Your Work Day and Year

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Your chapter leader can give you information about your school’s schedule. However, these general rules apply:

Regular work day

In single-session schools, the regular school day for teachers and paraprofessionals is 6 hours and 20 minutes, inclusive of a duty-free lunch. Hours for other members will differ. For example, nurses and therapists work 6 hour and 55 minutes, including a 30-minute lunch break, while school secretaries work 7 hours and 20 minutes, including a lunch period. Functional chapter leaders can provide information specific to each title. In District 75 (citywide special education) buildings, District 75 self-contained classes in other school sites, as well as District 79, the school day may be 6 hours and 50 minutes including a duty-free lunch.

Teachers get five preparation periods per week for unassigned professional duties.

Professional development, Parent Engagement and Other Professional Work

For teachers and paraprofessionals who work 6 hours and 20 minutes in single-session schools, the schedule also includes 155 minutes a week dedicated to professional development, parent engagement and other professional work. In most schools, the Monday sessions are 80 minutes long (for paraprofessionals, they are 70 minutes) and dedicated to professional development activities, while Tuesday sessions are 75 minutes long and dedicated to parent engagement and other professional work. The staff of individual schools has the flexibility to modify the school day and determine how to repurpose the 155 minutes based on the needs and philosophy of each school community using a procedure known as a school-based option, or SBO.

Please note: Without an SBO, the day cannot start earlier than 8 a.m. or go later than 4 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays, and no later than 3:45 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

Parents and guardians can be a member’s most important allies in encouraging students to learn, and the union favors as much communication with them as possible. Cordial and forthright conversations can create a true home-school partnership, and it’s best to foster that throughout the school year when students are doing well, and not just when there’s a problem. If you are looking to strengthen the homeschool partnership, you can use the dedicated parent engagement time, as well as Open School Week and parent teacher conferences. In most schools, these parent-teacher conferences occur in September (as a “Meet the Staff” night), and then in November, March and May.

School Year

The school year in New York City normally ranges from 183–191 days, depending on when the holidays fall.

Most members will report to school on the Tuesday after Labor Day. Often this time is allocated to classroom preparation and students are not present.

School holidays include:

  • Rosh Hashanah (September or October).
  • Eid-al-Adha (September or October).
  • Yom Kippur (September or October).
  • Columbus Day (second Monday in October).
  • Veterans Day (Nov. 11).
  • Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday and Friday in November).
  • Winter recess (includes Christmas and New Year’s Day).
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, birthday (third Monday in January).
  • Lunar New Year (January or February).
  • February midwinter recess (includes Presidents’ Day).
  • Spring recess (includes Good Friday and Passover).
  • Memorial Day (last Monday in May).

Sick days and personal business

Teachers and other titles can earn up to 10 sick days per school year. Of the 10 days, up to three can be used for personal business (funerals, caring for a sick family member, closing on a house, etc.) that cannot be conducted at another time.

Unused sick days become part of a member’s Cumulative Absence Reserve (CAR). CAR days can be used as medically certified sick days if you see a doctor and submit a doctor’s note to the school. By submitting a doctor’s note, medically certified days do not reduce the number of self-treated days you can use.

It’s a good idea to have a doctor’s note whenever possible.

Please note: These days cannot be used for vacation days.

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