PAVING THE WAY: More than 35 outstanding educators were recognized for the work they do at the UFT's CTE Awards Recognition Ceremony on Feb. 4.
Encourage members to join our Union Loud and Proud campaign
At this Wednesday's Delegate Assembly, we kicked off our new campaign to prepare for a Friedrichs ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. Please wear your campaign button proudly at school. Post the 10 reasons to be Union Loud and Proud on your UFT bulletin board. And make sure the two-sided The bull's-eye on you and all public employees flier gets into every member's hands in February. We'll be distributing more buttons and fliers next week to the borough offices. Contact your district rep if you need supplies. At your next chapter meeting, please briefly review the Friedrichs case with your members (use the bull's-eye flier as your guide) and using chart paper or a whiteboard, brainstorm with them about why a strong union is so valuable to UFT members in your chapter. Also, ask your members what their ideas are for local school actions to build support for our union. And if you haven't already done so, please watch this six-minute UFT video about Friedrichs with them at your meeting.
Report any oversize classes to your district representative next Wednesday
If you teach in a school that reorganizes for the spring term, do your part to keep class sizes within proper limits. This is not just a contractual right; it's an educational benefit for students. Report any classes that exceed contractual and other mandated class-size limits to your district representative immediately. Please note that Day 1 numbers were due on Tuesday, Feb. 2. Subsequent key reporting dates are Day 6 on Wednesday, Feb. 10 and again on Day 10 on Tuesday, Feb. 23. Chapter leaders who reported any oversize classes to the UFT by Feb. 3 should continue to work with school administrators during the informal resolution period to eliminate all oversize classes. The union will take any class-size problems unresolved by Feb. 23 directly to arbitration.
Thanks to renewal school and PROSE chapter leaders for making last weekend's retreat a success
Thanks to all the chapter leaders and other members from the city's renewal and PROSE schools who turned out for the UFT's renewal schools retreat last weekend. For two days, 48 chapter leaders and 19 principals from 49 renewal schools shared ideas and challenges and learned about tools to collaborate and communicate as each school implements its improvement plan. On Sunday, the 12 chapter leaders from PROSE schools shared best practices with their renewal school counterparts. The interactive sessions were designed by the UFT Teacher Center and the union's Office of Special Initiatives to foster ideas to build school success based on sound educational practice. Turning struggling schools around can work — but it takes time and effort. We appreciate your commitment and hard work as you work in each renewal school to remove the barriers to student achievement and strive for successful outcomes for the students.
Teachers are invited to help develop state tests
Teachers in your chapter can add their expertise and their unique voice to the development of new state tests. Questar, the company that has replaced Pearson to design the new math and ELA state tests for grades 3 - 8, is looking for educators of those grades to participate in developing the new tests. Teachers selected to develop the tests must commit to a three-day workshop. The math workshop will take place on Feb. 16, 17 and 18 at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. The ELA workshop will take place on March 30 and 31 and April 1 at the Queens UFT office, 97-77 Queens Blvd., 5th Floor, Rego Park. This opportunity is open to all teachers, but we especially encourage the participation of special education teachers and English as a new language teachers. Teachers who are interested in participating should send their name and non-DOE email to UFT Vice President for Education Evelyn DeJesus at Edejesus@uft.org with Questar in the subject line.
Support the Paraprofessional Festival and Awards Luncheon
Please encourage paraprofessionals in your school to attend the Paraprofessional Festival and Awards Luncheon on Saturday, March 12. This year's keynote speaker will be Dr. Hazel Dukes, a civil rights activist and the president of the NAACP New York State Conference. This event will be held at the New York Hilton Hotel from 7:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participants can attend two workshops on social and emotional learning, bullying awareness and prevention, pension and TRS, and others. Paraprofessionals can earn three hours of professional development credit for attending workshops. The cost of the luncheon is $25. To register, use the mail-in coupon.
Salary & Personnel
UFT and DOE to negotiate on expanding paid parental leave: Tell your members about Mayor Bill de Blasio's recent decision to provide six weeks of paid parental leave to the city's 20,000 nonunion, managerial employees. While this was welcome news, it came with a cost for those employees: the Mayor's Office unilaterally canceled a 2017 raise of 0.47 percent for some managers and reduced the number of leave days for its longest-serving city employees. This new policy does not extend to unionized city employees like UFT members, however, since paid leave must be negotiated under collective-bargaining rules. The mayor said he wants to begin negotiations with the UFT as soon as possible. Once satisfactory terms have been reached, UFT members will enjoy a new benefit.
Members must answer Welfare Fund requests for information on their dependents: Some members of your chapter may have received an email or letter from the UFT Welfare Fund instructing them to report the Social Security numbers of dependents covered by their plan. Only members whose dependents are missing this information will be contacted. Members should know that these emails and letters are legitimate and that they must follow the instructions in the email or letter to update their information either through the online process or by hard copy. The Affordable Care Act requires the UFT Welfare Fund to report this information to the IRS. Members will receive a copy of the information submitted by the Welfare Fund to the IRS in January or February.
Mulgrew names funding and charters as union's top two priorities in Albany: In his testimony at an education budget hearing in Albany in late January, UFT President Michael Mulgrew reminded lawmakers that New York City schools are owed $2 billion under the settlement of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit. With additional funding, he said, New York City public schools could reduce class size, provide more of the vital supports that children living in poverty need to learn and grow, and hire more staff to serve the growing number of English language learners and students with disabilities. The inequity between district and charter schools was a second area of focus for the union. He called out charters for their continued failure to enroll and keep as many English language learners, students with disabilities or homeless children as traditional public schools. Until charters address that issue, Mulgrew told the legislators, charters should not get the state funding increase they are seeking. You can read the full testimony and read the full list of UFT state budget priorities on the UFT website.
Use your personal email for all union business: Be mindful to NOT use your DOE email address to conduct union business, which is a violation of the DOE's Internet policy. All email correspondence about grievances and other union activities should be conducted using a non-DOE personal email address.
Clarification on lesson plans: Chancellor Carmen Fariña and UFT President Mulgrew issued a joint letter to help clarify our mutual position on the importance of planning and how it relates to teachers' professional voice and choice in writing lesson plans. Please carefully review the lesson plan letter for clarification on member rights and responsibilities.
Health and Safety
Workplace safety contest: High school teachers should encourage their students to enter the 2016 New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) YouthSafe Contest. Participants can submit entries on workplace safety in three categories: poster, public-service announcement video or social-media image. There are three monetary prizes for each category, in addition to a prize for the teachers of the students with the top winner in each category. For more information and for entry packets, see the NYCOSH website. The contest deadline is Friday, April 15.
BRAVE informational workshops: The UFT's BRAVE campaign will be holding a workshop called "Discrimination, Harassment and Bullying: An Introduction to the Dignity for All Students Act." This workshop will provide participants with an overview of the Dignity for All Students Act, including reporting responsibilities of school personnel; components of harassment and bullying; and microaggressions. This workshop is not the six-hour class for New York State DASA certification. It is intended for veteran teachers who do not need DASA certification but wish to familiarize themselves with the DASA law. This workshop will be offered on Friday, Feb. 26 and Friday, March 4 from 4 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 50 Broadway, 2nd floor. See the event listing for room numbers and to register.
UFT networking events for new teachers: New teachers will have a chance to unwind, network and share stories of triumph and struggle in their first year while enjoying dinner together at the union's new teacher networking and peer-engagement events. The UFT's Member Assistance Program invites first-year teachers to participate in one of these events to learn about pension benefits, salary, safety and health, certification, licensing and more. At each event, a newer teacher will reflect on the successes and challenges during his or her first year. There are two remaining events in February. New teachers should use this online registration form to RSVP for the event in their borough.
Tenure workshops: UFT borough offices are hosting tenure workshops throughout the school year. Check the UFT website's events calendar periodically and inform your members of upcoming tenure workshops in your borough.
Read the special education FAQ: A special education FAQ has been crafted by the DOE in consultation with the UFT and the principals' union. If your school is not adhering to these rules and protocols, please bring the matter up at your next consultation committee meeting with your principal. Thanks to the strong response from delegates to our online survey about Integrated Co-Teaching classes, the DOE acknowledges that there are real issues with lack of common planning time for co-teachers, staffing and coverages, and much more in special education. The special education FAQ spells out the rules and protocols that schools should be following with regard to services for students with disabilities so there can be no misconceptions. Now it's time to make sure that programs are being implemented and properly supported in schools so our students with disabilities get the services they need. If you are unable to resolve the issue through consultation with your principal, call your district representative or ask for assistance from your district rep by filling out our special education support form.
Reading conference on dyslexia: The 43rd annual Everyone Reading conference on dyslexia and related learning disabilities will take place on Monday, Feb. 29 and Tuesday, March 1 at the CUNY Graduate Center, Fifth Avenue at 34th Street. Keynote speakers will be New York State Assemblywoman and disabilities advocate Jo Anne Simon and eminent literacy educator Judith Hochman. Chancellor Carmen Fariña will lead a plenary session. DOE-employed UFT members are eligible for a special $150 registration fee if payment is made on a NYC DOE purchase order. Register on the Everyone Reading website.
English Language Learners
Supporting ELLs with special needs: Teachers of English language learners are invited to attend a free workshop for two hours of professional development credit. This event will take place on Thursday, March 10 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. This workshop will give educators instructional strategies that work and an understanding of the issues involved in the identification of English language learners with special needs, and it will address regulatory and compliance issues. Participants will collect useful resources both for their classrooms and for their schools. Participants must register online.
Advanced Literacy Guide for ELLs: The Advanced Literacy Guide, designed in collaboration with Dr. Nonie Lesaux and Emily Phillips Galloway from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, aims to build the capacity of all educators to engage in important conversations about what matters in the education of English language learners. Please let your members know that this guide offers practical tools for school leaders and their teams to proactively engage English language learners in secondary schools and ensure that the instruction in all classes reflects high expectation and moves beyond basic skills that often trap English language learners and prevent them from reaching college-readiness skills. For more information, email Stela Radovanovic at SRadova@schools.nyc.gov.
Leap to Teacher Program for paraprofessionals: The Joseph S. Murphy Institute for Worker Education at CUNY is offering the Leap to Teacher program for paraprofessionals interested in continuing their higher education. Leap to Teacher is a program that enables paraprofessionals working for the DOE to pursue their education further and advance their careers in teaching or any other field of study. Students can enroll in the undergraduate (bachelor's) or graduate (master's) programs. The institute will hold open houses in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island throughout the fall and winter. For more information, see the flier.
Free workshops for teaching financial literacy: The Council for Economic Education is inviting grades 3 to 12 math teachers to "Math in the Real World," a workshop to reinforce students' math skills and show them how they will use math in real life. Participants will receive lessons, publications and tips they can implement the next day. The workshops will take place in February and March. For more information and to register online, see details for the grades 3 to 5 workshop or the grades 6 to 12 workshop.
Free summer institute on Muslim poetry: K-12 educators are invited to apply for a two-week summer scholars institute "A Reverence for Words: Understanding Muslim Cultures through the Arts." The institute, presented by City Lore, will examine the high regard for poetry and its relationship to music and to the art of the book in several cultures of the Muslim world, both historically and in contemporary society. This is an opportunity for participants to deepen their understanding and knowledge of Muslim cultures and the contributions of Islamic civilizations to world literature, history and culture. Participants will receive free tuition and a $2,100 stipend. The institute will take place from July 10 to 23. The application deadline is Tuesday, March 1. For more information and to apply, see the City Lore website.
Workshop for interactive storytelling: Early childhood educators are encouraged to speak with their principals about attending a three-hour workshop presented by the CUNY Creative Arts Team. During this PD workshop, facilitators will guide participants through a step-by-step process that will help them build an experiential and intellectual understanding of the power of oral storytelling in developing children's listening, speaking and language skills. The workshop will be held at Creative Arts Team, 101 West 31st St., 6th Floor, training room, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Participants can register online to attend the workshop on one of these three dates: Tuesday, Feb. 23; Tuesday, March 8 or Tuesday, March 29.
Information about becoming a school librarian: Members interested in the exciting field of information science should attend one of two upcoming school librarian information sessions. On Wednesday, Feb. 3, a session will be held at the Brooklyn Public Library at 10 Grand Army Plaza in the Information Commons Lab. On Wednesday, March 16, a repeat session will be held in Manhattan at 333 7th Ave., in the 7th floor conference room. Both sessions will run from 5 to 7 p.m. Attendees will have the opportunity to talk to school librarians about their role in the school's instructional plan; discuss possible pathways to school librarianship with representatives from local and online library science graduate programs; and explore the long-term benefits of an information science degree. For more detailed information on registration, see the flier.
Register now for spring for P credit courses: The registration period for spring P credit courses has begun. Each three-credit course can be used toward salary differentials and PD requirements and is ASPDP/NYC DOE-approved. These courses are designed to be engaging, meaningful and enjoyable while providing real feedback and immediate application in the classroom. Teachers can register online now.
BRAVE student video contest: Do you know a school that is doing something awesome to promote acceptance, tolerance and respect for all students? Tell students from the school to enter the BRAVE video contest! As part of its campaign to Build Respect, Acceptance and Voice through Education, the UFT's BRAVE program is holding a video contest to highlight the efforts made by schools to create environments free of discrimination and harassment. The contest is open to all students, who are invited to submit a 3-5 minute video that conveys the contest theme. For contest requirements and submission information, see the BRAVE flier. All video submissions must be received by Friday, April 1.
Scholarships for labor studies: Members who are interested in pursuing labor studies at the Murphy Institute at the City University of New York are invited to apply for a Diversity Scholarship to promote diversity and excellence in union leadership and in labor studies. Recipients of this scholarship will receive up to $30,000. See the CUNY website for details about the Murphy Institute. RSVP to attend an open house and scholarship-review session. For information about the scholarship, including application deadline, see the flier.
Friends of District 75 awards ceremony: Encourage your members to attend the 11th annual Friends of District 75 awards dinner and scholarship gala, to be held on Thursday, May 6 at El Caribe Caterers, 5945 Strickland Ave. in Brooklyn from 6 to 11 p.m. The event will honor Wendy Fox. Tickets cost $90 and include cocktail hour, dinner, dancing and open bar. To RSVP for this black-tie formal event, complete the mail-in coupon. The payment deadline is Thursday, April 21.
Apply for an Excellence in School Wellness Award: Our schools work hard to promote healthy eating and physical activity among our students. All elementary schools are encouraged to apply for a NYC Excellence in School Wellness Award for the 2015–16 school year. Share this information with your principal and encourage him or her to apply. The completed application can be submitted by mail or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The application deadline is Friday, April 1. All winners will receive an award (platinum, gold or honorable mention) and public recognition from city officials and the media, including our own New York Teacher. To participate in the contest, download the application and instructions.
District 26 scholarship dinner dance: District 26 members are invited to attend the 10th annual District 26 scholarship dinner dance. This event will take place on Thursday, March 31 from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. at The Inn at New Hyde Park, 214 Jericho Turnpike, New Hyde Park. This yearly celebration has been a successful and exciting way to honor educators and raise money for scholarships for pre-K through 12th-grade students from the district. To RSVP for this event, participants should send a $75 check made payable to the UFT/District 26 Scholarship Fund to: UFT/District 26 Scholarship Fund, Attention: Mary Vaccaro, UFT District 26 Representative, 97-77 Queens Boulevard, 5th Floor, Rego Park, NY 11374. If you cannot attend, donations to the District 26 Scholarship Fund will be gladly accepted.
Sustainability in our schools: All teachers are invited to join NYC Eco-Schools for the first sustainability-coordinator gathering of the new year at PS 69 at 77-02 37th Avenue in Jackson Heights on Wednesday, Feb. 24 from 4 to 6 p.m. Participants will be inspired by the many incredible sustainability initiatives that students have been undertaking throughout the school and the community. Catered Indian snacks will be provided. This is a free event, but you should register online. Only 50 spots are available. If you have any questions, contact Emily Fano at email@example.com or 646-502-7096.
Our Functional Chapters
Guidance Counselors Conference: Please extend an invitation to guidance counselors in your school to attend the 12th annual Guidance Counselors Conference on Saturday, March 12 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. This year's theme is "School Counselors: A Guiding Light for Students." Our keynote speaker is Carolyn Stone, the chair of the American School Counselor Association Ethics Committee. UFT President Michael Mulgrew will join in the discussion and welcome participants. The $30 registration fee includes breakfast and lunch as well as a choice of workshops and a prize raffle. Each attendee will receive a certificate of participation at the end of the conference. See the event listing on the UFT website to register online. Please register by Tuesday, March 1. The deadline to request a refund for a cancellation is Wednesday, March 9.
Detroit schools head subpoenaed: Darnell Earley, the emergency manager of Detroit Public Schools, stepped down on Feb. 2 hours before receiving a subpoena to appear before a congressional committee, reports CNN. While the subpoena concerns Earley's role in the occurrence of lead contamination in tap water in nearby Flint, Earley was also named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by the teachers union for allowing the conditions at the schools "to deteriorate to the point of crisis."
No test scores? No problem at GWU: Applications to George Washington University soared 28 percent in the first admission cycle after the university stopped requiring student applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores, according to The Washington Post. Approximately one-fifth of the prospective students elected to forgo test score submissions. One of the university's key goals when it moved to test-optional admissions in July was generating increased interest from disadvantaged students whose parents did not go to college. Officials revealed that the school received 1,000 more applications from these "first-generation" students.
Union plumbers to the rescue: More than 300 union plumbers from all over Michigan flooded Flint to install free filters for residents, reports the Huffington Post. The problem with Flint's drinking water occurred several months ago when it switched its water system from the Flint River and failed to use corrosion controls. The result was lead in the drinking water, which if consumed can lead to a laundry list of severe health risks.
Saturday, March 5: The UFT's 9th annual Early Childhood Conference will take place at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. Registration is now open. See the event listing for the brochure and more information.
Thursday, March 10: The workshop "Educating ELLs with Special Needs" will take place from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at UFT headquarters. For more information, as well as registration details, see the item in English Language Learners.
Saturday, March 12: The Annual Paraprofessional Festival and Awards Luncheon will take place from 7:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the New York Hilton Hotel. See the mail-in coupon to register.
Saturday, March 12: The UFT's 12th annual Guidance Counselors Conference will be held at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. Online registration is now open. See the item in Our Functional Chapters.
Saturday, March 19: The UFT's third annual Middle School Conference will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. Participants will receive five professional development hours. Online registration is now open.
Saturday, Feb. 6: Social studies teachers are encouraged to attend the 55th annual Greater Metropolitan Conference "Social Studies Matters: A Framework for the Future." Norman Hill, the legendary union activist and civil rights leader, will receive the Hubert H. Humphrey Humanitarian Award. The conference will feature a full day of workshops, exhibits, speakers, student displays, breakfast, lunch and awards. The conference will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. Participants will receive credit for nine hours of professional development. See the event listing for more information and to register.
Tuesday, Feb. 9: All paraprofessionals are invited to a workshop on autism from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Bronx UFT Office, 2500 Halsey Street, rear entrance. See the flier for more information and to register.
Wednesday, Feb. 10: Brooklyn members are invited to a maternity workshop from 4:15 to 5:45 p.m. at the Brooklyn UFT office, 335 Adams Street, 25th Floor, rooms A/B. Participants will learn their rights concerning maternity, child care and FMLA leaves. See the flier for more details and to register.
Wednesday, Feb. 10: The education officers/education analysts chapter meeting will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 19th Floor, room G. Any agenda items can be emailed to Emma Mendez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, Feb. 11: District 75 members are invited to the Passion and Promise event from 3:30 to 6 p.m. at the Queens UFT office, 97-77 Queens Blvd., 8th Floor, Rego Park. Seating is limited so preregistration is required.
Thursday, Feb. 11: Bronx members are invited to a maternity workshop from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Bronx UFT Office, 2500 Halsey St., rear entrance. Participants will get answers to all their maternity and leave questions. This event is not for women only. See the flier to register.
Thursday, Feb. 11: Queens members are invited to a maternity workshop from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Queens UFT office, 97-77 Queens Blvd., Rego Park. Participants will get answers to all their maternity and leave questions. Preregistration is required. Walk-ins will not be admitted. RSVP by emailing email@example.com. See the event listing for more details and to register.
Thursday, Feb. 11: Bronx new teachers are invited to a networking and peer engagement event from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Bronx UFT office, 2500 Halsey St. Participants will have the opportunity to meet other new teachers, unwind, network and share stories of triumph and struggle in the first school year. We will provide an overview of union information and answer your questions on topics such as pension benefits, safety and health information, certification and licensing. Participants will also hear from a newer colleague who will share the success and challenges of his or her first year. Dinner will be served. Space is limited to 50 people so preregistration is required.
Save the Date
Saturday, April 16: Join the UFT Middle School Division for the 3rd annual 5K Family Run. For more information and to register, see the event listing.
Saturday, May 7: The annual Spring Education Conference will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the New York Hilton. There will be a morning panel, exciting workshops, innovative exhibits and a gala luncheon. More information will follow.
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)
HAEA/UFT (Hellenic-American Educators Assn.)
NYCAFLT/UFT (NYC Assn. of Foreign Language Teachers)
NYC Music Teachers Association/UFT
Editor: Peter O'Donnell
Executive Editor: Bernadette Weeks
Contributors include: Karen Alford, George Altomare, Amy Arundell, Carmen Alvarez, Jackie Bennett, Hannah Brown, Carl Cambria, Joseph Colletti, Rita Danis, Evelyn DeJesus, Brian Gibbons, Junior Linton, Charles Lobello, Farheen Malik, Richard Mantell, Ebony Martin, Deidre McFadyen, Gary Mehra, Emma Camacho Mendez, Rachel Nobel, Jeffrey Povalitis, Anthony Rivera, Christine Rowland, Nanette Sanchez-Rosario, Michael Sill, Anne Silverstein, Anurag Singh, Rosemarie Thompson, Liz Truly, Mary Vaccaro, Miriam Vega, Kerry Yefet and Shelvy Young-Abrams.
United Federation of Teachers • A Union of Professionals
Monday, February 8, 2016
Posted by UFT / AFT News at 4:22 PM