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Chapter Leader UpdateMay 12, 2022

Snapshot

Image
A masked woman sitting on a bench with a smiling child

RECOGNIZING TEACHERS: Jennifer Licata (at left) from PS 32 in Brooklyn was spotlighted in the UFT’s special Teacher Appreciation Week tribute to educators doing extraordinary work under extraordinary circumstances. "Ms. Licata truly has an unparalleled gift for making each child feel seen and loved," said Megan Scott, the mother of Shira (at right), a 4th-grader. "Shira's face just lights up every time she sees Ms. Licata."

This Week's Focus

Second stipend for chapter leaders will come in June 

It’s been another difficult year, and we wanted to make sure we recognize all the hard work that chapter leaders have done to support members. All chapter leaders will receive a second stipend at the end of June ⁠— on top of the base stipend they received in December 2021 — to show our appreciation for building a strong school chapter. The size of this second stipend will be based on a point system. You will receive points for entering the Chapter Leader Hub; attending Delegate Assembly and district rep meetings; having high levels of union membership and COPE contributions; and sharing your consultation committee meeting summaries with the union. This second stipend will range between $250 and $1,000 based on the number of points you accrued this school year. See the complete point system. Points will be tallied after May 27. If you were elected after Sept. 15, 2021, your stipend may be prorated.


UFT President Michael Mulgrew is re‑elected

UFT President Michael Mulgrew has won his fifth term as the union’s president. Mulgrew, the Unity Caucus candidate, received two-thirds of the votes counted, while his closest competitor, United For Change candidate Camille Eterno, received roughly a third. The tallies, compiled by the American Arbitration Association, were based on 95 percent of the votes counted as of Wednesday evening. Non-slate votes in which ballots are cast for individual candidates were still being counted on Thursday but they are not enough to materially change the results. The final results of all races on the ballot, when released, will be posted in the UFT Elections 2022 section of the website.

See the press release

Chapter Leader Checklist

  • Make sure new hires have enrolled in the UFT: Schools hire staff throughout the school year. Union enrollment is not automatic. Please make a point of introducing yourself to every new hire in the UFT bargaining unit in your building, offering your support and asking them to fill out a UFT enrollment card or to enroll online. Check the nonmember report in the Chapter Leader Hub to see who hasn’t signed up yet.
  • Contact your district rep if members are pressured to sign an extension of probation: Probationers whose principals want to extend their probations do not have to sign the extension of probation immediately. Members have a right to have one of the union’s lawyers look it over. In fact, every extension of probation should be submitted to the UFT for a NYSUT attorney to review before the member makes the decision to sign or not. Contact your district rep each time a member receives an extension of probation or when your principal is insisting the member sign the extension without the proper time for it to be reviewed.
  • Members on leave must tell the DOE of their plans by Monday: If you are in touch with members who are on regular leave of absence through the end of June, make sure they know they must tell the DOE of their plans for next school year by Monday, May 16 at the latest. The UFT has been emailing these members about this requirement, but we want to make sure the message gets to everyone. Please note: UFT-represented employees who are on unpaid leave due to the vaccine mandate do not have to notify the DOE. The DOE is expected to establish a similar process with a different deadline for those members. UFT members with questions should call the UFT at 212-331-6311.
  • Fliers to share with your members: Here are fliers you can print and distribute in member mailboxes or post on your school's UFT bulletin board.

Work in progress

The UFT is working on the following issues with the DOE and other city, state and federal-level entities as appropriate: 

  • Finalizing the school calendar for the 2022-23 school year
  • Discussing whether to renew the extended workday (with blocks for PD, Other Professional Work and parent engagement)
  • Lawsuits to protect the due process rights of UFT members who were abruptly terminated for noncompliance with the vaccine mandate or on suspicion of submitting fraudulent proof of vaccination.

School Chapters on UFT.org

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You Should Know

HEALTH & SAFETY

COVID-19 rates on the rise

The number of COVID cases reported to the Situation Room and the school positivity rate continue to increase in city schools as the omicron subvariants spread across New York City. The numbers, however, remain significantly lower than they were in January, and the citywide hospitalization rate remains low. It’s important that schools continue to follow all the monitoring protocols that have been put in place for this school year. To review the current COVID‑19 safety and health policies, check out the School Year 2021-22 FAQ on the UFT website. School staff should continue to use the at-home rapid tests that they receive each week.

Updated guidance on proms and end-of-year school dances

Students may attend their prom and similar one-time end-of-year dances, regardless of vaccination status, according to city Department of Health guidance issued on May 9. For events held on DOE property, all chaperones who are not DOE employees are still required to show proof of vaccination. In addition, each attendee must complete the daily health screening. If a prom or end-of-year dance takes place in an outside venue, attendees must adhere to any additional COVID-19 health and safety requirements the venue may have. Students and chaperones are strongly encouraged to wear a high-quality mask to the prom or dance and to take an at-home rapid test before the event and five days after the event.

Expiration date on rapid tests extended

City schools will continue to distribute two at-home rapid tests each week to staff and four each week to students. In accordance with new FDA guidance, the expiration date on tests has been extended by three months, so even if the expiration date on the box is approaching or has recently passed, these tests are acceptable for use. For questions, email the DOE at COVID19virus@schools.nyc.gov.


INSTRUCTION

May parent teacher conferences begin next week

Some K-12 schools will be holding parent teacher conferences later this month. All parent teacher conferences will again be virtual. There are no scheduled May parent teacher conferences for:

  • Multi-session schools and
  • single session schools that passed an SBO to create a 6 hour and 50 minute school day for the 2021-2 school year

Elementary school and K-8 school conferences are scheduled for Wednesday, May 18. Middle school conferences will take place on Thursday, May 19. High schools, grades 6-12 and K-12 conferences will be held on Thursday, May 26. Only those District 75 schools that have the professional development, parent engagement and Other Professional Work blocks will have parent teacher conferences on May 19.

UFT Pride Committee is accepting scholarship applications

The UFT Pride Committee is accepting applications for its annual Daniel Dromm Scholarship for high school seniors. The deadline for submissions is May 31. Please encourage UFT high school members to recommend seniors for this award. The award is named in honor of former City Council Member Daniel Dromm, who chaired the Council’s LGBTQ caucus. Winners will receive up to $1,000 in scholarship awards. The student applicants must attend college in the fall and have a minimum 3.0 GPA. For full application requirements, contact Rashad Brown at rbrown@uft.org.


POLITICAL ACTION

Help us spotlight the importance of smaller classes

We have to continue to raise awareness of the importance of small class sizes. Many of us had lower class sizes this year due to the decline in student enrollment. However, without a significant change in class size caps, our classes will likely return to the maximum class sizes next school year. We know that’s not what’s best for our students and our profession. Now is the time to get loud and spread the word about the need for smaller class sizes. If you had a smaller class size than normal this year, please share the positive impact this reduction in class size has had for you and your students in a cellphone video of 20 seconds or less. We will use these videos on our social media channels to make the case to the DOE and lawmakers why we need smaller classes. You can submit your video to us at uftphotos@gmail.com. You can find printable posters and social media graphics and profile images in our campaign toolkit.

Voter registration deadline is June 3

Alert colleagues, parents and eligible students that the deadline to register to vote in the June 28 primary is Friday, June 3. This year, New York City voters may choose among candidates for U.S. Senate, State Assembly and state governor. The primary for candidates running for New York State Senate and the U. S. House of Representatives will take place in August. Members who have a state Department of Motor Vehicles-issued ID (driver's license, permit or non-driver ID) can register to vote online. Members who do not have a DMV-issued ID can print this form, fill it out and mail it to their local board of election. The complete mailing address can be found on page 2 of the form. The application must be postmarked by June 3 and received by the board of elections no later than June 8.

Request your absentee ballot by June

The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot for the June 28 primary is Tuesday, June 13. Once again, those affected by COVID-19 or who fear contracting the virus may claim a "temporary illness" and submit an absentee application. In New York City, members can complete an online absentee ballot application or can call 1-866-VOTE-NYC and request an application by mail. Outside the five boroughs, you can call your county's board of elections to request an absentee ballot. Ballots must be returned and postmarked no later than primary day, which is June 28. You may also deliver the absentee ballot in person either at a poll site or at your county board of elections.


SALARY & PERSONNEL

Changes to literacy and science certification

The New York State Education Department is creating a new Literacy (All Grades) certificate which may be applied for through the individual evaluation pathway starting June 29. This new Literacy (All Grades) certificate will replace the Literacy (Birth-Grade 6) and Literacy (Grades 5-12) certificates. Candidates will continue to be able to apply for the Literacy (Birth-Grade 6) and/or Literacy (Grades 5-12) certificates through the individual evaluation pathway through Aug. 31, 2023, and must meet all requirements for the certificate prior to Sept. 1, 2026. To help alleviate the statewide shortage of teachers in the sciences, the State Education Department is also revising the content core requirement for additional science certificates from 30 credits to 18 credits, effective June 29.

Employees must give 30 days’ notice before resigning

DOE employees who plan to resign must give at least 30 calendar days’ notice, according to Chancellor's Regulations. Therefore, if a UFT-represented employee wants to resign (not retire) effective Tuesday, Sept. 6, the first day of school in the 2022–23 school year, that employee must submit a letter of resignation by Thursday, Aug. 4. Chapter leaders have reported that some principals are asking members to add the word “irrevocable” to their letters of resignation. It is not necessary because UFT-represented educators have a contractual right to withdraw their resignation at a later date. It’s important to note, however, that the person must have found a new position before submitting a withdrawal of resignation form to the DOE. According to the DOE, employees who resign without providing 30 calendar days’ notice will be given a problem code in their personnel file that will flag them for review should they wish to return to teaching in the future. While there is no requirement to give notice for retirement, employees who are interested in taking terminal leave prior to retirement must also give 30 days’ notice.

DOE payroll to remain open again this summer

DOE payroll no longer closes in May and will instead remain open throughout the summer. UFT members who were on leave can return to work and be restored to payroll at any time between now and the end of the school year. The DOE will mail July and August paper checks for Q-bank employees throughout the summer to the address on file with the DOE. Please have your members receiving paper checks review and correct their addresses in the NYCAPS Employee Self Service System by May 27 to make sure the DOE has the correct address. Members on leave through the end of the school year will receive one pro-rated vacation paycheck in July.


EVERYTHING ELSE

Still time to register for the Spring Education Conference

It’s not too late to register for our Spring Education Conference on Saturday, May 21, at the Hilton Hotel Midtown. We will have a Speak Up! panel at the morning town hall, timely and relevant workshops for CTLE credit, a breakfast buffet and a gala luncheon, and an exhibit fair featuring our amazing career and technical education high schools. The registration fee for the conference, which is the UFT’s signature education event of the year, is $50 per person. There is an additional cost of $15 per CTLE hour for teachers and $7.50 per CTLE hour for paraprofessionals and other UFT members who attend workshops for credit. See the registration form for details.

Register now

Contact the UFT

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