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Chapter Leader UpdateChapter Leader Update for May 20, 2019

The Delegate Assembly is Wednesday, May 22


Photo of the Week

MATCHING FUNDS: Twin sisters Rabia and Rimsha Ansar were among the recipients of
Jonathan Fickies

MATCHING FUNDS: Twin sisters Rabia and Rimsha Ansar were among the recipients of scholarships from the UFT’s Albert Shanker College Scholarship Fund, which celebrated its 50th anniversary at the awards ceremony on May 14.

This Week's Focus

Educate members about the need for the Patient Protection Act

The UFT is part of a coalition of labor, consumer, health and business organizations working to contain excessive “out-of-network” emergency hospital charges. When insurers pay more for exorbitant out-of-network costs, patients can end up paying more in the form of higher rates the following year. When government employers must absorb this expense (which is the case for members of the UFT and other New York City public employee unions), higher health care costs can mean less money for raises in the next contract round. That’s why the UFT is urging state lawmakers to pass the Patient Protection Act (A.264-A) in the legislative session that ends in late June. The bill would extend the independent — and successful — arbitration process that has curbed “out-of-network” emergency doctors’ bills in New York since 2014 and apply the same process to comparable sky-high emergency charges by hospitals. We need to end this price gouging by hospitals. Read UFT President Michael Mulgrew’s op ed “Stop sky’s-the-limit hospital bills” in Crain’s New York Business and spend five minutes of your next chapter meeting talking about this bill with your members.

Use caution when considering special education SBOs

Given the Department of Education’s continuing difficulty in meeting students’ IEP needs and on-going special education teacher shortages, chapter leaders should exercise caution when considering out-of-classroom special education positions. The SBO process should not be used to create or to continue out-of-classroom special education positions if your school has special education teacher/provider vacancies for SETSS, ICT or special (self-contained) classes; student IEPs are not fully served; or the creation of the position would require a class-size variance or exceed the caseload maximum for SETSS teachers. If any of these conditions are present, the UFT will not approve the SBO. Out-of-classroom positions cannot take precedence over the provision of instructional services necessary to meet students’ IEP needs and mandates. With this information in mind, if a UFT chapter is considering creating an out-of-classroom IEP Teacher position, subject to the SBO process, the UFT will only approve positions that replicate the centrally funded IEP/Intervention Teacher posting. Other out-of-classroom special education positions will be reviewed and approved on a case-by-case basis. Make sure that the creation of these types of positions is discussed with your district representative and the SBO ballot is approved prior to a vote being held. For more information about the SBO process, see the SBO page of the UFT website.

Ask members denied student loan forgiveness to fill out the AFT survey

If you’re a UFT member who participated in the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program for more than 10 years and were denied loan forgiveness, the AFT wants to hear from you. The AFT will use the survey results to inform the actions it will take to help people struggling with student loan debt. Specifically, the AFT is looking for members whose applications for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program have been denied. Such members must meet the following criteria: made 120 payments on their federal student loans; worked in a public or private school, for the government, or for a nonprofit organization for at least 10 years; and applied for and were denied public service loan forgiveness. If you fit this description, please participate in the AFT’s quick survey. The AFT may then reach out to you to learn more about your experience. Any information you share will be kept strictly confidential unless you give your express permission.

Join the campaign to keep our students’ contact information safe from charter schools

Our students’ private contact information is being shared with the charter school industry. It's time for this practice to end. To help the charter school industry expand, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his schools chancellor, Joel Klein, began making the private contact information of New York City public school students available to charter schools. Charter schools then marketed their schools directly to public school families. We need your help to end this invasive practice. Tell Mayor Bill de Blasio to stop divulging our students’ confidential information. Please send an email to Mayor de Blasio and make it clear that it’s time to stop giving a leg up to charter school chains that are growing at the expense of our traditional public schools.

Come to tomorrow’s Spring Education Conference

Walk-in registration is available for the UFT’s signature education event, which will take place from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the New York Hilton Midtown in Manhattan. We want to have a large UFT contingent to greet our speakers, who will include Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza. We will hold a special morning Town Hall session moderated by UFT President Michael Mulgrew aimed at energizing educators to “stand up and run” for elected office. The panelists will be New York State Assembly members Alicia Hyndman, Jaime R. Williams and Carmen N. De La Rosa. They will talk about how their life experiences set them on the path to public service. The registration fee is $50 per person for those not seeking CTLE hours. Payment can be made onsite at the registration area with a check or cash. You can read detailed descriptions of the six workshops. (The technologies workshop is full.) We encourage you to share your conference experiences on social media using the hashtags #UFTSpring and #UnionProud.

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Your Chapter Leader Checklist

  • New UFT certificates for graduates: The UFT’s officers and the chairpersons of the Professional Committees have a long tradition of supporting and rewarding our schools’ graduates by awarding certificates for excellence in academic achievement. Certificates may be presented to the most deserving students in each subject area. Download the certificates of excellence in academic achievement from the chapter leader section of the UFT website (you must be logged in to gain access). For more information, you can contact the Office of UFT Professional Committees at 212-598-7772.
  • Professional activity periods: To empower chapter leaders, the UFT’s Contract Empowerment Department, in consultation with the Grievance Department, created a professional activity fact sheet for elementary schools and a professional activity fact sheet for middle and high schools. Each bulleted item on the fact sheets cites the relevant contract article, circular or arbitration. Please refer to these fact sheets to guide you as you consult with your principal on professional activities. The new contract allows chapters to add menu activities through the SBO process. If a chapter leader disagrees with the number of administrative positions or a teacher does not agree with the professional activity assignment selected by the principal, an appeal can be filed. Chapter leaders may request that the union file an appeal regarding the number of administrative positions and members may request that the union file an appeal regarding the selection of the professional activity assignment by completing the online professional activity appeal form. If you have questions, contact your district representative or Debra Poulos, the director of the union’s Contract Empowerment Department, at
  • Guidance for departmentalization in elementary schools: Many elementary school chapter leaders have reached out with questions and concerns about the procedures for departmentalization in their schools. The UFT filed a union-initiated grievance in 2017 and went to arbitration. The DOE has agreed to specific terms and conditions for departmentalization. Grades K-3 are not to be departmentalized unless a school properly ratifies and approves an SBO. Schools that wish to departmentalize English language arts and/or math only in grades 4, 5 and/or 6 may do so only by posting an ELA and/or math position to teach these subjects for a particular grade or grades. All postings must be done in accordance with the contract. Any other departmentalization in these grades (or math/science, ELA/social studies) requires a properly ratified and approved SBO. Decisions about departmentalization must be made prior to teachers filling out preference sheets so that teachers are aware of the options. Like all other SBOs, an SBO on departmentalization must have the support of both the principal and the chapter leader, and an SBO cannot be adopted unless 55 percent of the UFT members who actually vote — not 55 percent of all members at the school — vote to support it. See the departmentalization stipulation, the recent departmentalization Algebra For All posting for 5th grade and departmentalization SBO templates. If you have any questions, please contact your district representative.
  • Talk about why the union matters at your May chapter meeting: In this post-Janus environment where our enemies are running anti-union ads on social media telling members to “give yourself a raise,” we need to stay united and strong as a union. That is why we are asking you to hold a discussion at your next chapter meeting about the value of the UFT and the importance of union membership. Remind members of our recent victories in defeating the constitutional convention proposal, winning paid parental leave and bargaining a new DOE-UFT contract that gives members more voice in the workplace and much more. To build union spirit at your school, encourage groups of members to attend UFT events such as the 5K Family Walk/Run, the Making Strides against Breast Cancer walk, the UFT Pride Committee Scholarship Brunch and the Spring Education Conference.
  • The Update is online: The Chapter Leader Update is posted on the UFT website every week in the Chapter Leader section and will remain online for your reference. You’ll need to sign in and click on “Chapter Leaders” on the home page to view the Update.  

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Share with Your Members

New School Secretaries of the Year Awards Luncheon flier

Labor History Month 2019 poster of events

UFT Pride Committee Daniel Dromm Scholarship Brunch flier

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You Should Know

Functional Chapters

New UFT luncheon to honor School Secretaries of the Year: School secretaries are encouraged to attend the 33rd annual UFT School Secretaries of the Year Awards Luncheon on Saturday, June 15, from noon to 4 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 2nd floor. Register online.

New Members

Extensions of probation: If a principal wants to extend a UFT-represented teacher’s probation, the teacher does not have to immediately sign that extension. Probationary teachers who are members have a right to have a union lawyer review it first. Every member should submit every extension of probation to the UFT for a union attorney to review before the member signs. Contact your district representative each time a UFT member receives an extension of probation. If the principal is insisting the member sign the extension without the proper time for union review of the extension agreement, advise the member not to sign and immediately contact your district representative or borough office.


New Let’s Talk About It! Come out to “Let’s Talk About It!” a conversation about addiction and other matters with students on Wednesday, May 29, from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. Hosted by the Member Assistance Program (MAP) in coordination with the Academic High Schools and Middle Schools divisions, members can have a frank discussion on these issues in a comfortable setting. The event will feature live music, as well as breakfast and lunch. Please share the information with your school counselors and social workers. Register online.

New African American Museum weekend in August: UFT members are invited to attend a three-day excursion to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., from Friday through Sunday, Aug. 16-18. The price, which ranges from $368 to $569 (please add $1 for handling), includes round-trip luxury motor coach; hotel accommodations for two nights; two breakfast buffets; two dinners (Phillips Seafood and Gadsby’s Tavern Restaurant); two-day museum admission; a guided bus tour of Washington, D.C.; mall and casino visits; and all taxes and tips. Reservations are first come, first served, so book your seats early. For more information and to register, download the mail-in coupon.

Political Action

Take Action Make your voice heard in the 2020 election: The American Federation of Teachers, the UFT’s national affiliate, announced a new endorsement process for 2020 presidential candidates. The process is designed to ensure member input and engagement with respect to who receives the AFT’s support. Ask your members to complete the AFT’s Presidential Endorsement Survey to tell the AFT which issues they want the presidential candidates to discuss. AFT President Randi Weingarten is calling on members to help elect a president who believes in living wages, public education, higher education and health care as rights, not a privileges.

Take Action Join the UFT campaign to keep the charter cap: The charter school lobby is making a big push in Albany to raise the cap and increase the number of charter schools in New York City. We are asking you to join us in a #PublicSchoolProud campaign to keep the current charter cap and to demand more transparency and accountability from the charter industry in New York State. Charter school operators, including Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz, balk at all attempts at government oversight. They refuse to accept and keep all students or to give the public a full accounting of how they spend their billions of dollars.


Chapter leader shoutout to Melissa Alvarez: Congratulations to Melissa Alvarez, the chapter leader of John Bowne HS in Flushing, Queens, for using the new dispute resolution process in the DOE-UFT contract to get a speedy response to a safety violation: No teacher had been assigned to the high school’s SAVE room. Alvarez had spoken to the principal several times about the staffing issue with no result. That’s when she filed a report with the UFT, giving the principal five days to address the issue before it escalated to the superintendent and the district representative. Her principal promptly assigned teachers to staff the SAVE room. You can read more about Melissa Alvarez’s achievements on the UFT website.

Rights and Grievances

New Distribution of preference sheets for next year’s assignments: By now, all teachers should have received their preference sheets for next year, according to the DOE-UFT contract. The contract also spells out what options UFT-represented teachers have in choosing positions. Probationary teachers should ask for assignments in their license area when they fill out their preference sheets for next year because teaching out of license might result in an extension of probation, delaying their tenure. Read the Know Your Rights column on program preferences and professional activities. Special education teacher programs may look different in some schools based on the DOE Flexible Program Guide and special education reform, but the contractual language covering teacher programs has not changed. For a review of the contractual language as it pertains to preference sheets and a link to the DOE Flexible Program Guide, read about program preference and special education in the students with disabilities section of the UFT website.

Salary and Personnel

New Errors in school calendar in the New York Teacher: The school calendar that ran in the May 2 issue of the New York Teacher had several mistakes, including the day that teachers must report. As is customary, teachers return the day after Labor Day and have two days to prepare for the start of school. They report on Tuesday, Sept. 3, not Wednesday, Sept. 4. See the corrected calendar.

New Members can earn CAR time for per-session work: Members who coach or do other per-session activities can earn Cumulative Absence Reserve (CAR) time for this work. If you work in the same per-session activity between September and June, you can accrue per-session sick-leave hours after every 20 consecutive sessions. For per-session athletic coaches with verified schedules, the hours at the end of 20 consecutive sessions, regardless of the number of hours in each session, add up to the total hours worked in the 20-session period. The total is then divided by 20 to arrive at the average length of a session for sick leave to be transferred. All other teachers earn one session of sick leave for each 20 sessions worked after 20 consecutive sessions. At the end of the activity, the payroll secretary completes the Per-Session Unused Sick Time Transfer Form documenting the accrued per-session sick time to be transferred to your regular CAR bank. The payroll secretary, the head of the activity and the member must sign this form, certifying the time is accurate. Members should receive a copy. More detailed information on per-session rights and CAR time is found on the UFT website.

Teaching and Learning

New Clarification on lesson plans: Chancellor Richard Carranza and UFT President Michael Mulgrew issued a joint letter to help clarify a mutual position on the importance of planning and how it relates to teachers’ professional voice and choice in writing lesson plans. Please carefully review the lesson plan letter for clarification on member rights and responsibilities. For more information, see the lesson plan page of the UFT website.

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This Week in Education and Labor News

California lax in LGBTQ policy enforcement: A new study shows California public schools have been inconsistent in implementing laws intended to cultivate inclusive learning environments for LGBTQ students, according to The analysis by the Equality California Institute surveyed 130 K-12 school districts on school climate, curriculum, teacher training, suicide prevention and transgender student needs and rated the districts on their LGBTQ policies. Twenty-two districts were given “top tier” ratings, 80 were considered “middle tier,” and 28 districts were labeled “priority districts,” the lowest rating.

Boeing terminates union supporters: The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union has accused Boeing of firing workers for supporting the union, according to the Guardian. Boeing has fought to prevent unionization in South Carolina, where the company opened an aircraft production plant in 2011 rather than in Washington State, where it had unionized operations. The union’s associate general counsel said, “They want to send the message that if you support the union you’re going to get fired. They’re not being subtle about it.” South Carolina has the lowest union membership rate in the United States at just 2.7 percent of workers.

School tech purchases underutilized: A new analysis of K-12 school district spending reveals many tech products and software purchases are unused or don’t have the intended impact, reports Edweek. Ed tech company GlimpseK12 studied $2 billion in school spending and found that, on average, 67 percent of educational software products go unused. The company tracked 200,000 curriculum software licenses purchased by 275 schools during the 2017–18 school year and found up to 90 percent of educational software was not used in some districts.

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Events Calendar


Saturday, May 18: The UFT Spring Education Conference takes place on Saturday, May 18, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the New York Hilton Midtown, 1335 Sixth Ave., Manhattan. The event includes breakfast, a morning town hall, a large exhibit fair featuring CTE programs, workshops and a gala luncheon. Participants may attend a two-hour workshop of their choice. You can read detailed descriptions of the six workshops. (The technologies workshop is full.) Walk-in registration is available. For more information, see the item in This Week’s Focus.

Saturday, June 1: The second annual UFT Pride Committee Daniel Dromm Scholarship Brunch takes place at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 2nd floor, from noon to 3 p.m. The registration fee is $75. For more information and to download the mail-in coupon, see the Daniel Dromm Scholarship Brunch flier.

This Week

Tuesday, May 21: Queens-based parents are invited to a workshop presented by the UFT and Hey There Beautiful about self-care and time management. This event takes place from 6 to 8 p.m. at the UFT’s Queens borough office, 97-77 Queens Blvd., 8th floor, Rego Park. Child care, coffee and tea will be provided. Register online. For more information, see the Release Workshop: Letting Go of the Past flier.

Wednesday, May 22: The Delegate Assembly takes place from 4 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway.

Wednesday, May 22: The Student Debt Relief Program information session takes place at PS 37, 360 W. 230th St. See the Student Debt Relief Program page on the UFT website for more information and to register.

Thursday, May 23: The Paraprofessional Chapter representative meeting takes place from 4:15 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway.

Upcoming LearnUFT workshops

LearnUFT, the UFT’s professional development institute, offers an array of affordable workshops and professional learning opportunities for UFT members. The cost to register, unless otherwise indicated, is $30 for teachers seeking CTLE hours and $15 without CTLE hours. The cost for all paraprofessionals is $15. Participants will earn two CTLE hours for each workshop, unless otherwise specified.

These workshops will take place at UFT borough offices, unless otherwise indicated:

See LearnUFT courses in the Bronx »
See LearnUFT courses in Brooklyn »
See LearnUFT courses in Manhattan »
See LearnUFT courses in Queens »
See Learn UFT courses on Staten Island »

For a full listing of upcoming LearnUFT workshops, see the LearnUFT page on the UFT website.

For more events, go to

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In Case You Missed It

UFT-backed candidate wins Brooklyn City Council seat

Video Clip: Vital Brooklyn initiative delivers fresh produce

Photo Gallery: UFT 5K Run/Walk 2019

Photo Gallery: School Nurse Recognition Dinner 2019

Photo Gallery: District 11 UFT Scholarship Dinner 2019

Photo Gallery: UFT Prom Boutique 2019

Photo Gallery: UFT Anti-Bullying Conference for Middle School Students

Photo Gallery: Provider Appreciation Awards Ceremony 2019

Photo Gallery: Nurse Recognition Day 2019

Photo Gallery: First Tee golf outing for PS 119, the Bronx

Queens Parent Newsletter — May 13, 2019

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Professional Committees

UFT Professional Committees offer a wide range of workshops, presentations and exchanges, enabling all members to take an active part in their professional growth. Unless indicated, meetings are at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, Manhattan. Check in the lobby for exact locations. For further information, contact us at 212-598-7772 or visit us online.

Capably Disabled

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Editor: Peter O’Donnell

Executive Editor: Bernadette Weeks

Contributors include: Karen Alford, George Altomare, Amy Arundell, LeRoy Barr, Jackie Bennett, Hannah Brown, Emelina Camacho-Mendez, David Campbell, Doreen Berrios-Castillo, Evelyn DeJesus, Crystal Deoraj, Alison Gendar, MaryJo Ginese, Anthony Harmon, Sarah Herman, Janella Hinds, Joe LoVerde, Richard Mantell, Samantha Mark, Deidre McFadyen, Michael Murphy, Gabriel Nott, Suzanne Popadin, Debra Poulos, Cassie Prugh, Nadine Reis, Chris Santoro, Michael Sill, Anne Silverstein, Rosemarie Thompson and Liz Truly.