Sunday, September 28, 2014

FW: Inside AFT--Sept. 26

Subject: Inside AFT--Sept. 26



AFT: A Union of Professionals: AFT Teachers


Weingarten responds to attacks from anti-union hack

Rick Berman's Center for Union Facts, which has a history of spreading fiction rather than fact, has become the latest shadowy organization to pour huge amounts of money into attacking the AFT while failing to disclose who is funding its efforts. Its most recent attack is a particularly venomous, and expensive (an 11-page brochure mailed first class to 125,000 households), hit piece on AFT President Randi Weingarten. Berman's previous attacks have targeted Mothers Against Drunk Driving and efforts to raise the minimum wage, and he also fronted a pro-Big Tobacco group. "I shouldn't be surprised," Weingarten says, "but still, after a year of ads, billboards, op-eds and now this 11-page letter, I'm left asking: Why would someone go to such depths to attack teachers and their representatives? Perhaps it's because more and more Americans agree that public education is important and know the market-based, silver-bullet reforms that Berman promotes—austerity, privatization, test-fixation, mass school closings—aren't working. Parents want to send their kids to safe, welcoming, collaborative and engaging neighborhood public schools."

The true story of public education in America

Weingarten and New Haven studentsIn her latest column appearing in the New York Times, AFT President Randi Weingarten challenges the misguided narrative that teachers are somehow responsible for preventing our nation's neediest students from succeeding. The truth, she writes, is that educators in classrooms across the country are engaging students from all demographics and geographies and promoting a love of learning. Weingarten reports on some of the schools she has visited recently where collaboration is embedded in the school culture, including in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Ohio, Texas and Washington, D.C., and we are seeing results. "When we work together—to fix, not close, neighborhood schools, to give kids the critical-thinking and problem-solving skills they need to succeed in our 21st-century economy and the support they need to address their economic and social challenges, when we trust and support teachers—we can succeed," Weingarten writes.

Vote buttonInside Election 2014

As states impose more restrictive voter registration and ID requirements, it's important that all voters are able to cast their ballots fairly and without intimidation. The AFL-CIO's "My Vote, My Right" site includes state-by-state guidelines. Check out this Vine video, too.

The cover story in the upcoming issue of the AFT's Public Employee Advocate looks at how the AFT and its members are engaging at the state level this fall in important gubernatorial races that could set the tone for years to come. The story focuses in particular on Kansas, where the fight is to unseat an extreme incumbent, and Connecticut, where the union has worked collaboratively with the sitting governor who is now up for re-election.

It's been a tough week for some of the most powerful forces supporting ultra-conservative causes and candidates. Two major technology companies—Google and Yahoo—both announced that they are discontinuing their memberships with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Meanwhile, Rolling Stone published a long and deeply unflattering story about the super-rich Koch brothers and how they made all that money that is funding tea party conservatives.

Turning up the heat to reverse climate change

AFT signs at climate marchThe sense of doom that motivated an estimated 310,000 people to converge on the Upper West Side of New York City Sept. 21 for the People's Climate March did not dampen their hope and optimism for a vision of a green future. The march attracted three times the number of participants predicted. Aerial shots captured four miles of Manhattan streets and avenues packed with people, signs, two-story-high puppets and banners. Swelling the crowd were hundreds of AFT members and thousands of trade unionists from the 70 or so labor organizations that were co-sponsors of the day's events. The AFT members wore blue shirts tagged with "Climate Justice" and held signs reading "Climate Change Is Real. TEACH SCIENCE." "This is a monumental issue for labor," said Frederick Kowal, president of the United University Professions at the State University of New York and an AFT vice president, who spoke at the rally. His members came from all over the state, jumping on buses provided by environmental groups like the Sierra Club. "This march is about taking steps to heal the earth for our students, our patients and the next generation of citizens."

First Book event a big hit in upstate New York

First Book volunteersThe Myers Center, an educational center that provides vocational, technical and special education classes to students from 31 school districts in upstate New York, was buzzing as it got ready to distribute more than 40,000 free books from First Book on Sept. 20. Sandie Carner-Shafran, a teaching assistant and New York State United Teachers board member, heard about First Book at an AFT conference and knew the book distribution would be a great project for her school and her union, the Saratoga Adirondack BOCES Employees Association, to take on. With the support of NYSUT, local President Ruth Shippee and Superintendent James Dexter, they worked hard to register 2,000 educators and staff to host the First Book book truck. The organizers also saw it as a great educational opportunity for their students to get some hands-on experience in team building and problem solving.

A sign of hope for adjunct faculty at Temple

Temple union logoOn Sept. 15, the United Academics of Philadelphia, AFT Local 9608, announced the launch of a card campaign to bring stability, fair compensation and union representation to the more than 1,000 faculty who teach on a contingent basis at Temple University. UAP is a union dedicated to making higher education sustainable for the 15,000 adjunct professors teaching in Philadelphia-area colleges. Linda Lee is teaching in the Intellectual Heritage program this semester at Temple and at three other area colleges, Cabrini College, Philadelphia University and Rowan University (in New Jersey). For adjuncts in the area, she says, "Temple is one our favorite places. It's one of the places that has better compensation." Still, the university just raised its credit-hour rate to $1,300 this year for the first time since 2010, the last time adjuncts had an organizing campaign. "If we can improve teaching and learning conditions for adjuncts at Temple, that will have an effect at the other colleges where we teach."

New federal grants aim to improve school safety

A number of school districts where the AFT represents school employees have received grants from the U.S. Department of Education to improve school safety, mental health and school climate. The grants, which total more than $70 million, went to 130 grantees in 38 states. The grants are from four new programs that were included in the Obama administration's "Now Is the Time" initiative, a comprehensive plan to make schools safer, reduce gun violence by keeping guns out of dangerous hands, and increase mental health services. Among the AFT districts receiving grants were the ABC Unified School District in California; the Broward, Duval, Hillsborough and Polk county school districts in Florida; the Caddo, Jefferson and Orleans parish school districts in Louisiana; Detroit Public Schools; the Auburn, Buffalo, Cheektowaga, Cleveland Hill, Longwood and Lyons school districts in New York; the School District of Philadelphia; the San Antonio Independent School District; the Granite (Utah) School District; and the Virgin Islands Department of Education.

Where & When


AFT President Randi Weingarten will address the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools on Sept. 28 in Washington, D.C. On Sept. 29, she will participate on a panel titled "Teachers' Perspectives on What's Needed for Professional Development and Digital Learning" at the Leading Education by Advancing Digital (LEAD) Commission's second education technology summit in Washington, D.C. On Sept. 30, Weingarten will participate on a panel at the Watson for Education Forum in New York City. On Oct. 1, she will participate on a panel at the National Action Network's education summit on teacher accountability and testing. On Oct. 2, Weingarten will participate in a forum on student debt and technical education in Milwaukee with Mary Burke, the Democratic candidate for governor of Wisconsin.

AFT Executive Vice President Mary Cathryn Ricker will chair the AFT executive council's resolutions committee meeting in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 30. She and the other AFT vice presidents on the committee will recommend actions on the referred resolutions from the 2014 AFT convention. On Oct. 1, she will welcome students attending the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) National Educational Service Centers' Washington Youth Leadership Seminar in Washington, D.C.; the seminars equip students with strategies to promote change on important issues in their communities and cultivate future leaders for the Latino community.


Sept. 26, 2014

Mortgage benefit ad



Spotlight On...

A blog worth reading
Leo Casey, the executive director of the Albert Shanker Institute, has joined the blogger community on Education Week. His first post on the "Bridging Differences" blog focuses on "Why Teachers' Unions and Due Process Matter."



Tip of the Week

National Hispanic Heritage Month runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. Resources and activities to help educators weave material into classroom lessons are available on the AFT website and on Share My Lesson.



Share My Lesson professional development contest



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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 the Washington Post, Barbara McKenna, Emilie Surrusco, Leslie Getzinger, the U.S. Department of Education, Education Week, Tear Jones Murphy and Mary Kaniewski. Dan Gursky, editor; Jane Feller, copy editor.

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© American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO. © 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014

FW: UFT Weekly Update Sept. 19

Subject: UFT Weekly Update Sept. 19




UFT Weekly Update – September  19, 2014 




In this issue

The next Delegate Assembly will now be on Oct. 22.

Photo of the Week

Photo of the Week - Sept. 19, 2014

READY TO ASSIST: Sept. 17 was the first day of the UFT-sponsored Dial-a-Teacher homework helpline for elementary and middle school students. Shayshana Gourdine was among the teachers answering the phones.

News of the Week

UFT files grievances on 3,500 oversize classes

Thanks to the timely reporting of our chapter leaders, the union filed grievances on Sept. 18 on more than 3,500 oversize classes. The filing of grievances is the first step in the expedited arbitration process in our contract to get class-size violations addressed quickly. Although this year's Day 10 count on Sept. 17 reflected 210 fewer oversize classes than last year, the classes were dispersed over more schools than in the past. Elementary and middle schools in Queens had a substantial uptick, with 119 more oversize classes than last year. A news story with the details will be coming next week. You can still file a class-size grievance, but only for new violations, and the regular time limits for all grievances will apply. Class size limitations are in Article 7M of the contract.

Guidance on Teacher Improvement Plans for teachers rated Developing or Ineffective

Any teacher rated Developing or Ineffective (after the safety net legislation or procedural appeals were applied) is entitled to a Teacher Improvement Plan (TIP) for the current school year. The deadline for receiving a TIP was Sept. 17. We've posted detailed guidance about the Teacher Improvement Plan that spells out the rights and procedures that were created to ensure that the TIP is tailored to each teacher's needs and will genuinely support his or her professional growth. Please reach out to teachers at your school who were rated Ineffective or Developing and make certain that they have received a TIP that will assist them. If you or a teacher in your chapter has questions or concerns, contact your district representative.

New online form for teachers to report issues with ratings

By now, teachers should have received their ratings for the 2013-14 school year. They should also have received their Measures of Student Learning (MOSL) scores and accessed their MOSL workbooks from the Advance web application. The workbook delineates each teacher's local and state measures and includes the roster of the students whose test scores were the basis of the MOSL rating if individual measures were used. Teachers should be encouraged to download the MOSL workbook and review it. If a teacher discovers errors in the workbook (such as incorrect local or state measures or students listed that the teacher did not teach), they should report the problem by email or in writing to their principal as soon as possible. The principal must submit all requests for corrections to the DOE by Friday, Oct. 3. The DOE will review the requests and, if applicable, teachers will receive corrected ratings on Friday, Oct. 10. Teachers who received an Ineffective rating should call their borough office immediately and make an appointment with an intake advisor in order to file their appeals. Teachers who have questions or concerns about their overall rating or their component scores should fill out the union's online APPR rating issues form, which is designed to capture all the information that the union needs in order to assist the member.

Information sent to principals on when to do SESIS work

Please make sure that all related service providers and any other staff in your building who work on SESIS know that the DOE has sent information to principals about the time for UFT staff to work on SESIS during their workdays. The item is in the Sept. 16 issue of the Principals' Weekly. For speech teachers, the DOE has agreed that speech teachers in single-session schools can do SESIS work during the 155 minutes allocated each week for professional development, parent engagement and Other Professional Work. Speech teachers should also be informed that if they do not get adequate time to do daily SESIS encounter attendance, they should please first contact their speech supervisor. If that does not resolve the problem, they should call the speech hotline at 1-212-598-7774.

A few spots left for this weekend's chapter leader training

Chapter Leader Training Part I will be held tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 20 and Sunday, Sept. 21 at the Hilton Westchester in Rye Brook, New York. Please note that although the registration deadline has passed for this first of our three-part training series, a few spots are still available if you would like to attend. If you are a new chapter leader or a chapter leader who has served for 10 years or more, you are strongly encouraged to attend this training. We recommend that you attend all three sessions, but each session can be attended independently of the others. For more information, please email Anthony Rivera at

Tell us how the contract is being implemented in your school

Thanks to the 1,100 chapter leaders who have filled out our Contract Implementation Survey. Your participation in this survey lets the UFT leadership know if the provisions in our new contract concerning professional development and curriculum are being implemented at the school level. If you have not yet done so, please complete the online survey as soon as possible. Please do not fill out the survey twice. Report any updates to your district representative.

Join the Strides walk on Oct. 19 to support breast cancer research

Gear up your members to "finish the fight" against breast cancer! Our annual Making Strides against Breast Cancer fundraising walk will take place on Sunday, Oct. 19 at locations around the city. Last year, along with NYSUT members, UFT members helped to raise over $1 million for the American Cancer Society to combat the disease with research, information and services. If you have not already done so, please sign up and create a UFT team for your school or worksite. Please encourage your members and parents to join your team for the walk. Also, be sure to wear pink to the Delegate Assembly meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 22. For more information, call your UFT borough office and ask to speak to the Strides coordinator.

And on don't miss

To Do

  • Next Wednesday — Sept. 24 — is day 15 of the school year and is the last day that a UFT member in a school can be excessed. If a member is excessed after Sept. 24, he or she should file a grievance. If you have any questions, please contact your district representative or your borough office.
  • The People's Climate March is taking place this Sunday, Sept. 21 beginning at 11:30 a.m. Participants will leave Columbus Circle and set off east on 59th Street. The UFT is supporting this event, which is expected to be the largest climate march in history, along with more than 1,000 other organizations across the country. For more information, see the route map.
  • Please encourage your members to participate in the #WeCantWait social media campaign spearheaded by the Alliance for Quality Education to remind state officials that the $2.5 billion that the state owes the city's public schools from the 2007 settlement of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit is past due. Tell Albany why you can't wait for the state to fund public schools by sharing your own photo across social media and @AQE_NY on Twitter with the #WeCantWait hash tag. As Karen Alford, the UFT vice president for elementary schools, said at this Thursday's press conference on the City Hall steps, "As a parent and an educator, I'm here to tell you we have waited too long. Our students deserve smaller classes, afterschool programs, arts and music programs, and community learning schools." For more details about how to participate, visit the We Can't Wait campaign page. Read our news story about the campaign's launch and watch the video.
  • Advise your members about the steps they can take to help prevent the enterovirus from spreading at your school. While only a few cases have been documented in the New York metropolitan area, it's prudent to follow best practices as we approach the cold and flu season. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, your students and colleagues may be infected and not present any symptoms. Visible symptoms may include some or all of the following: fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, skin rash, mouth blisters, body and muscle aches. Enteroviruses are spread through close contact with infected people or touching infected surfaces or objects and then putting your hands in or near your mouth. Children are at particular risk for more serious illness from this virus. Your members should remind their students to frequently wash their hands with soap and water and avoid close contact, especially with those who are sick. Chapter leaders should make sure that the school engages with parents on decisions to keep children home when they get sick. For more information on prevention, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a helpful infographic called "Keep Your Child from Getting and Spreading Enterovirus D68."
  • Encourage your members to join the UFT Middle School Division, in collaboration with the Coalition for the Homeless, at the first annual Thanksgiving luncheon on Saturday, Nov. 22 at noon at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. To support this event, all chapter leaders are being asked to organize a winter coat/accessories (hats, gloves, scarves, etc.) drive in their schools to bring to the Oct. 22 and Nov. 5 Delegate Assemblies. These garments will be given out to students in need at the luncheon. For more information about the Thanksgiving luncheon, see the flier or download the donation/participation form to register.
  • Make sure your members know that classroom teachers now have another option for observations under the teacher evaluation system. The UFT has agreed with the Department of Education that teachers who are rated Effective for the 2013-14 school year will have the option this school year to choose four informal evaluations instead of the previously required six. Teachers choose the observation option they want for the school year at the mandatory initial planning conference, which must be held on or before the last Friday in October. More information on observation options is available in the evaluation section of the UFT website.
  • Make sure your school-based professional development committee is meeting to create PD relevant to your school's goals. The special section of the UFT website can help you find professional development resources. (Because of copyright restrictions on some of the content, only UFT members may enter this section. You must be logged in to to access it.) The initial materials, created by the UFT Teacher Center, are intended to support the work of the Staff Development Committee and the PD participants in building a schoolwide consensus around the best use of the new professional development block. We envision this new section becoming a repository of relevant and useful resources and tools for UFT educators to pursue professional learning. If you have materials that you would like to contribute, we invite you to use this online form to submit PD materials for review. The New York Teacher is also looking for schools to profile that are doing meaningful and relevant professional development. If you would like your school to be considered, please email Executive Editor Deidre McFadyen at If you have not yet notified us of the names and email addresses of the UFT members on your school's professional development committee, please submit the names now. Please know that members of the PD committee can choose to meet during the time set aside for Other Professional Work.
  • Since teachers and paraprofessionals are supposed to be offered appropriate and relevant professional development according to their titles in the repurposed time on Mondays, chapter leaders are encouraged to include both teachers and paras on the School-Based Staff Development Committees.
  • Chapter leaders, it is up to you to make sure that your union has a voice in your school community and that your members are informed. Be sure to hold a monthly chapter meeting so your members can see their union in action. You are the driver in setting agendas and holding monthly UFT Consultation and School Leadership Team meetings. In addition, our new contract also establishes two new school-based groups, the Measures of Student Learning (MOSL) Committee and a Professional Development Committee, both of which are intended to facilitate educator input in decisions. You should be a member of both of those committees. Keep an up-to-date UFT bulletin board and use it as an organizing tool. Finally, remember to encourage your members to extend a warm welcome to new educators working in your school. Whether they are just beginning their careers, are veterans who have filled a vacancy, or members of the ATR pool, do all that you can to make them feel a part of your school community.
  • Let members know that reports of larceny in our schools are increasing. Members should take care to secure all personal belongings and valuable school equipment such as laptops, camcorders and projectors.
  • Chapter leaders should ensure that members know that under the new contract the DOE must provide teachers in all core subjects (ELA, math, science, social studies and foreign language) with a year-long or semester-long curriculum that is aligned with the Common Core standards. The contractual definition of curriculum is:  a) a list of content and topics; b) scope and sequence; and c) a list of what students are expected to know and to be able to do after studying each topic. Principals should not ask members to write curriculum unless they either give time during the workday or ask members to volunteer for paid work outside the school day.
  • The UFT and the Department of Education have negotiated new citywide standards on unnecessary and duplicative paperwork — both paper and electronic. These standards take effect immediately. District and high school committees are being created to ensure that the new standards for paperwork reduction are properly implemented. If you believe your school is not adhering to the standards, you should meet with your principal and contact your district representative.  
  • Please advise your members of a time change for the two-part Dignity for All Students (DASA) workshop that will be held on Tuesday and Thursday this fall. The class will now take place from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on both days. Members must attend both classes in order to fulfill the DASA requirement. Members should view the Fall 2014 DASA schedule for complete information on location and dates of the workshops.
  • Every new teacher in your school without prior teaching experience is entitled to a mentor. The mentor should be an experienced classroom teacher, coach or lead teacher, ideally in the new teacher's subject area. The mentor will provide a minimum of two periods a week of confidential, non-evaluative and nonjudgmental support. Consult with your principal for a list of new teachers and their mentors. As a chapter leader, you are a required member of your school's New Teacher Induction Committee, which ensures new teachers receive mentoring services. If new teachers in your school have not been assigned a mentor or if you have questions about the mentor program, contact your district representative.
  • Please advise your teachers that now is the time to prepare for their Initial Planning Conference. Remember that this meeting should be one-on-one with your principal and held during a mutually agreed-upon time. Each member has the right to choose to have this meeting serve as their initial pre-observation conference under option 1 of the evaluation system. Otherwise, a separate pre-observation conference should be scheduled. Explain to teachers that they should use this meeting with the principal to discuss the supports and resources needed to ensure student success. See this article for planning the Initial Planning Conference. For teachers of students with disabilities, this checklist on the Initial Planning Conference can be helpful.
  • Don't miss the opportunity to honor your colleagues who keep the union strong and vital. The UFT's Teacher Union Day will be held on Sunday, Nov. 2 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. This event includes breakfast, the awards ceremony and a reception, at a cost of $50 per person. The annual event, this year at the New York Hilton Midtown, marks the anniversary of the 1960 strike that won collective-bargaining rights for city educators. Download the flier to register.
  • Do you or a fellow teacher in your school have creative ideas, interesting practices or innovative methods for improving classroom instruction that you feel could benefit fellow educators? The New York Teacher is looking for educators to write Teacher to Teacher columns. The articles should explain pedagogic techniques, approaches or resources that educators can use to help students. The pieces should be about 750 words. Columnists will be paid $150 for accepted works. If you are interested, please call Rachel Nobel during business hours (10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday) at 212-598-9201 or email her at

For your information

UFT Golf Outing: Join us for the UFT Disaster Relief Fund Golf Outing at Dyker Beach Golf Course in Brooklyn on Columbus Day, Monday, Oct. 13, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.. Registration begins at 7 a.m. with a full breakfast. Tee-off time is 9 a.m. The day includes a cocktail hour, BBQ luncheon and awards presentation. There will be a silent auction and raffle. The cost of the golf outing is $175 per person. Luncheon only is $75. Golf outing sponsorships are also available. For more details or to register online for this event, see the flier.

Helpful guides on teacher evaluation: The DOE and the UFT have collaboratively developed the Advance Guide for Educators. In it, you will find highlighted policy changes for the 2014-2015 school year, a detailed explanation of the components of the evaluation system, an evaluation timeline so you know what to expect, suggested steps for the first few months of school, and lists of resources and support. The Measures of Student Learning Selections Guide, which was created by the DOE and the UFT, is designed to support schools in making thoughtful MOSL selections that are aligned to their student needs, instructional priorities and strategic assessment plan to drive improvements in student learning for the 2014-15 school year. Please alert your members that they can find these guides in the teacher evaluation section of the UFT website.

MOSL Workbooks now available: The MOSL Workbooks became available on the DOE's ADVANCE web application on Thursday, Sept. 18.  Because of this three-day delay, the window for roster data corrections will be extended by three days. The deadline is now Friday, Oct. 3, but teachers are encouraged to give principals any corrections by Monday, Sept. 29.

100 percent attendance at DA: Delegates who attended all Delegate Assembly meetings of the 2013-2014 school year will celebrate their perfect attendance immediately following the Oct. 22 Delegate Assembly at 52 Broadway.

Dial-a-Teacher now in session: Remind your members that homework help is available to students through Dial-A-Teacher. Classroom teachers will assist with homework questions at 212-777-3380, Monday through Thursday, from 4 to 7 p.m. during the school year. They can also assist parents with questions and give advice on how they can help their child at home. The staff speaks seven languages: Bengali, Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese), English, French, Haitian-Creole, Russian, Slovak and Spanish. Post this flier on your UFT bulletin board.

ATRs must attend interviews: The new contract contains some important changes specifically for members of the ATR pool.  One important change that has gone into effect involves mandatory interviews. Starting Sept. 15, ATRs are being sent on interviews. ATRs will be notified of interview appointments via email on Saturday. All interview appointments will be on Tuesdays through Thursdays during the school day. They will be within the ATR's district, high school superintendency or the borough. These interviews are mandatory. Members who fail to attend two interviews will be considered to be voluntarily resigned

Chapter Leader section of the website: The UFT website has a special chapter leader section, accessible only to chapter leaders, where you can find union directories, the archive of the Chapter Leader Update plus detailed information about grievances, safety & health, school budgets, chapter elections and much more.

Academic High Schools Award nominations: The UFT Academic High School Awards honor the unsung heroes who deserve to be recognized for their exemplary contributions to our students, our profession and our union. Please nominate a colleague, community or school whose work you appreciate and whose contributions to our union and our city may be hidden from your colleagues. Nominations are due no later than 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 31. Use the online form to submit a nomination.

Salary differentials and arrears: Any teacher or other pedagogue who was due to receive a new salary differential starting on Sept. 2 will see that differential take effect in the Oct. 15 payroll. The member will receive arrears back to Sept. 2 for that differential in the Oct. 30 payroll.

Grow to Learn Grant: Grow to Learn NYC is accepting applications for mini-grants of $500 to $2,000 to start or enhance a learning garden program at NYC public and charter schools. To apply, schools must register the garden and submit the mini-grant application by Monday, Nov. 3, 2014. Need help with the application? Attend a grant-writing and garden planning workshop on Tuesday, Sept. 30; Wednesday, Oct. 15; Tuesday, Oct. 21 or Monday, Oct. 27. To RSVP for the workshop or for more information, see the Grow to Learn grant page.

UFT Welfare Fund: UFT Welfare Fund kits have been mailed to all chapter leaders. These kits contain valuable information about dental, prescription, optical and other benefits offered to UFT members. Chapter leaders may also request to have a Welfare Fund speaker come to their school and present to their staff by completing and faxing the Welfare Fund Speakers Bureau Request Form.

Transfer period for changing health plans: In-service members and retirees who want to change their New York City Health Plan will have the opportunity to do so this fall during the NYC Health Benefit Transfer Period. The transfer period is October for in-service members and November for retirees. To assist members in choosing the health coverage for themselves and their dependents, the UFT Welfare Fund will include copies of our Summary Comparison charts in the special health pull-out section of the New York Teacher in October. These charts have also been sent to chapter leaders in our Welfare Fund kits. In-service members may use the HR Connect process to change their plans. Retirees use the ERB form available on the NYC website at (click on health benefits) or at 40 Rector Street (3rd floor), in Manhattan. The new plan will take effect on Jan. 1, 2015.

First rate increases and retro payment: The first rate increases under the new contract are taking effect this fall. The contract featured a 1 percent pay increase retroactive to May 1, 2013, and another 1 percent pay increase retroactive to May 1, 2014. For detailed information on the payments for in-service members, please read the New York Teacher article. The UFT will create a central hotline for members with questions to call.

UFT Member Assistance Program: Being a New York City educator is stressful enough. When problems also arise with personal relationships, or when eating disorders, substance abuse or other issues develop, the UFT Member Assistance Program is there to help. The program's staff offer short-term counseling in their office for trauma, bereavement and loss, and they will also make referrals for legal and financial counseling. The program's brochure gives more details plus contact information. Reach out to your members so they can reach out to us for help.

In the News

Airline agents vote to unionize: American Airlines' roughly 14,500 customer-service agents voted overwhelmingly in mid-September to unionize with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Communications Workers of America, reports the Huffington Post. The vote — the largest union representation election in the United States this year – was a slam dunk for the unions, with 9,640, or 86 percent of eligible voters, voting for union representation and just 1,547 voting against it. The election was prompted by the merger of American Airlines and US Airways. American Airlines opposed an unsuccessful 2013 attempt to unionize but remained neutral this time.

Bill proposed to support homeless children: A bill before Congress aims to amend the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's definition of "homelessness," which would help children and families living in motels, cars or temporarily with others to obtain needed services, says Desert News. Children whose parents don't have a permanent home may end up enrolling in multiple schools in a given school year, putting them at great risk of falling behind academically. National advocates say passage of the Homeless Children and Youth Act of 2014 would eliminate the funding restrictions that effectively deny basic assistance to most homeless children.

Kansas gets federal okay to withhold flawed test data: Kansas education officials have received federal approval not to release test results for the previous school year that they say were invalidated by technical problems and cyber-attacks that plagued the state's computer-based exams, reports the Topeka Capital Journal. Making the results public is normally a federal requirement. The decision means parents, teachers and school administrators won't be able to see the scores of students tested in mathematics and reading. Instead, the state will make public a few of the test questions that were used at each grade level for each subject, and how students performed in answering those items.

Events Calendar

Saturday, Sept. 20: You are invited to explore music reading skills through repertoire with skills that connect to the Common Core in Musicianship through Repertoire from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. This workshop is $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Continental breakfast will be served at 8:30 a.m. See the flier to register.

Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 20 and 21: Chapter Leader Training I. See the item in News of the Week for more information.

Tuesday, Sept. 23: Come to the Maternity, Childcare and Leave Workshop to learn your rights concerning maternity, childcare and FMLA leaves. This workshop will be held at the Staten Island UFT Borough Office, 4456 Amoy Road, Staten Island, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. See the flier for more details.

Tuesday, Sept. 23: You are invited to iPad in the NYC Public Schools — Creating Multi-Touch Books and to unleash the full potential of iPad in your classroom. This event will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 2nd floor, Albert Shanker Hall. For more information and to register, see the flier. Refreshments will be served.

Tuesday, Sept. 30: High school teachers are welcome to attend High School Workshop — Getting the Jump on Evaluations from 4:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. This workshop will focus on component 3d of the Danielson Framework. Participants will discuss innovative student-centered assessment strategies for measuring students' reasoning and performance skills. There is a $10 fee to participate.

Tuesday, Sept. 30:  Join us for an Initial Planning Conference Workshop for Districts 1, 2 & 3. This conference will be held at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 10th floor, room A/B from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call Dolores Lozupone at 212-598-6800 or RSVP at with your name, telephone number, school and district. Light refreshments will be served.

Wednesday, Oct. 1:  Bronx members are welcome to attend a Contract Implementation Workshop on the new contract where we will discuss teacher evaluation, paperwork reduction, professional development, the reconfigured school day and more. This workshop will take place 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the UFT Bronx borough office, 2500 Halsey St. Pre-registration is required. See the flier for more details.

Wednesday, Oct. 1: Join us for an Initial Planning Conference Workshop for Districts 4, 5 & 6. This conference will be held at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 10th floor, room A/B from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call Dolores Lozupone at 212-598-6800 or RSVP at with your name, telephone number, school and district. Light refreshments will be served.

Wednesday, Oct. 1:  There will be a Paraprofessionals Workshop — Supporting Classroom Management for full-time paraprofessionals only from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Brooklyn UFT Office, 335 Adams Street. This workshop is open to the first 150 applicants only, so apply early. The fee for this event is $10. The registration deadline is Sept. 24. For more information, contact Ms. Hernandez at the Department of Education at 718-935-2449. To register, download the flier.

Wednesday, Oct. 1: The English Language Arts Council invites you to its Common Core Learning Standards Workshop I – Argumentation – Claim and Counterclaim in Fiction and Non-Fiction. The workshop will take place from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. Professional development hours are available. Registration is not required. See the flier for more details.

Thursday, Oct. 2: Come to the Bronx New Schools Meet and Greet from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the UFT Bronx borough office, 2500 Halsey St. For more information, download the flier or register online.

Thursday, Oct. 2:  The Elementary Schools Committee will hold its monthly meeting from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. The committee's topic will be Designing the New Contract: Salary, Curriculum, Professional Development, Work Day, PROSE and Career Ladder. To RSVP, email or call 1-212-598-9272.

Thursday, Oct. 2: Join us for an Initial Planning Conference Workshop for Districts 75 and 79. This workshop will be held at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 10th floor, room A/B from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call Dolores Lozupone at 212-598-6800 or RSVP at with your name, telephone number, school and district. Light refreshments will be served.

Thursday, Oct. 2: The monthly High School Committee meeting has a new name! Join us at the first monthly Academic High Schools meeting from 4:15 p.m. to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway.

Thursday, Oct. 2:  High school teachers are welcome to attend a high school workshop on Getting the Jump on Evaluations, which will cover components 2a, 3b and 3c of the Danielson Framework, which focus on lesson plans. Participants will practice writing sample lesson plans, focusing on creating lesson plans that are ready to be evaluated and address the challenges that arise from students' diverse learning styles. This workshop will be held from 4:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. There is a $10 fee to participate.

Thursday, Oct. 2: The Maternity Workshop (Queens) will take place from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 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 with your due date, file number, non-DOE email address, school, district and cell phone number. See the flier for more details.

Thursday, Oct. 2: Wear pink, enjoy a zumba class and help raise money for breast cancer research from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the UFT Bronx borough office, 2500 Halsey Street, at its third annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Zumba event. See the flier to register. The class will be $10 at the door, and proceeds go to the American Cancer Society.

Tuesday, Oct. 7: Come to the Asian American Heritage monthly meeting from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway.

Tuesday, Oct. 7: Learn about your rights at a Maternity Workshop (Manhattan) from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 19th floor. RSVP to Monique McCoy by faxing the flier to 212-510-6424 or email with your name, telephone number, school and district. For more information, contact Monique at 212-598-6800. Light refreshments will be served.

Tuesday, Oct. 7: Learn your rights concerning maternity, childcare and FMLA leaves at a Maternity & Child Care Leave Workshop (Staten Island). This workshop will take place from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Staten Island UFT Borough Office at 4456 Amoy Road. See the flier for more details or register online.

Tuesday, Oct. 7: Join the event Diabetes: What you need to know! from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 19th floor, Rooms B & C. Medical professionals from the American Diabetes Association and New York Presbyterian Hospital will co-present this lecture on the prevention and treatment of diabetes. See the flier for more information.

Thursday, Oct. 9:  Join the Welcome Event for New District 20 Teachers from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at New Utrecht HS, 1601 80th Street, Brooklyn. District 20 Superintendent Karina Costantino and UFT District 20 Representative Ellen Driesen would like to meet with District 20 teachers in their first or second year and share some insights as these teachers kick off their careers. In addition, representatives will be available to answer questions about certification, UFT Welfare Fund health benefits and pension. Register online for this event.

Sunday, Oct. 12: Bronx members are welcome to don their UFT gear and march in the annual Bronx Columbus Day Parade. Members will line up at 11 a.m. at Morris Park Ave. and White Plains Rd., and the parade kicks off at 12 p.m. Please RSVP online. See the flier for more details or register online.

Monday, Oct. 13: Join us for the UFT Disaster Relief Fund Golf Outing from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Dyker Beach Gold Course, Brooklyn. See For Your Information item above for more details.

Tuesday, Oct. 14: Bronx teachers are welcome to attend the Certification Workshop for Teachers (Bronx) from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the UFT Bronx borough office at 2500 Halsey St. Pre-registration is required. See the flier for more details or register online.

Wednesday, Oct. 15: Join us for the Opening Reception for the Artist/Teacher Non-Juried Exhibition from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Theater for the New City Gallery, 155 Fifth Avenue, between 9th and 10th Streets. You can call the gallery at 212-254-1109 or go online at for more information. See the flier for more details.

Thursday, Oct. 16: Paraprofessionals are welcome to attend the Bronx borough office's Certification Workshop for Paraprofessionals (Bronx) from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the UFT Bronx borough office at 2500 Halsey St. Pre-registration is required to attend this workshop. See the flier for more information or register online.

Saturday, Oct. 18: Parents, grandparents and community activists are welcome to attend the annual Staten Island Parent Conference from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Staten Island Hilton Garden Inn, 1000 South Ave. on Staten Island. Pre-registration is required. See the flier for more details or register online.

Saturday, Oct. 18: The union's Manhattan Parent Conference will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway.  It will be a great day of workshops, networking, food and resources. Online registration is available. The deadline to register is Oct. 6. See the brochure in English, Spanish and Chinese for more details. For more information, contact the UFT Manhattan Borough Parent Liaison Francine Streich at 212-598-6800 or email

Sunday, Oct. 19: Save the date for the Making Strides against Breast Cancer walk. See the item in To Do for more information.

Wednesday, Oct. 22: The Delegate Assembly will be held from 4:15 p.m. to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. This is the regular monthly meeting of the union's highest decision-making body. Don't forget to wear pink in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness month!

Tuesday, Oct. 28: Save the date for our third annual Be BRAVE Against Bullying Conference from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 2nd floor. Join us for a day of understanding and acceptance. Kerry Kennedy will be the keynote speaker. To register, download and fill out this form. Cost is $30. The registration deadline is Friday, Oct. 10.

Sunday, Nov. 2: Honor your colleagues who keep the UFT strong and vital at Teacher Union Day. See the item in To Do for more information.

Saturday, Nov. 22 and Sunday, Nov. 23: Save the date for Chapter Leader Training, Part 2. Details to come.

For more events, go to

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.

ATSS/UFT (Assn. of Teachers of Social Studies)

  • Tuesday, Oct. 7, 5 p.m., CSPSS Meeting.
  • Saturday, Oct. 25, 8 a.m., Annual Fall Bus Trip. Bus leaves from 52 Broadway.

ELAC/UFT (English Language Arts Council)

  • Wednesday, Oct. 1, 4:30 p.m., Common Core Learning Standards Workshop.

ESL/Bilingual Committee

  • Thursday, Nov. 6, 4:30 p.m., The Geography of Food:  A Menu of Activities, Concept and Ideas for ELLS.

HAEA/UFT (Hellenic-American Educators Assn.)

  • Wednesday, Sept. 24, 4:30 p.m., Fall Get Together at Zenon Taverna, 34-10 31st Ave, Astoria, NY.

Humane Education

  • Saturday, Nov. 8, 9:45 a.m., Mutt-I-Grees Curriculum.

Italian American

  • Friday, Oct. 17, 4:30 p.m. Annual Heritage Celebration.

NYCAFLT/UFT (NYC Assn. of Foreign Language Teachers)

  • Saturday, Sept. 20, 9:30 a.m., Planning Committee.
  • Saturday, Nov. 1, 8 a.m., Annual Professional Conference.

NYC Music Teachers Association/UFT

  • Saturday, Sept. 20, 9 a.m., Musicianship Through Repertoire.

NYCATA/UFT (NYC Art Teachers Assn.)

  • Thursday, Oct. 16, 5:30 p.m., Pre-Conference Dinner.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 22, 4:30 p.m., Steering Committee Meeting.
  • Saturday, Oct. 25, 8 a.m., Annual Artworks Conference at High School of Art & Design, NYC.

Per Diems

  • Thursday, Oct. 2, 4:30 p.m., New Contract Issues.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 21, 4:30p.m., Smartboard Training.
  • Thursday, Oct. 23, 4:30 p.m., Certification.


  • Friday, Oct. 17, 7:15 p.m., New Separation and Adsorption Media for a Number of Important Toxic and Non-Toxic Gases @ NYU.
  • Friday, Nov. 14, 7:15p.m., Engineering Shape: The Novel Geometries of Colloidal Self Assembly at NYU.

Editor: Peter O'Donnell

Contributors include: Amy Arundell, LeRoy Barr, Hannah Brown, Carl Cambria, Jessica Cepeda, Mark Collins, Maia Davis, Ellen Gallin-Procida, Janella Hinds, Anthony Klug, Richard Mantell, Nyree McCray, Deidre McFadyen, Rachel Nobel, Arthur Pepper, Sterling Roberson, Laura Tamburo, Liz Truly and Bernadette Weeks



























United Federation of TeachersA Union of Professionals
52 Broadway, New York, NY 10004 • 212.777.7500 •





























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