, call Briget Rein at 212-598-6800 or see the event listing.
Thursday, Oct. 6: High school teachers are invited to "Designing Coherent Instruction, Part II—Lesson Planning" from 4 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. For more information and to register online, see the item in Professional Learning Opportunities.
Thursday, Oct. 6: Brooklyn members are invited to a spring sabbatical workshop from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Brooklyn UFT office, 335 Adams St., 25th floor, room D. Participants will learn the requirements and the application process for a spring sabbatical. Refreshments will be served. See the event listing to register.
Save the Date
Sunday, Nov. 6: Register now to celebrate the history of the UFT and show support for your colleagues at our annual Teacher Union Day on Sunday, Nov. 6 at the New York Hilton. This event will feature a continental breakfast, awards ceremony, luncheon and reception. There is a $50 fee to attend. To register, fill out the online form and mail in a copy with your payment. The deadline to register is Oct. 18.
For more events, go to uft.org/calendar.
UFT Professional Committees offer a wide range of workshops, presentations and exchanges, enabling all members to take an active part in their professional growth. Unless indicated, meetings are at UFT headquarters at 52 Broadway. Check the lobby for exact locations. For further information contact us at 1-212-598-7772 or visit us online.
ATSS/UFT (Assn. of Teachers of Social Studies)
ELAC/UFT (English Language Arts Council)
NYCAFLT/UFT (NYC Assn. of Foreign Language Teachers)
NYC Music Teachers Association/UFT
NYCATA/UFT (NYC Art Teachers Assn.)
Editor: Peter O'Donnell
Executive Editor: Bernadette Weeks
Contributors include: Karen Alford, George Altomare, Carmen Alvarez, Amy Arundell, LeRoy Barr, Tom Brown, Carl Cambria, Joseph Colletti, Rita Danis, Evelyn DeJesus, Paul Egan, Brian Gibbons, Anthony Harmon, Sarah Herman, Janella Hinds, Richard Mantell, Samantha Mark, Ebony Martin, Deidre McFadyen, Gary Mehra, Cara Metz, Arthur Pepper, Debra Poulos, Jeffrey Povalitis, Ellen Procida, Tina Puccio, Nadine Reis, Christine Rowland, Nanette Sanchez-Rosario, Howard Schoor, Servia Silva, Michael Sill and Shelvy Young-Abrams.
United Federation of Teachers • A Union of Professionals
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