Welcome to the Occupational & Physical Therapists Chapter

Leslie McDonnellLeslie McDonnell

Dear UFT Occupational and Physical Therapists,

The most important thing for all of us to pay attention to now is that we must complete a civil service exam before Dec. 31, 2013. This is necessary for each of us to get on a civil service list to attain permanent employee status at the Department of Education. This opportunity to attain permanent status is a good thing as until now occupational and physical therapists have always been provisional employees of the DOE. Over the past few weeks, we have sent you several emails on the process for attaining permanent status. We also have lots of information here on our website. If you have any other questions on the civil service exam or the process for attaining permanent status, please send them to OTandPTexamquestions@uft.org

I also would like to let you know that it is an honor to serve you. Leading a chapter of more than 1,700 therapists is an enormous responsibility, and I promise always to dedicate myself to the tasks before us.

There are great shortages of occupational and physical therapists across the country. In our city, I know that there is mounting pressure to change therapists’ mandates and give fewer services. We as professionals must balance best practices and meeting the needs of the children with moving along the continuum of services. We also need to be mindful of whether students' functional skills are commensurate with their peers and how they are doing academically. If you are pressured to change mandates and you do not agree with the administration, then you need to file a Special Education Complaint because we need to know that this is happening to you. As a professional, you must decide what the best practice is for each and every student. It should not be decided based on shortages of personnel. We have a very difficult job and it takes skill, dedication and the right balance to make sure that children are receiving what they really need to do their best. We at the OT/PT chapter are here to support you.

Our chapter is in need of union activists; please consider joining me on the Executive Board for the OT/PT Chapter. If you would like to become more active in your union, please contact my office directly at 212-598-7705 or by email at lmcdonnell@uft.org. We hope to hear from you!

At this time I am asking you to reach out to our colleagues to be sure everyone has given their personal email address to the UFT membership department as all correspondence will be via the Internet. Members can click here to sign up on uft.org which will ensure that you receive union email messages. We will also try to keep you informed about any developments affecting our chapter via your non-DOE email address.

The UFT’s “There is NO EXCUSE” campaign last year was very successful. The campaign is aimed at making sure special education students get the support and services they need and to which they are entitled. The campaign will continue and be expanded this year. Look for information in your schools and in the New York Teacher. Last year we netted over 1,000 complaints in just a few months, many of which concerned issues pertaining to delivery of related services. This is good for students and our chapter.


Leslie A. McDonnell
OT/PT Chapter Leader

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