Union resolutions

Resolution on Special Education Student Information System (SESIS) and new Individualized Education Program (IEP)

WHEREAS the New York State Education Department (NYSED) is requiring that all Individual Education Programs (IEPs) in effect during the 2011-12 school year be developed using a new State IEP; and

WHEREAS the New York City Department of Education (DOE) has chosen to embed the new State IEP in its Special Education Student Information System (SESIS), a complex new special education data collection system, and launch SESIS simultaneously with the new State IEP; and

WHEREAS the new State IEP and SESIS cannot be appropriately implemented in many schools because they do not have adequate and/or accessible computers, fax machines, printers, Internet access and/or bandwidth; and

WHEREAS the new State IEP in SESIS does not comply with NYSED requirements, is inconsistent with many of the DOE’s own policies and procedures and contains other errors and glitches, all of which require programming changes that the DOE is not making in a timely fashion; and

WHEREAS as of March 31 of 2011 all affected schools will have had the opportunity to send one to three staff members to the DOE’s two-day professional development training, and SESIS goes “live” in the school once this training has been provided; and

WHEREAS many staff members who participated in the training report that it is inadequate and they do not feel prepared to turnkey the training in their schools; many schools have not offered opportunities for face to face training for other school staff members who participate in the development of IEPs; and many school staff members have struggled to teach themselves how to use this complex new system and learn about the changes in the IEP on their own time without guidance or support in their schools; and

WHEREAS staffers are expected to spend inordinate amounts of time initiating meetings and developing IEPs in a system that is neither compliant nor fully functional and will likely be required to expend time correcting the errors and omissions once the programming changes have been made; and

WHEREAS no information or training has been provided to parents regarding the new State IEP or SESIS and no user-friendly reference manual is available; therefore be it

RESOLVED that all IEPs cease being developed in SESIS until all scheduled programmatic changes in the system are fully implemented and operational; and be it further

RESOLVED that all schools be held to a professional development template that must be followed and must include time and opportunities to practice during the work day with the understanding that “brown bag” sessions and Web seminars or “webinars” are supplemental and are not to be mandated during educators’ duty-free lunch; and be it further

RESOLVED that a “practice” student account be established with the exact same fields used in SESIS for the requests for meetings and new IEPs in order to jointly reconcile SESIS, the new IEP, the IEP development process with the New York City continuum of services and any other policy documents overseeing special education; and be it further

RESOLVED that the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) press the DOE to create informational materials and training sessions for parents on the new State IEP and SESIS; and be it further

RESOLVED that the UFT survey its members to generate data regarding time used for all aspects of IEP development in SESIS, time spent during lunch periods and before and after school to participate in brown bags, webinars and other activities necessary for them to understand and use the new State IEP and SESIS, appropriate professional development and changes in policy that might affect work conditions for UFT personnel.

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