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Tenure for Newer Teachers
New tenure guidelines issued by DOE in December 2010
Probationary teachers up for tenure face some new conditions after the DOE issued a new Tenure Decision-making Framework to guide principals in making tenure decisions.
The framework affects only teachers who are on probation, not teachers who already have tenure. It has no bearing on the rating system that administrators use for their annual review of all teachers.
For more details, read the New York Teacher article, Tenure: What the DOE’s new framework means for you
After you are appointed to a position, state law requires you serve a three-year probationary period. During that time supervisors are supposed to observe you in your classroom several times a year and evaluate you in more than 20 categories including classroom management, lesson planning, presentation skills and how you will use the data from student test scores to help you as you plan instruction. You will receive a rating for each observation.
Generally, at the end of three years of satisfactory service, you will be entitled to due process rights under Section 3020a of the state Education Law, which governs the discipline and dismissal of tenured teachers. This is commonly called acquiring tenure, but it is effectively the completion of your probationary period. Your completion of probation is indicated on the back of the annual performance review (rating sheet) that you receive at the end of the school year.
If the DOE intends to discontinue, that is, terminate, your service at any time prior to the completion of your probationary period you must be given 60 calendar days’ notice. If you are discontinued, call your UFT borough office. They will assign an advocate to assist you in fighting the termination.
Sometimes a principal will ask you to sign a document stating that you agree to an extension of your probationary period beyond the three years. If this occurs contact your chapter leader or your UFT borough office immediately so we can arrange, if necessary, for an attorney to review the document in order to protect your rights as a probationary teacher.
There are two ways to reduce your probationary period:
- If you worked satisfactorily as a regular substitute in the same license and in the same school level you can reduce the normal three-year probationary period by up to two years. This is called Jarema Credit and you should apply if you think you are eligible. The application form is online.
- Another way is called “traveling tenure.” If you received tenure in one license area and elect to take an appointment in a new license area or if you were tenured in another school district in New York State, you should apply to have your probationary period reduced to two years.
If you think you are eligible for either of these options, or have any questions, contact your UFT borough office.
When a New York City school permanently hires you to fill a vacancy you are “appointed” to that position. Your appointment must match your state certification by both subject and level. If your appointment or your teaching assignment does not match your state certification, speak to your chapter leader or call your UFT borough office immediately. The State Education Department has very strict certification rules, and if they are not met you can be dismissed regardless of your classroom performance. You can be appointed under one license at a time, and your license area of appointment determines the area in which you will be granted tenure. Sometimes your certification permits you to be appointed under another license; however, if you agree to switch to a new appointment you are on probation again. In addition, if you switch to another license before you receive tenure in your first license you must serve probation in that license, and there may be other ramifications. Contact your UFT borough office before you switch your license. In any case, your salary does not change when your license changes. Be sure you check with your payroll secretary that your appointment date is correctly entered in the computer.